When I had the nice – sorry, I mean terrible – illness that made me thin, I wasn’t allowed to eat potatoes. Potatoes are fabulous. I love potatoes. I love them baked, I love them mashed, I love them fried, I love them in curries, I love them in stews. I was a bit heartbroken about the potato situation, so the dietician suggested I try parsnips instead. I’d never eaten parsnip before, but she assured me they could be baked, mashed, fried etc. I was so desperate for something vaguely starchy in my diet, I gave them a go. Parsnips are very low in sugars and carbs, but they are very high in disgustingness. I have no idea why they bother to stock them in supermarkets, because why would anyone eat a parsnip unless they had to? I hated them baked, I hated them fried, I hated them in curries, I hated them in stews. And then I gave up, without trying them mashed. A few months ago, when I started dabbling with the diet concept again – and I’d finally gotten the taste out of my mouth – I decided to give parsnips another go. I boiled the buggery out of them and mashed them with heaps of lactose-free cream and tons of salt. And guess what? They weren’t too bad. Not great, but not revolting. I cooked some again last night, to have with our Medallions of Beef With Morel Sauce. It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe (not the parsnips, Jamie wisely recommends mashed potatoes or celeriac – another mystery vegetable. Does it taste as bad as parsnip?). I don’t think we have morels in Australia, but they looked a bit like mushrooms in the picture, so I used swiss browns. The Sprogs had normal mash and sausages. I didn’t even bother trying to foist mushroom sauce and mashed parsnips on them. I wouldn’t foist the mashed parsnips on yourself either, unless you’re avoiding sugars and carbs. But the Medallions of Beef With Morel Sauce was excellent. It’s got marsala in the sauce, which is a total blast from the past. Here’s the recipe:
Medallions of beef with mushrooms and marsala and creme fraiche sauce
INGREDIENTS: handful of fresh thyme, beef fillets (I used schnitzel fillets but they weren’t tender enough, I think I’d just go for some nice pieces of steak next time), olive oil, 500g swiss brown mushrooms chopped, sea salt, 2 french shallots finely chopped, 1 clove garlic peeled and finely chopped, 1 wineglass Marsala, 4 tablespoons creme fraiche (I used lactose-free cream).
METHOD: Finely chop half the thyme leaves and sprinkle over beef with a little olive oil and salt. Get a frying pan hot, cook as desired. Remove to a plate. Turn down heat, add extra olive oil to pan, throw in garlic, shallots and thyme. Cook one minute. Add mushrooms, cook two minutes. Add marsala. Simmer until mushrooms are soft. Add creme/cream and any juice from the meat. Stir. Serve meat, pour sauce over. Goes well with mash and greens.