Beetroot falls into that marmite 'love it or hate it' category. I think it's beautiful. I love how when you slice into the beet you get that lovely shimmering deep deep red. I love that sometimes you can taste it and sometimes you can't. It's one of those secret ingredients that can deepen the colour of red onion marmalade without affecting the flavour; is fabulous roasted with cumin and a glug of olive oil, and absolutely to die for as a pate.
I use it a lot at this time of year when catering for weddings - the colour elevates canapes to beyond beautiful without the prissiness that I hate. I add it to the red wine, celery, carrots and rosemary when slow roasting lambshanks; I roast it first with brown sugar and honey and then add it to apples or pears or a combination if the two for a delicious crumble; and I make beetroot ice-cream- it's a deep glistening pink that makes me happy.
I've tried making the ice-cream with roasted beetroots and with simply boiled beetroot. The roasted version works much better and you can flavour it up with orange zest. I use an ice-cream maker, but you can whisk the mixture and pop it back in the freezer two or three terms if you prefer.
12 x egg yolks
150g caster sugar
500ml milk (not skimmed)
500ml double cream
6 beetroots, peeled, roasted until soft with honey and orange zest, and then pureed.
In a heavy bottom pan, and stirring fairly constantly, slowly bring the cream and milk to just under the boil. Whilst this is warming, whisk the yolks and the sugar together and then slowly pour in the creamy milk, off the heat, and whisking all the time.
Leave to cool and then stir in the beetroot puree. Churn in your ice cream maker, or as per above.
Serve on its own, or with something chocolatey. Drizzled with balsamic syrip if you fancy.