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Roasting the beets is essential for the flavour and texture to develop. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall used a mortar and pestle to pulverize the garlic and the walnuts. I found it simpler to put the garlic and walnuts between two sheets of plastic wrap and hitting it with the blunt side of a meat tenderizer. I have a mortar and pestle too, but I don’t use it for food preparation, its one of the few family heirlooms I have from Hungary.

It used to belong to my great grandmother. My great grandfather was a musician [he played the clarinet] and my great grandma was wildly eccentric. They lived in the outskirts of Makó, where people had outhouses and used potties for the night. One day great grandma went to the market to buy sour cream, but she forgot the jug at home, and since she needed a new potty anyway, she bought a potty and got it filled with sour cream. Grandma, who was a young girl at the time, was absolutely mortified walking through the village with her mother carrying the sour cream filled potty.  

Nice girls used to be chaperoned and great grandma insisted that both parents follow grandma and her sister on dates. The girls talked nonstop to drown out the goings on behind them. Grandma said she was never sure what scared off the prospective suitors, the two of them blabbering or their father’s back drafts. Despite of these undignified events or perhaps because of them, grandma married early.  

 My great grandmother
József Fehérné, Mária Ürge 1880 – 1949

6 beetroots
2 garlic cloves
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts
pinch of salt
1/3 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Scrub the beetroots, peel and chop into same size pieces.
  • Lay them on the prepared baking pan and drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil.
  • Bake until tender.
  • Meanwhile crush the garlic and 1/4 cup walnuts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap with the blunt side of a meat tenderizer.
  • Mix in 2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  • Remove beets from the oven and arrange on a serving platter.
  • Scatter feta cheese over the beets.
  • Distribute the crushed walnut mixture and the coarsely chopped walnuts on top.



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