Beetroot and Vodka

At the same time as I took the picture of the carrots for the carrot cake, I took the below picture of lovely fresh bunches of beetroot. I love the earthy flavour of fresh beetroot as much as I love harpooning pickled beetroots from a jar, with a fork, standing in front of the fridge door or with ‘cold cuts’ of yesterday’s roast.

With the fresh beetroot, you can boil it and soak it vinegar to make your own pickled beetroot, you can turn it into chutney (which I will post later this month) or you can roast it… amongst many many other things. I like to roast beetroot with some orange and thyme as it caramelises as it cooks and is lovely and sweet. I suppose the flavour could be likened to the ground it came from but I think most people would probably think I were encouraging the eating of soil so I shall stick with earthy!

To boil beetroot, my mother leaves the skins on and peels them after, I think this is probably the best solution as the beetroot will keep its colour best and save you discolouring a precious pan. They also peel more easily when soft from boiling. They don’t need to be boiled for a very long time but much like a potato, until they fall off a knife on spearing.

I have included the below recipe as it’s nice and different and quite unusual. I saw it many moons ago in a cookery magazine and I have served it as a starter in the past in the wintry months. I think there’s something very wintry about the combination of flavours and I like to think of eating it on a crisp, black night with snowflakes scattered about and with shots of straight, freezing cold vodka and brown rye bread.

Smoked salmon with beetroot & vodka crème fraîche

Serves 6

  • 200ml tub crème fraîche
  • 3 tsp vodka
  • 2 tsp hot horseradish sauce
  • 6 slices smoked salmon
  • 250g small, cooked beetroot (not in vinegar), thinly sliced, then shredded
  • salmon caviar (optional)
  • few small, torn dill sprigs
  1. Beat the crème fraîche with the vodka and a little seasoning until it holds its shape, then stir in the horseradish. Chill in the fridge.
  2. Lay the slices of salmon over plates, then top with the beetroot and a spoonful of the crème fraîche. Top with the salmon caviar, if using, then scatter with the dill. Grind over some black pepper and serve.

Mm.. delish! I’ll have another vodka, please!


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