The weekend before last, Mozart (the resident schnauzer) was well overdue for a trim. This gave us cause to walk to Glebe and drop him off for his epic (3 hour!) grooming. With plenty of time to kill we sought out a nice place to relax and have a light lunch, and spied a sizeable local crowd (always a good sign) at Madame Frou Frou. We tipped ourselves into a couple of their old cinema chairs to take in the quirky diner atmosphere.
For myself I chose the beef burger, and Jane opted for a ham and cheese croissant. Although the croissant is such a simple thing it can be a risky order — I’m always astounded by the ability of cafes to either burn one or fail to melt the cheese (the most talented somehow manage to do both!) — so it was nice to see it properly toasted. The burger, aside from the slightly plastic cheese, hit the spot — especially the beetroot relish. The coffee (with beans from Double Roasters) was also superb. Not bad for a chance walk-in!
With beetroots (and beef) already in the fridge at home I was inspired to come up with a relish of my own. I thought it might be fun to try something with a bit of spice, hence the anise and cloves. It took a bit of balancing work, and is tricky to taste alone (being quite powerful) but once served with the roasted beef fillet it turned out to be a winner!
- 500g beetroot (around 4 medium beets)
- 2 red onions
- 1 cup malt vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 lemon
- 3 star anise
- 8 cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Trim and clean the beetroot and wrap tightly in foil. Place on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes (only part cooked).
- Meanwhile, peel and slice the onions into 2mm half-circles. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat and add the onions, seasoning immediately with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Saute the onions, stirring, until they are browned. Immediately turn down the heat to low and continue to cook gently for a further 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the beetroot from the oven, unwrap and allow to cool until they can be handled. Peel the beets then chop into 2mm matchsticks.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in strips, avoiding the white pith.
- Add the beets, vinegar, water, star anise, cloves, sugar, lemon zest and the juice of the lemon to the saucepan with the onions. Bring to the boil then slow to a gentle simmer.
- Cook until the liquid has completely reduced, about 50 minutes, at which point the relish should be sticky and delicious!
- Remove the zest, anise and (if possible) cloves then store the relish in a sterlisied jar.
- Serve with rare roast beef, or add to burgers for a flavour kick!
- To cook the onions down without burning use a very gentle heat and add an occasional splash of water if necessary.
- Chopping the beets into matchsticks is time-consuming, but I prefer the texture this way. If you’re in a hurry you could grate them instead.