Monday, 28 October 2013


I have had the most horrendous time lately.  What started off as an ensuite renovation turned into a major nightmare.  When the contractors pulled out the existing bathroom they discovered half the house was sinking and needed restumping, to lift the house up to level.  The red gum stumps over the last 60 years had rotted and needed replacing! No choice really it needed to be done before anything else could continue. The house had to be jacked up on hydraulic jacks and new concrete stumps installed.  No mean task and no cheap exercise. Consequently I have a large number of large cracks in my plaster that has started falling off my freshly painted walls and my neat and tidy house is covered in dust and dirt.  What seems like a dozen  workmen are back and forward from front to back to disappear down the hole in the ensuite floor much like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. To add to this there is no electricity, so computer, TV and  oven are null and void.  The stream of workmen is very distracting which makes it near impossible to settle with a book or magazine.

Cooking could be the answer except the stove top is the only thing in operation (gas) and all recipes would have to rely on elbow grease. Hence I ended up flicking through my cookbooks waiting for a "jump out at me" recipe to appear.
I have had "Marion - Recipes and Stories from a Hungry Cook" up and down from the bookshelf for a few weeks but now with some recently bought beetroots her "Colour-me-Autumn Salad (even though we are crawling through Spring) looked pretty good.
Marion Grasby competed in the 2nd Australian series of Master Chef back in 2010. Everyone thought she was the favourite to win but was eliminated just before the finals which made front page news down under.
So with my fresh beetroots and  some local Boosey Creek Blue Cheese from a recent visit to the Royal Melbourne Show  a salad seemed to be the answer.
4 large beetroots
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons honey
125g cheese
Mixed Salad leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used Maggie Beers Vino Cotta)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 What to do…….
I debated boiling the beets and then the electricity came back on!
So wrap the beets in tin foil and roast in a preheated oven at 180C for 45-60 mins (depending on size).
To test beets, use a skewer or sharp knife to pierce through the foil and if they are tender all the way through they are cooked.

 While the beetroots are cooking, spread walnuts on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and drizzle with honey. Bake for 5 mins or until toasted and caramelised. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Remove from the paper before they are completely cool.
Remove beets from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes,   wearing rubber gloves gently peel off the skins, which should come away easily, cut off the tops and bottoms.  Cut into quarters.

Crumble or break into chunks the cheese. Lay salad leaves on a plate, lay on the warm beetroots, toss on the cheese, scatter over the honeyed walnuts, drizzle with balsamic or in my case the beautiful rich vino cotto and olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This made my day just so much better. I am squeezing into Dom's Challenge for October Random Recipes and Local with this lovely cheese and beets.


  1. oh my lord what trials and tribulations we go through... I know how stressful this can be but at least you're getting it sorted now and this glorious salad must go someway to making you feel better.. love those beetroots! such a great colour... thanks for entering into random recipes this month x

    1. Thanks Dom, patience are very thin at the moment.

  2. Oh no you poor thing - I feel your pain trust me. Literally 3 months after we moved overseas and rented our house out the sewage pipes collapsed and the cost and drama escalated beyond belief. I'm glad your electricity came back on in the nick of time and this salad is great any time of the year.

    1. Oh that's awful! I am just surviving one day at a time!

  3. Your salad looks wonderful. Very pretty on a beautiful plate. I'm so sorry to hear of all your dramas. What an inconvenience! The expense is bad enough but then the dust and the mess and all those tradesmen in and out of your house. And then there's the lack of electricity! Good on you for continuing to cook xx

    1. Thanks Charlie, the only good thing is that it has come to our notice well before Christmas.

  4. I adore beetroot, it's one of my favourite foods and your salad looks fabulous. I hope the building works are soon sorted

  5. Oh, I feel for you. :( The salad looks very fine indeed - hope it cheered you up a bit. Good luck with the rest of the renovations - hope it all goes smoothly from now on - I think you have had more than enough bad luck for now!

  6. So sorry to hear about your house, I hope you are back to normal soon. I can remember having to strip the ceiling and walls back to bare brick and dig six feet down into the floor! It got me down!! Your salad looks very yummy :-)

  7. Well that's just about all my favourite things on a plate. Love your photo of the Walnuts and Honey too. Simple and inspirational. Thanks!

  8. I am sorry about the renovation - ugh! But the salad looks divine :) I'm trying to like beets; they are so good for you!

  9. Oh goodness- how stressful to have discovered all the problems with the renovation! I do hope it all gets sorted very soon. Meanwhile, what a lovely, nutritious salad!