Tag Archives: beetroot

Healthy start to 2018

Happy new year everyone! I just love the vibrant colours in this bowl. With the festive season meaning eating and drinking a LOT more than usual, I wanted to start 2018 eating something healthy. (Full disclosure, this was the start, but then the rest of the day was filled with an entire box of jaffa cakes haha)

I am s-l-o-w-l-y coming around to salads. I am a believer of simple food. Admittedly mostly because I while I have time to cook, I have little time to prepare, and also because I have a love of knowing meals that I cook have less than ten ingredients. It’s my little way of balancing out the immense ingredient list of processed foods that we inevitably eat.

The problem I have with salads, is that a good salad needs a lot of preparation – selecting the right ingredients (of which there are usually many) and then finding a dressing that brings them all together. Salad spinners, toasting nuts, mixing the dressing – it’s all a bit much for a simple (read: sometimes lazy) me. Especially if it’s a salad on the side of something you’ve already spent time preparing.

I bought Thermobexta’s Summer Meal Mix Up book – basically a book of delicious salads, and am loving it! (I have a Thermomix but all her salads can be made without one). I’m trying to have meatless Mondays at home and if the salad is the main event, then I don’t mind all the prep at all. And discovering delicious and substantial salads like this beetroot and lentil salad, makes me like them a little more each day. I also love that these salads can be made ahead of time and leftovers are just as tasty (vs salads you must dress immediately before eating then anything that isn’t finished needs to be binned).

Bring on 2018!!!

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Roasted beetroot salad with feta and walnuts

My introduction to beetroot, growing up in Australia, was the obligatory slice of tinned beetroot whenever you had a burger. But beets are so much more than wet slices from a tin – I love simply roasting them. They have a wonderful sweetness with that earthy undercurrent – someone once described that flavour as the dampness in the earth after a thunderstorm. A warning if you’re cooking with them – make no mistake – that colour is going to stain. So wear gloves and wipe up any juices immediately unless you want deep pink tinges on your fingers and all over your kitchen.

This salad would work equally well with roasted figs – the baking seems to intensify their delicate sweetness, and that would hold up to the robustness of the feta and balsamic dressing.

Actually, this simple salad would work well with any leftover roasted root vegetables too.

Ingredients  no portion size given, make this as big or as small as you want !

  1. Roasted beetroot
  2. Feta cheese, cubed – I like Danish feta for its rich creaminess but you could use Greek feta as well. You could also use goats cheese (which I don’t like, hence the feta)
  3. Baby beet leaves or any salad leaves
  4. Walnuts
  5. Aged balsamic – or if you don’t have that in your pantry then reduce some ordinary balsamic till it becomes thick and syrupy

Method

  1. If you haven’t already got roasted beetroot, you can simply pop them in a hot oven 200C/400C for 30 minutes until tender
  2. As soon as they are out of the oven, pop them in a clean glass bowl and cover tightly in clingwrap so that the beetroots continue to steam inside the bowl
  3. After 5 minutes, the beetroot should be cool enough to handle. WEAR GLOVES and simply peel/rub off the skin – or you can also rub the skins off with a paper towel
  4. While the beets are cooking, toast the walnuts in the oven for 5 minutes till you can smell the fragrant oil
  5. Slice the beetroot
  6. Assemble the salad – see ? Simple ! (Yet delicious)

Beetroot Risotto

Inspired by Frugal Feeding’s gorgeous golden beetroot risotto, here’s my red beetroot risotto, which is adapted from Maggie Beer’s recipe. That gorgeous brilliant colour that beetroot imparts in dishes, also likes to stain, so make sure you have gloves handy unless you want pink stained fingers. Make sure the stock you add is hot – you need it to continue to cook the rice as soon as it hits the pan, and regular stirring will bring out that wonderful creaminess from the grains.

Ingredients makes 4-6 servings

  1. 1 medium beetroot
  2. 1 onion, diced
  3. 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1/2 cup Arborio rice, uncooked
  5. 2-3 cups hot chicken stock
  6. good handful of grated Parmesan cheese
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  8. Wedge of lemon and chopped flat leaf parsley to serve
  9. Optional: horseradish to serve

Method

  1. Cook the beetroot first. In a saucepan of cold water, cover and bring the water to boil. Lower temperature and simmer until beetroot is tender – approximately 20-30 minutes
  2. Once the beetroot is cooked, grate and set aside. Reserve some of the cooking liquid
  3. Saute onions in some oil on low heat until translucent
  4. Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes
  5. Add the uncooked rice and stir well to coat the grains with the fragrant oil and cook for a few more minutes. This will give you time to make sure your stock is hot
  6. Add the stock, a ladle at a time, and stir, stir, stir, until it is absorbed – you can also use some of the reserved cooking liquid
  7. When you have added 3/4 of the stock, stir in the grated beetroot
  8. Continue till the rice has a rich, creamy texture, taste for seasoning
  9. Serve hot, topped with the grated Parmesan, the flat leaf parsley and a good squeeze of lemon – these add depth and freshness to the earthy flavour of the beetroot and really bring the dish alive
  10. Optional – serve with a dollop of horseradish

Restaurant Ten

Herbal black chicken double boiled tonic soup

My parents have just spent a week in Malaysia and arrived for their last leg of their holiday last night with the request for dinner as “something simple please – we’ve overeaten this trip!”.  A bit of research and I found a restaurant near their hotel called Restaurant Ten.

Their site claims: “Our cuisine is modern Asian Chinese served on individual plating. Our desire is to serve every diner with nourishing and hearty wellness cuisine lightly infused with herbs or paired with aromatic condiments. The strong emphasis for balance and wellness is communicated within our restaurant name. “Ten” reveals the restaurant’s story concept of advocating ten core ingredients, which hold a permanent placement in the dining menu. The ten ingredients, otherwise known as the “Ten Nourishments”, are Sea Salt, Charcoal, Highland Tea, Wolfberry, Japanese Yamm Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Snow Pear, Blueberry and Pilose Antler.”

Crispy prawns on seaweed

Restaurant Ten’s menu was certainly different from the usual Chinese restaurant menu.  Lots of braised dishes and herbal soups and also, sadly, lots of sharks fin (which was not one of the ten ingredients but still featured highly on the menu).

Braised pork belly served with steamed buns

Anyway, we ordered the herbal black chicken double boiled tonic soup to start, followed by braised pork, served with buns, crispy duck (which we also found out came served in buns) and crispy prawns on seaweed.

The soup was delicious – a delicate consommé flavoured with the chicken meat and herbs like ginseng.  I could have had just that, with a bowl of rice for dinner, and was a lovely way to warm the stomach and start the meal.

The prawns came out nothing like I expected.  They reminded me more of wasabi prawns I am seeing more and more on menus.  Battered and deep fried and served on rectangles of nori seaweed, these were served with a sesame mayonnaise and a beetroot sauce – almost luminescently pink and incredibly tasty – hard to describe but think sweet beetroot-flavoured mayonnaise.  The batter was light and crispy and not overly seasoned, the prawns fresh and not bicarbonate-of soda-crunchy.

Crispy duck

The duck and pork were both also good but nothing spectacular and this post is loooong.  I’m not sure the deep-fried dishes we ordered were the most “healthy” but I loved the fact the food was not the usual overly seasoned/oily/MSG laden food you get in Chinese restaurants, and I think the food tasted so much better for it.

Restaurant Ten
7 Purvis Street #01-01
Tel: 6333 9901
Open daily: 12.00pm – 2.30pm, 6.00pm – 10.30pm

PS:  More research told me that this was a reincarnation of the old Metropole Restaurant at Clarke Quay, which closed down early 2010 due to the expiration of their lease.  I’d been there once and was charmed by the way that the food there drew its roots from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – balancing yin and yang, to the point where on some nights there would be a TCM doctor in the restaurant who would recommend dishes based on his prognosis of your health.