Autumn Vegetables

01/09/2012 08:57

Make the most of those seasonal vegetables whilst they are at their very best.

I love to roast root vegetables, like parsnips, carrots, and  sweet potatoes, along with a few sprigs woody herbs, such as rosemary or thyme.

* Try roasting whole baby Carrots with olive oil and a drizzle of orange blossom honey for 15-20 mins, until tender and sticky, the honey really brings out their sweetness.

* Roast Parsnips, mix honey with some wholegrain mustard and olive oil, season with a little salt and black pepper, and drizzle  over the parsnips, roast in the oven for 35 -40 mins until golden .

* Roast Sweet Potatoes, peel and cut into chunks, put into a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt & ground black pepper, drizzle over some sweet chilli sauce, and roast for 30-40 mins until tender.

 * Roast Celeriac ~ Cut the peeled celeriac into cubes place into a roasting tin with a sprig or two of thyme and sprinkle with some sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  pop into the oven and roast for 30-40 mins, turning every 10 mins until the celeriac is tender and nicley browned at the edges.


* How about some Creamy Swede and Carrot mash, a delicious mix of root vegetables - makes lovely side dish to beef or sausages.

Take 1 large swede, peel & chop into chunks./ 8 carrots, peel & slice./ 125ml single cream./ nutmeg, freshly grated / little butter/ ground blackpepper.
In a large pan of salted water, add Swede & Carrots, cook until tender, drain and return to  the pan.  Mash together well, then add the butter, nutmeg & blackpepper, and stir through the cream.

This recipe will serve 4 as a side dish to a nice juicy steak or a roast beef dinner

8  medium sized, fresh red beetroots, scrubbed and trimmed.
2. tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp fresh Thyme leaves
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Cut the beetroots into quarters and mix them with the olive oil, thyme leaves and the salt & pepper, coat the beets really well.

Put ithem nto a shallow roasting tin and roast in hot oven for around 40 - 45 minutes until they are nicely charred and tender. Best served warm.

Tip ~  Try adding some Red Onion - cut into quarters, to the roasting tin with the beets too, they taste really great together.




Peel and cut into chunks ~ 500g Parsnips / 500g Carrots / 500g turnips / 2 Red onions cut into wedges.

Place  all the vegetables into a roastng tin, drizzle over a little olive oil and roast in oven at 200C/400F/gas6.  for 30 -35 mins. Transfer the vegetables to a ovenproof baking dish, top with half the cheese. Sprinkle over the crumble,  bake for 20 -25 mins.

For Crumble Topping ~ 70g plain flour / 40g butter / 125g mature cheddar cheese, grated / 25g pumpkin seeds / 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves. To make ~ Rub the butter into the flour, stir in the pumpkin seeds, thyme leaves and  the rest of the cheese.


 As well as many vegetables, the autumn bounty also offers Nuts - hazelnuts, walnuts and lovely sweet chestnuts. To check for their freshness, just give them a shake - if they rattle, it means they are old and are beginning to dry out.


Cooking Chestnuts
A great way is to cut a small slit in top of each chestnut and roast in a hot oven for around 30 mins. Leave to cool a little, peel off shells, and enjoy these little treats, as a snack or they taste great added to your vegetables, lovely mixed with sprouts for christmas lunch, or added to winter salads and  puddings. Great also added to sauces or soups as a thickener, and for a natural flavour enhancer.



This makes a great side dish to roast chicken.
Serves 4

200g Chestnuts, shells pierced
12 shallots
75g chestnut mushrooms, finely chop
75g button mushrooms, finely chop
12 garlic cloves, peeled
few sprigs thyme
50g butter
4 tbsp olive oil

Plunge the chestnuts into boiling water for 4 minutes, remove and peel them while warm. Repeat with the shallots, for 10 minutes, then peel and halve. Place the chestnuts, shallots, mushrooms, whole garlic cloves and the thyme into a oven dish. Melt the butter and olive oil in a saucepan. Pour over the vegetables, season well, cook for 25-30 minutes.


Because root vegetables are naturally high in sugars, they will caramelize as they roast in the oven, slowly but with a high heat, they will produce a nice crisp outer skin, and a lovely moist inner flesh.

The trick is to use a large roasting tin, which gives the vegetables plenty of room for even roasting.
Get the oven really hot, combine the vegetables in the tin with a couple of spoons of olive oil. Pop into the oven  and roast for 30 minutes, turning the veggies every 10 minutes, then add a little more oil and roast for a further 30 minutes, stirring often. -  this will help with the browning and prevent them sticking,  after that your vegetables should be lovely and caramelized.