Seasonal Recipes

Beetroot and Fennel with Buffalo Mozzarella

400 gm beetroot
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed and thickly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups green lentils
2 bay leaves
a sprig each of mint and rosemary or you can use parsley stems
1 ½ cups frozen peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
½ cup caramelised onion (make in bulk to have on hand)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 small clove garlic
1 cup of soft herbs, I used a combination of basil and mint but you could also use parsley and coriander
350g soft buffalo mozzarella
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, pine nuts or almonds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line two baking trays with tinfoil – put the beetroot in the centre of one piece of foil, drizzle with oil and vinegar, and sprinkle over fennel seeds, sea salt and black pepper. Draw the tinfoil up around the beetroot and fold in the sides to create a sealed parcel. Repeat with the fennel, oil, wine, lemon zest and a little more sea salt and black pepper in the other piece of foil. Roast both for 50-55 minutes until the beetroot and fennel are soft and tender. Set aside, and bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the lentils and herbs and very gently boil for 15 minutes, add peas and cook a further 5 minutes. Drain, and stir through the oil, vinegar and caramelised onions, and season with sea salt and black pepper. Trim and peel the beetroot while still warm, then cut into wedges.  Put the oil, lemon, garlic and herbs into a small food processor and whiz to combine.

Spoon the lentils onto four serving plates and top with beetroot and fennel. Top with mozzarella, torn into large chunks, a drizzle of herb oil, nuts (if using for an added textural crunch) and a last little sea salt and black pepper. Serves 4