One of my favourite vegetables from the garden has always been Beetroot. We grow them every year and right about now they are just perfect for eating.
Great for boosting one's stamina and increasing muscle efficiency, beetroot are a great source of folic acid and contain potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C. £ small beetroot count as one of your daily five portions of fruit and veg a day!
Alot of people here in the UK seem to think that all you can do with a beetroot is pickle it, and I do confess, I love me some picked beetroot!
They are also wonderful when roasted in or out of the skins. They are beautiful shredded and used raw in a salad, or even grated and used like carrots would be in a cake!
*Pretty In Pink Polkadot Cake*
Moist and spicy with intriguing pink speckles throughout. Your guests will be quite surprised when they find out where all that pretty colour comes from! I like to think this is quite healthy and a good way to have your vegetables and eat your cake too!
150g raw beetroot, peeled and grated (about 4 medium beetroot)
200ml sunflower oil (2/3 cup)
250g golden caster sugar (1 1/4 cup)
3 large eggs, separated
3 TBS milk
100g chopped walnuts, toasted (scant cup)
200g plain flour (scant 1 1/2 cup)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp each, ground cinnamon, ground ginger and ground nutmeg (I like to grate my nutmeg fresh)
1/2 cup really good quality strawberry jam for filling
180g butter, softened (about 3/4 cup)
150g icing sugar, sifted (1 generous cupful)
450g low fat cream cheese (2 cups, or 16 ounces)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pink sugar flowers and pink glitter to decorate
Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.. Grease two nine inch cake tins really well and dust with flour. Set aside. (alternately you can line with baking paper and grease it as well)
Remove about 1 tsp of the grated beetroot into a small bowl and cover with 2 teaspoons of boiling water and set this aside. (You will use this to colour the icing)
Whisk the sugar and the oil together in a bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks and the milk. Fold in the remaining beetroot and the nuts. It will look quite revoltingly red but don't let this alarm you in the least! (trust me!)
Sift together the flour, baking powder and the spices. Stir this mixture into the beaten mixture. Whip the egg whites until stiff with an egg beater and then fold them into the cake mixture in three additions, being careful not to over fold. Fold only to incorporate fully. Divide the batter evenly amongst the two prepared pans.
Bake in the heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, only until the cake tests done and shrinks away a bit from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Run a knife around the edges and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the frosting by beating the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Blend in the cream cheese until smooth and then work in the vanilla. Add some of the reserved beetroot liquor a little at a time to help tint the icing a pretty pink.
Remove the cake from the pans and place one layer in the middle of a pretty plate. Spread about 1/4 of the frosting on top of this layer. Spread the strawberry jam over top leaving about half an inch border around the edges with just icing. Carefully sandwich the other layer on top. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides, spreading it evenly and swirling it somewhat on the top. Decorate with the sugar flowers and sprinkle on some pink glitter to finish.
Place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to set. If not serving straight away, cover with cling film and chill. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to serve it.
I also love to cook the tops of the beetroot, the leaves. These are fabulous sauteed or steamed like you would any leafy green. Just make sure you wash them really well, as they can be quite sandy. (Grit in the teeth=nasty!!) I have a fab recipe HERE for sauteed ones. Steamed you can just season with a bit of salt, pepper and some vinegar and butter. Delicious! (We've had precious little of those this year as the slugs seem to enjoy them almost as much as we do!!)
Of course one of our absolute favourite ways of preparing them is what is called Harvard Beets in North America. Deliciously tender beetroot in a sweet, tangy and buttery sauce!
Oh, I do adore beetroot in any way shape or form!
*Sweet and Tangy Beetroot*
Delicious tender beetroot in a sweet and tangy sauce. Fabulous side dish and a great way to use up some of the beetroot from the garden!
3.5 ounces sugar (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
2 fluid ounces cider vinegar (1/4 cup)
2 fluid ounces cooking water from the beets (1/4 cup)
6 medium sized beetroot, cooked until tender, peeled and then sliced
(about 3 cups)
2 TBS butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Add the vinegar and water, whisking well to blend. Bring to the boil over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the beets, tossing together well. Take off the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Just before serving, add the butter and reheat to boiling point. Serve hot.
I'm cooking Courgettes (Zucchini) over in Oak Cottage today.