HA! It's been a while. A busy one, and full of changes, doubts, even regrets. A time to refocus, ask many, many questions, struggle with being an everyday daughter and worker. All the work is coming to life, and I hope to share the news here soon.
I have to come clean: cooking wasn't a tempting pastime in the past weeks, even though I got all of those beautiful books for my birthday in August, even though early autumn brings my favourite produce. I haven't touched my camera since early September, and there are still holiday photos on it, waiting to be developed. It's routine to see snow on the 1st of November here in Poland, so maybe I'll get to it then to evoke some gratitude regarding temperatures - of course zero is better than forty when it comes to degrees!
The other day my mom and I wandered into an old building housing a thrift shop, where the air was thick with dust and lights hardly worked, where arrays of old plates and cups were set on the floor for customers (visitors? the shop had a ring of a museum to it) to look through, undisturbed and unattained by staff. They have stands like that in London, and there is all the hype about them, and there's people instagramming info boards saying weirdo things like: 'the price of a tray is 1/2 its length' or 'i'll buy a red fox fur, head and paws necessary'. Comes out Bytom, Poland (inhabitants: 175 377) is not worse! We bought those little glass cake plates, and I found the tinies tea pot in brown clay; I made tea in it two days ago and haven't seen it since (not a sip of the tea, either). Those tiny glass plates, set out on our black kitchen counter, in the warm sunlight of late October, looked so good I just had to show them off. It's always the small things, right? ;)
I've mentioned that the bounty of early fall is my favourite - it is just perfect given my forgetfulness, as squashes stay good for many weeks, as do properly stored beets, parsnips, or carrots. I do love chanterelles and aubergines, but they go bad before I remember to put them in the fridge! Post-September cooking is basically pantry cooking, with the most beautiful colours courtesy of ruby-like beetroots and all the vivid orange. This salad is something I used to make all the time last year, to the extent where my flatmate wanted to kill me just at the smell of roasted carrots. And the knife in the photos is there because it's so pretty, but also because the squash is so soft you just want to spread it on bread like butter. Anna Jones makes a similar panzanella, which is styled so beautifully in her first book I peaked while shooting this.
Salad of Roasted Roots
(with extra vegetables for the rest of the week)
4 medium beets
2 springs rosemary
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
a dash of olive oil
salt and pepper
6 large carrots
4 medium onions
1 hokkaido pumpkin
a dash of olive oil
a handful of mixed, toasted seeds
leaves of sage, mint, or springs of dill
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, not too fine
1 tbsp water
optionally, just because I found them in the garden: a handful of raspberries
Preheat the oven to 200*C.
Peel and quarter the beets, place them in a deep roasting dish along with the rosemary, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Toss to mix, then cover with foil and pop into the oven for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, peel the carrots and slice them in half lengthwise. Peel the onions and cut them into sixths. Clean the skin of pumpkin of grey/beige dirty bits, then halve, clean of seeds (you can clean them and roast in the oven for 20 mins and snack on later in the week), and cut into 1,5cm slices. Place all of the vegetables on a tray - it will be crammed, but that's how everything becomes sticky and sweet. Add a dash of olive oil, toss with your hands, than add to the beets after they've had the 10 minutes, and roast everything for another 30-40, keeping an eye on things so they don't burn.
In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients.
To serve the salad, lay out the carrots (using a fork is best) on a large serving tray, thin ends out. Use as many as fit, and leave the rest for weeknight salads. Follow by beets, then half of the seeds, the squash, the rest of the seeds, then dressing, then herbs. Serve with cooked barley or crunchy bread and some more olive oil on the side.