from one generation to the next
We spent a leisurely ten days in Brisbane last month. On our first morning we chose a cafe at Eagle Street Pier on the Brisbane River for breakfast. The setting was magnificent, a perfect way to start a warm sunny day, watching joggers and self important execs hurrying along the boardwalk while we sipped fresh juice and good strong coffee with our breakfast.
Day two was pretty much a repeat performance of the first, but on the third day the the cafe’s menu changed.
I prefer savoury food for breakfast. It does’t have to be elaborate, vegemite on toast is fine, but my interest was piqued by a dish described as pickled beets, boiled eggs. I wasn’t convinced it was a good match, but I’ll try anything once……
The concept was exciting, but my plate of food had the potential to be so much more. There was toast topped with shredded beets that may or may not have been pickled, a soft boiled egg and a few fresh baby chard leaves. From the first mouthful I began thinking about ways to make this unlikely marriage of flavours much more exciting.
Pickled beets can be delicious. Like most Anglo Aussies of my age, beetroot speaks to me of childhood and summer. Vinegary sliced beets from a can appeared in salad sandwiches, with salad on a plate and for many, it’s still the quintessential ingredient in a hamburger. Canned beetroots are okay, home pickled beets so much better.
Orange and Ginger Pickled Beetroot
3 medium sized beetroots, boiled until easily pierced with a skewer
Juice of 1 orange
2 teaspoons finely shredded orange zest
2 teaspoons finely grated root ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
Slip the skins off the beetroots and cut into thin slices. Lay the beet slices in a wide pan and set aside.
Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over the beets.
Place the pan over a medium heat, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Transfer the beets to a container with a lid, pour over the pickling liquid, then cover and chill for 24 hours before using.
These pickled beets are also delicious lightly warmed and served with lamb or duck, or added to a real Aussie burger.