Beet relish

Beet relish

Beet relish, a delicious condiment that originates from where I’m from, the North East of England. Beet relish (or beetroot as the Brits say), is delicious on sandwiches, with cheese and crackers or even on a burger. I like this relish 2 ways, slightly sweet or a bit more vingear-y. The option to make both is in the recipe.

Beet relish

If you’re familiar to cooking with beets, you will know how messy they can be with regard to the beet juice dying your skin and anything it may come in contact with. I recommend 2 important tools, a pair of plastic gloves and a dark cutting board.

 Beet relish                                                       print
(yields 16 ounces)           


  • 1 pound whole beets, peeled, cut into quarters
  • 3/4 cup sugar * see note
  • 1/2 cup malt vinegar * see note
  • Small pinch of celery seed
  • Small pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lay the beets on a large piece of aluminum foil.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap them well in the aluminum foil.
  4. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove the beets from the oven and leave to cool in the foil for 20 minutes this will give the steam time to dissipate and  will prevent any steam burns.
  6. Cut the beets into thin slices, and then into thin matchsticks (julienne).
  7. Add the sugar, malt vinegar, celery seed and salt to a medium saucepan.
  8. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved.
  9. Add the beets and slowly bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vinegar has reduced and thickened.
  10. Transfer to sterilized mason jars ** see note
  11. The relish will keep in your refrigerator for up to 3 months.

* To make the relish less sweet and bit more vinegar-y, use 1/4 cup of sugar and keep the vinegar at 1/2 cup.
**To sterilize the jars, wash with warm soapy water and rinse well. Arrange the jars and lids onto a baking sheet and leave in a preheated, 175 degree F/80 degree C oven for 25 minutes. Or, boil the jars and lids in large saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes. Allow to dry completely.

Beet relish
Beet relish

Roasted sweet potatoes and apples in maple sage butter

Roasted sweet potatoes and apples in maple sage butter

Here’s a great Christmas side dish. You’ve got sweet, salty and buttery all one 1 plate. Does it get any better?

Roasted sweet potatoes and apples in maple sage butter           print
(4-6 servings)   


  • 2lbs of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 medium gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the potatoes and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix until coated.
  3. Spread onto a sheet pan and roast for 10 minutes.
  4. Turn the potatoes and continue roasting for another 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium heat melt the unsalted butter and add the apples. Sauté until brown on 1 side, turn and brown on the other side.
  6. Add the chopped sage and maple syrup, transfer to a mixing bowl.
  7. Remove the potatoes from the oven and add to the apples, stir until the potatoes are covered with the maple butter. 

Winter squash salad

Winter squash salad

Who says you can’t eat a salad when the weather cools down? Well, it’s cooled down for most of the country but the warm sunny weather seems to be hanging on here in Los Angeles, but I can pretend it’s chilly outside. Since we are deep into holiday season, I love that you can incorporate the flavors of the season into a salad.  Butternut squash roasted with salt and pepper. Maple glazed pecans, blue cheese, sweet honey crisp apple over fresh spinach, dressed with an orange vinaigrette. You had me at maple glazed pecans.

Maple glazed pecans

I must warn you in advance, it will take all your strength not snack on these sweet crunchy nutty bites of perfection while you are assembling this salad. I had to quickly snap this photo before I ruined the shot.
Roasting butternut squash really is the best, and only way to cook this beautiful vegetable. In addition to it’s creamy flavor, roasting brings out it’s naturally sweetness, so it doesn’t need much seasoning at all. Just olive oil, salt, pepper and dried sage.

Roasted butternut squash

Ingredients (4 servings)         print recipe

For the vinaigrette

  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange 
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the salad

  • 6 ounces of raw pecan halves
  • 1 whole butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons Maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons fine baking sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large honey crisp apples, sliced
  • 1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled
  • 6 oz fresh spinach


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes (keep your eye on them to prevent burning).
  3. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
  5. In a small mixing bowl add the orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and agave nectar. 
  6. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil until mixed. Set aside.
  7. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise and take out the seeds. 
  8. Slice the squash across into 1/4 slices.
  9. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. 
  10. Mix the salt, pepper and dried sage together and sprinkle over the butternut squash. Use your hands to rub, making sure both sides are covered.
  11. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until browned. Set aside to cool.
  12. In a mixing bowl add the maple syrup, fine sugar and pinch of salt.
  13. Add the cooled pecans and mix well until all pecans are coated.
  14. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  15. Add the pecans to the pan in a single layer and cook for 2 minutes. Stir until they start to smell like caramel.
  16. Remove from heat and allow to cool in a single layer on a baking sheet. Separate so they don’t stick together.
  17. In a large mixing bowl, add the spinach and drizzle with the vinaigrette, toss to coat.
  18. Serve the spinach topped with the butternut squash, pecans, sliced apple and crumbled blue cheese.
  19. Drizzle more vinaigrette if needed.

Mashed gold and sweet potato

Mashed potato

Yukon gold potatoes make the creamiest mashed potatoes. What I like is they have thin skins and it’s nice to keep the skin on for the nutrients, so as you mash the potatoes, the skins seem to disintegrate into the potato. I’m always looking for new ways to spruce up regular mash, I’ve added turnip or rutabaga and parsnip. In this case, to go with last nights roast chicken dinner (recipe), I decided to add a sweet potato into the mix. 

alt Mashed gold and sweet potato

The combination of the creamy yukon gold potato and the sweetness of the sweet potato had me snacking on it (I mean, I was testing for seasoning), before dinner was even served. This mash is so comforting, I could have made a meal of it all by itself.

Ingredients (4 servings)      metric conversion        print recipe

  • 1lb dutch yellow potatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons of whipped butter (or regular if that is what you have)
  • Ground black pepper


  1. Peel the sweet potato and cut into cubes. 
  2. Quarter the dutch gold potatoes, no need to peel, there’s nutrients in the peel, but you can if you don’t like it. 
  3. Add to a large pot of salted cold water, the potatoes will cook evenly if you start them in cold water. 
  4. Boil the potatoes for 10-12 minutes until tender and drain. 
  5. Return them to the pan to dry up any water that might be left. 
  6. Press the potatoes through a potato ricer into a large bowl, add the  whipped butter but you can use regular butter. No need to add salt, there is salt in the butter, but you can if you wish.
  7. Add the ground black pepper and mix. If you find the potatoes are dry, you can add warm milk or broth, add in small amounts so you don’t make them too wet.
Other recipes you might enjoy:

      Rosemary roasted chicken                                    Roasted brussels sprouts

Rosemary roasted chicken with delicious gravy

Roasted brussels sprouts

Never eat boiled brussel sprouts again. Roasting them with olive oil, salt and pepper brings out a toasty sweetness to this once feared vegetable.

alt Roasted brussel sprouts

Ingredients (6 servings)
1 lb brussel sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the ends off the brussel sprouts and any outer leaves. Cut in half. Spread on a sheet pan or roasting pan and pour olive oil, add salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until coated. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes until tender. 

Use your vegetables!

alt grilled chicken asparagus

We all have, or I hope, vegetables in the fridge that have to be used. For me today it was zucchini and bell pepper so I thought, succotash. I chopped the zucchini and peppers equal size, added frozen corn for sweetness and sautéed them in olive oil with salt, pepper and dried basil. Healthy vegetables with lots of flavor. This was a side dish to accompany lemon grilled chicken. Coat chicken breasts in olive oil, grate fresh lemon zest and dried basil, sprinkle on the chicken along with salt and pepper.
alt sauteed zucchini peppers corn