Wednesday, 16 December 2009


I love beets, I love pickled beets, I love cold boiled beets, I love shredded raw beets in salad, I love roasted beets with goats cheese...I love the colour, I love the texture, I love the taste. There are so many fantastic beet recipes in my cookbooks waiting to be discovered, the problem....the beet is usually a side, a compliment to a main...for something that takes a heck of a lot of time to prepare and cook it doesn't seem to have had its proper dues. 

After the sucess of the Beetroot Relish on Monday I was itching to get stuck into my next beetroot adventure.  Donning my University of Arizona BURGUNDY coloured t-shirt (a gift from my brother) and my yellow rubber gloves I was ready to attack the last 1.5 lbs of beets lurking in the crisper drawer.  What better for a cold miserable winter's day than BORSCHT?! I have never made Borscht myself, but my friend used to make an Austrian version which she served with pasta is more like a beetroot bouillon with pasta....yummy but not the hearty root vegetable meal I imagine Northern Russians serving up. 

The recipe I used came from the Riverford Organics Website, which you can find here.  Of the ten or so recipes I looked at on-line and the one from my Canadian Classics cookbook this was the easiest, and what I thought to be the most beetroot-based version.  The longest part of the process is, of course, the boiling and peeling of the beets.

But, once that tediousness is over (and rubber gloves well and truly purpley) it takes no longer than half an hour to cook the soup.  Pretty simple so far? Where does this so-called "borscht blunder" come in, you ask?

I say it was a BLUNDER more than being an INICIDENT or ACCIDENT or, even worse, a DISASTER...but it certainly instigated a "DINNER IS RUINED" moment.  I will admit, in hindsight, that my reaction was actually based in ignorance. 

Ok enough of a build up....So in my head I thought, make the soup and then...puree it....right? cause that's how I thought Boscht was served.....ALWAYS....with a nice swirl of sour cream....

So I let the soup cool down a bit, and then got out my ingenious handheld blender.  And then....then....then...


The blender just stopped!!  David came in and had a go....wouldn't work....tried a different outlet....wouldn't work...CHANGED THE FUSE...wouldn't work...IT WAS BUSTED! I totally thought dinner was ruined.  The Borscht wasn't pureed therefore dinner was ruined.  I got the potato masher and had a go at mashing by hand...but hey! Beetroot certainly isn't that soft EVER (but the potato in the soup that was ok).

Defeated, I served the uber chunky borscht and David and I ate in our cold dining room by the dim light of the Christmas tree....all we needed was some Vodka to get the atmosphere right (ok....maybe the tree lights should really be candels on the tables...)

The soup was actually really nice, once you got over the large chunks of beetroot.  After dinner I did some further research on the internet and discovered that a chunky borscht is certainly more authentic than a pureed one anyway...Looking back, if I had cut the beets up smaller everything would have been fine sans blender. 

This morning two great things happened...first I realised there is no more beetroot in my crisper drawer (until tomorrow's delivery) and second I took the blender back to the shop and got a full refund! I then took my money and went to a different store and bought a different fingers crossed!

And....if today couldn't get any better....IT IS SNOW FLURRYING HERE IN CHELMSFORD!


  1. the borscht look aweome! Was it just as good blended as chunky? Also, what is on that toast? it looks good! :)
    I know that "end of world" feeling that you get in the moment, nothing to be ashamed of :) Blend something tomorrow so I can hear about the wonders of your new blender!

  2. Lee M.- thanks! I did manage to blend the borscht for lunch and actually...I think I prefered it chunky. Next time I will just cut the chunks smaller! You might not be able to recognise that it is just butter on the bread...xo