Beetroot and walnut hummus

Beetroot hummus — what an amazing pink hue!


I introduced Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s style of cooking to you in my post last December, A cook book recipe and a recipe too, when I was given a copy of his latest cook book for Christmas. I recommend it and if you’d like your own copy, it’s available at Amazon: River Cottage Veg Everyday at Amazon.com. I promise I am not being paid to promote it! I am merely a fan of tasty, simple food.

River Cottage Veg Everyday has become my go-to recipe book and today I made Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s beetroot and walnut hummus. You’ll need to use a measurement converter as Fearnley-Whittingstall is English and therefore uses British cooking measures. But don’t worry about it too much; in a recipe like this one it doesn’t matter if quantities aren’t exact. The recipe (see below) is from the Mezze & Tapas section of the cookbook, which is filled with all kinds of delicious dips and snacks. Hummus doesn’t just have to be all about garbanzo beans (chickpeas). The cookbook includes recipes for cannellini bean hummus, carrot hummus and of course, beetroot hummus.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and as always, please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section. Have you tried making an unusual variation of hummus? I’m always on the alert for new recipes to try!

Beetroot and walnut hummus

Serves 4
• 50g walnuts
• 1 tbsp cumin seeds
• 25g stale bread, crusts removed
• 200g cooked beetroot (not pickled), cut into cubes
• 1 tbsp tahini
• 1 large garlic clove, crushed
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• A little rapeseed oil (optional)

1 Put the walnuts on a baking tray and toast in a preheated oven at 180ºC for 5-7 mins, until fragrant. Leave to cool.

2 Warm a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and dry-fry them, shaking the pan almost constantly, until they start to darken and release their aroma – this should take less than a minute so be careful not to burn them. Crush with a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder.

3 Break the bread into small chunks, put in a food processor or a blender with the walnuts and blitz until fine. Add the beetroot, tahini, most of the garlic, a good pinch of the cumin, half the lemon juice, a little salt and a good grind of pepper, then blend to a thick paste.

4 Taste the mixture and adjust it by adding a little more cumin, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper, blending again until you are happy with the result. Loosen with a dash of oil if you think it needs it. Refrigerate until required but bring back to room temperature to serve.

Recipe © Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, 2011, River Cottage Veg Everyday, Bloomsbury. No copyright infringement intended.

A cook book review and a recipe too!

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wants us all to eat more vegetables. “Who the heck is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall?” you might be thinking, after reading that sentence.
The answer: he is a British celebrity chef and, according to Wikipedia, a “‘real food’ campaigner”. His latest cook book, River Cottage Veg Every Day!, is packed full with recipes which illustrate his ‘real food’ principles.

That phrase amuses me. Sure, I know what it means but it just sounds funny. ‘Real food’, as opposed to what? Fake food?

My copy of 'River Cottage Veg Every Day!'

Anyways, getting back on topic: Fearnley-Whittingstall is not trying to preach or to convert everyone to vegetarianism but he believes that “We need to eat more vegetables and less flesh, because vegetables are the foods that do us the most good, and our planet the least harm” (from the Foreword to River Cottage Every Day, text 2011 copyright Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall).

I was given a copy of River Cottage Veg Every Day for Christmas and it is a great book with about 400 pages of delicious recipes. Fearnley-Whittingstall’s style is simple: no fancy recipes which take hours to prepare, no expensive and exotic ingredients which only city-dwellers can find in specialty food shops…
The recipes are all vegetarian but almost all of them can be side dishes to meat or fish. There is also plenty of scope to create entirely vegetarian meals. I like the way River Cottage Veg Every Day is presented: there are several different chapters which range from “Comfort food & feasts” to “Hefty soups” and “Mezze & tapas”. The photography is wonderful. Every page has a color photo of the end results of each recipe.

The following recipe is from the Store-cupboard Suppers chapter of River Cottage Veg Every Day!:

Tomato, thyme and goat’s cheese tart

Serves 4 – 6
A little sunflower oil
½ teaspoon fine cornmeal or polenta (optional)
375g all-butter, ready-made puff pastry
Beaten egg, for brushing
About 350g tomatoes
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
A little extra virgin olive or rapeseed oil
100g rinded goat’s cheese
A handful of thyme sprigs, leaves only
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5. Lightly oil a baking sheet and scatter over a little fine cornmeal or polenta, if you have some – this helps to keep the pastry really crisp.
Roll out the pastry fairly thinly and trim to a rectangle about 30 x 25cm. Put it on the baking sheet. Cut a 1cm strip from each edge. Brush these strips with a little beaten egg, then stick on to the edges of the rectangle, to form a slightly raised border. Brush the edges with a little more egg.
Thinly slice the tomatoes across into 2 – 3mm slices; discard the stalky top and skinny bottom slices. Scatter the garlic over the pastry, then arrange the sliced tomatoes on top, overlapping them only slightly. Season with salt and pepper and trickle with a little oil. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and lightly browned.
Take the tart out of the oven, scatter over the cheese and thyme, add another twist of pepper and a trickle of oil, and return to the oven. Bake for another 10 minutes or so, until the cheese is melty and bubbly and the pastry golden brown. You can serve this hot, but I think it’s better half an hour or so after it comes out of the oven, with a green salad.

Recipe text © 2011 by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. No copyright infringement intended.

This is a fantastic cook book with a lot of simple, delicious and nutritious recipes. If I had to summarize it in one word: Yummy!