With the children back to school, and evening activities back on, the house is busier than ever. We’re looking forward to sitting down together over a lazy family roast dinner this weekend. While the meat is the centre-piece of a roast dinner, I think the side dishes are the real stars of the show. You can change them with the seasons, always serving fresh vegetables when they are at their best. Autumn vegetables are bursting with flavour and need very little from the cook to deliver a colourful and tasty side dish. A roast dinner may seem like a lot of effort, but actually I love how after a little peeling and chopping the food looks after itself in the oven. This gives me time to catch up with the children, and all the news of the week, while the kitchen fills up with wonderful aromas.
This weekend we will either roast one of Margaret McDonnell’s Organic Chickens or a Round Roast from our own Dexter Beef . We will also be cooking up some of our favourite Autumn Vegetables using the recipes below
Turnips are one of the least celebrated of our Autumn vegetables. Perhaps due to childhood memories of over-boiled yellow turnip, lacking texture and flavour. Our White Globe turnips are ready to harvest from September each year. They have a traditional while root, with a purple top from where the top peeps out of the soil into the summer sunlight. They keep for a couple of weeks if you store them in a cool place. We use low-fat milk, which makes the gratin a little lighter, but can mean there is a far bit of liquid in the pan once it comes from the oven. Cover the dish and let it sit for 20 minutes before serving and the liquid will be reabsorbed into the turnip.
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cooking Time 1 hour 30 minutes
- Butter or olive oil for the baking dish
- 1 garlic clove, cut in half
- 900gs turnips, preferably small ones, peeled and sliced in thin rounds
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 125g Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 cup tightly packed)
- 2 ½ cups full fat milk
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC / 420ºF. Butter or oil a baking dish or gratin dish, about 8 inch square or similar size. Rub the sides and bottom with the cut clove of garlic.
- Place the sliced turnips in a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Add half the cheese and the thyme and toss together, then transfer to the gratin dish and pour on the milk. It should just cover the turnips.
- Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes. Push the turnips down into the milk with the back of a large spoon. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and return to the oven. Bake another 40 to 50 minutes, until all of the milk is absorbed, the turnips are soft and the dish is nicely browned on top and around the edges.
Honey Roasted Autumn Vegetables
The honey glaze on this simple dish from Martha Stewart delivers beautiful sweetness and shine. The addition of walnuts and thyme brings lovely seasonal flavours to these Autumn vegetables. You can order all the vegetables, and the honey in our online shop
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cooking Time 1 hour 10 minutes
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (1 pound total), peeled, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 3-5 springs of thyme
- 3-5 springs of rosemary.
Preheat oven to 190ºC / 400ºF. In a baking dish, toss together sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, walnuts, honey, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Top with rosemary and thyme sprigs and roast until vegetables are browned at edges and tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.
Roasted Pumpkin with Cherry Tomatoes and Rosemary
Pumpkins, or Winter Squash, more than any other vegetable, symbolise Autumn. We all decorate our homes with them for Halloween, but how many of us actually serve them at our tables? This simple recipe brings out the warm colours and nutty flavours of pumpkin and is delicious with roasts or casseroles.
Preparation 15 minutes
Cook Time 30-45 minutes
- 1 pumpkin about 1 Kg
- 16 cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 red onion peeled and chopped into quarters
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary leaves finely chopped
- 1 chili pepper
- Sea Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200ºC / 420ºF. Peel the pumpkin and cut into bite-sized cubes. Remove the seeds and set aside. Place pumpkin, cherry tomatoes, red onion and garlic into a large roasting dish. Drizzle pumpkin with olive oil, fresh rosemary, chilli pepper and season with salt and black pepper. Bake in the oven for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft and also tinged brown at the edges. Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds just before serving.