Melbourne had its hottest day in 5 years on Friday. It reached 44.5 in my suburb and it felt every degree of that. I was a bit worried about my plants but seasonal family commitments meant I had no time to do anything about protecting them. Fortunately other than a bit of damage to the youngest leaves on one Tommy Toe tomato plant and some of the raspberries, everything emerged unscathed.
I think the combination of a good layer of mulch and morning watering helped avert anything more serious.
It seems ages since I posted a recipe (probably because it is ages since I posted a recipe). It’s the time it takes -to make it, and photograph it. It also takes concentration, I have to write down how much I’m adding of what, record it nicely and then type it all up in a nice format. Basically it’s a bit of work. But I love this salad so much it’s worth it, and the recipe is very forgiving so if my quantities are a bit out it wont affect the end result too much.
This salad is pretty much a tribute to my laziness. I often have beetroot, my father grows it and it always looks pretty at the Farmer’s Market so I often buy it. I also grow it regularly, nestling in between other bigger, slower growing crops. But I never seem to be organised enough to bother to cook it. So in this salad I don’t, I use it raw and I think it tastes all the better for it – not to mention adding a lovely texture to the salad.
Beetroot & Carrot salad
1 large carrot
1 medium sized beetroot
1 small bunch mint
1 bunch parsley
1 red onion (or substitute a couple of spring onions)
1 cup grains (I have made this with everything from Farro to Quinoa and lentils but my favourite is Black Rice)
juice of a lemon
1 to 3 tblspns olive oil (less/more to taste)
Topping – You could add feta, any types of seeds or nuts would work, any thing to add a little more texture and protein.
Cook which ever grain you are using via your prefer method. Cool. Peel and grate the carrot & beetroot. Finely chop the mint, parsley, and red onion. Mix together.
Make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, 2 tblspn of oil, and salt. Taste and adjust by adding more juice, oil, salt or ever a little sugar depending on the acidity of the lemons.
Dress the salad and add the toppings and the salad is ready to eat.
I have actually managed to get myself organised this year. I may not have planted out enough summer crops. I may have forgotten to apply copper spray to my nectarine before it got leaf curl. I may have completely failed to keep citrus gall wasp away from my kaffir lime. But at least I’ve netted the blueberries before the berries got big, blue and ever so attractive to the annoy Myna birds that seem to be everywhere at the moment.
For the last two years (yes I’m a slow learner) I’ve had a lovely crop of berries vanish all of a sudden just before they were ripe enough to pick. Well, hopefully this year will be different. The berries haven’t turned blue yet but they have swollen up nicely so it shouldn’t be too much longer.
Hopefully the birds don’t see them through the netting. This lot has my name on it.
I went up to my Mum and Dad’s on Sunday. They live north of Melbourne, about 60km from Coburg in a place which is, on average, about 4 degrees cooler. In fact if I check the temperature gauge in my car just before I set out I can almost always predict what temperature it will be when I get there. This 4 degrees can be a bad thing – winters there are pretty chilly. But it can also be a good thing – their parsley has yet to bolt whereas mine has been sending up flower stalks for weeks.
What it also means is that a lot of the fruit tends to be a bit behind Melbourne’s, but looking at their trees they have a lot coming on. Cherries tend to do well in that part of the world and their 3 year old tree has some beautiful bunches developing. The figs are also developing nicely and actually look to be further along than mine.
But it’s the stone fruit – the apricots, nectarines, plums and peaches that I am most jealous of.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to have the space to grow all these?