Donal Skehan

Roast Beetroot, Feta and Bulgur Wheat Salad

Is it just me or does anyone else think beetroot gets a bad rap? I guess it’s had years of being pickled and prodded and denied all it’s pure beauty. The method I use in this recipe is my favourite way to cook it and you are left with a delicious tender vegetable with a real sweet and earthy flavour. Accompanied by a few complimentary friends and you have a spikey and robust Winter salad which will keep you going long into the New Year. I had a few leftover boiled baby potatoes which I popped in the oven also to crisp up, they turned out to make a great crispy addition!

Serves 4
4 fresh beetroot, tops sliced off
12 boiled baby potatoes, sliced in half
200g of feta cheese, roughly crumbled
250g of bulgur wheat

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, finely minced
A good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

Roast off the beetroot first.  Wrap them in tinfoil, place on an oven tray and bake for about 45mins to an hour at 190C/Gas Mark 5 or until you can insert a fork smoothly. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then peel with knife and slice into thick chunks. If you are adding leftover potatoes, place them in a roasting tray and drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle over some sea salt and ground black pepper and place them above the beetroot in the oven. While the beetroot is roasting, prepare the rest of the ingredients for the salad.

Place the bulgur wheat in a bowl, cover with boiling water and cover with cling film.  When all the water has been absorbed, fluff up with a fork and set aside. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together and set aside. Add the dressing, beetroot, and feta (and roast baby potaotes if you wish) to the bulgur wheat and gently stir through. Serve straight away or alternatively this makes a fantastic little lunchbox filler.

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Pea Mint and Feta Pasta

This is a super simple little supper which can be thrown together in the time it takes to cook the pasta. To be honest, if you can’t get peas straight from the garden it’s almost better to use frozen here, as peas begin to loose their natural sugars as soon as they’re picked, so even fresh ones in the supermarket probably won’t be as good as you will get frozen. This recipe is easily adapted with most leftovers you might have in the fridge. I love a little bit of chorizo added here or maybe some freshly chopped basil with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4
300g of pasta
5 tablespoons of creme fraiche
150g of feta cheese
150g of fresh peas if you have them, otherwise use frozen
A good handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
A pinch of salt
A good pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack and drain.

If you are using frozen peas, cook them until tender and drain. If you are using fresh peas and they are tender and young, I don’t bother doing anything to them apart from shelling them and giving them a quick splash under some cold water.

When the pasta is cooked, add the creme fraiche, feta cheese, peas, mint, salt and pepper and stir gently until the pasta is evenly coated.

Serve straight away with a good squeeze of lemon juice!

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