Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Turn The Beet Around

Now is the time for the comfort of old-fashioned food, fires in the evening and serious games of Scrabble; a time for hunkering down and settling into the slow change from fall to winter. A chilly snap last week had me baking up a storm; cauliflower soup, pear and cranberry bread pudding, a toffee apple sauce, apple and lemon verbena jam, slow roasted beets and local roasted spuds with sage. I embrace the quietness of the cooler months, walks with friends, hats and gloves and a big pot of soup bubbling away on the stove. Potato dishes such as Jansson's temptation will be made with great regularity providing us with the starchy sustenance that we need and desire as the nights draw in.

The trees are doing their brilliant kaleidoscopic fall presentation and my cimicifuga is flowering at the bottom of the garden, it's looks a little bit spooky at night, the white flowers shifting about behind a birch tree, but during the daytime they take on a comical pipe cleaning brush quality, anyway when they flower I know that Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner. 

But it feels like spring out there, it's positively balmy, the heat has us all a bit confused; one feels like getting the flip flops out again along with that chilled bottle of rosé, but to be truthful I really can't get quite as enthusiastic as my fellow Montaukians about an Indian summer in October; I have replaced floppy hats with furry ones and light cotton fabrics with wool (and possum) all the summer clothes have been packed up along with the idea of that 'last swim' and I am ready for cold temperatures and piping hot food.

The hearty beet is perfect for roasting, the addition of these spices not only fills the kitchen with wonderful exotic aromas but adds a festive touch to this often neglected root vegetable, the skin falls away easily revealing the crimson jewel-like flesh, a feast for the eyes and the belly. We had ours with lamb chops, a creamy potato gratin, mushrooms cooked with anchovies and sherry and of course a few glasses of our 2008 Stonecrop Pinot Noir.

Roasted Beets with Spices

4 medium beets, quartered
spices - I used cloves, cardamom, cumin, allspice and turmeric
(nutmeg, chilli pepper coriander can also be used)
olive oil, maldon sea salt, freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400f, put the beets in foil (double layer) sprinkle on the spices, salt and pepper and olive oil, close foil at edges and roast for about 45 minutes or until tender. The skin peels off easily but wear gloves unless you desire cerise fingers for Halloween.

Note to NZ'er - there is no such word as looky.

No comments: