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This is a story of beetroot meets caramel

My next holiday cooking project comes from my new absolute favourite cookbook, Treats from Little and Friday. Little and Friday is a legendary bakery set up by Kim Evans. If the recipes in her book are anything to go by, she is a fairy with mystical culinary powers. The recipes are absolutely mouthwatering and have great step by step instructions. The photographs are divine and the book itself is so pretty i’m scared of bringing it into the kitchen! I was lucky enough to be given this book for my birthday and have been obsessed with it ever since.

Seeing as I had a large amount of time on my hands today, I tried making a caramelised beetroot and blue cheese tart from the above cookbook. I made pastry, caramelised beetroot and put it together in a quiche form.

I need to take a second to talk about caramelized beetroot. Let us all pause with solemn faces.

Now, I love beetroot in any way shape or form and thought caramelized beetroot, yeah, cool.

OH MY LORD CARAMELIZED BEETROOT IS THE BEST THING PERHAPS EVER

Seriously, seriously!! I did not think beetroot could get any better, oh how I was wrong and foolish to think so.

Plus it’s seriously amazing with some creamy blue cheese. Oh what? Yeah, hi it’s Claire’s palate and I have matured. Yeah who would have though I would delight so much in blue cheese? Not me.

It’s cool, I’ll give you the recipe, ain’t no thang… but I plead with you, make this and prepare to be amazed.

 

Caramelized Beetroot Recipe from Treats from Little and Friday by Kim Evans

6 big-ish beetroot

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 Tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C. Give the beetroot a quick scrub, then chop off the tops and bottoms and chop each into 6-8 wedges. Pop them into a large saucepan and cover with water, adding a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and boil for 10 mins.

Drain the beetroot, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water. Place the beetroot in a roasting pan, spread them out and pour the reserved cooking water and balsamic vinegar on top and sprinkle the brown sugar over them.

Pop into the oven and cook for 10 mins. Baste and return to the oven, removing to check and baste every 10 mins (mine took about 40 mins all up). The beetroot are ready when they look gooey and sticky and the liquid is reduced.

I used most of the beetroot in a tart with blue cheese and baby spinach (oh yeah, I made the pastry too, just casually, cos I’m on holiday and I can). What’s more is that I have some leftover which I shall be enjoying with leftover blue cheese mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

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Summertime Saladtime!

Poached chicken salas

 

The other evening it got deliciously warm. One of those evenings which makes you think that summer has finally come to this windy city, time passing languidly, barely a breeze and all you can do is lounge in the sun. This called for salad and a light one at that. So, my sister and I pulled out piles of cookbooks and sat down to read through them, it felt very luxurious for some reason.

This salad is a combination of a Bill Granger Salad with an Annabel Langbein dressing and it fitted well with our mood. I’ve never been a huge fan of chicken and having only recently jumped back on the meat eating band wagon, I’m ready to try new things. Poached chicken for some reason has always seemed to me to be a bland thing, but this recipe has completely changed my mind. You really get the flavour of the chicken and a very delicate hint of the spicy black peppercorns and spring onions used to flavour the poaching broth. I am now a complete convert, we felt that poaching chicken was an elegant way to cook the chicken (use free range!) and it went so well with the crispy vegetables and the spicy, sweet, sour dressing. Kaffir lime leaves in the dressing give it a heavenly perfume, cannot wait to include them in more dishes.

 

Poached Chicken Summer Salad (from Simply Bill Granger and Annabel Langbein’s The Free Range Cook)

Dressing (also a good dipping sauce)

Combine 3tsp finely grated lemongrass, 1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce, 1/4 cup water, 2T fish sauce,  2 (I used 3) kaffir lime leaves, finely grated zest of 1 lime, 2T lime juice, 2 cloves crushed garlic and 2T freshly minced ginger. Taste and adjust seasoning, should have a balance of flavours.

 

Salad

1T black peppercorns

2 spring onions, roughly chopped

2T sea salt

2 chicken breasts

375g fresh egg noodles (we used dried)

6 spring onions, julienned

200g edamame beans, podded (buy frozen from asian supermarkets, then simply pop the required amount in the microwave and blast 30secs at a time til thawed. Then you can easily pop them out of their shells- fun!)

2 celery stalks, sliced diagonally

2 lebanese cucumbers, finely sliced (or about a third of a telegraph cucumber)

2 teaspoons of sesame seeds

Put the peppercorns, chopped spring onions and salt in a large saucepan, fill with cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Add the chicken breasts and stir. Remove from heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and leave to poach for an hour. After an hour, shred the chicken.

Cook noodles according to packet. Drain and pour cold water over them to refresh them, drain again. Return to pot and drizzle with a little sesame oil and about half of the dressing to stop them sticking together and to give them some more flavour. Arrange on a plate, then lay the chicken and vegetables on top, drizzle the remaining dressing over and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

 

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Vege feast!

Again in the bleak midwinter I made a vege feast for ma famille. What we have here is a mushroom and cabbage galette courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. I completely and utterly recommend that you follow her pastry recipe. The result is gorgeous, rich yet light pastry that melts in your mouth. It is delicate and the perfect casing for the mushroomcabbage party! The horseradish cream to go with it is well worth making, too.

The rest of the plate consists of spinach quickly cooked with some garlic and a warm, roast vege salad. For this, I just roasted some parsnips, carrots, yams, kumara and fennel (yum yum!) until scrumptiously soft with some garlic roasting in there as well and a drizzling of balsamic and olive oil. When it had finished doing its merry cooking thang, I simply chucked it around in a bowl with some crumbled feta. Eeeeasy and filling and delishimo! Try it, do try it- also roast vege salad is a good cheap student dish, yay! Would also be good with some orange juice squeezed over the top methinks, cos yeah Vitamin C!! See this post on My New Roots for info on how good carrots are (also an amazing meal, do try it). GET IT IN YA.

 

 

Musics:

I can’t get this song out of my head! I think it suits the hot weather and also the misty, humid weather we’ve been having recently.

 

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