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Root Vegetable Salad with Beetroot Cream, Sheep's Cheese & Walnuts

This simple vegetarian salad is full of gorgeous colours, the sort of dish that makes you happy when it is placed before you. And with CanSur, it is so important to take small moments of joy, and food is such a powerful way of imparting that. Since I changed my entire approach to cooking, I have made each meal a celebration of life with joyful colours and good presentation which fills me with a quiet sense of rightness and peace. It adds a little bit of ritual to my day and being mindful of, and imbuing my food with, 'healing intent' the resulting dishes just feel totally nourishing. Good food, mindfully prepared, is a way of loving ourselves and our loved ones.

Who would have thought that a salad of root vegetables could be so refined and delicious? Using the new season's baby vegetables, you get a wonderful concentration of flavour. This salad is a celebration of life and the seasons of the earth.

The salad is filling, but not heavy and so pretty if you use edible flowers and fresh herbs from the garden with a mixed bag of leaf salad. This dish uses cooked beetroot with roasted baby carrots and parsnips finished off with a little date syrup, and the sauce is made from Beetroot Aioli and Eco-Mill almond cream - a brilliant and versatile product that is a fine substitute for single cream. I made this as a starter for dinner guests and everyone adored it. It really is a wow dish.

Sheep's/Goat's Cheese, walnuts and beetroot have become a classic combination. Each ingredient bringing out the flavour of the other. And don't be afraid to use edible flowers from your garden unless of course you use insecticides. The sheep's cheese for this should be crumbly or a soft curd that can be pinched off in small pieces. You don't want a hard cheese. If you can't find sheep's cheese, then a good crumbly goat's cheese with the ring removed would be good.

I am not a Californian chef plating up stunning edible art, but with the right ingredients, anyone can make a plate of food gorgeously inviting.



Serves 2

6 small young carrots

4 small young parsnips

handful of mixed salad leaves

3 oz soft Sheep's cheese

1 large beetroot

1 tsp date syrup

2 tsp coconut oil

pink peppercorns

edible flowers and herbs from the garden

handful of walnut halves

** 1 cup Healing Intent

For the beetroot cream:

1 heaped tbs 'The Healing Pantry' Beetroot Aioli

1 tbs Eco-mill almond cream

1 tbs organic lemon

1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt

1. Place the scrubbed beetroot in a pan of cold salted water and bring to the boil and simmer for 50 minutes -1 hour until tender. Do not cut the root or top off the beetroot or it will bleed into the water. Remove from the water and cool and peel carefully and cut into half inch dice.

2. Peel and trim the carrots and parsnips. Cut lengthways into four pieces and remove the core of the parsnips.

3. Toss the carrots and parsnips in a little seasoned coconut oil and lay on a baking tray and place on the top shelf of an oven present to 200C. If the vegetables are bigger than spring vegetables, blanch them in hot water for about 5 minutes and allow to dry.

4. Cook for 10 minutes and then remove and drizzle a tsp of date syrup over the vegetables and stir to mix well. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove when just tender.

5. Combine the ingredients for the beetroot cream and place in to a clean plastic bag, push into the corner of the bag and snip off the end to make a makeshift nozzle.

6. To assemble the salad arrange the carrots and parsnips on a plate, and top with a few mix salad leaves. Scatter the cubed beetroot around the outside of the vegetables together with the walnut halves. Add the edible flowers and herbs from the garden and blob with small dollops of beetroot cream around the plate. Top with the crumbled sheep's cheese and sprinkle with crushed pink peppercorns.

Joy on a Plate.

** Healing Intent: when cooking foods to heal the body it is important to set your intent. The best way to do this is imagine that you are cooking this dish for yourself or for someone you love who is very ill and that this dish is the only thing that will help in their healing. You will find that the way you handle the food will change, and will not only result in a better dish, but you will feel the food actually nourishing your body and spirit.

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