Beetroot Waldorf Salad

I got a juicing box this week but funnily enough it wasn’t a juice which first sprang to mind – it was a salad. A good old fashioned Waldolf Salad. Created at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1896 not by a chef but by the maître d’hôtel Oscar Tschirky, the Waldorf salad was an instant success and famously features in Fawlty Towers!

The original version of this salad contained only apples, celery and mayonnaise but beyond that no one seems to be able to agree. Some add lettuce, grapes or raisins, often walnuts and most recently the mayonnaise has sometimes been replaced with more healthy alternatives such as yoghurt. Since there are so many variations, I thought I might add my own rather unusual ingredient of beetroot and I thought it worked very well.

Beetroot Waldorf Salad

2 apples, cored and sliced

6 sticks of celery, chopped

2 beetroot, peeled and grated

A handful of walnuts, lightly toasted in the oven

6 Tbsp mayonnaise

Juice of half a lemon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Method

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir in the apple, celery and beetroot. Scatter with walnuts.

Kohlrabi, Apple and Beetroot Salad

Vinegar seems to be the latest thing. Not only is it fabulous for cleaning your house, but it turns out it is fabulous for you too. Whereas white vinegar is best for your house, apple cider vinegar is the one that is best for you. New research means doctors and scientists are calling it one of the ‘functional’ foods – foods that are not only nutritious but help prevent and protect against disease.

It contains the same important nutrients as apples – including pectin, beta-carotene and potassium – plus enzymes and amino acids formed during the fermentation process.

Its high potassium content encourages cell, tissue and organism growth, and the enzymes help boost chemical reactions in the body.

It also contains calcium, which maintains healthy bones, helps transmit nerve impulses and regulates muscle contraction, and iron, essential for healthy blood. Magnesium is another component, with many beneficial effects on the body, especially the heart.

Low potassium levels can make us feel permanently tired, and potassium-rich foods help prevent age-related illness.

It also enables the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid, which aids digestion. We lose acid as we age, but apple cider vinegar can help prevent common digestive disorders as we get older.

And if that was not enough, apparently it can help with dementia as well. Is there nothing vinegar cannot do?

Here are two salads this week which feature vinegar. Oh, and lots of healthy vegetables too!

Kohlrabi, Apple and Beetroot Salad

This salad probably serves about 12 people. I halved it and still had loads!

Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi

2 large kohlrabi

3 apples (cox is best)

2 medium beetroot

Bunch of coriander, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish

1 garlic clove, crushed

55ml apple cider vinegar

50ml extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Peel the kohlrabi, cut in half and slice thinly. Core the apples and slice to the same thickness. Peel the beetroot and grate coarsely on a cheese grater or shred on a mandolin.

Mix together all the vegetables in a large bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well, taste and season – you can afford to be generous with the salt. Pile up on a serving plate and garnish with extra chopped coriander.

Parsnip, Carrot and Apple Juice

It suddenly occurred to me that parsnip juice might be nice. After all it has such a delicious sweet and nutty taste, I thought it might really add interest to my recent juicing craze, so I tried it out with a few carrots and some apples to see how it turned out, and I recon it is one of my favourite juices yet.

And would you believe it, parsnips are really good for you too. I seem to have had a cough that has lasted for ever, so I was pleased to hear that they contain phosphorus-chlorine elements which bring particular benefits to the lung and bronchial systems. They are also contain a high level of potassium, which gives the brain cells a boost, which is something else I can always do with. Parsnips are also packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and rich in phytonutrients that may prevent certain types of cancers. Finally, if that was not enough they contain Vitamin B, C, E, K and Folic Acid and high levels of Potassium, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, and Iron. So get juicing!

Parsnip, Carrot and Apple Juice

Makes one large glass

2 parsnips

2 carrots

2 apples

Chill the veg and fruit. No need to peel. Top and tail the carrots and parsnips and quarter the apples. Juice and drink.

5 a day Delicious Green juice – Kale, Courgette and Apple

I always find around this time of year, that Winter really begins to take its toll. I long for some sunshine. Any hint of a tan from last summer is gone and my skin is dry from all the central heating and returned to a blueish shade of white. I seem to have had a cold for weeks and I am permanently tired. Now is the time to really look at your diet and make sure that you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need.

Up until last week I was concerned enough about getting my 5 a day, and now they have only gone and upped the ante and announced that we should now really be looking at getting 10 a day if we want to see the health results in terms of decreased chance of getting heart decease, stroke and cancer.   Well panic not – a green juice that not only probably provides half of your 10 a day but tastes really nice to!

However, this requires a proper juicer. Not a Nutribullet. Nutribullets are nothing more than small, upside down liquidisers and although the juices they produce are undoubtedly better for you, being much higher is fiber, they are all disgusting. Green sludge that would put anyone of juicing for life. Get a proper juicer and you won’t look back!

5 a day Delicious Green juice – Kale, Courgette and Apple

Feel free to play around with the recipe – substitute apples for pears, add a celery stick or a squeeze of lime. If you keep your veg and fruit in the fridge before making, your juice will be cold when you drink it, which is always nicer I think.

Large handful Kale

3 apples, quartered

1 large courgette, cut into chunks

Juice the kale first followed by the courgette and apple. Drink straight away.

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Parsnip & maple syrup cake

This week, I am still experimenting with my “cakes with vegetables in them.” I went to do a Riverford lunch last week and put one of my old favourites on the menu – Parsnip & Maple Syrup Cake but then I was a little concerned as I realised that although I have made it many times in the last few years, I hadn’t actually tried it in ages. Unfortunately, due to often having to make a dash for it at the end of my lunches, for the school run, I am rarely around to get to try the dessert. So I thought I had better test it out at home, just to see if it was up to scratch. And now sitting here, at my computer and just finishing off my third slice, I can happily say, “It is!”

Parsnip and Maple Syrup Cake

Parsnip & maple syrup cake
175g butter, plus extra for greasing
250g Demerara sugar
100ml maple syrup
3 large eggs
250g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
250g parsnips, peeled and grated
1 medium eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
50g pecans, roughly chopped
Zest and juice 1 small orange
Icing sugar, to serve

250g tub mascarpone
Maple syrup

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease a large loaf tin. Line with greaseproof paper. (I used a silicone one which did not need lining.) Melt butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over gentle heat, then cool slightly. Whisk the eggs into this mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, followed by the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice. Pour into the tin, then bake for 25-30 mins until the top spring back when pressed lightly and a skewer comes out clean.

Cool the cake slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Just before serving, mix together the mascarpone with just enough maple syrup to sweeten. Spread over the top of the loaf. If you like, dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Parsnip and Maple Syrup Cake Crumbs

Apple and Cinnamon Crumble Cake

It is apple season and I am overwhelmed with apples at the moment after inheriting a huge tree in my new garden. It left me craving apple cake but I have to admit that I did not have a famous, family recipe handed down for generations  but I was determined it should be perfect. So, where to start?  No cookbooks of mine sprang to mind, so I scoured the internet and as I have found before, this is a dangerous pastime. There are literally thousands of recipes to choose from and no real guarantee that any of them are any good or even going to work. In the past I have stuck to safe bets such as Jamie Oliver, BBC Good Food or allrecipes.co.uk. Large corporations, such as Jamie Oliver have testing kitchens which try out all the recipes, so they tend to be more likely to work. Other websites such as allrecipes have ratings so you can try and get an idea on the feedback. So after sifting through at least half a dozen recipes I decided on one by Nigella Lawson which had been tested and had good ratings. I am very disappointed to say it really was not very good. More of a pudding than a cake, it just was not special at all. I was quite irritated to say the least. I had made it and photographed it for this blog, which had taken quite some time and now I was at a bit of a quandary as to whether I should just write it up anyway, and say it was OK or start again. The cake sat there uneaten. It was the kind of cake which was just not worth sacrificing your waistline for. I wanted a cake that made you say “to hell with the calories, this is too good.” I decided I just had to try harder. Back to the drawing board.  I thought about what I really wanted from an apple cake. Apply, crumbly, not too sweet and a hint of Cinnamon. I wanted a cake that it didn’t matter exactly how many apples you used or what type of apple they were, it would still deliver on texture and taste. I finally found a recipe and I am proud to say that it is nothing short of perfect. Irresistibly good and every bit worth the calories.

Apple Crumble Cake 2

Apple and cinnamon crumble cake

For the crumble topping:
125g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50g slightly salted butter, cold, cubed
125g demerara or light brown sugar
50g roasted chopped hazelnuts or almonds

For the cake:
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
125g slightly salted butter, softened
150g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
100ml milk
2 large organic free range Eggs
6 Cox or Braiburn apples or 4 Bramleys
Juice 1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease and line a 22cm round cake tin with baking parchment. For the crumble topping, place the flour, cinnamon and cold butter into a large bowl or and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and nuts then transfer to the fridge. (Alternatively put the whole lot in a food processor and pulse until you have breadcrumbs)

2. For the cake, sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. Using a mixer or electric handheld whisk, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs. Gradually beat a little flour into the butter mixture, followed by a little of the milk and eggs, alternating until they’re all mixed in. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and level with the back of a spoon. (This can all be done in a food processor too.)

3. Peel, core and halve the apples, then slice thinly and toss in the lemon juice. Arrange on top of the cake mixture then sprinkle the chilled crumble over the top.

4. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. You can see when it is done as the cake rises in the middle and the apples begin to poke out. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Great with vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream or clotted cream.

Apple Crumble Cake

Juice

Salad Box 

With promises of a heatwave coming this week, I opted for a Salad box this week, which contained a bag of mixed salad leaves, some bunched radishes, vine tomatoes, a cucumber, several Ramiro peppers and a head of celery.

I noticed that there was lots of juicing fruit available at the moment at Riverford. It’s funny that everyone gets out there juicers in January with great intentions of fulfilling New Year’s resolutions of eating healthier, getting fitter and losing weight but by the time there is an abundance of seasonal vegetables around, the juicer has long been put away. I decided to get mine out again and it give it another try.

I have experimented quite extensively with my recipes but rather conservatively I have decided that there is only one concoction that I like. It is a blend of apples, carrots, celery and beetroot – the quantities of each may vary greatly depending on what I have to hand but the ingredients never alter – because it is just perfect as it is! With this in mind I added beetroot and apples to my order this week and here is the result. Beetroot is super good for you, excellent at lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and especially at good at detoxing your liver, which is always a good thing.

Beetroot in a Bag

When it comes to juicers, you do have to invest. I have got a basic Magimix one which I have had for about 15 years and it is still going strong and is vastly superior, in my mind to a Nutribullet which was the fad this year and about the same price. I know that Nutribullet keeps in fibre but it is due to this, that practically every drink I have been served from one, is virtually undrinkable. You may strongly disagree and I would love to hear your recipes for your favourite juices.

juice with veg

Beetroot, Carrot, Apple and Celery Juice

1 beetroot

2 sticks celery

2 apples

3 carrots

Wash the vegetables and fruit well. Peel if you like, depending on your juicer. Cut up any veg that will not fit into the shoot. Stir all the juices together well. Drink immediately. (I like to keep my veg in the fridge for a couple of hours before juicing so that you get a really cold drink.)

Juice

 

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