Monday, 9 November 2020 | Admin
I think beetroot is a vegetable that you either love or hate. It does have a very earthy taste so it is easy to understand why many people dislike it.
Personally I’m a really big fan of it in all forms. However, I do concede that eating it without pickling it, isn’t for everyone.
I have the most marvellous recipe from Delicious Derek’s uncle for a pickled version and every now and then I get organised enough to make some. It holds for several months and is gorgeous in salads and sandwiches. I like to buy fresh beets and steam them but the recipe works too when using pre-packed beets.
It is always difficult to not get the juice on your hands and end up completely stained with the juice. It makes you understand why beetroot was so popular as a natural dye times past!
I decided to grow some during our Covid 19 lockdown but being in an apartment probably should have warned me that I didn’t have enough room. Delicious Dad certainly did warn me!
I was over zealous (how unlike me) and planted all the seeds rather than a small amount. I became very attached to the whole project and ended up growing them in a bucket in the middle of the kitchen rather than the balcony!
Dad was in the background advising that I should prune them, but they looked so fabulous – see below, that I just didn’t have the heart to do it.
I should have been more ruthless, because my yield was really very sorry and all in all a bit of an unmitigated disaster.
I have recently discovered a fabulous beetroot juice (having given up on attempts to make my own). This is from an artisan producer up in County Offally, Feighery’s Farm. It blends beetroot with about 30% apple. The apple gives the juice a lovely sweetness and masks that earthiness. Beetroot is a great source of folic acid, potassium and fibre and has a long list of health benefits, so it really is one to consider including in your diet and the juice from Feighery’s is a tasty, easy way to do that.
I met a lady on a flight some time ago and somehow we ended up talking about recipes. She had the most interesting job of creating recipes for celebrity TV chefs. We got to talking about beetroot and she persuaded me that it made the most amazing brownies when used instead of sugar. I was amazed as I had never thought of this and hastened off to my kitchen to try it out.
The result was absolutely amazing. The beetroot is naturally sweet and moist which is just what a brownie should be.
I actually made these brownies on TV3 some time ago. The fashion models on the show were thrilled that they could eat something that was gluten, wheat, dairy and yeast free with a lot less refined sugar than a usual brownie would contain, but it tasted out of this world. Who knew!!!
So the next time you pass beetroot in a supermarket shelf or see a bunch of beets in a vegetable shop, take your hat off to this very versatile vegetable and try my gorgeous brownie recipe for yourself!
Moist Chocolate Brownies with Beetroot
50g (2oz) hazelnuts
600g (1lb 7oz) cooked beetroot with natural juice drained off
125g (5oz) Denise’s Delicious flour blend (see below)
1 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
100g (4oz) cocoa powder
200g (8oz) light muscovado sugar
200g (8oz) golden syrup
6 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
Icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/190°C/375°F. Line a 25cm x 30cm/10in x 12in Swiss roll tin with baking parchment.
Rub the hazelnuts to remove any loose skins then place them in a food processor until finely ground. Add the beetroot and whizz until it is a purée. Pour into a medium bowl.
In another bowl, sieve the flour, gum, baking powder and cocoa powder all together three times. This will allow the cocoa to blend properly with the flour and avoids lumps.
Add the flour mixture to the beetroot mixture.
Combine the sugar, syrup, eggs and salt and beat together with an electric mixer on setting one until smooth. Stir into the beetroot and flour mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes until firm in the centre but still a little sticky.
Allow to cool fully before cutting into twelve squares and, if you like, dust with icing sugar.
Denise’s Delicious flour blend
This is a great, all-round white flour. If you are avoiding corn, then use tapioca flour instead. There are lots of decent white gluten-free/wheat-free flours on the market, but all perform differently. I have blended this to suit my recipes here.
Makes approximately 850g (2lb) flour blend
250g (10oz) rice flour