The blend of parsnips and spice makes an unusual, aromatic centre-piece for a dish, served with rice, potatoes (mashed, roast, sautéed or chipped), a sauce or gravy of your own devising, and fresh vegetables. Serves four.
Parsnips, 450g (1lb), peeled and cut into small slices
Double cream, two tablespoons
Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves, ½ level teaspoon
Olive or walnut oil
Salt and pepper
Lightly cover the parsnips with salted water, bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes or so until they are soft. Drain, reserving the water for stock, and allow the parsnips to cool a little. Then tip them into a mixing bowl, add a knob of butter, some pepper (though not, perhaps, any more salt), the cream, and whichever of the spices you prefer. Blend everything loosely together with either a fork or potato masher.
Trim and destalk the mushrooms, brush well inside and out with olive oil. Place them skin down in an oiled oven dish and fill with the parsnip mixture, carefully smoothing the tops and brushing them with oil. Pour a small amount of water into the base of the pan to help keep the mushrooms moist and cook in a pre-heated oven, Gas 6 (400F, 200C) for 20 minutes.
If, when removed from the oven, small cracks are beginning to appear in the mushroom tops, simply brush them smooth with a little more oil before serving.