Abundant beets, new-look spring rolls, ideas for eggs and vibrant salsas from David Neville.


I feel beetroot is a little underappreciated at times. I see people eat it and say, “This is really good!” – almost as if beetroot hasn’t always been that way. Beetroot has a wonderful complexity of both sweet and earthy aspects and a depth of colour that few vegetables can match. Maybe beetroot isn’t underappreciated, we’re all just secretly jealous of its success in life?


Golden beet & tahini muhammara
Peel 500g golden beets and dice into 2cm pieces. Boil for 25–30 minutes until tender. Strain and place into a blender. Add ½ cup toasted walnuts, 3 tablespoons tahini, 1⁄4 cup pomegranate molasses, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and ½ tablespoon chilli flakes. Blend on medium speed. Slowly drizzle in 1 cup olive oil and increase speed to high and blitz until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and the juice of ½ lemon. Ideal with rye bread or as part of a platter.

Fermented beet kvass
Dissolve 10g non-iodised natural sea salt in 500ml boiling water and allow it to cool. Thoroughly wash two red beets. Slice into quarters and place into a clean fermenting jar. Cover with the salt water brine and place a non-reactive weight on beets to keep submerged. Seal the jar and place somewhere cool for 2 days. Open the jar and if bubbles appear replace the top of the jar with a fermenting gas lid. If no bubbles appear, leave it for another 2 days. Once fermenting begins, leave it for 10 days. Remove the gas release lid and pour off the liquid. To use, mix 2–3 tablespoons of beet liquid with a glass of soda water and drink as a tonic.

Beetroot, tamarillo & goji berry salad
Quarter 4 tamarillos and bake at 160°C for 30 minutes. Simmer 200g baby beets until tender, allow to cool then cut in half. For the dressing, macerate 3 tablespoons dried goji berries in 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar for 10 minutes. Add ½ cup olive oil to macerated goji berries. Arrange the beets and tamarillos in a large bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons honey. Drizzle over the dressing and garnish with rocket leaves and freshly picked parsley leaves.

Chocolate beetroot cake
Drain a 400g can beetroot slices and blend to a smooth paste. In a separate bowl, place two whole eggs, ⅔ cup neutral oil and 1 cup caster sugar. Whisk until doubled in size and pale. Fold through beet purée with 1¼ cups self-raising flour and ¼ cup cocoa powder. Pour into a non-stick 20cm diameter cake tin and bake at 170℃ for 50–55 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool and ice with chocolate icing.

Spring rolls were traditionally made in China at the start of spring with all the emerging vegetables. Over time, the tradition spread throughout Indochina and eventually the world. The spring roll is spiritually a pastry wrapper with filling served fresh or fried. With that in mind, I’ve kept that as the core framework and added a dose of imagination.



Philly cheesesteak egg roll
Beat 3 large eggs and keep to one side. Finely slice 200g each of white onion and green capsicum. Cut 400g sirloin beef into 1cm strips. Heat a tablespoon of butter in a pan and sauté the sliced onion and capsicum with 2 crushed garlic cloves for 4-5 minutes over moderate heat until tender. Set aside. Reheat the pan until hot with a tablespoon of butter and sear the beef and cook for 3–4 minutes until light pink inside. Remove from heat to cool. Separate 10 spring roll wrappers. Evenly divide the cooked vegetables and beef between the wrappers and place the filling in the centre. Place a thin slice of provolone cheese on top. Fold the bottom edge up to cover the filling and fold in the sides at 90-degree angles and continue to roll up to the top edge. Seal with the egg wash and brush the entire spring roll with egg wash. Shallow fry the egg rolls in 1cm of oil on all sides for approximately 4 minutes until golden.

Banana, caramel & chocolate chip filo spring rolls
Peel and cut 3 bananas in half through the centre widthwise. Separate 18 filo pastry sheets into six stacks of three. Arrange each stack to form a diamond pattern. Place a tablespoon of Highlander Caramel Condensed Milk in the centre. Place half a banana on top horizontally and press 5–6 dark chocolate chips into the banana. Lift the bottom point of the phyllo up and over the banana. Fold in each side to form right angles and continue to roll the phyllo pastry up and seal with a small amount of melted butter. Repeat for the remaining banana. The pastries can be brushed with melted butter and baked for 20 minutes at 170°C, or shallow-fried for 3 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and allow to cool before biting in.

Mozzarella & kataifi spring rolls
Allow 300g kataifi pastry to come to room temperature. Carefully separate the pastry into approximate 30g portions. Cut 400g firm mozzarella cheese (such as Galaxy mozzarella) into 8 equally sized rectangles. Firmly press 4–5 slivered almonds into each rectangle of cheese and carefully wrap in the kataifi pastry. Brush the tops of the pastry with melted butter and bake at 165℃ for 10 minutes. Flip the pastries and brush with additional melted butter and continue to bake for 7-8 minutes until golden brown all over. Allow to cool a little and enjoy warm.


Eggs are one of the most diverse foods to have on hand. Their uses stretch from baking to breakfast to sauces – there is no time of day when an egg can’t be used. In the historical battle of the chicken and egg, I’d rather have an egg than a chicken. There is only one general rule for eggs, fresh is better.


Ramen-style pickled egg
Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil and carefully submerge 4 eggs. Simmer for 7 minutes, remove from water and run under cold water until cool. Gently remove the shell. Place the eggs into a small heatproof container. Place ¾ cup mirin, ½ cup soy sauce and 1 tablespoon brown sugar into a pot and bring to a simmer. Pour hot pickling liquid over the peeled eggs. Allow to cool and place in the fridge overnight. Remove from liquid and store in a clean container for up to 4 days. Ideal in noodle soups.

Eggs bhurji
Finely slice 1 small onion and a capsicum and fry gently with butter until tender. Add a teaspoon each of minced ginger and garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon each of ground cumin, garam masala and chilli powder and stir through. Whisk together four size 7 eggs and add to the pan, stirring regularly to form scrambled eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with some fresh coriander leaves.

Cured egg yolk
Mix 1½ cups each rock salt and caster sugar. Pour two-thirds of this into a 20cm x 20cm non-reactive container. Using a teaspoon make 6 shallow depressions in the mix. Place a fresh egg yolk into each depression and gently scatter over the remaining dry mix. Cover tightly and place in the fridge for 5 days. Carefully remove the semi-firm egg yolks and gently wash under cold water to remove salt and sugar. Place yolks on a tray lined with baking paper and dry in the oven at 70°C for 2 hours until they reach the same firmness as the base of your thumb. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Grate the cured yolks over pasta or salads.

Parmesan and sriracha chawanmushi
Prepare 500ml of instant dashi soup, bring to the boil then cool to blood temperature. Add 3 tablespoons sriracha sauce and 50g finely grated parmesan. Add 4 whole size 7 super-fresh eggs and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Pour evenly into four 8cm x 5cm ramekins and pop any bubbles with a skewer then cover with tin foil. Place in a steamer basket over boiling water for approximately 15 minutes. The savoury custard is ready when it is set but still wobbles when gently tapped. Ideal as a simple starter.

Salsa is a pleasing hybrid of a sauce and a condiment. Its age is unknown, but its popularity is certain. Traditional salsa is made using fresh, vibrant fruits and vegetables that can give a good balance of acidity and sweetness and be spiked with spicy chillies or piquant raw onions. As a general rule, raw salsa tends to be better if made the day it is to be used.



Charred spring onion, anchovy & caper salsa
Coarsely chop 150g spring onions into 3cm pieces. Heat a heavy-based pan, add spring onion and dry cook for approximately 4 minutes until showing small black flecks on the edges. Remove from heat and place into a mortar and pestle. Add a small garlic clove, 4 brown anchovy fillets and 3 tablespoons drained capers. Grind until beginning to form a coarse paste. Add ½ tablespoon white vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Continue to grind with a pestle until a thick semi- smooth paste is formed. Thin the salsa to desired texture with additional olive oil. Season with fresh black pepper to taste. Ideal with oily fish such as salmon.

Cucumber, zucchini & yoghurt salsa
Cut a Lebanese cucumber in half lengthways and remove seeds. Slice into ¼cm slices and put into a bowl. Cut 2 zucchini in half lengthways, slice into ¼cm slices and add to cucumber. Season with a generous two pinches of salt and toss through. Leave to stand for 10 minutes to draw out excess water and then drain that away. Add 5 tablespoons natural yoghurt and the zest of 1 lemon. Finely slice 2 tablespoons fresh dill and fold through the salsa. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crisp grilled chicken.

Orange, pimento & pomegranate salsa
Peel 2 navel oranges, dice into 2cm pieces and put into a bowl. Cut one pimento pepper in half, remove seeds and white membrane, dice into ½cm dice and add to oranges. Finely dice one small red onion and fold through oranges and pimento. Add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses. Add 1 teaspoon each minced ginger and chilli flakes. Fold together and allow to stand for 15 minutes before use. Ideal with barbecued and smoked meats or alongside vegetables.

Grapefruit, avocado & coconut salsa
Drain a 400g tin of coconut meat in spring water (I use Chef’s Choice brand), thinly slice and place into a bowl. Peel 3 medium grapefruit, cut into 1cm dice and add to coconut. Dice the flesh of a medium avocado and add to bowl. Add 2 teaspoons caster sugar and gently fold together until sugar dissolves. Finely slice ¼ cup fresh coriander and fold through. Serve immediately. Ideal with white fish with a lower fat-content.