This recipe requires about 5 – 6 medium-sized beetroots.
Prepare the beetroots by washing off any soil, and trimming the stalks back close to the root. Leave the long ends of the roots in place so that the beetroots don’t lose too much colour while being cooked. Cook in water until just tender. Drain and allow to cool.
Once cool, remove the skins – the easiest way is by hand, under slowly-running water. Slice the beetroots evenly and set aside in a bowl.
Combine the following ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil.
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon plain salt
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 cinnamon stick
Simmer for five minutes then strain through a sieve or muslin. Bring back to simmer heat.
Pack the beetroot into hot, sterilised jars and pour in the pickling liquid until the beetroot is covered. Seal.
Pickled beetroot can be kept for some months stored in a cool place, but once opened should be kept in the refrigerator. If finished using the water bath method, it will last longer.
It’s radiantly sunny again today, but we did have a couple of hours of rain for part of Sunday. It fell heavily which was a welcome boost to our water tank, as well as providing much needed moisture to the various gardens.
I was very busy preserving more surplus food over the weekend, including beetroot, zucchini, corn, cucumber and gherkins.
For the beetroots I tried out a Nigella Lawson recipe for Beetroot Chutney. The resulting chutney set very well due to having apples included in the recipe. It is very sweet and spicy and was pretty yummy straight from the pan, but will also improve with age.
I also experimented with a new Corn Relish recipe from a Southern Foods website. This recipe included tomatoes, green pepper and cucumber, as well as the corn, but I ended up adding a wheat flour paste (1/2 cup flour / 1/2 cup water) to thicken it.
On Sunday I made a batch of ricotta cheese, which I have pressed into a mould and am now resting on a rack in the fridge for a week, lightly salting the outside each day, with the aim of turning it into a cow’s milk version of a Ricotta Salata. After the salting period, the cheese will need to be aged further in the refrigerator (for approximately 2 – 4 weeks).
This set me thinking about the vegans in our family and whether I could do the same with a litre of soy milk. So using the same method, I made a batch of soy ricotta last night.
It actually turned out very well, considering that it was an experiment. The soy milk I used was Soy Milky as this is our favourite drinking soy milk, but I think that the added sugars and flavours have had an impact on the flavour of the soy cheese.
So, today, I’m soaking some soy beans to see if I can make some soy milk from scratch, and then use this to make the soy ricotta.
It would be great if I could go on to convert this to a soy version of the ‘Ricotta Salata’, as a harder cheese is so much more versatile. The soy cheeses available from specialty vegan shops are very expensive so I’d love to make an edible version of my own.
I suspect that the addition of a bay leaf to the milk during the heating process would provide an interesting dimension to the flavour – especially as bay leaves can enhance both savoury and sweet recipes. Our two bay trees (Laurus nobilis) are very valuable members of our home garden.
Finally, when I was working this morning I kept hearing an unusual chirping sound – when I went into the living room to see if I could identify which bird was making this sound, I saw two young turkeys walking across our front lawn in the direction of the pumpkin patch. I only just manage to take a photo before they disappeared out of sight.