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Recipes of the Month - Winter Dinner Veggies

Perfect roast tatties
Serves: 6

1.1kg (2lb 4oz) medium-sized roasting potatoes such as Roosters or Maris Piper
115g (4oz) goose fat, beef dripping or lard or 6 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 Preheat the oven to 200 c(400 F, gas 6). Peel the potatoes thinly and cut into even-sized pieces (you can leave smaller ones whole).

2. Place in a saucepan and barely cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Drain well and allow to dry in the colander or sieve for about 10 minutes. Return to the saucepan, cover, and then shake the pan to ‘rough up’ the edges of the potatoes.

3. Heat the goose fat, dripping, lard or oil in a shallow sided roasting tin for 3-4 minutes until very hot and carefully add the potatoes, tossing them in the hot fat to coat. Bake in the oven for about 40-50 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp all over. Drain and serve immediately.

Spiced sweet potatoes and carrots
Serves: 6

900g (2lb) sweet potatoes
450g (1lb) carrots
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
A few sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F, Gas 6). Peel the potatoes and cut them into pieces about 2cm (3/4 inch) thick Peel the carrots and cut into pieces slightly thinner than the potatoes - carrots are more densely textured than potatoes and so take longer to cook. Put the carrots and potatoes in a large mixing bowl and mix in the olive oil and garlic to thoroughly coat. Transfer to a shallow roasting tin.

2. Lightly crush the seeds with a pestle and mortar, or place them in a small bowl and crush them with the end of a rolling pin.

3. Sprinkle the crushed spices over the vegetables, scatter with a few sprigs rosemary, and season with coarse salt and pepper. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, turning occasionally, or until golden and tender. Drain and serve.

You can use scrubbed baby potatoes instead of sweet potatoes if prefer - just cut them in half or quarters as necessary. Parsnips can be used instead as well.

Pan-cooked parsnips with bacon
Serves 6

675g (1 1/2lb) parsnips
1 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
150g (5oz) rindless smoked streaky bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

1. Peel the parsnips and cut bite-sized into pieces about 2cm (3/4inch) thick. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook in the boiling water the parsnips for 4 minutes to half cook. Drain well and leave aside in a colander or sieve to dry.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes to soften. Add the sugar and raise the heat, cook, stirring, for 4 - 5 minutes until richly golden and caramelised. Set aside.

3. In a large frying pan, dry fry the bacon until the juices and fat begin to run. Add the parsnips and onion mixture and stir well to coat the parsnip in the cooking juices. Cover, and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until the parsnips are tender. Serve immediately sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Wilted green beans with balsamic vinegar and honey
Serves: 6

675g (1 1/2lb) thin green beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon clear honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
300g (10oz) cherry tomatoes on the vine

1. Top and tail the beans, and cut in half. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and stir fry the onion and beans for 5 minutes until just tender.

2. Add the vinegar, honey and plenty of seasoning, and stir fry for a further minute.

3. Preheat the grill to its hottest setting. Place the tomatoes in the grill tray and cook for 2 - 3 minutes until the tomatoes have split and slightly charred.

4. To serve, pile the beans and pan juices into a warmed shallow serving dish and top with the grilled tomatoes.

Stir fried cabbage, Brussels sprouts and leek with orange
Serves: 4

350g (12oz) Brussels sprouts
350g (12oz) Savoy cabbage
1 medium leek
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Trim the Brussels sprouts and shred them finely. Discard any outer damaged leaves from the cabbage; slice out the central core and then shred the leaves very finely. Trim the leek and cut in half lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water to flush out any trapped earth. Shake to remove excess water and then slice very thinly.

2. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and stir fry the the leek, Brussels and cabbage for about a minute.

3. Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir fry over a high heat for 3 - 4 minutes until just tender. Remove from the heat, and stir in the orange juice and rind, and season to taste. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower and broccoli cheese bake
Serves: 8

2 x 36g packets bread sauce mix
approx. 600ml (1 pint) milk
675g (1 1/2lb) cauliflower
675g (1 1/2lb) broccoli
4 tablespoons dry white breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
60g (2oz) butter
Freshly snipped chives to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 220 C (425 F, Gas 7). Make the bread sauce mixture up with sufficient milk, according to the packet instructions. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, trim the cauliflower and broccoli and cut into small pieces. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the cauliflower and broccoli, covered, for 6 - 7 minutes until tender. Drain well and mash with a potato masher, or use a fork. If you want a smooth texture, blitz in a food processor for a few seconds.

3. Transfer the cauliflower and broccoli to a mixing bowl and stir in the bread sauce. Pile into an ovenproof baking dish, and smooth the surface.

4. Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese, and sprinkle over the top. Dot with butter, cover with foil and place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes, until hot and golden. Garnish and serve as an accompaniment to the turkey.

To save time on the day, this dish can be made the day before: proceed up to the end of step 4. Allow to cool and chill, covered until required, then continue as above. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month. Remember to take out the day before it is needed to ensure it is thoroughly defrosted.

Recipes by Kathryn Hawkins, freelance cookery writer and home economist, and proprietor of Kingarth Guest House, Crieff -

Kingarth Guest House