One of the questions I get asked often via the blog is if I’m a vegan? My chocolate posts seem to confuse everyone. I used to be; now I’m not. I don’t eat gluten, nearly all meats and most dairy. I have a chocolate loophole but basically I don’t like to have cheese, milk, creams and yoghurts. I truly don’t eat as much sugar as I claim to. I just popped a mini Bounty chocolate in my mouth. Oops.
The moment colder weather sets in I crave baked dishes. Sometimes lasagna, shepherd’s pie and my favorite concoction as of late. I don’t even know what to call it. The- everything in your darn fridge bake? I’ve totally made this up and there are no proper ingredients. I know, I know, I ought to measure things but I really don’t. Besides, this is just a jumble of veggies, carbs and chicken hot-dogs. Yes, chicken hot dogs. We’ve already established my strange eating habits but these aren’t your average hot dogs, they’re so tasty and have more of a sausage-y flavor. That was a terrible explanation and it’s painfully obvious that I’m no gourmand.
I like to use root vegetables but opted out of parsnips this time. You know, years ago I had trust issues with potatoes because I once bit into a parsnip thinking it was a potato. I was left feeling rather swindled but now I’m happy to report that I love them. So basically, this is a mix of root veggies and whatever you feel like eating. I usually go to the supermarket on the day I want to make this dish and choose the ingredients that I’m craving. This comes from my mother because, she too, believes in fresh food and always says that the grocery shop is her fridge. Gawd, I can’t believe I’m quoting her now.
Oh, you’ll need a large baking dish. Today I have decided to add:
Baby Potatoes – about half a packet – semi boiled because they will bake much faster and get nice and crispy in the dish. Yum.
Shallots- As many as you’d like really, today I’ve got two. Just make sure to chop them up into big chunks.
Lemon- Cut one lemon in half. Squeeze half over your veggies once they’re all chopped up because it gets rid of the onion/shallot smell that will inadvertently float around your home. Slice the rest of the lemon and toss them in your large baking pan.
Garlic- I just leave these in their skin – what happens is once they cook and you’re ready to help yourself to a serving, you can just smash them lightly with a fork and the roasted bit pops out. I don’t like peeling them because they remain quite hard once cooked.
Carrots- About two large organic ones. Chop them up into large, chunky pieces.
Don’t you just love my peeler? Uh-huh, I can actually sharpen my carrots.
Green beans- they taste sooooo good and crunchy with this dish.
Sweet potatoes- about half the packet. If you’re not as lazy as I was today, you can buy two small sized ones, peel, chop and add.
Rosemary springs and thyme- use as much as you want. Don’t you just love my lackadaisical instructions?
Salt and pepper to taste.
Organic gluten free hot dogs- I prefer to sauté these a bit first because I like them a tad crunchy in this dish. Add as many as your carnivore heart desires.
Olive oil or grape seed oil- I prefer olive. Baking blasphemy right?
Optional- You can add a little vegetable or chicken broth to this so that the veggies get a nice simmer. I just used a teeny bit of water.
Toss it all together and let it sit until you preheat the oven to about 400°F.
While we’re waiting, I feel like a salad. All you need is a fistful of spinach to put at the base of your plate, add baby tomatoes, olives, olive oil, Maldon sea salt, freshly ground pepper, a good balsamic and drizzle. This is so simple and so delicious if you have the right balsamic vinegar. I prefer ones that are from Modena, especially the aged, thick and syrupy varieties.
This olive oil is so delicious, I think I’m on my forth bottle now.
Chop up some baby tomatoes, the orange ones are especially tasty.
Don’t forget to add Maldon, it’s my fave sea salt. I put it in this pretty jar because, well, the lid was pink. VGG indeed.
Simply Organic is simply the best seasoning. There are no additives in here and I normally use it for a Greek salad but I truly enjoy the flavour it gives any dish.
Top the salad with some fresh basil. I just shredded some with my hands….et voila…a lovely little salad.
Once you’ve got your baking dish in the oven let it bake for around the 25-30 min mark. If you like your veggies slightly more crispy as I do, then leave it in longer. While that’s baking let me show you what I like to drink…
Above is a water goblet, I can’t tell you how many people do not know the difference between a wine glass and a water goblet. If one more person says to me, oh you’re giving me water in a wine glass, you are never coming over again. Basically, the mouth and circumference are a lot wider than the average wine glass. Hence the name goblet. What I’m making here is a nice, sugar free, sparkling cranberry lemon juice. It’s quite delicious but I like this cold because it can tend to taste a bit gross when it’s warm. From what I know you’re supposed to dilute one part cran and four parts water but I tend not to follow instructions. Shocking. I use lemon Perrier, fresh lemon and organic cranberry juice. So good.
Ok, time to get my dish out of the oven…
So there you have it, my weird yet oddly simple meal. You can pretty much put anything in here. I used to add brussels sprouts which I’ve gone off for the moment with carrots and parsnips. You can bake a chicken breast, add sausages, there’s so much you can do. If I have veggies that are sitting in the fridge I either juice them or make a bake. It’s hearty, simple and the leftovers are even better the next day.
I just have to say that this NEST candle smells like authentic, fresh pine and made the evening so cozy after a good meal.
If you’ve never made this baked dish, give it a try and email me a photo of your version of it. It’s so guilt free and filling at the same time. You’re probably reading this on Wednesday and that means I’ll be digging into the delicious leftovers! Happy hump-day everyone.