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I have a confession to make.

I eat tinned asparagus and beetroot. That is how I was introduced to both vegetables, so that in itself is not a confession. I still eat tinned "asparagus", but only as a tribute to my Nan. She loved it and she had passed on before I had discovered the wonders of fresh asparagus. I'll never go back. I'll eat my mush for my own private sentimentality, and not feel shame; I do not consume it or think of it as a vegetable. And I happily share the wonders of fresh asparagus with all my friends and family. More over, I thrive on their: "Wow, I never knew asparagus was this good."

But with beetroot it was different. In my defence, I only get whole tinned beetroot, but this just doesn't seem to cut it. And I did grapple with fresh beetroot soon after I discovered just how amazing real asparagus was. I have no idea why it went terribly wrong, but the experience only served to strengthen my love for the can. To hide my shame, I would keep completely silent when he would talk about the wonders of beetroot.

Recently, everything changed. At the fruit and veg shop, beetroot was cheap and heavily advertised. So I decided to try again, sooner or later I would have to face my shame.

Beetroot dip is becoming very trendy in Sydney at the moment. And I love it. To make the dip seemed like a safe bet. Dips so rarely go wrong.

Of course, whenever a food is trendy it is expensive to buy ready-made, until everyone's doin' it - by which time it isn't trendy any more. See sticky date pudding, tiramisu and currently Mars Bar cheesecake for examples.

This recipe is really simple - but quite messy. I have always loved beetroot purple - and this is a good way to get that colour throughout the kitchen and all over yourself - or maybe that's just me and my low dex. So be prepared.

The seasonings are recommendations - play with them, try some nutmeg or cinnamon in the recipe, or cayenne pepper for some bite. I also used grapefruit juice instead of the orange juice, that was really good too. I am planning to make the whole thing even lower in fat by replacing the sour cream with ricotta and you could also try natural yoghurt.

But here's the kicker. Roasting the beetroot. When I first tried beetroot, I boiled it, as is commonly recommended. I believe I might have boiled the shit out of it. Roasting does not let things go mushy and textureless. Further, when I opened the oven - the wonderful smell of beetroot filled the kitchen. And you can't get that from a tin.

Makes about 2 cups


Trim beetroots, leaving 2–3cm of the stalk attached. Gently scrub beets to remove any dirt (do not pierce or damage the skin). Individually wrap the beetroot in foil. Roast the beetroot at 200°C (400°F), turning occasionally, for 1 hour or until tender. Open foil (enjoy the smell) and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Wearing rubber gloves, gently rub the beetroot to peel and discard skin. (At this point you could do anything with the beetroot, but I continued on to make the dip.)

Place beetroot flesh, orange juice, cumin and coriander in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add sour cream or yoghurt* and season with salt and pepper to taste. Process until combined. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate overnight.

To serve: I like it with mild plain crackers or lavash bread, flavour-wise you can serve it with crudités, but I find the colour clashes too much.

momomom says: It's a very interesting recipe...I may try it next potluck I go to.

*(I tried it with yoghurt, it is not all bad - but the sour cream is better.)

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