Too many beetroots

I shop every sunday morning at a local farmers market.  My weekly menu is largely determined by the produce that I buy that day.  They are called the Arthur St markets and I plan to tell you more about them on another day.

Recently I bought a bunch of beetroot.  This was no ordinary bunch – there were 4 massive beets with their leaves still attached.  I reckon the bunch must have weighed around a kilo.  My plan was to make Russian beetroot soup or Borscht.  My mothers family are from Siberia in Russia and my fathers family are from the Ukraine.  So this soup was regularly on the menu in winter whilst I was growing up.  I don’t think I really liked it when I was little but the taste grew on me and now, I love it.  Mum is a great cook, never follows a recipe and her cooking is guided by taste and instinct.   We serve our borscht with sour cream and chopped fresh dill.

So that used up one of the beets (beetroots doesn’t sound right, does it?).  Oh what to do with the rest?  I decided to dedicate some time on sunday to using up the rest of the ‘big, crimson, round root vegetables’.

So firstly I made chocolate and beetroot muffins using Stephanie Alexanders recipe. 

Then, using some of the beetroot juice I collected, I made a gorgeous pink icing for the muffins.  To do this, make a very firm icing as the juice will add alot of liquid to the mix.

All this cooking and I still had one beetroot left in the fridge.  Recently on a trip to Adelaide (work conference) I managed to go on an excellent one day trip to the Barossa.  We had lunch at the Peter Lehmann winery and it featured local produce.  On the platter was a delicious beetroot relish that went brilliantly with cheese and crackers.

So from 4 we now have none.  This isn’t exactly the recipe I followed, but its similar.

I did use the idea of spiced pork chops to serve with the relish.  The combination of flavours worked really well.  I also think the beetroot relish would be great on home made hamburgers.

As a final note, beetroot gets its gorgeous colour from the phytochemical called betacyanin.  Its a powerful anti-oxidant and is suspected of having anti-cancer properties.  Regardless of the science, I love having lots of colour on my plate and aim to eat lots of naturally colourful foods. Red, green, purple, blue, how I love to eat you!

Recipe – linguine with salmon and prawns

This is a really easy but impressive seafood pasta dish.  You can prepare everything in advance, the cooking takes less than ten minutes.  I love linguine but you can use any spaghetti. 

Linguine with salmon and prawns (serves 2)
1 piece skinless salmon (about 200gm)
10 – 12 peeled green prawns
2 tbsp baby capers
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 – 2 red chilli, chopped
1 tsp salt
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup lemon juice
Zest from 1 lemon
Olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped dill
200gm linguine or spaghettini

Deep fry the capers for 1 minute, drain well and set aside.
Prepare the seafood by cutting salmon and prawns into 2cm chunks.
Chop the garlic and chillies, set aside.
Mix together the wine, lemon juice and zest.
Chop the herbs (you can use all parsley or all dill).

Place pasta in a large pot of boiling water.

Heat a large frypan (medium) and add olive oil.
Once hot, place fish and prawns in the pan.  Cook for 1 minute, add the garlic, salt and chillies.  Cook for another 2 minutes, gently stirring.  Increase the heat and add the wine/juice mix.  Stir well and allow to reduce slightly (another 1 – 2 minutes).  Add half the herbs and the cooked pasta to the pan.  Turn off heat and mix well.  Serve into 2 deep pasta bowls.  Garnish with capers, herbs and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil.