A selection of autumn vegetables doesn't have to be served just as an accompaniment. The varying flavours, textures and colours make a colourful and interesting starter. I've also used a few elderberries which I had stashed away in the freezer.
½ltr or so of vegetable stock
A sprig of thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 young or baby parsnips, topped and tailed and skin left on it, cleaned
1 small or ½ a head of cauliflower, cut into florets and the good leaves reserved
250g yellow squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2cm chunks
2 small or 1 medium-sized beetroot, cooked and peeled
3-4tbsp rapeseed oil
1tbsp cider vinegar
Bring the vegetable stock to the boil with the thyme and simmer the parsnips for 6-8 minutes until tender, then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.
Add the cauliflower and leaves to the stock and simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until tender, then remove from the stock and transfer to the plate with the parsnips.
Cook the squash for 5-6 minutes until tender, then drain and mix with the parsnips and cauliflower in a bowl, add the rapeseed oil and vinegar and season well.
Arrange the vegetables with the beetroot on one large or individual serving plates, scatter over the elderberries if using and any extra dressing.