Tuesday, March 20, 2007

How Red is My Beetroot!

I’ve never cooked with beetroot before and since I love it, both tinned and fresh, I thought it was time I tried. There’s nothing like chunks of beetroot in salad and I don’t think a burger is complete without a slice, even if it is tinned.

Last week I was flicking through my Fabulous Food Cookbook, a low-fat cookbook I picked up when I used to work for Fernwood Women’s Health Clubs. The recipes are quite yummy, although that’s probably because I usually skip the low fat options (evaporated milk in carbonara anyone?) and replace them with the real thing (mmm, cream). I came across a cucumber, beetroot and mint salad, so next trip to South Melbourne Markets included a couple of bunches of beetroot.

I find grating foods labour intensive, yet I always pick recipes that require things like grated zucchini, citrus zest and so on. Grating beetroot adds another dimension. Red fingers, red hands, red bench-tops, red everything! Not surprising, but there you have it. I trimmed and peeled and grated my way into a big red beetroot mess. Was the salad worth it? Probably, but that’s only because I managed to keep my clothes clean.

Other ingredients were 1 large cucumber, 1 red onion (although I used half and this was adequate), a tsp of salt, 2 Tbsp finely chopped mint, 1 tsp lemon rind (grating, again!), ½ cup lemon juice and 1 tsp sugar. Once the beetroot was grated and the chopped cucumber was salted and rinsed all that was left was to toss everything together.

S’bo, who’s also just relocated to Melbourne, and I ate the salad with some delicious lamb chops and natural yoghurt. The lemon flavour was a little too strong so next time I’d probably cut it back a bit. Overall I’ve tasted better beetroot salads, usually ones with nice, fatty chunks of goats cheese, although I very much enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day.

The beetroot fiesta didn’t stop there; I roasted the leftover beetroots the next night. I much preferred wrapping them in buttered foil than grating, although I think I could’ve washed them a little more thoroughly. I’m sure that faint earthy taste shouldn’t be there. I guess I’ve still got a little way to go when it comes to beetroot cooking, but something tells me I won’t give up just yet.

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