Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Today's post is dedicated to food that is unnaturally coloured (even if it contains no artificial colourings).  As the second beetroot based recipe on the blog, I've already talked at length about the amazing colour of the vegetable and the love/hate relationship I have with the flavour (see here)

When I was taking the photos for today's post it looked like someone had committed bloody murder in the kitchen.  As a strange co-incidence, for some reason the shower started running by itself at the same time I was snapping away, scaring the bejesus out of me. Perhaps the flat is haunted by the ghosts of all the beetroot I have brutally slain over the years - their purple juice is on my hands...

Anyway, that got me thinking about all the foods I've eaten that have unnaturally strong colours, and how most of these rank on my list of most-hated foodstuffs. These include -

Piccalilli - like radioactive snot.  Sandwich fillings shouldn't glow in the dark

Semolina with Strawberry Jam mixed into it - turns the colour of a melted My Little Pony.  Not any old semolina pudding, I should point out, just the wallpaper paste consistency mess I was served as part of school dinners at Primary School in the 70'2

Sweet'n'sour sauce - specifically the gloopy orange stuff that comes from bad take-aways, sends shivers down my spine thinking about it - like the blood of an alien the Jon Pertwee incarnation of Doctor Who might have fought

And beetroot was also amongst the list, until recently, when I learnt to love the taste, and the colour too. I guess it's all part of growing as a person (why does that sound like the trite moral of a corny American sitcom episode?)

Which brings us to today's soup - a creamy and wonderful dish of pink heaven, set off perfectly by the hint of vinegar and sour cream.  Your mouth will never forget it, or your best white tablecloth...

300g Beetroot
100g White Cabbage
75g Smoky Back Bacon
1 Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Stalks of Celery
1.2l Stock
1tsp Thyme
1tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Bay Leaf
Salt and Pepper 
Sour cream


1. Heat the oven to 200ºc

2. Peel and dice the beetroot (about 1cm square cubes should be okay), then peel and roughly slice the onion

3.  Put some oil in a roasting tray, then toss in the beetroot, onion, thyme and some salt.  Put the tray in the over for 45 minutes to roast the vegetables until they are golden and soft

4. Roughly chop the cabbage and celery.  Crush the garlic cloves. Cut the bacon into small slices

5.  In your soup pan, heat some more oil, then toss in cabbage, celery, garlic and bacon.  Sweat these in the pan for 5 minutes until they become so, but not colour too much.

6. Add the stock to the pan, then add the beetroot and onions. Finally, add the bay leaf and balsamic vinegar.

7. Bring the soup to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8.  Using a hand blender, liquidise the soup until it's smooth, and at this point, feel free to pass it through a sieve, pressing down with a wooden spoon to get all the lumpy bits out and make the soup silky smooth

9.  Heat through just before serving, and garnish with sour cream and parsley.  Serve with fresh bread and enjoy!


  1. I love beetroot and I really love borscht so I will definitely be trying your recipe (have never used cabbage or bacon in it before).

    I also love piccalilli but I am totally with you on the tasteless glue that is semolina - yuk!

    1. Oh no - piccalilli is the devil's work! On the other hand, the soup is fantastic - I am a total convert to beetroot now, and Im off looking for more beetroot recipes (if you have any, feel free to send 'em my way!)

  2. Borscht is my favorite soups. I make it every week, and we just love it. We don't blend it though. You have a wonderful presentation of borscht! I made some food that goes with borscht well, come see it!

    1. I will have a look at your blog right now! And glad you like the presentation in my pictures - I used a syringe to get the sour cream looking right! (Don't worry, it was sterilized first!)

  3. Hiya, I've given you The Versatile Blogger Award and linked you from my blog

    1. Thanks for that! Glad you enjoy the blog. Now I'll have to think on some blogs I can awrd the thing to! Cheers