I helped Bart and Debbie of Wayside Organics with their organic produce stall at the Southdowns Green Fair at the Sustainability Centre yesterday. I was prepared for a visual and auditory overload of tie dyes and windchimes but was pleasantly surprised to spot some bombshells in vintage swing dresses and piped music which not once played dolphin songs.
To those of you local to me and are getting vegetable boxes from large conglomerates like Riverford or Abel & Cole, you really ought to give these guys a try. Not only are they a family run business (my Thursdays and Fridays are made very enjoyable by the company of Bart’s father, Peter), they also grow their own vegetables on their smallholding and any produced sourced outside of the UK is carbon neutral and non-air freighted. They also offer a better than value-for-money vegetable boxes which measure up bigger than the nationally distributed vegetable boxes.
One of the things that I have been introduced to since working at Wayside is the different varieties of beetroots that are available. So far, the chioggia is my favourite. On the outside, it looks like any normal beetroot. If you were to rub the mud off the skin a bit, you’ll discover that the skin Is this magnificent shade of dark fuchsia. Inside, the flesh is stripy pink and white, which to me is ever so frivolous looking.
I’ve made beetroot chocolate cake before and much as liked it, some found the earthy flavour overpowering and you can’t help but feel that it was a tad too healthy and not decadent enough for the cake connoisseur’s liking.
The chioggia beetroot tasted milder to me and I wondered how a chocolate fudge cake made with it would taste like. It would definitely be moist but I wanted to see if the end result would be more chocolate, and less earthy.
200g dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa content)
50g Willie’s Cacoa (50g)
250g dark muscovado sugar
3 free range eggs
1tsbp vanilla extract
4tbsp acacia honey
40g self raising flour
40g plain flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
25g cocoa powder
50g ground almond
250g of grated finely Chioggia beetroot
100ml espresso coffee
30ml sunflower oil
For the topping
75g dark chocolate
75g milk chocolate
3tbsp espresso coffee
3tbsp acacia honey
1tsp vanilla extract
Method (the cake)
Preheat the oven to 160C (140C if fan-assisted). You need two 20cm tins, greased well with butter.
Melt gently in a double boiler the 200g of dark chocolate and the Willie’s Cacao. Set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, honey and vanilla extract until frothy and light. It won’t get fluffy but it should be quite runny.
In another bowl, mix the two flours,malt, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder and ground almond evenly.
Fold this dry mixture carefully into the egg mixture.
Gently squeeze the excess moisture from the grated beetroot. You should get around 1/4 of a cup approximately.
Evenly fold this into the cake mixture.
Combine the oil, coffee and cooled melted chocolate and carefully fold this into the cake mixture.
Divide the mixture between the two tins evenly and bake for 30-40 mins. I suggest that you check at 30mins. You want it to be moist, with the ops just dry and a cocktail stick stuck into the cake would hold some moist crumbs.
Leave to cool for 1/2 hr.
Unmould onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, melt the two chocolates in a double boiler. Take it off the heat.
Add to the chocolate mixture the 3tbsp espresso coffee, vanilla extract and honey. Mix well.
Set aside to cool for 15mins.
When the cake is cool, spread approximately 4tbsp of chocolate icing onto one cake and sandwich it with the other.
Place the sandwiched cake on a plate and carefully spoon the remaining icing on top on the cake and spread the icing with a spatula.
For decorative purposes, I melted some white chocolate and drizzled it on top of the dark chocolate icing. I then used a cocktail stick to create a feathery effect.
The result? ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! The cake is moist and incredibly fudgy. Slaveboy mistook the slight hint of beetroot flavour as being raspberry. Unlike many of the beetroot cakes I have tried, this one isn’t dense or overwhelmingly earthy. It is definitely a chocolate cake first, and healthy beetroot last.
I think this snail was counting its lucky stars that it landed on an English broccoli rather than a French bean.
You can bag yourself some delicious broccoli (sans baby snail) or other locally grown organic produce from Wayside Organics. They’re local, they’re organic, they’re family run and they’re not going for world domination. It makes good sense. You know it.