This is actually my favourite time of year, hopefully not too cold and still the odd gloriously warm day hanging round to take you by surprise. I think as a race, we tend to look better in Autumn too, all wrapped up, rather than with with our Irish exposed to the sunshine. The biggest plus though is that you can really get cooking again, people tend to be hungrier when the days are cooler – none of this ‘I’ll just have a salad’..
Veg are really coming into their own and this time of year and I love them. In response to people who tell me they get a bit bored with vegetables or never know how to cook them – a few recipes below to help you up the veg intake in your diet.
Spicy Sweet Potato
4 medium sweet potato
1-2 tbsp Harissa paste
2 large handfuls of Coriander, stalk and all, chopped
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into equal size pieces
Add to a pot of water ensuring the water covers them
Add 2 tsp salt and bring to the boil and simmer until tender
Drain and reserve a cup of the water
Tip into a blender, add the harissa, coriander and season well.
Blend, adding some of the cooking water if needed
Taste and if you need to up the heat further, add some more harissa paste
Variations – This can be made with many other root veg, parsnip, squash, turnip
Sweet potato is full of potassium so it helps with heart health.
Green Beans with Garlic and Onion Seeds
1bl green beans trimmed
1 tbsp Nigella (onion) seeds
2 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp salt
Blanch the beans in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and plunge into ice cold water – this sets the lovely green colour, nothing worse than grey beans.
Heat the oil in a pan, Add the onion seeds and when they begin to pop add the garlic and stir to ensure it doesn’t catch. Put the heat down low and add the beans stirring until they are warm and have taken on the flavour of the garlic and the onion seeds. Season well and serve.
You can blanch the veg ahead of time and they will keep in the fridge for a day or 2. Variation- Broccoli is also delicious like this. You can also add 2 handfuls of slivered almonds in with the garlic and hold back the beans or broccoli until they have toasted a little.
Broccoli with Walnut Vinaigrette and crispy shallots
The nut oil coats the broccoli giving it a delicious flavour. You can also use Hazelnut oil – equally delicious.
1lb tenderstem or purple sprouting broccoli trimmed
2 tbsp walnut oil – or hazelnut oil
4 tbsp olive oil
juice of a lemon
1 garlic clove peeled and finely chopped
4 small shallots finely sliced (or use the pre fried shallots available in Ikea and some Asian markets)
To make the fried shallots, Heat a small layer of vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the shallots for about 10 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with salt and set aside
If you are using pre made ones, heat on a dry pan over a gently heat, season and keep warm.
Whisk the lemon juice with sugar garlic and lots of seasoning. Whisk in the olive oil and walnut oil
Blanch the broccoli or steam until just tender. Drain well
Pour over the vinaigrette and scatter over the shallots and serve immediately.