The power of beetroot!

My husband is a keen gardener and we have a fantastic allotment and kitchen garden where we grow a vast array of vegetables and fruits. It has been a real eye-opener to see what we can grow, how much we can harvest, and what I can do with it all. I’ve really enjoyed having the freedom to try new recipes and ideas with lots of different vegetables.

image1-3One veg we have had huge success with is beetroot – the vegetable that has so many benefits, tastes great, can be used in so many different ways, yet not a lot of people eat it. I’ve made chocolate brownies, rich tasty juices (I have one of these to kick-start my morning every day), salads, coleslaw, houmous, cakes, beetballs….the list is endless. This week we picked a few from the allotment and I made the most delicious beetroot and goats cheese tart – see below for the recipe details. This tasted so good as a hot dinner choice, and even better the next day as a cold leftover with salad – I will definitely be making this again!
I’m guilty of thinking of beetroot as that pickled stuff in a jar that my Dad got out at Christmas, or had with his crackers occasionally. I never really tasted it as a youngster, or wanted to! But now, having grown it and researched it, and tried so many recipes with it, I can see how versatile, healthy, and nutritious it is – and it has so many health benefits.

Beetroot is a good source of iron and naturally occurring folic acid, so therefore is great for getting your daily intake (which most of us struggle with). It also contains nitrates, betaine, magnesium and other antioxidants.

Other research has shown that beetroot can support lowering blood pressure and even prevent dementia. And one that I am super impressed with is – it boosts exercise performance, which is why we see so many exercisers drinking its juice before,during and after exercise.

beetroot-glovesSo, go on, give it a try – eat it, drink it, and reap the benefits. Oh, and
why not try baking or cooking it in a different way, like a cake 🙂

Oh, and useful tip – wear gloves when handling it!

Let me know what you do, and if you enjoy it.



Recipe details – Beetroot, spinach and feta cheese tart:

1 tablespoon Olive Oilimage3
1 red onion, diced
500g peeled and grated beetroot
3 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoon water
small knob butter
375g all-butter puff pastry
1 medium egg
200ml creme fraiche
200g feta cheese
two large handfuls spinach
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
handful of olives, chopped

Heat oven to 220 degrees C. Heat oil in pan and fry the onion until softened. Add beetroot, vinegar, butter and water. Cook over low heat for 5-10 mins, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

Roll out pastry, place on an oiled baking sheet and score line approx. 1.5 cm from edge. Brush with egg and score again. Cook in oven for 10 mins until golden and raised. Remove and press down with your hands on the centre.

Spread spinach leaves and tomatoes on pastry. Add creme fraiche to the beetroot mix and spread on top of spinach. Add feta cheese and olives on top and bake for 5 mins until cheese has melted.

Serve and enjoy!




Cake – just how do I find the time?!

Last night was the final in the Great British Bake Off and as a fan of baking I was glued to the TV.What really surprised me was that in each of the challenges they had to complete, I actually felt I could have done quite well myself – the technical challenge was to make a Victoria Sandwich cake which is one of my husband’s favourite cakes so I bake it fairly frequently. And chocolate cake for the main ‘Showstopper Challenge’ – that has my name all over it!

Anyway, as I was discussing this with my husband, he got a bit frustrated with me and said ‘of course you can, you’re good at baking, just like you’re good at lots of things, you just don’t believe in yourself enough’. This is indeed something he says to me quite a bit, and I think I am beginning to understand it now.

As I have been off work for a couple of months, I’ve managed to bake a lot more frequently and have posted pics on my social media feeds, to which many of my friends have commented ‘how do you find the time when you have two small children at home?!’ Well, that all comes down to good organisation and letting go of the things that don’t matter. I bake when my children are playing and I can see them, or when they are having a nap. It does mean that the washing or tidying has to wait until later in the day, or that some of my ‘jobs’ just don’t get done that day. And I bake because I enjoy it, and it’s important to do things you enjoy.

I’m also trying out new recipes and really enjoying the challenges! And finally, if the cake doesn’t turn out well, that doesn’t matter because I know plenty of people who will eat it if

I make the most of it. One lemon cake I made just collapsed on the top as I had too much liquid in it, but I salvaged what I could (see pic) and still managed to serve up a few dreamy creamy lemon curd slices!

So the moral of that episode was – make the most of what you’ve got and focus on the positives. And have faith in your abilities – other people do…..