I like everyday magic, especially when it’s related to food. Kitchen alchemy is a source of pure pleasure to me, and I get very excited by the magic created by combining flavours and textures, and by the healing powers of food. One of the things I love about cooking (and eating!) is the way it involves all the senses. And one of the most pleasing ingredients on the visual plane is the beetroot.
I always thought I didn’t like beetroot, subjected, over the years, to too many slimy pickled things in jars; when I realised its true earthy deliciousness, I started using it all over the place. I love the deep purple of a cooked beetroot, but what I love even more is the ridiculous pink that it bleeds into everything else. It’s almost unbelievable that it would come from a natural food. The beetroot’s colour infects everything else so quickly and so intensely that you have to admire its brazenness; this is a vegetable that demands to be noticed. Cream cheese icing coloured with beetroot (excellent on a chocolate beetroot cake) is a great advert for this: such an over-the-top colour produced by such a small amount of something so wholesome. It would have you believe it’s been coloured with chemical nasties; I enjoy its sense of humour.
There’s nothing that doesn’t please me about looking at beetroot; that it even seems to take pleasure in itself provides an extra level of brilliance.
Monkey by Clive Wesley Dennis