Five a day roasted vegetable sauce

Every now and again I get a fancy for vegetables and lots of them! This roasted vegetable sauce is perfect for ensuring your family get their five a day and is great with gnocchi and pasta or even with cous cous. I chose to use baby courgettes and baby aubergine alongside pepper and onion to give vibrant colour and a balance between sweet and savoury. Feta was made to be paired with such flavours so a liberal sprinkling of this over your finished dish really lifts the flavours. The sauce should be chunky with a light tomato coating- I used Cirio Tuscan chopped tomatoes which have the perfect ratio of sauce to tomato chunks. You can find them at http://www.cirio1856.co.uk.

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Ingredients- serves 4
4 garlic cloves- kept whole
1 large red onion- peeled and cut into small wedges
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper- chopped
Handful of baby courgettes- chopped
Handful of baby aubergine- chopped
Handful of black olives- optional
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Chilli flakes
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Fresh basil

1.Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan ready for the veggies. Take a large roasting tin and place all the chopped vegetables into it including the whole garlic cloves. Drizzle with a good amount of olive oil and season. I used smoked sea salt which is fabulous with roasted vegetables. Roast for around 15 minutes until everything is tender- test with a knife, if it goes into the vegetables easily then it’s ready!

2. Take a large frying pan and add a small glug of oil over a medium heat. Rescue the garlic cloves from the vegetable tray and squeeze out the tender and wonderfully fragrant garlic. I then fried off the garlic with a touch of chilli flakes (or as much as you dare!) for a minute or two before scattering the vegetables into the pan. The chilli should enhance the flavours rather than drowning them out. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and cook for around 10 minutes on a simmer so the tomato brings the sauce together and the flavours develop even more. Finish with a liberal sprinkling of freshly torn basil leaves and away you go! Serve with gnocchi or pasta and feta over the top if you like. Mozzarella would also be delicious. Any leftovers can be easily reheated or blitzed into a smooth sauce or soup for the freezer.

Chunky roasted vegetable sauce- get your five a day in the most effortless way!

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Rib eye with punchy chimichurri and roasted vegetables

Think of beef and you think of Argentina- the spiritual home of all things meaty! Chimichurri is a classic accompaniment to a good steak. Its fresh and punchy flavours bring out the best of a rib eye so read on and get cooking. I bought smoked sea salt from the lovely people at www.thespiceshop.co.uk.

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Ingredients- serves 4
For the chimichurri
Small bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley
2 garlic cloves
1 shallot
1 tsp fresh red chilli
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp red wine vinegar

For the vegetables
400g new potatoes
Smoked sea salt (or regular)
2 bell peppers- red and yellow work well
1 courgette
2 red onions
2 tsp oregano- dried or fresh
Olive oil
Few garlic cloves- unpeeled

4 rib eye steaks

1. You can start in advance by prepping the chimichurri. Simply roughly chop the ingredients and add to the wet ingredients and give a quick blitz in a food processor. You are after a saucy consistency. Alternatively finely chop the ingredients and give it all a good bashing in a mortar and pestle! Cover and set aside until you need it.

2. For the vegetables, cut the peppers and courgettes into chunks and the red onions into wedges and toss with a good drizzle of oil. I nestle a few whole garlic cloves in amongst the vegetables before seasoning well, popping the oregano in and off you go! Roast in a preheated oven for around 20 minutes at 180c/ 160fan until tender.

3. I like to serve this with simply roasted new potatoes. Start by parboiling the potatoes for a few minutes before draining well. Pop them in a baking tray with another good glug of oil and sprinkle over some smoked salt. I love the edge that this salt gives and it goes with the steak perfectly. Roast in the oven next to the vegetables for around 30 minutes until golden.

4. When the potatoes have around ten minutes left, prepare the steak. I like a beautiful rib eye but anything robust works well here- maybe save the fillet for another day though… Season the meat well and rub a little oil over it before cooking in a hot pan/ griddle. For an average rib eye I like to give it two minutes on each side for a rare finish but cook according to your preference so long as it’s not well done! There is more flavour from boot leather!

5. Rest the rib eye whilst you take the roasted vegetables and potatoes from the oven. Either divide the veggies between four plates or serve on a large platter with slices of the steak over the top and finished with a drizzle of the chimichurri so everyone can help themselves.

Rib eye, roasted vegetables and smoked salt potatoes with a classic chimichurri- you’ll love it!

Spicy winter roasted vegetables

This featured as a side dish the other night and it just had to be shared. The recipe makes use of seasonal vegetables and uses a gentle blend of spice to bring the vegetables alive! I used sweet potato, beetroot and red onion but squash and carrot would be equally delicious.

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Ingredients- serves 4 as a side 
2 large beetroot- cleaned and peeled
2 sweet potatoes- peeled
2 red onions- peeled
Glug of olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp runny honey

1. Preheat the oven to 160c/ 140 fan. Meanwhile chunk the vegetable into equal size chunks. Take each of the vegetable in turn and share the spice mix between them and place the beetroot and onion on one baking tray and the potato on another. This allows you to have more control over cooking time as the beetroot will usually take a little longer.

2. When the oven has warmed, pop the beetroot in and roast for 10 minutes before then adding the other tray in for a further half an hour. When the vegetables are nearly tender I took them out of the oven and drizzle the honey and tossed the vegetables to coat well before returning to the oven for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

These vegetables are a perfect blend of sweet, earthy and spicy which can be served with a simple chicken or fish dish. It could also be bulked out to make a more hearty meal in its own right by adding some crumbled feta and crispy shards of pitta bread. Finish with a sprinkling of dukkah if you like.