I’ve been going beetroot crazy for the last few weeks after I bought more beetroots than I initially needed for my “Heartbeet” soup below. So I decided to experiment and have a go at a few recipes I’d been meaning to try from my ever expanding ‘Recipes To Try’ bookmark folders. The recipe that really stood out was this Chocolate Beetroot cake recipe by Nigel Slater - it’s absolutely amazing - light and fluffy, spongy and gooey all at the same time (I'm trying my best not to use the word moist!).
Be warned though, it’s one of those recipes where you need a bowl for almost every ingredient as you need to separate eggs, whip egg yolks and egg whites separately, purée beetroot, sift dry ingredients, melt chocolate, make espresso, etc. I didn’t realize quite what I was getting myself into until I was halfway through and feeling like I was eight years old again - drowning in messy bowls piling high all around me, flour flying around, chocolate absolutely everywhere… you get the picture.
But please don’t let any of that put you off, it is so worth it - especially now that you’ve been forewarned! When it comes to baking, I'm an all-in-one-bowl kinda guy myself, but there is technique to all this madness and if anything, it’s very therapeutic, with the result of course being the best chocolate cake ever. And if, like me, you’ve never tried baking with beetroot before, let me promise you - chocolate and beetroot are a perfect match, you can hardly taste the beetroot, and it just gives the chocolate cake that extra something that boosts it to the next level.
Also, for the soup, if you’re planning on making more controlled shapes with the cream, like the heart shape below, it’s best to use a piping bag for piping the cream onto the soup for fuller lines as opposed to using a teaspoon. Another tip I’ll give is if you’re peeling beetroot, make sure to wear gloves and peel them over some baking paper - that way you don’t have red stained hands as you can easily wash the red juices off the gloves, and just wrap the baking paper up and chuck it straight into the bin when you’re done.
In other news, I only just found out that I was nominated for Best Food Photographer at the Framed Awards - I had no idea until last week and was very excited to hear about this especially as all the other nominees are photographers I respect and admire so much. I found out so late in fact that voting is now closed, but I just wanted to reach out and say a big THANK YOU to all those of you that not only nominated me, but also voted for me - I'm very touched - thank you very much.
In the meantime, give these recipes a try - all are perfect for Valentine's Day - and stay tuned for more soon!