‘Trick or treat, trick or treat: give us something nice to eat!’This should be the day we are all carving pumpkins and setting up stall for the evening’s trick-or-treaters. I’m not sure how much communal rooting around buckets of sweets there will be tonight, so instead, make this Halloween one where the pumpkins get cooked and sweetness comes in the form of roast root vegetables. I can’t give you a trick or a treat, but these recipes will definitely give you something nice to eat.
Yuca fries with pickled onions (pictured above)
Yuca (AKA cassava) is a starchy tubular root: it takes a bit of arm work and practice to peel, but it’s a quick process once you get the hang of it. The yuca flesh should be white, so if you see any black specks running through the skin, it’s past its prime. You can find yuca at West Indian markets and at some greengrocers. These fries are best eaten warm.
Prep 4 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4 as a snack
1kg yuca (aka cassava)
500ml sunflower oil, for frying
100g mayonnaise, to serve
For the pickled onions
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped (80g)
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
1 jalapeño, finely sliced, seeds and all (10g)
Make the pickled onions by putting all the ingredients and a quarter-teaspoon of salt in a small bowl and mixing well to combine. Leave to pickle for at least 30 minutes.
Cut the yuca into roughly 10cm lengths, trimming off the ends so they’re even. Make an indention across the length of each piece, then use a knife to slide between the skin and the flesh, discarding the brown skins and pink layer encasing the white flesh. Halve lengthways, then cut away and discard the fibrous inner root (it looks a bit like a twig). Finally, cut each half into six wedges.
Add the yuca and a tablespoon of salt to a large saucepan and pour over enough water to cover by about 3cm. Bring to a boil on a medium-high heat, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and leave to cook for about eight to 10 minutes, or until softened and cooked through. Drain through a sieve and leave to drain thoroughly – about 10 minutes.
Heat the sunflower oil in a medium saute pan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, fry the yuca in about three to four batches, until golden and crispy, about six minutes per batch. Transfer to a tray lined with absorbent paper and sprinkle lightly with salt while you continue with the rest.
Pile the yuca on to a large plate and top with the pickled onion, serving the mayonnaise to dip alongside.
Root vegetables with harissa chickpeas, tahini yoghurt and dukkah
This dish was born out of a fridge clean-out, and is a great way to use up whatever root vegetables you have. Whatever your combination, just keep the total net weight the same. Serve this as a veggie main, along with a simple salad.
Prep 8-10 min
Cook 60 min
½ celeriac (400g), peeled and cut into 6 wedges (350g)
2 baking potatoes, skin-on, each cut into 8 wedges (500g)
½ small kabocha or crown prince pumpkin, skin-on, seeds removed and cut into 6 wedges (500g)
2 tbsp tomato paste
75ml olive oil
500ml chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained (240g)
1½ tbsp rose harissa
10g dill leaves, roughly chopped
3 tbsp dukkah, shop-bought or homemade
For the tahini yoghurt
115g Greek-style yoghurt
2½ tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Salt and black pepper
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Add the root vegetables, tomato paste, two tablespoons of oil, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper to a large roasting tin roughly 38cm x 26cm, and toss everything together to combine. Pour in the stock, then bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl toss together the chickpeas, harissa, two tablespoons of oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt and set aside.
When ready, spoon the chickpea mixture all over the vegetables and turn up the oven to 240C (220C fan)/450F/gas 9. Return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until everything is nicely coloured and the vegetables are well cooked. Set aside to cool slightly, for about 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, segment the whole lemon and roughly chop the segments. Transfer this and any juices collected (but not the pips) to a bowl along with the dill and remaining tablespoon of oil.
In a separate bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the tahini yoghurt with 55ml of water and a quarter-teaspoon of salt until smooth and pourable.
Spoon a good amount of the tahini-yoghurt over the vegetables followed by all of the dill mixture. Lastly, sprinkle over the dukkah and serve the remaining tahini yoghurt alongside.
Buttery roasted kohlrabi with lots of garlic and tomatoes
If you’re wary of the idea of cooked kohlrabi, this is the recipe to win you over. When roasted, kohlrabi becomes a wonderfully sweet and caramelised version of itself, and goes brilliantly with the tomatoes, chilli and garlic in this dish.
Prep 8 – 10 min
Cook 55 min
Serves 4 as a side
For the roasted kohlrabi
3 tbsp olive oil
60g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes
2 red chillies, roughly chopped, seeds and all
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
5g basil stalks
5g oregano sprigs
850g kohlrabi (about 2-3), peeled and cut into 2½cm squares (800g)
400g datterini (or regular) cherry tomatoes
Salt and black pepper
2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp double cream
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Heat the oven to 210C (190C fan)/gas 7. Add all the ingredients for the roasted kohlrabi to a large, 40cm x 38cm parchment-lined tray with one and a quarter teaspoons of salt and plenty of pepper, and mix very well.
Roast for 25 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 240C (220C fan)/gas 9, stir the vegetables well and continue to roast for 30 minutes, stirring again halfway through. Discard the herb stalks.
Transfer everything to a platter. Drizzle over the lime juice, then finish with the cream, oil and parsley and serve.