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Melissa Corkhill

By Melissa Corkhill

04th June 2009

The root vegetable, beetroot, is fun for children to cook with because of its dark, red flesh which can be used as a natural food colour. You can add it to homemade pasta and it will give a lovely colour to soups explains Fi Bird.

Melissa Corkhill

By Melissa Corkhill

04th June 2009

Melissa Corkhill

By Melissa Corkhill

04th June 2009

One of the least messy ways to prepare beetroots is to bake them in a medium hot oven hot (375ºF, 190ºC, Gas Mark 5, Fan 170ºC) for about an hour or until they are tender. If you can, try and time this alongside baking something else such as bread or jacket potatoes. Allow the beetroots to cool before peeling the skin off. You can also steam or boil beetroot. Beetroots will take about 30-40 minutes to cook if you boil them. For even (the same) cooking time, chose vegetables of the same size.

To stop the beetroots from bleeding when you cook them; cut off the leaves above the stalk and be careful not to tear the skin (leave the peel on). You can peel raw beetroot and then grate it, to add colour and crunch to salads. Add cooked beetroot as late as you dare, because it will turn everything pink as the beetroot juice bleeds into the other ingredients.

Beetroot can be used for savoury and sweet recipes. Here are two recipes for your children to try at home.

Pink Mash
Ingredients:
150g beetroots
600g (4/5) potatoes
15g butter
Freshly grated pepper
75ml -100ml milk

What to do:
1. Bake or boil the beetroots. Allow 30 -45 minutes in boiling water or bake for 1 -2 hours. Peel the skin and cut the beetroot into small chunks.
2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into equal sized chunks (even size for the same cooking time).Cook in boiling water for 12 minutes (or until the potatoes are soft – test with a knife). Add the cooked beetroot for the last 2 minutes of potato cooking time.
3. Strain the vegetables and return them to the pan. Use a masher to mash the potato and beetroot together. Add the butter, freshly ground pepper and enough milk to make a creamy pink mash.
N.B. You can use ready prepared beetroot, if you are short of time.

Beetroot and Chocolate Muffins
Makes 12
Ingredients:
200g self raising flour
75g Fairtrade cocoa powder
225g unrefined caster sugar
2 eggs
200ml corn oil
250g pureed cooked beetroot (about 4 cooked beetroots)

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 375F 190?C 170ºC Fan Gas Mark 5
1. Line a 12 mould muffin tray with muffin cases.
2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the sugar and mix all of the dry ingredients together.
3. Break the eggs into a bowl and use a fork to whisk in the measured corn oil. Add the beetroot to the beaten eggs and oil and whisk well.
4. Add the beetroot (liquid) mixture to the dry ingredients and mix everything together until it is ‘just’ mixed.
5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the muffins are well risen.
6. Remove the muffins from the tin and put on a wire rack to cool.

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