B is for beets. A jar of pickled beets, either home-canned or Bick’s, is a staple in a Newfoundlander’s fridge. They make an excellent accompaniment to a nice thick slab of Klik or Kam (Canadian Spam) at Sunday supper. Beets are also a necessity in the preparation of salad for a Newfie wedding cold plate. The plate includes three kinds of salad. Actually, three scoops of salad. All are potato based with mayonnaise but one is ‘plain’ white with tinned mixed vegetables, one is brilliant yellow – made with the juice of commercial mustard pickles, and the one is bright purply-pink and is made with chopped pickled beets. The three scoops sit in a row on a plate next to a three inch square of not quite green translucent iceberg lettuce topped with a single slice of pale, store-ripened tomato next to rolled up thin slices of ham and roast beef. A good cold plate has real roast turkey, not the commercial slices, and a scoop of savoury stuffing. A gherkin or two sets off the plate. The lettuce and the tomato usually returns to the kitchen uneaten while there is no evidence of the salads left on the plate, having been mopped up with the last bit of sliced ham or white bread roll.
I haven’t had any of those things in years but still eat my share of beets. I love their earthy flavour and their rich purple colour. I have had roasted beets, beet soup, beets fried with mustard seeds and turmeric, beet chips, and beet mousse. Recently we discovered a recipe for beet hummus:
1/2 pound of well cooked beets, chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic
3 Tblsp olive oil
2 Tblsp grated horseradish (I used creamed, prepared)
1 Tblsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients to a coarse puree in a food processor.
B is for berries. Strawberries and blueberries. Big fat high-bushed blueberries. They are just the thing for blueberry/strawberry scones to have with a cup of tea on a Sunday morning. I like them with a thin glaze made of icing sugar and fresh squeezed lemon juice. I should caution you that if you make these, don’t feed them to your guests because they might never go home.
B is for blackcurrants. I grow them because they are on the short-list of things which deer do not eat. For the past few years I haven’t bothered to pick them but left them to drop into the grass and rot. Shameful I know but it keeps the ants happy. This year my daughter picked them all and suggested that we make Ribena.
Add the juice and skin of one lemon and simmer five more minutes. Let cool and press through a sieve or a jelly bag.
Pour juice into sterilized bottles and refrigerate.
Dilute with soda water
and serve with scones.
Fine Russian porcelain thanks to Nancy Benson (how did she know I’ve lusted after that teapot for years?)
Click on any photo to view full-size.
(c) Judy Parsons 2012