This colour! Look at it!

It seems more likely the colour of a winter scarf – the burst of colour tucked under the collar of a dark coat. Or perhaps the colour of a beach kaftan – sort of lustful and carefree all at once like a day spent at the beach with nothing to do but swim and lie in the warmth. This is what is on my mind at the moment. This deep fuchsia could be a berry sorbet or a berry muddle in a cool glass ready for mint, gin and soda. This is also on my mind at the moment.

But in a similar thread to the last post what is really at the forefront of my mind is healthful good food so I can keep going, keep working, keep healthy. Days spent at the beach in the warmth of the sun and nights spent with good friends and berry gin drinks are a while away yet.

But that’s ok. We are winding down to the end of the year, and whew, it’s been a quick fire busy year. To see the peak of the rise, the grass on the other side, if you like, is an extra little nudge towards longer hours and full days. For as well as that green grass on the other side I can see the energy I have when I work well and the fitness I have gained from being on my feet for so many hours a day. I can see the health of my bank account(!), and the renewed will to be more organised and to live as well as I can.

I have been thinking a lot about the way we work; what it means to work and to earn a living. I know a lot of people who have recently graduated from university or are about to and are deciding how to live and how to work; grappling with life decisions. To choose how we live within our income, whatever amount that may be, is how I want to approach my life. The 9 to 5 working day may never be how I choose to live and to earn but this means I can make beetroot hummus, or go for a swim, or meet a friend for coffee before starting my work later in the day. You get used to this backwards sort of day.
roasted beetroot - like a cut plumbeetroot hummus
The morning I made this hummus the light was shifty and high in the sky being buffeted and lifted by the wind. I wrapped the beetroot in tinfoil with a bit of oil and a good grinding of salt and pepper. As they roasted I could hear the sizzle and the spit within the foil parcel. It sounded like drizzly rain inside my oven; slightly disconcerting at first, but after a while rather comforting. The sweet earthy smell, slightly herbaceous and vaguely of mushrooms, filled my kitchen.

The first buzz of the blender as the roasted beetroot was added, deep red and almost translucent in its tenderness, and the colour that burst throughout the pale beige of the hummus made me smile and reach for my camera. A few photos too many for the light was difficult to work with and I was running a little late for work – it’s not all blissful morning cooking and coffee dates. There is a rush to squeeze what is probably a normal Sunday routine into the few short hours between waking and working at midday.

But then I found myself at work – polishing glasses or making sandwiches – and thinking, dreaming, of this beautiful colour. To open my little lunch box during my break and see big dollops of bright, bright deep pink amongst my salad is cheering; a metaphorical clink of glasses, a toast to roasted beetroot hummus.
crudités and hummushummus in the afternoon lightfuchsia pink hummus
I have a standard leaf salad I turn to time and time again; it’s my tried and true. You can’t beat the taste of fresh and clean and good – cucumber with snap and lettuce with crunch – but I think the virtue of salad, the feel good factor of salad is sometimes greater than the taste of lettuce leaf and diced vegetables. Sure, salads can be jazzed up – a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, cubes of feta and vinaigrette are always good ideas. But this beetroot hummus is the way to go, perfect for a working lunch.

Roasted Beetroot Hummus

I used two large cloves of garlic and the heat of the garlic was a bit too strong and overwhelmed the sweetness of the beetroot. It did improve after a couple of days left to mellow. Next time I might try with one small clove, or leave the garlic out altogether. Also, I have watched my mother make hummus a hundred times and now make it following her very loose set of instructions. I am guided by a desired consistency – more like a thick soup than a thick paste – than by real measurements so the measures below are a rough guide only.

2 medium sized beetroot
1 can chickpeas
1/2 cup tahini
1-2 cloves garlic (see the above note)
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 to 1/2 of olive oil (see the above note on desired consistency)
salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C. Cut the stalk end off the beetroot and discard. Place the beetroot in a piece of tin foil with salt and pepper and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Wrap the beetroot loosely but seal the tin foil well. Roast for an hour, then check to see if tender when inserted with a knife. (Careful of the steam when opening the foil parcel!) I roasted my beets for one hour and fifteen minutes.

In a blender place the drained and rinsed can of chickpeas with the tahini, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and lemon juice and blend until quite smooth. Once the beets have roasted, open the parcel and leave to cool enough to handle. Gently peel off the skin of the beetroot – this should slip off easily. Dice the beetroot then add to the blender and blend until smooth.

This makes a large amount of hummus but will keep in the fridge for a week.

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