Saturday, 11 February 2012



Yesterday turned into ‘one of those days’.

A day when you have, what you think, is a brilliant idea but it doesn’t quite work...

The snow had melted into nothing, before feet, let alone sledges, got out to play and a heavy sky settled, filling all with gloom.

In an attempt to cheer things up I took inspiration from our recent visit to the David Hockney Exhibition at The Royal Academy, London.

 We went on the greyest day and yet I came out uplifted. The vibrancy of his colours are stunning,  such a tonic. They feel slightly sharper, more intense. So alive in even the winter scenes.

 Those vivid oranges, blues and purples...  I wanted to  find foods that could have the same uplifting effect..slightly ambitious and some might think crazy but... 

Various members of the family suggested a roast or decent piece of steak was what would pick them up but I was thinking visually. ..And wasn’t sure teen Vegetarian would be too thrilled at the prospect of a hunter stew or juicy steak..

Looking around our local veg markets at what is in season I was struck by the choice. Lots of purple sprouting broccoli, cabbage, leeks .. but it was the beetroot and sweet potato with the promise of colour under their skin that caught my eye.

Beetroot isn’t overly popular with us at the moment...

 Last year I had been over enthusiastic when shopping and ended up with rather more than I had wanted, so decided to make Beetroot Brownies.

I tested the mixture and several brownies prior to offering them to the family and thought they’d barely notice the difference. They were moist, and very chocolatey..

How wrong I was! 

Funny how they spotted the intense redness and the slightly different texture instantly and were rather unimpressed..

Since then they’ve become suspicious when I make cakes and biscuits..they ate the beetroot brownies but not as keenly as normal often preferring to make brownies themselves just to be sure there was nothing hidden!

Anyway, a friend Lucy suggested beetroot hummus as a colourful tasty dish..

Perfect! I teemed it with sweet potato falafel, a little grated carrot salad, whole wheat pitta’s...

  It looked great.

Vibrant... colourful..healthy..

However I nearly had a mutiny at the table.

All too much.

Everyone liked something about it..

Teen V adored the sweet potato falafel with the toasted sesame seeds

The beetroot hummus was popular


The meat eaters decided the beetroot hummus would go very well alongside a nice chicken Caesar salad or chicken, pesto and grape was all too heavy with the falafel

And for once I agree with them..

So I decided to post the recipes anyway because individually they are great- with other things..maybe the falafel should be served with a Tzatziki...

Here are the recipes. The sweet potato Falafel recipe is from the LEON cookbook and the beetroot hummus is my own...  

Beetroot Hummus


Preparation time -5 minutes max
Cooking time- 30 minutes to roast or 20 to boil
Serves lots

4 beetroots chopped and roasted or boiled
400g -1 tin chick peas
4 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
3tbsp tahini
2 ½ tsp cumin
Juice of 2 lemons

1.        Roast or boil the beetroot until soft.

2.      Blitz the chick peas, garlic, beetroot, tahini, lemon juice and cumin together with the  lemon juice. 
     ....It is SUCH A GREAT COLOUR..

3.      Cool and Serve!

Sweet potato falafel


This is from the LEON Ingredients & Recipes by Allegre McEvedy

It’s really simple to make, but, does require a few hours to cook and chill, so it’s not something you can make in a hurry or if you’re hungry.
The good thing is that you don’t need to do anything complicated or literally roast the sweet potato whole in the oven, cool it, then mash it all up..It’s the sort of thing you can make if you are at home and doing other things because you really don’t need to think ..just listen out for the timer.

Preparation time 10 minutes –Although you need to allow 4-5 hours from start to finish
Chilling time 1 hour
Cooking time 1 – 1 ¼ hours
Makes approx 18 balls

700g sweet potato
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
2 cloves of garlic
1 ½ tsp ground ginger and ground coriander
2 big handfuls of coriander- chopped about 30g
Juice ½ lemon
120g gram flour
Splash olive oil
Sprinkling of sesame seeds
Salt and pepper

1.     Bake the sweet potato with its skin on until soft..Probably about an hour. Then let cool.
2.     Put the chopped garlic, cumin. Coriander- fresh and dried, lemon juice, gram flour and the flash of the sweet potato in a bowl and mash. I use the hand blender to speed the whole thing up.
3.     Chill in the fridge for an hour to allow the mixture to firm up.
4.      Oil a baking sheet then, using 2 spoons, scoop up and shape the mixture into little falafel ball shapes. You will have approximately 18 falafel. Preheat the oven.
5.     Sprinkle the balls with sesame seeds
6.     Cook in preheated oven at 200 for 15 minutes
 Serve and 


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