Chef’s Special

Root Vegetable Hotpot with Dumplings and Beetroot Velvet Cupcakes

Get creative in the kitchen with these seasonal recipes from Erin Baker of the Natural Cookery School. The stunning, jewel-coloured cupcakes make a fun festive alternative to mince pies, while the hotpot is a great way to use up surplus root vegetables and any left over Brussels sprouts…

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Serves 4 with a bit leftover, maybe, but probably not any dumplings!

2 tbsp light cooking oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1tsp coriander seeds
1 medium onion
1 leek
2 stalks of celery
1kg mix root vegetables, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces carrots, swede, celeriac, Jerusalem
artichokes, potatoes or parsnip
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped from The Garlic Farm
2 tsp honey from Four Shires Apiary
1.5 litres vegetable stock
small handful thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
10-15 Brussels sprouts, sliced in half or 1/2 small green cabbage, January king or Savoy, sliced

150 g self-raising flour
75 g cold butter from Brinkworth Dairy
30 g Cheddar cheese, grated, additional to garnish
1 tsp mixed herbs, dried or chopped fresh
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 tbsp ice water

  1. Heat oil in pan and add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, onion leek and celery. Sauté for a few minutes then add root vegetables and garlic. Sauté for a few more minutes.
  2. Add honey, thyme and stock. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Whilst the hot pot is cooking, make the dumplings.
  3. Place flour in a medium bowl, grate cold butter into bowl. Rub mixture together until breadcrumb texture is formed. Add cheese, herbs and salt. Stir in water and mix to form a soft, but not sticky, dough.
  4. Turn onto a floured surface. With floured hands, form a circle and cut into quarters. Shape each quarter into four firm balls to make 16 small dumplings. Make sure the dumplings are well formed, as this will help them stay together and don’t worry, they will double in size.
  5. Place Brussels sprouts or cabbage in pot and stir. Add dumplings to the top of hot pot and gently submerge to wet the top of each dumpling. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until dumplings are done. The dumplings will soak up quite a bit of liquid; so if the hotpot is looking dry, add a bit of water. The dumplings will be soft, but firm to the touch when poked.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve in bowls. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese.

Makes 16 large cupcakes, 24 small cupcakes or 1 2-layer 9in/23cm cake

300g self-raising flour
25g good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
200g butter from Brinkworth Dairy
275g sugar
3 eggs from Overton Organic eggs
200g beetroot purée, directions below
zest of 2 blood oranges, regular oranges will do
75ml blood orange juice, about 2 juices oranges
2 tbsp raspberry vinegar, white wine or cider vinegar is fine

200g cream cheese
50g butter from Brinkworth Dairy
200g icing sugar
Optional toppings
dehydrated raspberries

  1. To make beetroot purée: Preheat oven to 220°C /200° Fan/Gas 8. Wrap 2-3 whole beetroot (300g) in kitchen foil or place in a oven safe dish with lid. Bake the beetroot until a knife is easily inserted, about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove beetroot from oven, let cool. Peel skin away from beetroot and measure out 200g. Purée the beetroot using a hand blender or food processor.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C/170° Fan/Gas Mark 4. Line two cupcake trays with 16 large cupcake cases or 24 small cupcake cases or line 2x 9in/23cm cake tins with greaseproof paper.
  3. In a bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, using an electric beater or wooden spoon, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs then add beetroot purée, orange zest, juice and vinegar. Add all of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk together until well combined; do not over mix.
  4. Divide batter accordingly and bake for 25 minutes for large cupcakes, 22 minutes for small cupcakes, or 30 minutes for two cake tins. Half way through the cooking time, swap the shelves the cakes are on to ensure even baking. Ovens vary in temperature so to be sure the cake is done, insert a knife or cocktail stick in the centre of the cakes; if it comes out clean, you’re good to go.
  5. Remove cupcakes from trays and cool on wire rack or place cake tins on cooling rack and remove cakes from tins when completely cool.
  6. In a large bowl use an electric beater to combine the cream cheese and butter, sift the icing sugar into the bowl and cream for 1-2 minutes until well combined. Frost cool cakes by using a piping bag or a palette knife. Sprinkle with dehydrated raspberries if you have them and if you don’t they will be just as good!

Source your vegetables here:
Hotch Potch Farm, Duncan Paget & Co, Over Farm Market, Newark Farm, Croft Farm, Coleshill Organic

Chef's Specials Archive:

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