By Helen Westwater of ‘La Ola Fresca’
This month’s recipe combines the earthy red of beetroot and the pure white of coconut milk with a heady mix of spices, to steer off any last winter colds and cheer the hearts of any lost Valentinos.
Beetroot, happily a vegetable that is available all year in Valencia, is well known for its liver-cleansing qualities and its ability to increase blood flow to the brain. However, it may also aid blood flow to other parts, as ancient Romans believed eating beetroot produced amorous feelings and it has since been used as an aphrodisiac.
So as we are still in the month of what was Valentine’s Day and also the recent Chinese New Year, we present our ‘Red Valentine Beetroot Soup’.
First prepare the spices by finely blending the lemon grass and peeled fresh ginger. You can easily find these ingredients in the Chinese shops around the main train station. Heat the oil gently and add the blended spices (except the cumin). Cook gently for a few minutes and then add the finely chopped shallots. Leave the shallots to soften for a few minutes. Next, add the cooked beetroot and a dessertspoon of ground cumin and stir. Then add the tin of coconut milk. When it has come to the boil, add the vegetable stock. Leave to cook for about 30 minutes…being careful that it does not overboil. Blend all the ingredients so that the soup is smooth. Mix in the juice of one lime (to taste) and season with salt and pepper. When ready to serve, heat a little oil in a frying pan and add cumin seeds. Decorate individual bowls with the oil and cumin and a few sprigs of coriander.
BEETROOT AND COCONUT SOUP
•350 gm (2-3) large fresh beetroots cooked, peeled and chopped in cubes
•1 stick lemon grass
•1 inch fresh ginger
•1 dessertspoon cumin spice
•1 tablespoon olive oil
•1 can (14 oz / 140 ml) coconut milk
•450 ml vegetable stock
•Juice of 1 lime
•Seasoning to taste
•Cumin seeds and more oil + sprigs of
coriander leaves for decoration
LA OLA FRESCA
C/ Mùsico Magenti, 11