Beautiful beets

Beetroot are fast becoming one of my favourite summer veg, yet before I started running Box Local I would rarely buy them.

Growing up we only really encountered beetroot pickled (and where I grew up it only went with one thing… hot pot) and while you could pickle your excess beetroot for the winter months, there isn’t really any need to for now. Simply roast the beets in their skins which will then slip off easily. Then keep them in a sealed dish in the fridge ( they will keep for over a week) and slice them into salads with a vinegary dressing and they zing just like you had bothered with all those hot jars of pickling vinegar!

Aunty Martha’s beetroot chutney is a staple in our fridge all year (we even named our daughter because of it…!), and pretty much goes with any cold meat or cheese. Hers is a simple mixture of cooking apples, beetroot, onion vinegar and sugar, you can add herbs and spices if you like, but we don’t! The exact recipe can’t be divulged for obvious reasons, but a bit of trial and error should get you somewhere close… you really can’t go far wrong.

I also love beetroot soup with feta cheese sprinkled in the top. Onions, a little cumin, beetroot and stock is all that’s needed for that and it is delicious (but don’t spill any for goodness sake!). A brilliant combination also used in our beetroot feta barley– great for a filling dinner that will satisfy the hungriest of family members.

I have already posted one of my favourite summer uses – the healthy jewel slaw which goes with burgers and pulled pork, sausages and lamb – pretty much a new essential for any barbeque in our house.

You won’t often find me making a song and dance about baking however – I think baking is often a bit too precise for my style of cooking. One cake I tend to be able to pull off is the carrot cake, whether it be because the oil content requires no creaming, or because the carrots mean it can never be dry. Having not found a beetroot cake recipe I liked, I adapted my favourite  carrot recipe to include beets. It is pretty good if I do say so myself, so here it is.

Beetroot chocolate cake

  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 175ml vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 140g grated beetroot (3 medium)
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tbs cocoa powder
  • cherry jam (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 180°c and grease and line a 20cm cake tin
  2. Beat the sugar, eggs and oil together.
  3. Squeeze out any juice from the beetroot and add to the mixture.
  4. Sift the flour, bicarb and cocoa powder into the mix and combine with a wooden spoon until no lumps are left.
  5. Tip into baking tin and place in the oven for 40-45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  6. leave in tin to cool slightly then lift onto a cooling rack. Split and add jam if required, or sprinkle a little icing sugar on the top and dive in!

It really is super simple, and apart from turning some of the kitchen pink (what beetroot recipe doesn’t…?) nothing can go wrong!

Now it can even be made into pudding, nothing beats the beet!

Box Local – the local produce delivery service for St Albans. Bringing the farm shop to your door