Many people believe that preparing and cooking beetroot is a long and wearisome process. Not the case here, where the beets are simply peeled in their raw state, grated and dressed and then ready to eat. I use an Irish goat's cheese such as St Tola or Ardsallagh in this salad. A few rocket leaves and/or mint leaves could also be added to this salad for a fresh green twist.
These thin, crisp and delicious biscuits have many different uses. The original recipe comes from Chez Panisse in Berkeley in California. I was lucky enough to spend a month in the kitchens there a few years ago. I tasted these biscuits there and have adjusted the recipe slightly to suit our measurements and ingredients in this part of the world. They can be served with tea and coffee. They are good with ice cream and sorbets. They are fine enough to be served as a petit four. I also serve them with a Blackberry and Apple Fool in the autumn and Mango Fool in winter. They are very handy as the slab of uncooked biscuit keeps in the freezer and you slice off thin sheets and cook them as needed.
This is one of those recipes that somehow is greater than the sum of its parts. Raspberries, sugar and cream - three easy to source ingredients that produce a rich and luscious result. When available and in season, I use fresh raspberries. However this is excellent made with frozen berries and I have not quite decided yet if it is not actually better made with the frozen fruit. Soft fruit becomes tarter when frozen and this seems to accentuate the flavour when the fool is made with the frozen berries. Serve vanilla shortbread biscuit with the fool. If you have some of the fool left over, freeze it and serve as a raspberry ice.
I like to give myself every chance of success and when I know that I have the correct amount of ingredients in my bowl that is already a good start. Biscuits and pastries are much less forgiving than, say, a slow-cooked stew, so cooking times are also crucial. Here the rules and guidelines really matter and because I think this is such a marvellous recipe, I would really like it to work properly for you so that it might become a most useful part of your repertoire. This biscuit punches above its weight in terms of texture and flavour. It is a classic example of the value of using butter and, where possible, the value of eating a buttery biscuit or pastry on the day it is made. If you make this biscuit with salted butter it will taste like an Irish or English delight, if you use unsalted butter, it tastes more of France or Italy. There may be better biscuit recipes than this but there are few that are so straightforward, and reward so generously for such a small amount of effort.
This is a great recipe which can be used all year 'round. I use fresh berries in summer and autumn, and frozen in winter. The geranium leaves for this recipe come from the lemon scented geranium, and they add a highly scented and delicious flavor to the syrup and the fruit. You will find this geranium in a good garden centre and it is well worth having. It can sit outside in a sunny spot in summer and needs to come back in to a sunny windowsill, conservatory or glass house for the winter months. It is immensely useful and I also use it to flavour mousses and soufflés, sorbets, granitas and ice creams. It also pairs beautifully with blackberries and apples, or better still a combination of both of those fruits. I have on occasions replaced the geranium with mint, lemon balm or lemon verbena with excellent results. Serve these berries with Raspberry Fool or Ice Cream or with Chocolate Mousse or Soft Vanilla Meringues.
If you do not use all of the chorizo-flavoured oil on the salad, keep it covered in the fridge and use it for frying cooked potatoes or roasting vegetables at a later time. The chilled oil will keep perfectly chilled for several weeks.