Chilled Beetroot and Orange Soup with Horseradish

Chilled Beetroot & Orange Soup with HorseradishThis recipe is part of a series of recipes featuring beetroot.

This vibrant soup uses seasonal beetroot but lifts it to new heights by the addition of sweet, sharp orange and hot, spicy horseradish.

It works well served in a bowl for lunch, in a glass as an alfresco starter or in shot glasses as a canapé or amuse bouche. Martin also enjoyed it in a glass with a slug of vodka as an alternative Bloody Mary – give it a go it might surprise you.

Was that really me talking about soup as an amuse bouche? I’ve come a long way from the tinned tomato soup of my childhood. How pretentious!

If you like your soup served more traditionally then this one can also be served hot with chunks of crusty bread to cheer you up on a wet day. There, I feel grounded in my Northern roots again now.

But it is really good chilled…

Ingredients

2 Shallots

1 Clove Garlic

1 Carrot

1 Stick of Celery

2 or 3 Sprigs of Thyme

500g cooked Beetroot (cut into chunks)

1 litre Vegetable Stock

1 Orange

Horseradish Sauce to taste

1 tbsp Olive Oil

Salt and pepper.

Method

Finely dice the shallots, garlic, carrot and celery and place in a sautee pan with the olive oil. Remove two or three strips of skin from the orange (zest only) and add to the pan with the sprigs of thyme. Sweat over a low heat until the vegetables are soft but not coloured.

Remove the woody thyme twigs and the orange peel and add the juice of the orange, the stock and the cooked beetroot. Bring to the boil and then simmer for five minutes before blending. Taste and season with the salt and pepper as required.

Set aside to cool, then chill.

You can either blend the horseradish sauce into the soup, swirl it in the bowl or serve a quenelle of it on top of the soup – however you choose to eat yours I promise you will enjoy it.

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Marinated Beetroot Salad with Goat’s Cheese

Marinated Beetroot Salad with Goats CheeseThis recipe is part of a series of recipes featuring beetroot.

Roasted beetroot, like many roasted root vegetables has an amazing natural sweetness. But, unlike its friends, it also has a rich earthy quality which works wonderfully well with a little sharp vinegar and creamy goats cheese.

My youngest daughter dislikes beetroot intensely and she has a different take on this “earthy quality” and would say that beetroot tastes like soil but I’m not sure that’s the best way to sell it to you…

Anyway, if you like beetroot and you like cheese you’ll love this simple salad which makes a lovely starter on a late summer menu.

Ingredients

1 Goat’s cheese Log or 2 round Goat’s Cheeses

4 whole, pre-roasted Beetroot

6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar

1 heaped tsp Thyme Leaves

1 tsp Honey

Salt & Pepper

Method

Slice the beetroot into thin rounds. If you want to impress with your presentation it is worth using a mandolin to get very thin, even slices.

Make the marinade by whisking together the olive oil, vinegar, thyme and honey. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour the marinade over the beetroot and cover for at least 1 hour.

Just before you are ready to serve arrange the beetroot slices on individual serving plates and drizzle over any remaining marinade.

Slice the goat’s cheese into portions and place, on a baking sheet, under a hot grill until browned and bubbling. Serve on top of the marinated beetroot. If you like you can garnish it with extra thyme or a few leaves of peppery rocket.

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Roasted Beetroot and New Potatoes with Pan-Fried Mackerel Fillets

Roasted Beetroot & New Potatoes with Pan Fried Mackerel FilletsThis recipe is part of a series of recipes featuring beetroot.

If you are looking for a simple, satisfying meal which is packed with flavour and vibrant colour then look no further. Soft roasted veg with crispy skinned mackerel and the kick of horseradish is wonderful. Dill works beautifully with both the fish and the beetroot and the fennel seeds give an additional kick of aniseed so that the flavour is not swamped by the horseradish sauce.

It delivers all the comfort of a Sunday roast without the extended stomach and excessive washing up. That sounds like a win to me.

Ingredients

250g Pre-Roasted and peeled Beetroot

250g small New Potatoes

4 Mackerel Fillets (or 2 butterfly fillets)

1 tsp Fennel Seeds

2 tbsp + 1 tsp Vegetable Oil (I use groundnut)

A handful of Dill

Horseradish Sauce

Salt & Pepper

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6

Toss the potatoes in the 2 tbsp oil, sprinkle with fennel seeds and place in the oven for around 30 minutes until cooked and lightly browned.

Cut the beetroot into wedges and add to the roasting tin, sprinkle with half the dill and return to the oven. The beetroot is already cooked so you only need to heat it through.

Brush the remaining teaspoon of oil over the skin of the mackerel fillets, season with salt and pepper and place, skin side down in a hot frying pan.

Fry until the skin is crispy and the fillets move easily in the pan. If the fillets are not quite cooked through (the flesh will be opaque) turn them over for a minute or two until done.

Pile the potatoes and beetroot onto a serving plate, season well and sprinkle over the remaining dill. Serve the mackerel fillets on top with a generous dollop of horseradish sauce.

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Beetroot and Chocolate Brownies

Beetroot & Chocolate BrowniesThis recipe is part of a series of recipes featuring beetroot.

So, round about now you are thinking that I have really lost my marbles; beetroot in brownies? How ridiculous! But before you dismiss the idea completely just think for a moment: Is it ridiculous to eat carrot cake? Is it ridiculous to eat one of your five a day in cake form? I think not and the addition of beetroot does make these brownies ridiculously tasty.

Adding beetroot helps the brownies to stay moist and sticky and also means that you don’t need to add quite so much butter as usual. Now I would never claim that they are a health food but they are starting to sound a bit more appealing aren’t they? It’s not a new idea either; beetroot has been used in chocolate cakes for years.

So how do they taste?

Well, unlike the carrots in carrot cake, you can actually taste the beetroot but, as long as you like beetroot, that’s a good thing. Chocolate and beetroot are both slightly muted flavours so they don’t compete with each other at all but simply combine to create a real density of flavour.

Whenever I cook beetroot for a savoury dish I like to liven it up with the addition of some acidity and a dessert is no different so consider serving these with some raspberries and a little natural yoghurt – delicious.

Beetroot and Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients

450g Pre-Roasted (and peeled) Beetroot

100g Butter

200g Plain Chocolate (at least 70% Cocoa solids)

250g Unrefined Golden Caster Sugar

3 Large Eggs

100g Plain Flour

25g Cocoa Powder

1 tbsp Icing Sugar (for dusting)

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180° C / 350° F / Gas Mark 4

Grease and line a 23cm x 23cm cake tin (or a 20 x 30 cm rectangular tin).

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water – making sure that the bowl does not touch the water.

Blitz the beetroot in a food processor (or blend with a stick blender) until you have a smooth puree. Continue blitzing as you pour in the melted butter and chocolate.

Put the sugar and eggs into a large bowl and whisk until pale and creamy and increased in volume. Fold in the beetroot and chocolate mix.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and fold in gently. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth into the corners. Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes. The brownies should be well risen with a lightly crusted surface and a very slight wobble under the crust.

Leave to cool in the tin and then turn out and cut into squares – sift over the icing sugar and enjoy.

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