Moroccan Beet Soup

I love to cook with beets whenever I can because they are so incredibly nourishing. I grate them, juice them, roast them, but what I haven’t done for a while, is prepare a really good beet soup. This recipe is exquisite because of the subtle flavors and beautiful velvety texture. You will fall in love with it.

4 tbsp olive oil

1/2 large yellow onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tsp cumin seeds

11/2 pounds beets (about 6 medium beets) peeled and cubed

1 large potato, peeled and cubed

4 1/2 cups veggie stock

3 tbsp red wine vingar

1 bunch small bunch parsley, roughly chopped

Sea Salt

1cup greek yogurt (thin with a little milk so that it’s runny)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Turn down to low and fry forabout 10 minutes until the onion is slightly browned.

Add the cumin seeds and the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the beets and potato, followed by the broth. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the cubes of potato are completely soft. Remove from heat and stir in half of the parsley and the vinegar, and 2 tsp sea salt. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat until very warm just prior to serving.

 

Serve in warmed bowls, and top with a generous drizzle of yogurt, a sprinkle of parsley and a few drops of good quality olive oil.

ROASTED SPROUTS & CARAMELIZED APPLES

I had a ton of apples to use up and have been making apple everything, however, I was also given a bag of sprouts, do decided to create a tasty side dish. It turned out to be so hearty, that if you’re vegan, you may want to eat it as an entree with a side of brown rice or quinoa. Either way, it’s an excellent seasonal dish, which I’ll be making again this week. It’s a perfect accompaniment for grilled chicken or fish too.

Serves 2 as a side, but double if you’re going it eat it as an entree.

2 cups Brussel Sprouts, if they are very large, quarter them and if small to regular, half them).

2 tbsp olive oil

Sea Salt

2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

1tbsp olive oil

1/2tbsp butter (optional, but gives a better taste)

1/4tsp ground cumin

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Place the sprouts in a bowl and pour on the olive oil. Using your hands, massage the oil into the sprouts and then empty them out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are browned and well-roasted.

Meanwhile, melt the oil and butter in a heavy skillet (I love to use my cast iron skillet for caramelizing). Add the apples and turn the heat down really low. Fry gently for about 20 minutes, stirring every now and again, until the apples are soft and slightly brown. You may want to fry them for longer, depending on how much you want to caramelize them – the longer the better. When they are done, sprinkle with the cumin, stir and fry for another few seconds.

Add the sprouts to the pan to warm them up.

Place the roasted sprouts and the apples in a warmed bowl and top with the almonds.

WARM LENTIL & ROASTED TOMATO SALAD

I have just made the most delicious winter salad imaginable. I’ve literally just finished eating it, and wanted to share it with you right away. I get a bit tired of regular lettuce salads, particularly in the winter when at lunchtime, I want something a little more hearty – so this is a perfect winter lunch. You can make it a day ahead and take it in a reusable container to work. It also keeps well – for up to 3 days covered, in the fridge.

All the spicy tastes and different creamy textures work so beautifully in this dish, which would also make for a really impressive appetizer – obviously served on small salad plates.

Go ahead and give this a go, as I’m quite convinced you’ll enjoy it as much as I just have!

 

2 cups cherry tomatoes (try to find organic)

1 large red onion, peeled and cut into chunks

2tbsp olive oil

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp sea salt

2 cups green lentils

3 cups of water

1/2 cup good olive oil

1tbsp red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

1 tsp of chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

1 tsp honey

Salt and Pepper to taste

4tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream

1/4 tsp chiptole paste (I make my past by blasting a can of Chipotle Chilis in Adobo Sauce in my blender. You can find this at the ethnic section in large grocery stores, and once you’ve made your puree, it will keep in an airtight container in your fridge for months).

1 ripe avocado (optional).

 

Serves 4

 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F

Place the tomatoes and onions on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. It’s best to use your hands here to massage in the oil (great for your cuticles!). Sprinkle with cumin and salt and place in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until everything is nicely brown and slightly shriveled.

Place the lentils and the water in a heavy saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for 25 minutes and then drain off any excess water. All them to begin to cool.

Meanwhile whisk up the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, parsley/cilantro,  honey and seasoning.

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 tsp of chipotle paste into your creme fraiche or sour cream.

When the veggies have finished roasting, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes.

Spoon the lentils onto a platter and gently mix in the onions. Top with the tomatoes, taking care not to mix them in – as you don’t want everything to become mushy. Dress the salad and then drizzle your Chipotle Cream over the top.

If you want to, add slices of ripe avocado.

Roasted Beet, Orange, & Hazelnut salad

I have bunches of beets! I can’t seem to stop buying them, and they always come in my farm box. I wanted to have a go at making the ultimate Seasonal Salad – one that is hearty, and that combines different tastes and textures. I was really happy with the result, as I managed to get in two flavors I love: hazelnut and cumin – they pair beautifully together. The only thing I really dislike about working with beets is the red dye that gets on everything. Be sure to pull on your rubber gloves before peeling and cutting your beets!

Roasted Beet, orange, & hazelnut salad

4 or 5 medium beets (this is normally what makes up a regular bunch.)

2 medium oranges

1tbsp red wine vinegar

1tsp honey

3tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed

1/2 cup hazelnuts, roasted in a hot oven for 10 minutes

1 cup feta or crumbly goat cheese

1 ripe avocado

Serves 2

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

Peel the beets and cut into bite-size wedges. Place them in a roasting tin.

Take one of the oranges and grate the zest into a small bowl. Squeeze the juice into another small bowl.

Whisk the vinegar, honey and olive oil together in a jug and season with sea salt and pepper. Divide this dressing between two bowls. Whisk the mustard into one of the bowls and set aside. Whisk the cumin, orange zest and half of the orange juice into the other bowl of dressing and then pour over the beets. Make sure each wedge is well-coated.

Lightly cover the roasting tin with foil, before placing in the oven for 50 minutes.

Remove when down and leave to cool (you can do all this the day before if you want.)

Peel the orange and cut away all the pitch. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the segments away from the dividing membranes.

Slice the avocado

When you are ready to assemble, carefully place the beets in a large bowl and add the orange segments. Top with the avocado, goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle over the mustard dressing, taking care not to toss or mix the salad, as you don’t want everything to turn pink.