The Sunday Roast

Everyone loves a good roast dinner – particularly on those bitter cold, winter Sunday’s. However, studies find that Easter Sunday is the final roast of the year – a chance for families to gather and enjoy one last roast before the summer salads and BBQ’d goodies become our Sunday staple.

I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but I personally prefer to have my roast dinner taste like a roast dinner. None of this overly fancy business that takes away the nostalgic flavours – just a good ol’ Sunday Roast!

There’s a few little tricks that I’ve learned to perfect over time – some through trial and error, others I’ve pinched from Mum, Dad and Godmother; all of whom make mouthwatering roast dinners! I usually always use beef aside from Turkey at Christmas and Lamb at Easter. My number one trick for all root veggies – carrots, potatoes, parsnips etc – is too par-boil them first, meaning potatoes are crispy and fluffy, carrots aren’t too hard and parsnips go crunchy! By adding bacon to the dreaded brussells sprouts, you’ll find that even the most anti-sprout foodies amongst us, will be asking for seconds.

As we all know, the Roast Dinner is all about timing – get it wrong, and you’re going to have some mighty cold veg or some super rare beef! To make things a little easier, I’ve listed out the exact timings that I use – based on dinner served at 3pm.

I’ve left off timings for meat – cook according to weight and type

13:45 Prepare the Yorkshire Pudding mix, cover then leave in the fridge.
13:50 Peel and chop potatoes, parsnips and carrots then leave in slightly salted water so they don’t brown
14:00 Par-boil potatoes (10 mins) then leave to cool
14:20 Potatoes in oven brushed with vegetable oil
14:25 Par-boil carrots (5 mins) then leave to cool
14:30 Par-boil parsnips (5 mins)then leave to cool
14:30 Finely slice brussels sprouts & bacon (optional)
14:35 Carrots and parsnips in oven (seperated) brushed with veg oil
14:35 Fry bacon in butter, then reduce to a medium heat before adding sprouts – stir occasionally
14:45 Sprinkle parmesan over parsnips then return to oven
14:45 Pour honey over carrots then return to oven
14:50 Pour a little oil into muffin tins, before adding Yorkshire Pudding Mixture, then pop in the oven making sure you don’t open again until completely cooked
14:50 Prepare gravy – I cheat and use bisto (chicken or beef flavour depending on meat)
15:00 Take all veg out of the oven, and pour meat juices into gravy

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What are you favourite tips and tricks for a roast dinner?

Jess at TGH

Rooting for Roots

Rainbow carrots, parsnips, celeriac and swede…it’s certainly looking like a (dare-we-say-it) winter root vegetable week. Very thankful for the red kuri squash which tells us that we are still in autumn albeit with some very relentless rain. Great for the organic green waste compost to mature over winter in preparation for next year’s growing season though.

Winter plus roots means it’s time to get the oven going if you haven’t already.  If ever in doubt with root vegetables simply roast them as it really sweetens and intensifies the flavours.

Peel or scrape the skins off if you like – lots of flavours and nutrients there though even if a little uncouth. Then cut into cubes or batons (especially good cut for carrots and parsnips, don’t worry if they are somewhat irregular as the skinny bits will caramelise sweetly whilst the fatter bits will soften to a melt-in-your-mouth texture). Here are a few options to add after tossing in some oil (add some crushed garlic if you like) before roasting at 200 to 220 deg C until golden brown and tender:

  • Top with some thyme and sea salt
  • Drizzle with maple syrup or honey
  • Toss with a little mustard, and finish with a drizzle of honey
  • Spice with coriander, cumin and turmeric

Perfect with a roast but also pairs well with pan-fried or grilled fish. If you have leftovers (or if you fancy soup instead) fry some chopped onions with olive oil and/or butter, add some stock and milk/cream if you like, bring to boil and then blend to soup when the vegetables are soft. You could even roast some onions with the roots to save yourself some extra work! Or for some variation for the week you could roast with thyme and then fry some spices with the onions for a soup with the leftovers.

An alternative would be to boil one or more of the roots (you could also add some apples if you’ve still got some left) until tender, drain and then purée with butter and milk/cream (double cream if going for richness). The various options suggested above also works for purée.

If you’ve gotten this far, try asking your French friend how they like parsnips (they don’t really eat them over there, preferring turnips instead… hmm, pourquoi you ask?!?), apparently native to Britain. And try asking an American friend what “rooting” means to them, and now try asking the same of your Aussie friend…

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Washed Bakers, Lincs
* Rainbow Carrots, Lancs
* Leek, Kent
* Swiss Chard, Perry Court
* Swede, Kent
Parsnip, Kent
Celeriac, Kent
Red Kuri Squash, Perry Court
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Golden Beetroot, Lancs

Fruit Supplement
Mandarins, Spain (standard box only)
Plums, Spain