Taking everything and appreciating none!

Celebrate the different seasons by eating seasonal.

One of the things that keep cooking and eating interesting is seasonal cooking. Everything is so readily available all year round these days that we complain of being bored of cooking the same foods. Back in the day when people cooked and ate seasonal, they could hardly wait for a season to flip to have access to its produce and start cooking it’s relevant recipes. People actually missed beetroots, parsnips and some varieties of carrots and potatoes… They would have never rolled their eyes when hearing “roasted root vegetables”! We seem to be behaving like spoilt brats, taking everything for granted and appreciating none!

Root vegetables are vegetables that grow underground. These are usually the produce of winter, and very cold areas, where the vegetables grow underground and are protected by the soil. Root vegetables are therefore associated with autumn/winter eating. One of the best ways to cook root vegetables is by roasting them. I find that they benefit hugely from this cooking method that concentrates their natural sugars and brings out their individual flavours. There really isn’t anything that you can do to ruin the flavour of root vegetables, except perhaps by over boiling, where the flavours are diluted almost to non-existent. So even if you do decide to boil them in a soup, always cook just until cooked through but so far as to overcook them. I personally always roast root vegetables, even when using them for a salad or a soup, and I then carry out simmering them with the broth and other ingredients to make the soup. Try it my way, I assure you the flavours are 100% enhanced and better that way.

When it comes to roasting these vegetables, the sky is the limit. It really is up to you, your mood and creativity as well as what end result are you after. Therefore you can season with almost every seasoning/spice/herb under the sun or any combination of those. I tend to like pairing these with earthy flavours. From zaatar, thyme, rosemary to cumin, coriander seeds and fenugreek… all work beautifully here. Sometimes I go for complex flavours, layering many flavours, other times I like to keep it simple and focus on 1-2 flavours. Always though, season with black pepper, and my oil of choice is always my beautiful extra virgin olive oil. However I do also like to play around with the oil. Nut oils are gorgeous here especially walnut oil or hazelnut oil. The use of a tar flavour works very well here too. The simplest choice being lemon, but why not experiment with different vinegars and aged vinegars too?! The most obvious choice is of course a balsamic glaze and it works delightfully with the walnut oil. But why not a raspberry or cherry vinegar reduction, or a reduced red wine?

You see there is no limit to how you can carry this out, and you can always serve these roasted vegetables as is, a side to roasts, turkey, different grilled fish options… or as part of a salad. You can also use them in making soups (perfect use for any leftovers after your christmas dinner), or in sandwiches too. Otherwise, you can incorporate them into your omelet or frittata the next day.

Winter is the season of rain, produce and cozy indoor hangouts, winter is the season of goods and giving and its recipes are just as giving as the season is.

I have included for you a video with 3 different vegan, gluten-free soup recipes that I thought you would love. I am so in love with the mushroom soup and think you will love it too. So check it out!

Ingredients

Serves: 6
  • 500g parsnips
  • 500g roasting potatoes
  • 500g rainbow carrots
  • 4 small red onions, halved
  • Taro roots (optional if available)
  • 2 garlic bulbs, halved horizontally
  • Quartered broccolis (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp DS Pickled Zaatar
  • 1 tbsp DS Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh thyme leaves or rosemary for garnish

In a small bowl, mix together well the pickled zaatar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and black pepper.

Peel the vegetables and half, chop or slice into equal-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and dress with the pickled zaatar mix.

Preheat the oven up 400F-200C.

Line your baking tray with parchment paper and line the dressed vegetables, onions, and garlic over the lined tray.

Roast for 25 minutes or until softened slightly and cooked through. Best that you turn them once during the roasting time to prevent sticking and over drying the tops.

Serve them hot straight from the oven garnished with fresh thyme, zaatar or rosemary leaves.

Happy Holidays,
Have a Delicious Festive Season!

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