Rosy Roasted Roots, Random Recipes and
Fresh Scottish Herrings in an Oatmeal Crumb
Of all the root vegetables that are grown and available in the UK and France, Beetroot has to be one of my favourites; it’s a much maligned vegetable, probably due to being picked in harsh malt vinegar for months on end, but its earthy sweet taste is one that I love, and it’s a vegetable that I can happily eat every day. In fact my dad did used to eat it every day; I remember his favourite sandwich was the humble beetroot sandwich and mum used to make him several rounds to take to work.
Despite the bad image of pickled beetroot, I absolutely love it when gently immersed in vinegar, and one of the best brands, apart from my own home-made pickled beets, is Baxters. They have a lovely range of pickled beetroot, of which my two personal favourites are the Baby Beetroot in Sweet Vinegar and the delightful Rosebud Beetroot in Sweet Vinegar. So, when I was recently asked if I would like to receive their beetroot range to sample, I was delighted to accept. I was sent four jars of their beetroot and two recipes, which I am proud to say are my own – I recently worked on a recipe developing project with Baxters, and the two recipes that were sent to me were my own creations!
The recipe I decided to make, as an accompaniment to some Scottish herring fillets in an oatmeal crumb, was Rosy Roast Beetroot Roots. I have shared the recipe below, but you can access the recipe, as well as many more here: Baxters Beetroot Recipes. The earthy flavours of all the roasted roots, along with the sweet tangy flavours of the beetroot, cut through the oiliness of the herrings, which were supplied to me by John at Delish Fish when they were in season (I popped some in the freezer) and are delectable. All that was needed to complete the meal were some fresh salad leaves and I decided on some buttery lamb’s lettuce (mâche). The Rosy Roast Roots recipe uses baby beetroot in sweet vinegar and add a subtle sweetness to the dish, as well as a tangy sweet vinegary taste that mingles with the oil and Balsamic dressing the roots are cooked in. It was a wonderful winter’s lunch and surprisingly filling too.
Not only is this meal a way to sample beetroot and fresh fish, but it is my offering for Dom’s Random Recipes, which, this month is a bit of a stinker, as you have to choose a book from someone else’s cookery book collection! Dom suggests that we rifle amongst someone else’s book collection, randomly of course, in order to find our recipe that we must make for this month’s challenge. Well, that’s not hard for me, as I love having a nosey amongst my friend’s and family’s library, it just depended on whom the victim would be, as I have been on my travels until the first week of the New Year.
Hannah, my daughter, provided the random book in the end, and she also provided me with the page number of page 67. But, I couldn’t make the recipe whilst I was staying with her, as I didn’t have the main ingredient, which was herrings. But, I KNEW I had two packets at home in the freezer, so I photographed the page and finally made my recipe a couple of days ago.
The recipe came from an old book I gave Hannah when she left home and went to university, Delia Smith’s One is Fun! It’s actually a really good book for more than just one person as most of the recipes are easily adapted for more people, and there are some lovely recipe ideas in the book. I didn’t follow the recipe EXACTLY, and left out the black peppercorns as I thought they would be too strong for my herring fillets and would mask the flavour; but, the oatmeal crumb was delightful and I remember my mum used to cook fish this way. I also had to increase the recipe, as I was cooking this for TWO and not one!
Although I changed the recipe, I am not sharing it below, and if you fancy making it you can find it on page 67 or on Delia’s site here: Fried Herring in Oatmeal with Beetroot Relish. I hadn’t seen the recipe in her site until I wrote this post and it is interesting to see that Delia also paired this delightful oily fish with beetroot! The Baxters recipe is posted below however, and if you have a chance to buy any of John’s herring when they are on season, you must, as they were delicious - meltingly soft, sweet and subtly oily. I remember my dad telling me about the Herring Girls, he came across them a few times when he was in the Royal Navy, and has a funny tale to tell of the “flying herring”! They were incredibly hard working and pretty feisty ladies! You can read more about them here: The Work of the Herring Girls.
We certainly enjoyed our herring lunch and the combination of the roasted roots and cool salad was a perfect pairing. DO try both recipes, they are easy to make and the roasted roots only has 183 calories per portion, so they are hearty and healthy as the same time. That’s it for now, I will be back tomorrow with a breakfast recipe and also a book review, as well as the round-up for Simple and in Season, that I have been guest hosting for the last month, see you later and have a lovely weekend. Karen