Beetroot and other seasonal goodies

Winter salad of roast and pickled beetroot, radish, fried Sussex halloumi, mint, carrot oil and foraged gorse flowers. I’m working on a couple of blog posts at the moment. One is about foraging – it’s been on my mind a lot recently – it’s a hugely important part of how we can reconnect with both our environment and our social/food history. The other is about why it’s so important and worthwhile to shop and eat locally – which is at the heart of how we both work and live. In the meantime, here is a lovely lunch I put together that embraces both of these things!I pickled a batch of Brockman farm organic chioggia beetroot back in September and whilst it has lost its beautiful stripes, it has a gorgeous flavour from the bay and star anise in the pickling liquor. The fresh beetroot in our Nethergong veg box comes from Walmestone Growers and is spray-free. We met the appropriately named Steve Parsley a few years ago when he was a manager (now retired after 30 years)and have visited their farm – now run by Paul Vesey-Wells (whose background is in organic farming) near Ash many times. Owned by the Aspinall family, they supply the Aspinall wild animal parks (specifically they grow fennel for gorillas!). Their ethics and processes are spot-on and their dedication to this means the veg and herbs they produce have exceptional flavour. We pan-roasted the beetroot in butter and made a carrot oil by blending fresh carrots (also walmestone) with olive oil and sieving. Walmestone are all over this dish, as they also provided the fresh mint and peppery radishes. High Weald Dairy are just over the county border in Sussex and have been making Halloumi for as long as Walmestone having been feeding the gorillas. When we get round to buying a car, I think we’re going to have to go and visit because they also make Brighton Blue and Ashdown Foresters. Finally – although perhaps I should have opened with this – the gorse flowers. Folkestone is a constant inspiration. After taking the boys (one dog, one toddler) for a walk on the rocks at low tide where we marvelled at the seaweed, we climbed back up the steps to East Cliff and discovered a blooming hedge of gorse. So stunning and with an amazing fresh flavour. I gathered as much as I could before the boys got bored – just enough to finish this dish! . Photography: @bartlehalpinphotography#kentfood#seasonalfood#eveninwinter#folkestone#chefsofinstagram#foragedfood#foraging#beetroot#mint#radishes#halloumi@highwealddairy@walmestone_growers@nethergongnurseries

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