Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ingredient of the month

If you're in the mood for some spring cleaning, it's not only your home that can reap the benefits. Why not consider introducing a fresh, cleansing element to your diet, too?  One of my ideal ingredients for this is lovely, deep burgundy-hued beetroot (beet).  Most of us are used to seeing the pre-packed, cooked, vinegar-soaked examples but if that's all you've tried - you're missing out!
Next time you're at the supermarket or market, look out for the raw stuff.  Once you get it home, all you need to do is to wash it well, peel if preferred, pat with kitchen paper and then grate by hand, or in the food processor.  Turn the beautiful deep-hued result into your chosen bowl and douse in fresh lemon juice, to taste.  Add some salt and pepper, or a sprinkling of reduced salt vegetable bouillon powder (eg Marigold), then top with a sprinkling of your favourite herb - I like parsley or thyme, depending on my mood.  Drizzle on extra-virgin olive oil, if you like. It's delicious as it is but can be further enhanced - to make a complete meal - by adding a topping of seeds, raw almonds, tinned tuna, grated (reduced-fat) cheese or slivers of goats cheese.

Raw beet(root) has a stronger, deeper taste than the pre-packed product so you might like to experiment with a small portion before making a huge bowlful... Bear in mind that it packs a powerful nutritional punch, reputed to have blood-purifying properties and to be good for the stomach.  It's a rich source of folate, with useful amounts of vitamin C and minerals: iron, potassium and magnesium, all with around 60 calories for 140g.  Remember too, that as it's so rich in deep natural colour, you'll see the results when you visit the bathroom; nothing to worry about just a natural phenomenon!

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