Turnip Mash, But Not Like Mum Used to Make It.

The daunting turnip. A less-popular root veg, favoured by irish mammies and canteens, most commonly found in a mash form.

Never one to say no to a veg, I bought the bugger with no notion of how to cook it in a way that could dispel my association of turnip with the smell of feet. The first attempt, as you may have read, was o.k. but could not be counted as a success. The second attempt, however, was made in a kitchen full of sunlight and morning brightness so perhaps that contributed to its tastiness.

Canteen-Free Turnip Mash.


1/3 med swede/turnip

1/3 med leek, halved and sliced

handful of parsley, roughly chopped

two cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cumin

rapeseed/olive oil



Peel the turnip (careful now) and chop it into small cubes using a heavy knife and a chopping board.

Place the chopped turnip in a medium pan. Add water so that the turnip is half-covered. Bring to boil and cover with a lid. Leave to boil for 10 mins or until the pieces fall apart when poked with a fork. Add more water if all evaporates before this happens.

Once the turnip is cooked, turn off the heat. Add the leeks and the parsley and let sit with the lid on for 5 mins.

Once the 5 mins are up, heat a drizzle of rapeseed oil in a frying pan, then add the nutmeg, the cumin and the garlic. Stir for 15 seconds then add the turnip, leeks and parsley. Stir for another 30 seconds. Take off heat and mash. You can be a real student and mash in the pan using a bent fork but a masher in a bowl works just as well. When the preferred consistency is reached, transfer back to the pan and cook for 2 mins, stirring continuously, adding a small bit of water or rice milk to prevent it from burning.

I added some of the goat’s brie bought last Saturday in with the leeks and parsley so it could melt. A tasty addition but not absolutely necessary.

Confusing? Not at all. These are just guidelines, go forth and experiment. It’s highly recommended.

Creativity is essential in student cooking. Using an empty wine bottle as a rolling pin is another classic.

Turnip is warming, filling and is currently in season. It is one of the few veggies to be grown in Ireland and can be found at all the Farmer’s Markets for a budget-happy price. It is high in Vitamin C (as is Parsley) which helps prevent that common student ailment: scurvy.