I bend to it willingly, this patch
of earth and its green things, in their own world
(though I hold the title to it) hungry for life…”
– from ‘After’ by David Malouf
We planted daffodil bulbs yesterday, the kids and I. Fingers in dirt, carefully. Now we water, and wait for them to bloom, a slash of the brightest yellow across these winter skies.
It’s been so cold lately. Cloudy days with barely a hint of sunshine, and just so damn cold. We’ve been making the most of it – big pots of barley soup, new gloves, so many books, movie nights, cups and cups of tea – but mostly, I just want to feel a kiss of warmth on bare arms.
The saving grace, as always, is the produce. We went down to the Collingwood Children’s Farmers Market this weekend, ate farm pancakes in front of the fire, then wandered around stalls piled high with jewel-toned beetroots, glossy greens, cauliflower the size of footballs, apples in all shades of dusky pink.
This salad makes the most of the beautiful winter produce; deeply roasted beetroot & cauliflower are given a nutty heft with the freekeh, the pistachios and apple add a hint of crunch and sweet, and the rosewater dressing makes it just a little special.
Roasted Cauliflower & Beetroot Salad with Rosewater Dressing
This salad is delightful warm, but will keep covered in the fridge for up to three days and is just as lovely at room temperature. If you can’t get your hands on golden beetroot, the purple ones will do just fine.
1 small cauliflower
5 – 6 golden beets
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
1/4 cup freekeh
1/2 small apple or pear, crunchy
Olive oil, to cook
Small squeeze of lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup
2 tsps rosewater
Sea salt & cracked pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200c.
Top and tail the beetroot, then chop into large chunks. Chop the cauliflower into florets roughly the same size as the beet chunks. Toss the whole lot with a spoonful of olive oil, lay in a single layer on a baking tray, and roast in the oven until the florets are beginning to brown at the edges and the beetroot are soft – approx. 45 minutes.
In the meantime, cook the freekeh on the stovetop according to the instructions on the packet (one parts freekeh to two parts water, bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer, cover, and cook until all of the water has absorbed).
Roughly chop the parsley and the pistachio nuts. Set aside.
Using a mandoline or a sharp knife (and a steady hand), thinly slice the apple/pear. Toss through with a small squeeze of lemon juice.
In a small jar whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Have a quick taste and add extra salt & pepper, if needed. You can also add a dash more rosewater but don’t go overboard – it’s a strong flavour.
In a large bowl combine the freekeh and the dressing, mixing thoroughly. Add the parsley, pistachios, pear/apple and the roasted vegetables. Toss to combine, and serve immediately.
Serves: 2 – 4