My veggie gardening efforts have been quite modest over the last couple of years – mostly due to the amount of time I’ve spent travelling and the lack of reliably motivated back-up from the resident young adults. However, this summer I’m quite proud of the healthy crops of lettuce, cucumber, beetroot and tomato which have been coming out of the garden.
Now, when I say “coming out of the garden” that doesn’t always mean that the fruits of my labours have been coming into my kitchen. Unfortunately my dear lady wolfhound has developed a fondness for tomatoes (to accompany her liking for figs, plums and green apples, all of which she helps herself to freely from the trees). I was blaming local possums for the vanishing tomatoes until she was caught in the act with her head in the bush and a small cherry tomato delicately held in her enormous jaw. I’m reduced now to grabbing any fruit with a hint of red on it and ripening them up on the kitchen window ledge – or losing the entire crop to her. Fortunately, the cucumbers are too prickly for her and the beetroot is safely covered in dirt.
And speaking of beetroot – who knew how easy that was to grow?! Excuse my excitement, but it’s my first crop so I’m a little impressed. And, not only is it easy to grow, but it’s dead simple to cook. I’ve always wrapped it in foil and baked it in the oven, but was pretty chuffed to find yet another way to use my trusty slow cooker. Simply trim the beets, wash – but do not dry them, and pop them in the slow cooker for 8 hours on low or about 4 hours on high. Remove when soft, cool slightly and then peel. Certainly beats heating up the oven on hot days!
So – once you have a pile of cooked, home-grown beets you’ll be looking for some tasty, clever ways to serve them and I have just the recipe for you with this Middle Eastern Beetroot and Feta Salad. Really, this is no more than an assembly job, but using some of my favourite flavour combinations, it is just too simple to knock up on a week night using an inexpensive cheese. To tart it up for a special occasion it can be lifted to the heavens by the use of an exceptional feta.
My family has become seriously addicted to Woodside Cheese Wright’s absolutely stunning Kris Lloyd Artisan range of goat and cow milk Persian Feta. This is an exceptional product which truly allows the quality and flavour of our remarkable South Australian milk to shine. It finds it’s way onto almost every salad that I make and my son has to be firmly restrained from devouring entire jars of it. Now, just to make my life even trickier – in a delicious kind of way – Kris Lloyd has extended the range with the addition of a buffalo milk version, using locally sourced buffalo milk. This is simply the richest, creamiest, most sublime feta I have ever tasted. If you want to take your beetroot salad up a notch or two this will definitely do it for you.
Middle Eastern Beetroot & Feta Salad
- 4 medium sized cooked beetroot
- 250 gms good feta cheese
- 80 mls pomegranate molasses
- 150 mls extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- sea salt
- Fresh mint or ground pistachios for garnish
- Roughly chop beetroot and arrange on a serving dish.
- Drizzle with pomegranate molasses first, then the olive oil.
- Sprinkle generously with ground cumin and sea salt.
- Break up feta and scatter over the dish, garnishing with fresh mint or ground pistachios.