Notes from Catherine Rowett, former Green Party MEP for East of England and deputy coordinator of the Eastern Region Green Party*(UK). Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Borsch (at last)

I'm not 100% sure this is the recipe we usually use (and the professor, who might know for sure, is out as usual). But it's from a book that is 100% reliable and it's not too complicated. It also seems to me to be familiar, unlike others I found in the many useless, fussy and complicated books that clutter up the kitchen shelf.

This recipe is from Clare Walker and Gill Coleman, The Home Gardener's Cookbook, Penguin Books 1980. On matters regarding copyright see the note at the foot of this Blog.

I have adjusted the wording and provided only imperial measures (let me know if you prefer metric). The measures are British measures not American ones.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

1 lb uncooked beetroot, leaves and stalks removed.
2 1/2 pints of stock
1 small carrot
1 medium onion
6 oz cabbage
1 bouquet garni
salt and pepper
Juice of half a lemon
sour cream (one tablespoon per person)

Wash the beetroots carefully (this time you need to get all the mud off but don't peel them yet).
Put them in a large saucepan with the stock.

Peel and dice the carrot and onion. Wash and finely shred the cabbage. Add all the vegetables to the saucepan with the bouquet garni and the salt and pepper.

Cover the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for two hours until the beetroots are cooked.

Remove the beetroots from the soup and leave them to cool slightly. Remove the bouquet garni from the soup and discard it.

Top and tail the beetroot and peel off the skins. Dice the flesh and add three quarters of it to the soup. Purée the soup (e.g. in a liquidiser or through a seive).

Add the lemon juice to the puréed soup. Throw in the remaining diced beetroot.

Just before serving, bring the soup back to the boil (make sure it is well heated through if it has been left for a while). Serve hot in bowls, with a spoonful of sour cream dropped gently into the centre of each bowl.


Catherine Rowett said...

PS It's perfectly good if you use plain yogurt instead of sour cream.

Anonymous said...

Metric measurements would be preferable, yes.

BTW, why the horrible beetroot-coloured text at the top of the page? It clashes hideously with the background and the rest of the style.

Also, I think the attitude you're adopting to others' intellectual property/copyright is rather cavalier (not to mention the bandwidth theft you're perpetrating by linking to their images on their own sites rather than hosting them locally) and I wouldn't blame them at all for getting cross/taking direct action (as I, and several of my friends, have been known to do in the past).

That said: when I do get around to making this, it'll be with crème fraîche or double cream. I like my luxuries ...

Catherine Rowett said...

I'm not an enthusiast for metric measurements, so I shall comply only if they make more sense. 1 lb of beetroot is a very sensible quantity.

Catherine Rowett said...

The majority of the photos are locally hosted, except where they seem to be sites that would find it unproblematic to have me link to them. I'm imagining that the majority of people will value the extra publicity, so I do not anticipate encountering too many compulsive obsessives with hang-ups about their intellectual property.
By the way I should warn readers that the picture of Borsch does not actually illustrate the recipe given, but is justed designed to give you the gerenal idea.

If you insist that beetroot coloured writing is unacceptable, I might consider some revisions to that colour scheme.

Anonymous said...

My old-fashioned weights are metric, but I can use conversion tables, so no problem there. I agree, it sounds easy to make, although the cooking time may vary depending on size and age of the beetroots. As for the site, I like it - the colours look sassy and sophisticated and the content varied and interesting.

Anonymous said...

As a professional web designer I beg to differ – the colours clash revoltingly.

Why is 1 pound of beetroot a rounder measurement than 500g?

Catherine Rowett said...

Well, we won't be asking you to design our web sites then, will we? ;)

And if you can't see that 1 is a simpler number than 500 I despair of your sense of mathematics. Anyone who insists on counting in measures that are so small that you don't ever want just one of them in cooking, even if, per impossibile, it were possible to weigh up one of them, is just dotty.

It's like Italian lire...

Cuddly Tiger said...

You cannot now legally buy a pound of beetroot; if that's what you ask for, the trader is obliged actually to weigh out the metric equivalent (454g). So 500g is probably simpler after all – and if it's organic produce, by the time you've taken the mud off you'll probably end up with a good old-fashioned pound of edible vegetable.

Anonymous said...

OK, half a kilo then, if you insist.

Catherine Rowett said...

Well, a kilo is just another word for 1000 grams, so 'half a kilo' is a fancy way of saying half a thousand grams, which is, if anything, almost more complicated than saying 500 grams.

It isn't as if a kilo was or is ever a sensible sized measurement for cooking either, any more than a gram is. Mostly one does not need as much as a kilo of anything in a recipe for a normal family. The exception is making bread, when one typically uses more than a kilo of flour, but then the typical quantity would be something like three pounds which is roughly a kilo and a half. So units of the size of about a pound are better, because you can have three of them (three of them in a bag of flour, two of them in a bag of sugar... how simple things used to be in days gone by).