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The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Food - Recipe: Sarah Hobbs // Pho­tog­ra­phy: Amanda McLauch­lan Source: taste.com.au

We love our beet­root in FNQ, even on our burg­ers. And we have some great lo­cal farm­ers, with vary­ing mi­cro-cli­mates that make it avail­able to us for at least half the year. There is vir­tu­ally no limit to what we can do with th­ese beau­ti­ful gems rich in vi­ta­mins and an­tiox­i­dants. If you have a juice press, they are the real break­fast of cham­pi­ons. Ask any Olympian. If you tend to­wards a Mediter­ranean diet, your op­tions are end­less. Orig­i­nally cul­ti­vated from Me­sopotamia up through the Nordic re­gions, it was orig­i­nally favoured for its leaves. The Greeks got into the roots about 300BC, fol­lowed by the Ro­mans. The leaves are great raw in sal­ads while young and bet­ter steamed when a bit older but still fresh. We note that most lo­cals dis­card the leaves, which is a shame, be­cause they miss out on both flavour and nu­tri­tion. In the cur­rent cli­mate, a dip, hum­mus, rel­ish or cold salad will sat­isfy. Just cook, cool, re­frig­er­ate and shred. Sim­ple and beau­ti­ful. 2 bunches baby beet­roots, ends trimmed 2 cups (500ml) veg­etable stock 2 cups (500ml) warm wa­ter 150g baby spinach leaves 1/2 cup (60g) wal­nuts, toasted 100g fetta, crum­bled 2 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 1 ta­ble­spoon red wine vine­gar 2 tea­spoons finely chopped dill

Place the beet­root in a large saucepan. Pour over the veg­etable stock and top up with cold wa­ter if nec­es­sary to cover beet­root. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Re­duce heat to medium and sim­mer, cov­ered, for 20-25 min­utes or un­til beet­root are ten­der. Drain well. Set aside to cool com­pletely. Wear­ing gloves, peel each beet­root. Place in a bowl. Ar­range the spinach leaves on a large serv­ing plat­ter. Scat­ter the beet­root, wal­nuts and feta over the spinach. Com­bine the oil, vine­gar and dill in a screw­top jar and shake un­til well com­bined. Taste and sea­son with salt and pep­per. Driz­zle over the salad and serve im­me­di­ately.

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