British winter can be a trying time. The seemingly endless grey days with bouts of rain and snow provides us with the perfect excuse to stay in, roll up in a blanket, retreat to the sofa and soak up non-stop Netflix. However, on the other hand this season brings us the opportunity to spend more time at home doing the things we love - for me that is experimenting in the kitchen and making something delicious (and usually a big mess!) with seasonal, locally-grown ingredients.
Which brings me to Beetroot. I have so much love for this jewel coloured root vegetable and I bought A LOT of it at our local farm shop. When my husband confessed he didn’t actually like Beetroot - I had to get creative or I’d be eating Beetroot by myself for the next month.
After some kitchen experimentation, here are some great things to do with beetroot:
I first tried this in one of my favourite places in London - Seymour’s Parlour at the Zetter Townhouse in Marylebone and knew I had to try recreate it at home. It is so easy to make - just throw all of the ingredients in a mixer and whizz it up! It’s so good that I slather it on everything but it’s best on it's own with some fluffy lightly toasted Turkish bread.
The below measurements will give you enough for this little jar pictured (and means you won’t be eating it for days and days!)
100g cooked beetroot (roasted or boiled)
½ Garlic clove crushed
Salt and Pepper
1tbsp Olive Oil
40g pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
30g grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
A few drops of lemon juice
Simply throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and whizz until smooth. If you find it a bit chunky and your blender is struggling to mix it - simply add a little water.
Beetroot and Halloumi Savoury Tart
I am such a sucker for a savoury tart - anything that involves puff pastry gets me excited. When I was young, I used to make puff pastry ‘pizzas’ for my family and now I’m just using (slightly) more grown-up ingredients and have mastered the dreaded soggy bottom! It’s really important to pre-heat the tray that you will be baking the tart on - it will really help in keeping the base cook evenly.
½ sheet of ready-rolled puff-pastry
½ red onion thinly sliced
125g Halloumi sliced
Sprig of rosemary
Olive oil to drizzle
1 tbsp of tomato paste or tomato based pasta sauce
½ a cup of Grated Emmental
Salt and pepper to taste
The above ingredients make what is pictured - if you want more - add more!
Preheat the oven to 180c (fan-forced) - including the baking tray you will be baking your tart on.
Prepare your tart on baking paper. Score a 1cm edge along the edge of the puff pastry (this will form a crust once baked) and spread the tomato paste inside the limits.
Spread the remaining ingredients over the tart, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Transfer the tart on baking paper to the tray and bake for approximately 20 minutes - check it after 15 minutes to make sure the crust isn’t burning.
When the tart looks golden and can support itself - it’s ready eat! Serve with a side of salad. Or don’t!
Turkish Delight Brownies
New favourite beetroot recipe: mouth-watering beetroot brownies. Gooey, fudgey and chocolatey, with a touch of rosewater to create an incredible Turkish Delight Flavour. My husband loved them - he never suspected beetroot in a brownie! Again, this recipe is couple sized - meaning it makes just enough that you won’t have to abandon your diet plans but is the perfect fix when you need a little something sweet.
100g beetroot cooked and pureed
70g melted chocolate
1 tsp rosewater
85g light brown sugar
50g ground almonds
¼ tsp baking powder
20ml olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 180c (fan-forced) and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
Mix the pureed beetroots, chocolate, egg, olive oil and rose water together in a large bowl.
Mix the sugar, ground almond and baking soda in a medium bowl.
Combine wet and dry ingredients together in a large bowl to create a smooth batter.
Pour into the lined baking tin and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top of the brownie feels spongy.
Remove from the oven and wait until the brownies are completely cool before removing from the tray (so difficult - I know!) cut and serve with a dusting of icing sugar for the final Turkish Delight touch!
Chrystall is Co-founder of Great Things To Do and is a Dorset based food and lifestyle photographer and writer. You'll find her in the kitchen baking, foraging around her Dorset countryside home or cosy by the fire with a nice glass of wine.