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December this year is proving to be unseasonably warm. Long evenings bring colder temperatures makes one crave for comfort foods. Something healthy and filling. Root vegetables are plentiful and inexpensive.

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I am always amazed what an underrated vegetable turnip/ sweed is. On its own as a puree mash with butter and cream it is delicious. Combine it in that classic irish way with carrots and butter as a mash it adds a certain authenticity to the sunday dinner. Away from home, and on a student budget a large pot of ratatouille with root vegetables is nutritious , inexpensive, filling, and serves many.

Or you can freeze it in small batches. Helpful hint: I have found that adding a few spoons of sugar to the boiling water when cooking turnips enhances its flavor.



What you need:

4 large onions (sliced)

8 teaspoons of olive oil

6 cloves of garlic

3 aubergines

3 courgettes

4 peppers (2 red + 2 yellow)

6 plum tomatoes

2-3 sprigs of thyme

Handful of basel leaves

1 large turnip finely diced

In a seperate pot with boiling water add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Boil turnips for about 5-10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Sweat the onions in oil until soft. Add garlic and cook for each of the other vegetables. Remove onions and garlic and set aside. Sweat each of the venegtable seperately adding more oil as necessary.

Remove as each one is ready. Add the thick plumb tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and thyme, place all the ingredants into a large ovenproof caserole and bake in an oven gasmark 4 for about thirty minutes until soft and tender. Stir in the basil at the end and serve