Summertime food to me doesn’t necessarily mean food that is light and refreshing, it can merely be something that doesn’t require hours of slaving away in front of the stove to prepare. Our kitchen is bloody hot right now, and the place in which I usually retreat to for solace and moments of happiness has become a sweltering, sticky space. So, my meals need to be quick or at least able to be left alone whilst I head to the garden and contemplate sitting amongst the sprinklers to cool off.
I’m having a millet moment, and this beet risotto-come-porridge with courgette ribbons is exactly the type of meal you want to be devouring on hot summers evenings. I drench the vibrant millet in glorious coconut yoghurt, as with almost every meal I eat, finished with an over-generous fistful of finely chopped fresh mint, and toasted seeds.
So, millet. Pearl millet, foxtail millet, sorghum, finger millet, farmyard millet – a quick Google search proves there to be an infinite amount of different variations. And with infinite different uses too, it seems, from porridge to wholesome stews. Harvest of this ancient grain spans across the African savannah, and in Asia, where it was thought that the Chinese would make it into noodles, and the grain itself is cooked just as if you would a bowl of rice.
Ingredients: For two
¾ cup of millet, soaked overnight ideally
2 tennis ball sized beets, raw
1 tbsp of coconut yoghurt + more to serve (I always use COYO)
A fistful of fresh mint
2 small courgettes
A handful of rocket
A fistful of toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
1 Boil your millet as you would a pan of rice, for 20-25 minutes or so. Meanwhile steam your beets once they have been scrubbed, peeled and chopped. Save the lovely beet tops for another time, they are a wonderful yet overlooked ingredient.
2 Once soft, chuck the beets into your food processor with a dollop of plain coconut yoghurt and the fresh mint leaves. Blitz until smooth and creamy.
3 Slice your courgettes lengthways into thin ribbons and place onto a griddle pan with a touch of avocado oil. Grill until they catch, with strong marks showing on each surface.
4 Assemble your plate by mixing the beetroot puree into the cooked millet, plating up beside or beneath the grilled courgette ribbons, jumbled amongst rocket leaves and another generous dollop of coconut yoghurt. Season generously with cracked black pepper and salt, and sprinkle over some pre-toasted seeds.