Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Roast Vegetables

Wow it's been a long time since my last blog. 10 hour days in a busy kitchen and one day off a week (at best) has worn me down. But I've decided to use National Vegetarian Week as a reason to come back and the truth is I've missed my avatar's cute and cheerful face.

A roasting dish of liquorish allsorts
Vegetarianism is something I occasionally think of committing to. I spent four years in my teens as an idealogical vegetarian but nowadays the truth is that I love the taste and texture of meat too much to turn my back on it forever. And the challenge of persuading a husband who doesn't believe in non-pig based food to convert to vegetarianism permanently is too much to take on. So this week he is my willing yeah whatever guinea pig. He's taking it well so far and has only sworn at me the once. I suspect he's going to be eating nothing but bacon and frankfurters for his lunch everyday to make up for it but the evening meal will be a meat-free zone.

It's also a good excuse to spend some time reading my new book as I try to find inspiration that will persuade Mr Hungry that vegetarianism is not all tofu and alfalfa sprouts.

My first meal is hardly a challenge but after a week of indulgence and a dinner party at my good friend Victoria Glass's incredibly rich and indulgent Alphabet Soup night my body is craving vitamins. It almost seems insulting to write a recipe for roast vegetables but the photos look so colourful and the self indulgence of a butter-filled jacket potato with a plate of roast veg seemed the perfect place to start the week. The quantities are completely up to you, just do equal amounts of each vegetable and cut them all the same size. This dish may take over an hour to cook but the prep time is minimal and once it's in the oven you can pretty much sit back and enjoy yourself.

Beautiful sweet roast vegetables with a hunk of jacket potato
Roast vegetables with slow roasted potato
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 courgette
  • 1/2 aubergine
  • 1/4 celeriac
  • 1/4 butternut squash
  • 4 cloves garlic (in paper)
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • s&p
  • 1 large jacket potato
  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Prick your potato to prevent massive oven explosions and pop on the top shelf for 1 hour 30 mins.
  2. Chop all the vegetables except the garlic into even sized cubes (roughly 1.5 cm) and toss in a large bowl with the olive oil and the salt and pepper then transfer it to a large, shallow-sided roasting dish.
  3. When the potato has been in for 50 mins move it to the middle shelf and put the veg on the top shelf. 20 mins before the end of roasting add the whole garlic cloves, still in their paper and mix amongst the vegetables making surethey are covered with the oil.
  4. Serve the potato with tonnes of butter and a sprig of basil, with the veg either on the side or tumbling out of the top.

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