A salad of beetroot and Ticklemore, Virginia

Beetroot are sweet and earthy. Once I thought that they were red, but this is not so. They may be pink or creamy, little or big. They absorb flavour and make rich soups and crisp pickles. They are a perfect ingredient in a vegan goulash. But to my way of thinking they are perhaps at their most appealing in a cold weather salad. And to this version, I have added an English goat’s cheese.

Cup a soup

My sister's cooker went off the other day . She went out and for the first time ever bought one of those soup packets that you can rehydrate with boiling water. I waited until I knew she had proper food again before pot roasting a chicken - just couldn't have eaten it eat it knowing she only had a soup packet. But a whole chicken poses problems for someone living alone. After the first night, and sandwiches, what to do? I made soup.

Chicken soup

When the vegetables have started to cook, put the chicken back in and cover with boiling water. When the soup comes to the boil turn down to a simmer, cover and leave for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. If using barley, at least 2 hours. Then turn off the heat, take out the chicken, mash the vegetables somewhat, remove the meat from the bones and return the meat to the soup. Throw in a handful of green beans and simmer until they are tender. Skim off any undesirable flotsam/grease. Check the seasoning and it's ready to go.