Recipe: Butternut, beetroot, rocket and pine nut salad

I love summer and all the fresh flavours it brings and the inspiration it gives me to come up with new dishes. Barbecuing is a pleasure as it involves several elements to pull together a great meal. And salads are an important part of that.

So when I cooked lamb sosaties (see previous post) I had to come up with some delicious accompaniments. Here’s what we feasted on.

Beetroot, butternut, rocket and pine nut salad

Serves 4

beetroot

Vibrant colours and great textures and flavours all served with love

500g peeled, diced butternut

200g cooked beetroot, diced

1 packet of rocket

4 tbsps of pine nuts

For the dressing

Half a cup of red wine vinegar

1 cup of olive oil

A few drops of balsamic vinegar

Roast the diced butternut in the oven at 180C for about 20 minutes in a little olive oil until soft and slightly browned. Remove, and leave to cool.

Fry the pine nuts in a dry pan for a few minutes. Keep a careful eye on them as they tend to burn easily. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Make the dressing by mixing together the three ingredients.

Assemble all your salad ingredients, pour the dressing over and you’re ready to eat.

Cucumber with yogurt and fresh mint

This lovely, refreshing side dish is perfect with the richness of the lamb and the marinade. And it takes minutes to make.

Serves 4

cucumber

The perfect, refreshing accompaniment to lamb

250ml plain Greek yogurt

Half a cucumber, diced

A large handful of fresh mint, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together and serve.

Happy summer eating!

Smoked haddock and butternut soup

I’ve been going through the highly satisfying process of emptying my freezer! I love rummaging through it, seeing what my options are for dinner and coming up with a recipe using what I have. Today I found this amazing smoked haddock which came in a box of fish that I won from www.delishfish.co.uk.

I’ve also been lucky enough to receive a complete range of stock powders from Essential Cuisine. Here I used the chicken. Their stocks are perfect for making soup as they are quick and easy to prepare and taste delicious.

Butternut makes such amazing soup as it’s sweet and creates a real velvety texture when you puree it. This is a basic recipe that you can build on by adding other flavours like garam masala (which is why it’s in the picture!), curry powder, parika or chilli. I kept it simple as I knew the flavour of the fish would really shine through and I was right.

A real warming dinner for these cold, dank autumn nights.

Sweetly satisfying butternut soup with smoky haddock

All my ingredients, chopped and ready to go

Serves 2

2 undyed smoked haddock fillets

175ml white wine

2 bay leaves

Chicken stock to add to fish liquid

50g butter

1 small onion, chopped

400g butternut, roughly diced

Butter for frying

1 apple

2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley

Lay the haddock into a pan with the bay leaves between them. Pour over the wine and bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer, covered for about 5 mins.

Remove the fish and sieve the cooking liquor into a measuring jug. Make the stock up to 500ml with the chicken stock.

Melt the butter and fry the onion until it is soft but not coloured. Add the chopped butternut, fry it for 5 minutes. Add the stock, and season. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a low heat for about 20 mins.

Puree and return to the saucepan.

Break the fish gently into bite-sized pieces, taking care to remove any bones or skin and stir into the soup.

Peel, core and dice 1 apple. Fry in butter until it is browned. Stir in 2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley. Scatter the apple over the soup and serve.

I highly recommend delish fish if you’re looking for a fish supplier. My box included cod, haddock, salmon, hot smoked salmon, smoked mackerel and smoked haddock and they were all stunning. Check out their website at www.delishfish.co.uk

Join the club: Cook with Biltong

I’ve loved biltong for as long as I can remember (it probably was given to me when I was teething as a baby – the hard sticks are great for emerging teeth). Growing up in Zimbabwe meant it was always plentiful in our house. This fantastic delicacy is basically dried meat (usually beef but can be any kind of meat), spiced with a mix of vinegar, salt, sugar, coriander and other spices.

It was born out of necessity. When the Dutch settlers arrived in the warmth of South Africa, they had to find a way to store  meat so it didn’t go off. They soon discovered that hanging it out to dry meant the outside went hard, capturing the rich flavours inside and ensuring it would keep for long periods of time.

Biltong is a big part of life in Southern Africa, even though we do have fridges and freezers there now! It goes perfectly with a cold beer while you’re watching the rugby or cricket, is the perfect packed food for any road trip, and is even tasty for breakfast, on its own or with eggs, (especially if you have a hangover). And yes, it’s also good for cooking with.

Luckily for me it’s readily available in the UK, too, so I don’t have to worry about where my next biltong fix is coming from. Which is why I was delighted when The Chichester Biltong Company approached me about starting up a Cook with Biltong club and inspiring people to cook with biltong, too.

So here’s my first recipe. I thought about the flavours and textures that would work well together (and colours – it’s important that food looks nice, too) and came up with this wonderful pasta dish. Give it a try, it’s truly yummy.

Biltong and butternut pasta

My colourful collection of ingredients.
Butternut, biltong, rocket, tagliatelle, goat’s cheese and thyme

Butternut and thyme, ready to roast

Biltong and rocket is a heavenly combination

Tagliatelle with biltong and butternut

300g butternut

10g fresh thyme sprigs

2tbsp olive oil

100g sliced biltong

250g fresh tagliatelle

50g wild rocket

40g soft goat’s cheese, crumbled

Chop the butternut into small cubes. Toss in a roasting tin with the olive oil and add the sprigs of fresh thyme.

Cook at 160C for 20 minutes until the butternut is soft and slightly browned.

Layer the biltong slices on top of the butternut and cook for another 5 minutes until it is warmed through.

Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle according to the packet instructions

Drain the pasta and put into bowls. Add the butternet and biltong to the pasta, removing the thyme sprigs.

Top with the rocket and crumbled goat’s cheese and serve.

Mix all the ingredients into the pasta before eating.

Join our club

Every month I’m going to post a new recipe using biltong, so watch this space.

And if you want to order some yourself, I highly recommend the Chichester Biltong Company where you can choose the wetness and fattiness of your biltong too (it’s very personal, you know).

Go to www.biltongcompany.co.uk and enter the code EATINGCOVENT when you order.

I’d love to hear any of your biltong ideas or stories, so do get in touch and watch out for the next amazing biltong recipe coming your way.