It’s the first day of the year that I’ve had to rid the car windscreen of ice. The temperature has plummeted in the last few days, and this morning, I dropped a big piece of beef brisket into a slow cooker to compensate.
There are a couple of things to deal with yet, the last hangovers of the early autumn, a few things that cling to summer but don’t feel quite so out-of-place in the cold.
One is this salad of roasted beetroot, goat’s cheese and pine nuts, a bowl full of big, robust flavours that neatly straddle the seasons.
Beetroot are good at the moment, but they won’t be around for long. The big bunches on the market stalls are the last of the season, but they keep well in the fridge as long as you chop the leaves off and use them first.
For this salad, the unpeeled-but-scrubbed beetroot is roasted, in a tray covered tightly with aluminum foil, a few sprigs of thyme, an orange, quartered but unpeeled, a few cloves of garlic, a good drizzle of olive oil and slightly too much salt and pepper for company. Use about half a kilo of beetroot, but more won’t hurt – beetroot roasted in foil with some punchy flavours is a good thing to have around in the fridge, and can make for a good mid-week lunch with some bread, so it’s worth making double here.