Recipe: A Beetroot Dip with Feta, Herbs and Scotch Bonnet Oil

I realised recently that I will only eat certain vegetables if they are served with very particular accompanying flavours. A mate asked me what my favourite vegetable was and I replied, without thinking, ‘spinach’ only to realise that it’s only my favourite when combined with feta, or ricotta. I will only eat pumpkin if it’s served with coconut milk and chilli and now I’ve realised beetroot needs the sharp cheese and spice treatment or you can throw it in the bin as far as I’m concerned. Unless it’s pickled.

I wasn’t even going to post this recipe at all, truth be told but someone called the_portland_barman asked me so nicely for it on Instagram (would I mind? If I had time?) that I said yes, actually, that will be no problem at all.

So yeah, I do read all your comments because I love to hear from you guys (stop retching at the back), and it so happens another reader sent me an email asking me to please, please sort out my subscription email because it was a bit of a mess. Thing is, I started blogging in the early days, as you know, and I’d always just used Feedburner because that’s what everyone did back then.

This poor frustrated reader had finally reached her wit’s end and forwarded her subscription email to me. Wow, it was bad. I had no idea you were all suffering through that eye poke and I’m sorry. I’ve changed to Mailchimp. If it doesn’t work and you all get the old email anyway this is going to be really embarrassing. Could happen.

So, there we go. A recipe, an apology and hopefully a snazzy email. Not bad for a… Friday? Yes, Friday. If someone could periodically update me on the day of the week that’d be grand. Thanks.

Beetroot Dip with Feta, Herbs and Scotch Bonnet Oil Recipe

I can’t remember the exact quantities here but it’s so easy it doesn’t really matter.

Five whole beetroots, leaves removed and left whole (don’t peel)
150g thick natural yoghurt
Feta, to crumble
Squeeze of lemon juice
Tarragon leaves
Mint leaves
Mixed seeds (by in a handy bag in the supermarket), toasted in a dry pan
5 scotch bonnets
125ml light olive oil
1 whole bulb garlic

Cook the beetroots whole in boiling until just tender (this takes about 40 mins), then allow to cool a bit and rub off the skins, which will come away very easily (I actually pressure cooked mine which took around 15-20 mins). At the same time, roast the garlic whole with the scotch bonnets. Heat the oven to 120C, slice the top off the garlic so the tops of the cloves are exposed and place in roasting dish with the chillies, rubbing the lot with a little oil. Cook for about 20 mins or until soft.

Blend chillies with light olive oil in a blender. I de-seeded mine.

Put beetroots in a blender with the natural yoghurt, lemon juice, half the garlic cloves and some salt and blend. Taste and add more yoghurt if you fancy it.

Spread the dip on a plate (more surface area for toppings – you could also use a nice wide bowl) and sprinkle over feta, herbs, toasted seeds. Drizzle over chilli oil.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Martha January 26, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Love the new email! Didn’t hate the old one… just required a lot of sideways scrolling, so I used it as a prompt to visit the online post!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves January 26, 2018 at 3:47 pm

      Aw thanks Martha! I appreciate the solidarity there but glad you like the new email 🙂

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    Reply Hannah January 26, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    Oh, new email format is bonza!! ☺️

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    Reply sophie liddell January 27, 2018 at 10:00 am

    New email is AMAZING! Read back my email to you and sorry I sounded like a desperate whinger whose life was ruined by your emails. I was at the lowest point in my procrastination cycle. Thanks for being the best and responding as though it was a genuine emergency 🙂

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves January 27, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Haha, don’t apologise! You have improved Food Stories emails for everyone and I thank you once again 🙂

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    Reply Deborah January 27, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    This sounds very good, I’m like you–pickled or spicy beets or nothing. I finally found the courage to pickle some a few weeks ago and now I’m pickling everything in sight short of the cat food. Hmmmm…nah.
    My store carries vacuum packed cooked baby beets (Local! a bonus) so I think I’ll cheat and use those for this since it ends up in the processor–but I really love the big hairy ones for roasting and eating in chunks–agin w/feta & hot peppers. The gold ones are nice too. Apparently beets grow well in Hawaii, and I’m glad for that.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves January 27, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      Yeah give it a go – I have to say (and I know this is a bit annoying), I don’t think those packed ones have the same flavour but hey, it’s got so much stuff on top you prob won’t notice too much! I love those golden ones too 🙂

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    Reply Biki January 28, 2018 at 12:10 am

    Loved the new mail! I usually read my mail on my iPad. A d the print was soooooo teeny tiny, I just got to the point where when I saw your mail, I’d go directly to your website. Thought it was just a iPad issue. But your posts are so delightful it was worth it!

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      Reply Helen Graves January 28, 2018 at 8:16 am

      OMG haha! I’m so sorry… but really pleased you like the new one and thank you for the kind words.

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    Reply Bob, The Portland Barman January 28, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Thanks Helen! I really appreciate you putting this up and I’m super excited to make it. Cheers!

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    Reply Triona January 28, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    Ahhh, that’d explain why the RSS feed broke, (and there’s no link on the front page, but i found it anyway ( )

    I’ve a bunch of scotch bonnets in the freezer, might be time to make some oil! (though maybe for pizza rather than horrid beetroot…

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves January 29, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Oh shiz, sorry! I forgot about everyone using an RSS reader (I’m so good at this after 10 years ;))

      • Avatar
        Reply Triona January 29, 2018 at 10:37 pm

        No panic 🙂 I’m not sure there’s a lot of us since Reader went away. Back working again thanks!

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