Jennee’s Sunday Spread… Beetroot curry a la Peter Kuruvita and some damn fine spiced potato cakes

Damn red. Damn tasty
Damn red. Damn tasty

This week Jennee thought she would do her regular Sunday cook-up in Saturday as she had a date with another purdy girl, for her birthday, on Sunday. Also, she was, how you say (an Eastern European accent works well here), champing at the bit to redeem herself after not really being in any kind of fit state to attempt a cook-up last Sunday… or even hold a coherent conversation… or even sit the correct way on a toilet seat. Point being; I think she’s really starting to enjoy her time in the limelight, sitting back, watching the accolades come rolling in.

This week the debt owed to the food gods has been paid in full. This girl is on fire… not literally of course, because that would make me some kind of sadist or something similar as I sit here typing away while my wife goes up like frigging Guy Falks! Anyway, Peter Kuruvita from Flying Fish Restaurant, SBS TV and cookbook writing fame has helped Jennee out with this one. He does not know Jennee and did not make a special trip to our house to help her cook (I don’t think), but through the power of internet based knowledge, he has personally handed her this pixelated recipe. Although her eyes are not even sharp enough to recognize the pixels… it’s not a Commodore 64, after all.

Yes, Peter showed my Jennee how to make a Sri Lankan beetroot curry (original recipe here), and then Jennee showed Peter that she likes to free style with recipes and this was the result. To be honest, it was quite a surprise how tasty this beetroot curry was. But I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me though. I mean, I love beetroot and I love curry. (Realisation hits) Shit! That’s right. That is how wars are started, folks. Open your mind. Free yourself of prejudices. Try the beetroot curry. Rush now child… ze Germans are coming…

We had the beetroot curry with steamed rice, spiced potato cakes, eggplant pickle, cucumber yoghurt, fresh chilli and lemon.

Still damn red
Still damn red
Potato cakes in the foreground. Jennee toasts her efforts in the background
Potato cakes in the foreground. Jennee toasts her efforts in the background

BEETROOT CURRY (for 4)
350 g (12 oz) small beetroots, washed & trimmed
50 g (1¾ oz) ghee
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 small green chillies, finely chopped
1 sprig curry leaves, leaves picked
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated or chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chilli powder
3 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon caster sugar
200 ml (7 fl oz) coconut milk

• Cut the beetroots and stems if using into 1cm (1/2 in) pieces.
• Heat the ghee in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion and green chilli for 6-8 minutes or until translucent. Add the curry leaves and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes or until fragrant.
• Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes or until the beetroot is tender.
• Season to taste and serve.

SPICED POTATO CAKES
(if there’s any left they go great guns with some poached eggs and chutney for breakfast the next day…)
4 med-large potatoes, boiled until just cooked
½ red onion, finely diced
1 handful coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander seed
4 curry leaf, chopped
a pinch dried chilli flakes if you want
a pinch of salt and pepper
1 egg

• Grate potatoes while they are still warm
• Mix it all together
• Form into little potato cakes
• Fry in a bit of oil on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes each side, or until brown and crispy

Balsamic beetroot salad with fried beetroot leaves, quinoa, soft feta, cherry tomatoes and herbs

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I sit back today, slowly winding down and reflecting on my week so far… and by that I mean I am in bed, sick, sore and whining like the small child who needs his mothers boobie. Dammit, I do need my mother’s boobie… Actually that would be a little sick, but probably encouraged in many hippy circles around these parts. I think what I meant to say was; I need the boobie of the mother of my children… Shit, that is still waaaaay too weird.

As I lay here, one thing I did actually think about was the beetroot salad we had for dinner earlier this week. I’m sure it didn’t make me sick…

It is true that it has been many times said in the kitchen that “you can beat an egg, but you can’t beat a root”. It is also true that you cannot beat Usain Bolt in a running race because he is really fast and he is also not you.

But the beetroot salad; We picked a lovely pile of beetroot from the garden this week, and it fell prey to a cracking salad of balsamic beetroot, fried beetroot leaves, quinoa, soft feta, cherry tomatoes and herbs… I’m sure it could’ve been a slightly longer title if I had have thought about it some more… dot dot dot

...and the beetroot
…and the beetroot

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This was a rally good salad. Like, really good. It ticked all five of my salad requirements at the moment;

  1. Beetroot, fresh from the garden so it came with a certain amount of pride
  2. Quinoa, I can not say enough (well, I probably could but I guarantee you wouldn’t sit through it) about this grain
  3. Cherry tomatoes straight from the garden
  4. Herbs straight from the garden
  5. Other stuff
  6. Personality
  7. It taught me how to count

As you can well gather from this dodgy assed explanation of my salad-y faves at the moment, I got nothing. Nothing except this salad that is. Well, nothing except this salad, a panpipe and a pair of novelty trousers that resemble goat’s legs with little hooves attached. Looks like I’m heading back to Narnia again… damn that fucking wardrobe.

Balsamic Beetroot and quinoa salad (the short version of the title) for 4

10 medium beetroot with leaves, unless they are not very fresh, in which case use the leaves from something else. Probably not from your teenage son’s “South American tomato plant” in the backyard though

3 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup soft feta. I like Bulgarian sheeps feta

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved… or not

½ red onion, bruniose

1 cup each picked parsley and mint

¼ cup balsamic vinegar, plus a little extra

2 tablespoons castor sugar

Extra virgin olive oil

Seasoning

  • Trim the leaves from the beetroot and set aside. Cook the beetroot in boiling water until tender, about 20-30 minute depending on size. You can check them by inserting the tip of a knife and if it is soft inside it’s done
  • Drain beetroot and cut into 6 pieces. I don’t bother about peeling them if they’re this fresh
  • Sauté beetroot in a little olive oil for ten minutes, then add ¼ cup of balsamic and the castor sugar. Reduce for 5 or so minutes, until balsamic is thick and coats the beetroots. Season and set aside
  • In another pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add beetroot leaves. Fry on high heat for a few minutes until they start to crisp up a little. That’s crisp up, not burn
  • Now layer that salad up like the cover of a Women’s Weekly magazine circa 1981. Quinoa, beetroot, onion, leaves, feta, cherry tomatoes and herbs. Then hit it with a splash of balsamic, olive oil and seasoning
  • Magic

 

Cooking duck for the duckman

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…and then the duck farmer returned for one last hurrah

Why?

I know many of you people out there are curious and I know many more of you couldn’t even give one single fuck. But it appears one duck cook up (you can suss that here) wasn’t enough to satiate the appetite of the ravenous duckman. So he returned for one last night of drinking fine ales, wine and possibly a port or two, duck consumption and, of course, the mandatory late night table dance with a drunken midget cobbler from the salt mining districts of Siberia. Apparently there is quite a call for good shoe repair in those parts.

Cooking duck for the duckman and a few other friends

Have some cheese while you're waiting
Have some cheese while you’re waiting. These are some more offerings from the Nimbin Valley Dairy
Duck is a huge fan of a few root veg from the farmers market
Duck is a huge fan of a few root veg from the farmers market. Roast those bad boys up in a little duck fat
Duck, glorious duck
Duck, glorious duck

I’ve said it before and (you guessed it) I’ll say it again; get your self some duck marylands (thigh with leg attached), season them with a good hit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, roast them in a pre-heated oven at 170-180C for two hours, basting regularly with their own fatty juices. That is quite literally all you need to do for a delicious roast duck dinner.  Well, that and a few kick ass side dishes, but I think you’re more than qualified to sort out a few sides by now… hopefully… maybe… shit, just eat it with a piece of bread.

Cheeses Loves You…

This is an ode to my friends and local cheese peddlers at Cheese Please. Di, Pob and Keejay, cheeses really does love you.

 

As with a good woman, one cheese is never enough. Two is good, three even better and four… well four is four. And they both start to smell the longer you leave them in the cupboard too…

 

I’ll leave it at that as I know for a fact feminist hate mail is one of the worst kinds to receive. Actually I would have to say airhead hippy feminist hate mail would be even worse than that.

 

I hear you say I am digressing again…

 

You hear me say “my blog, my rules, I’ll do what I want”

 

You think what a spoilt little silver spoon mutha effer I must be.

 

I say…

 

Wait. Am I having a dialogue with myself? I do believe I am. Jolly good then. Let’s get on with the show. Queue dancing girls…

 

 

Getting your pickle on, and getting your pickle off.

 

Although the opening sentence or title of this chapter on making pickles may seem slightly evocative, I’m not sure where I was going to go with it. So I tell you what. You make up something really funny in your head and then tell yourself it was me so it seems like I’m the funny one. OK? Cool.

 

Cheese is an easily encouragable main course at our place so I find myself constantly working on side dishes that justify to myself that I am feeding my family nutritiously with the consumption of what is essentially cheese and bread for dinner.

 

And apart from the obvious nutritional value of said side dishes it also means you receive necessary roughage. Which means you get to do a poo the next day, and we all know how important and exciting having a poo is. This is a good thing for your bottom, or anus, to do as it makes room for you to consume more food, and as Jesus said, we need food to live (he did recommend bread and fish but we’re sticking to the bread and cheese thing for now).

 

If you don’t have any cheese in the place where you keep your cheese, then you should build a spaceship in your backyard (probably make it a pretty small one so not to draw attention to yourself) and take a trip to the moon because we all know the moon is made of cheese, and it’s free. Of course you just have to pay for the outer-space rocket fuel but I’m sure it couldn’t be much more expensive then your weekly crack bill. And that reminds me, don’t forget the crackers…

 

Eggplant pickle

1 large or 2 medium eggplant, cut into 5-10 mm discs and then sliced to make batons

salt

1 brown onion, sliced

3 Tbls castor sugar

3 Tbls red wine vinegar

a glass of something red, and make sure there’s some (or a lot) port for later, and while you’re at it turn your phone to silent so there’s no interruptions. PS the booze is all for you

  • Sprinkle the eggplant with a teaspoon of salt an let it sit for 15 minutes while you prep your other salads
  • Sauté the eggplant and onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 10-15 minutes. You want to get a bit of colour on it, and it’s not a biggie if it starts to stick. That just means it’s time to get the other ingredients in
  • Add the sugar and vinegar and cook out on a medium heat for another 5 minutes, or until caramelised and syrup-y

 

 

Beetroot dressed with yoghurt, lemon juice and sumac

  • It is what it says right there. Use your smarts for this one and add seasoning too
  • Actually I just realised I should probably explain that you should cook the beetroot or used tinned baby beetroot. To cook your beetroot wrap them in foil with a splash of balsamic and roast them in a medium oven (or the coals of a fire) for 45minutes to 1 hour. Peel them and cut into segments for the salad

 

Lentils, spring onion, rocket and tomato

1 tin French/green lentils

1 tomato, chopped

1 handful of rocket or parsley from the garden

2-3 spring onions, sliced

  • Combine all salad ingredients
  • Dress salad with fresh thyme, red wine vinegar, olive oil and seasoning

 

Sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon and apple

  • Sauté that stuff in a tablespoon of butter and season with some salt and pepper. Keep a bit of firmness in the Brussels. Mmmmmmmm…