There has been some super chilly weather with both sleet and snow yesterday, winter would seem to be on the way. Â Today however brings beautiful bright sun and clear blue skies not seen for a week or two. Â It is days like this when I am torn between cosy warming soup or a rich stew for my internal heating and clinging to the remaining autumnal days with a salad. Â Not a light summery salad of warm ripe tomatoes and fresh garden herbs, more a chunky robust salad, a meal in itself rather than a little something on the side, as they say.
A rummage around in the fridge yields beetroot and rocket. Â Further search offers up feta and so, we are away. Â This salad is both earthy and fresh, salty and sweet, soft and crunchy. Â If beetroot is really not your thing and I blame those deep purple vinegary orbs served at school for putting so many people off this fabulous vegetable, then roasted butternut would be an excellent alternative. Â Haven’t got any rocket, then dark green peppery watercress would be ideal. Â Seeds, schmeeds, pumpkin, sunflower, pine kernals – it doesn’t matter, as long as the balance is retained you can customise at will.
Beetroot and Feta Salad
4 medium size beetroot (nearer snooker than tennis ball ideally)
3 tablespoon olive or rapeseed oil
2 good handfuls rocket
100g feta, roughly crumbled
2 spring onions, sliced
A handful of pumpkin seeds
1 – 2 teaspoons Â red wine or cider vinegar, to taste
Pinch of sugar
Preheat oven to 200. Â Wash and quarter the beetroot (no need to peel), put in a small roasting tin with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, tumble together and cook for 1 hour. Â Toast the pumpkin seeds in a hot frying pan until just colouring and put on one side. Â Put the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl, mix with the vinegar, sugar and season with salt and pepper. Â When the beetroot is cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool a little. Â Gently combine the beetroot, feta, rocket, spring onions and the dressing, divide between two plates and sprinkle over the toasted pumpkin seeds. Â Serves 2.
It strikes me this might be rather good with some roast chicken, not piping hot from the oven but allowed to cool until just warm.