• fresh, uncooked beetroot (I used 2 large ones and 5 little ones)
  • 1 round of goat's cheese
  • 12 new potatoes
  • 4 pieces of mackerel (The cooked, shrink wrapped stuff.)
  • 1 salad bag of rocket
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

I saw my lovely friend Sophie the other day for a playdate. We sat, drank tea and generally caught up on gossip whilst the toddlers fought over trains, balls, cheesy wotsits and high juice. A good time was had by all.

Sophie and I are united in our fear of becoming ‘nagging Mum’. We both spent our pre kiddie years having a lot of fun and thought we’d turn from fun single women into fun Mums. Alas, no. The lack of alcohol being drip fed into our systems these days makes for a parenting style that is more disciplinarian than fun. (This is definitely true on my part though I shouldn’t really talk/write for Sophie.) More no than yes in toddler terms. I do know some ‘fun Mums’ who I try to imitate now and again, but I think they were born this way.

Sophie and I also had in common a glut of fresh beetroot in dire need of being dealt with. I say dealt with as copious amounts of the purple stuff strikes fear into me for some reason. I think it’s the imagined need for pre boiling and possible pickling.

We discussed the issue of pink food being wholly unappealing. Like beans on a fry up, beetroot has a habit of infecting all surrounding foodstuffs until you’re eating a river of pinkness. For me pink is the colour of a 2 year old’s birthday cake and candyfloss. Not the colour of dinner. I felt a challenge coming on – for a beetroot recipe that doesn’t turn the plate pink. Here it is:

Ingredients (enough for 2 large mains):

  • fresh, uncooked beetroot (I used 2 large ones and 5 little ones)
  • 1 round of goat’s cheese, broken up into bits
  • 12 new potatoes cut into equal sizes
  • 4 pieces of mackerel (The cooked, shrink wrapped stuff.)
  • 1 salad bag of rocket
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to Gas 6. Wash the beetroot to remove soil etc, then top and tail it being careful not to puncture the skin. Pop on a roasting tray and pour over 3 tbsp of olive oil. Put on the top shelf of the oven and roast for about 45 mins. Check after half an hour to see if the beetroot are cooked by piercing the skin with a sharp knife. Yours may need longer if they’re really large. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let cool a little then cut into halves.

Boil the new potatoes until tender then drain and add 3 tbsp lemon juice, 3 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Make sure the potatoes are dressed. Then start to assemble the salad. Make a bed of rocket, arrange the beetroot, potatoes and goat’s cheese in a circle, then add the mackerel fillets to the top in a chef-y fashion. Lastly use the lemony potato dressing to drizzle over the salad.

Postscript: No pink river was reported at Bell Towers however the plate may have had a small pinkish residue. And on the issue of beetroot skins – I cannot be bothered to peel beetroot once it’s cooked, certainly not for Mr B and myself. So we ate some of the skin and anything deemed too hard and gnarled was cut away whilst eating and thrown in the bin with the mackerel skin.

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