Ruby pink mounded beetroot tops emerging out of the soil are a reminder to cook with the last of the beetroot in the vegetable garden. Duncan planted rows of beetroot, knowing the success of last year's pickling and the bonus of adding pickled beetroot to winter salads. Then there's roasted beetroot soup, which is so handy to have in the fridge to warm and pack in a vacuum flask for a work lunch, or to have in a mug for afternoon tea. Using the beet leaves has been a revelation. Simply wash the leaves, slice finely, stems and all, and simmer in a little diced onion and stock for a versatile side or added greens to toasties. There's now just one row left, the last planted, but we'll need to let them grow a little bigger before deciding how to use them. The recipe for Beetroot Chocolate Brownies appeals because brownies are a favourite in our house, easy to pack for school lunches, or to slice for snacks or dessert at home. Last autumn our family rediscovered Beetroot Chocolate Cake, and Beetroot Chocolate Brownies are a close cousin. Cornersmith's cookbook 'Use it All' by Alex Elliot-Howery and Jaimee Edwards has become a constant kitchen companion with an abundance of ideas for using the autumn fruit and vegetable harvest. I encourage you to try this flourless brownie recipe, with the addition of nutritious and textured grated beetroot.
What to do: Trim and wash 350 g beetroot, then place in a saucepan of boiling water and cook until a knife slips easily through. Drain the beetroot, cool until they can be handled and slip off the skins. Grate and set aside. Preheat the oven to 160C. Melt 125 g chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove bowl of melted chocolate and set aside to cool.
Break four eggs into a large bowl and whisk in 250 g of brown sugar. I used raw sugar, which worked well, but next time I'll use brown sugar for the fudge consistency and caramel flavour. Add the beetroot, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Fold through 2 1/2 cups (250 g) almond meal. Pour 1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil into the cooled chocolate, whisk, then fold into the batter. Line a 20 cm x 25 cm baking tray and pour the mixture into the tin. I used my favourite 24 cm square cake tin. Bake for 50-60 minutes, then set aside to cool completely before cutting with a hot knife for a clean cut.
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