During the winter months root vegetables are ideal for bringing flavour and colour to your cookery. Parsnips are one of my favourites and not just for roast dinners. You can eat parsnip raw and they taste great shredded in a salad. Parsnips are in season between August and March and are at their best during the winter when cold weather causes them to convert their starches to sugars which make the veg naturally sweet. If you can try and choose medium sized parsnips as enormous parsnips can be really woody in the middle. Roasting parsnips really enhances their sweetness and allows them to caramelise at the edges. For the Parsnip and Polenta canapé recipe this season I have used sliced roasted parsnips, and also used a peeler to take off long strips of the vegetable which are roasted until they are crispy. I often make these ‘crisps’ as a nibble or to garnish a main course meal. Parsnip and polenta taste great together and if you don’t have the time for making canapés you could just serve them as a side dish instead.
Beetroot is a star vegetable for creating eye-catching and tasty meals. Beetroot is available in many different colours and sizes at the market but for the Roulade recipe it is best to use traditional purple beetroot, you could even use precooked if you prefer. One of the easiest ways to cook beetroot is to just give it a good wash, leaving the skin on, and then roasting in the oven wrapped in foil for 45 minutes. After cooking the skin will then rub off easily which saves you getting your hands and the whole kitchen pink! If you want to add extra herb flavour to the beetroot though it is good to chop it into chunks or wedges, drizzle with a little oil and whole stems of hard herbs such as rosemary and sage, and roast for 35-40 minutes, turning often. The Beetroot Roulade can be served cold as a starter or warm as a main course. Because of the vibrant colour of beetroot the ricotta filling with turn pink if you leave it for more than a few hours before serving.
This year seasonal greens are more popular than ever with new trends including kalettes and sprout tops; parts of the vegetable that previously was wasted are now on sale and taste delicious! When cooking winter greens of any type it is important to remove the stalk before chopping the leaves to cook. The stalk will never cook in the time the leaves take to soften, so just pull it out. There are so many different types of kale, sprouts, brassicas and cabbages and they all grow well in the UK, try and use a variety of different types to add to dishes or to serve as a side dish, the different textures, flavours and colours will give your dishes added interest as well as vitamin A and iron. For the stir-fried winter greens recipe I have added a handful of pomegranate seeds as well which give a jewelled look to the dish.
Cranberries and citrus brighten up the darkest winter day and both are packed full of vitamin c which helps fight colds and boosts the immune system. Cranberries are primarily grown in the USA and Canada where they are grown in large bogs which are submerged to harvest the berries. To make the Cranberry and Tangerine Bakewell Tarts I made a quick version of a cranberry relish which you can make with fresh or frozen berries. If you are short of time you could of course use a shop bought cranberry jam or relish instead, but by making your own you can add extra spice and sweeten to your liking. I make double the amount needed so that I can freeze some cranberry relish to serve with a roast or cheeseboard.
This vibrant coloured Roulade makes a perfect centrepiece for a roast dinner and can also be served cold as a starter. Serves 4-6 Gluten free, vegetarian Ingredients 3 medium sized raw beetroot (400g) well-scrubbed 4 cloves of garlic, skin left on 4 eggs, separated Salt and pepper A few of sprigs of rosemary, thyme and … Continued
Makes approximately 20 canapes Gluten free, can be vegan Ingredients 2 large parsnips 150g Instant polenta 500ml Stock A few sprigs of thyme, leaves pulled off and chopped 30g Parmesan or vegetarian alternative (optional) Salt and pepper To serve you will need a little pesto or salsa verde and chilli jam (homemade or … Continued
Serves 4-6 Gluten free, can be vegan Ingredients 500g of greens such as Cavolo Nero, Kale, Kalettes, Sprout tops, Cabbage or Chard, ideally a mixture of different varieties 200g brussels sprouts, cut into quarters 4 spring onions, sliced A handful of pomegranate seeds 30g fresh horseradish, finely grated 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard Either a knob … Continued
Makes either 4 individual tartlets or one large tart. Ingredients Pastry 300g plain flour 150g unsalted butter, cold 1 egg yolk 1 teaspoon of icing sugar Cranberry layer 500g fresh cranberries The juice and zest of 2 tangerines 1 cinnamon stick 2 star anise 4 tablespoons caster sugar Almond layer 150g ground almonds 150g … Continued