Wednesday, 24 November 2010

christmas spice girl....

This years christmas dinner is taking some thought... I have an uncle who is categorically refusing to eat a traditional christmas dinner and a granddad who would eat nothing else... so where is the happy medium. I've been stressing about it for weeks and the day is already stressful enough for the cooks without adding more pressure, so I think i'm going to have to do 1 Turkey, 2 roast veg trays. Last year i faffed about making a million separate little dishes from pickled red cabbage, about a million different potato dishes, roast carrots, boiled carrots, regular brussel sprouts, brussel sprouts with chestnuts and bacon... it was too much to say the least. For an extra large picture-book style christmas with 10, 12, 15 people round the table this is sort of fine. You feel like your doing it in substantial enough quantities but this year I will be cooking for 3 and its just not worth it, so im going to have to do something else to make it special and I think its going to be roast veg based. The premise is brilliant, one tray, a host of different veg all cooked at the same time giving chef Bea more time to sit around in my christmas Pj's watching The Wizard of Oz. This week i've been practising the non-traditional uncle's tray. He wants spice and flavour to his food so i'm basing his around sweet potatoes, onion, carrots and peppers. Sounds slightly plain I know but these four simple vegetables shall be transformed I promise!! And they shall be transformed  into something along the lines of this...

spicy moroccan style vegetable tray bake

ingredients- for 2 people as a main meal or 4 as a side dish...

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium yellow pepper
  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • 3 fat garlic cloves
  • 150g of feta
  • 2 tsp of chilli flakes (less or more depending how firey you like it)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • rind of 2 satsumas, juice of 1
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • sea salt
  • 2 tbl sp olive oil
  • handful of fresh corriander

  • pre heat the oven to 200°c
  • cut up your vegetables into nice wedges, leave the skins on the carrots and potato, just make sure you've given them a good scrub. the wedges should be about the size of a fun size mars bar...odd reference i know but its the only sort of object that i can think to compare them to...
  • put all your vegetables in a large roasting tray and cover with the chilli flakes, cinnamon, cumin, paprika, ginger, satsuma rind and sea salt
  • in a small bowl, mix together your oil and 1/2 of the satsuma juice then pour this over the veg
  • get your hands in there and give the veg a good rub making sure that all the pieces are coated
  • wash your hands!!! chillies + eyes = bad times....
  • make sure the veg are more or less laid in a single layer, this will help with the roasting so that they don't steam and crisp up beautifully! 
  • sprinkle to veg with a generous pinch of sea salt
  • tent the roasting tray in a sheet of tin foil and put in the oven for 30 minutes
  • after the 30 minutes remove the tin foil and pop back in the oven
  • with 10 minutes left, take the tray out of the oven and hunt down and remove the garlic cloves then scatter the roast with chunks of feta and return it to the oven till it is slightly blistered and gold speckled
  • as soon as it is has had its last 10 minutes, or the feta is sufficiently browned, remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining satsuma juice and handful of chopped coriander
I served mine with a crisp toasted flat bread as we had it by itself for our dinner, but it will make a great side dish to go with a host of different mains. It would be great with a piece of oven roasted salmon, i think that will be a dinner next week so i will report back with my findings, but im sure it would be fantastic!! So thats Ian's veg for christmas dinner sorted. Although it's not very traditional, it really makes up for it in the flavour stakes and i should be happy i suppose that ive got some veg in there somewhere!


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