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Aperitif

Beetroot Margarita (Serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 small uncooked beetroot, peeled, cut into cubes
  • ½ lime, juice only
  • 25ml/1fl oz gold tequila
  • 12ml/½fl oz orange liqueur
  • 12ml/½fl oz dark chocolate liqueur
  • 25ml/1fl oz beetroot juice
  • 1 tsp sugar syrup (also known as ‘gomme’ syrup)
  • salt, for dipping

Preparation method

  1. Place the beetroot into a cocktail shaker and mash (muddle) with the end of a clean rolling pin.
  2. Add the lime, tequila, orange liqueur, dark chocolate liqueur, beetroot juice and sugar syrup, top up with ice and shake well.
  3. Wet the rim of a Martini glass, then dip into a plate covered in salt to coat the rim.
  4. Strain the cocktail into the Martini glass and serve.

Starter

Beetroot and sunflower seed salad (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 450g/1lb raw beetroot, peeled and finely grated
  • 55g/2oz sunflower seeds, toasted
  • Juice and zest 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation method

  1. Mix together the beetroot, orange juice and zest and parsley. Season well and allow to stand for 20 minutes.
  2. Just before serving stir in the toasted sunflower seeds.

Main

Beetroot and mascarpone risotto with crumbled Wensleydale cheese (Serves 4)

Ingredients

For the risotto

  • 6 raw beetroot, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 750ml/1¼ pints vegetable stock
  • 30g/1oz butter
  • 2 shallots, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 250g/9oz arborio rice
  • 100ml/3½fl oz white wine
  • 3 tbsp mascarpone
  • 110g/4oz parmesan, grated
  • small handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 beetroot, finely sliced
  • 200g/7oz Wensleydale cheese, crumbled

Preparation method

  1. For the risotto, blend the beetroot with half of the stock in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan, bring the boil and reduce the heat so the liquid is at a simmer.
  2. Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped shallots, garlic and thyme leaves. Cook gently for 1-2 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat all the grains in the buttery mixture. Cook, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes until the grains begin to look translucent.
  4. Add the wine to the pan and allow it to bubble up and reduce slightly.
  5. Add a ladleful of the simmering beetroot stock, and stir until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, as the liquid is absorbed, stirring between each addition.
  6. When you have used all of the beetroot stock, heat the remaining vegetable stock and start adding that to the risotto in the same way (you may not need all of it). Cook the rice until the grains are tender but retain some bite. This will take at least 20 minutes.
  7. When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone, parmesan, chopped parsley and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  8. To serve, heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan. Add beetroot slices and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until just tender.
  9. Serve the risotto topped with the beetroot slices and the crumbled Wensleydale cheese.

Dessert

Beetroot seed cake (Serves about 8)

Ingredients

  • butter or oil, for greasing
  • 225g/8oz self-raising flour
  • half a teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • a level teaspoon baking powder
  • half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 180ml/6¼fl oz sunflower oil
  • 225g/8oz light muscovado sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs, separated
  • 150g/5oz raw beetroot, peeled
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 75g/3oz sultanas or raisins
  • 75g/3oz mixed seeds (such as sunflower, pumpkin and linseed)

For the icing

  • 8 tablespoons icing sugar
  • a little lemon juice or orange blossom water
  • poppy seeds, to garnish

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4. Lightly grease a rectangular loaf tin (20cm x 9cm x 7cm/8in x 4in x 3in), then line the base with baking parchment.
  2. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  3. Beat the oil and sugar in a food mixer until well combined, then introduce the egg yolks one by one, mixing after you add each egg yolk. Grate the beetroot coarsely and fold it into the egg mixture, then add the lemon juice, sultanas (or raisins) and the assorted seeds. Pulse until combined.
  4. Fold the flour and raising agents into the egg mixture whilst the machine is on a slow setting.
  5. Beat the egg whites until light and almost stiff. Fold gently but thoroughly into the cake mixture, using a large metal spoon (a wooden one will knock the air out). Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50-55 minutes, covering the top with a piece of foil after thirty minutes. Test with a skewer for doneness. The cake should be moist inside but not sticky. Leave the cake to settle for a good twenty minutes before turning out of its tin onto a wire cooling rack.
  6. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in enough lemon juice or orange blossom water to achieve a consistency where the icing will run over the top of the cake and drizzle slowly down the sides (about three teaspoonfuls), stirring to remove any lumps. Drizzle it over the cake and scatter with the poppy seeds. Leave to set before eating.

All the above recipes: Source – www.bbc.co.uk/food/ © 2012 BBC

Rachel’s spicy beetroot chutneywith commentary!

Ingredients

  • 2 lb beetroot – ideally, pick them fresh or buy them with the leaves still attached: do not remove the tap root or peel them before cooking. Keep at least 3 inches of the stems attached while you cook them. This preserves their wonderful colour.
  • 2 medium onions, sliced – colour immaterial
  • 1 lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 8 ounces sugar – preserving sugar is ideal, granulated or caster will work just fine
  • 1 pint vinegar – white pickling vinegar is best as it keeps the beetroot colour purest, malt vinegar is perfectly fine
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger – or you can use about 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled, then grated or chopped very fine
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Spicesvary the quantities to suit your taste. I use:

  • 2 dried birds eye chillies, crushed – You can use about 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes instead.

Be aware that the heat of the chilli will develop as your chutney matures. You have been warned!

  • 1 ½ teaspoons mustard seeds, black and yellow, mixed – I love the pop!
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons sultanas, washed

These are super in the finished chutney, but have an almost irresistible tendency to catch on the bottom of the pan, so I usually leave them out.

Preparation method

  1. Cook the beetroot.

Place whole beetroot in large pans of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for 20-50 minutes until the beetroot is soft and the skins peel away easily. Small beetroot will cook much more quickly. If you have monster beetroot, they can take up to an hour. If you have mixed sizes, I tend to sort them and cook them in different sized pans. (I know, OCD…)

Try to avoid the temptation to poke them with a knife or fork to test them – if you break the skin, the colour leeches away.

Keep checking and topping up the water from the kettle. Do not let the pans boil dry.

Drain and let the beetroot cool. This takes a while. You want the beetroot to be cool at least before you do the next bit.

  1. Peel the beetroot.

WEAR GLOVES AND MOVE ANYTHING FROM YOUR WORKING AREA THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO STAIN PINK.

You don’t need a knife. If the beetroot are cooked, the skins will easily ‘wipe’ away if you rub them. Have a bowl for detritus. Make it large…

  1. Cut the beetroot into small pieces.

This can be a laborious task, but this is the job that determines the quality of your final product. If you like a chunky relish, cut the pieces bigger. If you like it smoother, smaller pieces. Put the radio on and enjoy! (Do this before you start interfering with the beetroot or the radio will turn pink, too.)

  1. Prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Let’s cook!

Mix all the ingredients EXCEPT the beetroot* in a large pan and bring to the boil. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

(* Again, this helps preserve the colour. Plus the beetroot is already cooked.)

Then add the beetroot and simmer for a further 15 minutes until cooked and the chutney has thickened.

Keep an eye on the heat – make sure the chutney does not catch on the bottom of the pan.

  1. Pot up into hot chutney / jam jars.

Kilner-style flip-top jars are also good. Cover with parchment disks if you wish, and seal while hot.

This recipe makes about 6-8 ‘normal’ chutney jars, depending on their size.

Leave for 6 weeks to mature, in a cool, dark place, so you get a smoother, more rounded flavour.

My thanks go to Rachel Hamar for allowing me to reproduce her yummy recipe. 😉

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