Beetroot & Orange Bread/Cake

A couple of weeks ago we picked the very last of the beetroot, Devoy, a heritage variety we saved seed from last year. They were smaller roots but still tasty, and they shouldn’t have survived so long in the ground. If we’d had any real cold weather they would have perished. But, no, they hung on, so we decided to make something with them, to celebrate their tenacity:

Over time I’ve developed a gluten free bread recipe & tend to use whatever oranges we have, so rarely weigh them, but I aim to use fruit or veg that weigh approximately 4-6 oz. although, don’t worry too much if its over that weight.
I always thought of this as a bread/cake until Teresa tried some & said it tasted like soda bread. And then when I was looking through the soda breads section in English Bread and yeast Cookery I came across a reference to ‘[…] soda bread is called in most parts of Ireland-cake or ‘a cake of bread’ […]

My bread/cake.
Ingredients:

1 orange.
3 small beetroot.
9 ozs. mixed rice flour/cornmeal/gluten free bread flour. Try different combinations of flours to see which you prefer (the bread/cake in the photograph is made with mainly cornmeal and a little left over rice flour).
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.
1 medium egg.
Salt
Milk.

Method

  • Heat the oven to mark 7, 425 F, 220 C.
  • If you have a food processor, process the orange, after giving it a good scrub, and peeled raw beetroot; if you don’t have a processor, juice the orange, and mince the pulp, then grate the beetroot, into a large bowl. The results will be different, but equally tasty.
  • Combine flours, bicarb & salt & add to processed fruit & veg.
  • Mix all ingredients, adding egg and enough milk to make a dropping consistency.
  • Pour into a square 6-7” cake tin; bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until risen & a skewer comes out clean.
  • Eat within a couple of days, like soda bread this bread/cake doesn’t last.

 

gluten free soda bread_cake

 

 

 

Winter Garden

We had a good summer, but that seems an age ago now, a wonderful summer, glorious weather and abundant harvests, we’ve fed ourselves from the allotment, at least in staples. And now we’re picking the last of the fennel and beetroot. The chard’s slowed down but should keep producing as long as we don’t get any prolonged frosts. The Kale is doing well and we have leeks to pick.

We’ve found this delicious recipe, which Denis has modified for a gluten free diet:

Beetroot & Caramelised Onion Tart
Adapted from BBC Good Food: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1111644/beet-and-caramelised-onion-tart

INGREDIENTS

175g rice flour
100g buckwheat flakes or rice & buckwheat flakes
100g butter
100g grated carrots
3 large onions, sliced
3 medium raw beetroot, peeled and grated
3 medium eggs
250ml milk
Couple of serving spoons of Greek Yoghurt (optional)

Method

  • Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  • In a food processor grate the carrot. Set aside.
  • Pulse the flour, rice flakes and butter in a food processor until crumb-like, add the grated carrot and continue to process until the mixture comes together to form a ball. Alternatively rub the butter into the dry ingredients, add the carrots and press together until a ball is formed.
  • Carefully roll out the pastry and line a metal 25cm pizza dish or shallow tart case. The pastry may break up but don’t worry, it’s easily patched up when you’re putting it into the case.
  • Alternatively roll out the pastry on a sheet of cling film & ease it into the tart case. Chill for 30 mins.
  • Gently cook the onions in oil until beginning to caramelise.
  • Place the beetroot in the pastry case and cover with the onions.
  • Whisk the eggs, milk (& yoghurt if using) together, season and pour over the onions and beetroot.
  • Bake in the oven, lowering to 160C/140C fan/ gas 3 after 15 mins, for 40 mins or until firm and golden.

We’ve found that the mixture of rice flour & buckwheat flakes produces a wonderfully light crumbly pastry.

allotment winter

 

 

Beetroot: a love/hate relationship

My memories of beetroot are stained with the sour taste of it boiled, then pickled in malt vinegar, served on Sundays as part of our tea, along with boiled eggs, lettuce and cucumber, the egg yolk stained purple by the vinegar. My mother grew beetroot to pickle and to boil for salads; I refused to touch it once I left home, traumatised by these formative experiences.

Yet, its relative lack of pests, other than pigeons who peck the tops off if you forget to net the plants, and the occasional slug, makes beetroot such a lovely vegetable to grow. Full of vitamins, with white, yellow, orange and red varieties, the leaves also make an excellent green to eat. The Romans brought white beetroot to Britain, and you can get seeds of an open-pollinated white variety from Real Seeds in Pembrokeshire.

This recipe was the one that truly converted me to voluntarily eating beetroot; rather like a bright purple hummus, it livens up a salad, is wonderful with baked potatoes, and delicious in pittas with lettuce, or as a spread.

This is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. In her introduction, she tells us that a young nun called Protokliki, or ‘First Called’, in the Ormylia Monastery in Macedonia gave her the recipe. We make it without the bread, as Denis can’t eat wheat, or gluten of any sort. We bake the roots, rather than boil them – I’m obviously still traumatised by the thought of boiled beetroot. Very rich due to the walnuts, with an earthy flavour, a little goes a long way – it also stains clothes quite permanently if made with red beetroot. Simple and quick to make, weights are more a guide than exact – just pop everything into a food processor and taste as you mix.

beetroot [1]

Macedonian Beetroot Salad, or Pantzarosalata

Ingredients
180 gm/ 6oz of raw beetroot – can weigh slightly more as it will be peeled.
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
30 gm/1oz of cooked potato [The alternative is the same weight of stale bread]
1 clove of garlic, peeled – I don’t think this is enough and we usually add at least 2/3 large cloves
6 tablespoons good olive oil (cold pressed, not light)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt – or to taste

Method
Bake the whole beetroot wrapped in foil, allow to cool; the skin should peel off really easily, just don’t wear anything too light as it will stain. Your fingers will definitely stain.

Put the peeled beetroot, walnuts, potato, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and salt into a food processor. Blend until smooth – it should have a similar consistency to hummus.  Enough for six people.