Seasonal local food recipe No.139: A cake of swede and potato


This week’s recipe is in honour of the Pastygate scandal that rocked Westminster this week. (The humble swede is a vital ingredient in a traditional Cornish pasty).

It’s another Nigel Slater special from his book Tender. Also a good way to use some of the Camel CSA garlic in our standard veg boxes this week.

He says: “The swede’s ability to sponge up liquid is shown to good effect when it is baked with butter and vegetable stock. When it is teamed up with potato and seasoned with garlic and a spot of mustard, it is as near to a main course as I feel you can safely get with this particular root.”

Serves: four

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: One hour 30 minutes

potatoes – 500g
swede – 500g
garlic – 4 cloves
butter – 85g
Dijon mustard – 2 heaped teaspoons
thyme leaves – a level teaspoon
vegetable stock – 55ml

Peel the potatoes, then cut them into very fine slices. A sharp knife is fine,but if you have a mandoline (the vegetable slicer, that is, not the lute-like stringed instrument), use that. Whatever, your slices should be almost thin enough to see through. Do the same with the swede, keeping the slices in cold water to prevent them browning.

Set the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Over a moderate heat, melt the butter in a flameproof dish or sauté pan about 25cm in diameter. When it starts to bubble, turn down the heat and add the garlic. It needs to soften slightly without colouring – a matter of five minutes or so. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the mustard. Tip about two-thirds of the mustard and butter out of the pan and into a jug.

Drain the potato and swede slices and pat them dry with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel. Put a third of the vegetables into the pan, layering them neatly or just chucking them in as the mood takes you, then drizzle them with some of the mustard butter in the jug. Season with the thyme leaves, pepper and salt. Be quite generous with the salt. Repeat this twice, so that all the slices of vegetable are layered with the thyme and the mustard and garlic butter. Now pour the stock over the top.

Cover with a circle of greaseproof paper or kitchen foil, pressing it down well on top of the cake. Bake for about an hour and ten minutes, until tender to the point of a knife. Remove the foil, turn the heat up to 220°C/Gas 7 and bake for a further ten minutes until the top has coloured and crisped a little.

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