The winter is truly here, cold and icy. Scraping ice of the car is almost a daily routine. I hanker for hot, rich flavoured foods, salad days are far, far away. I make this soup so often and those who were lucky enough to taste ( it is that good, believe me…), love it too. Most people look at me quizzically when I say beetroot soup, beetroot?! with a big frown. Unfortunately most of us in this country only know beetroots from a jar, a sour pickled thing you eat with cheese sometimes…but there is so much more you can do with it. Next time you do your roast dinner pop a couple of small beetroots,unpeeled in the oven, they are sweet and delicious, much better than their jar counterparts.
This soup is very easy to make and definitely will warm you up on those cold winter days.
- 500g fresh beetroots
- 2 medium onions
- 2tbsp butter
- 2 celery sticks
- 200g potatoes (Maris Piper or similar fluffy ones)
- 1 cube of veg bouillon like Knorr
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
- 2 tbs white wine vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
Peel the beetroots, potatoes and onions. Dice the onion and chop beetroots and potatoes into a small cubes. In a pan put butter on a medium heat, add the onion and cook it for about 5 min until golden in colour, add diced celery and cook it for further 2 min. Place in the pan prepared beetroot and potato, sprinkle with caraway seeds (optional), add bay leaves, give it a good stir and pour 1and a half litre of water over it. Add vegetable stock cube and bring it to the boil. Cover with a lid and Simmer for about 1 hour and a half until beetroot chunks are tender and well cooked. Add white wine vinegar, couple of shakes of Worcestershire sauce and salt. Take the bay leafs out! Liquidize your soup with an electric hand blender or a free standing one. Add pepper to taste and more salt if needed. I serve it with some fresh dill and natural yoghurt swirls and more freshly ground pepper.
I live in Devon, I am so lucky to be here. We have several beaches on our doorstep, the wilderness of Dartmoor only a few minutes away. If we are ever bored (not that we are!) we can jump in a car to explore the beautiful county of Cornwall which is only a short drive away.
The South West region is famous for pasties. Traditionally filled with beef, potatoes and onion, nowadays they come in so many different varieties, I have even sampled a thai chicken pasty. Since I am not a great traditionalist and I love messing and experimenting in the kitchen, my pasties are filled with roasted butternut squash and goats cheese encased in cheesy pastry and sprinkled with black onion seeds for extra flavour. Delicious! Perfect with a pint of Tribute or Doombar… or a cheeky Hobgoblin.
Butternut squash and Goats cheese pasties.
Cheese shortcrust pastry
- 200g plain flour
- 100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- 100g Cheddar cheese
- pinch of salt
- pinch of black pepper
- 3tbs of ice cold water
I think the best method to make a good shortcrust pastry is in food processor as it doesn’t like being handled too much. Put the flour, salt, pepper into food processor add diced butter and process for I would say a minute or so, until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the cheese and ‘pulse’ it until mixed in, add water and ‘pulse’ it again. The pastry should come together in a ball. Take it out, shape it into a ball, wrap it in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- 1 medium Butternut squash
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 200g goats cheese (I buy a goat cheese log, it has delicious flavour but not too strong, it is really up to you how cheesy you want them to be, remember with goats cheese a little goes a long way)
- 1tsp sesame seeds
- pinch of salt and good grinding of black pepper
- few basil leaves torn or dried basil
- 1egg for glazing
- 1tbs of black onion seeds (Nigella seeds)
You must roast the Butternut squash firstly. Heat you oven to 200C. Peel the Butternut squash and dice it in a size of a game cube. Put it into a roasting tin add the oil, salt, pepper and toss it gently. Place in the preheated oven and roast for about 30/40 min until tender and turning slightly brown on the edges. Sprinkle the sesame seed, basil and put aside to cool down. Slice or crumble the Goats cheese.
Meanwhile, lightly sprinkle your worktop with flour, then roll out the dough, not too thick only a few millimetres, it must be thick enough to hold the stuffing. I used a lid of the pan 16 cm in diameter to cut out circles but anything else like a bowl or plate similarly sized will do. Cut the pastry circles out, they are going to be folded in half. Place the filling on one half of the circle, Butternut squash topped with cheese and sprinkled with basil. Leave a 1cm border around edges. beat the egg in a bowl and using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the circle. Fold the pastry over the filling and press firmly, you can pinch and fold the pastry sideways to give that nice edge, or press it with the back of the fork for a striped pattern. Arrange the pasties on the lined baking sheet, glaze it with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the black onion seeds (Nigella seeds). Bake in the preheated oven for about 25/30 minutes until they lovely golden brown. Enjoy hot or cold.