I have been mooching through some of my cookery books - liking the sound of some of the recipes and wanting to have a go, but not having quite the right ingredients. Every so often I tend to play a bit and put my own stamp on things; its just the way I am - I don't do it with everything, but I do tend to make use of what I have in the pantry.
I quite like the sound of the roasted beetroot relish in the River Cottage Preserving book, but I haven't got any tomatoes or horseradish; I have plenty of beetroot and rather than just have ordinary pickled beetroot I thought I would roast the beetroot and then pickle it to see whether it improves the pickle or whether its one I will not do again in a hurry.
Its all about experimenting a bit just doing things slightly differently for a change, and I thought that rather than just put in a plain malt vinegar that I might use a wine vinegar for a change. Not sure whether to use red or white wine vinegar at the moment. I am still mooching over the possibilities - although the beetroot is roasting as we speak. Will have to see where it goes from hereon in.
Beetroot about 1lb 1/2 either large beets or baby beets can be used
Vinegar of choice
For the pickle
Spiced vinegar - see separate recipe
Cooking the beetroot:
Wash the beetroot and chop off some of the leaves leaving a good 2 to 3 inches of stalk on the beet. I was taught always to do this as if you take too much stalk off the beetroot bleeds and loses a lot of colour and in some cases goes insipid. Leaving the stalk on greatly reduces the risk of this.
Take a large roasting tin, dribble some oil on the base and then put in the beetroot and then dribble some more oil over. Pinch of salt - not much and then put in the oven to roast until the skins blister and go extremely dark Roast at Gas Mark 4 for about an hour and a half checking every so often to make sure that they are not over-done.
Allow to cool overnight.
Choose your vinegar - most commonly malt vinegar/white spirit vinegar is used but the choice is up to you. You can use cider vinegar or white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar. I am going to use white wine vinegar.
Prepare clean dry jars and use vinegar proof lids (I always process them in a baking tray in the oven)
Dip the roast beetroot into cold water and strip off the skins and stalks then either slice or dice your beetroot and pack into sterilised jars.
Pour the vinegar into a pan and add 6 teaspoons of sugar to each pint of vinegar.
Bring the spiced vinegar to the boil stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the hot sweet spiced vinegar over the beetroot in the jars until completely covered.
I usually scrunch up a small square of greaseproof paper and put it in the top of the jars to keep the beetroot submerged in the vinegar so it does not dry out.
Put on vinegar proof lids and tighten to seal.