Whenever attainable, I favor to depart the pores and skin on greens, however boiled beetroot skins are unappetisingly papery. So I remodel them into a vivid pure meals dye to use in each candy and savoury dishes by dehydrating them in a single layer within the oven (ideally do that alongside different meals to save on vitality), earlier than cooling and grinding to an all however imperishable powder.
In reality, the whole beetroot plant is edible, with every separate half nutritious and distinctive in its personal method. The leaves can be cooked like any leafy green, whereas an abundance of stalks could be turned into a quite particular sweet. To make it, put the stalks in a small saucepan, measure out sufficient water simply to cowl them by half, noting the quantity in millilitres, then add the identical quantity of sugar in grams. Bring to a boil and cook dinner till the sugar has thickened into a soft-crack toffee (ie, when it hits 132-143C). Lift out the items of caramelised stalk, organize them spaced aside on a lined tray and depart to cool and harden. Store in a clear, hermetic jar or related, and use to adorn desserts resembling at present’s cake.
Beetroot nemesis cake
Inspired by the River Cafe’s iconic chocolate nemesis cake, I got here up with this to showcase how scrumptious beetroot could be in its entirety. As within the River Cafe recipe, this cake is irresistibly chocolatey, however the addition of beetroot provides it a deep, ruby-red color and intriguing depth of flavour. I first cooked it at a meals waste banquet I co-created in 2011, and it’s nonetheless a favorite of mine at present. At that occasion, which we known as The Forgotten Feast, we reworked a warehouse belonging to FareShare, the UK’s largest meals redistribution charity, into a restaurant for the weekend. It was a enjoyable occasion, and a turning level in my profession that led to my give attention to sustainability, regenerative agriculture and even this column. That weekend, we saved a whole lot of kilos of meals from being wasted, and the assets that went into producing it and the proceeds went on to assist FareShare save many hundreds extra meals. It was a life-changing second that helped me realise that whilst people we actually could make a distinction.
Enjoy this cake with or with out the beetroot pores and skin powder and candied stalks: it’s decadent, wealthy and comforting both method. It retains very well within the fridge, so is a nice cake to make prematurely for dinner events. It units effectively in a single day and cuts finest when chilly. It’s very wealthy and candy, so serve in small parts with thick yoghurt or creme fraiche to reduce the sweetness.
180g darkish chocolate
3 giant eggs
150g unrefined sugar
150g boiled beetroot
To serve (all optionally available)
Thick yoghurt or creme fraiche, beetroot pores and skin powder, candied beetroot stalks
Line a 20cm spherical tin with greaseproof paper. Put the lined tin inside a bigger tray through which it may well sit comfortably, to make a bain-marie. In a bowl set over a pan of scorching however not boiling water, soften collectively the chocolate and butter. Meanwhile, in a second bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar for 5 to 10 minutes, till doubled in quantity. Puree the beetroot in a blender, fold this into the melted chocolate combine, then fold the lot into the whisked eggs.
Pour into the lined cake tin, then switch it, nonetheless contained in the bigger tray, to a 170C (150C fan)/325F/gasoline 3 oven, and fill the outer tray with sufficient boiling water to come three-quarters of the best way up the perimeters of the cake tin. Bake for about half-hour, till simply set, then take away, depart to cool and refrigerate.
Cut into small wedges and serve dusted with a pinch of beetroot pores and skin powder, topd with a few candied beetroot stalks and accompanied by a giant dollop of yoghurt or creme fraiche.