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This dessert is a great excuse to have some friends over for dinner and a delicious treat, writes Deanna Copland.
Beetroot is a native of southern Europe and grows well throughout New Zealand. Originally, the leaves were preferred for eating, but here it is more often the roots that are consumed.
The leaves are an excellent source of folate and fibre and can be tossed through a salad; the root contains potassium, B vitamins including folate, iron and vitamin C. The vibrant crimson colour of the beetroot can make it difficult to prepare, so kitchen gloves can be useful to prevent staining hands and your benchtop (and anything else it comes into contact with).
Beetroot can be roasted, which brings out its sweetness, boiled, steamed or grated and eaten raw. Roasted beetroot quarters served with horseradish cream and finely grated lemon rind is delicious on the side of a meal, as is grated carrot and beetroot salad with feta, walnuts and a splash of cider vinegar.
Traditionally, beetroot was used for headaches, constipation, liver complaints (especially jaundice), dysentery, skin conditions, kidney stones and anaemia.
Beetroot may also have a positive effect in lowering elevated blood pressure.
Beetroot has also been shown to improve vasodilation and maintain a healthy blood pressure. Athletes often find that drinking freshly squeezed beetroot juice before a workout improves performance for this reason.
Because it is Easter, here's a chocolate dessert recipe to share with friends. I say with friends for two reasons: while there are some heart-healthy ingredients, a pudding is still a treat food; and secondly, socialisation is important for our mental wellbeing.
In this time of social media, we are losing touch with face-to-face, genuine catch-ups with our nearest and dearest, so this dessert is a great excuse to have some friends over for dinner and a delicious treat. It's all about making memories (and sharing bad jokes).
Decadent Easter chocolate beet pudding
2 cups firmly packed beetroot (peeled and grated)
4 medjool dates, chopped (stones removed)
50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
4 free-range eggs
⅔ cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp butter/coconut oil
2 Tbsp honey/rice malt syrup
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 180degC.
Put all cake ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined.
Pour the batter into four lightly greased ramekins. Bake for 20 minutes. While the puddings are in the oven, make the chocolate sauce.
Melt the butter and honey together in a small pot over medium heat. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the cocoa and vanilla until well combined.
After the puddings have been baking for 20 minutes, pour the chocolate sauce over the top. Bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the puddings are well risen, but still soft in the centre.
Best served warm with some coconut yoghurt or whipped cream.