Not Your Ordinary Beet Spread | Our Signature Condiment and the Unsung Hero of Wozz! Kitchen Creations
Our signature baby and my all round favorite and unsung hero of the Wozz! family of creations. If you haven't heard, beetroot is big back home. You order a salad roll from you local cake shop. Boom Beets! Salad sandwich from the school canteen. Boom Beets! A classic Australian burger from anywhere in the country, you'll get fried egg, bacon and Boom!!! (you got it... pickled beets) I never met anyone who hated beets until I moved overseas. I didn't understand at first, but after sampling pickled beets of the world, it became quite obvious. Pickled beets anywhere else in the world can be hit and miss and kind of suck when they do miss.
The first assumption, of course, is that our wonderful spiced beet spread is nothing more than pickled beets with curry powder. That bright yellow stuff. Which couldn't be further from the truth. We do a personal blend of over thirty spices, slow cooked for a minimum of six hours in the tradition of any classic Indian curry. Fresh ground spices traditionally fried in ghee with the addition of finely chopped onion garlic and ginger. We choose spice flavors so to layer one on top of the next. With bottom heavier sweeter spices like clove and cumin building a foundation for the lighter brighter flavors of coriander seed, mango, black pepper and bay leaf until you find that balance and full mouth feel. Our personalized Wozz! Indian curry paste I would have to say is in the Korma realm in terms of flavor, but a little heavier overall. Although it's the first word on the label we still want the character of beets to be the front man and our blend of spices an accompaniment of backup singers only.
Most people will happily agree, a touch of clove, cinnamon or cumin all work well with the deep earthiness of beets, along with orange peel, black pepper and bay leaf. How about all of these spices plus a few more. Some people at first glance are not sure if this can work, but believe me it does. A rack of lamb served over a bed of mild beet yogurt curry is one of those dishes and dining experiences that has stuck with me since my chef apprenticeship and the inspiration behind the condiment in the first place.
Fast reverse to 2004, somewhere in the south of France aboard some luxury sailing something or another, I looked at channeling this "beet" love affair for the owners of that particular yacht. I had a simple beef Fillet Mignon dish, served with a creamy garlic potato puree and wilted spinach. I wanted a little something for color and sweetness. Being beets and beef a wonderful combo the conclusion was simple..... but I needed a twist. I was pulled back to that wonderful Indian beet curry with lamb and thought about how to bring part of that experience to this dish. Our Indian Spiced Beetroot "chutney" was born. That perfect balance of jammy sweet, acid with a background of toasted cumin and warm mild Indian spices.
This all happened on the second yacht of my career and evolved each time I made it as well as how I used it. I'd use a quenelle to accent a cheese plate. Rusticly spoon it through a salad with walnuts and crumbled feta. Mix it through a cream cheese or greek yogurt for a dip or Tatziki. It just became so darn versatile to use for both guests and crew alike. It was gourmet, unique and special enough for guests, but still nuts and bolts real food for feeding the crew. It got to the point that a batch would be made before each charter, as it was a brilliant little condiment to have on hand if I needed to whip something up last minute. It wasn't for another seven years and the final yacht of my career that the idea to do more with it came. That last yacht had the most diverse crew. Canadians, Irish, French, English all with very different backgrounds and different tastes, but all knew something when it tasted great. We were based in Italy and Croatia and everyone loved this beet thing that kept turning up for crew meal, until finally, one day it was said "you should jar and sell this stuff" it's that good. Voila six months later we turned it into a business.