Beetroot & liquorice salad

Nutty and sweet but very messy-looking salad.

Swedish weather at the moment (if you click twice on this picture you can even see the snowflakes in the air).

Being back in Sweden for a month with blizzards and temperatures reaching -5, making healthy salads to become beach fit has felt very far away. Instead I’ve been stuffing myself with hearty stews and kebabs (Malmö kebabs are legendary).

However, I found an interesting ingredient in my dad’s fridge: Sweet liquorice sirup. I have no idea what it is but think it’s meant to go on ice cream. However, I found out it also works as a great ingredient in salad dressings. With some inspiration from this dish, I decided to make a beetroot and liquorice salad, warm, weird and filling in the windy Swedish spring, but also very healthy.

Mixing beetroot with liquorice gives a very interesting flavour and it might not be to everyone’s liking, however it is definitely worth a try. I’ll be making this again.

You need:

  • 5 beetroots
  • The leaves of those beetroots, cleaned with the stems cut off
  • Some salad leaves – I used some crispy iceberg.
  • 2 eggs
  • Bulgur or cous cous
For the dressing:
  • 2 tsp liquorice sirup
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (I prefer rapeseed oil for Swedish cooking. Olive oil doesn’t go well with this, as the flavour is too strong)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • some ground ginger
  • the zest of half a lemon

Start with chopping off the leaves and ends of the beetroots, quarter them and then put in plenty of unsalted water to boil for about 40 minutes.

In the meantime, make your dressing by mixing everything that goes in it. The liquorice sirup is very sticky and can be difficult to mix with the rest. I solved this by putting the container I was making the dressing in in a hot water bath. So if you use a jam jar, Jamie Oliver-style, for making your dressing, just lower the bottom end into the boiling beetroot water for 20 seconds and then give everything a good shake. Cook your bulgur in some salted water and drain. When the beetroots are coming close to being done, blanche the leaves in some salted water so they soften. Then mix the beetroots, salad leaves, beets leaves, bulgur and dress it whilst it’s still warm. Fry two eggs in a pan and place on top of the salad. Done!

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Some nice and healthy (I know….) breakfast ideas

As most Portuguese girls when it reaches March/April I go into beach-prep mode. I know it all sounds very superficial and silly but if you’ve lived in a country where the sun shines 80% of the time and people start going to the beach as early as March you know there is some preparation ahead of that…haha. Whether you’re on beach-mode like me or are just looking for some alternatives to butter on toast (my most favourite breakfast) here are some slightly healthier breakfast ideas (no none of them include eating just carrots or juicing…):

Easiest breakfast ever! All you need to do is fry and egg or two (you could poach it to be even healthier but I love the combination of the salty fried egg and tomato), slice one big tomato and season with lots of salt and pepper. I sometimes add a piece of toast to this.

This breakfast asks for a bit more prep but is fairly easy too. You will need around 60 grams of smoked salmon (or two slices of ham), a whole avocado sliced, a poached egg and, again, lots of salt and pepper. If you’re a bit weird like me you can add a bit of tabasco or chilli sauce to the avocado…yum! This also works with a whole mango, sliced.

Home-made granola with Greek yoghurt. (Sorry no picture!)

While this might seem like a lot of effort you can make the granola ahead of time and it lasts for a really long time. For the homemade granola you will need:

  • 500 grams of rolled oats (you can buy big bags at big supermarkets).
  • A handful of dried nuts
  • 50 grams of butter (this might not seem very healthy but is much healthier than ready-made versions)
  • 3/4 tablespoons of honey
  • Some cinnamon (optional)

All you have to do is melt the butter and then mix it with everything. The mixture then goes in the oven at 180 degrees until it looks golden. Then all you have to do is wait for it to cool down and put it in a container. Serve it with Greek yoghurt, some honey and whatever fruit you have lying around.

Make sure you have some fatty meals the rest of the day to balance out all the healthiness…


Smoked salmon pie (Sveas laxpaj) with beetroot & blue cheese salad

This is perfect summery picnic food as it’s almost more delicious cold than hot. Smoked salmon pie is my farming gran Svea’s recipe, but it’s been quite changed here to adapt for what’s available in England. It is still delicious, though. Large cubes of gravad lax is too expensive in London to make pie out of – or to be eaten by students full stop – so we made it with sainsbury’s smoked salmon trimmings instead. The pie crust was the same Read the rest of this entry »