Posted in Dinner Party

How to cook Beetroot

The beetroot have been bulging through the soil lately with their leafy tops waving frantically ‘pick me’, ‘pick me’ and as there’s only so long that those red veined leaves will wave so frivolously for, their time has come.
Beetroots in the garden
As I began assembly for this year’s Beetroot Relish I deduced that I must have cheated and bought some in to supplement their masses last year as there was no way I had reaped the 1.3kg that the relish recipe required.  This year I had about half that so I just adjusted the recipe downwards and don’t have a plethora to dispense just yet but I do see myself buying some additional beetroot to make more relish as gifts for Christmas.
So ‘How do you cook beetroot?’
If you’ve dug it up from your own garden you will firstly need to top the beetroot to remove the leaves and most of the stalk (the leaves can be cooked like spinach leaves if you like – wilt them down and add butter, salt and pepper).  Remove most of the leaves and stalks by cutting with a scissors leaving about an inch of stalk remaining.
Beetroos topped
I wear rubber gloves when preparing beetroot.
Once topped then gently wash each beetroot under the cold tap being careful not to be too vigorous and damage the skin.  Place on kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.
Beetroots washedOnce washed they are ready to bake.  I prefer to bake/roast beetroot as I think it retains their flavour better and requires minimal monitoring.
Roast Beetroot:
Pre-heat the (fan) oven to 180C.
Place the prepared beetroot on a tray lined with baking paper.
Roast in the oven until the beets are tender enough to allow a knife pierce through, still bitey but yielding to the knife.  Roasting time will vary depending on size.  My small ones took around 50 minutes+ with the bigger needing 1 hr 10 minutes.
Once cooked remove the tray from the oven and leave the beets to cool for a bit until able to handle.
Wearing rubber gloves the skin may gently rub away or use a small paring knife to peel them.
Delicious served warm with some goats cheese and wilted leaves or you could allow them to cool and prepare a beetroot relish/chutney.

Beetroot on tray
Beetroot on tray before roasting

As mentioned previously I do like to make Beetroot Relish and think it makes a lovely Christmas gift combined with some great Irish cheese and crackers.
jar beetroot chutney
homemade beetroot chutney
Relishes and chutneys are a great way of making cheese a little bit more special and there are numerous variations on offer at farmers markets and on the shelves of the supermarkets.  Recently I came across the Lara range in Scally’s SuperValu in Clonakilty and I tried both their Plum Compote and Beetroot Chutney .  Tipperary brie by Cooleeney Farmhouse Cheese was on offer on the day so I picked up two wedges and it was delicously creamy and ripe.
tipperary brie cheese board
lara beetroot chutney

I do hope you get to try some delicious Irish Beetroot Chutney soon.
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day

Make, Bake, Love – Bagels

Bagels! Now who knew that I could make bagels? Well, thanks to Lilly Higgins beautiful new book ‘Make,Bake, Love’ I can.  Mine may not have turned out quite as goldenly glazed as Lilly’s but they were delicious nonetheless.
Bagels on Rack
Working from home I get to swing out of the fridge and decide what I want to eat for lunch on a whim.  It could be a pasta salad, home-made soup, a slice of quiche or maybe a stuffed portobello mushroom languishing under some melting goat’s cheese.  Yes it could be any of those things but invariably it’s not. Lunch at home for me usually means two things.  Bread and cheese.  Now I do doll it up a bit and might use a toasted multi-seeded ciabatta as the bread and add some diced red onion and a tasty relish but the basis will be good bread and good cheese.
Last week I tweeted that I had enjoyed a ‘deliciously soft & creamy Cooleeney Cheese – Tipperary Brie on toasted focaccia’ for lunch one day and Cooleeney encouraged me to share a Tipperary Brie recipe with them.  But a great cheese doesn’t need a recipe, it just needs some really good bread.
Cooleeney Farm Cheese
Lilly’s bagels were a perfect platform for a couple of slices of Cooleeney Brie, they didn’t have the Tipperary one in the shop this time but their equally delicious Dunbarra fit the bill accompanied with some juicy semi-sundried cherry tomatoes in herbs and olive oil.
Bagel, Cooleeney Brie & Semi Sundried Cherry Tomatoes
Bagels from Make, Bake, Love by Lilly Higgins:
You will need:
300ml warm water
1 x 7g sachet fast-action yeast
1 tsp salt
pinch caster sugar
550g strong white flour
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds
poppy seeds
Mix the water, yeast, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.Add the flour and oil.  Mix together until a dough forms, then knead for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 9 equal pieces.  Make each ball of dough into a bun.  Using your thumb, make a hole in the middle and gently rotate to form a bagel shape.
Place the bagels on 2 oiled baking trays.  Leave to rise for 50 minutes in a warm, draught-free place covered with a clean tea towel, or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180C.  Grease 2 baking trays and bring a large pot of water to the boil.
Gently drop each bagel into the water.  Turn them over every minute or so.  After 3 minutes of boiling, carefully place each bagel on a rack to dry slightly.
Place the boiled bagels on the greased baking trays and glaze with the beaten egg.  Sprinkle with the seeds.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn over and bake for a further 5 minutes, until golden.
Bagel lunch
This gorgeous cup and oversized saucer set is perfect for making your lunch at home that extra bit special and is available to buy at Dunnes Stores.
Cup and Saucer

Til next time, Sheila.