Vanessa Pike-Russell
George Calombaris from Australia's Masterchef cooks
Blini with Smoked beetroot and feta

Smoked beetroot
First make the smoke with hickory chips (from BBQ shop, soaked) and add sugar, rice, sea salt, earl grey tea and mix. Line a pot with foil and spread out mixture onto it. Add a lid and get it smoking which may take 15-20 minutes

NEXT Blini batter:
520ml full cream milk, bring it to luke warm check with finger
Add milk to a bowl and rain the 20g yeast into the milk. Add 2 egg yolks (keep egg whites for later) and 150g plain flour, 150g buckwheat flour (gives blini a beer flavour)
Cover with cling film and leave to rest until mix has risen, about half an hour
Back to smoking mix:
Smoking mix is ready for beetroot chop the stalk off the beetroot and drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt. You don't need to take the skin off now, it will be easier to do so after it is cooked. Wrap in foil and
Place in oven for 160oC for an hour.
Take out of the oven, lay some greaseproof paper down, put some disposable gloves on and peel off the skin gently.

Take a slice off the top and bottom and press a small round cuter into the beetroot to make small rounds of beetroot (I've had little cubes of beetroot which are just as pretty). Place the beetroot shapes on a metal rack and lower over the smoking mix. Cover with a lid to trap in the smoke. Since you don't wish to further cook the vegetable turn off the heat from under the pan and it will 'cold smoke' it. Leave the beetroot until the pot goes cold, about half an hour.

Leftover beetroot can be roasted overnight at 60
oC with salt and blended up in a coffee grounder to make beetroot powder. Dehydrating the beetroot times the flavour by five==
Back to Blini batter
3 egg whites, pinch of salt whisk to stiff peaks. Gently incorporate into batter which should have risen significantly. Use slow stirring mixture and pour into a tiny blini pan if possible or if not in a large frying pan but keep the size of the blinis small. Add in crumbled pieces of feta cheese.

MasterChef Australia 2009
Don't pre-heat the pan or your blini will colour too quickly. Looking for gold colour. To check to see if it is cooked use a spatula and pull the sides up a little bit and see if it is still a little opaque. While the blini is cooking on one side move to the smoked beetroot
Back to Beetroot
Take beetroot out of the smoker after 25 minutes and drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt.
Final step plate Blinis and beetroot
Flip the blini and plate it up onto a plate and arrange beetroot, garnish with cream and beetroot powder, basil leaves
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