Turnips and swedes (but more turnips)

White turnips.

There seems to have been some confusion regarding swedes and turnips last week. I see how that would happen, seeing that turnips are technically called ‘white turnips’ and ‘swede’ is really short for ‘Swedish turnip’. The fact that many Scots tend to call swedes ‘neeps’ (probably also short for ‘Swedish turnip’, but starting from the other end) doesn’t help. So here’s a picture!

These are turnips, as in white turnips. They’re white with a bright purple top. Swedes are more yellow with dark purple, almost brownish. Swedes are also a whole lot bigger than white turnips, they’re about the size of a cantaloupe. But you can’t really tell from this picture how big the turnips are. What do you know, they might be the size of a child’s head, there’s no way of telling! So here’s another picture, with comparing material:

Two turnips with a normal, English apple (royal gala, in case you were wondering).

You see, they’re pure tiny!

Now this is the post where I will demonstrate my dedication to finding and trying exciting new recipes. I actually wanted to eat something entirely different last night. I wanted to eat tomato soup with celery and butter beans. But people seemed genuinely upset over this turnip conundrum and I hadn’t ever used them before and it was the last night before blog post day so there was nothing for it but to cook (and consequently eat) turnips so that I could take pictures and report on this weird crop. Thankfully they were nice, and I can still have soup tonight.

When you peel and cut them, turnips have a very sharp, strong odour. However they become a lot milder when you cook them. Because I had never used them before, I wasn’t too sure what to do with them, but fortunately the BBC had a nice recipe that I only had to change a little. I went for a tattie-turnip gratin, mostly because you can’t go wrong with tatties and it’s near impossible to mess something up if you stick it in the oven.

As a side dish, to serve 2:

Piping hot tattie-turnip gratin.

– two big potatoes
– 3 turnips
– 150 ml double cream
– tbsp of smooth mustard
– clove of garlic

Peel the potatoes and the turnips and cut both of them into slices, not too thin, about half a cm. Boil water with enough salt in it and blanch the potato and turnip slices for about three minutes. Meanwhile, pour your cream into a bowl and mix it with the mustard. Slice up a clove of garlic and add to the cream. Add some pepper.

When they’re done, add the potatoes and turnips, and mix all of it well. Then stick all of it in an oven dish and bake for about half an hour at about 175 degrees.

If you want to eat this as a main, increase the quantity and stick some bacon in, bacon would go really well with this turnipy business.

About La dittatrice

After years of being based in Glasgow, I've recently made a home for myself in Turin, Italy, for the time being, at least. This blog is my captain's log. Here I note down what I did, and what I ate. A story, then a recipe. That's how this here works. Updates on Wednesdays.
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