Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Stwmp, stwmp, slam

Words are wonderful things, and words that make you feel good are extra special. For me, that means not only the words like "cake", "gin" and "sleep", but alliterations like "luscious lickable lemons" and anything that fools around with sound somehow. Onomatopoeia is, to me, the highest form of wordplay and tonight's dinner bears witness to that. Stwmp (say 'stoomp', like a Yorkshireman describing a tree stump) is derived from stwmp naw rhiw (mash of nine sorts); the name of a Welsh vegetable dish, traditionally served at Hallowe'en, supposedly to ward off evil spirits, but it's good all through the colder months. I don't use nine vegetables, just potatoes, carrots and swede. I have been known to chuck in a bit of parsnip or some shredded leek, but on the whole I stick to this basic 'root vegetable medley' idea. I used to make it for both the boys when they were still gummy-mouthed, newly-weaning babies (where did the time go?). It's great baby food, comforting and sweet, but still filling and nutritious.


The quantities given here are flexible, to say the least. Roughly speaking, I use:

500g potatoes
500g swede

500g carrots
a large lump of butter
salt & pepper

Peel and chop all the vegetables. Steam for half and hour until really soft, then mash with the butter and plenty of seasoning (and hear the fabulously onomatopoeiac 'stwmp' sound as you do) .

Stwmp is a great side dish (tonight, for us, it accompanied a roast shoulder of lamb), but it can also be a great veggie main course; pack it into an ovenproof dish, top with grated cheese and either grill or bake until browned and bubbling. In fact, that's what I'm doing with tonight's leftovers for the boys' supper tomorrow!

1 comment:

lesle said...

Never heard of "swede" so I googled it; aha, it's called rutabaga in the u.s.

I like rutabaga, but I like parsnip even more, hot with salt and pepper.

Your recipe looks good!


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