Golden Beetroot, Fresh Goat’s Cheese, Baby Spinach and Toasted Walnut Salad

When I went to work in California back in the 90’s it was a revelation of the importance of ingredients. This concept, of not merely buying but “sourcing” was only just beginning in London at the time, but in California everything was obtained from specialist suppliers.

What a long way we have come with every menu in town listing artisanal this and rare breed that. Anyway, one of the ingredients I was most excited about seeing all those years ago was all the different varieties of beetroots in the farmers market.  Deep golden yellow, creamy white, deep purple and even pink and white striped. So it brought back memories when I saw that Riverford where now growing bunched golden beetroot and this recipe is in honour of them.

Golden Beetroot, Fresh Goat’s Cheese, Baby Spinach and Toasted Walnut Salad

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

A couple of handfuls (about 70g) baby spinach leaves

450g beetroot, any colour, roasted, peeled and cut into wedges

150g soft goat’s cheese, crumbled

75g toasted walnuts

To roast beetroot, scrub and wrap individually in tinfoil. Roast in the oven at 180C for about 45 minutes until a skewer inserts easily. Leave wrapped up until cool. Unwrap and slip off the skins with your hands.

Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil and Dijon mustard together in a small bowl. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place the spinach in a bowl. Add half the dressing to the spinach mixture and toss well. Divide among 4 serving plates (or leave in the large bowl if desired), then scatter with beetroot, goat’s cheese and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve immediately.

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Beetroot, Lentil, Halloumi and Parsley Salad

This is a salad my brother made a few weeks ago for lunch and I had been meaning to get round to sharing it with you. It is very good. Halloumi, beetroot lentils and parsley  is a particularly good combination and with the lightly pickled onion and the zestyness of the lemon it becomes something quite special.

Beetroot, Lentil, Halloumi and Parsley Salad

200g Puy lentils

2 lemons

1 red onion, finely sliced

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

250g beetroot, roast, peeled and chopped into chunks

1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped

250g pack halloumi, cut into 8 slices

To roast beetroot, scrub and wrap individually in tinfoil. Roast in the oven at 180C for about 45 minutes until a skewer inserts easily. Leave wrapped up until cool. Unwrap and slip off the skins with your hands.

Cook the lentils in a pan of boiling water for 20-25 mins or until just done. Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from one lemon into a bowl. Add the onion and scrunch together with a pinch of salt to pickle slightly. Set aside.

Finely zest the remaining lemon and set aside for the halloumi. Squeeze the juice from half of it into a jam jar or jug. Add the oil with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper– shake well and set aside. When the lentils are ready, drain and tip into a large serving bowl with the chickpeas. Toss with the dressing straight away, then toss through the beets, parsley and drained pickled onions.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the halloumi for 1-2 mins each side or until golden brown. Toss with the lemon zest, then place on top of your salad to serve.

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.

Labneh with Roast Beetroot and Sweet and Sour Red Onions

I know this is maybe a little weird, but I recon this is honestly the nicest thing I have made in quite a while. It is strangely moreish and I polished off the whole lot whilst writing this blog.

Lebanese food has always been one on my favourites and I always order Labneh as part of the meze. But it is so easy to make your own. Buy the best yogurt that you can.

Labneh with Roast Beetroot and Sweet and Sour Red Onions

Serves 2

250 g Greek yogurt

1 kg raw beetroots

Sweet and Sour Red Onions

1 large red onion

1 tbsp. dark muscovado sugar

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley

Mix the Greek yogurt with a good pinch or two of salt and wrap in a clean J-cloth, fasten with string and hang it over a bowl over night to strain it. I hang it off the tap over the sink.

The next day, pre-heat oven 180C. Scrub the beetroot and wrap each one in tin foil. Put in the oven for about 45 mins to 1 hour. A skewer should insert easily into the centre of the beetroot. Leave to cool. Then make the sweet and sour onions. Peel the onion and slice as finely as you can, into rings. In a bowl, combine the sugar and ½ a teaspoon of sea salt with the vinegar, stirring until dissolved. Add the shallots and leave to stand for 45 minutes, stirring every so often. Unwrap the beetroot when cool and with your hands, slip off the skins. You can use surgical gloves if you like.

Unwrap the strained yogurt and tip it into a clean bowl. Spread over the bottom of the bowl and up the sides. Arrange slices of beetroot on top. Season lightly with a little salt and pepper. Scatter over the onions and finish with parsley and maybe a drizzle of olive oil.

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.

Home-made V8

I have been desperate to make my own tomato juice ever since I got a juicer so I was waiting to have a glut of tomatoes. Obviously I had to wait until winter was over to have any decent tomatoes at all, but then this week I seemed to have somehow collected three punnets. So without hesitation I chucked one punnet into my juicer. Absolutely nothing came out and when I peered inside, I seemed to have made little more than some tomato froth. Turns out you really have to cook the tomatoes to get the sort of juice I had in mind. There is a raw version but it is just not the same. So you simmer your tomatoes for about 25 minutes and push them through a sieve. No juicer required. However, if like me you wanted to use your juicer, there are all sorts of favours you can add to make your tomato juice a bit different. Mine ended up tasting a bit more like V8, but I didn’t mind, because I love the stuff. I added a little beetroot, which is great as it gives it a better colour, celery, parsley, spinach, watercress and a couple of carrots. Obviously salt, onion, pepper, sugar, Worcester sauce or tabasco can help add a kick, but that is up to you.

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Smoked Salmon with Roast Beetroot and Horseradish

Next up, another recipe good enough to serve on Christmas day. A fabulous combination on Smoked Salmon, Roast Beetroot and Horseradish. Super simple and you can plate it up all beforehand. Roasting beetroot is really easy and intensifies its flavour and sweetness. It is also meant to purify your blood and help remove toxins, which is probably a good idea at Christmas time.

Smoked Salmon with Roast Beetroot and Horseradish

200ml tub crème fraiche or 200mls double cream and some lemon juice

3 tbsp hot horseradish sauce or fresh grated horseradish

1 tbsp vodka (optional)

Extra virgin olive oil

1 large beetroot

Some Salad leaves, lightly dressed with lemon and olive oil

Smoked salmon

Dill or chives

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Begin by roasting the beets. Preheat an oven to 180°C. Scrub the beets, wrap in foil, and roast for 45 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserts and removes easily. Set aside to cool. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, you can just slip the skins off with your hands. You may want to wear gloves but it is really quite a satisfying experience. Coarsely grate in a food processor or with a grater. Dress lightly with a little olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a little finely chopped dill or chives.

Meanwhile, fold the crème fraîche with the horseradish and vodka, if using, with a little seasoning.

Or stir a little lemon juice slowly into the double cream until it thickens. Stir in the freshly grated horseradish and season.

Before serving, arrange a layer of smoked salmon on plates. Scatter over some dressed salad leaves and top with a pile of grated beetroot. Top with sprigs of dill or chives.

Roast Beetroot and Potato Salad with Smoked Mackerel, Horseradish and Chives

Finally, for this week, beetroot is back in our boxes again. Beetroot is super good for you, as I always say, excellent at lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and especially at good at detoxing your liver, which is always a good thing. It compliments smoky fish beautifully and as I am always trying to get more omega 3 in my diet, I decided to combine it this week with some lovely smoked herring. (Heston does a rather nice “Jasmin Tea Hot Smoked” one at Waitrose.) I added some horseradish to cut the oiliness and add a kick. Served up with some mixed Riverford salad, it worked especially well with the Mizuna and Mustard Leaves. Really healthy, really delicious and really pretty too.

Roast Beetroot Salad with Smoked Mackerel, Horseradish and Chives 2

Roast Beetroot and Potato Salad with Smoked Mackerel, Horseradish and Chives

4 medium beetroot

A few cooked new potatoes (preferably still warm)

Red wine vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

A handful of mixed salad leaves

A packet of smoked mackerel, skin and bones removed

Small bunch chives

For the horseradish Cream (or 3 tbsp. good quality creamed horseradish)

A tablespoon of fresh horseradish, peeled and grated

3 tablespoons crème fraiche (or double cream and ½ lemon)

Pinch salt

Begin by roasting the beets. Preheat an oven to 180°C. Scrub the beets, wrap in foil, and roast for 45 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserts and removes easily. Set aside to cool. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, you can just slip the skins off with your hands. You may want to wear gloves but it is really quite a satisfying experience. Cut into bite-sized chunks. Transfer to a bowl. Add your new potatoes, cut into a similar size.

Make the horseradish cream by mixing the crème fraiche with the fresh horseradish and a pinch of salt. (If using double cream, stir in slowly the juice of about half a lemon until the cream thickens.)

Add 2 tablespoons of your horseradish cream into your beetroot, along with a little vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Pile on top of your leaves. Roughly break up the mackerel and put on top and finally use a pair of scissors to snip chives on top.

Roast Beetroot Salad with Smoked Mackerel, Horseradish and Chives 1

A Modern Borscht – Chilled Roasted Beetroot Soup with Horseradish Sour Cream

There is a lot of controversy about Borscht soup, from where it comes from to what it might contain. There is vegetarian version, ones with meat stock, kosher, non-kosher, fermented, with cream, without cream and so on and so forth!

But all the recipes I found were some old-fashioned. The inclusion of sugar for one, seemed totally unnecessary with such a sweet vegetable. I decided to set out to make one which I wanted to eat. I agree that my pureed version is not classic and that it should be clear, with the beetroot grated or chopped up in the broth. But I wanted to intensify the beetroot flavour by roasting it first. So I suppose I should call it Chilled Roast Beetroot Soup and leave it at that. The addition of horseradish sour cream, which I stole of Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall is inspired although he serves his soup hot and not chilled. I leave it up to the weather on the day to make up your minds.

A Modern Borscht - Chilled Roasted Beetroot Soup with Horseradish Sour Cream 2

Chilled Roasted Beetroot Soup with Horseradish Sour Cream

Serves 4–6

1kg beetroot

2 onions, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 litre vegetable/chicken stock or water and a stock cube

Splash of red wine vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the horseradish sauce

3–4cm piece of fresh horseradish, peeled and freshly grated (or 1 tablespoon creamed horseradish)

200ml soured cream, crème fraîche or thick, plain (full-fat) yoghurt

Freshly chopped dill or chives

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Scrub the beetroot well but leave them whole. Wrap each beetroot in tin foil and put on a tray I the oven. Roast until the beetroot are tender when pierced with a knife – about an hour depending on the size of the beetroot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and cook gently for about 15 minutes, until just beginning to caramelise. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.

Meanwhile, make the horseradish cream: in a bowl, mix the grated (or creamed) horseradish with the soured cream, crème fraîche or yoghurt. Add a good pinch of salt to taste.

Remove the foil from the beetroot and when cool enough to handle, peel or rub off the skins – they should slip off easily. Roughly chop the beetroot.

Add the chopped beetroot to the onions and cover with stock. Puree with a hand-blender and add plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper and vinegar, to taste. Chill the soup and serve with a dollop of the horseradish cream and the chopped dill or chives scattered on top.

A Modern Borscht - Chilled Roasted Beetroot Soup with Horseradish Sour Cream 1

Turlu Turlu

Good to my word, I tried out a fresh tomato sauce, just to see how it turned out. As far as I know, there are two schools of tomato sauce. The Italian version which consists of no more than olive oil, garlic and tomatoes and maybe a little basil, or the French version which can contain pretty much anything. I believe that this is because the Italian version relies heavily on superb ingredients, including very good tinned Italian plum tomatoes, so I decided to opt for the French. I used some onion, celery and garlic in my base, sweated down with olive oil and I added some wild dried Oregano. The results where certainly good enough for this week’s recipe of Turlu Turlu. This is a sort of Turkish Ratatouille, and just the sort of recipe I love. It literally means hotchpotch and can incorporate any number of different vegetables mixed with chickpeas, tomato sauce and lots of herbs. It is a great use up dish and I had a whole array of vegetables in the bottom of my fridge, which all went in, including beetroot, parsnips, red onions, red peppers, courgettes, sweet potatoes, fennel and carrots and of course, the tomatoes. But you could have added potatoes, squash, green peppers, cauliflower, aubergine or any other vegetable you have to hand.

veg for Turlu Turlu

This recipe seems a little more complicated than it is, but only because I insist on separating the vegetables up which cook better on their own. They need a lot of room and different times and this way, all your vegetables are perfectly roasted. It is worth the effort.

As for my tomato sauce – I am not sure it was good enough to just serve on its own with pasta but I will keep working on it and let you know how I get on.

Turlu Turlu 2

Turlu Turlu
Serves 4
1 red onions, cut into into 8 wedges through the root
1 large red bell pepper, de-seeded, and cut into large bit-sized chunks
1 head fennel, cut into into 8 wedges through the root
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into large bit-sized chunks
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into large bit-sized chunks
A few beetroot, peeled and cut into large bit-sized chunks
3 courgettes, cut into 1cm slices, slightly on the diagonal
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes, or to taste

For the sauce
6 Large ripe tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 small onions, finely sliced

1 tin chickpeas, drained
Freshly chopped coriander
Freshly chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Toss the red onion and red pepper with some coriander, cumin, chilli flakes, salt, black pepper and olive oil. Tip onto a tray and put in the oven. Toss the fennel with some coriander, cumin, chilli flakes, salt, black pepper and olive oil. Tip onto a tray, making sure as much surface area as possible is in contact with the tray and put in the oven. Combine the root vegetables – parsnips, beetroot and sweet potato. Toss with some coriander, cumin, chilli flakes, salt, black pepper and olive oil. Tip onto a tray and put in the oven. Toss the courgettes with some coriander, cumin, chilli flakes, salt, black pepper and olive oil. Tip onto a tray, make sure as much surface area as possible is in contact with the tray and put in the oven. You will have to check your veg regularly, and rotate veg to ensure even cooking, When your veg are cooked and a little caramelised remove them. Each tray will slightly different time. Meanwhile make your sauce. Sauté the onion and celery slowly in plenty of olive oil, for a s long as possible. Meanwhile, put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Cut a small cross in the top of your tomatoes. Add them to the pan of boiling water and boil for 1-2 minutes, until the skins begin to come away. Remove them with a slotted spoon and plunge them into a bowl of cold water. Remove the skins and roughly chop. Add the garlic to the onions and fry a minute more before adding the tomatoes. Cook down gently until the tomatoes have completely dissolved, Season with salt and pepper and oregano. Puree with a hand blender.

Just before your final tray of veg is ready, add the chickpeas and tomato sauce to the tray and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Then remove and add all your veg together. Stir gently to avoid mushing up the veg. Allow to cool slightly before adding your herbs. Serve warm or room temperature.

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