Cornish-Style Roast Turnips


Back in 1995 Michael and I, along with a ‘diverse’ group of people, headed to Cornwall to celebrate Christmas. It was kind of odd, because on the south coast where we were staying it was balmy, whereas on the west coast it was snowing. We came across a field of turnips where they had literally been frozen out of the ground, squeezed up and out by the frozen dirt. We picked so many and then had to come up with things to do with them — this was the best and easiest option and it went with our roast duck superbly. Turnips have a delicate, peppery flavour. Swedes, with which they are sometimes likened, are a hybrid between a turnip and a cabbage — bet you didn’t know that! You can roast an assortment of root vegetables in the following way. Use ‘hard’ herbs such as rosemary, sage, oregano or thyme.


  • 600 g(1 lb3 ½ oz) medium turnips
  • 2 medium red onions
  • ¼ cup mixed fresh herbs
  • 60 ml(2 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 g(3 ½ oz) butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 180 ml(6 fl oz) boiling water (from the kettle)


Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 5. Scrub turnips and cut into chunks. Peel and quarter red onions. Mix everything except the water together and place in a roasting dish just large enough to hold it all. Add water, then cover with a lid or foil and roast 1 hour. Remove lid, give vegetables a good mix and continue roasting until they begin to caramelise.