28 February 2011

Roasted Beet Salad & some Spicy Kumura Fries

Everything still feels a little surreal here in NZ, every day the enormity of the situation in Christchurch sinks in a little more.  It feels quite strange to be able to go about one's daily life as normal when only a few hours away peoples lives have been turned upside down...loved ones lost, homes destroyed and no end in sight to what will be a very long journey to a return to some sort of normality.

It feels somewhat inadequate to be writing about a weekend BBQ, but that is what I love about food...it is for sharing and bringing people together, it does provide a little comfort, and given recent events coming together and providing a little comfort is more important than ever.

Summer officially comes to an end today here in NZ, however the weather seems to have other ideas and it still feels like the height of Summer.I want to make the most of these balmy evenings and brought a few friends together over the weekend for a BBQ. I was on the look out for something different on the side.  In my veggie box red and gold beets and some kumura...sweet potato for you non Kiwis.

For the main event I thought I would share the wonders of brining with another batch of brined free range Freedom Farm pork steaks.  Sweet goes well with pork so the beets were roasted and then tossed with a little lemon and thyme.  Also grilling on the barbie some venison burgers and you can't really have burgers without fries so enter kumura fries with a little chilli lime and coriander salt to spice things up.

Roasted Beet Salad

Serves 4-6 as a side dish


500g / 1lb beets
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp thyme, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 190C/ 375F degrees.

Wash and trim the beets and place on a large piece of tinfoil.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Wraps the beets up in the tinfoil, seal tightly
but leave a little room in the tinfoil parcel. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the beets are tender.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool until they are cool enough to be handled.

Peel and chop the beets in to bight size pieces.  If you don't want crimson stained hands wear some gloves.  Place the beets in a bowl and set aside.  In a jam jar combine the olive oil, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, a little salt and pepper.  Shake well to combine.

Drizzle the dressing over the beets and toss everything together until the beets are evenly coated in the dressing.  Serve immediately or chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Spicy Kumura Fries

Inspiration for these came from over at the Smitten Kitchen and Giada.  Both sound quite delicious and will definitely need to be sampled but for today I felt like a fairly serious chilli hit and I love the combination of a fiery chilli  with the sweet kumura.  And then I remembered a chilli lime salt from somewhere.  It finally came to me...Annabel Langbein's chilli lime salt that she sprinkles over grilled steaks in The Free Range Cook.  It also sounds delicious but I like the idea of adding an aromatic hit of fresh coriander to the mix.  So by a fairly circuitous route I came up with this...


For the chilli lime and coriander salt
1/2 cup sea salt
1-2 red chillies, the chilli component will really all depend on the heat of the chilli and how hot you like it.  I still have some of the off the scale Indian chillies so I used half.  Seeded or deseeded - again depends on your desire or not for heat.
Zest of 2 limes
1/4 cup loosely packed coriander leaves

750g / 1.5lb kumura or sweet potato, cut in to long thin fry like wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper 


Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F

For the flavoured salt place everything and a food processor and whizz together.  It will be like wet sand at this point.  Spread the sand like mixture on a baking tray and bake in the over for 5-10 minutes until it has dried out to a more salt like texture.

Place the kumura fries on to a baking tray and toss with the olive oil. Bake until golden and crisp, about 45 minutes. As soon as the fries come out of the sprinkle over the chilli lime and coriander salt.  Serve immediately with some garlic mayo.

The pork steaks went down a treat and I am fairly sure I have converted a few more people to the wonders of brining. The pork was tender, juicy and just full of so much flavour.  The brining just ensures the meat is seasoned perfectly.  The beets provided a little sweetness and I think a little crumbled feta would elevate this little salad from good to great, the soft, salty feta playing against the sweet, earthy beets.

The roasting brought out the sweetness of the kumura and the chilli lime coriander salt added a sharp chilli kick.  I really do love the sweet combined with a little heat.  Dipped in to some garlic mayo...no other words other than delicious and terribly moreish will really suffice.



  1. It does feel strange to be blogging again, but I think it's also good for the mind/soul!

    Can't believe it's the last day of summer already...what happened? That beetroot salad looks gorgeous, I love the colours.

    I love sweet/salty/hot flavours together, so addictive!

  2. Lovely, I particularly like the the chilli lime and coriander salt :-)

  3. I know what you mean, as long as we all do what we can to offer support is the main thing.

    I love beets, I had roasted baby beets for Sunday dinner with freedom pork also!

  4. I've never met a beet I didn't like...and I've been thinking about making a beet salad all weekend. This looks delish.

  5. Laura - most definitely good for the soul.

    Thanks Alessandra - the salt is great.

    Alli...how much does that Freedom pork rock...just so delicious.

    Tami - thanks :)

  6. Totally agree Mairi - I had a pang of guilt writing my latest, but cooking and eating and sharing meals definitely makes me feel better. Gorgeous vege recipes :)

  7. The kumara fries and salt look and sound fantastic! I must try that out.

  8. I love both beets and kumara, perfect recipe!


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