This second and concluding ode to beetroot, making use of the last of the beetroots grown at the Tayport Community Garden, reminds me of the passing of the seasons, as Kathleen and I planted the beetroot seeds in April, watered and weeded the raised bed throughout the Summer until they became established. So, it is with some sadness to see the beetroot patch harvested and bare. However, the following two beetroot recipes do this humble vegetable proud and demonstrate its amazing versality.
Beetroot and chickpea curry
Beetroot, chickpeas and tomatoes combine exquisitely in terms of flavour and texture.
4 medium sized beetroots cooked and diced into small chunks
1 can chickpeas
1 can tomatoes
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
Small piece of fresh ginger (or tsp ground ginger)
1 green chilli
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp oil for frying (coconut oil or other frying oil)
Making the curry
- Dice the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and gently fry in large pot until tender.
- Add the curry powder and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and beetroot and stir together.
- Cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.
- Serve with boiled rice.
While I have used beetroot in many savoury dishes, I have never attempted to use it in baking. However, tempted by an excellent piece of beetroot chocolate cake at a local café I decided to give it a go. I looked at a few recipes combining beetroot and chocolate but was concerned by the amount of added sugar they used. With some trepidation I decided to substitute 200g of sugar with a small quantity of black treacle. Does this make it any healthier, and just as important would it ruin the taste? The jury is out on the first part of that question although black treacle does contain some important minerals such as iron. On the second part, the answer would come from a ‘blind tasting’ by Kathleen, whose ambition is to be a judge on Bake Off.
Ingredients (makes 20 brownies)
250g cooked beetroot (not in vinegar!)
200g dark chocolate
4 tbsp black treacle (or 200g light brown sugar if you must)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp plain flour
100g ground almonds
Making the brownies
- Pre-heat oven to 180c.
- Line a 30 x 20cm brownie tin with baking parchment.
- Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl and heat over a pan of water until they are just melted.
- Put the beetroot and black treacle in a food processor and blend until you have a paste. (If you don’t have a food processor this is going to be hard work to mash and mix by hand). Add the eggs, cocoa powder, melted chocolate and butter and whizz again.
- If your food processor is big enough then add the flour and ground almonds. If not, simply combine all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
- Spoon the brownie mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. The top of the brownie should be firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out with just a hint of soft dough.
- Leave to cool and then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container. Some can be frozen for later use.
- They can be eaten on their own, or add ice-cream and stewed apples for a luxurious dessert.
And did they pass the taste test? You bet…voted 10/10 by Kathleen for their wickedly rich taste, stunning colour and moist, yet firm, texture. Phew…through to the next round!