The Beautiful B’s

Now we are heading towards spring, let’s begin focusing on the beautiful B’s. There are quite a few varieties of fruit and veg in this category, so I will have to spread them over a couple of weeks in order to enjoy them all. There are even a couple that I have not used in cooking before, so we will have to be a little adventurous together. However, I would like to kick off with one of my family’s all time favourite, one of the beloved brassica’s, it is broccoli!


A member of the brassica family, broccoli is also known as a cruciferous vegetable. This complex carbohydrate is a very good source of dietary fibre, vitamins and phytochemicals and is often referred to as a superfood. Broccoli is an excellent source of folate and vitamins A,C and K. It is also a great source of potassium, magnesium, calcium and B6.
This Brassica vegetable is also rich in the anti oxidant sulforaphane which is believed to help protect against certain forms of cancer. And another valuable phytonutrient contained within this gem is Indole-3-carbinol, which is also an important cancer-fighting compound.

Broccoli is most beneficial eaten raw in salads or as crudités. Steaming is the best way of cooking vegetables as there is very little loss of vitamins and they can retain most of their nutritional benefits. When boiled
Broccoli can lose more than 60% of its vitamin C, but only 20% when steamed. Stir-frying is also a good cooking method as the food is cooked very briefly, allowing it to retain most of its nutrients. You can also pop a head of broccoli in a food processor and blitz it for a few seconds to create tiny pieces and then sauté for a few minutes with herbs, garlic and spices for a lovely broccoli rice. You can also use it to make a delicious soup, in fact it even makes me think of Christmas, when using up some Stilton cheese!
And also look out for broccoli sprouts (about the same size as cress) which are delicious in salads.


The small dark blue or purpled skinned blueberry is a member of the Ericacae family, as is the bilberry (which I am finding incredibly hard to get hold of, so I will have to go a foraging later in the year!) These sweet berries vary in size depending on the variety, and have a pale, clear flesh encasing tiny seeds.

Blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C and fibre both soluble and insoluble. Also the blue/purple pigmentation of the skin offers fantastic sources of antioxidant flavonoids such as anthocyanidins. These special compounds are thought to help protect the brain from oxidative stress, which in turn may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease. There is also quite a lot of research into the positive effects that bilberries and blueberries may have on preventing age-related macular degeneration, such as cataracts and glaucoma.

Blueberries are now available year round as you can get them frozen or imported from another country, but the British blueberry season is from about July to September. In the garden, I have a small blueberry plant in a pot, which gives my youngest daughter an immense amount of pleasure waiting for them to ripen.

Blueberries are delicious to eat as a snack, or add them to porridge or cereal in the morning. You could also throw some in some natural yoghurt or coconut yoghurt and sprinkle with seeds and nuts for a lovely breakfast or dessert.
Blueberry buckwheat pancakes are a really delicious breakfast treat at the weekend as well, when you have a little more time to linger in the kitchen!


Beetroot is part of the same genus as chard and spinach. We can also separate these beets into 2 independent vegetables as well if we want. The green, leafy part that grows above grown known as beetroot chard (we will look at that another day) and the part we will focus on today the bulbous root. Primarily, the beetroot is known for its deep purple colouring, however, recently from Abel and Cole I got some gorgeous golden beetroot through.

Beetroots are an excellent source of folic acid and also add fibre, potassium and manganese to our diet. The purple pigmentation of the beetroot holds a powerful antioxidant called betacyanin, which is believed to act as cancer fighting agent against some forms of cancer.

Beetroot are have quite a high natural sugar content, which in turn give them a sweet earthy flavour. They are delicious eaten raw, and when grated can make a colourful and nutritious addition to salads. Beetroots are also fantastic to add into juices as they offer nutritional content along with a beautiful colour. However, you do not need much so just add half a small beetroot or a big wedge of a large one. Roasted beetroot is a great accompaniment to roast meats and fish when roasted alongside some other root veg or squashes. Also why not try using them in a soup like the eastern Europeans do in Borscht. You can also bake or boil beetroot until tender and then use it cold in salads or throw into a chocolate cake for a deliciously rich treat. Check out my recipe for my healthier Beetroot Chocolate muffins in the recipe section.

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