Hidden Treasure – The Humble Parsnip

 Parsnip, Lime and Warm Spice Breakfast MuffinsHappy New Year to you all. I’m very excited about 2013. For lots of reasons I think it is going to be a good year. Firstly, I have a wonderful weekend a Babington House to look forward to because I WON the Capricorn Goats Cheese Challenge with my Goats Cheese Soufflé with Cider Poached Pear & Fig.  Absoultely thrilled to bits about that one and a big thanks to Ethel the goat for picking me.

I also have a few new resolutions as well which I think is helping me with my positive outlook. These include spending at least one evening a week downstairs with hubby, some wine and trash TV, (my computer is upstairs). Sounds like an easy one, and should be now that I have finished my counselling course, (yippee) but I’m really looking forward to having time for this. I’ve missed it. Also, I’m going to try and get the family dinner cooked in the mornings a couple of days a week, making after school a bit easier. I would also like to make more homemade smoothies to up my fresh fruit intake and I must drink more water during the day. Oh I’ve got to try to get to bed a little bit earlier too. Sleep is gooooood.

However, one resolution that I have already started with gusto, (love that word) is clearing out my cupboards! My goodness that sounds soooo dull, but I have to say I am very much enjoying being able to tidy away the children’s bedrooms in 5 mins rather than 20 mins now that all the rubbish has gone. It’s a task that has been on my ‘to do’ for a very long time…just a little bit unfortunate that I did not have the motivation or time to start this task before Christmas as I might have saved myself a bit of unnecessary embarrassment. The state of the under stairs cupboard was made public the week before when our boiler packed up and the plumber had to get in there, under the stairs! I stood around for a couple of minutes apologising for the mess to the bottoms of his shoes as he was trying to work out the problem, then I helped him clear it out. Squashed toilet rolls, 5 picnic rugs, 3 mops and a swimming noodle are just a few of the things that appeared. I found the missing buggy rain cover too so that was a perk, but I decided then that I could not put it off any longer, and some reorganisation was needed in the new year.My garden

As part of my tidying up I thought I would attempt to clear my vegetable patch which again I have been meaning to do for ages. I had a vague memory of planting a few ‘winter’ vegetables at some point a long time ago but have given no TLC to anything that might be growing for months. As you can see from the picture of my garden above, it does not look like a lot is growing, but this as I discovered was nothing more than an optical illusion because under the ground I very quickly started to find some hidden gems, which I could not for the life of me get out by hand. A few digs later with a spade and I’m pulling up the biggest parsnips I have ever seen.Huge Parsnips

Admittedly, they were not all this size but I must have pulled up about 25 of them, and I know there is a second row too! Hidden treasure in my own back garden!! Well to me it was. But what was I going to do with them all? There was no question that a soup had to be made, but I also fancied something different too. A healthy, low sugar muffin…was it possible? Would it work? I think you might know me by now because here is what I came up with.Parsnip, Lime and Warm Spice Breakfast Muffins

Healthy, Low Sugar Parsnip, Lime and Warm Spice Breakfast Muffins

An experiment in many ways using much less sugar, a root vegetable and mixing lime with spice but this is a super recipe and perfect if you want something to satisfy your sweet tooth without going over board.  My 5 year old daughter loved these and ate 2 in a row.  The tang of lime with the back drop of spice some how works really well and the parsnip is not over powering at all, in fact I could hardly taste it.  Next time I make them I would fill up the cases a bit more as they did not rise as much as I thought they would.Parsnip, Lime and Warm Spice Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients – for approx 12 muffins

  • 300g grated parsnip (I did mine in the magimix which I have to say made it very easy indeed)
  • 150g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 100g white spelt flour
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 70g oats
  • 250ml sunflower oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp orange blossom honey (or any honey that you have)
  • seeds from 4 cardamon pods crushed
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • zest and juice from 2 limes
  • Muffin cases
  • 150g cream cheese
  • zest of 1 lime and the juice of half a lime
  • 3 tbsp orange blossom honey (or any honey that you have)

How to make

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c and line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases
  2. In a small bowl mix together the cardamon, cinnamon, honey and lime zest plus juice
  3. In a bigger bowl mix together the flours, sugar, oats and baking powder
  4. Add in the oil and eggs one at a time whilst continuing to mix.  Then add the lime, spice and honey mix
  5. Finally add the grated parsnips and fold in with a large metal spoon
  6. Divide into the muffin cases and bake for 15 – 20 mins
  7. Mix the cream cheese, zest and lime juice and honey together and top the muffins once cooled using a small palette knife

And here is the recipe for my soup because this was a success as well.Curried Parsnip, Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Curried Parsnip, Butternut Squash and Apple Soup


  • 1 med butternut squash peeled, deseeded and cut into small cubes
  • 3 med apples peeled, deseeded and cut into small cubes
  • 4 large parsnips peeled and cut into strips
  • 4 naked cloves of garlic
  • 1400ml of vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • drizzle of olive oilCurried Parsnip, Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

How to Make

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c
  2. Put all veg and apples and garlic in a roasting tin and drizzle over the olive oil
  3. Cook in the oven for about 40 mins taking them out half way through to give a toss and a stir
  4. Add roasted veg and apples into a large saucepan then add the spices, chilli flakes and stock and simmer for about 10 mins
  5. Liquidise the soup (I used my stick blender in the saucepan) and serve with fresh crusty bread and an optional dollop of creme fraicheCurried Parsnip, Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

These recipes allow me to enter a few of the monthly blogging challenges that are around this month.

The first is Tea Time Treats run by Karen Lavender and Loveage from and Kate from What Kate Baked.  This month the theme is citrus.

Tea Time Treats Challenge Logo

The second is Calender Cakes run by Laura from Laura Loves Cakes and Rachel from Dolly Bakes .  The theme this month is healthy cakes.

The third is Simple and in Season run by Ren from Fabulicious Food and hosted this month by Karen from Lavender and Loveage

Finally, I’m going to enter this into a new challenge called Credit Crunch Munch run by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla from Fab Food for All.

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  1. Fuss Free HelenJanuary 3, 2013 at 10:15 amReply

    Thank you so much for supporting Credit Crunch Munch Fleur!

    I love both the recipes, and did giggle at your under stairs cupboard. I know the feeling of a mountain of stuff very well.

  2. Karen Burns BoothJanuary 3, 2013 at 3:17 pmReply

    What a LOVELY bake for Tea Time Treats and also a lovely read too! Happy New Year to you and I hope you and your family have the best year ever! Thanks for your continued support for Tea Time Treats Fleur! Karen xxx

    • FleurJanuary 3, 2013 at 10:45 pmReplyAuthor

      Ah, thanks Karen. x

  3. Karen Burns BoothJanuary 3, 2013 at 3:18 pmReply

    Forgot to say thanks for entering this into Simple and in Season too! Karen

  4. UrvashiJanuary 3, 2013 at 9:56 pmReply

    I love having a clearout. It’s on the list for tomorrow – the loft! Don’t think I’ll find wonderful parsnips in there but who knows what will be up there as it’s been ages since I’ve been through the piles of paperwork. I do love parsnips in baking. Not tried them with lime but imagine it would work really well.
    Happy New Year and hope 2013 is a good one for you and the family x

    • FleurJanuary 3, 2013 at 10:42 pmReplyAuthor

      Ha ha, that made me giggle. Good luck with the loft. That is quite a big job, but I think you will feel SOOOO good after it’s done. Happy new year you and your gorgeous family too. x

  5. Camilla @Fabfood4allJanuary 3, 2013 at 10:37 pmReply

    Thank you for entering the first ever Credit Crunch Munch! Your muffins are so original, I’ve not seen parsnip used in a cake before and the spices and lime make this sound a winner of the taste front. Your soup is also not a combination I have come across before it’s like a fusion of 2 familiar soups so I must try this:-)

    • FleurJanuary 3, 2013 at 10:44 pmReplyAuthor

      I was not sure if parsnip, lime and spice would work but it really did. Not like anything I have tasted before in a really positive way. I love experimental baking :)

  6. Laura Loves CakesJanuary 4, 2013 at 9:10 pmReply

    Happy New Year! What an amazing recipe…such interesting ingredients…i’d love to try one! Impressive parsnips too! The linky is now working on the announcement post if you want to add…I did get your email though! Thanks for entering Calendar Cakes :-)

  7. Mary SweetingJanuary 5, 2013 at 6:09 pmReply

    These sound delicious, love the idea of parsnip and lime – must try!

  8. Sarah, Maison CupcakeJanuary 8, 2013 at 4:00 pmReply

    Have you seen “Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache” by Harry Eastwood? It’s full of cakes made with vegetables and well worth a read. I love your soup pictures, I have really struggled with finding light lately and I wish my pictures looked as well lit as that!

    • FleurJanuary 9, 2013 at 1:05 pmReplyAuthor

      It’s a book that I really want to get. I’ve heard from others that it is a good buy. Might have to treat myself :) . The light recently has been awful. I had to put this soup on a window ledge. I’d love to go on a food styling course this year. Could do with a few more tips and ideas I think. x

  9. Laura@howtocookgoodfoodJanuary 9, 2013 at 10:29 amReply

    Happy New Year to you and I am so happy you won the Capricorn challenge. The prize is brilliant, what a treat it will be!
    I love your healthy muffins using parsnip. Such a great discovery and soups are definitely the way forward in January.
    Your resolutions are all good , things I need to do myself apart from I have my laptop downstairs but it doesn’t mean I spend any more time with my husband. Usually I am on it solidly so maybe I should ban it on a Saturday night! xx

  10. Mich Piece of CakeJanuary 16, 2013 at 7:02 amReply

    Hi, I am dropping by via Tea Time Treats. Thanks for sharing 2 lovely ways to eat parsnips. I am especially intrigued by the cupcake.

    • FleurJanuary 17, 2013 at 10:31 pmReplyAuthor

      Thank you for stopping by. Let me know if you end up making the muffins. x

  11. Louisa FotiJanuary 31, 2013 at 8:41 amReply

    I’m a bit late in seeing this gorgeous post, but what wonderful reading and two fabulous recipes! Funnily enough I’m about to make a parsnip, maple and pecan cake I’ve been eyeing up on the internet, with the last of our parsnips. It’ll be my first time baking with them, but all the other veg I’ve tried have been huge successes and make for very moist bakes. The soup looks fab too, and will be bookmarked. I MUST have a clear out too!

  12. Coffee and CrumpetsJanuary 31, 2013 at 10:26 pmReply

    What an interesting combination but looks like it worked out really well! They look fabulous and healthy to boot!


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