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As the weather gets a bit cooler and more autumnal, we’re starting to eat more warming food. Summer salads are giving way to cooked side dishes, although the barbeque is still fired up several times a week. Or a day. Today for example we’ve had BBQ’d bacon and eggs for breakfast, and BBQ’d veggies and squeaky cheese (aka halloumi) for lunch. Meatloaf for tea tonight though, so it won’t be one of those three BBQ days. Sadly.

Roasted root vegetable medley with EVOO

(Just ignore the slightly blurry photos please!)

I made this roasted root vegetable dish earlier in the week. It went very well with some (BBQ’d) sausages, but would be good with lots of other things. It’s got kale in it too, so there’s your carbs and greens all in one dish. I love one dish cooking. Better for washing up. This has potatoes, sweet potatoes, beetroot, red onion, kale, garlic, and a fair bit of extra virgin olive oil. I peeled the sweet potatoes, but only scrubbed the regular potatoes and beetroot. I never used to cook much beetroot because of the potential red staining. Of hands and clothes. Scrubbing them makes this less of an issue. But I still wear an apron when they’re around. And everything will be a bit beetroot coloured by the time it’s all cooked.

So, put the oven on at about 200degC. Then chop the root veg – I did them into 2-3cm cubes – roughly chop the red onion, and peel and crush a couple of cloves of garlic. Put it all in a deep baking dish with a few generous glugs of olive oil. Mix it up with a spoon, or (clean) hands. Extra virgin olive oil is very good for skin, so this is like a little hand beauty treatment while you cook. Season with salt and pepper. Maybe a dash of paprika. And put it in the oven for about 45 minutes. The garlic makes it smell very delicious very quickly. And this lovely purple (yay!) garlic is Tasmanian (double yay!).

While it’s cooking, wonder about where potatoes come from. I had a vague thought that they were European. Or were they always everywhere?! No, they were not! Research published from the USA in 2005 suggests that all potatoes can be traced back to Peru. They were apparently domesticated 7000 – 10000 years ago. And now there are over a thousand varieties, including some genetically modified ones… Click here for lots more information in this Wikipedia article…

Back to the cooking. Wash the kale. Cut the ribs out and cut the leaves into thick ribbons. I usually wash it again after that in case there are any little beasties or soil lurking in the curlyness. When the other veg has roasted for 45 minutes or so, and is going golden, take it out of the oven, and chuck the kale on top. Put it back in the oven for about 5 minutes, until the kale goes bright green and wilts. If you forget about it, you’ll have a topping of kale chips… Take it out of the oven, stir it all together, perhaps drizzle a bit more extra virgin olive oil on top, and serve it up.

To make it even more of a one dish meal, you could use the veggies as a bed for cooking meat, like chicken breasts. Put the veg in the oven first, and then put the chicken breasts on top when there’s about 25 minutes cooking time to go. FFx