Vanessa Pike-Russell 

Watching tonight's Junior Masterchef 'Mystery Box Challenge' was really enjoyable. One of the ingredients was beetroot. One of my all-time favourite vegetables. There is a photo somewhere of me eating beetroot slices by a waterfall-fed river near Eden in the Eurobodalla region as a five year old. It is one of the things I love to cook with and eat and surprise people at how versatile this root vegetable can be.

One of my favourite recipes that features beetroot is Borscht. Something that has gone out of fashion but in the 70s was THE dinner party favourite amongst my Mother and her friends. I remember the first I tasted this recipe - served cold. It was quite a taste sensation for an eight year old who had always assumed soups would be hot, or at least warm. Get out your 70s cookbooks (or google for a recipe) and give it a try yourself. Perfect for these balmy spring nights and a great appetiser.

If your children hate beetroot give them a fresh view on it with these delicious Beetroot chips. If you are having trouble convincing them to give them a try offer a sweet chilli dipping sauce made with Greek Yoghurt. Trust me - they will love it!

For a gourmand try these Crumbed Mushrooms with Roasted beetroot cubes and avocado salad that I enjoyed at the Ocean Beach Hotel and re-acquainted me with my love of beetroot. The smokey flavour from roasting helped tease out the sweetness and crispy texture had beetroot haters salivating.

Roast Beetroot, Crumbed Mushrooms and Avocado Salad


3 eggs
4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (or gluten free rice crumbs)
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped chives
salt & ground black pepper
400g medium button mushrooms, stems trimmed
olive oil, for deep frying
4 beetroots, cubed
1 avocado, seeded and sliced thinly
150g rocket or baby spinach leaves (or other salad leaf)
balsamic vinegar

Roasted Beetroot Method:

1. In a large bowl, combine the cubed beets, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 tablespoon vinegar, salt and pepper.
2. Cubes should now be placed on baking paper, arranged in a single layer so that they cook evenly.  Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the edges have turned golden and the beetroot is tender.  Arrange in a circle around the crumbed mushroom and avocado salad as a garnish.

Crumbed Mushroom Method:

1. Whisk eggs until well combined in a shallow dish. Set aside.
2. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, chives,  salt and pepper in a separate shallow dish.
3. Dip mushrooms one at a time in the egg mix,  then coat in the breadcrumb and
cheese mixture, pressing the breadcrumbs on to secure. Repeat with
remaining mushrooms, egg and breadcrumb mixture.
3. In a hot oil, deep-fry the mushrooms, a few at a time, until crumbs are golden. Lower onto paper towel to drain away excess oil and place in the oven to keep warm whilst you repeat with the rest of the mushrooms.

Avocado Salad Method:
In a large bowl combine baby spinach, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and top with crumbed mushrooms and garnish with beetroot Tweet This
Labels: 0 comments | Links to this post |
Bookmark and Share
Vanessa Pike-Russell 

Pack a picnic rug and come along to Flagstaff Hill on the second Friday of the month during daylight savings, kicking off Friday, 8 October at 5.30pm for Wollongong City Council’s new Twilight Food of the World Markets.

The twilight food markets offer a range of international cuisines for you to sample, including Turkish, Indian, Latin American and Dutch. The evening markets will be held every second Friday of every month between October 2010 to March 2011. Starting from 5.30pm and finishing at 9.30pm.

Photo: By Black Diamond Images,1Mx5skwOScThHJOGEshgYf8B4EekQIPTDj16jUZk_jPq7SMpaReG9NJU1QYEjHjeY8y3UapoOuW1mjxjeAIqjVwKAbl8HKY03X3J405Iuw-zVo0B8WYhRDJR5r2YbiPMLABg0_5B3THuW1DKf5SJ68JI

Tweet This
Vanessa Pike-Russell
Vanessa Pike-Russell Photography

Duck with special rice from Jasmine Restaurant, Warilla:Vanessa Pike-Russell

It was my birthday on October 17th and my husband decided to treat me to dinner at the Jasmine Restaurant in Warilla ahead of our birthday celebration at the Sydney Night Noodle Markets the next night. Not wanting to overdo it we decide upon one entrée and one main to share, with rice.

Seated in the recently renovated restaurant in George Street, Warilla we ordered a mixed entrée, a beer and a West Coast Cooler from the drinks menu. I know it is very 80s of me but that was what I used to drink when I was 18 and it always makes me smile and feel like a party.

As we sat perusing the duck section of the menu we spotted 'Duck with Special Sauce - $14.90'.

Intrigued, I asked the friendly waitress what was in the special sauce.

"Chicken, beef and prawn", she replied.

The looks exchanged between myself and my husband mirrored our confusion. When you see 'special sauce' you imagine the ingredients to be... sauce... not two types of meat and seafood. Feeling adventurous we decided to give into our inquisitive natures.
The mixed entrée arrived quickly and with a smile. I loved the crab claw and the moist crab flesh. Hubby loves the prawn toast and together we make quick work of the entrée and dipping sauces.

When the main meal arrived with the perfectly cooked roast duck topped with chicken, beef and prawn we were pleasantly surprised and tried to identify the ingredients of the sauce. The dish was cooked to perfection with the vegetables slightly crunchy, the sauce gentle and flavoursome and combination of duck with the meats and seafood very tasty.

You cannot see the duck in this photo as it is underneath the other layers but we can attest that it was very delicious. We ascertained that there was oyster sauce, sesame oil, perhaps some fish sauce and a hint of lemongrass but to make sure we will go back and sample this dish again. Great value for money and a colourful presentation, served with a smile.

Mixed Entrée - $7.90
Duck with Special Sauce $14.90

Jasmine Restaurant
19 George St, WARILLA,
NSW, 2528
Phone: (02) 4296 1707 Tweet This

Google Map

View Illawarra Food Reviews in a larger map

Upcoming events

Declare your love of Illawarra Food