Creativity, experimentation, an awakening of senses, connections, celebrations, enjoyment, fun, laughter, family, necessity, daily, basic need…what do all these connotations have in common?
Food. Our daily bread. Something we need to survive. I love food! I love exploring new tastes and trying new things. I’ll be honest from the start, I am a fussy eater and not everything agrees with me, but I do love cooking and creating a tasty, nutritious meal from scratch.
Winter is an interesting time of year for food. We move away from the fresh tastes of spring, the colours of summer and the rich hedgerows of autumn, and into the warmers that fill and sustain.
Today I am going to share with you a wonderful winter warmer that ticks many of those important boxes (and Poppi has enjoyed it too – which is a bonus). This recipe has an added advantage too. One of the things that I have found incredibly helpful as a worker, but also as a mum, and now even more so as a working mum is batch cooking. Some days when time is tight it is so helpful to know that you can pull a good, healthy and home-cooked meal out of the freezer and all that needs doing that evening is to heat it up. I am so reluctant to become a pasta reliant or a microwave guru (don’t get me wrong, I love a good pasta dish) but evenings are short and eating is an essential and pasta every day doesn’t get my vote. This winter warmer can be made in larger quantities and then portioned out and frozen for another week. As long as you remember to get it out of the freezer (“freezer stuff” is an evening job in our house along with school lunches) then dinner is sorted within minutes when you need it to be.
Root Veg Crumble
1 large parsnip
1 large carrot
1 small butternut squash
1 small swede
1 sweet potato
4 garlic cloves
Bouquet garni (a bunch of mixed fresh herbs (if you were wondering!))
2 ½ tbsp crème fraiche
½ l veg stock
50g flaked almonds
Breadcrumbs (enough to cover the top)
Cheddar (or another hard cheese – enough to sprinkle on top)
Preheat oven to 190°C
Heat up the olive oil in a large casserole dish (suitable for hob and oven use)
Gently fry the garlic
Add the veg and the bouquet and sweat gently for 10 minutes
Add the stock and simmer (covered) for a further 20 minutes – you may wish to remove the lid halfway through to reduce the liquid (you don’t want it to be too runny)
Temporarily removed the bouquet to stir in the crème fraiche
Return the bouquet and bury in the veg
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and almonds over the top
Cover with grated cheese
Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes