Beetroot is the super hero of any diet, diving through with antioxidants, fibre, Vitamin A  and C. Let’s powerhouse through to Boctober or Beetrember, or one of those combined with another terrible portmanteau that just says, it’s good for you eat it, and yes, it can be scrumptious too, like you, with your Stoptober skin and your Stoptober smug face.

Let’s start with raw food, the very best of them all, coupled with a roll mop, yes
a pickled herring. It’s super food beyond your wildest, smelliest dreams… and will make you into a super human, instantly…

Pink beetroot coleslaw
1 raw peeled beetroot
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
1/4 red cabbage very thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 tbs mayonnaise
2 tsp cider vinegar
a small blob of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients and mix well.

When we used to serve borscht at the cafe, people would turn their nose up at it, most of the time professing a dislike of beetroot, in general. The chef used to get wind of this and rush out with a spoonful, for them to try, very often this would work. This is the nicest borsht I’ve ever had, it really is remarkably delicious.

Remember when you have eaten this and go to the toilet afterwards, you may think something is terribly wrong. I mean straight after, not a month later, still blaming it on the borscht.

It’s imperative to prepare borsht the day before. Plan your meal, unlike your children, get focused.

This for approx. 4 people
4 raw beetroots peeled
3 medium brown onions
1lb peeled potatoes
1/2 a red cabbage
1lb carrots
1 small tin of tomato purée
1 tbsp vinegar (malt or white wine)
1/2 a head of garlic
1pt veg stock
4oz butter
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp allspice
1 bunch parsley (curly or flat)
Sour cream
Some fresh dill

1. Chop beetroot and potatoes into small chunks, around 2cm, it’s good to make them the same size.
2. Chop the cabbage and carrot into chunky slices.
3. Halve and slice the onions.

You will need three separate medium size saucepans.

PAN 1) Put a knob of butter in the pan and sauté the beetroot gently, now add the tomato purée vinegar and the stock. Cook this gently till the beetroot is just about edible and not too soft. If you cook the beetroots too quickly or for too long they will lose their colour and you will miss out on the deep purple licquor.

PAN 2) Put a knob of butter in the pan, sauté the onion and carrots, as above, until edible but not too soft.

PAN 3) Put a knob of butter in the pan, sauté the cabbage and potatoes until, yes, edible but not too soft.

Now mix all three pans together, adding more stock if the vegetables haven’t enough to adequately bathe in.

Finely chop the garlic with salt until it is fully chopped and crushed, and add to the pan. Finely chop the parsley, including the stalks and add this to the pan too. S and P to taste.

Simmer this gently for 10 minutes, turn it off and leave it for a day.

The next day, heat the borscht up very slowly…

To serve, plop in a dollop of sour cream and some finely chopped dill.

Then enjoy this unsung hero of the soup slash stew world, I’m sure there are others.

A little tip if you lose the
colour from your beetroots or your soup is not purple and velvety enough…

Rasol would normally be made from the vinegar that was used by the Ukrainians to pickle their beetroots, here’s a quick fix to making it…

Grate a raw beetroot in a pan, add a 1/4 pint of water, tsp vinegar and bring it to the boil. When it comes to the boil, immediately turn it off and leave for a day.

The next day,  strain the beetroot off and add to the borcsht.

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