The end of January, probably the most challenging time of the year for a lot of us. It's been cold and dark for months already and although we know sunlight and warmer days will eventually come, it doesn't really feel like it at the moment. As the nature sleeps, there isn't a big selection of fruits and vegetables available. So me must rely on the basics. The basics that usually play the supporting role but can easily be turned into the leading stars when given the chance. Onions, leeks, garlic and all the different types of root vegetables that are available all year round can now step into the limelight and shine. Here are some of my favourite winter vegetables dishes, all of which are deliciously nourishing and none of them require a lot of effort or time.
Cauliflower soup with parmesan
0.5 l crème entière
0.5 l broth (I used chicken broth)
50 g parmesan
Roughly chop the cauliflower and put it in a large pot. Add the crème entière and broth and bring to sizzle over medium heat. Let it sizzle until the cauliflower is soft. Once ready, remove the pot from the heat and blitz the cauliflower with the crème and broth into a purée. If at this point you find it too thick for your liking, add some more broth. Once the purée is smooth, add grated parmesan and with a spoon or a spatula mix everything together. Serve while hot with a crunchy bread of your choosing. I also sprinkled on some dried thyme but that's not mandatory.
Leek tarte tatin
1 tablespoon of butter
Puff pastry (I used already prepared and rolled out one, as the quality of ready-made pastry dough is really good in France)
Wash and clean the leeks carefully (make sure there is no dirt or sand between the layers) and then slice them. Don't cut them too thin or they will fall apart while cooking. Melt the butter over medium heat (in an ovenproof dish if you plan on using the same dish later as well) and carefully place the sliced leeks in the butter. Let the leeks soften a bit until brown and then turn over. Once both sides are nicely browned, remove the dish from the stove and cover with the puff pastry. In case you are using two different dishes (one on the stove top and one in the oven) this would be the moment to changes dishes and carefully arrange the browned leeks at the bottom of the oven dish and then cover with puff pastry. Make sure the edges are covering the leeks as much as possible on the sides, so when you later on flip the tart right side up all the buttery goodness would stay inside. Once the pastry is in place put the tart in the oven at 180°C for about 30 minutes or until you see some bubbles trying to break free on the sides of the dish. Once ready and taken out of the oven, let it cool before you flip it right side up.
Oven roasted winter vegetables Ingredients :
4 red onions
2 tablespoons of olive oil
This is hardly a recipe but I wanted to include it as I probably make this more than any other recipe here. So it really is a winter staple in our home. The ingredients and quantities are more as an example really, from the last time I made this. I find that as delicious as roasted potatoes are, there are so many different vegetables that are equally if not more tasty coming from the oven. This is probably the easiest way to really highlight the beauty of winter vegetables, no covering or hiding but just letting them be as they are. Peel and roughly chop everything, pour over some olive oil, sprinkle some dried thyme and add a rosemary branch or two and in the oven they go, at 200°C for 35-40 minutes.