Roast vegetables take on a fruity flavour

A FEW weeks ago I wrote about how well the flavour of a good pear is complemented by so many tasty foods.

The heavy concentrations of natural sugars in many winter vegetables go beautifully with my favourite fruit.

It may sound like an odd combination, but this week’s recipe of roasted winter vegetables tossed with roasted pear, blue cheese and toasted hazelnuts is a sublime mix of sweet and sharp flavours.

The tangy saltiness of the blue cheese – you can use fetta if you prefer – is boosted by the addition of a little mellow balsamic vinegar, and the toasted hazelnuts add texture and crunch.

This dish is good enough to be served on its own, or it can be a side dish for roasted or grilled meat.

I have used a combination of butternut pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, parsnips and onion along with the pear wedges, but feel free to experiment.

Sweet potato or beetroot would also be suitable, as would turnips or swedes.

You could throw a few whole peeled garlic cloves in for variety, or substitute macadamias,! almonds or pine nuts for the hazelnuts.

When toasting nuts, do be careful; no matter what the! variety, they all have a high fat content and will burn in a heartbeat if you don’t watch them like a hawk.

You can spread them on baking paper on a baking tray and roast them in the oven, or put them in a non-stick frypan (and take the opportunity to toss the pan around like chefs do to stop the nuts catching).

Remember the baking tray or frypan will retain heat even after you remove it from the flame, so aim for a pale gold and the nuts will deepen in colour as the metal cools.

There’s nothing you can do to disguise the taste of scorched nuts, so don’t turn your back for a second; if they burn you’ll have to pitch them and start again.


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