Saturday, 5 January 2013

January's Beetroot Challenge.

After Christmas and New Year, I always feel extra parsimonious so I'm  challenging myself to make the most of everything I buy in January.  The humble beetroot is a good example of waste; how many of you chuck away the leaves and stalks? I used the bunch in the above photo to make 4 different dishes. 

First I separated the beets, stalks and leaves and put the beets into a steamer and cooked them for 40 minutes.  Once they were soft enough to be pierced with a knife, I fished them out to cool down and put in a layer of chopped stalks and then the leaves on top and left them to steam until soft - about 20 minutes. 

The first recipe is a chocolate cupcake inspired by Claudia's Blog. I made a mistake while following her recipe for a chocolate soufflé cake and then played around with the recipe to include the beets. 

120g dark chocolate
70g butter
3 eggs
70g sugar
80g sieved self-raising flour
20g cocoa
125g cooked peeled beetroot
5 pitted soft prunes

1 greased muffin tin lined with circles of greaseproof paper.  (makes 10 small cakes) 
Oven temp. 180 degrees C
  • Melt the butter and chocolate in a large bowl over a saucepan of hot water
  • Separate the eggs and beat the sugar into the yolks 
  • Chop the beetroot finely or puree with a blender and add to the egg yolk mixture. I put it all into a deep bowl and blended it with a hand-blender.  Make sure the bowl is  very deep though or you will have bright red beetroot up the walls. 
  • Chop the prunes finely and add to the egg mixture.
  • Add the egg yolk mixture to the cooled butter and chocolate and mix well

  • Whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks.
  • Fold the egg white into the chocolate mixture.
  • Gently fold the flour and cocoa into the chocolate mixture.
  • Carefully spoon into the cake tin and put in the middle of a 180C oven for 12 to 15 minutes. 
  • Test by gently pressing the top of the cakes or inserting a skewer. 

These cupcakes are extremely rich and moist and keep well for several days.  ( I hid one to test this out). No one who has tried them so far has been able to identify either the beetroot or the prune ingredient. 

Peel and slice the remaining beets and dress with a tablespoon of olive oil, half a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of chopped dill, salt and pepper. 
For the stalks, make a dressing with half a lemon's juice, a tablespoon of olive oil, a grated garlic clove, salt and pepper.
The leaves are tasty on their own with just salt and pepper and a dash of pomegranate molasses. 

And how much was this versatile vegetable?  

Just 1 Turkish Lira. 

Warning - You may end up with a pink kitchen. 


  1. Clever you. I've never been a fan of beetroot so if you can disguise the taste (like the carrot in carrot cake) then that's marvelous. Do they (now how can I put this delicately?) still make the river run red?

  2. Beetroot mania here, husband having read that they are 'good for you'...price might also be a factor.
    I make soup in various the leaves steamed as well as the beet itself either hot or cold.
    I'd like to try the cake recipe, but he doesn't like chocolate....somewhat tactless in a place surrounded by bushes of the beans...

    1. I'm going to experiment some more so I'll try and come up with a recipe for cake without chocolate. I've been reading up on beetroot and the health benefits are surprising.

  3. What a lot of great ideas! DH and I love beetroot in salad but I've never tried baking with them. Sadly, by the time beets get to the shops here in the |UK the tops (if they still have them) are usually too wilted to be edible, but if I can get fresh-looking ones I'll try them too.

    1. I love spinach and I think the leaves taste as good as spinach.

  4. I'm not keen on beetroot but your recipes could win me over.

    1. I used to say I wasn't keen on beetroot too but I'm now a convert.

  5. . . what good ideas for something different.

    1. I bet you have access to lots of fresh beet leaves in the village.

  6. B to B, Glad to know you're a fellow pinko! How we love the beet, let us count (some of) the ways. We have been found to be rummaging through the discarded greens at the greengrocer to fish out the beet stems and leaves. Maybe they think that part is only fit for animals! Sauteed like chard with garlic and onion is particularly yummy. As for the main root part, beef borscht is a favorite soup in the wintertime. Summertime, cold borscht with potatoes is refreshing. They're good shredded raw in a salad like turnips. A beet salad similar to what you describe can often be found on our table. I can't say as we've ever tried chocolate with our beets, however. No promises there.

    1. You must be extra healthy eating all that beetroot. I like the idea of sautéing with garlic. I'll try that next market day.

  7. We also love beetroot. I don't have a cupcake tin... Oh, I do have some silicon moulds, but I'm told to keep on with the lemon drizzle cake...

    So the beetroots usually get peeled and roasted (often with balsamic drizzled over - the cheap balsamic we get in the supermarkets here is fine for that). Stems always go in soup (makes it such a lovely colour) and the leaves either go with other leaves (that get stirfried or put in boreks) or go in the soup. Everything edible in this house gets put into soup.

  8. I haven't had much luck with the silicon moulds- cakes don't seem to cook as well unless they are very small. This mixture can also be made as a single cake. I haven't made a multi leaved borek for ages - thanks for reminding me.

    1. Oh I have a silicon ring mould which works fine.... Haven't tried the little ones yet.

  9. I shall look out for beetroot at our local market this week. Not too closely, but I promise I'll look. I always feel you should do something with parsnips if you feel parsimonious...but maybe not at this time of year.
    I obviously feel very flippant so will go and make pancakes. Axxx

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