Today was a crazy day. Besides the fact that it feels like a hurricane is blowing over Weimar, I had a lot of errands to run. On one of my errands I needed to pick up a few documents. As I know what German bureaucracy is like, I had called the person who was to issue me my documents prior to going to the office. I was told it would be no problem at all as there was a very competent lady at the reception who would help me. OK!
NOT! This competent help happened to be the cliché of clichés. Barbie would have been envious of her platinum hair, her lipstick was certainly bought back in the 80s when neon pick was totally hot, and her nails were perfectly manicured with square gel tips colored in purple and a glitter stone in each nail. Just looking at her I knew I was going to hit against a wall. The only thing that was missing was the gum! Thank god for that!
Well as I approached she looked at me from head to toe. I had a meeting to attend and was dressed in a elegant skirt and top with a nice tweed coat. Next to her I looked drab! LOL! There could not have been two contrasts staring at each other. Well I told her my name and that I just needed to pick up a few documents. Then she moved - ever - so - slowl -y! Was she scared that any fast movement would blow her hair out of proportion? She turned - to - the - comp-puter and began to type - with the famous two finger technique. Her nails however, did not like this treatment and one kind of chipped off.
Horror of horrors! She decided to pay attention to her nails. I looked at her unbelievably and she shrugged! So what was I going to be bumped off for a gel fake nail on a fake blond? No! I politely brought her attention to me again and once - ag-ain- she - moved to-wards - the - computer, typed my name and looked at me again. Then she shook her head and told me to take a seat.
What does that mean? I just need to pick up two pieces of A4 papers - you do know what A4 is right?
What was my name again?
Are you for real?
Well I was glad I had the telephone number of the person I talked to before I came and called him from my mobile. Miss Fake Nails looked kind of alarmed and began scuttling around, trying to look busy. Finally, the person who came down found my papers, lying under her InStyle, she gave me a dirty look and I smiled, picked up the chipped nail from off the floor and gave it to her, walking out of the office.
That was 45 minutes down the drain - 45 minutes for a 15 minute job. Still - it was a priceless experience. Before I get attacking mails from all the Barbie look-a-likes, please allow me to say this: I do not care how one dresses or looks like. It does not bother me if someone's sense of style is très chic or très drab. What does bother me is when that someone takes my time for granted and what peeves me off is when someone cannot even see past their fingernails to do a simple job like hand me a few papers.
There! Phew! That was good - I needed to vent.
Now where I do not mind spending time is in the kitchen. We all know that by now, right? I find that in comparison to the lovely lady from above, the beetroot is the exact opposite. On the outside it looks rough and rather knobbly, but inside holds a wonderful crimson shade - an inner beauty. It's a modest looking veggie with no airs about it. Not an easy vegetable to fall in love with but you are either a beetroot fan or not.
I often think beetroot is under-rated. There is so much more to beetroot than the sliced, pickled variety you can get in supermarkets. If you give the fresh variety a try I am sure you will be converted!
The flavor is delicate and they're easy to cook and grow. For most of us in the western part of the world, beetroot went out of fashion a long time ago. It is a messy vegetable to deal with. The juices can stain clothes and hands, it often arrives covered in soil, needs a lot of cleaning and of course people don't know how long it needs to cook. On the other hand its health benefits are legendary.
Beetroot is in season from around May to October, although many think of it as a winter vegetable, because it's a root crop. Both the root and the leaves can be eaten, however, only a few of us have probably tried the leaves. The beetroot belongs to the same family as spinach and chard, the difference being that with beetroot both the leaves and root can be eaten.
You can eat the root raw or cooked. Baby beetroot are delicious grated raw, in salads. Raw beetroot contains a large amount of vitamin C. However, this reduces with cooking.
Beet greens, which can be used in salads and stir frys, are higher in nutritional value than the roots as they are a richer source of calcium, iron and vitamins A & C. The roots are a very good source of folic acid, fibre, manganese and potassium, whereas both the greens and roots are rich in magnesium, phosphorous, iron and vitamin B6.
The pigments on the beetroot come from compounds known as betalains, which are thought to have powerful and diverse antioxidant effects, including preventing the oxidisation of LDL cholesterol.
Beetroot also has stimulating effects on the liver's detoxification processes. The betacyanin content gives beetroot its rich purple - crimson color and is a potent cancer - fighting agent. Beetroot's fibre promotes both healthy cholesterol levels and bowel function.
Selecting & Storing
Look for fresh beetroot that is unblemished, with firm roots. Damaged beetroot are still edible, but won't store well. As beetroot ages, the roots start to shrivel and eventually go moldy. Small to medium-sized roots have the sweetest flavor, whereas the larger roots may have a woody center.
You can store beetroot in the fridge or on a cool, dark shelf. It will normally keep for a few weeks when it's young and fresh. It depends how long it has already been stored before you get it.
Usually when you buy fresh beetroot it will still have the leaves and stalks attached. To cook the beetroot simply cut off the stalks but make sure you leave some of the stalk in tact. By doing this it will help to stop the beetroot from losing it's color when you cook it and helps to hold in the nutrients.
Printable version of recipe here.
1 kg small beetroot, washed and quartered
1 tablespoon butter - melted
Coarse sea salt
1 bunch chives, chopped
200g apples, grated
2 teaspoons horseradish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
400g quark - use sour cream as a substitute
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Pour the lemon juice over the grated apple juice to keep from turning brown.
Mix the butter and salt together and brush the beetroot quarters with it. Place the beetroot on a baking tray and bake for approx. 1 hour or until they are soft.
In the meantime, prepare the dip by mixing together quark, cream, horseradish and honey in a small bowl. Add the grated apple and chives, salt and pepper to taste. Cool.
Once the beetroot is ready gently peel off the skin and serve, sprinkled with sea salt and the apple-horseradish dip.
- Use thin rubber gloves when working with the beetroot as these will protect your hands from taking on a funny color.
- If you are not a beetroot fan substitute with rutabaga. The rutabaga however will take about 30 minutes in the oven.
- Serve the beetroot sliced and allow to bake more crispy. This makes great chips-like snacks.
This is a fantastic snack kind of dish. I love serving this for my brunch parties as it's a wonderful variation to potatoes. I love the sweet flavors of the beetroot combined with the slightly sharp aroma of the dip. The first time I served this a few of my guests did not even suspect it was beetroot. When they asked me what they were eating - they really looked surprised at the fact that a vegetable they had disliked all their lives tasted so good.
That is the thing with beetroot many of us have some terrible memories of slimy, overcooked beetroot dish they ate when they were younger. I am enjoying experimenting and trying out new recipes with it. Even Tom is always a little skeptical when I serve beetroot, however I love the fact he is open about food. As is Soeren, who absolutely loves this. This is his "movie-time" snack, which he gobbles up within minutes.
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