Balsamic – such versatile ingredient

I first came across Little Doone sweet balsamic dressing at one of the Foodies Festivals a couple of years ago. I purchased the orange dressing and have used it extensively, unlike some other impulse purchases!

Little Doone Balsamic Dressings

Little Doone Balsamic Dressings

The dressings are made with raw cane sugar, hints of pure vanilla and natural chocolate extracts, spices, and balsamic vinegar, it’s a careful process of blending, of heating and cooling, until the weight and flavour is just right. Of the eight Little Doone dressings entered in the Great Taste Awards over the last three years, seven have received Gold awards.

When I met up with the Little Dooners, husband and wife team Colin and Tanya, at the Speciality Food Fair recently they set me a challenge. Choose one of the dressings, create some recipes and blog about it. Always up for the challenge, I’ve created one savoury and one sweet recipe. Both are really easy to make. I hope you’ll take the challenge too!

If you’ve ever tasted strawberries drizzled with balsamic vinegar, you’ll know how well it goes with fruit. How about trying the ginger balsamic dressing with pears? Delicious. Or add as a seasoning to stir fries and risottos.

Balsamic Baked Pears

Balsamic Baked Pears

Pears in Ginger Balsamic Dressing

Pre-heat the oven to 200º C. (Gas 6, 400ºF). Place sliced pears (look out for British ones) in an ovenproof dish. Shake over a little caster sugar then drizzle with the balsamic dressing. I used 3 tablespoons for 750 grams of pears. Cook until pears are soft and they’ve browned slightly. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream.

It works equally well with the orange zest dressing.

Balsamic Spelt Risotto with Vegetables

Balsamic Spelt Risotto with Vegetables

Spelt Salad

If you’ve not got any pearled spelt (also known as farro) for this recipe, just use risotto rice! It’s a really flexible recipe, you can add different vegetables, just use what you have at hand.

Ingredients
100 gr pearled spelt, rinsed in cold water
1 large onion, chopped
200 gr mushrooms, chopped
300 gr spinach leaves
Olive oil
Little Doone Balsamic Dressing (ginger or orange zest flavour) or other balsamic vinegar to taste, but approx 2 tablespoons
1 tbs fennel seeds, toasted
100 gr parmesan, grated
pomegranate seeds (if in season and you have some to hand).
Vegetable or chicken stock (a stock cube is fine) in 500 ml water.
Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat the stock to boiling point
  2. Gently cook the onion in the olive oil until softened.
  3. Add the spelt and cook gently for 2 minutes
  4. Add enough stock to cover the spelt and onion mixture and stir occasionally until cooked. Add more stock if required. It will take about 15 minutes. Take off the heat
  5. In the meantime, cook the mushrooms until lightly browned.
  6. Add the mushrooms and the chopped spinach to the spelt. Add parmesan, fennel seeds and cook for another 5 minutes, making sure it does not stick on the bottom of the saucepan.
  7. Check the seasoning and add a little dressing, salt or pepper.Taste and adjust until it’s just as you like it! Sprinkle pomegranate seeds if you have some!
  8. Serve

You can order Little Doone dressings online or buy them at a local stockist, including Earthy Foods and Berrit and Brown.

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About Bread Baker Danielle

Danielle founded Edinburgh Foody in 2010. Having qualified as a professional bread baker in France in 2014, she is now on a new adventure in Gloucestershire. Check out severnbites.com Look out for occasional posts for Edinburgh Foody

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