Beetroot Vathakuzhambu

This is a delightful dish made with beetroot cooked with freshly ground spices to form a gravy that is delicious with rice or poppadom. It is really easy to make, especially if you have pre prepared the spice mix.

Vathal Kuzhambu is a dish that is prepared with Vathal (dried vegetables) like Mangai Vathal (Raw Mango), Sundakai Vathal (Turkey Berry), Manathakkali Vathal (Black Night Shade), or with fresh vegetables such as Eggplant, Beetroot or Okra. It is often made with sambar powder, but it is best to avoid using purchased sambar powder for this recipe – prepare the spices fresh for this recipe by roasting and grinding spices to make vathakuzhambu podi.

Similar recipes include Curry Leaf Tamarind Kuzhambu, Uppadam, Vathal Kuzhambu, and Moar Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Kuzhambu dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Beetroot and Rhubarb Salad

Rhubarb is a plant from my childhood. A country girl, we had a huge garden that comprised an orchard, a huge chicken run, room for ducks, a cow and a rambling vegetable garden. Along one fence grew rhubarb, tons and tons of it. Sadly, my mother was not an adventurous cook, and the rhubarb was always sour and stringy. I have never understood people’s passion for this ruby red stalk. It has never made it into our kitchen.

However, this recipe from our current project of cooking through the Ottolenghi cookbook, Plenty More, is intriguing, and the rhubarb is roasted rather than simmered into oblivion (sorry Mum). It is also part of a salad, with no pretensions of being a dessert. The recipe mixes roasted beetroot with the yoghurt and a dressing of maple syrup and pomegranate molasses. Lastly, the rhubarb and gorgonzola cheese are added. Gorgonzola seems such an unlikely addition, but the bite of the cheese and its creaminess pulls the dish together. Magnificent! The cheese adds lively highlight notes to the earthy-sweet-sour of the beetroot and rhubarb.

We’re coming into beet season, and all the different varieties mean you can play with colours and subtlety of flavour. Get golden, red and candy beets (which go pink on cooking) and you’re in for a dazzle.

As mentioned, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Sweet Spiced Rhubarb, Roasted Beetroot with Maple Dressing, Roasted Beetroot with Roasted Garlic Salad and Walnuts, and Roast Beetroot with Cumin Seeds.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils

I enjoy living where I do, out in the boondock suburbs of my city, because it is so countrified. AND because of the bountiful and cheap produce of (nearly) all varieties here. When you live in an area with a fair percentage of migrants who love food – Indian, Nepali, S.E. Asian, Middle Eastern and various African people – then food is always going to be at the forefront of any shopping precinct.

But there are certain things that I can’t lay my hands on here. Good cheeses. Really good olive oils. Some lentils not common to those cuisines, like Puy and Beluga lentils. And definitely not Yuzu.

I have solved much of this problem with a 4 – 6 weekly trip into the Central Market, the main area of providore type shops in our city, stocking up on all sorts of things, and grabbing artisan bread, fresh cheeses, vanilla beans, horseradish root, organic vegetables and other not-to-be-seen-locally items that feel like a huge treat. But it also reminds me to be so grateful of where I live when I see tiny tomatoes selling for $9/kg inn the Market and I can get them nearby my home for $2/kg. Oh the great socio-economic divide!

So today’s recipe has its origins in one from Ottolenghi (in Plenty More), but Yuzu, a central ingredient in his recipe, is not to be found either locally or in the Central Market. So I have tinkered with it quite a bit, substituting cumquat juice and rind (as I have cumquats in my new garden — and they are readily available in the local Asian grocery), and lime juice. Use all lime if you can’t source cumquats. I also change out the greens. Ottolenghi loves to use baby spinach and rocket but I prefer to use leaves of herbs and vegetables growing in the garden, including peppery and bitter ones like nasturtium, moringa leaves, purslane and watercress.  Use soft herbs and leaves or substitute with the spinach and rocket, whatever is more convenient for you.

The salad uses beetroot simmered until tender then cut into wedges, along with raw beetroot sliced absolutely paper thin. I have to thank a new food processor for the paper thin slices – I was over the moon when I saw the result. Mandolins are also good for thin vegetable slices – I’ve been using mine for 25 years or so, and it is less washing up than a food processor!

By the way, I froze the horseradish from the market (after making Crushed New Potato with Yoghurt and Horseradish), and really can’t wait to make today’s recipe again with horseradish rather than citrus. Imagine!

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Beetroot and Rhubarb Salad, Puy Lentils with Ragout of Mushrooms, Roasted Beetroot with Maple Dressing, Beetroot Salsa with Yoghurt, and Beetroot in a Herb Dressing.

Browse our Beetroot Salads, and indeed, all of our Beetroot recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils”

Roasted Beetroot with Maple Dressing

The aroma of beetroot roasting! It is one of the quintessentially Autumn vegetables, earthy in taste and aroma. This recipe is a warm salad or side dish where the warm roasted beetroot is dressed with maple syrup, vinegar and olive oil. The balance of sweet, sour and salty is lovely against the earthiness of the tender, roasted beetroot. We love beetroot.

In this dish, I’ve used tiny mixed leaves from the garden, but use baby spinach or rocket leaves by all means. You could leave them out, but I think they freshen and liven the dish.

The original recipe is from Ottolenghi’s first book, Ottolenghi. We’ve tinkered with it a little, although transcribed it pretty much as it is in the book. We never have chervil here, so I used the spindly coriander that develops as coriander plants go to seed. It is delicious! You could also use the tenderest of celery leaves (the young, yellow ones) or young lovage leaves. In fact, most soft herbs will go well with beetroot. See the notes below the recipe for other changes.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely (This one is from Ottolenghi). Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Browse all of our Beetroot Salads, and all of our Beetroot dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Kohlrabi, Beetroot and Celery Leaf Salad

There is celery growing in the garden, but we’re not great celery eaters. Of course, in Winter, it is an essential in all sorts of vegetable and other braises – Barley, for example – and Soups of course. It is an essential thing to have. But we are not big on celery salads, or raw sticks. Unless there is a killer dip to go with the sticks.

But our young celery brings to the kitchen the delicious celery flavour of its micro-thin stems and young, crunchy leaves. Both do go beautifully in salads and when we make a herb salad, our celery leaves and stems form a vital part. We also use it in place of flat leafed parsley. It is divine.

When I came across a recipe from Ottolenghi using Celery Leaves as an ingredient I was delighted. Moreso, as we had kohlrabi and beetroot innocently sitting in the vegetable crisper. It was meant to be. Frankly, I can’t get enough of this salad, with the beautiful crispness of the apple, beetroot and kohlrabi.

Use a mandolin to cut the beetroot, kohlrabi and apple into thin slices. This also works well if you julienne them into thin sticks (which I love). Ottolenghi suggests using Candy Beetroot for extra visual oomph – if you have them, great. If not, use your normal, run-of-the-mill beets.

I am using my purple chillies from the garden, which may be Naga Jolokia Purple Chillies (the plant does look so similar), but is more likely Purple Jalapeño. Whatever, you don’t need exotic chillies to make this work. Ottolenghi suggests urfa chilli flakes, but I say use fresh or dried chillies, whatever you have. I have also made this with Korean Chilli Flakes. Perfect.

Today it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Are you after other Ottolenghi Inspiration? Try Parsley and Barley Salad, Mung Bean and Baked Carrot Salad, and Tomato and Pomegranate Salad.

Similar recipes include Kohlrabi Subzi and Kohlrabi  and Cucumber Salad.

Or try these Beetroot Salads: Roasted Beetroot with Maple Dressing, Beets with a Herb Dressing, Beets with a Honey Ginger Dressing and Beetroot and Carrot Salad with Indian Spices.

Still want more? Check all Ottolenghi dishes, all Kohlrabi recipes and all Beetroot Recipes. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. We have so many delicious Salads worth exploring. Or make a cuppa and work through our Early Autumn dishes. Enjoy!

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Smoked Beetroot with Yoghurt and Caramelised Nuts

I have always been a little timid to try smoking food, although friends have given me the instructions for smoking tofu and also garlic. I had in the back of my mind that I might purchase one of those smoker trays for my Weber Q one day but, you know, never got around to it. And I have absolutely no desire to smoke out my kitchen and ruin my wok smoking food on the stove top, setting off all smoke alarms.

But my dear friend Ottolenghi has a recipe for smoked beetroot, and one cool Autumn morning, the Weber Q is lit, a smoker fashioned out of foil trays and tin foil. The tray is layered with rice and lemon rind and thyme, beetroot is placed on top, it is wrapped tightly, and my smoker is made.  The recipe is from Plenty More.

A timer is essential, as the flavour of the beetroot becomes too intense if smoked for too long. If you are smoking inside, a strong extractor fan is highly recommended.

This recipe is one with multiple steps, process and pots and pans. Smoke the beetroot. Bake the smoked beetroot. Make the salad. Toast the nuts. Make the caramel. Spread on a tray with nuts. Make the yoghurt sauce. Quite a few pots and pans along the way.

But it is a stunner of a salad – both in flavour and looks – and a fantastic way to open a fancy meal. The smokiness of the beetroot with the sweet-bitter caramel, both lightened with the curd. Heaven.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Kohlrabi, Beetroot and Celery Leaf Salad, Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad, Beetroot with Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing, and Roast Beetroot with Sweetcorn.

Browse all of our Beetroot dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Smoked Beetroot with Yoghurt and Caramelised Nuts”

Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad or Dip

The last of this crop of beetroot was picked to make a Chilled Beetroot Soup and a Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad/Dip. It is a heatwave right now, as I write this post – we are in Day 3 of a 4 Day heatwave with temperatures over 40C. Thankfully, the mornings are glorious, so there is time to do a little gardening and get some cold dishes ready for the day.

Can I tell you that I have fallen in love with beetroot this year? Ok, I have eaten it and cooked with it before, but beetroot straight from my garden has made me a lover of this vegetable. You can tell by the number of beet recipes posted from 2006 to mid 2016 (5), and after that date (25 published or scheduled).

Let me share some of those recipes with you. Try Beetroot and Rhubarb Salad, Smoked Beetroot with Yoghurt and Caramelised Nuts, an Indian sautéed Beetroot Curry, another Chilled Beetroot Soup, and a Beetroot Risotto.

We have some other dips perfect for hot weather: the green coriander based Zhug, Moroccan Carrot Dip and Tomato and Chilli Jam.

Yoghurt makes a great base for yoghurt salads that can often also be used as dips. For example: Yoghurt and Cucumber, Yoghurt and Green Peppers, and Yoghurt Tahina Dip.

Please browse all of our Yoghurt dishes, all of our Dips, our Salads, and all of our Beetroot recipes. or simply find some time to explore our Mid Summer Recipes.

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Simple Beetroot Soup | Hot or Cold

Beetroot soup is great all year round, and can be served hot in Winter and cold in Summer. Beetroot is a cook’s best friend, growing easily in the garden and being versatile in the kitchen.

This is a simple soup, full of the unadulterated flavour of the beets. The cooked beetroot is pureed and then simmered briefly with stock before adding sour cream. There is nothing simpler.

If you would like to make a really light stock for a Summery soup, we recommend this one.

Other cold soups include Beautiful Cold Avocado Soup, Tomato and Cucumber Cold Soup, and Avocado and Celery Cold Soup.

If you are looking for other Beetroot Soups, these are similar: Chilled Beetroot Soup, and an amazing Indian Beetroot Soup.

You can explore all of our Beetroot Recipes here, and all of our Soup Recipes here. Or enjoy browsing all of our Late Summer recipes.

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Slightly Pickled Beetroot Salad with Mustard

Picking and cooking beetroot straight from the garden is so good – the beets have an intensity of that earthy flavour that is unbeatable. It is my favourite vegetable at the moment.

The beetroot is slightly pickled and mixed with mustard. You can make your own mustard if you like, it is rather nice, but do so a couple of days before making this salad. It needs to mature for a few days.

This dish can be served as a salad, or on a bed of spinach cooked with garlic and lemon juice, or as a vegetable side dish. The colour of the beets is quite delectable.

You might also like to explore Roasted Beetroot with Maple Dressing, Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad, Chilled Beetroot Soup, Beetroot Salad with Honey Ginger Dressing, or Warm Beetroot and Carrot Salad.

Take time to browse all of our Beetroot Recipes here, and our treasure trove of Salad Recipes. Or simply indulge in our easy Mid Summer dishes.

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Beetroot Salsa with Yoghurt

The first beetroot from the new garden had me looking for a simple yet dynamic way to treat them. This tangy salad has the wonderful flavours of cumin and coriander, and has yoghurt rippled into the salad. Treat it like a salsa, as a side to your main dish or curry. Summery and special, I love this fusion of east and west flavours.

You might also enjoy Smoked Beetroot with Yoghurt and Caramelised Nuts, Simple Beetroot Soup, Slightly Pickled Beetroot Salad with Mustard, Beetroot, Orange and Black Olive Salad, and a Warm Carrot and Beetroot Salad with Spices.

Our Beetroot recipes are all here and our Salsas here for you to explore. Or try our easy Early Summer recipes.

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