beetroot, beach & roses

I made beetroot cake from Pam Blowers' recipe in the July/August 2011 issue of Organic NZ. The original recipe has various sweetener and flour options; I've listed what I used.

300g grated beetroot
1 C brown sugar
1/2 t vanilla essence
3/4 C olive oil
2 eggs
1 C wholemeal flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 C cocoa
1/4 C chia gel (whisk the 1/4 C of water with a heaped teaspoon of chia seeds to form a suspension of the seeds - I did this by putting it all in a small jar and shaking it)
1/3 C ground almonds - I used almond flour
1/3 C ground sunflower seeds

1. Beat sugar, oil, eggs. Add vanilla essence and beetroot. Mix.
2. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa.
3. Add ground almonds and sunflower seeds and chia gel.
4. Mix to just combined - do not overmix.
Pour into greased 20cm square pan. Bake at 180 celsius for 35-40 minutes until firm to touch.

It tasted good. My pan was 20cm x 28cm so it was more like beetroot brownie than classically shaped cake. The texture suits brownie-ness. I don't think the flavour is just right but I'm not exactly sure what is missing. Next time (it's definitely worth making again) I shall add a pinch of salt and some mixed spice.

During much of the rest of a very beautiful sunny day, I gardened. I weeded the creeping buttercup mini hedge. According to some organic gardeners, all weeds perform some kind of valuable function in an environment. Creeping buttercup thrives in compacted, acid soils. I don't know about the acid part, but the shape of its root structure means that it does break up the soil, particularly as it is weeded out. Unlike its partner in crime, dock, it is fairly easy to weed out with the aid of a fork. I buried bokashi in the trench where the buttercup used to be, and sprinkled some lettuce and welsh bunching onion seed on top. The seed is past its best-by date but I thought I would scatter it on the ground rather than throwing it in the rubbish.

Then I went to prune the roses along the red fence. Prune is rather a fancy word for trying to slash the jungle. But I couldn't find the secateurs anywhere and I know I had them last and lost them. Ooops. Brighid and I set off for Mitre 10 to buy some very bright red secateurs which would be harder to lose. Somehow we managed to bring home even more iceland poppies for the garden, which I planted in a curve around my salad greens garden. Back home, I filled a cardboard box with prunings and made a small inroad into the rose jungle.

But before we got home, we stopped to feed the ducks. The sense of space (and the literal space) so close to our amenities (that's the hospital in the left background) still amazes me. I remember in 2006 Mum driving Fionn and I into our new town, our new life, and wondering how I would adjust to all the space, the odd spread-outness and seemingly isolated houses after London life. I did.

We also spent time on the cycle way. Our end is still just a rough bulldozed track, but a huge pile of gravel in the distance promises that improvements are not far away.

Kale for dinner. Like breathing, y'know [except for takeaways nights]. Slice an onion. Chop sausages into 3-4 pieces each. Wash and chop kale. Sautee onion in olive oil. Add sausages. Put lid on frying pan and turn down low. After a while, add the washed kale and some splashes of balsamic vinegar. I served it with raw carrots (there is some kind of religious taboo on cooked carrots as far as my children are concerned) and potato wedges, which had paprika, lemon and pepper (that very useful packet premix stuff) and turmeric and olive oil on them. Between the turmeric (anti-inflammatory and other good things I forget about right now) and the ingredients in the beetroot cake, I think I did quite well on sliding extra good stuff in without fanfare today.


Beetroot cake is sounds unknown cake. This good tasted cake food sounds yummy to me.

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