Beetroot, Bacon & Goat’s Cheese Tarte Tatin

I have had a *slight* obsession with beetroot (again) these last few weeks. My poor husband has gone from not touching beetroot to tasting here and there, to thoroughly enjoying THIS dish to “enough with the beetroot…PLEASE!!!”

I have baked, roasted, pickled and juiced beetroot in all weird and wonderful ways, with all types of combinations.  Out of all my experiments with beetroot, I have to say that, apart from beetroot juice, this Beetroot, Bacon & Goat’s Cheese Tarte Tatin was my favorite and will definitely make a reappearances on my dinner table.

Now…before we get right into the recipe, let’s examine why these little balls of red (sometimes yellow, sometimes white, sometimes stripped) happiness is so good for you.

The beetroot taste is described as sweet, earthy and tender to eat. It is grown in the ground and is related to turnips, swedes and sugar beet.

If you’re considering beetroot as one of your 5-a-day, it contains potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B6 and C, folic acid, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants and soluble fiber.

Researchers have known for some time that juice may help lower blood pressure, but in 2010 UK researchers revealed that nitrate is the special ingredient in beetroot which lowers blood pressure and may help to fight heart disease.

People with very high blood pressure can end up being on multiple tablets, so a more natural approach could prove popular if the initial research results are confirmed.

Drinking beetroot juice increases blood flow to the brain in older people, which may be able to fight the progression of dementia, a 2010 study suggested.

Beetroot contains high concentrations of nitrates, which are converted into nitrites by bacteria in the mouth. Nitrites help open blood vessels in the body, increasing blood flow and oxygen to places lacking in oxygen.

 Beetroot, Bacon & Goats Cheese Tarte Tatin
serves 2 – 3

beetroot & goats cheese tart tatin

½ Roll Today’s Puff Pastry
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
4 medium sized beetroots, cooked and thickly sliced into rounds
4 pieces streaky bacon, cut into quarters
¼  packet Goats Cheese
Balsamic reduction
Fresh Thyme, roughly chopped
salt
black pepper
egg wash

Preheat oven to 180°C

Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface, cut slightly bigger than the pan you using to bake the tarte tatin in.

Add sugar and butter to a small, non stick pan, place over medium, heat and let caramelize. Swirl around the pan to ensure the entire bottom of the pan is coated in caramelized sugar
Remove from heat, place beetroot rings over the bottom of the pan, creating a nice even layer.
Place the pieces of bacon over the beetroot, season with black pepper and sprinkle with thyme.
Cover with puff pastry, tucking in the sides so the puff pastry fits snug in the pan.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until pastry is golden brown.
While still hot, carefully flip the pastry onto a plate, top with goat’s cheese that is just roughly broken up and season with salt and black pepper.

Serve hot or cold.

I added a little onion marmalade, you can find the recipe here, and drizzled with balsamic reduction.

Onion Marmalade

I have been away, traveling around KZN, a part of South Africa I have never experienced, so my blog posts have been few and far in-between, however, I am back now. Watch out for the fun adventures I had in KZN, namely, I experienced the traditional bunny chow which I will definitely post about.  But that’s for another day, today I am going to get right into a recipe I have been asked to post a few times. Onion Marmalade, now this recipe I don’t really follow any kind of measurements, I just cook with a feel, knowing when, how much and how long to cook it for, so I am going to guide you as best I can.

Cutting and slicing onions is all a personal thing, we all have our special way of doing so.  With this recipe, I cut the onions pole to pole, onion slices cut pole to pole will break down more completely as they cook, producing a more uniform texture and flavor in the finished dish.

Onion Marmalade

1kg red onions, cut pole to pole
1 bottle red wine
1 cup brown sugar – you can use white, but I find brown gives it a nice caramel flavour
2 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
5 – 8 whole cardamom pods
1 whole cinnamon stick
pinch of salt

Place all the above ingredients, expect the red wine into a large enough deep pot.

Pour in red wine, enough to just cover the onions, turn heat up to high and bring the liquid to a rolling boil.  Drop your heat and let gently simmer, this will take some time. Stir sporadically.

When the liquid has reduced and formed a sticky like consistency, this will be close to the end.  Watch while reducing further until thick and really sticky.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Remove the whole spices.  Use on sandwiches, salads, as extra topping on a pie…this is so versatile.  You can keep onion marmalade for a fair amount of time in the fridge, just ensure that it is stored in an airtight container

onion marmalade

Rosemary Marinated Olive, Feta & Sundried Tomatoes Bread

We all have those certain smells or songs that trigger of a great memory or a moment that just triggers of a smile that is unexplainable.  For me, the aromas that fill my house when bread is baking, perfectly exhibits one of those moments.  Fresh bread brings feelings of warmth, comfort, happiness and family…and most importantly simplicity.

I don’t often get the opportunity to bake bread at home, having some time off, I just had to grab the chance with both hands.  I have a few things in my pantry and fridge that I am trying to use in all weird and wonderful ways.  One of these said items are rosemary marinated olives & feta & sundried tomatoes.  Lovely to use for cheese platters or other anti pasti’s, but why not more!

Rosemary Marinated Olive, Feta & Sundried Tomatoes Bread

I have just a basic white bread loaf recipe that I use when baking.  This recipe makes 1 loaf.

500g stone ground white bread flour
1 pk dried yeast
1 tsp fine salt
375ml tepid water
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp Olive oil
2 eggs

Tepid water is basically water that is the heat of bath water.  You don’t want it to hot or it will kill the yeast, but if it’s too cold it wont activate.

Place the yeast and sugar into the tepid water, whisk and set aside for 10 –  15 minutes.  It will create a layer of foam on top.

Mix the flour, salt olive oil in a bowl.

Crake the eggs into the yeast and whisk lightly.  Pour yeast mixture into the flour, incorporate until you have a stiff dough.

Knead for about 15 – 20 minutes.  I do this by hand, but if you have a machine, use a dough hook, and you probably looking at about 10 minutes.

Set aside in a warm place, in a bowl that has been wiped with olive oil, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to double in size +- 45 minutes

Knock back down.  At this point you add the olives, feta, sundried tomatoes and rosemary.  Break it up and just place all over, fold the dough and place another layer.  This is all estimated, you can use a lot for a string flavour, or you can keep it subtle.  Roll into a ball and place under the tea towel again and let double in size again.

Knock back down one last time, and shape, you can either place in a baking tin or bread tin, I like to keep it a little more artisan style.  Score the top and set aside to rise, +- 30 minutes

Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Place loaf into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, turn the oven down to 180°C for another 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.

Now 2 tips on bread:

Never place bread in the fridge, it will go stale over night.

Eat bread in moderation.  Bread is not only a carbohydrate, but your body breaks up break into sugars, so for a diabetic, rye bread is your healthiest option.

Sherry Baked Camembert

The lovely camembert that we got at the Indaba was very well received.  I do love cheese, and often make a meal of it, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Along with the camembert, while going to the different wine estates, I picked up a few preserves and little odds and ends.  My fridge is full of jams, preserves, antipasti type goodies, I love to eat mezze style and enjoy to snack on small things.

So what I did with my Camembert.

Turned my oven on to its highest heat, and let preheat.  I cut thin slices of bread to make malba toast and grilled it under my grill.  Removed and set aside.
Taking a melon baller, I scooped out the middle of the camembert and filled the whole with sherry., baked for 7 – 9 minutes, you want it just at the point where it becomes gooey but ca still hold its shape a little when you cut it. The sherry adds a lovely aroma and a slight sweetness to the camembert.

 

By the flower on my cheese board, I have a Pinotage relish which I bought at Constantia Uitsig where we had breakfast one morning.  Made from grapes and onions, it has this beautiful sweetness about it that goes so well with the camembert.

I had rosemary & olive oil marinated olives, feta and sundried tomatoes which I found at Fairview, which added a little bitterness to board which was a lovely balance with the sweetness of the green fig and the Pinotage relish.

With that I had marinated peppers, which I have to be honest, I didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would.

I love this style of eating, little bits and pieces, all these flavours going on, and the balance you can create with the different flavours.

 

Roasted Cardamon Orange Sweet Potato & Camembert Soup

I had this idea in my head for sweet potato soup, but I didn’t want to do the norm, I wanted to really test the flavours one can work with when you have sweet potato.

Growing up, sweet potato was baked in the oven and served with garlic parsley butter, or mashed sweet potatoes that have been beautifully caramelized in brown sugar and butter.  Then I started with sweet potato chips, which I absolutely die for, and sweet potato & pearled barley curry, now, I wanted to take it one step further and make soup with these beautiful sweet potatoes I had in my possession.

Seeing what I had laying around, I wanted to make a sweet potato and goats cheese soup, but being somewhat indecisive, and of course a true chef where I know something just doesn’t feel right, it struck me…camembert.  We had camembert soup on our honeymoon, I was very intrigued by this and now was my opportunity to use the lovely camembert I got at Fairview.

I needed something fresh in there, something that would compliment the sweet potato and enhance the flavours, so I brought out one of my all time favourit spices to work with…cardamon. And together with all these goodness, I made my Roasted Cardamon Orange Sweet Potato & Camembert Soup.  So here is the recipe…enjoy it!

Roasted Cardamon Orange Sweet Potato & Camembert Soup
serves 3 – 4

+- 1.5kg Orange Sweet potatoes
6-7 Cardamon pods crushed
1 clove crushed
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil
2 carrots, diced
2 leeks, diced
garlic
about 1L of vegetable stock (depending on how thick you want your soup)
½  wheel of good quality of camembert, cut into chunks and remove outer mould
2 tots ginger liqueur

Pre heat your oven at 180°C

Cut your sweet potatoes in half and place on roasting tray
Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed cardamom & crushed clove
Roast sweet potato for an hour and a half
Once the sweet potatoes are roasted, put aside.
In a pot, sauté your carrots and leeks, add the garlic and deglaze with 1 tot of ginger liqueur and let simmer for a minute or two.
Peel the sweet potatoes and add to the pot, add your vegetable stock, blitz with a hand blender and let cook out on a low heat for about 5 – 8 minutes.
Add your camembert to the soup and let melt.
Once melted, your soup is ready!