It is the return of #beetrootgate…. It has been a while – maybe a bit too much. The recipe is from Mafalda Pinto Leite, who as of late has been working on a healthy recipes withe healthy ingredients and healthy cooking methods. Sometimes, like this barley salad, with delicious results. A very good salad for the Summer, refreshing and comforting at the same time.
Barley, beetroot and feta salad (adapted from Mafalda Pinto Leite’s blog Dias com Mafalda)
1 cup of barley
1/3 cups of toasted sun flower seeds
1 small beetroot
1 grated carrot
50g of grated feta cheese
1 crushed garlic clove
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of lemon
1/3 cup of lemon
¼ cup of torn basil leaves
Cook the barley according to the instructions on the packet, until it is tender. Cool down with cold water and drain. Reserve.
For the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Alternatively, just put them all in closed bottle and shake.
To serve, put the barley in a salad bowl and mix with all the vegetables and cheese. Add the dressing, salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
Beetroots again! It has been while – but here they are again… #Beetrootgate proceeds with a lovely salad of contrasting flavours and different textures. Add a bit of feta cheese for a full meal, perfect for a lunch box.
Beetroot, apple and walnuts salad with yoghurt and cumin seeds dressing (adapted from Dave Myers and Si King’s The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight)
- 2 medium cooked beetroots (not pickled), cut into small cubes
- 20g blanched hazelnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 2 chicory heads, trimmed.
- 2 red apples, like gala
- 1/2 small red onion
- small handful of fresh mint leaves
- small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
- 150g of low fat yoghurt
- the juice and the zest of 1/2 lemon
- 2 teaspoon of runny honey
Slip the beetroots out of their skins. Cut them into wedges and then into cubes
Roughly chop the hazelnuts on a board. Tip them into a colander and give it a good shake until get rid of all the small powdery bits. Reserve the big chunky ones.
Scatter the nuts into a non-stick frying pan and toast over a medium-high heat for about 5min or until lightly browned, turning them as they cook. Add the cumin seeds and toast together for about 1-2min. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl.
Cut each head of chicory lengthways into 6 thin wedges and put them in a salad bowl; alternatively you can separate the some leaves. Cut the apple into quarters, remove the core and the slice the apple quarters fairly thinly. Peel and finely slice the onion. Roughly chop the mint and parsley leaves.
Lightly toss the chicory, apple, onion, hazelnuts, cumin seeds and herbs together. Scatter the beetroot on top of the salad and mix gently. Scatter around the dressing to taste
This #beetrootgate episode is long overdue… It has been almost a month I posted a beetroot dish, a spread turned into a creamy soup. Truth to be said, actually never managed to get the right consistency. After trying a couple of times, I ended up doing this beetroot and walnut hummus instead. Well, technically this isn’t exactly a hummus, as there are no chickpeas in this dish, but its colour and flavour compensate for this culinary liberty. It is a brilliant recipe, almost foolproof, with the earthy sweet flavour of the beetroot combining to perfection to the crunchy nuts and slightly tangy tahini. I had to hide it in the fridge before I ate it all, one spoon at a time.
- 50g walnuts
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 25g stale bread, crusts removed
- 200g cooked beetroot (not pickled), cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toast the walnuts in a stove at 180 oC for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Leave to cool.
In a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and dry-fry them, shaking the pan almost constantly to avoid burning, until they start to sizzle. Crush the seeds with a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder.
Break the bread into small chunks, put in a food processor or blender with the walnuts and blitz until fine. Add the beetroot, tahini, most of the garlic, a good pinch of the cumin, half the lemon juice, a little salt and a good grind of pepper, then blend to a thick paste.
Adjust it by adding a little more cumin, garlic, lemon, salt and/or pepper, blending again until you are happy with it. Loosen with a dash of oil if you think it needs it.
Serve at room temperature
“So, Burntsugar…”, said B. “How do you make this soup?”. “Well, it is not too difficult.”, I answered. “You pick a spread recipe from last Ottolenghi’s book, then decide to use boiled beetroot instead of roasted and finally get a watery yoghurt instead of a drained one.” B. looked a bit worried, but proceeded to eat its portion and lick the bowl as this had been a perfectly executed dish. Truth to be said, what could have been a really bad day in the kitchen, ended up with a delicate and colourful dish much to the delight of my
mobile calorie intake units guests. On the next episode of beetrootgate…
- 500g cooked beetroot (pay attention not to pull the vinegary ones from the shelf)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 small red chilli
- 250g yoghurt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon maple sirup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon za’atar
- salt to taste
- 2 spring onions thinly sliced
- 15g toasted hazelnuts, roughly crushed
- 60g of soft goats cheese, crumbled
Peel the beetroot and cut it in chunks
Place the beetroot, garlic, chill and yoghurt in a food processor. Blend it until you obtain a smooth paste.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in in the maple sirup, olive oil and za’atar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Transfer into small serving bowls (or glasses) and scatter the spring onion, hazelnut and cheese.
Serve at room temperature.
… And we are back to a quasi-Winter weather. While it was meant to brighten any Winter table, it ended up being yet another post of protest against this atrocious Spring.
In any case, after Christmas #beetrootgate , I actually didn’t gave up on cooking them… It sort of become an unavoidable ingredient. It is colourful and sweet and packed with earthy flavours… how could you not want to cook it? Specially when you bump into its 10 best recipes, one of them by the latest foodie TV stars, The Fabulous Baker Brothers? It was worthwhile taking the risk of tarte tatin – the dish was delicious.
Beetroot tarte tatin with goat cheese (adapted from a Fabulous Baker Brother’s recipes found in The Guardian’s The 10 best beetroot recipes)
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 40g butter
- A splash of sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 7 thyme sprigs
- 4 fresh beetroot, cooked
- 250g puff pastry
- 4 slices of goat’s cheese
- Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Place a smallish, heavy, oven-safe frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sugar to the pan and stir until it dissolves, then add a big pinch of salt, all the butter and a splash of sherry vinegar. Keep stirring until it has turned mahogany brown. It’s a good idea to use oven gloves to protect your hands. Take care not to let the sugar burn.
Add 1 tbsp honey to the pan. Pick the thyme leaves from 6 stalks and add them too. Remove from the heat and stir. Place a long sprig of thyme on top of the caramel for decoration.
Cut the cooked beetroot into nice fat slices and carefully (so you don’t burn your fingers) arrange all the slices on top of the caramel, working from the edge to the centre in a spiral pattern. Season with salt and pepper.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry so it’s big enough to cover the beetroot, then place it on top, tucking the edges down into the pan. Put the whole lot into the oven for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
Wearing oven gloves, place an upturned plate over the frying pan (it should be bigger than the pan) and, holding the two together, flip the lot over. Leave it for 30 seconds to let the caramel mostly fall from the pan on to the plate, then slowly lift the pan.
Serve by the wedge while still warm, with a disk of goat’s cheese on top and, if you fancy, a drizzle of honey.
In the aftermath of #beetrootgate, beetroot brownies… A slightly less guilty pleasure, with a rich and velvety texture. Truth to be said, I like this version better than the 100% chocolaty thing.
Chocolate and beetroot brownies (adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall ‘s River Cottage Everyday)
- 250g of unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), broken into pieces
- 3 medium eggs
- 250g caster sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 150g whole meal flower
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder (or according to instructions in the package)
- 250g of beetroot, boiled until tender then peeled and grated.
Set the oven to 180oC
Grease a baking tray, and cover the bottom with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate and the butter in a bain marie. If you don’t have a proper double boiler (I don’t), just fit a metal bowl over a small saucepan filed with a few centimeter of water, making sure the bowl isn’t touching the water. Let the water boil, while mixing the butter and the chocolate until the mixture is well combined and glossy.
Whisk the eggs and the sugar until well combined. Then beat in the chocolate and butter until smooth.
Combine the flour with salt and baking powder. Sift them over the chocolate mix. Gently fold in with a wooden spoon.
Finally, fold in the grated beetroot, and keep on folding gently. Be careful not to over mix – otherwise you will get though brownies
Put the mixture in a tin and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake for 20-25min, or until a knife insert into the center come out slightly moisten or with a few crumbs attached.
Let it cool until you cut the squares.
I was not joking: here it goes #beetrootgate dish number 3. I tried this recipe once, out of one of favorite cookbooks long before I had a blog. As beetroots were pulling up in the fridge, it seemed like a good idea to try it again. And, it was as lovely as I remembered it, with lots of different flavors and textures. A perfect side dish for you winter roasts…
Roasted beetroot with chestnuts, roasted red onions and balsamic vinegar (adapted from Carlos Horrillo and Patrick Morcas’ Tapas: Simple Flavours, Striking Combinations)
- 3 large beetroots washed and cooked, sliced (pay attention not to pull the vinegary ones from the shelf)
- olive oil to taste vinegar to taste
- 3 red onions cut into quarter
- 8 roasted chestnuts, crushed with a mortar and pestle
- balsamic vinegar
- salt and black pepper to taste
Pre-heat your oven to 190oC/3750F/mark 5
Place the sliced beetroots* in a roasting tray, and drizzle them with a generous amount of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 25min. Reserve.
Put the quartered onions in a small roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place them at the bottom of the oven and roast for about 20min. Reserve.
When everything is ready, place a large heavy-based non stick frying pan on a medium heat and put in enough olive oil to coat the bottom. When is piping hot and begins to smoke, drop in half the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 min, until the beetroots start to get dark, stirring occasionally, Add half the roasted onions and dash of balsamic vinegar. Mix well, and add the half the chestnuts. Cook together another 3min. Reserve. Repeat whit what is left of the ingredients.
Just when the second batch is about to get ready, put in the reserved portion. Drizzle again with olive and let it cooked until everything is well mixed.
*If you cannot find cooked beetroots, cook them by bringing them to boil in a large pan with salt and water and bring them to simmer for about 3h. After allowing them to cool, peel of the skins.
And we here go: #beetrootgate dish number 2. Truth to be said, T. found the recipe and executed it with no fault. Don’t let the unusual combination of flavors stop you to try this soup. In fact, it is delicious. Ideal to serve as an appetizer or for brunch.
Beetroot soup with tarragon yogurt ice cubes (adapted from BBC Goodfood)
For the soup
- 3 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 75ml red wine
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1l vegetable stock
- 500g cooked beetroot , unvinegared, roughly chopped
For the yogurt ice cubes
- 500g pot natural yogurt
- small bunch tarragon
For the yogurt ice cubes
To make the ice cubes, mix the yogurt with a handful of chopped tarragon leaves
Half-fill ice cube trays
Cover with cling film and freeze overnight.
For the soup
Put the onions and sugar in a saucepan, cover with a lid, then cook over moderate heat for 10 mins, shaking the pan from time to time.
Pour in the wine and vinegar and bubble away until syrupy.
Now pour in the stock, add the beetroot and a handful of tarragon leaves. Bring to the boil, then cook for 15 mins.
Blend the soup until smooth
Season with lots of black pepper
Serve hot with a yogurt ice cube on top
The moment I saw this Yotam Ottonlenghi’s alternative Christmas menu, I knew I had to do it. It didn’t take too long to convince three
mobile calorie intake units friends to join me in cooking duck for the first time in years this journey. Lucky ladies – it was probably the best meal I cooked this year… As usual, Yotam instructions were so precise that even duck seems easy to cook.
What I could not anticipate was the several dishes of beetroot which followed this one. After an unfortunate chain of events, otherwise known as #beetrootgate, I ended up with a lot – and when I say a lot I really mean a lot – of beetroot in the fridge. Enough to keep this blog busy for the next couple of weeks…
A big thank you to T., my suffering sous-chef for this menu.
Sweet spiced duck breast with beetroot and ginger relish (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian)
For the duck
- 4 duck breasts, 800g in total
- 1 tsp ground star anise
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp sunflower oil
- Salt and black pepper
For the beetroot relish
- 6 medium beetroots, peeled and sliced 1mm thick
- 300ml red-wine vinegar
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 tsp flaked chilli, or more if you like it spicy
- 15g peeled ginger, finely grated
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 Sichuan peppercorns
Score the duck breasts in three or four parallel lines on an angle across the skin, taking care not to cut through to the meat. Place them in a medium-sized bowl and add the star anise, cloves and oil. Rub the spices into the duck so the breasts are well covered, cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour or two.
Meanwhile, make the relish. Mix all the ingredients in a large saucepan and add a teaspoon and a half of salt. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beetroot becomes tender, the liquid thick and all but reduced entirely. Remove from the heat and set aside somewhere warm.
Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6, and heat a large, heavy-based frying pan on medium heat. Add half a teaspoon of salt and a quarter-teaspoon of black pepper to the duck breast bowl and mix well. Place the breasts skin side down into the hot pan – you won’t need any oil because of the amount of fat in the duck skin – and cook for four to five minutes, regularly spooning out the fat that’s released into the pan. If the skin is getting too dark too quick, lower the heat a little.
Once the skin is a dark golden-brown and crisp, turn over the breasts and sear on the flesh side for three minutes.
Transfer the breasts to a baking tray and finish cooking in the oven for about three minutes, until cooked to medium. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for five minutes.
To serve, slice the breasts on an angle and lay on a plate. Spoon some beetroot relish on to each breast and pour over a little of the syrup. Scatter a few thyme leaves on top and serve immediately
Every now and again, I find a dish that I like so much I do it over and over and over again. Like, for example, the Russian egg salad. Or, this cauliflower soup. And, let’s not even mention the whole #beetrootgate affair. This is one of those dishes, which has become one of the staples of last Winter (and Spring… and even Summer). It is just divine with smoked trout, baked salmon, cold cuts… And all this for less than 250 calories for a reasonable sized portion. Really, what not to like this salad?
Fennel orange salad with harissa dressing (adapted from Dave Myers and Si King’s The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight)
- 2 medium size fennel bulbs, trimmed, woody central core part removed and thinly sliced
- 2-3 oranges peeled (white parts out) and cut into 5cm chunks.
- 1/2 radicchio washed and thinly sliced (escarole or endive also will also works well)
- About 20 roasted salted almost slightly crushed with a mortar
- Handfull of raisins or sultanas (or a mix of both).
For the harissa dressing
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 white wine vinegar
- 1 pinch ground coriander
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Place the sliced fennel in a salad bowl. Carefully remove the white bitter parts of the orange and slice the oranges to divide flesh sections. Add to the bowl Crush the roasted salted almonds with a mortar and tip in the bowl. Add the sliced radicchio In a small bowl whisk well the harissa, honey, coriander and white wine vinegar. Pour in the olive oil in a very thin stream (spoon by spoon), beating all the while. The sauce is ready when it you obtain a glossy, slightly thick mixture. Drizzle the harissa dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.