3 Good Things: Beetroot, Halloumi, Walnut

This recipe has been devised in response to Hugh’s “Three Good Thingschallenge. I am, of course, endeavouring to add beer as a sneaky fourth “good thing”. I’m adding it as a subtle addition — much the way the chefs in the TV episodes will gladly include brilliant oils, vinegars, stocks, and herbs without giving them a headline credit.

This beetroot recipe is a complete “winging it” sort of thing and I think it worked out well, but is in need of refinement. This post documents the creation of the following…

Celebration of beetroot, halloumi, walnut

While this may look complicated, it is actually made up of parts that can be created at your leisure in advance and it comes together easily when you’re ready for tea.

The components that make up the plate are:

  • Roast beetroot – purée, and grilled slices.
  • Halloumi – grilled slices
  • Spiced toasted walnuts – whole, crumbled, and pasted
The outline below serves two – albeit with leftover beetroot purée and walnut paste.

BeetrootRoast peeled beetroot

  • Beetroots – 2 just-smaller-than-tennis-ball sized
  • 2 tsp rich balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • Zesty hoppy strong US-IPA-style beer
    • I’ve used “SCANNERS” from London breweries Kernel & Brodies
    • You want something around 7% ABV that uses heaps of punchy US hops
    • Think of this as a herb!

Bake your beetroots and peel them, then let cool. The steps below can be done using pre-baked beetroot from the fridge.

Take 3 slices per-person from the centre of the beetroot, about 4mm thick.

Dice the rest, discarding any hard and woody bits, and put into a food processor. Add leaves from parsley, balsamic vinegar, and rapeseed oil. Emulsify and add the beer, dribble in until a thick but just-off-runny consistency is achieved. It should be pipeable, but not pourable.

Add salt to taste, it will need some!


(“Spiced” walnuts inspired by Gill’s nuts in the Beetroot episode.)

  • 100g walnut pieces
  • 10 whole walnuts (plenty, in case they break)
  • Seeds from 8 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Dry-fry the cardamom seeds until aromatic (about 4 minutes on a low flame). Grind to powder with the salt and sugar.

Place walnuts in a pan in the oven for 10 minutes, by this time they should have started to sweat a little oil. Toss with cardamom mixture in a separate bowl then place back in roasting pan and sprinkle cardamom mix over the top. Stick this back into the oven for another 5 minutes.

When cool separate out the whole walnuts and put aside.

Split the walnut pieces into two piles, roughly crush one half.

Place the other half into a large mortar and pestle and grind to a paste, add in rapeseed oil until a thick just-pourable consistency is achieved. Add salt to taste. This is best off being a bit on the salty side, a bit like normal peanut butter, it will be used sparingly.

beetroot purée and walnut paste


Cut into the biggest squares you can, sliced about 4mm thick. This can be difficult, halloumi normally has seams and gaps in it, you’ll need to survey these and work around them. (There will be offcuts… “chefs perks” or put them aside, diced they’re a great addition to salads.)

Lay the slices flat in a pan and marinate in a dash of the IPA mentioned above, give it a good 30 minutes.

Bringing it all togetherBring it all together!

Warm a couple of plates.

Get a grill pan on the stove and make it very hot.

Put the beetroot purée in a saucepan and warm – be careful here, it needs to just warm, it should not even get close to simmering! This will kill off aromatics from the IPA and make it bitter.

Pat dry the halloumi pieces, brush with oil, and place in the grill-pan. Leave for just about a minute. Remove to a standby plate using a stiff metal scraper – be careful the cheese will be floppy and possibly a bit stuck to the grill.

Oil the beetroot slices and put them in the grill too, these can grill for 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile start “plating up”.

Create a pattern on the plate with the purée, in my case a huge comma.

One at a time place a square of halloumi down with a round of beetroot on top, ovelapping as you go.

Use a squeezy bottle or piping bag (ziplock bag with the corner cut out works) to put a pattern of walnut paste over the top.

Place a single whole spiced walnut on the top of each beetroot round.

Scatter crushed walnut and some chopped parsley as you see fit.

Serve! Enjoy with a glass of the beer used in the recipe – of course!

Serve, with beer!

HardKnott Infra Red Prawn and Halloumi Shish Kebabs


It is well and truly BBQ weather this weekend and you don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen with the sun shining so wonderfully outside. So knock together a quick marinade, pop some bits into it, then do a spot of gardening. A couple of hours later we’re ready to skewer and BBQ! This particular recipe was inspired by BeerReviews Andy’s “Punk Prawns“, however the only similarity is the bringing together of beer and prawns.

First thing to do is knock up the marinade, I chose the Infra Red “oxymoronic IPA ruby red and as hoppy as a bucketful of frogs” from HardKnott brewery as the base for the marinade as it has a good rich malty body as well as a nice hit of aroma hops. I think using a typical golden hoppy beer wouldn’t work so well, the malty richness is necessary for the marinade and dipping sauce. Anyway, toss all this into a bowl:

  • 1 500ml bottle of HardKnott Infra Red (or any other rich & hoppy ale)
  • 8g of fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp fine-chopped parsley
  • ½ a salt-preserved lemon fine-chopped
  • 15g palm sugar (or light brown sugar, honey would be interesting too)
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp ground coriander seed


I made two different shish kebabs, one just prawns and the other a vegetarian option: aubergine & halloumi. Halloumi is great stuff – cheese you can BBQ! I can’t believe I never came across it back home in Australia. Put the prawns straight into the marinade, I used 6 prawns per skewer (they have such piddly little “king praws” here in the UK) and made 7 shish kebabs. Cube the halloumi and the aubergine to around the same size, roughly 1 inch per side. Put everything into the marinade, pop the lot into the fridge, and wait a couple of hours. I gave it a bit of a shake after an hour too. Also, I put the skewers into the marinade so that they’re less likely to burn on the BBQ – you can just soak them in water though. (If you’re feeding actual vegetarians it is probably polite to marinate the vege stuff and the prawns in separate containers!)


When the marinating is done it is time for skewering. For the vegetarian skewers I used 3 pieces of halloumi alternated with 5 pieces of eggplant, and also added squares of red onion between these.

When the skewering is all done prepare the dipping sauce. This is really easy! Strain 1 cup of the marinade through a fine sieve and heat this in a small saucepan until simmering. Then dissolve 8 teaspoons of light-brown sugar into the marinade. Mix 2 teaspoons of cornflower into a couple of tablespoons of cold water and drizzle this into the marinade while whisking steadily. Continue to whisk while the marinade simmers and thickens. Give it about 5 minutes on the heat then set aside. You can warm this up again later before serving.


BBQ time! Drizzle the shishkebabs with a little oil and BBQ them. Not much else to say about that is there.

This is ideally served to people straight off the BBQ. Have bowls of warmed dipping sauce handy and enjoy! It goes down well with a beer of course – and in this case we had it with a crisp cold Sharp’s Monsieur Rock.

HardKnott Infra Red Prawn and Halloumi Shish Kebabs