Beetroots are one of the easiest vegetable crop to grow. Sown either in drills, in the soil or scatter in a container. Whichever variety you choose to grow, beetroots will never fail to give a crop.
When the young leaves appear, cut a leaf or two from each young seedling and add to your salad. Before the beetroot’s root swells, you can use the slightly larger leaves, sautéed, and prepared just like you would, Spinach.
This year, I decided to sow my Beetroot seed in the Brassica section, which was previously grown with Field Bean Green Manure over winter. This has not only helped the Brassicas (Cabbages, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, etc) but also the Beetroot, Turnips (hidden by the Beetroot leaves), Parsnips, Chard and all the green leaf vegetables growing in this section.
This organic variety, Detroit 2 Crimson Globe tastes really sweet, when picked (around the size of an egg) and eaten raw, either thinly sliced or just grated in salads.
When the Beetroot start growing to a size of a Tennis Ball, use them in a Vegetable juice, simply process them through the juicer with green apples and a small piece of fresh ginger. It will set you up for the day. Or even roasted and blitz with some boiled Chickpeas and Tahini paste to make Beetroot Hummus.
Once I have exhausted all my savoury dishes for this vegetable, from my recipe book, I turn to the sweet section. I usually make a Beetroot Brownie, and wanted to avoid Chocolate with the next bake so started experimenting and using fresh Orange zest instead and put the below ingredients together. Baked and tested and with a verdict of 10 out of 10 by the harshest of my Critics, my family, this bake has now earned a place in my recipe book.
I always boil my Beetroot before using them in a Brownie or a Cake Mix, it helps take away the harsh earthy taste of these larger, maturing roots.
The recipe, I put together is not complicated at all, using 7 ingredients and a ‘half size’ loaf cake tin, makes a lovely moist cake which will serve 8, generously.
In a food processor place 225g cooked and grated Beetroot, with 100g each of Dark Brown Sugar and Light Muscovado Sugar. Blitz until sugar has dissolved into the beetroot. With the processor still running, drizzle slowly, 150ml of Sunflower oil. Crack 3 large eggs and pour into the Processor, this not only helps blend together but also add air into the cake mix.
Gently pour the mixture out into a large mixing bowl and add the zest of 1 orange, stir in. Now sift 200g of Self Raising flour with 1tsp of Baking Powder into the mixing bowl and fold until all the flour has mixed in evenly.
At this stage the mixture is going to look runny but do not be tempted to add any more flour.
Pour into the small lined loaf tin and bake in a preheated oven of 180˙C for 40 to 50 minutes or until the skewer come out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake.
Remove from oven, allowing Cake to cool in the loaf tin for approximately 10 minutes before removing it out the tin, to cool completely on a wire rack; ready to cover with an orange zest frosting.
As for the frosting: I used 50g of softened butter 125g of Soft Cheese with 100g of Icing Sugar. Whisked until blended well. Next, added the zest of half an Orange and stir in. Allow the frosting to rest in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes before spreading it over the Cake. Not essential, but you can, with the other ‘half’ of Orange Peel left , simply peel and thinly slice the Orange Peel before garnishing the top of the frosting.