Destination Wellington

I spent the last week of February in Wellington, New Zealand. A fabulously edgy city, it deserves the moniker of the coolest little capital – in more ways than one. It’s also got some fantastic restaurants and cafes. If you get the chance…go.

Anyways, because I went on my own and left Grant at home with @adventurespaniel I decided that for this week’s Destination I’d take some of the dishes I enjoyed with my friends last week and use those ingredients for a Wellington-inspired meal. (To see some of the amazing places we ate at, check out this post…)

The meals I’ve taken my inspiration from were lunch at Atlas and the dessert we enjoyed at Rita.

At Atlas we began our meal with some excellent bread and house-churned butter, and the main course was venison with beetroot, plums, dauphinoise potato, and a red wine jus. Dessert at Rita was brown butter cake with peaches, yoghurt, lemon verbena ice-cream, and a raspberry coulis.

Taking these ingredients our Wellington-inspired menu was:

  • Starter: Stout Soda bread with beetroot in horseradish sour cream
  • Main: Venison medallions with dauphinoise potato, brocollini and a red wine and chocolate jus
  • Dessert: Brown butter cake with yoghurt ice-cream and roasted plums

I love soda bread for its simplicity – you get great bread for not a lot of effort. This stout bread is one I’ve made before and is rustic enough for the beetroot salad. The recipe is from Paul Hollywood’s Bread, but you can find it here.

The beetroot salad comes from Debora Robertson’s Notes From A Small Kitchen Island. It’s one of those books that’s part memoir, part cookbook, with each chapter beginning with a short essay-style article. It’s the perfect cookbook for bedtime reading (and I know there are a few of you out there who, like me, read cookbooks in bed) and I have quite a few recipes marked to try.

Anyways, the recipe is below.

At Atlas the dauphinoise potato was cooked in beetroot, my version though, is just a basic dauphinoise spud – thinly cut potatoes booked in half cream/half milk to release some of the starch and then layered in a dish for the oven, topped with the milky/creamy mix and a grating of pecorino and baked. I cooked it a few hours early so it would be easier to cut into portions when reheated.

As for the venison, while venison is much more difficult to get hold of here on the Sunshine Coast compared to Wellington, we now have a farmer who comes to our weekly farmer’s market. I made a simple red wine sauce to go with it – adding a touch of depth with a square of dark chocolate.

When it came to dessert, I turned to James Martin’s book Butter for inspiration. Despite having received this cookbook for Christmas in 2021 the brown butter cake is the first recipe I’ve made from it. I must rectify that situation. Anyways, you’ll find the official recipe here.

I served it with yoghurt ice-cream and plums that I roasted with a little brown sugar, some water and a sprig of rosemary. You’ll find how I did it here.

Beetroot in Horseradish Sour Cream

What you need…

  • 500g (about 4 medium) beetroots, roasted, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes. If you don’t want to roast your own, you can buy them pre-cooked.
  • 60g walnuts, roasted for 6-8 minutes until lightly toasted, cooled and then roughly chopped
  • 5 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp horseradish sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • squeeze of lemon
  • small bunch of dill, stalks removed and roughly chopped

What you do with it…

In a bowl large enough to fit everything, mix together the sour cream, yoghurt, horseradish sauce, salt and lemon juice. Taste and adjust the salt and lemon juice in need.

Saving some of the walnuts and dill for garnish, tumble in the beetroot and most of the walnuts and dill and stir through with a spatula until well combined.

Tip onto whatever dish you’re serving it in and sprinkle over the remaining dill and walnuts.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

7 thoughts

  1. I love how you have set about reworking your menu from Wellington. The venison and dauphinois potatoes look absolutely delicious, as does the brown cake and roasted plums. Yummy! Thanks for sharing


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