Roots, Shoots & Leaves, by Bernadette le Roux
From everyday greens to more forgotten heirloom varieties, Bernadette le Roux' cookbook Roots, Shoots & Leaves celebrates vegetables in a range of delicious, straightforward dishes.
I have a deep-seated love of vegetables that stems from a childhood spent on a farm in the Great Karoo where summers were fierce with endless dusty days and hot, restless nights. One would think that nothing grows in the desert. But this couldn't be further from the truth. An underground spring fed a rambling vegetable garden and vast orchard that produced all manner of greens, from spinach and chard to delicate lettuces and fragrant herbs. Yes, there was meat - and lots of it. I come from a long line of sheep farmers producing the very best Karoo lamb, but mealtimes consisted of at least five side dishes: honey-roasted pumpkin, sticky and slightly blackened at the edges; the simplest plate of steamed green beans with a knob of melting butter; crimson orbs of beetroot under a velvet blanket of bechamel; freshly podded garden peas; baby gems with a whisper of nutmeg; rounds of aubergine dusted in flour and shallow-fried until golden and crisp. Even though the side dish still holds pride of place at any mealtime, vegetables have become stars in their own right and are no longer simply seen as an accompaniment. Consider a delicate twice-baked cauliflower souffle with sharp cheese and snipped chives as a starter; steamed asparagus in a light and fluffy crepe with scrambled eggs and Hollandaise for brunch; a warming bowl of pasta with tenderstem broccoli tips, gorgonzola and walnuts on a cold winter's night. With an ever-increasing number of people caring about where the food on their plate comes from, there's the growing trend to eat more vegetables and even to grow your own. I'm not a vegetarian by any means. But it's become too easy in this busy life to grill a piece of meat, toss a salad and call it supper. The point of this book is to get more creative with meatless menus and to try more unusual varieties of vegetables - even if it means you have to grow your own. It doesn't have to be complicated, but using the freshest ingredients you can find makes all the difference. In these pages you'll find recipes that honour a host of vegetables from the humble spud to the more forgotten varieties such as salsify and celeriac, as well as best-loved greens such as spring asparagus, globe artichokes and tender baby spinach. This is a book for people who are passionate about produce - whether you're a vegetarian or not. A book that celebrates vegetables.
Example from Bernadette le Roux' cookbook Roots, Shoots & Leaves:
Ultimate Grilled Vegetable Sandwich
This is a sandwich we served at Cafe Roux for years. When I tried to take it off the menu there was an outcry from the locals who would come especially for it. It's a marriage of good ingredients that harmonise beautifully. (Great for using up left-over roast vegetables from Sunday lunch.)
Ingredients: mixed peppers, deseeded, cut into broad pieces aubergine, sliced into 1 cm rounds courgettes, sliced lengthwise salt and black pepper olive oil, for grilling beetroot, roasted, optional rocket ciabatta, sliced, buttered buffalo mozzarella, sliced basil pesto, to serve.
Place all the vegetables (except the beetroot) on an oven tray, season, drizzle with olive oil and place under the grill. Leave the oven door ajar by wedging in a wooden spoon. (This helps get rid of the steam, so your vegetables will be 'drier' than if you grilled them with the door closed.) Watch them closely and turn when they begin to colour. Remove from the oven when slightly golden and cooked through; after about 20 minutes. Place the mozzarella on the ciabatta and place under the grill until the cheese turns golden. Top with the grilled vegetables and roasted beetroot (if using), and place the rocket on top. Serve with some basil pesto on the side.
This is an excerpt from the cookbook: Roots, Shoots & Leaves, by Bernadette le Roux.
Title: Roots, Shoots & Leaves
Author: Bernadette Le Roux
Imprint: Sunbird Publishers Ltd
Publisher: Jonathan Ball
Cape Town / Johannesburg, South Africa, 2011
ISBN 9781920289591 / ISBN 978-1-920289-59-1
Hardcover, 21x25 cm, 192 pages, throughout colour photos
Le Roux, Bernadette im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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