We were woken up at 3am on Sunday morning with a sudden roar of wind and rain. W cried out in fright, and it sounded as though the trees out the front were creaking and cracking and breaking. Whenever I’m cosy in bed listening to wild weather outside I’m always reminded of the fantastic tornado scene in the Wizard of Oz. Although of course when we woke up on Sunday morning we were still in Brisbane.
And so I bundled the kids up in jackets and scarves and beanies in anticipation of the cold front that was predicted to hit. Indeed, it was forecast for -3°c in Brisbane. And let me remind you that Brisbane is in the sub-tropics, so that is crazy talk. Turned out the cold front wasn’t quite that cold. Sure, it’s been chilly, and we’ve been wearing or woolens for the last 48 hours, but it hasn’t quite reached into the minus degrees. Not even close, thankfully. I did not move all the way to Queensland to be cold.
Nonetheless, we have been busting out the winter recipes. I’ve got a Sweet Potato & Turmeric Soup happening (recipe coming soon!), and S made himself a slow-cooked Osso Buco that has been in the oven all night. And it being too cold for fresh snappy salads, I’ve been playing around with warming grainy ones – you know the kind, lots of roast veges, nutty grains, legumes and creamy tahini or miso dressings.
Last week I got a bunch of baby brussels sprouts from the market. Initially, I intended to make these Buttered Brussels Sprouts, but when I saw a bunch of baby beets as well I felt like doing some match-making. And the citrus dressing? Well, it’s winter here and oranges are in abundance. So why not?!
How did brussels sprouts get such a bad reputation? They’re small and so cute, full of vitamin C, and folic acid, and other good-for-ya stuff. Plus – and most importantly – they’re tasty. Boiled/steamed brussels sprouts are kind of blergh, but raw and finely shredded in a salad they’re all sorts of yum. Best of all though, are brussels sprouts roasted to the point of caramelisation, golden and slightly crispy on the outside. Yeh, baby.
This salad is a warming one. Earthy and sweet at the same time, nutty with a hint of crunch and a breeze of fresh from the mint. Delicious freshly made, and even better the next day.
Roasted Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts & Bourgal Salad with Maple-Orange Dressing
250gms brussels sprouts
1 cup bourgal
1/2 cup hazelnut
1/2 (heaped) cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp fresh thyme
Sea salt & cracked pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 180°c/350°f.
Lay hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, until they start to crack and smell fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside.
Turn heat in oven up to 200°c/400°f. Trim tails off brussels sprouts and beetroot and cut into halves or quarters (depending on size). Lay in a single layer on an oiled baking tray (cut side down for the sprouts) and roast for approx. 45 minutes, or until the bottom of the brussels sprouts are nicely browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the bourgal. In a bowl, cover the cup of bourgal with two cups of boiling water. Leave for 15 minutes, then drain well. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
Once the hazelnuts have cooled remove the skins by rubbing them gently between your fingers. Roughly chop.
Prepare the dressing by whisking together the orange juice, oil, maple syrup and vinegar. Crush (or finely dice) the garlic and add to the dressing along with the thyme and salt & pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
In a large bowl combine the bourgal and the dressing. Add the roasted vegetables, the hazelnuts and the mint leaves. Toss through and eat immediately.
Notes: this salad will keep well in the fridge (I actually preferred it the next day!) for up to three days, but only add the mint leaves as you are ready to eat.