Cakes & Bakes: Chocolate and beetroot cake

Slice of home-made chocolate and beetroot cake | H is for Home

We’re still in the throes of our love affair with the humble beetroot! The two previous recipes we shared here were savoury bread products. Today it’s a chocolate and beetroot cake.

Grating fresh beetroot | H is for Home

I borrowed a recipe from Jamie Oliver – it’s a ‘healthy eating’ one that he devised for cooking with children.

Melting chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of water | H is for Home

Instead of flour, it contains ground almonds and there’s a minimal amount of sugar as the beetroot gives sweetness.

Separated egg yolks, grated beetroot and dry ingredients | H is for Home

The beetroot also gives it a deep and slightly earthy flavour – and works surprisingly well with chocolate.

Chocolate and beetroot cake batter in a loose-bottom cake tin | H is for Home

It doesn’t have a light and airy consistency, it’s more like brownie than sponge cake – even with carefully folding in the egg whites…

Cooked chocolate and beetroot cake cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

…not that I’m complaining – it was really, really good!

Home-made chocolate and beetroot cake with chocolate drizzled over the top | H is for Home

If you have kids (or even adults!) that won’t eat their vegetables – this is a wonderfully clandestine way of sneaking some into their diet!

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest for later!

Chocolate and beetroot cake
Ingredients
  1. 300g/10½oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  2. 250g/9oz raw beetroot
  3. 4 large free-range eggs
  4. 150g/5¼oz golden caster sugar
  5. 120g/4¼oz ground almonds
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. 1 tbsp cocoa powderHome-made chocolate and beetroot cake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4
  2. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 20cm/8" spring-form cake tin
  3. Use scissors to cut out a circle of greaseproof paper, roughly the same size as the bottom of the tin, and use it to line the base
  4. Break 200g of the chocolate up into small pieces and add to a heatproof bowl
  5. Place the bowl on top of a small pan of simmering water over a medium heat, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water, and allow to melt, stirring occasionally
  6. Once melted, carefully remove from the heat and set aside
  7. Peel & grate the beetroot then tip it into a large mixing bowl
  8. Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a large clean mixing bowl and adding the yolks to the beetroot
  9. Stir the sugar, almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and melted chocolate into the beetroot and combine well
  10. Whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks
  11. Using a spatula, fold ¼ of the egg whites into the beetroot mixture to loosen then, once combined, fold in the rest trying not to over mix
  12. Add the mixture to the prepared cake tin and spread out evenly using a spatula
  13. Bake for around 50 minutes, or until risen and cooked through
  14. To check if it's done, insert a skewer into the middle. If it comes away clean the cake's cooked
  15. Allow the cake to cool slightly, then carefully turn it out on to a wire rack to cool completely
  16. Once cool, melt the rest of the chocolate (in the same way as above), and drizzle over the top
Notes
  1. Serve with crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt
Print
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Beetroot and goats cheese pizza

Home-made beetroot and goats cheese pizza | H is for Home

We were sent a pizza steel kit to review last week and thought we’d give it its first trial in this week’s Cakes & Bakes post.

Pizza steel kit | H is for Home

It’s a pizza steel, so of course that was going to be the thing we made! After making last week’s loaf we had some left-over ingredients so we thought beetroot and goats cheese pizza would be a great choice – waste not, want not! And we always have batches of home made tomato sauce in the freezer… we’ll share that recipe next week as it’s a very flexible and useful staple to have available.

Pizza dough in a steel mixing bowl | H is for Home

The kit is available in two sizes (depending on the width of your oven) and comprises a steel, a pair of aluminium combi peels for preparing the pizzas and a stainless steel dough cutter.

Pizza dough and Pizza Steel dough cutter | H is for Home

Prior to use, the steel needed to be ‘seasoned‘. This entails it being wiped all over with some kitchen roll impregnated with olive or rapeseed oil and putting it into a hot oven (250ºC) for an hour. Once that’s been done it keeps the steel non-stick, makes it easier to clean and stops it from rusting. So long as you maintain it properly by not washing it in soapy water, keeping it dry and resealing it with oil when necessary.

Pizza dough shaped on Pizza Steel piza steel | H is for Home

Before using it to cook your pizza, it needs to be preheated in the oven for 45 minutes (a pizza stone needs up to twice that length of time to achieve the correct heat).

Dressed beetroot and goats cheese pizza prior to going into the oven | H is for Home

Even if you don’t make pizza that frequently, the steel can be used to make home-made loaves, rolls, baguettes… any sort of bread product.

Detail of the crust from a home-made beetroot and goats cheese pizza on a Pizza Steel steel | H is for Home

Prior to using the pizza steel, our home-made pizzas usually take about 25 minutes to cook. This batch of beetroot and goats cheese pizza took a mere 12-15 minutes – and the base and crust had a far superior texture.

Slices of home-made beetroot and goats cheese pizza | H is for Home

We can’t recommend the pizza steel highly enough for producing professional looking and tasting pizzas. In fact, we can safely say it’s going to revolutionise our pizza and bread making!

What’s your favourite pizza topping(s)?

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Beetroot and goats cheese pizza
Yields 2
Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
For the pizza bases (makes 2)
  1. 450g/16oz Italian Tipo 00 flour
  2. 300ml/10½fl oz warm water
  3. 10g/⅓oz fresh or dried yeast
  4. 25ml/1fl oz olive oil
  5. 10g/⅓oz salt
For the topping
  1. 200ml/7fl oz tomato sauce
  2. 125g/4½oz goats cheese log, sliced
  3. 1 raw beetroot, peeled and sliced thinly
  4. 6tsp pesto (or my nettle pesto)Home-made beetroot and goats cheese pizza ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Place the flour in a mixing bowl fitted with the dough hook attachment
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add to the bowl
  3. Mix at slow speed until you achieve a dough texture
  4. Cover with cling film or a large clear plastic bag and rest for an hour
  5. Add the olive oil and salt to the dough and mix slowly for a further 4 minutes
  6. Rest for ½ hour
  7. Shape the pizza and leave to prove for 12 minutes
  8. Add the tomato sauce, and other toppings and bake at 230ºC/ 450ºF/Gas mark 8 on a pizza steel for 25 minutes
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
Have a look at this Pizza Steel clip – doesn’t it just make you want to get baking?!

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Cakes & Bakes: Beetroot loaf

Home-made beetroot loaf | H is for Home

My Pinterest stream is always full of food photos – predominately cake, fudge, biscuits and bread. One in particular caught my eye last week… a beetroot loaf. The colour is amazing and I love beetroot anyway.

Grated beetroot, yeast mixture and mixing bowl of strong bread flour | H is for Home

I had a search through many of my cook books and finally found a beetroot loaf recipe in Bread. The recipe is designed for electric bread-makers (there’s a whole section of bread-maker recipes in the book if that’s your preferred way of making bread!) but it’s fine to use if you’re making it by hand.

Ball of beetrot loaf dough | H is for Home

Just mix the yeast and sugar in the water using a small measuring jug or cup, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl making a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture and bring together roughly. Chuck in the beetroot, spring onions and butter (I omitted the last two ingredients) then knead well for about 10 minutes. Cover the mixing bowl in cling film (or put it inside a big clear [reusable] plastic bag like I do). Allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, punch down and put it into a loaf tin or well-floured banneton. Allow to double in size again before (transferring from the banneton to a greased oven tray) baking in a preheated oven at 220ºC/425ºF/Gas mark 7 for 30-40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when knocked on the base.

Home-made beetroot loaf with wooden handled bread knife | H is for Home

It was beautiful and absolutely delicious! Slightly sweet with a slightly earthy flavour. I had it with goats cheese and horseradish and Justin had the same in addition to a char-grilled sirloin steak.

Click here or the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Home-made beetroot loaf | H is for Home

Beetroot loaf
SMALL
  1. 150ml/5fl oz/⅔ cup water
  2. 140g/5oz/1 cup grated raw beetroot
  3. 2 spring onions, chopped
  4. 375g/13oz/3¼ cups unbleached white bread flour
  5. 15g/½oz/1tbsp butter
  6. 1½tsp salt
  7. 1tsp granulated sugar
  8. 1tsp easy-blend (rapid-rise) dried yeast
MEDIUM
  1. 170ml/6fl oz/¾ cup water
  2. 225g/8oz/1½ cup grated raw beetroot
  3. 3 spring onions, chopped
  4. 500g/1lb 2oz/4½ cups unbleached white bread flour
  5. 25g/1oz/2tbsp butter
  6. 2tsp salt
  7. 1tsp granulated sugar
  8. 1tsp easy-blend (rapid-rise) dried yeast
LARGE
  1. 280ml/1ofl oz/1¼ cup water
  2. 280g/10oz/2 cups grated raw beetroot
  3. 4 spring onions, chopped
  4. 675g/1 ½lbs/6 cups unbleached white bread flour
  5. 40g/1½oz/3tbsp butter
  6. 2tsp salt
  7. 1½tsp granulated sugar
  8. 1½tsp easy-blend (rapid-rise) dried yeast
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Pour the water into the bread pan. Sprinkle over the grated beetroot. If the instructions for your machine specify that the yeast is to be placed in the pan first, reverse the order in which you add the liquid mixture and dry ingredients
  2. Add the chopped spring onions. However, if your bread machine offers you the option of adding any extra ingredients during the kneading cycle, set the spring onions aside so that you may add them later on
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the beetroot and water, ensuring it covers them both. Add the butter, salt and sugar in separate corners. Make a small indent in the centre of the flour (but not down as far as the liquid) and add the yeast
  4. Set the bread machine to the basic/normal setting, medium crust. Press start. If you like, slash the top of the loaf with diagonal slashes just before the baking cycle starts
  5. Remove at the end of the baking cycle and turn out on to a wire rack
Notes
  1. If you prefer an all-over red loaf rather than speckled, purée the raw beetroot in a mini-food processor instead of grating it
Print
Adapted from Bread
Adapted from Bread
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Viva Vegetables

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Viva Vegetables medium tote bags

Win one of these gorgeous tote bags – they’re from the Viva Vegetables range, one of the new Spring 2015 collections from the folks at Talented.

Even if you’re a complete carnivore, you’ll love this quirky range of colourful canvas bags. They’re both attractive and versatile.

Talented is an eco-company based in Sheffield specialising in creatively driven, sustainable accessories and tote bags. The brand celebrates the bag as an art form and collaborates with upcoming British artists, designers and print makers on a seasonal rotation.

Viva Vegetables is designed by American crafter Leslie Astor who now lives here in the UK. Leslie’s four designs pay homage to a few of Britain’s favourite vegetables. Large-scale prints of broccoli, carrots, beetroot and asparagus adorn the colourfully dyed canvas tote bags. Viva Vegetables small tote bags

The collection is inspired by the farmers’ market at Grand Army Plaza in New York City. When Leslie lived in Brooklyn, she and her family would visit the market every Saturday.

Leslie said:

“A tote bag gets out and about and exposed to a lot of eyes in a lot of different contexts: the subway, the office, the grocery store, the park – maybe all of those places in a day. Given that fact, I wanted my series of totes to be conversation starters, and I think they are.”

Viva Vegetables are made and printed at a fair-trade certified factory in India and are available in 2 sizes – medium tote bag and mini tote bag. They’re available to buy from the doodle bag website.

For your chance to win one, just comment below telling us which size & design you’d like and how you’d use it. To carry your lunch to work? A school bag for your child? To pop to the shops? Something else entirely? 🙂

Viva Vegetables tote bag

Beet It!

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close up view of freshly dug up beetroot

I don’t think we’ll ever win any prizes for our fruit & vegetable growing. This was our second attempt at growing beetroot. This year the roots were slightly more bulbous than the previous, but still not what you’d call monsters!

freshly dug up beetroot

But we didn’t despair – we decided to make best use of what (little) we had. We used some of the leaves in salad – they look & taste much like spinach, but with beautiful, burgundy stems.

freshly dug up beetroot in an antique Billingsgate Market oyster trug

The remaining leaves & stems made a lovely, earthy winter soup – garnished with a little flourish of cream.

home grown beetroot pickled in balsamic vinegar with whole mixed peppercorns

The (baby) beetroots themselves were pickled in balsamic vinegar with whole peppercorns – and they were absolutely delicious served with a selection of cheeses and a salad!

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Will Forage for Soup: Gourmet Soups from Wild Greens

Will Forage for Soup: Gourmet Soups from Wild Greens is a foraging experience and how-to cookbook rolled into one. This digital book includes:
* The most common greens for foraging, their flavor, and resources on where to find them.
* How to clean greens for soup.
* Preserving your bounty in the freezer with very little space required.
* Combining greens in soup for best flavor.
* Blanching versus boiling your greens– nutritional considerations.
* How to make a nutritious and flavorful soup base with vegetarian options.
* Tips for bringing out the flavor in your soup’s seasonings.
* A resource on spices so that you can create your own signature soup.
* Six recipes using common foraged greens.

Click here to view more details

Growing our own

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flat leaf parsley and coriander growing on a windowsill

This year we decided to grow more of our own – and we’ve got no excuse, as Todmorden‘s the home of Incredible Edible.

strawberries growing in a vintage terracotta strawberry pot

We have a variety of crops to look forward to in the coming weeks.

homegrown beetroot in vintage enamel breadbinhomegrown peashoots grown in vintage metal bucket

Most of them are growing in containers as much of our garden is paved with stone cobbles. It also makes protecting them from the ubiquitous slugs & snails much easier.

tomato plants growing in a vintage mini greenhouse

We use lots of the old galvanised metal ‘dolly tubs’, buckets and bins.

courgette flowers in a vintage metal dolly tub

The plants seem to like it!

potato plants overflowing from a vintage metal dolly tub just outside the kitchen doorpink stems of rhubarb growing out of a vintage metal dolly tub

Potatoes, beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, broccoli, courgettes, squash, peashoots, salad leaves, a variety of herbs – and yes, those are figs.

tiny fruits growing on a fig tree

There’s still a little room for some flowers.

lilac coloured osteospermum growing in a vintage metal bucket

pink lupins growing in a vintage dolly tubpink lupins growing in a vintage dolly tub

Perennials like the hostas, astilbes and lupins return each year like old friends. Although this year’s harsh winter saw a few losses.

purple lobelia growing in a vintage metal bucket

red geraniums just about ready to flower

To these we add a few annuals – osteospermums,  lobelia and the like.

hosta leaves

pink fox glove about to flower growing next to a giant ribbed terracotta urnyoung purple shoots of astilbe plants

We’ve enjoyed working in the garden this year. We don’t think self-sufficiency is here just yet – but hopefully we’ll reap some rewards!