Recently I was in the lovely town of Orange, in regional New South Wales. I had imagined Orange to be a bustling town of cute shops and foodie providores. Let’s say, I over-imagined. Or more accurately I’m told, I’d mixed Orange up with Mildura. Turns out there’s very little open in Orange on the weekends so, on finding myself with nothing to do I, a pregnant lady, went on a winery wander… and drank nothing… it wasn’t the most thrilling of days. I did stumble across an orchard. I then imagined plucking sweet fragrant apples directly from the tree… glorious! But no, turns out due to a fruit fly infestation I wouldn’t be doing any plucking at all. I did however manage to purchase several plump ruby beetroot with big intentions. Cut to me trawling through the crisper 2 weeks later with these gorgeous orbs starting their downward decline… and so I cooked this magnificently sweet and tasty ode to beetroot. I may have added a pork & apple cider sausage and a small rocket salad to the mix to really give the dish it’s dinner label but it did survive beautifully for lunch the next day without any need for other fixings. Surprisingly simple and delicious!
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 40g butter
- A splash of sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 7 thyme sprigs
- 4 fresh beetroot
- 250g puff pastry
- 4 slices of goat’s cheese
- Salt and black pepper
- In a saucepan filled with water, place the beetroot
- Cover and bring the water to boil then reduce to low
- Cook on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the size of your beets (check with a skewer from time to time – and keep an eye on your water level!)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
- Place a smallish, heavy, oven-safe frying pan over a medium heat.
- Add the sugar to the pan and stir until it dissolves, then add a big pinch of salt, all the butter and a splash of sherry vinegar. Keep stirring until it has turned mahogany brown.
- Add 1 tbsp honey to the pan.
- Pick the thyme leaves from 6 stalks and add them too.
- Remove from the heat and stir.
- Place a long sprig of thyme on top of the caramel for decoration.
- Cut the cooked beetroot into nice fat slices and carefully (so you don’t burn your fingers) arrange all the slices on top of the caramel, working from the edge to the centre in a spiral pattern.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry so it’s big enough to cover the beetroot, then place it on top, tucking the edges down into the pan.
- Put the whole lot into the oven for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
- Place an upturned plate over the frying pan (it should be bigger than the pan) and, holding the two together, flip the lot over.
- Leave it for 30 seconds to let the caramel mostly fall from the pan on to the plate, then slowly lift the pan.
- Serve by the wedge while still warm, with a disk of goat’s cheese on top and, if you fancy, a drizzle of honey.
Recipe: Fabulous Baker Brothers