The dark days are over with a bit of walnut bashing and a cheeky winter salad

Have to say that after a dark, wintry week at work, bashing a few walnuts with a rolling pin was pretty satisfying.

A work colleague mentioned a beetroot, mushroom and walnut salad – three ingredients I had in abundance. So here it is – a made up recipe based on a made up recipe based on something somebody ate in a restaurant once.


Ingredients: 4 medium sized beetroot; 200 grams small to medium size mushrooms (ours were some sort of button/field hybrid either would work quite well); 8 slices of prosciutto;  250 grams baby spinach; 1 medium red onion; 150-200 grams soft goat cheese; balsamic vinegar; olive oil; approximately 8 walnuts broken into pieces.

To roast the beetroot: Heat oven to 200 degrees; chop the stalks and tails off the beetroot then wash and pat dry with paper towel; lightly brush with olive oil; wrap in foil; roast in oven for 35 minutes; remove from oven and peel (you will need to let them cool down a bit first); slice beetroot into centimetre thick slices.

To roast the mushrooms: While the beetroot is roasting slice mushrooms into 10 millimetre thick slices; line an oven tray with baking paper and lightly brush the paper with olive oil (or use olive oil spray for an easier healthier option); lay out mushrooms and lightly brush (or spray) with olive oil; season; pop into the oven in the last 15 minutes of cooking the beetroot; turn mushrooms once half way through cooking time.

To crisp the prosciutto: Line an oven tray with baking paper; lay out prosciutto slices on the paper; pop in the oven during last five minutes of cooking beetroot; remove when the prosciutto is crispy.

To make the salad: Finely slice onion and combine in a bowl with baby spinach and crumbled goats cheese; in a separate bowl mix 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper then taste to make sure you are happy with the balance between oil and vinegar; add dressing to salad mixture and combine.

Putting it all together: Assemble individual serves by placing 2 good size tong-fulls of salad mixture on a dinner plate followed by some beetroot and mushroom slices then prosciutto and walnuts.

Could not resist a gratuitous walnut photo – they are home grown, hand picked and looking disturbing but interesting in a posh bowl after all.