Thursday, 25 June 2009

Beetroot Leaf & Potato Bhaji

As with many other bloggers, Abel & Cole contacted me asking if I'd would like to be sent a box of theirs in return for a review. Now, before we go any further, a word about freebies and the like. While I'd never ask someone for something for free in return for a review - I am not shameless or big-headed enough - I won't turn down a freebie if I'm genuinely interested in it. A PR company contacted me recently asking if I'd like to sample some ice cream in return for a review, which I turned down (if my housemate reads this she may never speak to me again), simply because I'm not a fan of ice cream and I don't think I could write an interesting post on it. On the flip side, I've been looking into getting a veg box and was put off it by tales from friends about over-dosing on squashes over the winter season, so I thought this was a good way to see if they were right for me.

What I liked about the box was that you can go online and see what's going to be sent to you. Similarly, I liked that you could opt to never receive certain vegetables, like sweet potatoes which are the root of all evil. It was an interesting and varied box - apples, nectarines, melons, Little Gem lettuce, beetroot, green cabbage, new potatoes. Problem is, my housemate works two jobs and usually I'm out at least two nights of the week, so I have no idea how I'll finish it. It was all very fresh, so I hope it keeps a while. Another thing I'd find hard about it is that I'll still have to go shopping; I use a lot of herbs in my cookery, and the box didn't come with any. At roughly £15, I'm not sure that this box is suitable for me. Perhaps better for households of 3 or 4.

So with that in mind and with a bag of coriander languishing in the fridge, I decided on this beetroot leaf and potato bhaji. Bhaji as in a dry curry, rather than those battered deep-fried affairs.

Beetroot Leaf & Potato Bhaji

For 2 as part of a multidish meal

The leaves and stems of 2 beetroot, washed and sliced into 1" pieces

4 large new potatoes

2" ginger, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Boil or steam the new potatoes for 10 minutes. Slice into halves. Meanwhile, heat some oil or ghee and fry the cumin seeds until they sputter. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry until browned but not burnt. Add the rest of the spices except the garam masala, then add the vegetables and stir to coat with the spices. Put the lid on, turn the heat down, and cook for 15 - 20 minutes. There should be enough steam to keep it from sticking, but if it does add a touch of water. Next, add the garam masala, cook with the lid off so that it becomes drier. Take off the heat, garnish with the fresh coriander, and serve.

I ate this with some raita, chapatis and fresh tomato salad with mustard seeds and red onion.


Gourmet Chick said...

I agree on your policy. I don't ask and I did say no to trying out an online food hygiene course?! But if I am genuinely interested in it then I will give it a shot as long as the pr company knows that I will give my honest opinion. I think the Abel and Cole box is great, but I agree you do also need to do another shop and also WAY too much food so it ends up getting wasted.

fabhat said...

I've used able and cole for years now and it takes about a month to get used to using it over a week I think. I get the smallest veg only box and swap between essential and delux on a week on week off basis. Being able to exclude things is really good - and when my husband gets seriously bored of beetroot, being able to miss it for a week or two is a good thing.
You can also order extras like herbs, eggs and lemons as well as meat and dairy etc, so you can pretty much do a full shop with them if you want.

Nightwol said...

We've been getting Able & Coleboxes for a few months. They were great in the winter when we often didn't feel much like going out food shopping. And the surprise factor was a lot of fun, providing some much-needed inspiration in the dark days of winter.

But now it's summer we're not so happy. For one thing, it's more attractive now to go to the market and choose produce in person. For another, we're less inclined to have our meals dictated by what came in the box. The end result is an increase in waste so we're taking a break from the regular boxes for a while.

They are still great for buying the huge quantities of carrots we require to keep our juicer fed!

gastrogeek said...

How imaginative - these look seriously good and so much lighter than their deep-fried brethren. Sounds like my kind of lunch!

goodshoeday said...

An interesting looking recipe. I was wondering what to do with the beetroot leaves (attached to the beetroots!) in my freebie a&c box that arrived yesterday - they looked so fresh shame to waste them - i'll give this a go. Thx for the inspiration on this one :)

catty said...

*GASP* nooo! Next time you get offered an ice cream review CALL ME!!! :)

That said, beetroot is yum and you're made it YUMMIER. good work!

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

I agree with your thoughts on PR freebies. I briefly considered the ice cream offer before turning it down. I'm still trying to get my head around meal freebies, having done just a few. I've turned down other offers though. I think I would take up the offer if I would have paid to have gone anyway. But I didn't go to Belgo recently, because it's not somewhere I'd visit and write about.

Alex said...

It does look big - perhaps there are things you can make ahead and freeze?

Helen said...

I've given up on the veg box for the same reasons. Just get the fruit box now. Although, I still get bored of the same stuff turning up all the time as I keep forgetting to go online and change it.