September 21, 2010

My Tribute to NOMA - Golden Beets with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

(Image: Phaidon Press)

Incredibly Inspiring

Even for someone like me who grew up in the Nordic region the new book NOMA: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine (Phaidon Press, $69.95, on sale 1 October) is truly inspiring and motivating. NOMA is a giant, gorgeous book with some of the best food photography, and no doubt some of the most innovative and captivating recipes I have ever seen. This is not just a recipe collection of the best restaurant in the world, it is also a story of how NOMA's founder and head chef Rene Redzepi's persistence has paid off, how what he so strongly believed in and worked for has finally been recognised as the best in the world.

The Nordic region is one of the cleanest on Earth. The water is crystal clear, the air is clean, and there is an abundance of beautiful wild berries, native mushrooms, as well as the sensational sea food and game. Although I might be a little bias this region to me, really means the best food in the world. Yet there are dimensions in Rene's recipes I could not have ever even thought of. His innovativeness is simply astonishing. There is a thought behind every detail of every recipe, and as a whole that is what creates the best of the bunch.

As a Cultural Geographer myself, I am loving the references to 'sense of place' that his food philosophy has. Rene has taken the limitations of this harsh climate and made them work to his advantage. He has sourced the whole of the Nordic region for the best produce, and even included a diary of his voyages. It is yet another personal touch to this impressive book.

Needles to say I absolutely love this book, and I think this book means a lot to me because I have the deepest appreciation for the Nordic region. I have experienced the harsh climate first hand, I have seen how limiting the environment can be, and reading through Rene's experiences it becomes clear how much hard work and perseverance it has taken for him to achieve this position in the world's culinary podium.

I made this golden beets with goat cheese and walnuts dish in NOMA's spirit. I sourced the local produce markets for the ingredients, and I felt like creating something joyful and colourful. This humble dish is of course not to be compared to the masterpieces Rene is creating, but it is my little tribute to NOMA, a way of honouring Rene's food ideology, and supporting the work that he is doing in bringing the Nordic food to the map of the culinary world.

Golden Beets with Goat cheese, walnuts and apple-balsamic vinegar

3 medium sized golden beets
60g goat cheese
small handful of walnuts
2 tbsp caramelised balsamic vinegar
2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
edible flowers, to serve

Cut off the stems of the beets, leaving a few centimetres untouched. Wash the beets and place in a large saucepan. Fill with cold water, bring to boil on a stove top and let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Let cool, peal off the skins and cut into thin discs.

In a small frying pan, toast the walnuts lightly being careful not to burn them. Place the walnuts on a clean tea towel, and using the tea towel rub the walnuts gently between your hands to remove the skins.

Arrange the beets on a serving plate, scatter over crumbled goat cheese and walnuts. In a small bowl, combine the balsamic and the apple cider and drizzle over the beets. Serve with colourful edible flowers.

I cannot wait to see Rene Redzepi at the Sydney Opera House! Read below...

"Rene Redzepi’s once-only appearance on stage at the Sydney Opera House will leave you in no doubt why his Copenhagen restaurant Noma was voted number one in the world for 2010. In conversation with Crave Sydney International Food Festival director Joanna Savill and special guests Rene Redzepi will discuss his team’s extraordinary foraging and cooking methods as well as his fascinating, at times provocative, thinking on local food.

If you haven't yet got your tickets visit for the foodies' event of the year, kicking off the festival on Friday 1 October at 6.30pm in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.

Tickets cost $45 for entry only. Rene’s Sydney gig is part of his first international author tour promoting his book Noma: Time and place in Nordic cuisine and a special book-ticket package is just $85 (saving $29.95 on RRP). The book, published by Phaidon Press, includes more than 90 recipes and details Redzepi’s reinvention of Nordic cuisine, his obsession with fresh and local produce from across Scandinavia and his continuous search for new ingredients."

In the lead-up to Rene’s Sydney arrival, the team at Noma has been busy filming restaurant vignettes – whet your appetite by checking out these previous appearances.

S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants 2010

ABC News America

US journalist Mark Bittman and RenĂ© discuss Nordic cuisine, the importance of foraging, and being the ‘world's best chef’ while Noma's staff busily prepares for an evening of packed tables and nearly 30 courses.


  1. Maria, this so beautiful! Where on earth did you find golden beetroot? I don't know much about Nordic food but the books I have seen about it have an unfailingly clean and beautiful aesthetic - the sparkling colours of the berries and orange flesh of the fish always look so jewel-like.

  2. Beetroot with goat cheese is already perfection, but you seem to have gone beyond that with this. Impossible? Nah :D

  3. Love the "sunshine" colours here, especially the edible flowers. Looks lovely. Great review. I saw your tweet about this book and my first reaction was "Oh Wow!"

  4. This book sounds absolutely lovely! I love the sound of this beetroot salad. Definitely a lovely representation of the Nordic spirit.

  5. I've never heard of golden beets - they look amazing!

  6. Thank you so much for your comments!

    Sasa: I got the golden beets at my local produce markets! They're not as common as the red ones, but should be available :-)

  7. Wow, love the golden beet sure looks so tasty with the walnut and the cheese...yummie!

  8. What a beautiful sight! love the vibrancy the flowers add to the dish

  9. Wow, it sounds like such a simple dish but I bet it was amazing =)

  10. The cookbook sounds wonderful, thanks for sharing with us! The golden beets are such a lovely treat, they look delicious in this dish!

  11. What a nice post! You gave me goose bumps talking about your home.. but I agree, the Nordic region is gorgeous and clean and seriously I had berries I never even knew existed up there!

  12. This one will definitely be my dinner this evening, thanks :)

  13. That book sounds great and that golden beetroot dish looks delicious!



  14. How absolutely spectacular. This is a flavour combination made in heaven, isn't it? You must go back and see my beets with goat cheese and pistachio oil salad... just posted a week ago, or so... you will love it as much as I love this one. The flowers... great post.

  15. I love golden beets with goat cheese -one of my favorite combinations. I also love the flowers, what a pretty touch.

  16. You have a wonderful site, and this salad is so very appealing. When cooler weather arrives here in steamy Florida -- soon I hope! -- I look forward to trying this lovely recipe. I've just planted golden beets in my fall garden, and your recipe will be a tasty use for them as soon as they start producing.

  17. beautiful beet salad. looks so pretty.

    i agree with you. the noma book is amazing and captures the scandi spirit so beautifully.

    makes me yearn for sweden.


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