Posts Tagged ‘beetroot’

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Kitchen Crush

November 14, 2011

As may be apparent from the previous post my current, primary kitchen crush is with Dan Lepard. An extra helping of his recipes courtesy of last week’s Saturday Guardian provided these spicy Bonfire Night Biscuits.

A quick and easy recipe to knock up even if you’re not lucky enough to have a bonfire in your back garden to provide the autumnal smell of wood smoke, the aroma of these baking in your kitchen will make the dullest November day sparkle. The recipe asks for glace ginger but I used stem ginger and the comments section suggest that crystalised would do just as well if you wanted. I also cut out into rounds and adjusted the baking time down a bit to compensate. The base biscuit recipe I imagine is adaptable by swapping the spices and additions – I’m planning a Christmas version. Watch this space.

My other current crush is on Mr Hugh Fearnly-Wittingstal. My summer holiday this year was spent in Dorset taking part in the Four Day  Cookery Course at Park Farm, the headquarters of River Cottage. They run day courses that cover everything from bread and baking to curing meat, even seashore foraging.

I’ve long wanted to do the four day course; which dedicates a day each to meat, fish, veg and bread and baking; and I’m so glad that I did. It’s not cheap, but I turned it into my summer holiday – with a few days spent exploring and walking the surrounding area – and I can honestly say that having done the course it was the best value for money of any holiday I have ever taken.

I’ve tried to blog about it, but I can’t find the words to do the week justice. I could write a list of the dishes cooked, decipher my notes into recipes to share with you, but this would not convey what I learnt or the fun that I had. The team at Park Farm go out of their way to ensure you have good fun and the hours whip by as their share their passion and knowledge and you share, with the others on the course, the fruits of your labour.

I made and ate things that I would not normally try and it has given me more confidence in the kitchen and with my palate and skills. Should I try to more accurately describe all that I learned, made and ate I would run out of adjectives by the first lunchtime. There are photo’s on my Flickr page which chronicle the dishes cooked and eaten over the four days and I hope they give an indication of the fun that was had.

On the course I bought a copy of  ‘River Cottage Veg Everyday!’ book – the latest from Hugh. It accompanies his current TV Programme where he extolls the virtues of a veg based diet by giving up meat and fish for the summer. The book accompanies his current TV show on C4 which follows the usual River Cottage format of HFW taking something he’s passionate about and making an entertaining and informative programme to share his passion. Whilst Hugh isn’t going to be a life long vegetarian he wants us to eat more veg and realise that veg-centric meals needn’t be dull.

The book is broken down into sections on salads and soups, raw things and bready things and mezze and tapas to name a few.

First off for me was the veggie biryani made for 12 – want to feed a crowd? Who could ask for more than succulent spicy veg with curried rice garnished with crunchy almonds? A breeze to prepare and cook, and if you can lift the casserole dish containing enough for 12 people and carry it to the table to reveal and serve, all the better (I needed help just getting it out of the oven – damn you Le Cruset with your sturdy based pans, wrist splints should be sold alongside them IMO).

For dips and salads, please make the roasted carrot hummous – this has replaced Peamole (it is what it sounds like) as the dip-tastic choice of the season and the raw beetroot and walnut and cumin salad add a fab crunchy side – try it with a smoked fish platter.

Above is a warming Sunday night dinner for friends, a puy lentil and spinach soup (made with the veg stock recipe from the same book) filling and warming, perfect  after a long walk in the crisp autumnal sunshine. Should you want a little meat in there, I added some pancetta as there were some in the fridge that needed using. I don’t think Hugh would mind.

What I enjoy about veggie cooking, and all the things I’ve made from this book so far, is the ease with which each dish is adaptable in terms of using up what’s in the fridge or buying what’s currently in season. I feel more able to play around without the meat – perhaps because the total cost of the dish is cheaper so the risk is less. Perhaps also just because I’m more comfortable with cooking veg and less fearful of over or under cooking and more confident of how the dish will fare as leftovers. I’ve made more than I’ve covered here, and yet more are flagged. This book is one that I will return to over and over again.

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Sharing the Love: Part II

November 12, 2010

As a continuation of a theme, what could be better to share than dips? As one with a savoury rather than sweet tooth, I would rather sit around a dish like the one above than a platter of sweet things, and by their very nature they are to be shared in the true sense – communal snacking. A friendship with a neighbour, cultivated in part through the aforementioned cake sharing, led to an invitation to a bonfire night party last week. The horrid, wet weather prevented any actual firework display but good company and wine made for a lovely evening and this trio of dips were a tasty accompaniment.

I recently spotted a recipe for a black bean dip  courtesy of the LA Times that I wanted to try, and added to this two other dips to use up some of the stocks of chick peas and tahini in the cupboard, the pumpkin and beetroot were a colourful nod to autumn, although the pumpkin was from a tin and the beetroot pre-cooked rather than freshly roasted. All three took no time at all to blitz in a food processor, the most time-consuming part was washing the bowl and blades in between making each dip.

I think my favourite has to be the beetroot and walnut, although I adapted the quantity/ratio as I only had a small pack of beetroot in the fridge. With all of them feel free to add more citrus if needed and if the consistency isn’t quite right for you add more olive oil or water until you’re happy. Serve with something crunchy and ‘scoopy’ (you know what I mean) my preference is for some wholemeal pitta tossed in olive oil and sea salt then toasted.

Spicy Pumpkin Dip

Food Network

1 tin of pumpkin puree (Waitrose stock Libby’s brand)

1 tin chickpeas – drained and rinsed

3 tbsp tahini

1 garlic clove

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp cumin

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Blend the chickpeas and pumpkin in a food processor until smooth, add the remaining ingredients and process. Season with salt and pepper to taste

 

Beetroot and Walnut Dip

Good Food Channel

250g cooked beetroot (not the kind in vinegar!)

100g toasted walnuts

50ml olive oil

25ml water

1 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp lemon juice

salt to taste

Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped and the beetroot until a paste forms.

Add oil, water and tahini, lemon juice and pulse again.

 

 

Black Bean Hummus

LA Times

1 tin chickpeas – drained and rinsed

1 tin black beans – drained and rinsed (on closer inspection the original recipe said 2 tins, but I used 1 and it was fine although I didn’t use as much water as was suggested)

4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp tahini

juice of a lemon

1 cup of water (240ml) plus more if needed

1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I would start with one – it was fiery with 1 1/2 but maybe that’s where the other tin of black beans would’ve been useful!)

2 1/2 tsp cumin

2 1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp pepper

Blend the beans, oil, garlic, tahini and lemon juice to a paste. With the motor still running on low speed, add the water.

Add the spices and blend, taste and adjust seasoning.