Monthly Archives: May 2012

* Beetroot Hummus with Thyme and Honey Roasted Carrots and Broccoli *


I just have to look at this dish and I feel energised.  Beetroot hummus, thyme and honey roasted carrots and broccoli florets make a delightfully colourful appetiser to entertain a crowd and ensure that your loved ones get an antioxidant hit.  Hummus is such a practical, nutritious food which originated in the Middle East and has spread far and wide.  In the last 8 years or so, the hummus market has exploded in New Zealand, with many new players and numerous variations of this humble dip.  However, why pay so much for a super cheap food that you can make so easily at home?  And what about those little plastic containers which have to be shipped off to China to supposedly be recycled?  Not to mention all of the additives, preservatives and whateverives which are present in the store-bought varieties.  Take control of your diet, grab a food processor and get stuck in.

You can play with this recipe as you like.  If you want to reduce the oil content, or omit it altogether, add an equal quantity of water.  Or if you have a juicer, juice a beet or two, add it to the mix and watch the colour brighten. I am a firm believer in adding good quality fats to your diet where possible and there are some über-healthy fats in this dish to make your skin glow and hair glisten.  Olive oil, sesame oil and tahini provide a wonderful combination of vitamins E and A, calcium and carotenoids, which protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and enhance the functioning of your immune system.  Broccoli, carrots and beetroot also provide a hearty dose of folate, vitamins A, K and B6, as well as ample dietary fiber to aid digestion and ensure optimum health and vitality.

The beautifully designed ceramics featured in the photo are available from Whiteroom – Dunedin’s design destination.

Beetroot Hummus

3-4 beetroots, cubed

A tablespoon of sesame oil

A sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt

A sprinkle of pepper

A cup of chickpeas, cooked and cooled (or from a can, rinsed well)

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons of tahini

1/4 of a cup of extra-virgin olive oil

A teaspoon of cumin

The juice of a lemon

The juice of 1-2 beetroots or cold water

Preheat oven to 190ºC. Place the cubed beetroot, himalayan rock salt, pepper and sesame oil in a roasting dish and bake for 40 minutes until cooked.  Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and whiz.  Extra oil, water or beetroot juice may be added to obtain the desired consistency.

Thyme and Honey Roasted Carrots and Broccoli

3-4 large carrots, sliced diagonally

A tablespoon of honey

A tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil

The juice of half a lemon

A few sprigs of thyme, stems removed

A sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt and pepper

Place carrots in a separate roasting dish.  Add the honey, olive oil, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Roast carrots for about 4o minutes until nicely cooked. Blanch a head of broccoli which has been chopped into florets.  Arrange beetroot hummus, thyme and honey roasted carrots and broccoli on a platter and serve.

* Tomato, Bacon and Sage Soup *


Oh my gilly gosh, you have never tasted soup this good.  This recipe was created by my Beau, who felt we needed something seriously nutritious on a Sunday afternoon following a rather social weekend – and the result was delicious.  The combination of flavours is perfect and the bacon gives the soup substance and heartiness.  In our home we tend to roast a free-range chicken once a week and create a stock from the leftover bits and bobs, which is used as the base for this soup.  I’ll also warn you now – this soup is seriously moreish so there is a high chance of a few spats over the last spoonful – and watch out for the cunning tactics of your fellow clan attempting to distract you from the pot’s contents for an extra morsel.  On the rare occasion that there are any leftovers,  a cannellini bean or lentil stew may be created, which I’ll write the recipe for another day.  Don’t be put off by the complexity of this recipe, the finished product will be truly be worth it’s weight in tomatoey gold.

Did you know that cooked tomatoes are better for you than raw ones?  Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, the phytochemical that makes them red and which also has significant antioxidant properties.   Research has shown that through the cooking process, tomatoes boost their antioxidant properties even more as the level of phytochemicals increases  The higher level of lycopene is good news as it devours at least 10 times more oxygenated free radicals than vitamin E.  And as the weather in Dunedin turns from balmy Indian summer to freezing overnight, we need all the warming goodness we can get.

2 cans of whole-peeled tomatoes

A can of tomato paste

6 bay leaves

8 fresh sage leaves

2 finely diced onions

2 tablespoons of olive oil

4 cups of chicken stock

3 – 4 rashers of free-range shoulder bacon, fat trimmed off and cut into strips

2 teaspoons of Worcester sauce

7 cloves of garlic, diced

2 -3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 a cup of white wine

A  teaspoon of white pepper to taste

A tablespoon of honey

Parsley for garnishing

In a saucepan, heat two cans of whole-peeled tomatoes and a can of tomato paste on a low simmer and add 6 bay leaves to the pot.  In a frying pan, saute onions at a high temperature until they start to sweat and add finely chopped sage leaves.  Add two cups of stock gradually and simmer until the onions are translucent.  Add the onions to the pot tomatoes.  Place frying pan back on the heat and add the other tablespoon of olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the bacon and two teaspoons of Worcester sauce and saute. When the bacon is getting nicely browned, add the garlic and fry for a minute.  Add half a cup of white wine to deglaze the pan.  Once the wine has been absorbed, add the last 2 cups of stock and simmer for a couple of minutes, then mix into the pot of tomatoes and simmer gently.  Add the Parmesan cheese, white pepper and honey, then, after a couple of minutes on the stove, give it a mash and allow to simmer for 5 to 10mins.  Garnish with parsley and serve.