It’s been very quiet around here. What always happens is that I write a post explaining why it has been very quiet, and apologising, but of course by the time I write such a post, things have self-evidently calmed down at least somewhat.
Things have not calmed down this time. I am still in the midst of grants, and every time I’m not reading grants I am singing Bach, and then there have been work politics, and then there have been social politics, and let’s not even think about federal politics, and then there have been more grants, and then there have been funerals, and friends being evacuated due to bushfires, and other friends just having thoroughly miserable times, and sick cats, and did I mention the vile, vile weather? Anyway, what there hasn’t been around here has been a lot of inventive cooking. And when there has been, it mostly hasn’t worked out very well. You know things are bad when not only do I get quiet, but I only emerge to cook savoury food!
(And really, I’m fine, just very, very tired and very, very busy. And I probably don’t need quite so many grants, either.)
Anyway. I started writing this recipe just before the last round of chaos, and never finished it. Let’s see if I can finish it this time, eh? And I will try to see you on the other side, assuming such a thing exists. In the mean time, in lieu of content of my own, I draw your attention to my Vegetarian Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes challenge, which is attracting some really fascinating recipes. Hopefully this will feed your hunger for beautiful food while I try to catch up with the difficult work of existing!
I love roasted vegetables and would happily eat them five times a week or more. But they aren’t quite a meal in their own right, and while I am all too ready to serve them with broccoli in cheesy sauce (or perhaps I should say, cheesy sauce with broccoli) and call them a meal, occasionally I feel the urge to do a little better. Hence the cannelini bean sauce, which makes everything OK because it has proteiny goodness!
One thing that you need to know about this recipe is that it is possibly the ugliest thing I have ever photographed. This is not wholly the fault of the recipe, because nothing is at its best if you photograph it after the sun has set, but the whole pinky-beige sauce slopped over vegetables was never going to be an aesthetic triumph. I think next time, I’d serve the sauce on the side. As it is, my photos look as though I took a whole lot of beautiful roast vegetables, slopped gravy all over them, then time-travelled back to the 1970s, got out my old Instamatic camera, and took all the photographs under fluorescent lighting. Only not quite that pretty.
In fact, the photos are so bad that I’m not going to show them to you at all, for fear of putting you off, because this is really a delicious (and wonderfully easy) meal. Anyway, the point I’m getting at is that if you make this and it turns out looking really rather dreadful on the plate, don’t despair – you are almost certainly doing it right. But it probably isn’t a dinner party dish for any money.
Honestly, though, ugly or not, I love this meal. It’s going to become a regular on my cool-weather vegetarian (indeed, vegan!) menu.
Your shopping list
2 smallish sweet potatoes
6 little potatoes, like pink fir potatoes
6 baby carrots
1 long beetroot, or two small ordinary ones
1 red capsicum
lavender salt, or salt, pepper and rosemary
400 g tinned cannelini beans
150 g slow roasted tomatoes
2 garlic bulbs, roasted
1/4 cup good olive oil
zest of one lemon
salt, pepper, rosemary
Now what will you do with it?
Aargh, it’s so long since I made this recipe that I barely remember what I did! Well, first, one must roast the vegetables. Peel them and chop them into inviting-looking shapes. Because really, this will be the only inviting thing about this recipe. I think I may even have kept the little potatoes whole, because they were these adorable, thumb-sized things which really didn’t need peeling or chopping at all. The carrots, I peeled and then sliced in half lengthways. The beetroot got chunked, the sweet potato was sliced very thickly and those slices were quartered, and the onion was cut into half moons. The red capsicum was sliced.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
Microwave the beetroot for about 5 minutes in a tiny bit of water in a bowl, because it will otherwise take far longer than everything else put together.
Now fling all the aforementioned veggies onto a huge baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and lavender salt (or ordinary salt and lots of rosemary), and bake everything for 45 minutes to an hour, turning after about twenty minutes or so, and again at the 45 minute mark if you think the veggies aren’t done yet.
Making the sauce is even easier than this. Drain the cannelini beans and put them in a blender with the slow-roasted tomatoes, the roasted garlic, the olive oil, lemon zest, and seasonings. Blend until you have a thick sauce. Add more olive oil if you think it needs filling.
Serve the veggies with the sauce poured over, or poured onto the side to dip them in. I feel a side dish of green beans or broccoli or even a straightforward green salad would be an excellent addition to this meal.
Eat. Pretend not to notice that this is very ugly food indeed, because it really does taste amazing.
This meal is gluten-free and vegan and nut-free and low GI, and if you skip the onions, it’s actually not too terrible on the fructose side of things. Amazing!
You can roast any root vegetables that appeal to you. You can heat the sauce up, or instead of blending it, you could put everything except the oil in a saucepan (with just one splash of oil), sauté it up a bit, and then mash it with a fork or potato masher. At this point, it’s more a mash than a sauce, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You might even add an extra tin of beans in these circumstances and make it a real side dish.
And… that’s it from me. It’s bedtime in the house of cats.
One year ago: Recipe: Inside-Out Salad
Two years ago: Market Day: High Summer Masquerading as Autumn