Friday, 14 August 2009

Ladies Who Lunch

My friend and colleague, G, came over for lunch last Friday. Her first visit to HG, so I thought I'd make use of some kitchen garden produce to provide us with a light but lovely lunch.
We started with Carrot and Coriander soup then followed up with Roasted Beetroot and Stilton salad with locally made crusty brown bread. The salad was simple to make, especially as I had prepared the beetroot the previous evening, and just right for an August lunch.

When trimming the beetroot for cooking twist the leafy stalks off rather than cutting them. This will ensure that you don't damage the skin of the beetroot and they don't 'bleed' into the water whilst cooking. I wash the beetroot thoroughly and leave the long tail of the root in place whilst cooking (for the same reason as twisting the stalks), then remove it with the skin once the beetroot is cooked and cool enough to handle. You do end up with pretty pink fingers, but by the time you've washed up the cooking pot (no dishwasher in this house) your hand-colour will have returned to normal.

So here's the way to make enough for two...

Roasted Beetroot and Stilton Salad
I bunch freshly pulled HG beetroot, about 300g

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp
crème fraiche
1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon creamed horseradish sauce (I added a bit more after tasting)
salad leaves - whatever you've got in the fridge or in the garden
75g Stilton cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to gas mark 7, 220
oC. In a pan, cover the beetroot in cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, then drain and peel the beetroot. Toss the beetroot in 1 tbsp of olive oil and season.

Place the beetroot in a small roasting tin and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the dressing: whisk together the remaining olive oil, crème fraiche, wine vinegar and horseradish. Season to taste. This makes about twice the amount of dressing you will need for two people - so you can reserve some of the dressing for use next day. (I added the left over dressing to a couscous salad next day - delicious!)

Toss the salad leaves and crumbled Stilton in the dressing. Arrange salad on 2 serving plates.

Remove the beetroot from the oven and cut into wedges/quarters. Arrange the beetroot on top of the salad, drizzle with a little more of the dressing and serve with brown crusty bread. (You can use the beetroot cold, as I did, having prepared it beforehand. Whatever you do don't use pickled beetroot).

G and I had a lovely afternoon, the weather was kind to us and we spent the whole time in the garden, much more like a Summer event. I'm sure sitting in the sunshine in the garden with the bees buzzing away contentedly made the food taste even better. Good food, good company and sunshine - what more could, or should, a person ask for!

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