Roast Sweet Potatoe & Parsnip with a twist of Lemon

After you make this you'll never be able to do 'plain' roast veg again! A one tray wonder and the result a delicious burst of flavours.....tangy & sharp lemon and capers, earthy mustard balanced with maple syrup and perfectly caramelised vegetables...If we hadn't licked the platter clean, I would be eating it for breakfast right now. This is from Plenty  by  Yotam Ottolenghi, it's a cookbook for veggies and non-veggies alike. Plenty  presents its food in a 'sexy' way, with finesse.... which can sometimes be difficult to find in the realm of veggie cooking!



To feed 4 as a main with no starter;

  • Turn oven on 190'C/Gas 5
  • 4 parsnips cut roughly into 5cm long pieces, 1.5cm wide
  • 4 red onions quartered
  • 1head of garlic halved with ways
  • Take the above veg put into a roasting dish with 120ml of olive oil a couple of rosemary sprigs, 4 sprigs of thyme, pepper and salt
  • Roast in oven for 20 mins
  • Meanwhile cut up 2 medium sized sweet potatoes into chunky wedges -leave the skin on
  • Make your vinaigrette -2 tbsp of lemon juice, 4 tbsp of capers (chop if large), half tbsp maple syrup (I used agave...you could probably use honey too) half tsp of Dijon mustard (I used wholegrain) & half a tsp of salt...whisk it up!
  • After the first 20 mins have passed, add your sweet potatoes and roast for 40/45 mins
  • When the veg have turned golden add 25/30 halved cherry tomatoes and roast for about 10 more mins
  • Take out the veg, pour over the dressing and serve with a plain leafy salad....nom nom!! If you wanted to serve 6 people you could have a loaf of crusty bread and it should stretch.

Saucy Saucy Seafood Spaghetti

I love seafood, I love spaghetti, so needless to say I love this dish. I grew up in Kilkenny -a landlocked county so we didn't often eat fish as children, but we've always been a seafood loving family. Luckily for me now my parents live in Co. Waterford -so fish is always on the menu at The Willows -& I say yum yum to that! Billy Burkes is our local fish monger -with a wide variety, decent prices & a friendly service my mum is in his shop at least once a week. Calamari is optional for this dish, but do get some if you can even if it's frozen, (which mine was for this).....& please don't be afraid to tackle it in the kitchen, you just need to follow the simple rule of very short cooking time or very long & you're on a winner!

       Serves 6/8       6- generous portions   8 - smaller portions

  • The calamari take about an hour to defrost in cold water -so make sure to do this on time. I also used clams & mussels - you can use tiger prawns or scallops if you can't get one of the above
  • Begin by finely chopping a large onion & two large cloves of garlic
  • Depending on how many people you're cooking for chop 10 juicy red vine tomatoes -be strict about your tomatoes -before you buy them pick them up & smell them & if they don't smell like tomatoes -then go elsewhere & get some that do! I used my dads fresh from the garden :-)
  • Gently sautee the onion followed by the garlic, be generous with the olive oil -be careful not to burn either as it really effects the taste
  • Next finely chop 1-2 birds eye chilis (depending on your own tastes) or 1-2 normal large red chilis & add to the pan
  • Finely chop 1 tbsp of capers -add
  • Add a glass of white wine -simmer off the alcohol
  • Add your tomatoes & simmer away with the lid on for about 30 mins
  • In the meantime clean your mussels under cold running water-give them a good scrub, remove any beards (the stringy bits that help the mussels cling onto rocks) If any of them don't close during this process or when you tap the shell, discard -as they are dead. In terms of quantity I used about two large soup bowls full
  • Clean your clams in the same way - 1 large soup bowl full
  • When you've got 15 mins left, start to bring a large pot of water to the boil
  • With 10 mins left cook your spaghetti or linguine as you prefer -i used one whole packet
  • Cut your defrosted calamari into rings
  • With 5 mins remaining, in a large pot with about an inch of boiling water throw in your mussels & clams, -stirring every now & then, when not stirring keep the lid on.
  • With about 3 mins left, on a very hot frying pan with some oil put on your calamari  (I used two large calamari) continuously stir them around for 2 mins -set a timer to avoid rubbery squid!
  • Keep and eye on the pasta & when it's slightly al dente -drain it and put it into a very large ceramic bowl (it helps to warm the bowl beforehand with some hot water from the kettle)
  • Drain the clams and mussels discarding any that are closed
  • Season your tomato sauce with sea salt & fresh black pepper, pour over the pasta, along with your seafood and give it a good mix -reserve some of the shellfish to scatter on top
  • Garnish with a generous amount of fresh parsley & a good drizzle of olive oil-enjoy with friends & family.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HigQcnUzSQY    Delizioso -a little bit of Jamie in Venice -