Posts Tagged ‘Beetroot’

Last Sunday we were spoilt by Mer & Stu with a magnificent Moroccan feast! It was AMAZING!! It felt so unbelievably indulgent to sit down to an exciting, home cooked, 3 course meal on a Sunday afternoon! and the fact that it was utterly delicious was a welcome added bonus!! Even served with freshly squeezed OJ – reminiscent of a morning in the Djemaa el Fna.

Moroccan food tops my favourite cuisine list – fabulous flavours, great combinations & textures, the mix of sweet & savoury – it all combines to make something really special.

Mer, Stu & Isobel recently visited Marrakech (one of my all time favourite places) and came home laden down with the most aromatic spices and kindly unloaded many in our kitchen – awesome! Beats store bought every time!!

Gorgeous Isobel in Marrakech

Mer’s menu for our Sunday feast came from Feast Bazaar by Barry Vera – which graces my bookshelf also and will definitely be put to use over the coming months. Just hope it lives up to Mer’s efforts!!

Beetroot & Yoghurt Dip


500g beetroot

500g plain yoghurt

1 Tbsp tahini

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 tsp ground cumin

Finely grated zest of  1 lemon

2 Tbsp lemon juice

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

20 mint leaves, tinly sliced (optional)

EVOO, for drizzling

Peel the beetroot and trim the ends. Cut into chunks and place in a saucepan of boiling salted water. Cook for 30-45 minutes, or until tender. Use the point of a sharp knife to test of the beetroot is cooked – the knife should slide through, but the beetroot should still be firm. remove from the heat, drain and refresh under cold running water, then drain again.

When cool enough to handle, coarsely grate the beetroot into a mixing bowl, then fold in the yoghurt, tahini, garlic, cumin, lemon zest and juice. Season to taste, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours until chilled.

To serve, fold in the sliced mint, if desired, and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Place in a serving bowl, drizzle with a little EVOO and serve with warm bread.

Served with Pitta Bread and Grilled Trout with Chermoula

Olive, Orange & Onion Salad


5 oranges

20 black olives

1 red onion, sliced into rings

2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

3 Tbsp argan oil or olive oil

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

pinch of ground chilli powder

1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Peel the oranges and make sure you remove any pith, then cut each orange into eight wedges. Lay the oranges on a large flat plate, then scatter over the olives and red onion.

To make the dressing, mix the lemon juice, oil, cumin, paprika, chilli powder and parsley. Season, to taste, and drizzle over the salad to serve.

Main Course - Duck & Peach Tagine with Couscous

And finally, when we could barely move let along eat another bite Mer presented the piece de resistance – Apple & Fig Bastilla. Somehow we found room to devour it and it was perfect!

Apple & Fig Bastilla


9 granny smith apples, peeled & thinly sliced

30g butter

60g caster sugar

12 dried figs, soaked in warm water until plump, drained and thinly sliced

20 sheets filo pastry

1 egg, lightly beaten

Icing sugar, to garnish

Ground cinnamon, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Put the butter, apples and sugar in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook for 5 mins, or until the apples are tender. remove from th heat, drain off any juice and dscard. Set aside and allow to cool.

Place 5 sheets of pastry in the bottom of a bowl with a 20cm diameter and about 5 cm deep. Leave the pastry to overhang the edge – this will later be used to wrap and cover the bastilla.

Spread a thin layer of apple over the patry base, followed by a layer of fig. Press down gently and cover with 2 layers of filo which have been cut to fit snugly inside the bowl.

Repeat this layering with the apple, figs and pastry four more times, finishing with 5 sheets of pastry that have ben cut to fit the bowl. Finally, fold over the overhanging pastry from the original base layer and seal. Turn out the bastilla and invert onto the prepared tray so the base is now the top.

Brush all over with the beaten egg. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, dust liberally with icing sugar and cinnamon and serve immediately.

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Seems every time I pick up a magazine or cookbook lately I come across a recipe for a puff pastry tart. I have only worked with pastry a handful of times – and only once or twice have I attempted it from scratch. To be honest I don’t really think home made pastry is worth the effort when the pre made version works so well, but there is the satisfaction of knowing you made it all yourself!

Looking in the fridge I had an abundance of beetroot after the weekend’s farm visit and so had roasted some in prepartion for the week’s meals. Hmmmm….what else can I add?……..wilted spinach….. oh, there’s a lone pack of feta……….pine nuts, perhaps?…. and as a base?….how about half fat creme fraiche…… Now throw it all together and let’s see what we come up with…………..


After some doubtful moments I was very surprised at the end result and it tasted pretty good too, served along side some fresh asparagus.

What I like about this is that you could throw on whatever you fancy. I can’t comment on whether Izzy enjoyed it as it was a late dinner and so she never had an opportunity to taste it. Unfortunately it was a baked beans night for Izzy 😦

So, the super easy instructions are to heat the oven to about 180C. Roll out the pastry (or use ready rolled!) and place on a baking tray. Make a border by scoring the edges of the pastry 2cm in from the edge, all the way round (be careful not to cut right through). Cook in the oven for about 10-15 mins. Take out and spread the creme fraiche and then load on your ingredients.  Brush some egg around the raised border – this helps it brown. Bake for another 10-15 mins.

How easy is that?!



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A new cook book caught my eye recently and how could I not buy it with a name like ‘Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache’ – what a divine name!! Written by Harry Eastwood – one of the women from ‘Cook Yourself Thin’- and full of delicious cake & pudding recipes but with a twist, Shunning traditional recipes full of butter, sugar & flour Harry has experimented with using ingredients such as ground almonds, rice flour and vegetables. Definitely worth a try!

First up I decided to try the Forbidden Chocolate Brownies. I love Harry’s description – ‘This recipe is dangerous. Sinful & completely irresistible, this brownie is so wicked that you could drown in it. Like a bad man, this is a girl’s deathbed. If it were poison, you would still be glad you’d tried it’.

So the recipe goes something like this…………..

Forbidden Chocolate Brownies (courtesy of Harry Eastwood – Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache)


400g topped, tailed and peeled raw beetroot, cut into 2cm dice

100g hazelnuts

3 medium, free-range eggs

220g light Muscovado sugar

1/4 tsp salt

150g dark cooking chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), broken into squares

2 tbsp white rice flour

70g good quality cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the top

30g chopped hazelnuts

Preheat the the oven to 160C. Line the base and sides of your tin with baking parchment. Once it is in place, lightly brush the parchment on the base and sides with a little vegetable oil.

Cook the diced beetroot in the microwave for 10 minutes in a heatproof bowl with a small splash of water, covered in cling film.

Whilst the beetroot is cooking, whizz the hazelnuts to a powder in the food processor. Take the time to grind them up as much as you can manage, even if this means blitzing in several stages.

Whisk the eggs, sugar & salt with a hand-held whisk in  a large mixing bowl for 5 minutes until tripled in volume.

Next turn your attention to the beetroot. Drain the water from the cooked, hot beetroot and bend to a puree. Add the chocolate squares before re-covering the bowl with cling film and setting aside. You need to make sure that the beetroot is piping hot or it won’t melt the chocolate. If the beetroot is cooled too much, simply heat it up for 1 final minute in the microwave before proceeding with the next stage of the recipe.

Beat the powdered hazelnuts, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and vanilla extract into the fluffy egg mixture until well combined.

Add the beetroot and melted chocolate puree to the mixture and fold through until fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle the 30g chopped hazelnuts over the top. Cook in the middle of the oven for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool the brownie in the tin for 20 minutes before cutting it into individual brownies and serving.


The verdict? Well I like them – there is a distinct taste and they certainly are rich. I think that they need some ice cream or cream served alongside…..but perhaps that defeats some of the purpose of a ‘healthier’ version! Izzy’s reaction, after being bribed to eat her dinner with chocolate cake, was yuck….but I do think that maybe it was a little too rich for her 2 year old taste buds. James’ reaction was ‘Nice’ and so I batted back with ‘Better than normal choc brownies?’ – the answer ‘No’. I still reckon that ice cream will make all the diiference – absorbs some of the richness!

We were lucky enough to have Aunty Amy cook dinner for us last night – yummy chicken wraps! Thanks AJBD!

Aunty Amy cooking dinner.

Aunty Amy cooking dinner.

Yum yum!

Yum yum!

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