As a thank you for catering for the Hoban Gathering, my mother and father-in-law gave my husband and I a voucher for a lovely French restaurant. We have yet to use it, but we will and are thrilled to have such a nice treat! As well as this, we (mostly I) were given a cookbook that my mother-in-law had heard of. It’s called The Happy Pear.

This cookbook is written by two Irish twins who own and run an organic shop and restaurant in Greystones, Ireland. These twins have a very vegetarian, ecological, local and happy way of thinking about food. I was given this cookbook because my mother-in-law knows I like to cook and because she had been introduced to this book through a friend who served her a recipe from it. The dish was beetroot burgers with roasted carrot hummus.

Of course, I had to make that. It was just intriguing and delicious sounding enough to have to have a go at it. I decided on a Friday night to attempt this recipe. It would replace our normal burgers and potato wedge night. The meat burgers were substituted, obviously, with the beetroot burgers and the wedges with sweet potato wedges. I was all set and ready to go. I had all the ingredients and had read the recipe. Where to start? I thought the roasted carrot hummus was a good place.

Sounded simple enough. Except when you can’t find/ forget to really have a good search in the shops for tahini. Luckily, there was a huge supply of sesame seeds in the house. Tahini is just oil and blended roasted sesames. Not hard. Well, it is when the blender you are trying to use isn’t powerful enough or the right size and it just flings the whole sesame seeds around like a bit of paper in the wind. Didn’t grind it at all, just waved it around really fast. Ok, no panic, maybe once the roast carrots are put in it will get smoother….Phew, I did have luck with that! After roasting the carrots in some oil, I put them in the blender with a touch of garlic, chickpeas and the chunky tahini. It pureed well enough. First hurdle over, what next?

Oh, yeah, to shred raw beetroot. By hand. No handy-dandy little device to attach to a food processor for that. Nope, just a cheese grater. Little did I realize just how long that would take. Ages. Let’s just say there were hand cramps, water breaks, blood, sweat and tears. Not to mention that my hands were stained a frighteningly bright shade of purple (a lovely color really, but a bit disconcerting when you know you have an interview the next day! Rubbing a cut in half raw potato helped a bit- a handy tip from my mother-in-law!)

Once the shredding was complete (it’s good to note that I don’t even like shredding cheese, it annoys me) it was time to chop the red onion, walnuts and feta that would be mixed in with the beetroot. There weren’t any problems with that and then it was all cooked in a skillet.

I let that mixture cool for a bit and then formed it into patties to put in the oven. I must admit I was very happy once those beetroot burger patties went into the oven. The hard work was over! Just had to still chop the sweet potato, toss in olive oil and a touch of paprika and into the oven as well.

Not to toot my own horn (although I can’t take any credit for the recipe, that’s all from the cookbook), but the meal turned out tasty! The beetroot burgers were incredibly satiating and the roasted carrot hummus balanced the earthy flavor with a touch of sweetness. I was surprised at how filling one patty turned out to be. The burgers could have used a bit more feta and walnuts and red onion, but it was an overall success. Despite this, beetroot burgers with roasted carrot hummus is not a meal that I will be cooking very often. Maybe on the weekend when I can have a few sou chefs around to help!