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Beetroot is one of the season's healthiest vegetables. A fantastic source of fibre, and rich in vitamins A, B6 and C, beetroot can help to reduce high blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. It's also packed with antioxidants.

  

Forget those jars of vinegary, pickled beetroot and opt instead for large, fresh roots. Beetroot can be eaten raw if grated – combine with grated carrot, sliced oranges or feta cheese for a super salad.

  

Cooked beetroot can be added to all kinds of dishes. Wrap washed, whole roots in foil and bake in the oven for a couple of hours, then allow to cool before peeling. Or boil whole roots for around an hour, until tender.

  

Beetroot is the main ingredient for the well-known Eastern European soup, borscht, which can be served hot or cold and is usually topped with a dollop of soured cream. This versatile vegetable also makes a marvelous risotto, along with onions, garlic and white wine. For a speedy supper combine diced, cooked beetroot with sliced and roasted onions, pile onto a ready-rolled puff pastry sheet, sprinkle with crumbled feta and bake for 20 minutes at 180

  

Surprisingly, beetroot – like carrot – is great baked into cakes. Combining it with chocolate is a winning combination – try adding around 250g beetroot, cooked and puréed, to any chocolate brownie recipe.

What to eat in

August

Beetroot, blueberries and homegrown tomatoes keep mealtimes fresh and healthy this month

British tomatoes are easy to come by this month – and homegrown tomatoes are superb, especially when plucked off the vine and eaten immediately, still warm from the sunshine. Growing your own allows you to try one of the dozens of different varieties available – my favourite is Sungold, a yellow cherry tomato with an intense, sweet flavour.

  

Tomatoes are synonymous with salads: try slicing large tomatoes and layering with mozzarella, avocado and some fresh basil for an Italian tricolore salad. Or simply drizzle olive oil over halved cherry tomatoes and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper or a handful of chopped dill.

American Style Pancakes with Blueberries

170g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Half a teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons sugar

2 free-range eggs

220ml milk

80g butter, melted

200g blueberries

maple syrup, to serve


Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and stir in the sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together, then add the melted butter. Add this to the flour mixture a little at a time and mix well to form a smooth, thick batter.

  

Melt a little butter in a small frying pan, then pour in enough of the batter to coat the base of the pan with a fairly thick layer. Cook for a couple of minutes, until set, then turn over and cook the other side until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate, pile on a handful of blueberries and drizzle with maple syrup.

Little Green Space August 2016

Cooked tomatoes are delicious too, and make the perfect accompaniment to barbequed meat. Roast tomatoes in olive oil along with some basil, or slice and fry with chopped onion and garlic – also good as a quick pasta topping. Or bake them into a quiche: arrange halved cherry tomatoes in a cooked pastry case, cover with 100g of grated cheddar, pour over 150ml whole milk whisked with 2 eggs and bake for 30-40 minutes at 180

In August, many fruits start to ripen. Blueberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow at home – blueberry bushes are happy in a large pot of ericaceous compost, positioned in a sunny spot on the patio, and watered regularly.

  

Blueberries can be baked into puddings, pies and muffins, but are probably nicest when eaten fresh and raw. Combine with chopped strawberries, lemon juice and sugar, or top meringue nests with whipped cream and a handful of berries for perfect pavlovas.

  

For a healthy breakfast, top plain Greek yoghurt with a handful of fresh blueberries and a sprinkling of toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds. And for a less healthy breakfast, try these pancakes: