|Recipe of the week...|
... Roasted Spring Veg Salad.
Ingredients: 1 baking potato (or a handful of baby potatoes), 80g pack of tenderstem broccoli, 110g pack of asparagus, half a dozen cubes of feta cheese, a drizzle of cooking oil, a drizzle of your favourite salad dressing, and salt and pepper.
Time taken: 40 mins-ish.
Serves: One big plateful.
As I write, it’s May 2017, and it’s the day after the attack on the MEN Arena in Manchester. So far, 22 people have died and over 50 are injured, as a result of the attack. We’re beginning to learn the names and hear the stories of those who have lost their lives. In the words of Chris Upton, head teacher at a school attended by an eight year old victim, "The thought that anyone could go out to a concert and not come home is heartbreaking.”
In November 2015, at the time when the attack on the Bataclan in Paris occurred, I had been merrily drinking in a bar. I found out the next morning and, as it was the weekend, I took my time the next day to contemplate the lives of those that had been lost. And the events of their deaths. I cried at my leisure, in private, and I lit a candle and watched the flame flicker. It felt as though everyone in the country as doing the same.
With last night’s attack on the MEN Arena in Manchester, again, I didn’t find out until the next morning. I went to bed early last night and was sleeping by the time news broke. When I woke up this morning and saw the alert on my phone, I was so terribly sad. And moved. Suddenly wide awake, reading in the news that so many people at that concert wouldn’t be waking up today. And yet it was a weekday. So, I had to be out the door within 30 minutes, and on a train half an hour later.
The attack has been sharing my thoughts all day, vying for attention alongside commute-related and work-related thinking. I’ve been tearful throughout the morning and then the afternoon, distracted, and checking for updates on the story. But it’s a strange thing to be busy and to be moved at the same time. You’re publically not-at-all-okay. This event isn’t something you can miss work for, as you aren’t involved in any way, but you feel involved.
Readers, I’m 22 years old. When 9/11 happened I was just seven, and when we had the London 7/7 attack I was eleven. On both occasions, I was at school at the time. I was among friends and being looked after by adults. I don’t remember the Cold War or the Balkan Wars or the IRA. The fall of the Berlin Wall or the Hillsborough disaster. I haven’t experienced these things, haven’t become used to them, and just feel terribly sad for everyone affected or killed during the attack in Manchester last night.
I love going to gigs and concerts and hate that anyone can lose their life at one. Senseless isn’t a word that I really use, but it seems right here. As the attack last night makes no sense to me. I think I will remember the feeling and the people from my commute this morning. People checking their phones for updates as they walked towards the station, gazing out at the world from the windows on the train, wiping away tears in the bus terminal.
My thoughts were and are still with anyone caught up in the events of last night. It’s a terrible thing to have happened, and I wish it hadn’t. Certainly, it’s moved me. And I hoped that it’s moved the people that could do something about terror attacks, so that this might not have to happen again in the future. In the meanwhile, I suppose we carry on. We try to do right. And try to help one another, like the people in Manchester did last night.
In the spirit of carrying on, and maybe hoping to lifting your spirits, I do have a recipe for you, readers. Perhaps this will give you something to take your mind off the events of last night, for a small while. This recipe is for a really simple, light evening meal. This requires only five ingredients and pays you back with 2 of your 5-a-day. I found it in Tesco’s May 2017 edition of their free magazine (entitled ‘The Healthy Issue’), on page 66, a recipe for Roasted Spring Veg Salad.
Want to give this a go? Here’s how it’s done in just ten simple steps…
Recipe: Roasted Spring Veg Salad
1. Shake away your cares, crack open a window and heat the oven to 200C.
2. Cut your potato up in bite-sized chunks and tip them into a baking dish.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: I used up a baking potato I had lingering in my cupboard, but I imagine you can use any kind of potato you like. How could this go wrong?
3. Drizzle with cooking oil and then stir about the dish until evenly coated.
4. Season with salt and pepper, then safely transport your potato into the oven to bake for quarter of an hour.
5. After 15 mins, safely take the potatoes out of the oven and add your broccoli and asparagus to the dish.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: I just chucked them in as they were, without chopping them up or prepping in any way. But, do whatever make you happy.
6. Drizzle a little more oil in there, and stir all the veg until they’re well mixed together and evenly coated in oil.
7. Crumble a small handful of feta cheese over the veg.
8. Return to the oven and leave to bake for another quarter of an hour.
9. When the veg and cheese have all browned, and look as though they’re good and cooked, then you can remove them from oven and turn this off.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: At this point, you may want to drain away any cooking oil left in the bottom of the dish, so that it doesn’t make it onto your plate.
10. Spoon everything out onto a dinner plate and drizzle with a splash of your favourite salad dressing (I used a balsamic vinaigrette). Now... tuck in!
And there you have it, readers. What do you think? Is this salad tasty, or what? And healthy, too! This is a dish that’s all about great big flavours, you’re making use of seasonal British vegetables, it looks fab on the plate and it fills you up… would anyone beg to differ? I’m a fan of this recipe, readers, and hope that it goes down a storm with you, too. Maybe give this a try, while we still have Spring to enjoy?
Mostly, readers, I hope that you’re okay. I hope you can reflect on the events of last night, as I am, but still feel the sun on your face today. Still attend concerts. Still remember all those things that are good in the world, and newly appreciate those people you hold dear.
In memory of those who lost their lives last night,