I’ve been singing all weekend. In fact, I’m beginning to feel like the Mystery Chorister, I’m doing so much church music in so many different venues at present. I’m also learning a lot about architectural styles of different denominations around Melbourne, which are alarmingly consistent at times. Something tells me that there just weren’t too many church architects / interior designers out there…
Anyway, after being out from 8am until 6:30pm today singing, I wanted to make something simple for dinner – the plan was for roast vegetables with gribiche sauce and a broccoli salad. But then gribiche seemed a bit too much like hard work, and then I wondered how quinces would roast with all those sweetish root vegetables, and then I had a probably unwise epiphany about lemon myrtle, and the next thing I knew, the menu had changed utterly in personality. The gribiche got replaced by a garlicky cannelini bean mash, so that we could pretend that there was some protein in the meal. And the vegetables? Well, they are actually rather nice. I was worried that the vegetables would be too sweet, but they really aren’t, and I love the way the quince has sort of camouflaged itself, so you pick up something that looks like a sweet potato, and find that it is actually mildly sweet and perfumed and fruity – a stealth quince! Yum.
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Now what will you do with it?
Poke some holes in the beetroot, and put into a small container with a little water. Microwave for five minutes or until the beetroot is par-cooked. Run the beetroot under cold water, peel it, cut it into wedges, and put it into a huge roasting tin.
Peel the quince, core it, and cut it into wedges. I make it sound so simple when I write it that way, which is really a lie by omission – quinces are mostly trying to kill you, so do be careful, use a sharp knife, and make sure the quince isn’t going to slip around so that you stab yourself. Rinse out the container you used for the beetroot, add a little water, and microwave the quinces for five minutes, too, then drain them.
During all this microwave time, prepare your other vegetables – cut the onions into six wedges each, peel your potato and cut it into sixths or eighths, peel your carrots and leave them whole or halve them lengthwise, according to your whim and their size, and peel the sweet potato and cut it into chunks.
Put all the veggies into the baking tray with the quinces, sugar, vinegar, lemon myrtle and seasonings (make sure you use enough salt, you don’t want this to taste like dessert), and drizzle generously with oil.
Bake everything for about 50 minutes, or until caramelised and tender, turning about halfway through the cooking time.
Serve with aioli, if you have it, or with gribiche sauce if you can find a recipe that doesn’t scare you, or you could try a good chutney. A tin of cannelini beans, drained and sautéed in olive oil with a little garlic and rosemary and lemon makes a nice accompaniment, too. Of course, what I really should have done was served this with marinated and grilled tofu for my ill-fated tofu challenge, but since that idea only crossed my mind a moment ago, it was, alas, not to be.
This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, low GI, and nut-free. I strongly suspect that quinces are full of fructose, sorry. If you don’t have lemon myrtle, you could add some lemon zest and juice partway through the cooking, and maybe add a little nutmeg at the start. Pumpkin would work in this recipe, too, and if you don’t have quinces, an apple or a pear would make a nice substitute – but don’t bother cooking them first, or they will go to mush. Enjoy!
If you have leftovers, they work nicely at room temperature as part of a roast vegetable and legume salad with more of your garlicky, rosemary-scented cannelini beans. A little parsley and salad dressing would probably round this out nicely, but I’m not going out to pick parsley at this hour…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One year ago: Recipe: Easter Egg Thumbprint Macarons Two years ago: Shakespeare Post: Timon of Athens