Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Houmous Fritters with Roast Beetroot and Goat's Cheese dip

On Saturday, following a day trip to Southport, we stopped off at lovely Diglake Farm Shop in Ormskirk after having spotted signs for 2 cauliflowers (which, incidentally, were bigger than your average football and looked amazing) for £1.

As well as the amazing cauliflowers, we couldn't help but get sucked in to buying a whole range of items including award-winning sausages, free-range eggs and a gorgeous looking bunch of beetroot.

Despite never having cooked with raw beetroot before, I decided to rise to the challenge on Monday night and make a really yummy dinner of roasted beetroot accompanied by some delectable Houmous Fritters and a Goat's Cheese dip.

Although the dinner took ages to make, it was all very leisurely and relaxed with very little multi-tasking involved! Score.

The dinner was delicious and Bailey was super pleased with his food commenting: "What a treat for a midweek meal! It's more like a weekend dinner!" I loved the houmous fritters and would definitely recommend them for lovers of all things houmousy or falafelly. They had all the taste of scrummy houmous with a great texture - cripsy and firm on the outside and slightly gooey and houmousy on the inside. I will definitely be making them again to enjoy tucked in a pitta.

The Goat's Cheese dip was also gorgeous - slightly spicy with a really fresh, tangy flavour with the taste of goat's cheese too. The consistency was great too - really thick, perfect for dipping your knife into a spreading onto a bit of roasted beetroot.

With the recipe below, I ended up making so much dip that we saved half to use as a sandwich filling for our lunch the next day. Slathered between two pieces of wholemeal bread with crisp lettuce, the dip was just ace and I enjoyed it all over again for my lunch.

As for the beetroot, we loved it and as usual it made us sad that we don't do all our shopping at lovely farm shops. I will definitely be preparing beetroot from scratch again though - completely worth the wait!

Recipe : (serves 2, with enough Goat's Cheese dip leftover to have in your sarnies the next day!)

For the beetroot:
6 beetroots
4 unpeeled garlic cloves
Cooking spray

For the Goat's Cheese Dip:
150g soft goat's cheese
100g Greek yogurt
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
5 pickled green chillis
Juice of a lime
A handful of corriander

For the Houmous Fritters:
A can of chickpeas, drained
50g plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, separated
75ml of milk
1 tablespoon chopped corriander
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon tahini
Cooking spray
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Start by preparing the beetroot as these take by far the longest. My Uncle Dave told me a tip about cooking beetroot which was to never remove the stalks and to tear off the leaves rather than cutting them to prevent bleeding. Place in an oven dish with the unpeeled garlic cloves, spray with some cooking spray and put into the oven for 90 minutes.

Next, prepare the Goat's Cheese dip. Crumble the goat's cheese into a bowl and add the Greek yogurt and blend. Add the cumin seeds, chilli flakes, lime juice and corriander. Chop up the pickled chillis and add to the mixture before stirring well. Keep the dip in the fridge until ready to serve the meal.

Now onto the houmous fritters. I had plenty of time to potter about between making the dip and starting to get the houmous fritters together because of how long the beetroot takes to cook, so there's no rush here!

Start by blending together the chickpeas, corriander, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and paprika until you have a lovely thick, houmous.

In a separate bowl, mix the sifted flour, baking powder, egg yolk and milk.

Add the flour, egg and milk mixture to the houmous. Then, whisk the egg white to soft peaks before adding them into the houmous mixture.

With a metal spoon, fold the egg whites into the houmous mixture until you have a nice thick houmousy batter.

Heat up a frying pan over a medium-to-high heat and spray with a good bit of cooking spray to make sure your fritters don't stick. Add four largeish blobs of the fritter mix to the pan which should use up about half of the mixture.

Leave to fry for a good few minutes until you're sure the bottoms of the fritters are nice and toasty and firm and you can flip them perfectly. Flip them over to reveal nice browned bottoms and fry on the other side.

Hopefully you will have timed it perfectly so that as your second batch of houmous fritters are finishing off in the pan, your beetroot is ready to take out of the oven.

You will need some pretty hardcore asbestos fingers to peel the beetroots with your bare mitts but I somehow did it and I am a wimp. It helps to cut the beetroot in half then peel the skin away. Once they're done, place on a plate with a ramekin of Goat's Cheese dip.

Finally, add the fritters to the plate and serve with a salad. Lovely stuff!

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