I admit there is nothing new about beetroot and goat’s cheese. It’s a combination that we know works. But this is based on a dish I ate with my brilliant photographer Nassima at an inspiring café/foodstore/market called Shed in Healdsburg, Sonoma. The spicing of the vinaigrette, sweetness of the stone fruit and the beetroot prepared two ways was superb, and worthy of replicating.
PREP: 25 mins
COOK: 1 hr 30 mins
4 purple beetroot (beet), unpeeled and trimmed
1 candy striped beetroot (beet), unpeeled and trimmed
150 g (5 oz) soft goat’s cheese
100 g (31/2 oz) Greek yoghurt
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 ripe nectarine, sliced
50 g (2 oz) toasted pecans, chopped
small handful of tarragon leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella (black onion) seeds
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove, halved
3 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Preheat a fan oven to 140˚C (280˚F/gas 3).
- Rinse the purple beetroot and, with the water still clinging to them, place each on a separate sheet of kitchen foil and loosely scrunch the foil up around it (the water helps to steam them). Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Check they’re cooked by unwrapping the foil and piercing the beetroot with a cutlery knife. If the knife slips in easily, they’re ready. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature (overnight if you like), then unwrap and peel by rubbing off the skin with your fingers, wearing gloves to avoid staining.
- To make the vinaigrette, tip the spices into a cold, small saucepan with the shallot, garlic and oil. Set over a low heat and warm very gently, slowly infusing the oil. After 6–8 minutes the onion and garlic should be turning golden and the mixture fragrant. Cool, then drain the oil through a sieve into a mixing bowl. Add the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cut the cooked beetroot into wedges and toss them in the vinaigrette.
- Peel the candy-striped beetroot, then use a mandoline or sharp knife to cut it into very thin slices. Mix the goat’s cheese in a bowl with the yoghurt and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and spread over the base of a serving plate. Lift the purple beetroot from the vinaigrette and arrange over the cheese, along with the sliced nectarine and candy-striped beetroot. Scatter over the pecans and tarragon and drizzle over a little of the vinaigrette to serve.
Extracted from California: Living + Eating by Eleanor Maidment, published by Hardie Grant, priced £22 (hardback)
Food for thought
Boulangerie Joie De Vie in Ballards Lane has expanded with new premises in Temple Fortune Parade, opening its doors on Tuesday. Perfect as a casual dining option, the extensive Joie De Vie menu includes delicious all-day breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, soup, fresh juices and smoothies, crepes and patisseries. Details: 020 8445 0701.
Cool for Katz
Berber & Q’s Josh Katz, formerly head chef of JW3’s Zest joins Raymond Blanc, Gennaro Contaldo, John Torode and other food mavens headlining at National Geographic Traveller’s inaugural Food Festival, which takes place at the Business Design Centre in Islington, from 20 to 21 July. Visitors will take their taste buds on a world tour of cuisine, from corn crepes to fashionable black vegan burgers with seaweed and tofu.Details: foodfestival.natgeotraveller.co.uk
Tennis fans can now enjoy all the latest action from Wimbledon and quench their thirst at the same time, thanks to The Pimm’s Garden, which is now open in Flat Iron Square, Southwark, until 31 August. Customers can enjoy their favourite summertime drink and ice pops, while also indulging in a spot of mini tennis or giant Jenga, all in the surrounds of a quintessential English garden. There are even stripey deckchairs. Details: anyoneforpimms.com