Monday 7 April 2014

Back To Your Roots recipe book review ~ Colcannon, Carrots and Pie Recipes.

We've been sent Back tO Your Roots! recipe book to review from Parragon Books and I've cooked a really easy Winter warming meal of Colcannon, Vichy Carrots and Caramelised Swede, Onion & Ham Pie...

Back To Your Roots Cookbook Recipe Book Root Vegetables

When I think of home cooked food it's impossible not to think of root veg and potatoes. Good solid food that is incredibly cheap and will fill you up and keep you warm on cold hard days. The Back To Your Roots recipe book from Parragon is full of recipes you wish your Mum had made.

Potato cabbage mash colcannon Irish food recipe Home cooking Pub Grub

Colcannon (page 102) is an Irish classic, and like most root veg recipes, incredibly simple yet requires a bit of elbow grease to prepare.

Colcannon Recipe Irish cabbage potatoes leeks food


8oz green cabbage, shredded
8oz floury potatoes, diced
1 large leek, chopped
3 tbsp milk
Pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
Knob of butter
Salt and pepper


Cook the shredded cabbage in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 7-10 minutes, drain thoroughly and set aside.

Bring another pan of salted water to the boil and add the potatoes and leek. Simmer over a medium low heat for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

Drain the potatoes and leek and stir in the milk and nutmeg. Mash it thoroughly.

Add the drained cabbage to the mash, season to taste and stir well.

Spoon the mixture into a serving dish, make  hollow in the centre and place the knob of butter in the hollow - serve immediately.

I'm serving my Colcannon as an accompaniment to a pie, so I'm also trying out another side dish recipe...

Vichy Carrots With Parsley (page 120) - not just any old carrots, carrots with style.

Vichy carrots recipe


2 tbsn unsalted butter
1lb carrots, cut into 5mm slices
1 tbspn sugar
1 bottle of Vichy mineral water (I'll be using corporation pop)
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan, stir in the carrots, then stir in the sugar and seasonings.

Pour over enough water to cover the carrots by 5cm and bring to the boil. Reduce to medium heat and leave to simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed and they are coated in a thin glaze.

Transfer to a serving dish and stir in the parsley. Serve immediately.

Caramelised Swede, Onion & Ham Pie (page76), was our main dish, but as I don't eat ham I substituted it with the nearest veggie equivalent I could find, which is a kind of lightly beef flavoured soya chunks. I have included the recipe here, but obviously mine is not true to the recipe.

Caramelised Swede Onion and Ham Pie Recipe


600g cooked ham, cubed (or in my case 600g veggie soya chunks).
85g butter
2 onions, chopped
450g swede, cubed
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
25g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
600ml milk
325g ready made puff pastry
Beaten egg to glaze
Salt and pepper


Put the ham in to a large bowl and set aside.

Melt 55g of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, swede and sage and season with salt and pepper. Stir well and cook over a medium heat occasionally turning until golden brown, around 35-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and stir for 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time to make a smooth sauce. Remove from the heat and season to taste.

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7.

Roll out the pastry to a rectangle slightly larger than your pie dish (pie will fi a pie dish around 26cm x 18cm).

When the veg are caramelised, add to the bowl with the ham, then add the white sauce and stir gently. Transfer to a pie dish, brush the rim with beaten egg and then lay the pastry over the filling. Press the pastry to the rim, trim off excess and brush with the beaten egg.

Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden. Serve immediately.

The instructions are really easy to follow and nicely laid out. I love good wholesome food that's full of flavour and these recipes were. The meal was a hit. I would have liked a little less white sauce in my pie, and the Colcannon seemed a bit short on potatoes actually, but everything was eaten and the carrots were deemed the best ever.

Back To Your Roots has an RRP of only £6.00, which I think is great for a 48 recipe book with 128 full colour pages, and including several hints and tips pages. 


  1. It sounds like a great book! I would love the pie, minus the ham :p I fancy some swede now it has been quite a while since I've had any, I loved it as a kid

    1. It was okay with the veggie chunks :D
      I eat swede quite a lot - it reminds me of being young too :)

  2. That pie looks lovely, I'm coming round to swede again, I think my mother killed it when we were kids! Must make Colcannon too, not something I've ever made, but I do like eating it.

    1. I think Swede is under-rated, I love it in a stew, mashed with carrots or roasted in big chunks with carrots and butternut squash :)

  3. That sounds like a great recipe book with lots of hearty recipes.

    1. It is hearty food - ideal when it's cold outside - it was freezing on Sunday and everyone was shattered, so comfort food went down a treat :)

  4. lovely recipe book with great price!

    1. I know - it is mega cheap, an excellent price for a book with so many recipes :)

  5. I love Colcannon, it's one of my ultimate comfort foods. Amazing fried up as fritters the next day if you have any leftovers too!

    1. We didn't actually have any leftovers, but I sometimes make potato bread anyway because that's my ultimate comfort food, so I've no problem making Colcannon especially to fry up! :D

  6. That pie looks nice, and I will have to give it a try. I am not a fan of ham so might leave it out anyway. Thanks

    1. The pie was good. I thought it might be a bit sweet, but it wasn't at all. I expect actual ham might be a little sweeter, but if you're leaving it out anyway :)


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