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beetroot, kale, sweet potato & lentil salad

September 3, 2013

beetroot, kale and sweet potato salad

Two moves, one season and a mismatched drawer full of cutlery ago, I made a salad in an oven whilst Koji slept off a Friday night’s shenanigans.

They were simpler times, back then. He had a lease, I had a lease, we had places that we were happy to live at and two kitchens across which all kinds of experimentation could occur. Neither of us had moved house in over six months.

Routines were established. Routes to work were stable. Local cafes had been sifted through until a favourite was selected and we’d built a garden. And a greenhouse. And a way of life.

beetroot and sweet potato

There have been two moves since then.

Two moves, one giant house party and one boisterous dinner party (during which, all housemates declared how “not ok” they were with our leaving).

His bed has made three trips in a trailer. We’ve given up on boxes and taken to stuffing clothing into garbage bags (and subsequently stuffing said garbage bags into the boots of a small fleet of cars).

We’ve thrown out more stuff that we knew we owned.

We’ve, strangely, carried 10kg of brined olives from house to apartment to house along the way.

beetroot, kale and sweet potato salad

And now we are in limbo.

Waiting for the next move.

Rolling around sleeplessly as the person who is living in my apartment sleeps soundly – refusing to budge.

My apartment.

The one I bought five years ago, after saving for years and years to have enough for a deposit.

The one that had me eating tuna and pasta for months and months and turning down invites to dinner as I came to terms with the cost of a mortgage.

The one that I moved out of because I couldn’t afford to live there any longer.

The one that has had me sleepless for weeks and weeks knowing that even though it’s there. That even though it’s mine. That even though I’ve gone through all of the proper mechanisms, even though kept in line with my responsibilities, even though I’ve been the kind of landlord that installs a new stove top and oven and water heater (despite the old ones working just fine)…

That I have a tenant who has told us that they will not move out.

beetroot, kale and sweet potato salad

And so now I spend my days waiting and waiting for a call from my agent.

Hoping that they’ll agree. Hoping that the extension of time (and the extension on that, itself an extension of the time they’re afforded under law) will make them say yes.

That I won’t have to go to Tribunals and mediations and hearings and a Sheriff to get my place back in one piece.

That I won’t have to go searching, again, for a place to move to whilst it all gets sorted out.

That I won’t have to move again.

(I really, really hate moving).

sweet potato and beetroot ready for the oven

And so, salad.

The kind you need when you are feeling a little bit overwhelmed and run down and sleepless and in need of nourishment.

If you want something to eat slowly. To chew on. To savour and to allow yourself the time to stop thinking about the rent and the bills and the packing and the stress.

To focus on the pop of a lentil. The squeak of a beetroot stalk. The sharpness of fetta and the sweetness of sweet potato.

The vivid colour. The ooze of egg.

And to breathe. And to sleep. And to dream of a place to call home (and the thought of never moving again. For at least a year.)

beetroot, kale and sweet potato salad

beetroot, kale & sweet potato salad
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
It seems like a lot of work for a salad. One oven tray, two pans, one pot and a bowl. But it's worth it, if only for the time needed to unwind while mindlessly chopping and not thinking about the days past or ahead.
Ingredients
  • 1 large beetroot (or three small ones) with leaves attached
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp seeded mustard
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup French or Puy lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 egg per person
  • A small handful of fetta or soft goat's cheese
  • olive oil, salt & pepper to finish
How to make it
  1. Turn the oven on to 200C. Wash (and peel if you like) the beetroot and the sweet potato, reserving the beetroot stalks and leaves for later. Dice the beets and sweet potato into 1cm cubes (or thereabouts).
  2. Mix 2 tablespoons of seeded mustard, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl or roasting dish and toss the root vegetables through the mixture. I split mine in two and roasted the sweet potato and beetroot separately to preserve the distinction in colour, but you don't have to if you can't be bothered. It's purely aesthetic.
  3. Pop the sweet potato and beets in the oven and leave them there for at least 30 minutes, or until they are soft and caramelised on the edges.
  4. Meanwhile, wash the lentils, removing any stones or bits of grit.
  5. Put 500ml water in a pot with a bay leaf and the lentils and set it over a medium-high heat so that it comes to a simmer. There should only be a few bubbles and the lentils should barely move. Continue to cook for 25 minutes.
  6. Next, chop the kale and beetroot leaves and stems into bite sized pieces. Dice two cloves of garlic finely too.
  7. Heat up a large frying pan or wok, pour 1 tsp of oil in and then add the beetroot stems. Sautee them until they are bright in colour and slightly tenderised. Add the beetroot and kale leaves and the garlic and keep cooking until all of the leaves have wilted and are shiny. They should be about ⅓ of their original volume.
  8. To serve it all up, toss the roasted vegetables in amongst the strained lentils (remove the bay leaf) and the sauteed leaves and stems. Crumble the fetta or goat's cheese into the bowl. Squeeze the juice of a lemon over the top and add a drizzle of good olive oil and some salt and pepper before tossing it all through.
  9. I like to eat it with a pan fried, sunny side up egg so that the oozey yolk forms part of the dressing too.

 

 


  • #1
    Jack
    September 3rd, 2013

    Aiee your housing situation, that sounds terrible to deal with. The food on the other hand? Now I know what I’m having for dinner tomorrow. Thanks for sharing it, and I hope your apartment horror gets resolved quickly and in your favor.

  • #2
    September 3rd, 2013

    Oh darling, it sounds like a very stressful time! It is strange having people live in the property you worked so hard to own (I too am renting my place out but under much happier circumstances). Fingers crossed this salad did help if just for some precious minutes in the day! Beautifully written as always Shez.

  • #3
    Bigbite
    September 3rd, 2013

    Time is always our friend; even if one wants to hasten it 🙂

  • #4
    September 4th, 2013

    So sorry to hear about your situation. Hopefully it all works out for you in the end, shez. I’d momentarily plant my face into that beautiful salad just to forget about things, even if for a half an hour..

  • #5
    September 4th, 2013

    Ugh. Moving is the absolute pits, and I feel for you. I’m in the reverse situation – we are great tenants with a horrible landlord, and I can’t wait to leave! Hope it resolves itself without too much drama!

  • #6
    September 7th, 2013

    Ugh, sounds like a terrible situation to be in! I feel your pain on the moving part, I absolutely hate it too (having moved at least once a year in the past 4 years)

    Thanks for the recipe – I have sweet potato that needs using up, and just bought a bunch of kale from the markets, so know what I will be making tomorrow for dinner!

Shez