The ceremony and trepidation caused by the humble Sunday lunch makes me smile. It’s so unnecessary to be fearful of something so wonderful, so English and so delicious. What its ease relies upon is understanding which of two rewarding paths you want to walk. Is it the one which creates togetherness and connection through the food, or is the the one which releases you to do something else entirely without compromising the most celebratory and special meal of the week? Either way these roasted vegetables will be a welcome addition to any Sunday lunch.
The sun is shining after an interminable period of rain. Staring up into the bright blue sky yesterday I hung the washing out only to to be drenched half an hour later when I was frantically unpegging the sodden garments and seizing them from yet another violent summer shower. So today there are plants to pot on, washing to dry, papers to read. I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen but I do want to experience the delightful waft of lunch cooking as I am elbow deep in potting compost just outside.
Roasting a joint of meat is a doddle. Slather it with some olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and some herbs and off it goes into the oven for the required duration. It’s the rest of the plate which seems to cause us so much angst.
From the fridge and the garden I assemble a collection of roots. Onions, carrots, dark red beetroots. I thickly cut a couple of courgettes for no reason other than they need using and I enjoy their unctuousness when giving long slow cooking. Thrown together in a shallow roasting tin and adorned with some glugs of olive oil, a shake or two of balsamic vinegar, a few bay leaves, some thyme, cloves of garlic still in their papery jackets and a good seasoning, there is nothing more to do. It took barely ten minutes to prepare and, given 45 minutes in the oven at a moderate heat, I will have a plethora of vegetables to eat with the roast without so much as breaking into a trot. (You could add potatoes if you wanted, but I’m simmering some Pinto beans in water with another bay leaf by way of a change)
I might steam a handful of black cabbage from the garden just for a bit of contrast but that’s it. A beautiful Sunday lunch which has all but cooked itself.
I’m off into the garden. All the rain has given me a slug problem which I have more than enough time to address.