From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
1 small butternut squash (peeled, halved and seeds scooped out)
1 red pepper (core and seeds removed)
1 courgette (topped and tailed)
1 fennel bulb (first outer layer removed)
1 red onion (cut into thin wedges through the root)
3 tblsp olive oil
1 bunch asparagus (trimmed)
400 g can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
175 g feta cheese
25 g wild rocket
for the cumin and lemon dressing:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
1 tblsp chopped fresh coriander
3 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
The trick to roasting vegetables is not to overcrowd the roasting tin - it should be large enough so that the vegetables can be spread out in a thin layer. Ensure that you turn them every now and then during roasting so that they brown evenly.
Red onion and rosemary focaccia, to serve
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7).
Cut the butternut squash, red pepper, courgette and fennel into small chunky pieces and put into a large roasting tin with the red onion, oil and season to taste.
Toss together until evenly combined and then spread out in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the asparagus stalks in half crossways and make the cumin and lemon dressing.
For the Cumin and Lemon Dressing:
Heat a dry frying pan over a high heat, add the cumin seeds and shake them around for a few seconds until lightly toasted.
Tip into a pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.
Tip into a bowl, add the lemon juice and gradually whisk in the oil.
Season to taste, stir in the coriander and set aside.
Add the asparagus to the roasting tin, turn everything over a few times and roast for another 20 minutes until all of the vegetables are just tender and slightly caramelised around the edges.
Shortly before the roasted vegetables are ready, drop the chickpeas into a small pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 3 minutes until heated through. Drain well.
Remove the vegetables from the oven. Quickly whisk the dressing again briefly, then mix into the roasted vegetables with the chickpeas. Season to taste.
Leave to cool a little, then arrange on plates and crumble over the feta cheese. Scatter the rocket leaves on top and serve with some red onion and rosemary focaccia.