Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You can't beat Beetroot.

Beetroot is common as muck in Australia. A tin of beetroot in your cupboard pretty well guarantees you don't subscribe to Gourmet Traveller. When I was a child and Australia was still bereft of a decent cuisine, (that is before the Italians and Asians began to arrive in numbers) a salad was a limp lettuce leaf, a chunk of tomato and a slice of tinned beetroot sans olive oil. You could only buy that at the chemist! The beetroot used to bleed across the plate like a murder had been committed - and it had - it was the death of good taste.

There is only one exception, even today, there is no such thing as a Great Hamburger without a slice of pickled beetroot.

Of course you can't buy pickled beetroot in Tuscany and I was hanging out, so HWEM planted a small crop, then a few days ago when I was dreaming about the wonderful painting I was about to begin, he entered the kitchen, trekking his usual trail of compost and old chicken poo, dumped a pile of beetroot on the sink and gave me a tender look that I knew immediately meant 'Start pickling woman!'


... and that is where all my creativity has gone.

13 comments:

Annika said...

That's interesting, because pickled beetroot is one of the staples in traditional Swedish food too. I wonder if it tastes the same? Ours is sweet'n'sour with a hint of clove; very fresh and tasty. Oh, and baby beetroots, boiled in lightly salted water with a little butter on top... absolutely delicious! The leaves can be eaten too, used pretty much like spinach.

Hm. Remind me again why I don't eat beetroots more often? They're great!!!

Robyn said...

Annika - Yes, I put cloves and sugar with the vinegar in mine too. And I've discovered I love the fresh leaves steamed and drizzled with olive oil.

Liz P said...

I can't believe I've never tried pickled beetroot (or just pickled beets, as we call them here) on a burger! My next grilled burger gets one!

I just love this blog, Robyn. Your artwork, Tuscany, preserves and pickles, gardening, familiar stories ( I had a very similar chicken egg experience years ago!), and your photos... all wonderful!

mARTa said...

I love beets! But not sure if beetroot is the same but imagine it is. I've only ever bought it canned and put it in salads....it sounds wonderful the way you've prepared it. I, alas am not creating and can't believe it's been over a week and not even a pencil sketch has come forth from my hand....it's summer, hot and I'm enjoying life!

Karen Cole said...

Ever had yellow beets? They are delicious. Never had beet root( though I think the beets themselves are the root???), I assume it is the leaf attached to the top of a fresh beet that you are painting.

The journal page is great.

Katherine said...

I've got some beetroot salad in the fridge and it's lovely. Mind you it's from Waitrose and I still have to work out how to make it - but mine has got orange pieces in it.

Katherine said...

I wonder if beetroot juice is archival? ;)

Joan said...

I've never had beetroot, but it sounds interesting. I like the painting of it. It reminds me of some of those little "gourmet" lettuce leaves you see in all the salads here. Ciao!

Robyn said...

Liz - Thank you, and I enjoyed discovering your blog.

Marta - I think beetroot and beets are the same thing. I beginning to think winter is the most productive time for painting.

Karen - Yes, I've had the yellow ones here - roasted. Beautiful to look at, beautiful to eat.

Katherine - It would be beautiful with orange. I must remember that. And I'm sure it's archival. Have you ever tried to get it out of a white tablecloth? Maybe that's my new medium - beetroot! ;)

Claudia said...

...oh, this is so good what you wrote about beetroot!!!(And the sketch, too!)"The beetroot used to bleed across the plate..." -I had to laugh so much and remebered childhood days when we ate beetroot salad with fried potatoes!

Robyn said...

Claudia - Thank you for your lovely comment.

Sue said...

Oh Robyn, how timely I have just been telling Jeanne how beetroot is a an Aussie staple and she told me about your Blog, great leaf. By the way - if you like orange in your salad I read a recipe for cooking beets in OJ & water with cinnamon, nutmeg (or whatever takes your fancy), Its from a natural cookbook that I no longer have but when I did them they were delicious

Robyn said...

Hi Sue, I'll try a version of your beets in OJ when next we have some. Many thanks for visiting. It's such a shame you don't have an email reply. I'm trying to work out who you are and where you are.

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