Tag Archives: beetroot

Living Below the Line: Pasta Bake Recipe!

I’m sure you are just itching to know how these recipes work, so allow me to share with you the first of my ‘famine’ recipes.  Actually, this one isn’t so famine-ish, because it contains actual fish, and came in at just under $1.10 per serving.  Luxury!

75 g cashews
1/4 cauliflower, coarsely chopped, including bits of stem
5 garlic cloves
salt3/4 cup water, plus more for the vegetables
1 enormous beetroot, or two medium ones
3/4 of a butternut pumpkin
1/2 cup of mixed frozen vegetables
185 g tinned tuna or salmon
550 g pasta
1 slice bread

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Recipe: Sweet and Sour Roasted Root Vegetables with Lemon Myrtle and Quinces

I’ve been singing all weekend.  In fact, I’m beginning to feel like the Mystery Chorister, I’m doing so much church music in so many different venues at present.  I’m also learning a lot about architectural styles of different denominations around Melbourne, which are alarmingly consistent at times.  Something tells me that there just weren’t too many church architects / interior designers out there…

Anyway, after being out from 8am until 6:30pm today singing, I wanted to make something simple for dinner – the plan was for roast vegetables with gribiche sauce and a broccoli salad.  But then gribiche seemed a bit too much like hard work, and then I wondered how quinces would roast with all those sweetish root vegetables, and then I had a probably unwise epiphany about lemon myrtle, and the next thing I knew, the menu had changed utterly in personality.  The gribiche got replaced by a garlicky cannelini bean mash, so that we could pretend that there was some protein in the meal.  And the vegetables?  Well, they are actually rather nice.  I was worried that the vegetables would be too sweet, but they really aren’t, and I love the way the quince has sort of camouflaged itself, so you pick up something that looks like a sweet potato, and find that it is actually mildly sweet and perfumed and fruity – a stealth quince!  Yum.  


Your Shopping List

1 large beetroot
1 quince
2 small onions
2 small potatoes
8 smallish carrots
2 small-medium parsnips
1 gigantic or two small sweet potatoes
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dried lemon myrtle
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
olive oil

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Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetables with Creamy Cannelini Bean Sauce

It’s been very quiet around here.  What always happens is that I write a post explaining why it has been very quiet, and apologising, but of course by the time I write such a post, things have self-evidently calmed down at least somewhat.

Things have not calmed down this time.  I am still in the midst of grants, and every time I’m not reading grants I am singing Bach, and then there have been work politics, and then there have been social politics, and let’s not even think about federal politics, and then there have been more grants, and then there have been funerals, and friends being evacuated due to bushfires, and other friends just having thoroughly miserable times, and sick cats, and did I mention the vile, vile weather?  Anyway, what there hasn’t been around here has been a lot of inventive cooking.  And when there has been, it mostly hasn’t worked out very well.  You know things are bad when not only do I get quiet, but I only emerge to cook savoury food!

(And really, I’m fine, just very, very tired and very, very busy.  And I probably don’t need quite so many grants, either.)

Anyway.  I started writing this recipe just before the last round of chaos, and never finished it.  Let’s see if I can finish it this time, eh?  And I will try to see you on the other side, assuming such a thing exists.  In the mean time, in lieu of content of my own, I draw your attention to my Vegetarian Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes challenge, which is attracting some really fascinating recipes.  Hopefully this will feed your hunger for beautiful food while I try to catch up with the difficult work of existing!


I love roasted vegetables and would happily eat them five times a week or more.  But they aren’t quite a meal in their own right, and while I am all too ready to serve them with broccoli in cheesy sauce (or perhaps I should say, cheesy sauce with broccoli) and call them a meal, occasionally I feel the urge to do a little better.  Hence the cannelini bean sauce, which makes everything OK because it has proteiny goodness!

One thing that you need to know about this recipe is that it is possibly the ugliest thing I have ever photographed.  This is not wholly the fault of the recipe, because nothing is at its best if you photograph it after the sun has set, but the whole pinky-beige sauce slopped over vegetables was never going to be an aesthetic triumph.  I think next time, I’d serve the sauce on the side.  As it is, my photos look as though I took a whole lot of beautiful roast vegetables, slopped gravy all over them, then time-travelled back to the 1970s, got out my old Instamatic camera, and took all the photographs under fluorescent lighting.  Only not quite that pretty. 

In fact, the photos are so bad that I’m not going to show them to you at all, for fear of putting you off, because this is really a delicious (and wonderfully easy) meal.  Anyway, the point I’m getting at is that if you make this and it turns out looking really rather dreadful on the plate, don’t despair – you are almost certainly doing it right.  But it probably isn’t a dinner party dish for any money.

Honestly, though, ugly or not, I love this meal.  It’s going to become a regular on my cool-weather vegetarian (indeed, vegan!) menu.


Your shopping list

2 smallish sweet potatoes
6 little potatoes, like pink fir potatoes
6 baby carrots
1 long beetroot, or two small ordinary ones
1 onion
1 red capsicum
olive oil
lavender salt, or salt, pepper and rosemary
400 g tinned cannelini beans
150 g slow roasted tomatoes
2 garlic bulbs, roasted
1/4 cup good olive oil
zest of one lemon
salt, pepper, rosemary

Now what will you do with it?

Aargh, it’s so long since I made this recipe that I barely remember what I did!  Well, first, one must roast the vegetables.  Peel them and chop them into inviting-looking shapes.  Because really, this will be the only inviting thing about this recipe.  I think I may even have kept the little potatoes whole, because they were these adorable, thumb-sized things which really didn’t need peeling or chopping at all.  The carrots, I peeled and then sliced in half lengthways.  The beetroot got chunked, the sweet potato was sliced very thickly and those slices were quartered, and the onion was cut into half moons.  The red capsicum was sliced.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.


Microwave the beetroot for about 5 minutes in a tiny bit of water in a bowl, because it will otherwise take far longer than everything else put together.

Now fling all the aforementioned veggies onto a huge baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and lavender salt (or ordinary salt and lots of rosemary), and bake everything for 45 minutes to an hour, turning after about twenty minutes or so, and again at the 45 minute mark if you think the veggies aren’t done yet.


Making the sauce is even easier than this.  Drain the cannelini beans and put them in a blender with the slow-roasted tomatoes, the roasted garlic, the olive oil, lemon zest, and seasonings.  Blend until you have a thick sauce.  Add more olive oil if you think it needs filling.


Serve the veggies with the sauce poured over, or poured onto the side to dip them in.  I feel a side dish of green beans or broccoli or even a straightforward green salad would be an excellent addition to this meal.


Eat.  Pretend not to notice that this is very ugly food indeed, because it really does taste amazing.



This meal is gluten-free and vegan and nut-free and low GI, and if you skip the onions, it’s actually not too terrible on the fructose side of things.  Amazing!

You can roast any root vegetables that appeal to you.  You can heat the sauce up, or instead of blending it, you could put everything except the oil in a saucepan (with just one splash of oil), sauté it up a bit, and then mash it with a fork or potato masher.  At this point, it’s more a mash than a sauce, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  You might even add an extra tin of beans in these circumstances and make it a real side dish.

And… that’s it from me.  It’s bedtime in the house of cats.


One year ago: Recipe: Inside-Out Salad

Two years ago: Market Day: High Summer Masquerading as Autumn

Recipe: Root Vegetable Rösti with Peach and Black Bean Salsa

I’m not sure if these technically count as rösti, since they are not all potato, and they do contain a lot of egg to hold them together.  More like fritters, really.  But when you find yourself with a fridge full of root vegetables on a hot evening, fritters or rösti are one of the better options for not heating the house up too much.

Also, they are very pink.  This should not be understated.  Sometimes, pink food is important.

I was a little disappointed in the salsa – it was milder than I intended it to be, and needed a bit more zing.  Next time, I’d add more lime or lemon, and more chilli. And maybe some cumin?  But it did provide a good contrasting freshness to the fritters, which, being composed of root vegetables and eggs and then fried, were not precisely light!

Not a perfect meal, but a rather nice one for a summer evening.  And worth recording, so that I can play with it another time.


Your Shopping List

3 medium potatoes
1 largeish beetroot
4 medium carrots
1 small red onion
1 medium sweet potato
1/2 teaspoon of tarragon
pepper, salt (lavender salt is nice here)
4 eggs
oil and butter for cooking
5 peaches
5 roma tomatoes
2 avocadoes
2 red chillis (or more, to taste)
juice of one lime and one lemon
1 tin (400g) of black beans
1 small bunch of coriander

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Recipe: Beetroot gnocchi with broccoli

dinner2This was my lovely, lazy, farmers’ market dinner tonight and it was so simple and delicious that I had to post about it.  I’m not sure it even counts as a recipe, because it’s seriously too easy for words – I didn’t even make the gnocchi! – and has about four ingredients.  It’s more of an idea than anything else.  But it’s a very good idea…

Your Shopping List (this is a meal for 2 people)

40 g butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon of olive oil.  I never said that this was a low-fat recipe.
500 g beetroot gnocchi.  You can make these yourself, but if you are a Melburnian, I recommend hunting down Take Me Home Pastas at a farmers’ market and buying some from them.
1 bunch of sprouting broccoli, or a head of ordinary broccoli
smoked licorice salt, or smoked salt, or just salt
black pepper
fresh parmesan cheese

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Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetables with Sweet Spices, Tahini, and Maple Syrup

closedoneThis is a very simple recipe that can either be served as a side dish or over cous-cous or rice as a meal (though in that case, I’d probably stir in a tin or two of chickpeas ten minutes before the end of cooking).  But simple doesn’t mean ‘non-tasty’, at least not in my book, and this is rather gorgeous – the tahini balances the sweetness of the spices and maple syrup, preventing this from turning into Dessert Vegetables, which would be a bit weird even for me, and I love the way that every bite tastes slightly different – gingery or anisey or cinnamon-laden or sesame-seedish, though I admit, this is probably an artefact of me not mixing things together well enough.  The flavours do all go together beautifully, however.  And the colours are a perfect celebration of autumn!

I admit, there is a fair bit of peeling and chopping involved in this recipe, but it’s also a fairly relaxing recipe to make – you can peel serenely while listening to a CD, and then, when everything is in the oven, you can sit down with a book or pop onto the internet and read a blog post or two while it all bakes.  The oven is doing all the work.

If you happen to have leftovers after this, you can combine them with stock and more chickpeas to make a stunningly flamingo-pink soup, worth eating for the colour alone, but also gorgeously velvety and tasty. 

Your Shopping List

1/2 a butternut pumpkin (mine was moderately sized, but this recipe is fairly approximate, so you decide what you like!)
4 carrots, as many colours as you can find
6 baby beetroots
3 parsnips
2 onions
500 g orange sweet potato

2 tbsp tahini

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup canola or sunflower oil

2 tsp cinnamon
3 star anises (what is the plural of star anise, anyway?)
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cumin
a knob of fresh ginger approximately 1 x 2 inches
a good pinch of nutmeg

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Recipe: Fudgy Chocolate and Beetroot Cake (Vegan)

Chocolate and beetroot cake sounds like such a bad idea, but it really isn’t.  It turns out I own several recipes for it, in fact, though they use tinned beetroot, which doesn’t sound like a winning strategy to me.  Also, they all used at least three eggs, which was no good, because my Beatrice is allergic to eggs and it would be terrible if she couldn’t eat her own cake.  Nevertheless, being rather enamoured of the Beatrice / Beetroot pun, and also being in possession of quite a lot of beetroot, I was determined to make some kind of beetroot and chocolate cake, so I went hunting online to see what I could see.

Where’s The Beef had a rather tempting choc-beet cake on their site, with equal amounts of chocolate and beetroot, and only two eggs in it.  It was also dairy free, which is basically an invitation to veganise something, if you ask me.  It also had ground almonds, another allergen that I needed to avoid, and coffee, which is not my cup of tea, if you’ll pardon the pun, so I had a bit of scope for change (though I will definitely be making their almondy and eggy version sometime, minus the coffee, because I suspect the texture would be fabulous).

What I wound up with was a very dense, rich, moist chocolatey cake in which you really cannot taste the beetroot at all.  The texture is fascinating – moist to the point of muddiness, and the whole thing is incredibly rich.  It’s the most chocolatey cake I’ve ever tasted, which is interesting, because I’ve definitely made cakes with more chocolate in them.  It’s rather brownie-like in personality, actually.

But you should really try it for yourself.

Your Shopping List

180 g beetroot (about 1 largeish beetroot – any colour, mine was stripey)
200 g very dark chocolate – 80% cocoa is great here
170 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup apple sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup (if you want to be super clever, use the 1/3 cup measure for the oil, then the apple sauce, then the maple syrup – 2 tablespoons is 1/6 cup, so just eyeball it and fill it about halfway.  The oil will stop the sauce and syrup from sticking)
1/2 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
pinch of salt
85 g cocoa, as dark as you can get
1/4 cup hot water
(optional: I don’t actually like pecans, but something tells me that half a cup of chopped pecans stirred in at the last minute would be fabulous here)

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Recipe: Baked Sweet Potatoes with Hot Pink Coleslaw

This is a recipe I make quite often but have just realised I have never posted on this blog!  Since I need it for a collection of recipes I’m making elsewhere, I thought I’d better post it now, even though I don’t have any photos with which to demonstrate it’s unbelievable pinkness…

Your Shopping List

7 orange sweet potatoes of a moderate size (you will be serving one potato per person as a main so don’t get the gigantic ones)
1/4 cabbage, preferably savoy
1 beetroot
6 spring onions (the green kind)
100 g frozen peas
2 really nice apples
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup yoghurt or sour cream
1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch cayenne pepper

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Recipe: Beetroot Gnocchi

Back before I started obsessing over sourdough, I reviewed Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros.  I’ve been wondering which recipe to choose from her book to share with you as an example of her work.  Should I pick the gorgeous jam shortbread?  The stuffed pancakes that I make for dinner party after dinner party?  The risotto that started me making my own stock?  This is my blog – surely I should choose one of the recipes I’ve really got mileage out of…

But there’s one recipe in this book which to me symbolises exactly why I love the book so much.  I’ve only made the beetroot gnocchi once – it’s the sort of dish which is too light on vegetables for a main course and a bit too much for an entrée, as well as being a little rich and fiddly for everyday fare.  On the other hand, it is absolutely spectacular to look at and lovely to eat – like an earthier, deeper sort of potato gnocchi. Which is pink!

Don’t serve these gnocchi with an ordinary pasta sauce – it would be a waste.  Tessa Kiros suggests serving them with melted butter, toasted pine-nuts, basil and parmesan.  Pesto would also work and, actually, a traditional creamy carbonara would be kind of cool, and would follow the whole insane pink theme.  Or you could just go with the decadence and melt some blue cheese over them.  I’d add a good winter salad of baby spinach, red onion, raisins,  orange segments and walnuts for a side dish, and dress it with sherry vinegar if you have it – you need something earthy and acidic to cut the richnessAnd I’d probably do baked apples or poached pears for dessert.  Hmm, I think I’ve just talked myself into making this next time someone comes for dinner – it’s the right season for it…

Finally, I should mention that this recipe got extremely silly.  This should not be blamed on Tessa Kiros, who writes her recipes with enthusiasm but also with sanity, something which I seem to have overshot this time around.

Your Shopping List

500g potatoes – the floury kind, not the new kind
1 medium sized beetroot, steamed until very tender, and then peeled
200g plain flour
50g parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten

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Leftovers for Lunch: Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Salad

I love roast vegetables.  About once a fortnight, I will do a huge roast vegetable fest – one enormous tray of potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions and beetroot, cut into chunks and the potato and beetroot parboiled, and then roasted with olive oil, garlic, rosemary and salt.  Another huge tray will have capsicums, halved or quartered roma tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and red onion, with oregano, black pepper, a bit of brown sugar,  balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Mostly, I chuck in some organic sausages to roast with this, but sometimes I’ll serve it with broccoli in cheese sauce, or with chickpeas or a cannelini bean puree, or even a roast chicken.  Continue reading