In a vase on Monday: Beating the blues

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Feeling a little lacklustre this morning (a rainy dull day often has this effect I find) I now feel instantly restored after eating a bowl of home-grown beetroot soup accompanied by my little blue jug of anemones and the promise of a teatime treat. If I’m honest beetroot isn’t my favourite vegetable unless eaten tiny and raw as part of a salad but I had a sack of carrots that needed the fly cutting out of them so decided to make a carrot and beetroot soup flavoured with fennel seeds which turns out to be rather delicious.

I wouldn’t normally eat cake at lunchtime but as I was investigating other ways of using up my beetroot harvest I thought I’d give Beetroot and Chocolate Brownies a whirl. I used a River Cottage recipe and followed it to the letter and having made a batch of my usual Nigel Slater chocolate brownies only last week for my son’s birthday I know which recipe I will be using in future. Nigel’s brownies are good but Hugh’s are better and the method is easier. Melt chocolate and butter (250g of each), beat caster sugar (250g) and 3 eggs in a separate bowl and mix together, add beetroot and mix carefully and finally fold in self-raising flour (150g). Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes. The recipe is available on-line. Who would know there was 250g of cooked and grated beetroot secreted into the mix? I cut mine into 16 squares and 10 have already found their way into the freezer for another rainy day.

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Back to the flowers and I’m afraid they are more of the same. I think I may be heading for a record with the Anemone coronaria Sylphide which I’ve been cutting since June. There are four flowers in the little blue jug picked from the allotment on Saturday with still more to come. Dare I hope for fresh anemones for my birthday, for Christmas?

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And in the green pint size jug there is a cheery bunch of cosmos and calendula to brighten the kitchen table.

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I am hoping for a little more variety in my Monday vases next year, but in the meantime what has cheered  you this lunchtime?

I’m popping over to Cathy’s blog Rambling in the garden for more cheeriness and to find out.

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20 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday: Beating the blues

  1. I have masses of beetroot, so I’m writing down Hugh’s recipe. The soup looks delicious too. Well done on the anemones and the cosmos. I love the colour of the dark anemone seeds for next year, they’ll be wonderful. Wishing you a good week. CJ xx

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  2. Your pretty anemones are lovely enough to cheer anybody up. Beetroot in chocolate brownies? Who would have thought it? I have given up growing beetroots because I have decided that I don’ t actually like the earthy taste . I used to grow them and then throw them away which is a bit silly. Perhaps I should try some of your brownies. We need a bit of cheering up on such a dismal day.

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  3. I love the idea of beetroot in brownies. It probably tastes great. When I used to go to Weight Watchers, they had recipes for making brownies and cake mixes with canned pumpkin, to replace the eggs and oil, and it was actually very good, especially with chocolate flavors. I hope you feel more like yourself soon. Take care and have a good week.

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  4. This was a lovely article. I had home made soup for lunch too but no cake. I feel quite deprived. We have lots of apples so I think I’ll bake an apple cake – yep the weather does that to me too! Your Anemones, Cosmos and Calendula are just the thing for a rainy grey day.

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  5. I must be doing something wrong with A Sylphide – yours are just as gorgeous as they always were!!! Beetroot is meant to go well with chocolate but you still have to have a decent recipe which you clearly have found – I am tempted to buy a beetroot or two just to try it out. I am sure the soup tastes lovely but the dark colour is rather disconcerting – like the dark green soups made from spinach or nettle or the like… I suppose we could eat them with our eyes closed… 🙂 Thanks for sharing and hope you and your week pick up

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  6. I love beetroot and grow lots of different varieties so it’s good to have a few new recipes to try, thank you. Grey days hard on the heels of such a sunny spell are often hard, retreating to the kitchen to conjure goodies is always cheering.

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  7. I think I am not going to eat cake at lunchtime but then if there is some of course I have to eat it! Your recipe looks really good, I shall try it. Is that African Bride Nigella? I grew it this year and loved it, the seed heads are quite different to regular Nigella.

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  8. If I’d known your post would have a culinary component, Sarah, I might have saved it until after I’d had lunch – now I’m really hungry! Beetroot in brownies – that’s surprising (but it looks good!). You are doing well with your anemones – as I think I’ve commented before, they’re gone within weeks here.

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  9. I’m glad I read your post after dinner. It all looks totally delicious. I’ll be very interested to know how long your anemone flowers for; they’re very pretty indeed. Your lunch was much healthier than mine – I had a fried egg and bacon sandwich which cheered me up no end!

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  10. Still the vases are beautiful even if you repeat the flowers….I am doing much the same really. And lucky you to have possible flowers outside for Christmas. Both the soup and brownies look scrumptious. I love pickling beets for salad

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  11. Flowers, soup and chocolate can remedy anything, so hope you felt better after your piece of brownie! 😉 I know what you mean about rainy days, as they make me feel out of sorts too. Love those anemones. 🙂

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  12. Lunch looks pretty good at your place! I like your sweet little vase of anemones. We bought a new little bistro table for our sunspace and being so small, tiny vases are perfect for it. They really do cheer up a meal. 🙂

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  13. I think we must be quite alike – I have also been enjoying beetroot soup recently (although must try adding fennel seeds) and have also made several batches of chocolate and beetroot cupcakes! Maybe its something to do with having an allotment! Your anemones are very pretty.

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  14. I was given a slice of a wonderful beetroot chocolate cake when I was visiting friends in the States a few years ago, I’ve never found a recipe as good, I’m hopeful you may have given it to me now. I find NS’s browny recipe a but underwhelming and as you say it is more complicated than it need be like so many of his recipes. Nice vase btw.

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  15. Ooh, those anemones are doing well. And beetroot … personally I love the stuff, cooked, juiced, in cakes and especially a good Borscht.

    Sarah, you left a comment on my blog re. using hydrangea leaves as a natural dyeing mordant. I’ve replied there and had hoped to email you as well just in case you were thinking of giving it a go but your email address does not attach to your comments it seems. Please pop back and read why, when you ask have I ever used them, my answer is a horrified No!

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  16. Beautiful blooms. Glad your beetroot soup cheered you up. We always think chocolate or something sweet will cheer us up, but in reality something home cooked bursting with goodness is much more likely to do the trick! X

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