Friday, 24 October 2008

Beet It

I grew up eating a relatively narrow range of vegetables, based pretty much on what my Dad liked: potatoes, corn, carrots, green beans, lettuce, green peppers, cucumbers, celery and the occasional sweet potato. I was 21 and married before I ever ate broccoli or cauliflower (with cheese sauce) or mushrooms (sauteed, on top of a steak) at my brother-in-law's house in Nashville. Later I investigated a few others like spinach, eggplant (aubergine), peas (frozen) and zucchini (courgettes) in the course of trying to learn to cook and sometimes to garden.

I had to move to England to experience leeks, parsnips, chard, rhubarb, savoy cabbage, shallots, Brussel sprouts, celeriac, fennel,
asparagus, squashes, red onions and real pumpkins (not canned). To a large extent this is about being more adventurous the older I get, but also because things like leeks and parsnips are run of the mill over here.

I've just discovered a new vegetable. I'm sure you know all about it already, but I'm really excited, as it's probably one of the 'superfoods', only please don't spread the word as the price will go up.

I've tried to make carrots and broccoli a major part of our diet as they are so good for you. All veg is good for you, but some are mainly good because of the fibre they provide and the fact they are low calorie. Others are good because they have excellent nutritional value and most people know these days that those are easily identified because they are colourful.

Meet the beetroot. Nothing I've ever seen matches the amazing, practically dayglo red of a beet. Margaret from the sewing circle brought extra beets one day and I took a couple home. Before this, I'd only ever eaten pickled beets, which were OK but nothing to blog about (I started to say 'write home about' but this is what I'm doing, isn't it?). The ladies recommended warm cooked beetroot as much nicer to eat.

I found a soup recipe that sounded easy enough and it turned out beautifully
(but be warned, once peeled beetroot stains everything it touches, almost immediately; hence the plastic mats to protect the tablecloth). This is the recipe.

Red Onion and Beetroot Soup (serves 6; 76 calories)

Ingredients 10ml/2 tsp olive oil
350g/12oz red onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
275g/10oz cooked beetroot, cut into sticks
1.25 litres/2 pints/5 cups vegetable stock or water (I used the water I boiled the beets in plus more water and added vegetable buillion powder to make up the 5 cups)
50g/2oz/1 cup cooked soup pasta (I just used regular pasta twists)
30 ml/2 TBSP raspberry vinegar (I didn't have any so omitted)
salt and black pepper
low fat yogurt and snipped chives, to garnish (I only had the yogurt on hand)

1. Heat olive oil and add onions and garlic; cook gently for about 20 minutes or until soft and tender.
2. Add beetroot, stock or water, cooked pasta shapes and vinegar; heat through.
3 Adjust seasoning (I guess they mean salt & pepper) to taste. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each one with a spoonful of yogurt and sprinkel with snipped chives. Serve piping hot.

I had planned to show you the book on Amazon, but I can't be certain I've found it. I think this is the link. The title is Fat-Free Cooking - Guilt free food that is full of flavour, edit by Anne Sheasby. Bill bought it for me ages ago and I didn't give it much more thought, mainly because it presents calorie info in Kcals and kJs which I found confusing (Kcals = calories). I picked it up the other day looking for what to do with beets and some spices I bought but rarely used. I'll be doing much more cooking from this book, I think.

My seasonal foods list says the beetroot is available year round but at its best the few months. Though I think he approached with some uncertainty, Bill gave it the thumbs up and was well impressed. I do think there is more to food photography than I've figured out yet, but you get the idea...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your soup looks good. You are lucky you have Bill who will try anything and eat most. Rick is strictly meat and potatoes with a couple of carrots thrown in.