Cold Nights – Roast Veggies
This week in July we have lots of roast veggies and fruits that can be roasted. Tips on how to roast.
These include: Nadine potatoes – Virginia SA; Butternut Pumpkin – Qld; Pencil Leek & Onion – Kulnura, NSW; Mushrooms – Nowra; Parsnip & Carrots – Bathurst & Robinvale; Loose baby beetroot – Bathurst; Roasted Pineapple – Mareeba; Tangelos – Leeton.
A variety of vegetables means that you’ll be eating a variety of vitamins and minerals.
The smaller you chop your vegetables the faster they roast. If you’re using fresh herbs or greens mix them in with the roasted veggies themselves, or if you’re concerned they’ll burn throw in chopped herbs just before you dish up.
Some notes on individual roasts:
Oil the pan your roast vegetables go into. Any pan that conducts heat well will do. Some people swear by a baking tin. Others use a pretty casserole dish or glass dish for the ease of table to oven. There’s no need to drench the dish with oil simply smear a small amount (1-2 tablespoons depending on the amount to roast) on a bit of paper towel or with a pastry brush.
For a good mixed roast put in harder vegetables like parsnips, carrots, beetroot, onion and potato in the oven on a medium heat (200 degrees Celsius) for 50 minutes, drizzle a little oil over the vegetables. At the half hour put another roasting tin into the oven with softer vegetable like mushrooms When they’re done, pop in a large heatproof serving bowl and mix with chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, basil and coriander are all flavour loaded and mix together as you would a salad. Fresh nuts and seeds will add protein to this dish.
Try to include a good roasting potato. This week washed Nadine. Sebago and new season’s Desiree are both excellent spuds in a roast. Eureka roasts well. Chop the potatoes into small cubes and turn when they’re half way done so that they’re crunchy through and through. Depending on the size of your cubes and the amount of potatoes put them in for up to 45 minutes. So that they roast evenly spread them in only one layer. If you’ve two roasting pans of potatoes on both oven shelves, switch them midway.
Garnish with a sprig or two of rosemary, black pepper and a pinch of salt. Check them about 10 minutes before you pull them out to ensure that they’re not charring.
Pumpkin’s a classic roast vegetable and both the Jap and the Butternut have sweet flavours that caramelise well. They pair well with onion quarters. You can also throw you roast onion and pumpkin in a pot, together with a litre or two of stock enjoy pumpkin soup. Use a potato masher to mash your ingredients or a stick blender to make a smooth soup. Try flavouring it with half a can of beer, 100 grams of grated cheddar, a sliced green chilli and a handful of finely chopped parsley for a cheesy beery pumpkin soup.
Pencil Leek & Onion
Garlic, onions and leeks become sweeter when roasted. Throw in unpeeled garlic cloves when your potatoes are half way done. You can eat the end result (just squeeze the garlic out when it’s cool enough to handle) or use the cooked (and peeled) cloves in a roast vegetable soup.
Slice 400grams of mushrooms in half and place on a baking dish coated in a light layer of olive oil. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of dried thyme and some rosemary and bake in a medium oven for 15-20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle more olive oil over the top and a teaspoon of red wine or balsamic vinegar. Serve on toasted sour dough bread.
Parsnip & Carrots
Parsnip and carrots are good company in a roasting dish. Unless the parsnips are small , slice them in half and cut out the woody centre before putting into the pan and chop off the spindly points. (These may char before the parsnips are done.) A little honey in the pan enhances the natural sweetness of these vegetables, a little thyme sprinkled on top is also excellent.
Loose baby beetroot
Beetroot roasts up a treat and its earthy flavour is rich. Peel them when cool enough to handle and use in a warm salad (with watercress or rocket or baby spinach), add some walnuts, a drizzle of good vinegar, and some crumbed feta cheese.
Roasting gives pineapple extra sweetness and is a warm refreshing and unexpected winter dessert. Cut the pineapple into quarters, removing the core and skin and making little wedges.
In a pan on the stove or in a microwave safe dish combine half a cup of honey and a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (4-6 small oranges) until the honey is runny.
Marinate the pineapple in the honey orange juice mix for half an hour.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the pineapple pieces from the marinade and place in a single layer on an baking dish lined with baking paper.
Then place the dish in a 200 degree celsius oven and roast for 15 minutes.
Check at the 10 minute mark. If using two trays you might need to swap their positions in the oven so the pineapple cooks evenly.
Blood oranges are the best winter antidote with vitamin C and a powerful antioxidant. The skin, is a deep orange characterised by a blush and the flesh a warming red, sometimes mixed with orange. The taste, a tiny bit bitter and less acidic than navel oranges. Imagine an orange that’s tastes of raspberry.
Their red colour anthocyanin is an antioxidant found in purple eggplant and blueberries among others red blue fruits and vegetables. Blood oranges can be squeezed for their juice, turned into ice confectionary, they make good marmalades (although you’ll need to use lemon seeds so that they set as most local varieties are seedless). Their zest is flavoursome in cakes, icings and candied peel. It is also add colour and flavour when added to quince jelly.
The jewel like colour of blood oranges segments in a salad of watercress is memorable. Throw in a handful of toasted walnuts and toss in a french dressing (dijon mustard mixed with three parts olive oil to one part blood orange juice with salt and
pepper to taste).
Are a cross between the tangerine and Pomelo grapefruit resulting in a juicy fruit that peels easily. It’s redolent of mandarin and has the tang of a grapefruit: it’s sophisticated eating makes for a grown up dessert just the way they are but are good in any dessert you can use an orange in.
In addition clean orange and tangelo skins can be dried in the oven or air dried on a rack and then stored in an airtight container. They can be used to flavour stews and are particularly good with beef and mushroom flavours. Pour the remaining honey orange juice mix over the top.