Beetroot Caviar……Recipes below….
450 g raw beetroot
3 tablespoons brandy
8 pitted ready to eat prunes
2 cloves garlic
75 g walnuts
200 ml sour cream
5 g fresh dill
salt and pepper
32 blinis or rye bread to serve
Preheat oven 200 C/400 F/ Gas 6.
Scrub the beetroot really well and wrap in foil and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Leave to cool. Tip the walnuts onto a baking sheet and toast until golden. Tip onto a plate and leave to cool.
Chop the prunes finely and place in a small bowl. Pour the brandy into a small pan bring to a boil, carefully ignite and when the flames have subsided, pour over the prunes and leave to soak for about 30 minutes.
Squeeze the juice from the lemon and grind 50 g of the walnuts until fine in a food processor.
When the beetroot are cool enough to handle, peel them and chop roughly and tip into the bowl of the food processor with the walnuts. Peel and crush the garlic and add to the beetroot with the soaked prunes and whiz until the beetroot is very finely chopped but not quite pureed.
Scrape the beetroot into a bowl, season to taste with salt, pepper and about 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, adding more to taste.
Serve the beetroot caviar in a small serving bowl, sprinkled with the chopped dill, more chopped toasted walnuts, with creme fraiche, (or sour cream) and cubes of a really dark rye bread on the side (you could serve with warm blinis.) for everyone to help themselves.
Beetroot Caviar from my column in Stella magazine 23rd November 2008.
650g mixture of wild, field and chestnut mushrooms
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic
8 spring onions
70 g pitted dry black olives
10 g fresh dill
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200 ml crème fraiche or sour cream
pumpernickel or blinis to serve
Wipe the mushrooms well, chop roughly, tip into the bowl of the food processor. (you may need to do this in batches) and chop finely. Peel and crush the garlic and finely chop the spring onions.
Heat oil in a large frying pan, add the spring onions and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes or until softened then add the chopped mushrooms and cook over a moderate heat. Water will start to come out of the mushrooms but carry on cooking until all the liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently for about 10-12 minutes or until the mushrooms are dark and rich in colour Set aside to cool.
Finely chop the olives, squeeze the juice from the lemon and chop the dill. Stir the olives and dill into the cooled mushroom mixture with the olives and season with lemon juice, paprika, nutmeg and salt and pepper. (be careful you may not need too much salt as the olives are quite salty.)
Serve a pile of warmed blinis or pieces of pumpernickel onto a large serving plate with a bowl of crème fraiche or sour cream with a bowl of the mushroom caviar in the centre for everyone to help themselves.
Wild Mushroom Caviar from my column in Stella magazine 14 December 2008.
White Bean Puree (Sicilian Broad-bean Puree) with Minted Onions
A Diana Henry recipe from her column in Stella.
Such a tasty puree to use as a dip.
450g skinless dried broad beans
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
100ml chicken or vegetable stock, or cooking water from the beans
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
75ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
chicory leaves to serve
Minted onions (optional)
30ml olive oil
2 onions, very finely sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded and cut into slivers
1½ tbsp white-wine vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
small handful of mint leaves, torn
Soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover them. Drain, rinse and put into a large saucepan. Cover with fresh water and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Partially cover, turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid if you’re going to use it.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion, carrot, celery and garlic until soft. Add some bean cooking liquid or stock to keep the mixture moist and stop it from burning.
Put the cooked vegetables and beans into a food processer, or use a stick blender, or even a potato masher if you want a coarse purée. Puree while adding the olive oil and a little remaining stock or bean liquid until you hav a soft puree.
Now prepare the minted onions if you’re going to make them.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying-pan and cook the onions over a high heat – you want them to get a good colour – until they are soft and golden brown. Add the chilli and cook on a lower heat for a further minute. Add the vinegar, sugar, mint and some seasoning and continue to cook, allowing the vinegar to evaporate. Taste for seasoning.
Serve the purée at room temperature with the hot onions on top. Drizzle generously with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.
Diana serves this as a dish with blanched curly endive but I served this at New Year with leaves of red and white chicory.