My Latest Obsession: Roasting Stuff

I love cooking and I love having freshly cooked meals every evening but if I’m pressed for time (which I mostly am during the week because work) I often end up falling back on a fairly small list of dishes that I know I can whip up quickly. Stir fries, pasta dishes and one pot quick stews abound. All fine but it was getting a bit boring. We recently made a change from being full on carnivores to only eating meat on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening. That slimmed an already fairly strained repertoire down even further and I starting hunting for inspiration.

Enter Rukmini Iyer.

You’ve probably heard of her recipe books by now but, if you haven’t, she now has three books out: The Roasting Tin, The Green Roasting Tin and, as of last week, The Quick Roasting Tin.

I’m in love. The concept is super simple – all three books are full of dishes that you can roast in the oven in one tin. You chop up a few ingredients or (at the most) roll out a bit of pre-made pastry, bung all your ingredients into a tin, pop said tin into the oven and then move on about your life for however long it takes for your magical tin of goodness to be done. GENIUS.

The original The Roasting Tin includes a range of meat, fish and veggie dishes with some fruit and pudding dishes in there for good measure. There are quick roasts for mid-week treats and slower dishes for when you have more time at the weekend but maybe want to spend time with guests instead of stirring or just want to catch up on Netflix or a book while your dinner quietly cooks in the background. The real revelation for me in this one was orzo! Teeny tiny rice-shaped pasta that you can cook in the oven? The dream. The orzo with chilli and garlic roasted broccoli, lemon, parmesan and walnuts is delicious. On my ‘to cook SOON’ list is filipino-style garlic pork pot roast because it sounds divine and takes like 10 minutes to get into the oven and I bet would give killer leftovers.

When we shifted to being more-vegetarian-than-not, The Green Roasting Tin was a no-brainer. It has not disappointed. Half is vegan and half is vegetarian and each section is then split into quick, medium and slow cook recipes. There are all different kinds of curries in this one, which I’m a huge fan of. And oh my goodness the gratins! The leek and Puy lentil gratin with crunchy feta topping is out of this world. For a super quick mid-week treat (20 minutes from start to plate), there’s also an amazing lime and coriander mushrooms with pak choi and asparagus.

Now I may be speaking too soon given that I’ve only had it a few days but I think the latest arrival, The Quick Roasting Tin, might be my favourite one. All of the dishes take 10 minutes or less to prep and 30 minutes or less to roast. Perfect! The sections could have been written just for me: work night dinners, family favourites, make ahead lunchboxes, date night, feed a crowd, weekend cooking and sweets. I haven’t had chance to make anything from this one yet but I’m dying to try out the oven-baked nigella-spiced whole tomato dhal and the sesame crusted tuna with soy and ginger, courgettes and pak choi.

All of the ingredients lists are easy to find in even quite small supermarkets and the instructions are (as you might expect) really straight-forward. I’m obsessed. I can’t think of anyone who I wouldn’t recommend one of these to. I’ve already sent copies to members of my family.

Get yourself some roasting in your life!