I’ve maybe had a bite of a bit of beetroot when I was about ten years old, when my mom was trying to get me to eat stuff like dried apricots, avocado and lot’s of yoghurt. This is not what a ten year old wants. I wanted processed ham and cheese slices, chocolate cake, pot noodles, oodles of crisps…anything that had E numbers thank you very much. Luckily, I grew out of that and am now quite a fan and supporter of brown rice, vegetables and other things that make you big and strong! However, the occasional cheese slice is a must at a BBQ.
In the process of developing my palette, i’ve found that mediterranean flavours are what my tastebuds are most happiest at. Classic pairings of tomato & basil, olive oil & balsamic vinegar and garlic & rosemary. All these beautiful ingredients are incorporated into most of my cooking, however, I’ve recently been exploring and using more asian flavours in my cooking such as cumin, wonderful in a nice spiced soup, and lots of fresh tasting lime leaves. But there is still lot’s more to explore…
There are countries that have always appealed to me due to the culture and food. France, Italy, Spain, even America. I never had the urge to fly over the other side of the world to Australia or to experience countries such as India and China. But my attitude is changing thanks to food documentaries that I obsessively watch, my favourite being Rick Stein’s programmes around India, and his latest one, where he visits his German relatives and tries to find more German food that isn’t just Bratwurst sausages and Sauerkraut. There was one dish which had big lumps of beef, braised in stock and beetroots. Then the beef was ground up quite finely, chucked back in, where they continued to add big spoonfuls of mash potato. The end result looked very odd, a sort of pink sludge, the kind of thing you’d see in prison cafeterias, not that I have any experience of that of course.
Before I experience the food of Germany, I want to visit Norway. I have romantic visions of crystal clear lakes, log fires and big wooly jumpers. After being in France for a few weeks with the scorching sun, I am now craving the autumnal colours of the cooler months, and I think Norway would be the ideal placed to soak it all up. I decided to make Sophie Dahl’s Beetroot soup to transport me away to this place that I’m dreaming about so much of. Beetroot, vodka and a hard boiled egg wouldn’t be the classic foods to pair up in my mind, but it totally works.
Sorry summer, it’s not you, it’s me.
Wear an apron! Beetroot stains anything!
From Sophie Dahl’s “Miss Dahl’s voluptuous delights”
5 -6 medium sized beetroots, washed not peeled
5 spring onions, white part only
1.5 litres of veg/chicken stock
a shot of vodka
Juice of a lemon
2 tbsp creme fraiche
Chopped hard boiled egg
Wash and trim the stalks of the beetroot. Sweat the spring onions in a heavy pan with some olive oil on a low heat, then add the stock and leave on a low heat to warm.
In another pan cover the beetroot with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until they become tender. Drain and chop into rough chunks.
Put the beetroot into a blender, or using a blending stick, puree until smooth. Add the shot of vodka, lemon juice and creme fraiche. Season to taste and whiz again.
Serve in bowls with an extra swirl of creme fraiche, or cream, scattered dill and the chopped hard boiled egg on the side.