Brilliant Beetroot Biriyani

Beetroot Biriyani

Despite being someone who has never been a huge fan of Indian food, I’m a total convert to this biriyani. Just sitting here writing up this recipe, my mouth is watering and I’m wondering where I could pick up more fresh beetroot on my travels today. I’m sure the family won’t mind eating the same thing again either!Beetroot Biriyani

Cook time is quite long because the beetroot needs to be roasted first, and then rice has to boil, but the hands’ on time is pretty quick, so  you have time to be doing other things in between too. Like prepare the sautéed beet greens to have on the side.Beetroot Biriyani

It’s a great ‘everyone tuck in meal’ and it turned out to be one of those where the pots were scraped clean!

This is a brilliant recipe – quite possibly my favourite beetroot or biriyani recipe – but if you need more beetroot recipes, click here!

Brilliant Beetroot Biriyani
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dinner, Mains
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 5
  • 500g raw beetroot, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • seeds from 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 500ml veg stock
  • 100ml plain or Greek yogurt
  • small bunch of coriander or parsley
  • Mango chutney (to serve) (optional)
  • Sautéed beet greens (to serve)
  1. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Drizzle oil over the beetroot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then tip into a roasting dish and cook for 25-30 mins or until tender.
  2. While the beetroot is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a deep frying pan (or a wok) with a lid.
  3. Fry the onion over a medium heat until golden.
  4. Add the ginger and half the garlic, and cook for 1 min.
  5. Stir through the bay, cardamom seeds, turmeric and garam masala, then cook for 2 mins.
  6. Stir in the rice and beetroot.
  7. Pour in the stock and place a fitting lid on the pot
  8. Boil for 20-25 minutes, keeping an eye on to make sure it doesn't dry out or burn to the bottom of the pan.
  9. Put the remaining garlic in a food processor and whizz, then add the yoghurt till it's well blended. Set aside.
  10. Remove rice from heat and stir through.
  11. Season to taste and serve.


Home-Made Lavender Sugar Recipe

lavender sugar

Lavender Sugar is one of those things I’ve always looked at and loved the idea of, but never really known what to do with. I’ve always liked crystallised lavender – it’s both pretty and tasty – but aside from medicinal or household use, I’ve never really known how to actually use lavender in food. Partly due to its strong flavour and partly due to its very floral flavour, it’s something you have to use with care, but should definitely use!lavender sugar Making lavender sugar couldn’t really be simpler – the two ingredients are in the name, after all. If you don’t have a food processor you can just mix the two and stir, but I like making the sugar just a little finer, so it’s not so crunchy. Be careful though – I don’t like making it icing sugar either! Just a finely granulated sugar is perfect.

Leave the lavender for a week or so, allowing the flavours to infuse thoroughly into the sugar.  You can make Lavender Sugar ahead as a hostess gift, Christmas gifts, wedding favours and other gifting opportunities, and even include a recipe card or two with the jar. It’s a cheap and beautiful gift to make!lavender sugar

Make the Lavender Sugar two weeks before you’re going to gift it, and make sure to leave instructions to use withing 9 -12 months, so aside from drying out, I can’t image the lavender would go bad!

Recipe for Lavender Sugar

Lavender Sugar Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert, Sweet, Condiment
Cuisine: Foraged
Serves: 1kg
  • 2 tsp lavender flowers
  • 1kg white sugar
  1. Use a fork or your hands to remove the flowers from the stalk
  2. Add them to the food processor
  3. Add the sugar and blend together - depending on your food processor, adjust your speed to make sure you don't end up with icing sugar.
  4. In the Thermomix®, hit the Turbo button 2 - 3 times quickly.
  5. Decant the sugar into jars, and seal tightly.


lavender sugar

Rhubarb Lemonade

Rhubarb Lemonade
Rhubarb Lemonade

The weather is hot hot hot and there’s more of it to come – and there’s just a little bit of rhubarb season left, so still enough time to make this quick and very refreshing drink. It was from a
Rhubarb Iced Tea recipe, but since I don’t have much affinity for tea, I changed it to a Rhubarb Lemonade, with bought lemonade to top it up. Rhubarb Lemonade

I normally use these Ikea Korken Bottles (pictured) but you can use any cordial bottles which I half fill with cordial and freeze (normally on it’s side) then it freezes diagonally and looks quite pretty!

Rhubarb Lemonade

Taken out of the freezer I top it with fizzy lemonade and leave it to defrost, it’s perfect on a hot and sweltering day.

Rhubarb Iced Tea
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 litre
  • 500g Roughly chopped rhubarb
  • 1000g Water
  • 100g White or Brown Sugar
  • Squirt of lemon juice (tbs roughly) or half a lemon
  1. Add the rhubarb to a pot with water. Bring to the boil, stirring for 10 minutes to prevent the rhubarb burning. Lower the heat and boil for a further 20 minutes, with the lid on.
  2. (I would try to keep the rhubarb in a colander if you have one that can fit inside your pot - that way you don't have to strain it after.)
  3. Remove the rhubarb, squeezing out any excess water. Switch off the heat and while the water is still hot, add the sugar and lemon juice and stir till dissolved.
  4. Set aside to cool - serve as is, or with lemonade. We like to freeze it too.
Thermomix® Recipe
  1. Fill the Thermomix® jug to 1000g
  2. Place rhubarb in internal steamer basket. Place MC.
  3. The water must touch the rhubarb, but the rhubarb shouldn't touch the blades.
  4. Speed 10 mins /speed 4/ Varoma
  5. Then 20 mins /speed 4/100C
  6. Remove lid, then use the back of a spoon to squeeze out excess liquid.
  7. While still hot, add sugar - you can add more or less to taste - 100g works well for me.
  8. Add lemon juice and set aside to cool.
  9. Once cool, move to glass bottle and store in the fridge till ready to serve.
  10. With 1 litre Sprite: Calories: 1,738 Carbs: 454 Protein: 5 Sodium: 240 Sugar: 433
To serve: I like to freeze half a bottle on it's side so that I can take it out and add lemonade. The lemonade is cooled by the iced drink and once defrosted you have a bubbly refreshing drink. You can drink it as is too, but I like it with the lemonade.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 cups Calories: 1,258 Fat: 0 Sugar: 305 Sodium: 20 Protein: 5

Carrot And Cheddar Shortbread Recipe

Carrot and Cheese Shortbread

An odd side effect of growing your own food is that sometimes you have very small amounts of produce. For example, we harvested a handful of carrots this week, thinning out space for the other carrots to grow bigger. This gave us about 8 small carrots which is barely a snack of one person, never mind a side for three, so I had to think of something we could make that use the carrots to best effect.

Carrot and Cheese Shortbread
Carrot and Cheese Shortbread served with Carrot Top Hummus

I decided a good snack for a picnic we were attending would be Carrot and Cheese Shortbread. I know shortbread is normally a sweet treat, but why should it be!?

This recipe was a bit trial and error, but it worked out so well, I’m really pleased with it. And if we have another small batch of carrots I intend to do the same again, but freeze the dough so that we have ready shortbread whenever we want – I think it’s a great way of saving summer produce too! I’ll let you know how I get on with that.


In the meantime, here’s the carrot and cheddar shortbread recipe.

Carrot And Cheddar Shortbread Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
In the Thermomix® this just takes a few minutes, then there's a 30 minute chill time. After chilling you need to slice the cookies or you can roll them out to make shapes.
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 20 biscuits
  • 115g (4oz) salted butter
  • 90g (3oz) carrot and cheese*
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • 220g (1¼ cups) plain flour
  • 1 tbs water (a bit more if your flour is organic)
  1. (If you're not using a Thermomix®, grate the carrot first)
  2. Add room temperature butter to a mixing bowl and using an electric beater whisk it till it's light and fluffy
(Thermomix®: add the butterfly and mix on speed 3 for 30 - 40 seconds)
  1. Add a mixture of carrot and cheese to add up to 90g. In this case I used 45g of each, but more or less of whichever you have, to add up to 90g.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the water and mix until combined
(speed 6 for 1 minute)
  1. Add the water and mix till it combines and pulls away from the sides
  2. Tip out onto greaseproof paper, and shape into a sausage. Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  3. After 30 minutes, turn the oven on to 180C/350F. Slice the sausage into 1cm thick slices and place on a baking tray. Bake for 20 -25 minutes.
  4. Leave to cool.


Grow Your Own Harvest: June

Allotment Harvest

I honestly wasn’t expecting a huge harvest from our allotment this month. We only started planting two months ago, and the weather hasn’t been great. And despite a huge amount of work, it being our first season in this new plot… well, I wasn’t overly hopeful. But, as it turns out, the ground is fertile, and the rain has helped!

Allotment Harvest
One of my little helpers

Our fellow allotmenteers, who had all started sowing and planting and getting seedlings going before we even had a plot – and a wonderful friend who started off some seedlings for me –  were all very generous, and things progressed rapidly.


First in the ground was a row of salad greens, but they didn’t make it – just a patch of curly parsley has come up, so it withstood the slugs and frost that killed off the rest.

The kids planted beans in early spring at their playgroup and home ed group, and while they’ve grown beautifully, they haven’t produced anything. We’ll see if they do.  We did have a huge struggle with slugs early on, and after a few rounds of Epsom salts, coffee grounds and prayers didn’t work, I chucked down a thin layer of slug pellets. That helped, but I still pick ’em off every day!

My friend Sara found some onions in the back of her cupboard growing legs, so she gave them to me and not really knowing what to do, I stuck the in the ground. I’m told they won’t produce onions, but they are going to seed, so I’m going to see if I can do anything with those. If nothing else, they are pretty to look at.

Allotment Harvest
Onions going to seed

I have about 6 tomato plants growing, but so far only two have flowered. We’ll see what that means for the rest.

Allotment Harvest

The apple tree that came with the plot is loaded with beautiful looking red apples. I’m excited to see what comes of them, and so far they are insect free, despite the huge caterpillar nest I took off the tree a few weeks ago.

Allotment Harvest
Apples coming along nicely

Our harvests so far have been small, but that’s understandable. That radish is huge though. I’ve never liked peas, so I was keen to try a fresh one, and I love it. I ate it pod and all. And the carrots are sweet. I’m so excited by this first harvest.

Allotment Harvest
First proper harvest

We have three average sized rhubarb bushes on the plot, but they are producing plenty too.

Allotment Harvest
Rhubarb ready to be picked

The second harvest this month was really just kale and mint and spearmint. Made delicious kale and paprika chips with it, and added a mint layer to the strawberry yoghurt ‘ice creams’ my children enjoy.

Allotment Harvest
Second Harvest

The third harvest was the biggest so far. We are running out of carrots which is a shame, but I shall plant some more this weekend. I figure they may still work out if we have a later summer than normal. With any luck, maybe even an Indian Summer, then they should have plenty of time.  More kale – the plant is a champion producer! We also got our first gherkins. I need to figure out how to start their pickling process as the rest of the plant is still just swelling, rather than showing actual fruit (veg).

Allotment Harvest
Third Harvest

And finally, our neighbouring plot is inhabited by a lady named Carol, who has an artichoke bush – and apparently I’m the only one she knows who likes artichokes… lucky me!

Allotment Harvest
Artichokes given by a fellow allotmenteer

So, June’s thrown a few learning curves our way, and there are some bits in the beds that I’ll do differently next year, but for now, progress is forward motion, and I’m thrilled!