50 g butter
500g beetroot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
1 ½ litres beef stock or vegetable if desired
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lemon or red wine vinegar
Soured cream to serve
A handful of chopped chives to garnish or dill
Melt the butter in large pan over a gentle heat and slowly sweat the beetroot onion, carrot and garlic, turning the vegetables (which will become a lurid pink) over the butter.
Add the sugar and stock to the pan, season with a few grinds of pepper bring the soup to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Using a blender or food processor (cover with a tea towel just encase it splutters out the top) whizz the soup until it is entirely smooth then add the lemon juice or vinegar and salt to taste.
Serve with a swirl of sour cream and a scattering of herbs.
Persillade is a simple mixture of parsley, shallots and garlic which is a classic French finishing touch to many a dish!
2 pinches of salt
1 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ medium shallot
1 garlic clove
Prepare the steaks by seasoning them with salt and pepper and oil, pressing it firmly into the steaks on each side.
Prepare the persillade by finely chopping the parsley, shallot and garlic and mix them together. Set aside.
Using a large heavy-based pan heat it up on a medium-high heat. Place the steak into the hot pan and cook without touching it for 1 ½ minutes on each side for rare, 3 minutes for medium rare or 4 minutes for medium. Add the butter and let it go foamy and the aroma goes nutty. Spoon over the steak and remove the steak when cooked and put onto a warm plate and keep warm so you can finish off the sauce.
Quickly add the persillade to the pan. Then add the water and lemon juice and simmer for 10 seconds. Pour over the persillade and meat juices over the steak and serve right away!
3 firm, ripe, firm pears
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
¼ tsp cream of tartar or squeeze of fresh lemon juice
¾ cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted and skinned
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
Good quality ice cream or whipped cream (optional)
Peel and halve the pears, leaving the stem intact on one of the halves. Set aside in acidulated water.
To make the caramel, place the sugar, water, and vanilla bean seeds in a shallow and wide saucepan. Add the cream of tartar or lemon juice and stir together. Heat the mixture over medium heat, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup begins to bubble. Remove the lid, increase the heat slightly and allow the syrup to boil undisturbed until it turns golden in colour. Add the butter and swirl until combined and colour is uniform.
Carefully place the pear halves in the caramel, cut side down. Cook over medium heat, occasionally basting the pears with caramel, until the sauce begins to attach itself to the pears and give them colour, about 15 minutes. Carefully transfer the pear halves to a small tray lined with foil or grease-proof paper and drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce. Cool at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 180C. While the pears are cooling, make the hazelnut butter.
Spread the hazelnuts onto a small tray and toast the nuts until they are lightly golden and aromatic, about 8 minutes. Cool completely, set aside ¼ cup and transfer the remaining ½ cup hazelnuts to a blender or food processor. Add the olive oil, sugar, and salt and blend briefly on low speed. Gradually increase the speed until a smooth paste forms, adding water a tablespoon at a time to achieve the right consistency, slightly looser than peanut butter (the hazelnut butter should coat the back of a spoon).
To serve, lightly crush the reserved hazelnuts with a rolling pin, try to keep them coarse. Drain excess caramel from the pear halves, coat them with hazelnut butter and roll in the crushed nuts. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or lightly whipped cream.
Preheat oven to 200
500g yams, sliced into 2-3mm rounds
1 onions, sliced thinly
1 chilli, deseeded and sliced thinly
1 clove garlic
Splash of Thai fish sauce (optional)
3 Tbsp olive oil
Squeeze of lemon juice or splash of vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Handful roughly chopped coriander
Heat a heavy-based fry pan up to medium-hot, add the oil and yams. Toss regularly to evenly colour, add the onions, garlic and chilli after 5 minutes. When the yams are just tender and the onions have softened and caramelised.
Add a couple splashes Thai fish sauce, season with salt and pepper, give them a taste. Adjust seasoning and squeeze over the lemon and scatter over the coriander. Serve warm.
ALISON WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING VENDORS FOR THEIR LOVELY PRODUCE.
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