Strawberries are sugar-sweet, irresistible, and omnipresent -- even if you can't pick your own, you'll find pints and quarts of them at roadside
The cooking clouds have started to lift, the blossom is out and so surely, now it is most definitely time to leave roasting behind for a bit, along with woolly hats and winter coats. But something in us doesn’t feel JUST ready for salads and steamers only yet ...Sunday roasts are here to stay!
Try these two types of roasting: one fast and full-on, the other slow and sweet. For the fast roast, peppers, broad beans (pod-and-all) and radishes were sent to a searing hot oven, bringing smokiness lots of flavour. The slow roast is sweeter from the baby vegetables.
Both roasts are simply spiced while they cook to allow the character of all the vegetables to shine bright. They are then carefully coated in herby spring dressings which make the roast so delicious too!
Roast spring roots with turnip and carrot-top pesto
Serves 4 200g new potatoes (jersey royals), scrubbed clean 200g baby beetroots, tops saved, scrubbed clean 200g baby turnips, tops saved, scrubbed clean 200g baby carrots, tops saved, scrubbed clean 6 baby onions, peeled and halved Juice of 2 lemons Juice of 1 orange 1 head of garlic, cloves separated, but unpeeled
For the pesto A bunch of mint, leaves picked from the stalks A bunch of thyme Saved turnip tops or a big bunch of watercress Saved carrot tops or a big bunch of parsley 4 cornichons or little gherkins 100g hazelnuts or almonds, roasted 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp baby capers Salt and black pepper A small bunch of radishes
1 Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Take all your scrubbed vegetables, keeping the tops for later, and cut any larger vegetables in half – you want everything to roast in about the same length of time. Divide the vegetables between two baking trays. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and the orange over the veg, then put the squeezed halves on the tray. Scatter the unpeeled garlic cloves over the top and put both trays in to roast for 45 minutes, or until everything is soft throughout and brown round the edges.
2 Meanwhile, wash, dry and finely chop your herbs and vegetable tops, keeping the beetroot tops for later. Finely chop the cornichons too.
3 Put the nuts in a pestle and mortar, then bash well until you have a rough, crumby texture. Mix with the chopped herbs and tops, the olive oil, cornichons, capers and a good pinch each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4 Once the vegetables are ready, scatter over the beetroot tops for the last few minutes. Once everything is ready, the vegetables are nicely golden and the beetroot tops have wilted and begun to crisp a little at the edges, take the tray out of the oven. Carefully squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into a little bowl, then mash them well and add to the herb mixture.
5 Use tongs to squeeze the juice out of the (still hot) roasted citrus – even the ones you originally squeezed will have become juicy again after roasting.
6 Serve the veg on a big platter with the garlic, herb and almond dressing for spooning over.
7 Serve with some bread or brown rice if you are particularly hungry; a spoonful of tart yoghurt is also delicious too!
Flash-roast green veg
Serves 4 8 green peppers 4 red onions, peeled and cut into thin wedges 8 broad beans in their pods 4 little gem lettuces, washed and cut into wedges A bunch of long radishes, washed A bunch of spring onions Salt and black pepper 2 good pinches of Turkish chilli powder (pul biber) Extra virgin olive oil 200g feta A small bunch of thyme 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, or 300g jarred chickpeas, drained (optional) Juice and zest of 1 lemon
For the dressing A splash of white wine vinegar A small bunch of mint A small bunch of dill A small bunch of parsley 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 First, preheat your oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Put all the vegetables on to a tray, season with salt, pepper and chilli, then drizzle with olive oil and put into the oven to roast for 25 minutes. You want the oven to be very hot, so that everything will catch and char.
2 On another tray, lay the whole block of feta on one side and the chickpeas on the other. Top the feta with a little more chilli, half the lemon zest and the thyme tips. Sprinkle the chickpeas with about 2 tbsp vinegar. Put this into the oven underneath the veg for the final 20 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, make the dressing. Chop all the herbs and put them into a bowl with the remaining lemon zest and half the juice, plus 4 tbsp of olive oil.
4 When the veg is nearly done, squeeze the last of the lemon juice over the top, scatter with garlic and return the tray to the oven for a couple of minutes.
5 Pull both trays out of the oven. Pile each plate with greens, then top with chickpeas, chunks of feta and a good amount of the herb dressing. Serve with Turkish bread, if you like.
Enjoy these delicious roasts this Bank Holiday Weekend - they won't disappoint!
There are many reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables. Freeze dried or fresh, it doesn't matter as long as they are prepared in a healthy