Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing

Get ready to roast all the winter root vegetables until they are sweet and soft then pile them on top of buttery millet and garnish with a yoghurt-based roasted garlic and marjoram dressing. This dish is comforting, super simple, and filled with good-for-you, fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSometimes on a Tuesday night on the way home from the gym you get a call from your little sister telling you that she is going to hospital because she has pains in her chest. Sometimes you feel powerless because there is nothing you can do so you need to go home and do something that keeps your hands busy because otherwise you will go crazy. So you go home and peel and chop and roast vegetables while eating roasted almonds and dark chocolate. Or so I hear. Note: she is now home and fine. Not a heart attack just a strained chest muscle. Phew. Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNot only are winter vegetables the best for keeping worried hands busy, they are exactly what my body is craving right now. I love all the winter vegetables in their sweet, carbohydrate-storing glory – parsnips, beetroot, sweet potato, swedes, turnips – send me your root vegetables and I will love them. Winter vegetables are hardy, they grow in the rough, hard, cold ground to nourish us all winter long. And when you blast them with heat they will reward you with sweetness, straight from the earth.Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI used a mix of my favourite winter root vegetables in this dish, and you can replace the ones that you aren’t too fond of (I am aware that not everyone shares my love for swedes – the vegetable, not the people) with your favourites. The most important thing to remember when roasting a large amount of vegetables is to make sure that your pieces are all roughly the same size. This way they will cook in a similar amount of time and you won’t have crunchy beets and soggy sweet potatoes. Ick. These, mostly uniformly sized, chopped winter veggies were cooked through and soft, but not squishy, and the mix of vegetables provided contrasting flavours in each bite. See, even in the middle of winter variety abounds!Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI paired my roasted vegetable gems with millet. I love this ‘pseudo-grain’ (it’s really a seed) for it’s naturally buttery flavour, and how easy it is to prepare. Much like quinoa it goes into a pot on the stove, boils, simmers, sits and voila! Ready to serve in under 20 minutes! The yoghurt sauce was inspired by aioli. I love aioli, but I’ve never tacked it at home (yet…). I had some thick Greek yoghurt, some garlic, and marjoram in the fridge. Roasted garlic is my siren song, so into the oven it went where it turned from sharp edged fresh garlic to golden, molten roasted garlic heaven. Mmmm. The plain sweet, roasted vegetables and buttery millet welcomed the herbed garlic yoghurt dressing perfectly. Gather your favourite winter vegetables and let’s make this tonight!Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 4

Note: the vegetables listed below are what I used in my dish, but feel free to replace them with your favourite winter veggies!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beetroot
  • 1 large swede
  • 2 small sweet potatoes
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 5 large shallots (substitute two red onions)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked millet
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock

Dressing

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves (substitute oregano if you’d like)
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons verjuice/lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) and line a large rimmed baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Peel and chop beetroot, swede, sweet potatoes, and parsnip into fairly uniformly sized pieces, just larger than a playing dice. Peel shallots and slice in half.
  3. Place chopped vegetables onto baking tray, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap head of garlic in foil and place on tray too. Roast vegetables for 25-30 minutes or until soft in the centres.
  4. While vegetables are cooking, prepare the millet. Rinse millet thoroughly and then place in a medium sauce pan with vegetable stock. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Once the millet is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, and place the lid on the sauce pan. Cook for 15 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat, allow it to rest for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
  5. To make the dressing. Peel and quarter shallot. Place into a small food processor with marjoram and whizz until finely chopped. Squeeze heads of roasted garlic out and add to food processor. Whizz until combined.
  6. Add yoghurt, verjuice, and salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.
  7. Divide millet between plates, top with vegetables, and garnish with yoghurt dressing.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Cream Cheese Swirl Beetroot Brownies | Gluten Free

Beetroot adds a smoky, earthy background to the dense chocolate of these brownies, and a sweet sharp cream cheese swirl is the perfect decadent finishing touch. Cream Cheese Swirl Beetroot Brownies are an indulgent gluten free treat perfect for sharing with your special someone.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI wanted to call these heart beet brownies (get it?), but I thought that might be a little too cheesy for you all. If there is a holiday that encourages us towards cheesiness, Valentine’s Day has to be it. I know it’s not really a holiday, and companies make a lot of money off gifts, chocolate, and flowers just for the sake of one day, but isn’t it nice that even in today’s slightly cynically-bent world that we can still find time to celebrate love. The desire for love is universal, and I don’t just mean romantic love. I mean love as in finding someone, or ones, who really see you and accept you just as you are, but are invested in helping you to reach a higher form of yourself too.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAs a wise man once said ‘Love is the only shocking act left on the planet.’ To stand in front of someone, a lover or a friend, just exactly as you are and let all the walls down is difficult. And when that person sees you raw and scarred and shining your own light and finds room in their heart to take you in without asking anything of you in return, then you have found love. I have that love in my life in many different forms, and to be reminded, even one day a year to celebrate those people who let me love them, and love me in return, is a valuable thing.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNow, about these brownies. Beetroot is the plant world’s gift to chocolate baked goods. Baked, cooled, and pureed into thick magenta paste and then added to melted midnight black chocolate, beetroot is chocolate’s perfect Valentine. You can’t taste the beetroot here, but it adds a little earthy magic that highlights the slightly bitter notes of dark chocolate. These aren’t brownies for the faint of heart. They are rich, dark, deep in the earth brownies that require coffee and fine plates. Brownies that hit that spot of craving for dark chocolate.

To this deep, dark beetroot brownie batter we add dollops and swirls of sweet and sharp cream cheese. Not so much to overwhelm, but just enough to provide a creamy contrast. Each bite is a mouthful of dark dense brownie with a tiny cheesecake ripple. These brownies are elegantly simple. Decadent enough in themselves to not require any frosting or extra add-ins. They are lush and classic and perfect for a chocolate treat for the one you love.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI took these brownies to a dinner with Chris’s family over the weekend, and we returned with an empty pan. His sister (hi Rosie!) even snuck a container of the leftovers into her handbag before she left. I stood in the kitchen and ate one and a half of these while sipping on a cup of tea. When you feel comfortable enough to start cutting brownie slivers in half in front of people, you know you have found love.

Cream Cheese Swirl Beetroot Brownies

Gluten Free | Makes 20-24 brownies | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days

Ingredients

  • 400 grams (to yield about 300 grams, cooked) whole raw beetroot, scrubbed
  • 75 mL sunflower oil (or other flavourless vegetable-based oil)
  • 250 grams dark chocolate (I used 75%), chopped
  • 75 grams cocoa
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 40 grams hazelnut meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 125 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Wrap beetroot in aluminium foil and bake for an hour, or until beetroot are tender in the middle when pierced with a skewer. Allow to cool completely before peeling. Once cooled roughly chop and use a food processor or blender to puree to a smooth paste (you can add up to 1 tablespoon of water if required).
  2. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) square tin with baking paper. Set aside until required.
  3. In a medium bowl beat together beetroot puree and oil.
  4. Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second bursts, stirring well in between bursts, until smooth and melted. Allow to cool and then mix into beetroot mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together cocoa powder, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, hazelnut meal, and baking powder.
  6. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  7. Reduce speed to low and add beetroot mixture. Add dry ingredients and mix until completely combined.
  8. Pour brownie batter into the prepared pan.
  9. In a small bowl beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar, white rice flour, and milk and beat until smooth.
  10. Place small drops of cream cheese mixture in a checkerboard patter on top of brownie batter. Use a thin knife or skewer to pull gently through the mixture in a zig-zag fashion to create swirls. Don’t overmix as this will ruin the swirl effect.
  11. Place into preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  12. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Are you a beetroot and chocolate lover? How are you spending your Valentine’s Day?

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream (gluten free)

I fed Chris one of these cupcakes, well a bite (I’m still learning how to share), while he was still half asleep because I needed someone else to confirm the amazing combination of flavours. He concurred and promptly went back to his nap. I returned to the kitchen and ate the rest of the cupcake while watching the rainy night over the bay. I fell in love at first bite with these chocolate cupcakes, which are rendered unbelievably moist by the addition of a secret ingredient – beetroot! Yep, roasted, pulverised beetroot turns these easy chocolate cupcakes into fudgy decadent little cakes. I ate one straight out of the oven because I couldn’t resist an early taste test. Oh my.

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I love beetroots, and Nigel Slater’s Beetroot Chocolate Cake is one of my favourite ways to incorporate the ruby root vegetable into a sweet dish rather than gobbling them down roasted and topped with hummus or in this dish for a quick couch-and-bowl dinner. Adding beetroot to a chocolate dish is the secret weapon to a moist and tender crumb, and the other secret that you must know is this: always add a little coffee to a chocolate creation. You will boost the chocolate flavour with the bitterness of the coffee, but in small amounts you can’t taste the coffee itself. Look at that: two secrets in one post!

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Even if you didn’t have the time to make the frosting, these Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes would make a delicious simple treat. But, you do need to make the Golden Syrup Buttercream frosting at some point because the deep roasted sugar flavour of golden syrup buttercream pushes these cupcakes over the top from tea time treat to total dessert status. I couldn’t help but lick the frosting bowl after I was done – I think my favourite chocolate buttercream might have some stiff competition here! I know some US readers might have trouble finding golden syrup in stores, but I believe you can get it from Amazon and perhaps some specialty stores. Believe me, this buttercream is worth the trouble.

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A few other secrets lurk in these cupcakes. I used a greater amount of brown sugar than white to increase the mud cake like texture of the cupcakes and oil rather than butter because it bumps up the moisture too. These are definitely not diet food, but they are good for the soul on a rainy night food.

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream

Gluten Free | Makes 16-18 cupcakes | Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days

Note: it is best if you cook the beetroot the day before. To roast beetroot: scrub well and wrap in aluminium foil. Place in oven heated to 180C (350F) and bake for 60-75 minutes or until the middle of the beetroot can be pierced easily with a knife. Allow to cool completely before using.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium beetroot, scrubbed (about 150g), roasted (see note)
  • 100 grams bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 80 grams (2/3 cup) buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams (1/2 cup) brown rice flour
  • 80 grams (3/4 cup + 1 tbs) almond meal
  • 40 grams (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

For the Golden Syrup Frosting

  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 375-500 grams (3-4 cups) icing sugar (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and place cupcake papers in 18 holes of two 12-hole 1/3 cup capacity cupcake tins.
  2. Peel beetroot and shop into large pieces. Puree in a blender or food processor until you have a smooth paste. Set aside until needed.
  3. Place chocolate into a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20 second bursts until melted. Stir between each burst. Once melted, dissolve instant coffee in chocolate and set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, caster sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, milk, and vegetable oil until smooth. Slowly whisk in pureed beetroot and melted chocolate until smooth and fully incorporated.
  6. Switch to a wooden spoon and pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  7. Spoon into prepared cases, filling them 2/3 of the way.
  8. Place trays in oven and bake for 20-22 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make the frosting: place butter in a large bowl and using a handmixer beat until pale and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and beat until frosting is fluffy and aerated, about 3-4 minutes. Spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip and decorate cooled cupcakes as desired. You could also use a knife to frost cupcakes rather than a piping bag.

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Beetroot, Feta, and Thyme Frittata

On Monday I stepped outside the bounds of my comfort zone and tried something new, or at least something that I hadn’t done in a very long time. I took a chance and threw myself into a way of moving that my body remembered but hadn’t practiced since I was a teenager. As I greeted my friend Megan and strapped on the rock climbing harness I tried to calm the knot of apprehension in my stomach. What if I didn’t remember what to do? What if I couldn’t even get off the ground?

All it took was one step off the ground, one grip of the plastic rock face in front of me, to know that despite my long absence my body still remembered how to move this way. My session wasn’t long, and I blame this hellish flu season for that, but I know I will return. Thank you Megan for giving me the opportunity to remind myself that I can push and pull and stretch myself and trust in my mind, body, and spirit to get me there. Sometimes you have to just throw yourself into the deep end, or up the face of a (fake) cliff, in order to be reminded that the worst that can happen when you try something new is that you fail. And all failure means is an opportunity to try again, differently.

Beetroot, Thyme, and Feta Frittata | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This frittata was an old new thing too. A frittata is something that I have made many times before, they are a perfect entertaining option when you have two gluten free people and one vegetarian in the family. My Aunty makes a spectacular zucchini and cheese version. The beets were something new. I love roasted beets, but I have never put them in a frittata before. I was lucky enough to find a bunch of golden beets while I was at the farmer’s market last weekend. You can bet that I jumped up and down with joy when I saw them. Lucky for me too that the farmer is an old acquaintance and was just as excited to have grown them. I hope I have done them justice.

Beetroot, Thyme, and Feta Frittata | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

First we wash the beets. Then we wrap each of them in a blanket of aluminium foil and line them up on a baking tray. This part can be done in advance. Our beets are going to make room for a head of garlic too. Then once our beets are cooked, cooled, peeled and sliced we line them up in a baking dish like a rainbow wheel with a few showers of spinach leaves between. Then we squeeze each clove of garlic until it pops(!) and delivers a roasted garlic sliver of heaven. We beat our eggs,  add a mega sprinkle of fresh thyme and chives, salt and freshly cracked black pepper and beat it all again with the roasted garlic slivers. We bathe our beets in this eggy delight and add healthy chunks of salty feta cheese before popping it all into the oven. And then we wait.

While we wait we think about old new things that challenge us, and new new things that we would like to try out.

And then we eat.

Beetroot, Thyme, and Feta Frittata | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Beetroot, Feta, and Thyme Frittata

Serves 4 | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Leftovers will keep well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 4 days

Note: store remaining garlic in refrigerator very well wrapped in foil and use within 3 days.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium beetroot (I used mix of red and golden, but you can use whatever colour is available to you)
  • 1 medium head of garlic
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Large handful baby spinach leaves
  • 75 grams feta, crumbled

Method

  1. Heat your oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Wash beetroot to remove any remaining dirt. Chop off any greens that may have been left behind.
  3. Wrap each beetroot in aluminium foil and place on a baking tray. Wrap garlic in aluminium and place on tray too.
  4. Bake beetroot and garlic for 45 minutes to an hour or until a metal skewer inserted into the middle of beet slides in easily. Remove tray from oven.
  5. Carefully (they are hot!) unwrap beets and leave to cool to room temperature.
  6. Thoroughly oil a 9 inch round baking dish or cake tin. Set aside.
  7. Once beets are cooled: peel. The skin should slide easily off. Slice each beetroot in half, and then each half into four wedge-shaped pieces.
  8. Place half the beetroot pieces into the oiled baking tin.
  9. Squeeze three cloves of garlic out of their papery skins (see note above).
  10. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together eggs, Greek yoghurt, fresh thyme, chives, salt and pepper.
  11. Gently pour half egg mixture over beetroot and sprinkle over half the feta cheese.
  12. Spread baby spinach leaves over this layer. Arrange remaining beetroot over the baby spinach. Pour the rest of the egg mixture gently over and  sprinkle feta over the top
  13. Give the baking dish a small tap against the kitchen counter to make sure everything is settled and place in oven.
  14. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until the top is golden and the middle does not jiggle when the pan is shaken gently.
  15. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve generous slices with a green salad.

Beetroot, Thyme, and Feta Frittata | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Lunchbox Love: Springtime Beetroot, Asparagus and Feta Salad

Saturdays in Spring call me outside. They whisper of the delights of the increasing heat of the sunshine and the new green shoots poking out of the earth. They tell me to put on my prettiest dress (without winter tights) and brush my hair and gather some of my favourite ladies together for a lunch date where we can laugh and drink sparkly bubbly things and talk about the important and unimportant facets of life. On Saturday just passed my sister and I went out on a lunch date with our grandmother (Mormor as we call her). We sat at an outside table of a local cafe and my sister and I sipped Diet Cokes while my grandmother enjoyed a well-earned glass of Moscato (she just had her second knee replacement five weeks ago and she has already ditched her walker!).

Mormor and Me

Mormor and Me

My grandmother is an interesting and inspirational woman and I was so thankful for our Saturday lunch. Two generations of women learning from each other’s individual experiences and wisdom and feeling blessed for the shared time and the spring sunshine. We talked about men (boy talk!), and love, and babies and marriage, and politics, and how great it was just to be together. I had an amazing salad for lunch (good job updating your menu Coffee Club) and I wanted to recapture the feeling of freedom and spring in my weekday lunch box. With a few little tweaks I made it my own and now I am sharing the Lunchbox Love with you.

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Springtime Beetroot, Asparagus, and Feta Salad (Vegetarian, Gluten Free)

Packed in individual containers for lunches this will last 3 days in the fridge. If you want to ensure that your lettuce doesn’t get soggy, put dressing in a small container and dress the salad just before eating. That being said, I am partial to soggy lettuce every now and again – please, don’t judge me.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pre-cooked baby beets (find them in the produce section)
  • 4 packed cups of mixed salad greens
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 400 gram can butter beans
  • 75 grams Greek Feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 small salad onion, finely diced
  • 1 small bunch asparagus
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper

Method:

  1. Dice baby beets into dice-sized pieces and place into a large bowl with mixed salad greens and walnuts.
  2. Drain butter beans and rinse thoroughly and add to the bowl along with crumbled feta and salad onion.
  3. Chop the woody ends off the asparagus and slice into 3-4cm long pieces. Place into a small microwave-safe bowl with a splash of water and microwave for 90 seconds. Immediately remove from the microwave and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and add to the salad mix.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper.
  5. Dress salad, toss well and serve.

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Tell me dear reader, what sort of Springtime Adventures have you been on? What’s on your Spring ‘To Eat’ List? 

And tell me, please, did anyone else jump up and down when they saw the first locally-grown asparagus available in the supermarket?

No? Well…okay then….I’m off to eat my salad….