So I have to tell you guys something funny. A few weeks ago I went to this little potter’s market which is held at a beautiful park in my neighbourhood twice a year. Basically all (excluding my mom) the potters and ceramic artists of Cape Town come to sell their work there. It is one of the highlights of my year. Think about it, it’s a park filled with food props. What more could a guy want? Unfortunately this year, and actually come to think of it every year, it was raining. But not a light drizzle, it was raining cats and dogs down on all of the potter’s stands that were uncovered and exposed to the harsh weather. So anyway, last year when I attended the market, I found this one ceramicist whose work I fell in love with. She made a range of the most exquisite plates and bowls. They are made using black clay and then white paint is applied thinly on the inside of the bowls. The black clay is still slightly visible through the white paint. At the time, I didn’t think of purchasing the entire range because I didn’t have that much money on me. I settled for one plate/bowl (seen above). This year I was determined to get more than one bowl from her. When the market came, I still didn’t have as much money in my bank account as I would have like (oh guess what guys, I’m unemployed again). When I finally found her store I immediately wanted to buy everything, but I knew that I had to be realistic. I had walked around the market already and spent most of my money by that point, so I picked up this one small bowl, which looked like it would fit my budget. I asked the potter (Diana) how much it cost and she told me. Sadly it was over my budget and so I put it down and pretended to carry on browsing. Then, I don’t know what came over me; I put my head up and said to the Diana “I really love your pottery very much. It’s so simple yet beautiful all at once. I have one of your pieces at home which I bought from you last year,” here comes the funny part “I actually have a blog and I often shoot my food in your plate, it’s really beautiful and I’m so lucky that I have it…” I carried on talking about who knows what, but was distracted because she was scrounging around for a piece of bubble wrap (could my secret plan have worked?). Next thing I see her pick up the little bowl that I had asked about earlier, and begin to wrap it up. I pretended like I had no idea what she was doing. Then she came around to me and gave me the bowl and said, “Here you go; you can have this.”
I refused to take it from her (me being the gentleman that I am), but was actually having a full on party in my head. She wouldn’t let me leave her store without it and so I didn’t. As I walked away with my new bowl in hand, I felt an adrenaline rush through my body. I almost tried my new trick at someone else’s store, but then decided not to. I left the market a happy man and excited for next year’s market! Who knows what I’ll get up to there?
This roast beetroot salad is the perfect accompaniment to any meal. As the beetroots roast they take on a sweet flavour, which is balanced out by a tangy yogurt dressing. The salad is topped with a homemade sesame and cumin flavoured salt as well as fresh mint.
Roast beet salad + yoghurt dressing
Serves 4 people
• 5 beetroots, peeled and roughly chopped into chunks
• 1 tbs olive oil
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp ground black pepper
• 1 tbs white wine vinegar
• 1 cup plain full fat yogurt
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• juice of 1 lemon
• pinch of salt
• 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 tbs sesame seeds
• 1 tsp sea salt
• fresh mint
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare a large baking dish.
Place the roast beetroot ingredients into your prepared baking dish. Mix together and then place into the oven. Leave to bake for 25-30 minutes. Stir the beetroot regularly so that it doesn’t burn. Once the beetroot has cooked all the way through and has become slightly crispy, remove from the oven and leave to one side for the moment.
Mix all of your dressing ingredients in a bowl. Leave to one side.
Place your cumin seeds and sesame seeds into a pan over a medium to low heat. Stir them until they turn a golden brown colour. Remove from the heat and place into a pestol and mortar together with the see salt. Roughly grind the ingredients together.
Place the roast beetroot into your serving dish. Spoon the yogurt dressing over the beetroot and top with the ground topping ingredients and chopped mint.