Recently I have been watching a lot of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s shows and have become a bit of a fan!
One of the main things that makes him so likeable to me is his ideas on food and eating that I really agree with.
On one of his shows, “River Cottage Veg Every Day!“, he mentioned as I have before, our huge reliance on meat and how we eat way too much of it for the planet, our health and most of all, for the animals we eat to have the decent lives they deserve.
We can eat plenty of vegetable based meals without even missing meat if we do it properly!
That means a few lettuce leaves with dressing is out!
Think, beans, pulses, rices, pastas, pastries, breads, spices, cheeses and exciting seasonal vegetables and be a bit creative!
It certainly does not have to be tofu to be meatless!
The idea of not eating meat, then substituting meat for meat “shaped” products is truly beyond me when there are so many amazing vegetables to explore!
By no means am I saying we shouldn’t eat meat on occasion, we were born omnivores for a reason, but eating it every day as a centre point to every meal isn’t great for the animals we are eating and isn’t really a natural humans diet.
Taking inspiration from these ideas I made a fabulous beetroot tart tatin I had seen on his show.
It certainly wasn’t something I’d be ashamed to put as a main course!
This tart is best served with the vinaigrette as it really adds an amazing savoury note and a whole extra dimension to the tart!
This is made using baby beetroot for a sweeter taste, I used larger beetroot cut into pieces which are almost as good.
The pastry comes together really quickly and easily so no excuses on buying ready made here!
You will need an oven proof frying pan (one with a fully metal handle).
Beetroot Tart Tatin
Rough Puff Pastry
200g cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
12 tablespoons iced water
Pinch of salt
500g Baby beetroot (no bigger than golfballs), scrubbed or beetroot topped, tailed, skins removed and cut.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Green tops from a few spring onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon English mustard
1 tablespoon Cider vinegar
5 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Component one – Pastry:
Mix the flour with the salt and add the cubed butter.
Add enough water to bring the mixture together into a fairly firm dough, (may be over or under the amount stated in ingredients).
On a floured surface shape the pastry into a rectangle.
Roll out the pastry until it’s approximately 1cm thick.
Fold the pastry into thirds, by taking the end furthest away from you towards you and then the end closest to you on top of that, you should again have a rectangle.
Turn the pastry a quarter turn and repeat the rolling and folding a further five times.
Wrap the pastry in cling film and rest in the fridge while you create the filling.
Component two – Beetroot Filling:
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan large enough for all the beetroot to sit snugly, add the beetroot and toss to coat in the oil and butter.
Add the sugar and vinegar, season and taste, adjusting the vinegar and sugar if necessary.
Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the beetroot are tender.
When the beetroot are cooked remove from the oven and arrange them neatly in the pan, cut sides up if using full sized beetroot.
Roll out the pastry and cut a circle a little larger than the pan.
Carefully place the pastry over the beetroot tucking the excess pastry into the pan.
Return to the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until golden and puffed up.
Leave to cool while make the vinaigrette.
Component three – vinaigrette:
Make the vinaigrette by placing all the ingredients in a clean jam jar and give it a good shake.
Place a large plate over the pan and carefully, but quickly, turn upside down.
Remove the pan, cut into slices and pour over the vinaigrette.
To make this into a purely vegetable feast, I combined the tart with vine ripened tomatoes, radishes, my potato salad, home pickled white cabbage and home deep fried beetroot crisps!