Cool, dude! Here in Perth our climate is very like that of Southern California in summer time, so this light and refreshing Cal classic is just what the chef ordered for lunch on a hot sunny day. It is from the wonderful new book by Bernadette Wörndl, Fruit – Recipes That Celebrate Nature (Smith Street Books). This beautifully presented tome would make a fine Christmas prezzie and a brilliant addition to any kitchen library.
A textbook Californian entrée salad. It’s also excellent with crumbled goat’s cheese or burrata.
1 each of small yellow, red and target beetroot (beets)
salt, to taste
3–4 blood oranges
1 small fennel bulb
2–3 mint sprigs
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) olive oil
1 tablespoon elderflower vinegar (page 98)
juice of ½ lemon
juice of ½ blood orange
(See how to make Elderflower Vinegar at the end of there recipe)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (conventional). Place the beetroot in an ovenproof dish and pour in water to a depth of 2 cm (¾ in). Season with salt and seal well with foil. Bake for 40–50 minutes (depending on their size), until soft. Allow to cool a little, then peel with your hands and cut into wedges. Peel the blood oranges and remove the white pith. Thinly slice the oranges and arrange on four plates, along with the beetroot.
For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a screw-top jar, seal tightly and shake well.
Shave the fennel and marinate in a little of the dressing. Halve the avocado and remove the stone, then spoon out and slice the flesh. Pick the mint leaves. Arrange all the ingredients on the orange slices and beetroot in a decorative way, drizzle over the dressing and season with salt and pepper.
A mum-in-law classic!
10 elderflower clusters (without stalks)
1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
Fill a large sterilised jar with all the ingredients, cover the top with a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and fasten with an elastic band. Leave in a warm place and shake carefully every 1–2 days.
After about 14 days, strain the vinegar and transfer to sterilised bottles.
The vinegar will keep in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
Edited extract from Fruit by Bernadette Worndl,published by Smith Street Books, $55.Photography © Gunda Dittrich. Out November 2018