Something about the advent of spring means I want to make everything feel fresh and new, so I started my spring cleaning a couple of weeks ago, to get everything well prepared for the bright months ahead after the long winter hibernation.
I try to clear out my larder cupboard every 6 months or so, so I’m incredulous that somehow there always seems to be a small packet of something that went off circa 1996. Its the bit of the spring clean that I relish the most, a voyage of discovery through the packets and jars I’ve got squirrelled away. I’m a bit of a magpie collector of weird and wonderful foodstuffs on my travels, which are randomly all the more appealing when I can’t understand the label – an interesting surprise maybe; a bit of dinner roulette.
I also amass foodie gifts from people who know I am a sucker for an unusual spice, a new flavoured oil or a special gadget. And so it was that I rediscovered a halloumi cheese making kit that we had been given for Christmas. My husband has a particular fondness for cheese, so I think it was technically a gift for him, but I view all of these things as for sharing really. Read more
Making a salad can often feel like a slapdash affair; a few fresh ingredients quickly tossed together, fast food at its healthy best. So it was nice to spend a little extra time over the weekend to make this salad, packed with the sort of sweet, earthy flavours that I start to crave when the autumn comes.
Unless you are eating it raw, beetroot will never be a fast food. And whilst I do use those pre-cooked, vacuum-packed beetroots from time to time, they can be a little bit watery, losing some of their fabulous rich flavour and colour. Much better to cook your own, although this takes time. I’m amazed by the number of recipes that insist you can roast a beetroot in 30-40 minutes. The only time I roasted some beetroots, I was amazed at the length of time they took to cook, taunting me from the depths of the oven as they remained hard as nails for hours on end, disregarding my every effort to hurry them along. I’ve not roasted a beetroot since. But for this recipe I wanted the dense, sweet flesh that only roasting seems to yield, so I decided to experiment with simmering them and then grilling them to get that sweet caramelised flavour in a fraction of the time. Its still not exactly quick, but it does save on oven-induced torment.