Thursday, 12 April 2012

How NOT to cook a turnip!

I've had a bit of a cooking nightmare experience this evening.  A Facebook friend of mine will often have status messages about her bad cooking. I've never tried her food, but she makes it sound like she could burn salad. Her signature dish though is microwaved turnip. I'd been meaning to try this for ages, but rarely see turnips in the shop. So when I saw some earlier in Asda I bought a couple and emailed said friend to find out exactly how you make her signature dish.


 Her instructions were to stick the turnip in a bowl in the microwave, nuke it for 25 - 30 minutes, until it went all squishy and then cut in half and scoop out the insides and mash with a knob of butter. I was doubtful. So asked for further clarification.  Do I put anything else in the bowl with the turnip eg. water? Does it need pricking like you would for a baked potato.

I was told nothing other than a turnip in a bowl was required. So I did as I was told and put the microwave on...I heard a bit of spluttering and a few explosive sounds soon after and went and checked on it and it looked fine. A few minutes later I heard more explosive noises so messaged FB friend and she said it would be fine. So I left it and went back to fiddling about online...then a while later I heard something shatter, so went out into the kitchen to find it engulfed in black smoke! The microwave was on fire. I think I shouted: "THE KITCHEN IS ON FIRE!" and managed to get to the microwave to switch it off. I figured if I didn't try and open the door the fire may burn itself out inside the microwave. Eventually when I did open the microwave this sight greeted me.

Photo 2
Aftermath - cracked, burnt out bowl and no sign of the turnip.

Photo 3
The turnip was burnt out in the corner of the microwave.

Photo 4
The turnip!

So now my house stinks of smoke and my Microwave may never be the same again.  Cook? Hmm no a trip to the Fish and Chip Shop for me!

Photo 5

I've since discovered that in the North East of England where my FB friend lives, they get huge turnips. Much larger than we get in the shops down here. So nuking a turnip of this size for maybe 16 minutes was rather over doing it...

And if anyone has any tips on how to remove the smell of smoke from my house I'd greatly appreciate it!


  1. Oh wow, those chips look GOOD!!!! This is hysterical - I love the fact that you openly admit to seeking cookery tips from someone who could `burn salad`. You`re too much!!

  2. Oh my Gosh! I have shared this at work. It is absolutely hilarious!

  3. Too funny!!! My husband just asked if I was okay I was laughing so much! We get the great big turnips up here too. We call them baigies :)
    I think an old fashioned remedy for getting rid of smells is to cut up a lemon and put it in a bowl of boiling water, but I might have just made that up!
    Your dinner looks tasty :)

  4. Pissing myself Jan! Those chips look very good though. I have this Japanese incense -aqua it's called It is wonderful for getting rid of bad cooking smells.

  5. Too funny! Your microwave looks intact but you may be traumatised for life.

  6. Oh dear! It is rather a small turnip, at least it's small now it's been partly charcoaled but that could just be shrinkage due to dehydration! You'll have to get Chief to bring you back a turnip next time he's in the NE and try again. (You might get a swede instead though, we tend to call swedes turnips and turnips least I think we do, to be honest just thinking about which is which has confused me!) I'd recommend some little tubs/saucers of bicarb (with a few drops of essential oil added if you have any) to try to remove the smell and opening as many windows as you can!! Enjoy your fish and chips!

  7. I agree with Helen - in Scotland we call swedes (not the people) turnips - though I don't think we do the other way around!

    At Hallowe'en we used to hollow them out to put a candle in - now that was hard work with a spoon! Pumpkins are laughably easy after that!

  8. Oh Jan, that's too funny!!
    When microwaves were new, my grandad cooked a christmas pudding for an hour - lump of coal anyone?!

  9. mmm, tasty looking turnip! Thanks for making me laugh :-)

  10. Oh we made turnip lanterns too. So in Lancashire a turnip is what they call a swede down here. We have mashed carrots and turnip in Lancs - but mashed carrots and swede just does not sound right!
    Try using nigella's website instead of advice from a bad chef!

  11. Ha ha haaa!! That laughter is more for all the readers north of, I dunno, Manchester maybe, thinking "call THAT a turnip?!?!?" And I'm nodding at the hollowing out a turnip lantern - god that was hard work! If it's about the size of a bakes potato? Give it a baked potato time and check it, I reckon. Ya doofus. *grins* Although my Masterchef starter is

    "Heinz Tomato soup, warmed through and served with a spoon" !!

    I am no cook...

  12. In N.I. we call that a swede! A turnip is bigger and more orange. If you light a few candles in your room, they are supposed to draw in smokey smells. Failing that, Oust it! Jxo

  13. So sorry about the dish-aster....but thanks for the giggle.

    Been there done that....with frozen french toast sticks. I turned them into charcoal brickettes.

    Will Febreeze kill the smell?

  14. Sorry, I shouldn't laugh, but I knew there was a reason I avoided turnips. And microwaves... ;o)

  15. Lol! Simon tried to warm some nuts in the microwave once with the same explosive result minus the fire. Microwaves are so much more dangerous than they look :-)

  16. Microwaved turnip a signature dish..... blimey, even as a fellow Northerner I've never come across that! I too have set a microwave ablaze, by softening President butter ..... without removing the metallic wrapping! I'm no longer allowed a microwave!

  17. While it is difficult to type and laugh, I will give it a try because I do have a remedy for the smell. Cut up citrus fruits of your choice but oranges work well (rinds and all) and put in a simmering pan of water (very little water). Add cinnamon (sticks work well), cloves, and other "smelly" spices. Allow to simmer on low temp for a long time. Continue to add water if needed. Will smell great!!!! Apples work well too.

  18. Oh dear there is nothing like that charcoal burnt smell. Hits like a brick every time you walk in your house. I only know this because of the time I left a chicken boiling til the water was gone, the pan adhered to the burner and the chicken was much like your turnip. I put a simmering pan of water and spices, cinnamon and such on the stove. The smell took time to leave .....

  19. In my house we LOVE turnip (although I'm told the purple ones are actually rutabagas and turnips are the littler yellowish ones). We eat it several times a week, as I am on a modified carb diet and we can't have rice or potatoes for dinner. I have never microwaved my turnip. I dice it, fairly large, then simmer for about ten to 15 minutes, drain and mash with butter and pepper. Delicious!

  20. HaHaHaHaaaaaaa! too funny Jan, too too funny!
    I'm sure by now the nasty burnt turnip pong has dissipated from your kitchen but Essential oils work wonders ;-)

  21. I'm actually laughing out loud here! Thanks Jan, for giving me a the shot of the microwave with no turnip! Actually, I've done this with a potato, so I can sympathise with the smell :) x


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