A selection of root vegetables
It's time for the Joust again! This is one entry I don't like missing. It really provides an opportunity to put your "thinking cap" on and come up with something creative. The winner of last month's joust, Elle set the pace this month with her choice of ingredients being, raspberries, almonds and limes. I could easily have come up with a raspberry frangipane tart or something else to get the full value of the raspberries but I wanted to challenge myself to work harder and create something more suited to the cooler climate we currently have here in Sydney Australia.
We do get fresh raspberries at the moment, imported from the tropical Northern part of Australia. However, I'd rather save my money and put it towards my mortgage! Yes, that's how expensive they are. I always keep a pack of frozen berries in the freezer for my morning smoothie so I used a handful of those in this recipe. Speaking of the recipe, I really wanted to highlight the abundance of root vegetables we are enjoying at the moment. So plentiful and very well priced. I used parsnips, dutch carrots, beets, kipfler or "fingerling" potatoes, sweet potatoes and swedes. This was the first time I had cooked with swedes and found them quite delicious.
Again, (I hope you don't hate me for this) there was no real recipe as such. It was "play around" and see what you get type of thing. However, I will try to provide approximates. The raspberry infused balsamic syrup was great to work with as it really enhanced the natural sweetness of the cooked root vegetables. The toasted flaked almonds provided the perfect crunch and another texture to the dish. It was very filling and I served this as a side to roast chicken at a friends place.
Basically use any root vegetable that you prefer. I left the skin on most of the vegies except the swede. Once I had cut them into even pieces I tossed them in a little olive oil and seasoned them with salt and freshly cracked pepper. I placed them in a hot oven (about 200-220 deg C) and let them cook until they were nice and crispy and caramelised. This took about 30-40 minutes at the most. For the syrup, I used half a cup of frozen raspberries and the juice of one lime. I placed these two ingredients in a non reactive pot on the stovetop and let it come to a quick boil. I then let it simmer for 10 minutes. I removed it from the heat, let it cool slightly and used a stab blender (hand held) to blend it all up. I didn't want the seeds in this so I passed the coulis through a sieve and reserved the remaining liquid. I then blended this with a half a cup of balsamic vinegar on a high heat with the addition of a tablespoon of brown sugar. I let it come to a quick rapid boil (be careful as hot balsamic vinegar splatters!) and kept on stirring it and then lowered the heat. Watch as the syrup begins to thicken and remove it from the heat. Let it cool for a few minutes before adding it to the root vegetables. Add the toasted almond flakes and a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley ( I only had coriander on hand and used that instead..a little strong for the flavours but it was fine).