The Molly Parkin Classic Parsnip Dish

There are legions of dishes named after famous people, Peach Melba, Chicken Picasso, Beef Wellington, just for starters.  But Wales can also claim its own place in the world of named dishes with the perhaps lesser known delicacy of ‘Parsnips Molly Parkin.’

2017 marks the 85th birthday of the colourful journalist, painter and novelist Molly Parkin, who was born in Pontycymer on 3rd February 1932.  Molly Parkin rose to prominence in the 1960s propelled by her influence on swinging London as fashion editor of the Sunday Times.

As the story goes, it was her dislike of parsnips which inspired the dish named after her, and it was in fact created by a fellow journalist.  Denis Curtis, a food writer friend of Molly, worked for the Daily Telegraph in the 1970s, and knew of her hatred for parsnips.

Taking on the challenge he invented Parsnips Molly Parkin to persuade her that the root vegetable could be tasty if cooked correctly.  By combining their sweetness with the piquant tang of tomatoes and plenty of cream, Denis changed Molly’s mind and so her dish was born.

We are proud to reveal our loyalty to the dish, featuring Parsnips Molly Parkin on our menu for an unbroken four decades.

This year celebrating its 40th anniversary under the ownership of our restaurateur and hotelier Andrew Stirling, here at Wolfscastle Country Hotel in Pembrokeshire, we are keen to establish Parsnips Molly Parkin as an iconic Welsh culinary classic.

The dish was introduced to the hotel by a chef who later went on to cook for the Prince of Wales at Highgrove.

When Andrew Stirling bought Wolfscastle in 1976, Rosanna Lloyd, his chef from a previous hotel, came with the new owner and with her brought Parsnips Molly Parkin.

Rosanna remained at Wolfscastle for a number of years before taking up the post of the first chef to the Prince and Princess of Wales, in 1981.

The dish has been a firm favourite amongst diners and guests at the four star country hotel ever since and will feature in a new book “My Life and Other Recipes” by Andrew Stirling, to be published in May.

In his book Andrew Stirling writes: “I would be a very rich man if I had a pound for every time I was asked for this recipe. It is a great eat and we have to serve it every Christmas with our turkey at functions to avoid a riot!”

Andrew Stirling who has numbered many culinary luminaries amongst his acquaintances including Keith Floyd and Simon Hopkinson, co-founder of Sir Terence Conran’s Bibendum, added:

“Although born in England, Parsnips Molly Parkin should be considered Welsh as it was created in honour of a great Welsh lady. After 40 years of being served at Wolfscastle, we believe it should be considered as naturalised Welsh by residence!”

Watch our video: See Steve Brown, Sous chef, who has worked at Wolfscastle hotel for 30 years, cooking Parsnips Molly Parkin.

Parsnips Molly Parkin Recipe
(SERVES 4)
Ingredients

800g tinned tomatoes 2kg sliced parsnips
Salt and pepper to taste 1 pt double cream
2 tbsp tomato puree
Grated cheese
Breadcrumbs

Method

1. Put all ingredients in a pan and simmer until soft, about 50 minutes.
2. Then, transfer into a dish and on top put the grated cheese and breadcrumbs.
3. Put in a medium to high oven for about 15 minutes until brown.
4. Serve