On an evening in late January 2014 I called Rica, my editor at Clarkson Potter. I had just (almost) finished my first cookbook – although according to Rica “we still had so much work to do”. The phone call was scheduled so we could go over the next steps, the cover, the title, all the final changes and improvements. But that night something else was on my mind. Not my first cookbook, which was published in October 2014, but my next cookbook, the one I had been obsessing about for a few days and nobody knew about except Oddur and I.
Rica was a little startled. “I think we need to finish this one first” she said, although she loved the idea and gave me encouragement that she’d be interested in the second book. In fact she was so supportive that she turned up when we did the pop-up, marshalled the kitchen and the dining room (that’s her holding the menu at one of the lunches – thanks Rica) There were of course a few minor details to sort out first, like buying the house that would play a key part in the second book. Then renovating it, moving into it …
That night I felt like a kid in early January, just after Christmas. Next Christmas seemed so very far away. So much to do before we’d ever get there. When I look back at all the steps, moments and the fair share of madness that went into making this book I’m surprised we even managed at all. But in those early days it all felt very distant.
We eventually managed to buy the house, renovate most of it, we did a pop-up restaurant, I wrote the book, cooked the recipes, we photographed it all. And as if by miracle the day that I felt would never come is here today.
Today is our big day!
‘French Country Cooking‘ available for order at:
And for Canada
Beet Salad with Crème Fraîche
If this salad were a fairytale, and it’s certainly exciting enough to be one, it would go something like this: One day, when all the red vegetables had gotten tired of reading about how healthy and delicious their leafy green colleagues were, they got together and decided to do something about it. “I think, if we all pitch in, we could make a smashing salad,” said the beet. “I agree,” said the red onion. But they decided they needed a little help. So they sent the red cabbage to recruit the pomegranate. He was in: “I feel it is my duty to help you even if I like to work alone.” The pumpkin seeds soon followed suit. A dollop of cream and some capers for contrast and they all headed to the big salad fair where they jumped into a bowl.
To put it simply, I can’t think of the more delicious, beautiful, and healthy salad. I love making it. I love eating it, and afterward I always feel rejuvenated and happy.
One note: Be sure to wear an apron when you seed the pomegranate; those red little guys are very juicy and lively.
2 medium beets, peeled and very thinly sliced
1/2 large head red cabbage cool, cored and very thinly sliced
3 endives or 2 small Treviso Radicchio, leaves separated
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
Seeds from 1 large pomegranate
1/2 cup/ 60 g pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
Leaves from a few sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of drained capers
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup/ 120 ml crème fraîche
1. In a medium bowl, combine the beets, cabbage, endives, onion, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, parsley and capers.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad and toss everything together.
3. Serve the salad on plates, topping it with the crème fraîche and lemon zest.