Produce is very seasonal here in Shanghai, but now with my Mandarin improving I am now able to request things I want. My vegetable man is really good at tracking things down that he doesn't normally sell. Only problem is every time I go he is smiling and handing me my never ending supply of what I've asked for. Most recently it has been beetroot. Week after week I am being presented with it, and I don't want to be rude and refuse it. Thankfully I love beetroot, in all forms, pickled, raw, made into chutney or dips.
So in an effort to use it up I have been pickling and making chutneys. However this inevitably results in a kitchen that would defy CSI clearing up! No matter how hard I try I end up with a kitchen that looks like a scene from a bloody massacre. The more I chop, whizz and boil the more it splashes, spills and generally finds it way across all the kitchen surfaces, including the floor. Try and wipe it up and it merely spreads out.
Please do not call on me to cover up a crime scene.
However once its finally constrained in its jar I can look forward to eating it. One of my favourite ways is sliced picked beetroot on a toasted bagel with cream cheese, Mmm! I love it chopped into a spinach and orange salad or whizzed with natural yogurt and a hint of mint to make a delicious dip, and a salad always tastes better with a little on the side.
I now have to learn how to say in Mandarin "Stop with the beetroot" It's always challenging here.
Happy to see my cupboard now filling up with jars of beetroot. However I do end up passing it along as it is pretty expensive to buy here, as are any imports, so ex pat friends always appreciate my efforts, Chinese friends not so much and they are not shy about telling you lol.
PICKLED BEETROOT RECIPE
1kg beets, 200g caster sugar, 300mls white wine vinegar, 200mls cold water.
1 star anise, 3 cloves, 2 bay leaves, 2 tsps balsamic vinegar (optional)
Roast beets in oven at 200c until a knife is easily inserted. Remove skin while hot. It will rub off easily, use rubber gloves! Slice and pack into sterilised jars.
Put sugar, water, vinegar (not balsamic at this stage) and spices into a pan and bring to boil. Turn down and simmer until sugar dissolves. Sieve out spices and add balsamic.
Pour over sliced beetroot in jars and seal.
Enjoy the results.