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Bring a large pan of water to the boil, and add the swede chunks. Boil for 3 mins, then add the parsnips and boil the lot for 12 mins more or until tender. Drain well, then tip both together into a pan or bowl and mash well with the butter. Stir in the golden syrup, three-quarters of the breadcrumbs and the eggs with plenty of seasoning. Transfer to a baking dish and smooth the surface. Toss the remaining breadcrumbs with the oil, seasoning and thyme leaves, then scatter over the mash. Dot with a few knobs of butter. The dish can now be covered and chilled for up to 48 hrs, or frozen for up to a month – defrost completely before baking.
To serve, heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6 and bake for 40 mins or until piping hot and the crumbs are crisp.