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I know I’ve been rubbish with recipes of late and I’m sorry. It’s just been a bit hectic. This week (at the eleventh hour as usual!!) I’m going to share 2 quickies that are perfect for summer snacks and lunches. Both are with beetroot that superfood  that we all should eat so much of.

First up, a moreish beetroot hummus with toasted spices. It’s a  recipe I found in that new Cook mag the Guardian on Saturday does. The colour is quite unbelievable  (and definitely one of the best things about it – think Barbie  on steroids). I’ll stick a photo on the blog later.

Beetroot Hummus with toasted spices and seeds

You’ll need:

250gr cooked beetroot, peeled

1 tin of chick peas -rinsed and  drained with the skins removed

3 fat cloves garlic chopped

3 tablespoons tahini

Juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon ground coriander

A glug of olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

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Lightly toast the sesame and cumin seeds on the pan then set aside. Put everything else in a blend then blast til you get the consistency you like. Drizzle with a little oil and top with the seeds.

Next up, a simple salad thrown together the other night with some chives and toasted sunflower seeds that proved a hit when we had it with quinoa and Asparagus, Moro kebabs, salted yogurt, baked feta, and mixed leaves and then again when I ate the remain with brown rice.

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Beetroot salad with toasted sunflower seeds and chives with a honey balsamic dressing

You’ll need:

300gr beetroot (what you have in this week’s bag)

A handful of sunflower seeds

A small handful of chives

For the dressing

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 scant tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 scant teaspoon whole-grain mustard

1 teaspoon honey

Cover the beetroot in water in a pot,  bring to the boil then simmer til tender (this will take at least 30 minutes depending on the size). When they’re cooked drain and allow to cool down then peel.

Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together with a pinch of Maldon salt then set aside.

Toast the sunflower seeds on a pan til starting to change colour then leave to cool down. Dice the beetroot and toss with dressing. Add the sunflower seeds and finally chop the chives and throw those in.

Enjoy and have a brilliant week,

Sarah

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I think deliveries from Home Organics have converted more than a few of you to the joys of beetroot. Slow roasting has banished all those awful memories of pickled slices that used to feature in that abomination known as the Irish salad circa 1982.

But what about the leaves? Or beet greens as the Americans call them. You don’t see them that often because they don’t last that long. But if you do get your beets with the greens attached be sure and make the most of them. Not only are they delicious in all kinds of salads and completely gorgeous to behold, they are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For a super cleansing juice guaranteed to leave your insides gleaming try a few handfuls of the leaves (stems and all) with an apple, a piece of ginger and 2 of this week’s satsumas. You’ll feel like new.

This week’s recipe is so simple. I made it during the summer when we had a glut and I needed to make lunch fast. Beet greens can be bitter so I used a honey dressing with some balsamic for body and flavour. Lots of toasted seeds for crunch then a slab of baked feta as the main event. Ready in under fifteen minutes……

A salad of honey balsamic beet greens with toasted seeds and baked feta

You’ll need:

1 bunch beet greens

1 handful each of sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds

1 block feta (200gr)

Dried oregano

For the dressing:

4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon runny honey

Maldon sea salt

Heat the oven to Gas mark 5/190 degrees. Sprinkle the feta with a little oregano and a few grindings of coarse black pepper then drizzle lightly with olive oil. Wrap in tinfoil and place in the oven and bake for 10 -12 minutes until soft.

As the feta bakes, wash and dry the beets then chop the stalks into  1- 2 cm pieces then the leaves to whatever size pieces you’d like.

Roast your seeds by placing them on a dry pan over the heat until they start to change colour and you can smell them lightly toasting. As soon as this happens take them them off as the next step is burnt (this is the voice of experience talking).

Toss the seeds with the leaves then add the dressing. Top with the cheese and serve immediately.

Have a brilliant weekend,

Sarah

roasted parsnips and beetroot w goat's cheese
It mightn’t look like it today, but summer is on the way and this week we had what I reckon might be the last of the parsnips so I thought a dish with them was in order. Like all roots, they are beautiful roasted especially with a drizzle of honey and maybe a splash of balsamic. Do them with beets and carrots and you have a gorgeous  side that will do any roast proud.

More usual in our house though, is the vegetarian route and last night was no exception – I made honey roasted beets and parsnips then a lightly dressed warm lemon cous cous salad with toasted sunflower seeds and some baked goat’s cheese .It’s a combination that’s easy to prepare and always goes down a storm.

I think the best way to go is to  boil the vegetables first (separately or everything will go pink and it is nice to have the 2 colours) so the roasting doesn’t take too long. This way, once the veg is in the oven you’ll have enough time to do the cous cous, slice the goat’s cheese and of course have at least one glass of wine.

Roasted parsnips and beetroot

Balsamic Roasted Beetroot and Parsnips (for 2)

You’ll need:

600gr Parsnips

600gr Beetroot

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Honey

Start with your beetroot as they’ll take the longest. Wash but don’t peel them or all their lovely colour will leech out. Cover in water and bring to the boil then simmer til done (ie until you can easily stick a knife through them). This will take anything from 40 minutes to an hour for really big bulbs. When they’re ready take them off the heat, drain and allow to cool slightly. Peel and cut each Beetroot into quarters or eighths depending on the size.

While the beetroot are cooking, you can get on with the parsnips. Wash, peel and cut into chunks or lengths. Boil in salted water until tender (this should take about 15 minutes).

When the vegetables are ready, heat your oven to Gas mark 6 or 200 degrees and warm some olive oil on 2 non stick baking trays (roast the veg separately too to avoid turning the parsnips pink). When the oil is hot, add your veg along with a generous drizzle of honey.  Toss well then put in the oven. After about 25 minutes toss again to make sure things cook evenly. Return to the oven and roast for another 25 minutes, then add a dash of balsamic vinegar, toss and return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until everything has carmelized nicely. Season with salt and pepper and they’re ready to serve.

The Cous  Cous and baked Goat’s Cheese

You’ll need:

Cous Cous

Sunflower Seeds

Lemon Juice

Olive Oil

2 rounds Chevre Goat’s Cheese about 1 inch thick

Rosemary or thyme

Olive oil

Prepare enough cous cous for 2 and dress with some nice olive oil and lemon juice. Toast some sunflower seeds on a dry pan and throw them in.

The baked goat’s cheese is simple -drizzle with olive oil and top with herbs (I used thyme) then bake the rounds on a tray for about 8 minutes. When you think the veg is starting to caramelize, throw them into the oven and everything will be ready together. If you want to make things really special marinate the cheese in oil with some rosemary and thyme a la Alice Waters. This can be done the day before and really brings up the flavour of the herbs in the cheese.

In case you were wondering……..

The leaves in your bag with white stalks are pak Choy and they should be steamed or stirfried with garlic and ginger. The other leaves are  baby(ish) Wicklow spinach 

Hope you enjoy the recipes, have a great week,

Sarah

Beetroot and halloumi salad

This week – another roasted beetroot salad. What can I say? I’m addicted. I’ve been making this one for the past few months and can safely say it makes a brilliant lunch. Gremolata is an Italian garnish of very finely minced garlic, parsley and lemon zest with olive oil usually used to perk up meat and fish and it really makes halloumi sing. Halloumi, if you haven’t  come across it before, is a tangy Cypriot cheese made with a mix of sheep’s, goat’s and cow’s milk that  is brilliant cooked (it has a very high melting point so it doesn’t fall apart like most varieties). It’s best eaten as soon as it’s cooked (2 mins on the pan will do it) so be sure you are ready to eat as soon as the salad is ready.

A salad of pan-fried halloumi and roasted beetroot with a gremolata dressing topped with toasted pinenuts (for 2)

You’ll need:

600gr beetroot roasted (see below for how to roast)

1 block halloumi cheese (about 200gr)

2 large handfuls of salad greens – rocket, baby spinach, lettuce or this week’s purslane all work well.

2 heaped tablespoons pine nuts

For the gremolata dressing

1 lemon

2 cloves garlic

1 heaped tablespoon pine nuts

A small handful  flatleaf parsley

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Maldon salt

Black pepper

Scrub but don’t peel the beets then bring to the boil in plenty of water. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes til just about tender. Drain them and allow to cool off before you peel, trim and cut them into large bite- size moons. Do make sure you cut them big as they’ll shrink by at least half in the oven. Toss in olive oil in a roasting tin and place in a moderate oven (Gas mark 5/180 degrees) for about 2 1/2 hours. Move them around every 50 minutes to ensure even cooking. When they’re ready let them cool while you get on with the rest of the salad.

Gremolata ingedients

To make the dressing gently grate half the lemon rind with a very sharp fine grater. Take care not to cut into the white pith as it’s  bitter and will spoil the taste of your dressing. Finely chop the garlic and parsley and combine with lemon peel. Add the juice of half the lemon, 4 tablespoons olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Toast all the pinenuts together in a dry pan til golden. Take about one third and chop them quite finely and add to the dressing. Season with crushed Maldon and black pepper.  Taste the dressing and correct the seasoning if necessary. You may like to add a little more lemon juice but this can also be done at the end when you’ve put everything together. Also, remember that halloumi is a very salty cheese so don’t go nuts with the Maldon.

To finish things off, divide the greens between 2 dishes and top each pile with half the beetroot then set aside. Cut the halloumi into slices about 1 1/2 cm thick. Heat a little olive oil in a griddle pan (a regular one will also do fine). Fry the cheese til golden on each side (about 2 mins). Place on top of the beetroot. Spoon over the gremolata dressing and finally, top with the rest of the toasted pine nuts. Serve and eat immediately.

We’ve got more purple sprouting broccoli this week which I’m thrilled about. I’m hoping to eat it with polenta, goat’s cheese and red pesto – one of my alltime fav dishes.

Have a brilliant weekend,

Sarah

If I had 15 minutes to myself this is what I’d make but alas the price of 4 and sometimes even 5 (!!!) and half hours uninterrupted sleep when you have a newborn is nonstop feeding by day so it might be a while…….

Beetroot is such a superfood and you can almost feel your insides thanking you as this salad goes down. Blood orange and  beetroot are one of those classic combinations – not only do they look great together they completely complement each other with the orange neutralising some of the beet’s intense earthiness. Toasted hazelnuts give a nice crunch plus lots of flavour. I eat this with falafel and hummus or, with last week’s quinoa and caramelized leek salad with feta. Both salads keep well for a couple of days in the fridge and can be grabbed for quick snacks and lunches but be warned drop them on any snow white babygros at your peril!

Beetroot salad with blood orange and toasted hazelnuts

Beetroot salad with blood oranges and toasted hazelnuts

You’ll need:

500gr beetroot

2 blood oranges

75gr toasted hazelnuts coarsely chopped.

A small bunch parsley finely chopped

The juice of 1 blood orange

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic

2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard

pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Top, tail and peel all the beets then coarsely grate them then set aside.  peeled beetroot

Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients and mixing well. Pour over the grated beetroot mix then set aside.

If your hazelnuts are not already toasted, toast them over a medium heat on a dry pan. Cool briefly then roughly chop. Add about half to the beetroot along with 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. If you have time put the salad aside for about half an hour (longer is fine) to allow all the flavours to mingle and mellow the earthiness of the beets.

To finish off, peel the oranges with a sharp knife carefully removing all the pith aswell. Cut into segments then divide each  segment into halves or thirds. Pile these on top of the salad then top with the rest of the hazelnuts and a final sprinkling of parsley.

Enjoy x

 

Courgette fritters and beetroot salad

After a tough few weeks fighting my way through endless amounts of amazing wine, goat’s cheese and almond croissants in France I’m back. For the first part of last week it was all rice and noodles (there was talk of juicing but I didn’t quite make it that far). I thought I’d never eat cheese again I’d gone so overboard. Of course I soon got over that as this week’s recipe shows.

The simplicity of a lot of the food we ate really hammered home the whole quality produce argument. You don’t actually have to eat as many pastries and cheese as we did (no, really you don’t) and the natives wouldn’t dream of it. It’s really all about fresh seasonal produce at its best so yes you eat the odd amazing pastry but really there’s a lot of salad going on most of the time. When we were there the peaches and melons were hitting their peak and both nothing short of spectacular. The melon in particular really stood out for me. We had it in several places with some cured ham and a handful of lightly dressed leaves and it  made the most exquisite starter, a far, far cry from the anemic varieties we’ve all had in this country that just makes the dish seem so pointless. this is just one example, I’ll do a few recipes inspired by the trip over the next few weeks to give you a flavour.

At this time of year in Ireland we mightn’t have peaches and melons but we’re spoilt for choice with veggies. This week brings a welcome return of baby beetroot from the Healys. It comes with leaves attached and these are even more nutritious than the actual beets so be sure and use them. You’ll have to be quick as they’re fragile and won’t last. One simple idea would be to roast up the beets finishing them off with some balsamic then serve them with a handful of walnuts with the leaves. Make a nice mustardy honey dressing for this like the one below and serve with some goat’s cheese and crusty bread and you’ve got a brilliant light lunch or starter.

I decided to use my beets to make a very simple salad that is amazingly moreish and way more than the sum of its (2) parts. It’s a recipe from my friend Helen and I think it’s Polish originally. Basically you grate the beetroot and dress it in lemon juice and ……..that’s it but it really works.

Summer is all about courgettes and they will be coming thick and fast til at least the end of September so I thought that a courgette recipe might be in order in this week in case of you are suffering from what we call “courgette fatigue” at Home Organics. Some of you have the very pale ones that are known as the white variety that you can see in the photo.  Don’t panic as Claire did when she saw them arrive this morning – they’re the same as the kind you’re used to just a different colour .

I made fritters with feta and a little mint from the garden which I served on a bed of the beetroot leaves with a honey mustard dressing alongside the beet salad with a dollop of greek yogurt. It makes great lunch for two or a starter for 4. I know it sounds like this dish has lots going on but I promise you can make it from scratch in less than half an hour.

 

Courgettes fritters with feta, fresh mint and cumin

You’ll need:

250gr courgette

1 medium onion chopped

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

olive oil

80gr feta cheese crumbled

2 tablespoons plain flour

2 tablepoons breadcrumbs ideally the Japanese Panko kind which are extra dry so great for absorbing any excess courgette moisture. You’ll get these in any Asian supermarket and they can be kept in the freeezer.

10 – 15 mint leaves shredded plus a couple extra to garnish

Salt and pepper

The beetroot salad                                                                   

You’ll need:

4-5 smallish heads beetroot

Lemon juice

The green salad

You’ll need:

The leaves attached to the beetroot washed, dried and torn into bitesize pieces

For the dressing:

4 tablespoons olive oil

1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 level teaspoon wholegrain mustard

1 generous teaspoon runny honey

Courgettes are full of water so begin by coarsely grating them onto a cloth. Leave for about 20 minutes to allow some of the excess water out. You can even get them into a ball in the cloth and wring them out if you feel that they’re still quite soggy after the 20 minutes.

While the courgettes are sitting,  heat some olive oil in a pan and begin sautéing the onions with the cumin. You want them a deep golden brown and starting to caramelize and this will take about 20 minutes over a low to medium heat. Be sure and stir them around every five minutes and  add a pinch of fine salt halfway through.

With the onions and courgettes on the way, get on with the beetroot. Remove the leaves and set aside then coarsely grate each bulb and dress the lot in lemon juice to taste then set aside.

Grated Beetroot

Prepare the salad dressing by whisking all the ingredients together then set aside til the fritters are done then simple toss with the leaves.

When the onions are ready let them cool a little then combine with the courgettes, feta, flour and mint. Add a pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and mix well. Heat some oil on the pan the gently add about 1 tablespoon of the courgette mixture for each fritter. Gently flatten each one out with the back of a spatula then fry til golden. Turn over carefully and fry the other side. Remove from the pan and serve on top of the beetroot leaves with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a serving of beetroot salad on the side. Heaven.

Like everyone, we’ve all been sickened and very saddened by the images reaching us from East Africa at the moment. This week we will be donating all the takings (not just the profits) from any new orders to Oxfam so if you know anyone who’s been talking about giving us a try please let them know.

Have a great week,

Sarah

This one was a complete accident and really should have been a disaster. I was making lunch for some friends a few Sundays ago and managed to  leave the beetroot I was roasting  in the oven way too long. I thought the whole thing would be a write off but instead, the beets had turned all chewy and extra sweet. They went down a storm. And so, a star was born. They should have come out of the oven after about an hour and a quarter which is what it usually takes to roast them nicely. However, my tiny kitchen was so messy and crowded I had nowhere to put them so I turned the temperature down, stuck them back in thinking I’d get back to them in a minute. Of course I got caught up in the usual chaos that goes with getting everything ready for when people come over – sorry to disappoint anyone who thought it might be oh so effortless at my house, it’s actually probably a lot worse than at yours.  I forgot them for at least another 45 minutes, basically until I began to smell  them from my bedroom upstairs. I was sure that was it. I rushed down and found they had shrunk to about half their original size and gone all wrinkled. Disaster!!!! But, when I tried one I realised that  this was not going to be a problem. Far from it. Supersweet and concentrated with nice bit of chew they’d morphed into a kind of kid’s sweet. Very delicious and  maybe even better than the kind I usually do. Thank you cooking gods!!!!

If you’re organised enough to be thinking about Christmas dinner/lunch this salad would make a fantastic starter. Everyone loves it. It’s light enough so you’re ready for all the main course action and most importantly, all of it bar the toasted goat’s cheese part, can be prepared well ahead of time…

Balsamic roasted chewy beets with seasonal leaves, walnuts and toasted goat’s cheese (for 2)

You’ll need:

500gr beetroot (about 3 or 4 pieces)

2 decent handfuls of seasonal leaves – I used spinach but lettuce, rocket and lamb’s lettuce all work

About 10 walnuts

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

2 rounds of goat’s cheese (chevre) about 1 1 /2 cm thick

2 slices of very thin toast about the size of the cheese – ciabatta is ideal

The dressing:

2 tablespoons walnut oil

2 tablespoons mild olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or sherry if you prefer)

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

1 teaspoon honey

A pinch of crushed Maldon salt

First off, bring the beets to the boil and then keep them simmering  for about 50 minutes or until they’re just about tender. When they’re ready, drain and allow to cool down a bit. Peel either by rubbing them (the skin will lift easily but you will end up with very pink hands) or use a sharp peeling knife. Cut each beetroot into eighths then toss in olive oil on a baking tray. Put in the oven for about 50 minutes at Gas mark 5/180 degrees turning about halfway through. When the 50 minutes are up, add a generous splash of balsamic vinegar and give the baking tray a good shake to ensure all the beets get some vinegar.  Return to the oven for another 45 minutes or so or until the beets have started to shrivel slightly.

To put the salad together, whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside. Toss the salad leaves, beets and walnuts together with the dressing. Set the cheese on top of the toasts then put under a hot grill until golden. To serve lay the cheese alongside or on top of the salad. Eat immediately!!!