Home is where my heart is and my greatest love is sharing beautiful food around a family table. On Valentine’s we are focused on all-consuming romantic love and the little gestures of love in our daily lives often go uncelebrated. To me a family dinner is a great celebration of love. The love that is taking time out of your day to do the shopping for a meal for others. The love that is laying the table for a sense of occasion and making the everyday magical. The love of coming together and pausing to enjoy one another’s company. The love of recipes old and new that connect us to the past and present, to the seasons and the sensations. The love that is many hands clearing up after a long day. The love that is endless chatter late into the night. The love that is driven home at the end of it, with sleepy eyes. The love that is the little remnants in the morning of a night spent in the company of loved ones. This is my true love.
In sharing my passion for food and family I have come in contact with some incredibly inspirational women who do the same. Belinda Jeffery is constantly spreading love into the digital realm and her food has such a strong connection with the land she inhabits and the family she cooks for. Her latest book is filled with the food that my family adore, beautiful, fresh and colourful salads. This beetroot salad is my favourite so far. It is sweet and vinegary in the perfect measure. A good one to add to your family table and a lovely reminder of the flavour of love, subtly sweet and lightly pickled.
Belinda Jeffery’s lightly pickled beetroot & apple salad
• 750g beetroot
• 250ml white wine vinegar
• 110g caster sugar
• 500g red onions, very finely sliced
• 375g sweet apples (pink lady or fuji), peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
• 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• finely chopped chives or chive flowers to garnish
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Trim off the beetroot leaves. Wash the beetroots thoroughly and wrap each one in foil. Place on a baking tray.
Put the tray in the preheated oven and cook for 50 minutes or till tender. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Unwrap the beetroots and rub off the skin (wearing gloves for this step could be good to avoid pink hands).
Halve the beets and slice them very thinly.
Pour vinegar and sugar into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Add beetroot, onion, apple, ginger and salt. Gently stir together and allow the mixture to start to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and cool. Pour into a container and seal tightly, then place in the fridge to chill.
Spoon the salad into a bowl and garnish with chopped chives or blossoms.
The salad keeps for up to three weeks in the fridge and tastes even better after a few days in the fridge as the flavours soften and meld.