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Maple roasted parsnip, bacon and goats’ cheese salad

It is literally painful for me to look at this photo. I am preparing for a colonoscopy you see and haven’t eaten for two days! Well, yesterday I was allowed low residue food, which consisted of eggs, tuna, prawns and an amazing Vietnamese chicken broth (highlight – will post that here soon). But for a bread and fruit and veg lover like me that’s not a very satisfying or filling menu. I had to take a very lovely solution to ‘cleanse’ my system and today I cannot eat a thing! Wah! I’m alternating between elderflower cordial and miso soup (thank God for my miso soup). I am obsessing about what I will have after my appointment which isn’t till late this afternoon – it wouldn’t be first thing this morning would it?! Sorry to say, I think I’m going to have to go straight to MacDonald’s, unless I am too woozy with sedation.

So, you are probably thinking: really? We’re talking colonoscopies as a preamble to a recipe? Yuck! Well, yeah, we are. I think it’s good to share. And we all poo don’t we? Don’t we? Even the queen, I hear…

This salad I made a couple of days back. It’s part of my new ‘cook dinner at lunchtime’ plan. As Bea is becoming increasingly demanding (very cute though, but a proper daredevil who doesn’t do sitting still), it has become harder and harder to prepare a decent meal at teatime. Several teatime efforts at cooking recently have ended in tears – mine and hers – so I now try to cook dinner after lunch when she is asleep. What I like about this salad is that you can roast the ‘snips ahead, as well as fry off the bacon. Then, when you’re ready to eat, simply shake up a dressing in a jar, toss watercress onto a plate with parsnips and bacon and crumble cheese on top.

This is quite a grown up salad, but the sticky parsnips with bacon are a big hit with kids. I gave this to the children initially without watercress. But Arthur asked for some and he ate it. Admittedly it was mainly to show off to me, but he still ate a bit, so I was chuffed. He doesn’t do goats’ cheese though so I left that off his. The girl, as ever, ate it all with gusto.

To make a starter or lunch portion for four adults: 
800g parsnips
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
salt and pepper
200g good quality bacon, streaky or back, cut into lardons – or same amount of pancetta cubed
100g watercress
100g goats’ cheese – or more of less as you like
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • Preheat your oven to 190C. 
  • Cut your parsnips into 4, or 8 if they are very thick and chunky. You want them all the same size-ish. 
  • Toss in veg oil, season and roast for 25-30 mins, turning once or twice. After they are nicely roasted, add the maple syrup to the pan, toss, and roast for another 15-20 minutes.
  • Cut the bacon or pancetta into lardons and fry off in a little oil over a low heat for as long as it takes to get really crispy and the fat rendered down. About 30 mins I’d say. Set aside. 
  • Combine the crispy bacon and the sticky parsnips in the roasting tin, so the bacon too gets covered in maple syrup. 
  • When ready to assemble (either warm or cold parsnips work well), simply put some watercress on a plate, arrange parsnips artfully, sprinkle any extra lardons on that aren’t already stuck to parsnips, crumble goats cheese and finally dribble the dressing on. Season and serve. 


  1. February 11, 2014 / 7:35 pm

    Love the look of this salad – roasted parsnips and bacon, what's not to love? I will be trying this out soon – thank you for sharing!

  2. February 13, 2014 / 4:53 pm

    Hi Antonia… yes this is my sort of thing too – not everybody's but I love parsnips. I really hope you try it – tell me what it turns out like! X

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