Beetroot Pesto

Beetroot bowl

PREAMBLE

I love making stuff up. Especially if it is a beautiful colour, amazing flavour and uses up leftovers. A dip is a good way of doing a tasty fridge sweep and there is always something you can add that is a bit out of the ordinary which you can then pretend to guests is part of your ‘special recipe’!

I couldn’t live without my food processor. It takes all the leg work out of so many dishes I create and adds an element of witchcraft to my inventions, as sometimes I can’t even remember what I’ve added! For this recipe you can use a processor or a hand held whizzer. You can go old school and chop by hand for a chunkier dip if you fancy but I like mine more towards the baby food/silky smooth consistency.

I’ve experimented with a few variations on this recipe, some using chick peas to make it a bit more like houmous, others using fresh ricotta so it is a thinner and creamier affair. This is the stripped back basic which you can have a fiddle with if you so wish.

This quantity makes enough for two hungry tums to enjoy with carrot sticks, some pitta and a glass of chilly vino. You can also add it to spaghetti if you thin it down with olive oil.

INGREDIENTS

250g packet of beetroot in natural juices (use juices too)

1 clove of garlic

1 small red onion (this is a tip picked up from a lovely Romanian lady I worked with in Italy last year. It lifts and adds a certain pizzazz to your feasting experience…)

100g nuts, toasted (I used walnuts as we had loads of them in Italy and compliments the beetroot. Almonds are nice too…)

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

season to taste with salt and pepper

1 tsp balsamic for some tarty zing

A couple of tablespoons olive oil to bring the pesto dip together

Optional extras: 100g feta, 100g frozen peas, defrosted in boiling water

WHAT TO DO

Put all the ingredients in the processor and chocks away! Or put all the ingredients in a generous sized bowl and pulse with your stick whizzer. Blend until you have your desired consistency.

To make it look even more beautiful, pop in to your favourite bowl, drizzle fancy pants olive oil over the top and sprinkle with nigella seeds, pomegranate pearls and chopped mint or parsley. I love the combination of all these colours and textures and it’s the simplest of simple yet the tastiest treat for your face…