Monday, June 6, 2011

Salad of Roasted Beetroot, Pink Grapefruit & Pumpkin

Roasted Beetroot, Pink Grapefruit & Pumpkin Salad 3

I've been meaning to share this salad with you for a couple of weeks now.  This is one that I pulled together from some fridge remains before I left to come away on my trip, inspired by a recipe from Maggie's Kitchen, by Maggie Beer.  Maggie is one of my favourite chefs - I love her down to earth approach to using seasonal, fresh ingredients, putting them together in ways which are sometimes surprising, and presenting them in a simple, no-fuss way.  This salad is a great example of that - the original recipe called for a combination of beetroot, blood oranges and pumpkin, together with witloof and watercress.  I was really intrigued by this combination and had the recipe bookmarked for making when blood orange season comes around, and that I will do, but in the meantime I had some beetroot, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, rocket and goats cheese to use up and so this salad was born - thanks for the inspiration, Maggie.  Maggie's original recipe called for boiling the beetroot, as opposed to roasting them as I've done, and she also serves the salad with a scattering of crispy sage leaves over the top, which I didn't have.  You can find Maggie's original recipe here.

Salad of Roasted Beetroot, Pink Grapefruit and Pumpkin Recipe
Inspired by a recipe from Maggie's Kitchen, by Maggie Beer
Serves 2 as a light meal, or 4 as a side dish
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

4 small beetroot, washed, dried & cut into quarters
pumpkin (approx 1/4 of a pumpkin), peeled & cut into wedges
olive oil
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1 large pink grapefruit
a couple of generous handfuls of rocket (arugula)
goat's cheese feta, about 150g, cut into cubes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F).  Place the beetroot quarters and pumpkin wedges into a roasting pan, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle over flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Toss everything to coat well, and put into the hot oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Roasted Beetroot, Pink Grapefruit & Pumpkin Salad 1

After this time, check the vegetables - the pumpkin should be cooked through and coloured, but still firm.  The beetroot may, however, need a little more cooking.  If so remove the pumpkin, set it aside, and return the beetroot to the oven until fork tender - maybe another 10-15 minutes.  Once all the vegetables are cooked, put them into a large bowl.

Remove the skin and all the white pith from the pink grapefruit.  Then, working over the bowl containing the vegetables and using a sharp knife, cut down in between the membranes to remove the segments of grapefruit flesh.  Let each segment drop into the bowl as you work, and then once all segments have been removed, squeeze the remaining membrane over the bowl to extract any juice.

Add the rocket leaves to the bowl.

Make the dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients in a small screw-top jar.  Shake vigorously until everything is well combined, then taste and adjust any seasoning as necessary.

Pour enough dressing over the salad to just coat everything.  Toss well to combine, and then put everything onto a large serving platter.  Scatter the cubes of goat's cheese over the top and serve.

Roasted Beetroot, Pink Grapefruit & Pumpkin Salad 2

This is a great autumn salad, best served slightly warm or at room temperature. The earthiness of the roasted beetroot, combines well with the pumpkin, and the peppery rocket, citrusy tang of the grapefruit, and sharp saltiness of the feta compliment the vegetables well.  The inclusion of the feta helps also I think to make this a complete meal.

I am sharing this post with Cookbook Sundays over at Mom's Sunday Cafe - maybe you'll feel inspired to get one of your cookbooks down off the shelves and get cooking!

I'm also sharing this post at Food on Friday:Beetroot hosted by Carole at Carole's Chatter.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Paros Potatoes

Paros Potatoes 4

Today marked the end of week one of this yoga retreat, and although we have begun by easing ourselves into things very gently, by the end of this morning’s practice we were all feeling ready to embrace the forthcoming rest day tomorrow.  Especially after Graeme’s special workout that he put us through yesterday afternoon - a routine which he has devised to help students develop the strength and fitness which will, in the long run, make our asana practice more effortless - at least that’s the theory anyway.

Paros Potatoes 3

Of course, such hard work must always be balanced by a certain amount of fun and relaxation, so last night we had our weekly pot luck dinner.  A wonderful variety of dishes appeared, including:  a beautiful mixed salad, zucchini fritters, a torn bread salad (with caramelised onions, garlic and prosciutto), lentils, beetroot in a yoghurt sauce with toasted walnuts, hummus, rice with mushrooms and asparagus, and chicken cooked in a coconut milk and banana curry.  Needless to say, we had beautiful local Paros wines to wash it all down with, and for dessert we had big bowls of fresh apricots and cherries, as well as chocolate-dipped strawberries and Greek pastries.  For my own contribution to this feast I made a big bowl of these crispy paprika salted potatoes - so simple, it is a stretch to really call this a recipe;  however, they were such a huge success that I thought it would be rude not to share them with you as well.

Paros Potatoes 2

I discovered in the local supermarket the other day this wonderful tin of paprika salt.  Now I would not ordinarily buy something like this - after all it doesn’t take much to mix a bit of salt and paprika together to make your own - but as soon as I lifted the lid of the tin to inspect, I was so captivated by the smell and the colour that I just couldn’t resist.  Besides, this is my idea of the perfect “souvenir” to take home as a reminder, for months to come, of this holiday.

Paros Potatoes 1

Paros Potatoes Recipe

(Quantities here are not critical, this recipe is really just a guideline)

potatoes (Agria, if you can get them, are best)
olive oil (Greek, if you can get it)
paprika salt (or coarse sea salt and smoky paprika)
dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper

Peel potatoes, and cut into largish dice - about 2.5cm (1 inch).  Put potatoes into a pot and cover with cold salted water.  Set the pan over high heat and bring to the boil.  Boil for about 5 minutes - by this stage the potatoes should be just barely fork tender - not cooked through, but just starting to yield when poked with a fork.

Remove pan from the heat, drain potatoes into a colander or sieve, and shake really well to “rough” the potatoes up.  Set aside for half an hour or so to allow the potatoes to dry completely.

Pour olive oil into a large skillet - enough to completely cover the base of the pan to a depth of about .5cm (1/4 inch) - and set the skillet over high heat.  Once the oil is hot (test by carefully dipping a piece of potato into the oil - if it immediately starts to sizzle it is ready) add potatoes to the pan in a single layer.  You may have to cook them in several batches if you are doing a lot of potatoes.  As soon as you have added the potatoes to the pan, sprinkle over a little of the paprika salt (coarse sea salt and smoky paprika) and dried oregano.  Turn the potatoes over in the hot oil from time to time (depending on your element you may need to turn the heat down a little) and cook until they are golden brown all over, cooked through, and crispy on the outside.

Paros Potatoes 5

Remove to a paper towel to drain, sprinkle again liberally with the paprika salt, dried oregano and freshly ground black pepper.  Keep warm while you cook the remaining batches.

Paros Potatoes 6

Once all your potatoes are cooked, put them in a large serving bowl, toss them well to make sure all the potatoes are well coated with the spices.

Serve immediately and try not to be overwhelmed by the sighs of satisfaction from your guests.  One word of advice - bring these to the table last, for I can tell you this - the minute you put these on the table someone will not be able to resist sneaking one, and before you know it the bowl will be empty before you even finish bringing the rest of the dishes to the table.  As you will have already devoured several of these in the privacy of your kitchen as you’ve cooked, you should not be surprised by this!!