Guardian Girl

Beetroot, yogurt and preserved lemon relish

Posted in Recipes by guardiangirl on July 15, 2009

I hobbled into Sainsbury’s last night. Why was I hobbling? a) I’d walked 11 miles that day b) I had my toes crossed. Why did I have my toes crossed? a) Because just crossing my fingers that there’d be no raw beetroot in Sainsbury’s and I’d have to buy ready cooked wasn’t enough. I was buying the ingredients for Yotam Ottolenghi’s beetroot, yogurt and preserved lemon relish. Luckily my crossing worked and I bought four packets of the shrink-wrapped, boiled stuff.

Arriving home I switched the radio on, famished after the usual long and Forrest Gump-inspired day, and had a proper look at the recipe. I’d thought it was a salad (relish executed with my minimal chopping style) and that it would take minutes to throw together but alas, the recipe called for blackening peppers and reducing tomatoes. I was sorely tempted to be properly lazy, just chop everything up, put it in a bowl, take a quick snap and get to work on the eating bit, but I felt this was excessive cheating – plus I’ve done the pepper-grilling trick before and it makes them so much nicer. I used more fresh herbs than the recipe called for because I didn’t want to freeze the remainder in little bits. This worked out nice. I can never find preserved lemons but I used the juice from the fruit I zested into pastry a few days ago – industrious huh.

As I began toiling over the hot grill, a show came on my favourite station Resonance FM in which two people blew up 99 balloons, intermittently reading balloon-related facts, over a background soundtrack of 99 Luftballons by Nena, slowed down to last an hour. The effect, when combined with a large dish of beetroot, was a bit round and red but the tie-in was pleasing.

Anyway, back to the salad. It tasted very pleasant. By now I’d completely dispensed with the idea of it being a relish, though.

As well as the main dish, YO suggested frying the beet tops with creme fraiche, oilve oil, caraway seeds and garlic. Obviously I didn’t have any beet tops so instead I simply fried the flavourings, including garlic sliced and crisped in the oil like onion bits from the Harvester, stirred in the creme fraiche and ate it like a heart attack soup while I waited for my peppers to char. I feel slightly embarrassed by this and mention it only because it was very tasty and would make a nice dip. Maybe for radishes, to keep with the theme.

I froze the salad I couldn’t eat (whether this will work is a concern for the day it comes out of, not goes into, the freezer), proudly putting it next to the previous day’s remaining raspberry tarts. One day I’ll be receiving guests and will be able to casually defrost beetroot relish (I’ll revert to its proper, more exotic title especially for the occasion) and fruit tart for dessert. They won’t even notice the ring around the bath.

Beetroot, yogurt and preserved lemon relish

Beetroot, yogurt and preserved lemon relish


Beetroot and yoghurt salad

Beetroot and yoghurt salad


Mine looks like a dish of kidneys.


  • It would be really helpful if these recipes included one bunch of something rather than four heaped tablespoons of something, but that’s what freezers are for
  • Even in Yotam’s picture, ‘relish’ is pushing it a bit. It’s a salad isn’t it? You can have whole sweetcorn kernels in a relish but beetroot halves is borderline petulance