December 17th 2018

Whenever I eat root vegetables, I'm always reminded of my father and the happy memories growing up in the North East of England. My parents moved from their council house in Arkwright Street, Gateshead. To a brand new home in Eighton Banks when I was only 4 years old. My parents, were the first in our family to actually own their own home. In those days virtually everyone rented their house from the local government, hence the name "council house". One of the reasons my parents bought the house at the time, was it came with a huge garden. 70 foot long by 30 foot wide. My father was a very keen gardener at the time.

He had his name down for years for a council allotment (land owned by the government, made available to individuals to grow noncommercial fruits and vegetables). Unfortunately he never did get the opportunity of having his own allotment. But boy did he work the soil in his own garden. Before my dad planted his first crop of vegetables, he sieved, and yes, I mean, he sieved by hand the entire garden. Removing every stone, large and small from the soil, this in itself took a full year to complete. Every spare moment when my father was not working at "Vickers", he'd be in "his garden".

Then came tons of manure from the local farm, a mile down the road - horse manure, nothing but the best for my dad's garden. I do have to say it never pleased my mother, as the "Shite" as we say in Newcastle, was always dumped on the front drive, steaming and smelling, as it was so fresh. My mother being the house proud wife, was always concerned that the neighbors might be offended by the huge mound of shite and the smell. I remember the days helping my dad with Michael and Julie filling the wheel barrow with the fresh manure, moving it from the front of the house to the back of the house, then spreading in over the soil. But the end result was well worth it, my dad won so many first place trophies at garden shows around the area. He definitely praised the soil for his success with his crops of leeks and tomatoes. We also benefited greatly as a food source for the family throughout the year. My father followed the growing seasons, we would have everything you could think of during the year from potatoes, turnips and Brussel sprouts in the winter months to sweet peas and carrots in the spring. To lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, apples and grapes in the summer and fall. Helping my dad in the garden over 40 years ago definitely turned me into the chef I am today, as I still garden myself. It might only be a patch 15 foot by 5 foot, but it's amazing the produce you can grow.

So back to this recipe, I've taken a selection of fall veggies, roasted them in the oven. Then brushed them with local honey and turmeric to add a sweet and spicy finish to some beautiful home grown vegetables. Enjoy!
By the way my sister Julie now lives in my parents' house, her son Craig looks after the garden. It's so nice to keep things in the family.

Turmeric Honey Roasted vegetables
Serves 8 to 10

1lb Small carrots, washed and cut in half lengthways
1lb Small parsnips, washed and cut in half lengthways
1lb Small beets, washed and cut into quarters
1 bunch radishes, washed and cut into halves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh thyme sprigs
Honey Turmeric Glaze
3 Tablespoons of local honey
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 425F.
How to make;

Toss all the vegetables with a coating of extra virgin olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Spread the vegetables onto a baking sheet in one, even layer. Scatter the sprigs of thyme on top of the vegetables. Roast for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together the honey, turmeric and cumin. After 25 minutes of roasting, remove the vegetables from the oven. Drizzle them with ¾ of the honey turmeric glaze. Roast for another 5 minutes.
To serve the roasted vegetables place on a large warm plate with a drizzle of the remaining honey turmeric glaze and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.


Chef Mark .

Copyright © 2018 Mark Allison