I love beetroot. So does David but it doesn’t suit his digestion.  However here are some beet disguises that seem to work for him.  This one is for Bex.

Beetroot and Chocolate cake

I’ve done it as ‘fake’ Brownies too. it works, with a bit of added walnut and chopped chocolate.

This one is a vegan cake and was adapted from BBC Food.

In a food processor, blitz four medium sized cooked beetroot with 100ml sunflower oil, 100g dark brown sugar and 50ml runny honey or maple syrup, 100g SR flour and 150g wholemeal flour, 1tsp baking powder, 200g soya yogurt, 1tsp salt and 50g cocoa powder.  Grease a 20cm springform tin and/or line with paper. Put the mixture in the tin and then into middle of oven pre-heated at 180C for about 50 minutes, then test it and give another 10 minutes if needed – if it looks a bit dark then shield the top with some more greaseproof paper.

Meanwhile, melt 100g 70% plain chocolate gently in the microwave, add 100g icing sugar, 3 tbsp soya or almond milk and 1 tbsp sieved cocoa.  When the cake has cooled down completely (remember Bake Off and don’t put icing on top of warm cakes) on a cooling rack, put the baking tray underneath the rack and pour the icing over the top of the cake.  Leave it there till it has ‘set’.  You can have the cake for pudding too and it freezes really well.

Beetroot and nut roast sausage rolls

Steam the beetroot in advance and let it cool, then drizzle over some good balsamic vinegar.  Or open a packet of pre-cooked beetroot.

In a food processor, blitz 100g cashew and 100g walnuts/almonds with half an onion, one carrot,  a clove of garlic and half an eating apple (yes!).  Add 1 tbsp soy sauce, a teaspoon of ground cumin, one egg and a good squeeze of HP sauce and a little chopped fresh thyme.  Remove to a fresh bowl.  When the beetroot is cool, chop it into little chunks and mix with the nut paste. Taste and add more seasoning if you wish. Leave it for half an hour to settle.

Now make your pastry!! No. Don’t make it, buy shortcrust or puff pastry ready rolled.  Open it out and leave it on the paper it is rolled in. Cut in half length-ways.

Take some of the nut/beetroot mixture and lay it in the middle of each rectangle of pastry.  Brush the edges with beaten egg and then fold the pastry over and seal the long edge with a fork (make sure you exclude as much air as possible when you fold it over and seal). Glaze the top and edges with beaten egg.  I usually cut these into 3 per rectangle (big sausage rolls!).  Lift the paper straight onto a hot baking tray and put it into the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes tops.  Leave on the tray till cool.  These freeze well too. If they last that long.  Sometimes I add some chunks of feta to the nut/beet mixture.

Beetroot and apple relish

This is a lovely one and makes such a change from green tomato chutney!

Peel and chop raw beetroot into smallish chunks. Do the same with any windfall apples. Chop onion finely.  I don’t do these ingredients by weight – more by proportion.  So you are looking for an equal quantity of onion, beet and apple.  Fry the onion gently in olive oil with some chopped red or green chilli (I used padron peppers as we have a glut) and half a dozen cloves of grated garlic and a couple of inches of grated fresh ginger. Plus a couple of sticks of cinnamon. Fry till its all soft, then add the beetroot and apple. Stir it all round.  Then add about 200g soft brown sugar and a teaspoon or two of salt plus about 20 szechuan peppers for a bit more heat – but you can leave these out if you prefer.  As for the liquid – again I do this by eye – add sufficient apple cider vinegar to come two thirds of the way up the solid ingredients then top up with cloudy apple juice till it just covers the apple and beetroot in the pan.  Bring slowly to a bubble, keep stirring gently till the sugar has melted (bear in mind the sugar will make liquid so dont be tempted to add too much liquid thinking there isn’t sufficient in the pan!). Now keep it on a gentle bubble for at least three hours, stirring occasionally.  One of the easiest mistakes with relish an chutney is to take it off the heat too soon.  Slow and steady wins the game – you want it to reduce and reduce till it is really sticky – definitely not runny!  When you think it is ready, dare yourself to cook it for 30 minutes more – then it really will be ready!  Now let it cool down.

Scald your jars, or heat them in the oven. Or better still, swill out with some vodka and then drink the vodka.  When the relish is cool, you will notice that it will have released more juice and then you will be glad you reduced it more than you thought necessary!  Decant into the warm jars, seal with little waxed circles of paper like your mum did, and only put the lids on when it’s completely cold. Otherwise condensation will gather inside the lid and you will have mould quicker than a shake of a dogs tail.  Store in a cupboard, not in the light.  Then it will stay a great dark red colour.

Lovely with a good strong cheddar, a chunk of good bread, a glass of red and a roaring woodburner!




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