Christmas with Celeriac: I hate Celery but…

…I love Celeriac!

Serious. Weird right?

How can I adore Celeriac and not worship Celery? Quite easily. I hate the lingering oniony smell with celery and the strong after taste…and though Celeriac has the same smell, it is a much lighter fragrance with a less powerful smell. Plus it hints at Celery but rather than crunch, has warmth and whole-heartedness at its core!

3 top celeriac facts

  1. It is a big, fat, ugly bulb, often the size of a grapefruit……and I’m glad I can vent on a veggie that can’ react!
  2. Cousin to celery, it actually comes with a bunch of celery leaves, though the stalks are not as tight as your regular celery bouquet.
  3. When peeled, the flesh can change colour if not ‘acidulated’ – lemon helps keep it looking ‘young’.

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The first time I bought Celeriac, I spent an entire weekend cooking it in different ways

Recipe #1 – Celeriac and Apple remoulade with toasted french bread a la baguette slices and salt-baked sardines

Recipe #2 – Celeriac mash with red wine poached pears and venison

Recipe #3 – Celeriac soup with bacon,carrots and onions (using the leftover mash)

Here they are in all their glory.’

Cook’s tip – use a vegetable peeler to rid the white flesh of its knobbly skin and finish off with a knife.


Recipe #1 – Celeriac and Apple remoulade with toasted french bread a la baguette slices and salt-baked sardines

I first saw recipes for remoulade in the October edition of  delicious. But that was after I bought the Celeriac…so I was in 7th heaven. Now while I love mustard, I’m careful with using it. I love it in a soup and sometimes in sarnies. Anyhow, the idea of adding apples to the original recipe was simple – I wanted sweet and crunch to balance the ‘tart’ and hot from the mustard and so I included them. I must confess that this is one of my favourite recipes, ever. Now while I’m using remoulade as the ‘descriptor’ for this salad, remoulade often appears as a condiment, as I saw in Copenhagen, last weekend. Whatever it is called, it is super delish….



You can make it ahead,in fact it tastes better made ahead

You can jazz it up – I’ve recently seen a recipe where it was served, wrapped in Parma ham!

You can eat it any time of day. So what’s not to heart?

Forgive the photos (late night, no Lowel Ego lights…yet….)


Serves 2 (or 4)

1 Lemon, halved and juiced
1/2 a celeriac (about 200g)
2 sweet, crunchy eating apples
6 teaspoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons creme fraiche
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
To serve: slices of toasted, buttered baguette and fresh or tinned sardines
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon slices to garnish

How to enjoy celeriac remoulade in 8 easy steps!

1. Put Lemon juice in a bowl
2. Peel the celeriac with a vegetable peeler or a knife. Do the same for the apples.
3. Wash and then slice both the celeriac and apples into thin slices. Cut each slice into matchsticks and toss in the lemon juice

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4. Combine the mayonnaise, cream fraiche and mustard and add to the celeriac-apple mix

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5. Season to taste
6. Serve right away if you like or leave to ‘bloom’ in the refrigerator for a few hours
7. Serve with sardines (from a tin) and slices of buttered and toasted baguette
8. Enjoy!

Recipe #2 – Celeriac mash with red wine poached pears and venison

I get addicted to things. Right now, it isn’t a very long list. Only 2 items: red wine poached pears and Turkish yoghurt with ginger jam and almonds. And a few other things but let this two reign supreme, for now…in my fickle stomach! The decision to serve the pears with venison was a no-brainer. I know poached pears and game are a perfect match. I needed a smooth, easy-flavoured ‘carb’ to go with both, one which would allow both shine – enter celeriac and potato mash. Nice and easy. No fuss, no stress, taste good.

I enjoyed the combination of celeriac and potato, especially because celeriac has a bit of a ‘light & watery’ taste on its own. Combining it with potato gives it some body and rounds off the taste nicely.

Red wine poached pears with venison and celeriac mash


Serves 2 – 4

200g potatoes, peeled, washed and cubed
1/2 a celeriac (about 200g), peeled, washed and cubed
1 – 2 tablespoons of butter
1- 2 tablespoons of milk/cream
Salt and black pepper to season

How to

1. Put potatoes in a pan, salt and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then turn down and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
2. Add celeriac cubes and let cook together till both are cooked. Test by poking with a sharp-tipped knife – it should slip through easily.
3. Drain water off and leave pan open for a couple of minutes to ‘air’, so the potatoes and celeriac dry a bit.

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4. Using a ricer/masher, pass potato-celeriac through in small amounts, into a pan/bowl till you’re done.
5. Add butter and milk/cream to the mash and stir well together. Season to taste.

IMG_68536. Serve with some red wine poached pears (which can be made days ahead), some quickly cooked venison steaks and a light onion jus.

IMG_68617. So….you shouldn’t have leftover mash (because it is so yummy) but if you do…..worry not, recipe #3 will take care of that

IMG_6884Recipe #3 – Celeriac soup with bacon,carrots and onions (using the leftover mash)


Serves 2 – 4

1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 small carrots, peeled and chopped
125g bacon bits, desalted
Leftover celeriac mash (about 1 cup)
50ml cream
About 150ml water
Salt and black pepper to season
Chives to garnish

How to

  1. Heat butter in a pan till melted.
  2. Add onion and carrots to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the bacon. Let cook together for 2-3 minutes, stirring well.
  3. Add the leftover mash, cream and water and bring up to a simmer. Stir well.
  4. Check for seasoning and when hot, ladle in to mugs/soup bowls.
  5. Warming and nutritious and perfect use for meal ‘remains’….especially with some bread!

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Try celeriac, my food hero this season….you won’t regret it, except you hate it more than celery!!!!!

And just in case you’re wandering, the Christmas markets in Cologne were lovely – the 2 we visited. Sneak a preview now.

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