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Did you know that January is the best time to eat beetroot? Despite the fact that this rich intensely coloured root is preserved in a way that makes it pretty much available all year round, January is actually when it is fully in season and freshly picked from the earth.
There are many reasons to include beetroot in your diet that go beyond it’s earthy sweet notes and pretty pink colour. It has been proven that it prevents certain intestinal cancers and is used to treat arthritis, dermatitis and osteoporosis. High concentration in magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and potassium make it the ultimate superfood and especially advised to those who suffer from high cholesterol or anemia
Despite all it’s incredible qualities, the ruby red root is not necessarily loved by all. Here is a fail safe way to feed it to even the biggest beetroot sceptics, a Creamy Beetroot Risotto, with Lemongrass Kefir & Beetroot Carpaccio.
Ingredients - Serves 4
For the Lemongrass Kefir
• 400ml of kefir
• 1 lemongrass shoot finely chopped (only the softer centre)
• 1 inch ginger - peeled and finely chopped
• 1 lime - zest and juice
• ½ tsp Himalayan salt
For the Risotto & the Carpaccio
• 2 beetroots - peeled and trimmed
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• A large knob of butter
• 1 onion and 1 garlic clove, finelly chopped
• 200g arborio rice
• 150ml white wine
• 700ml of vegetable stock
• Apple cider vinegar
• 1 handful fresh finely chopped chives
• Maldon Salt
Start by preparing the lemongrass kefir. Place all the kefir ingredients in the blender and blend till smooth. Place in a container and refrigerate.
Heat a large pan with a generous glug of olive oil. When the oil is hot but not scalding add your onion and garlic and reduce to a low heat once it starts to fry. Cook till soft and then puree the “soffritto” with a hand blender and set aside.
Now for the beetroot. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. With a mandolin slice 1 of your beetroots into 1mm slices. Cut the slices into quarters obtaining small triangle-like shapes and place in the fridge a small bowl coated in oil and a dash of vinegar.
Cut the rest of the beetroot into large wedges and place on a large sheet of baking parchment on a baking sheet. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, season, then cook for 1 hr until the beets are soft.
Meanwhile, wash the rice under a cold tap till the water runs clear then drain and dry.
Heat a squirt of garlic oil in a large pan when the oil is hot pour in the rice. Toast and toss till the rice is scalding but careful not to burn. When the rice is hot spoon in the onion and garlic puree and stir until well coated. Pour over the white wine, then let the mixture bubble away for 5 mins. Once the wine has mostly evaporated set the rice to one side.
Once the beetroot is cooked place in a blender with some stock and some butter and puree. Put the pan with the rice back on a medium heat and bring it back to temperature. When hot start to stir in the stock, ladle by ladle, always keeping the mixture wet.
Once the stock has all been added and the rice is nearly cooked add the beetroot puree and cook till the rice is ready. Stir in 2 large knobs of butter and some garlic oil and season with salt, pepper.
Plate the beetroot by creating a small well in the centre. Fill the well with the kefir and sprinkle with the chives. Decorate with the beetroot carpaccio triangles and serve.
Winter is here and goodness it’s cold! During these chillier months it becomes very tricky to stick to a regular routine and all healthy resolutions temporarily take a back seat in order to just keep oneself cosy and warm. The most damaging effect of this “hibernation period” is a diminished intake of water and I notice that my regular 2 litres of fresh water drops down to a glass or 2 a day. This is not great as not enough hydration leaves you much more vulnerable to all the icky bugs floating around, not to mention the effect it has on your skin and digestion. This is why this is the best time of year to experiment with warm herbal infusions and tonics that, not only will keep you beautifully hydrated and warm but will also help battle the effect of infection and inflammation.
Here is one of my favourite infusions that keeps me going and glowing through my “hibernation months”. This specific infusion has wonderful anti bacterial qualities that will help with detoxification, inflammation and digestion by stimulating the metabolism and clearing out excess water retention.
Ingredients - 1 serving
• ½ Cinnamon stick (buy best quality you can find)
• 1 sprig of rosemary
• 3 cardamom pods gently crushed
• 3 slices ginger
• 3 sliced turmeric root
• 1 slice of orange
Infuse all ingredients in 1 mug or large jar of boiling water and drink.
Feel free to experiment by adding any ingredients of your choice like fresh thyme, honey, dried roses and even CBD cannabis leaves.
I recommend using a large jar and just topping it up with hot water throughout the day.