There is an ochre and crimson multi-coloured crinkling carpet under my feet
I’m spinning round and round beneath the wind swept trees
Almost barren now with just their branches reaching out for the last remnants of winter’s light
Arms wide open, hair pulled tightly in bunches, fingers spread to the sky
Nose and ears pinched ruby with autumn’s early evening chill
It’s just a moment, just a second, but it’s everything
Moving to the left, then the right, unsteady feet, catching the world as it
Falls out of focus
Did I giggle? Maybe just a little one.
The last days of October, I sense it’s late now
And ride the purple bicycle with it’s metallic banana-seat home
Tassles whipping back and forth, tickling my tightly wound hands
My mother’s voice calling my name
Carries itself across the neighbourhood houses
Brick and wood, boldly painted doors, in a circle, standing to attention
Each one a testimony to those early dreams that cultivate and console
Inside there was cocoa with marshmallows, warm cinnamon swirling in rolls
The boisterous burning fire, calling me over, beckoning the senses back to life
Father reads the papers, mother arranges for the day to end,
Anticipation prepares for all that lies ahead
A warm hush envelops the room as slumber falls upon my sticky fingers,
My chocolate lips, my heavy eye lids, my vacant mind
There’s nothing left, just that child
And all that she remembers
Beetroot & Chocolate Loaf
There’s very few things that are as satisfying as roasted autumn vegetables; their sumptuous colours and sweet flesh are perfect for a wide variety of dishes. The lividness of the beetroot never fails to disappoint and can be used for savoury and sweet alike. They were on offer at my local veggie store this week and I simply had to take advantage of it. I decided to try this Beetroot & Chocolate Loaf and I was delighted with the results. Easy to make and even easier to eat, this loaf is light with a dense chocolatey bite. I roasted the beetroot (wrapped in foil) beforehand in the oven for about an hour at 180c. You need to peel the skins off after so if you don’t want purple fingers wear gloves.
1 large beetroot, about 175g in weight (cooked & skin peeled)
200g plain flour (I used rice flour making this gluten free)
100g cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
200g light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200ml sunflower oil
100g dark chocolate (chopped into chunks)
Heat oven to 190c/gas 5. Grease or line a 900g loaf tin.
Put the beetroot into a food processor and mix until chopped into tiny pieces. Add a pinch of salt and the rest of the ingredients, except the oil and the chocolate. Mix until completely combined. Scrape down the sides.
Turn the mixer on and pour the oil through the funnel on the top, slowly and in a steady stream.
When all the oil has been added turn the processor off. Add the chocolate by hand mixing it in until well combined.
Tip the mix into the lined loaf tin. Cook for 1hr or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly in tin before turning it out on to rack.
Can be served in slices with creme fraiche or whipped cream. Or cold as a snack!