Eversince I made this cake, I've had pink on the brain. Truth is, I've never thought much of the taste of beetroot -  each time I've eaten it, I just haven't been able to get away from the association with sugar and earth. Beetroot is often described as "earthy" but the first time I tried it, I was quite surprised to find that it was an almost literal description of the luridly bright tuber.

Now the colour, oh, the colour, is something else altogether! I've always adored the vivid, almost violent magenta hue that is beetroot. I revel in peeling and slicing it, and watching it, with morbid delight, as it bleeds its brilliance all over my fingers, knife and cutting board.

I love potato salad but let's face it, there's nothing left to say about it; it's good, eat it already! I wanted to shake it up but felt there wasn't much to improve flavourwise, so, I took a leaf out of the Turkish culinary tradition and decided to give it a jolt of pulsing, electric colour. The Turks have long loved beetroot dressed with yogurt and mint and it's easy to see why. The acidity of the yoghurt tames the exuberant sweetness of the beetroot. I also added a smidgen of mustard, in place of the mint, because I love it so, and, I don't fancy minty potatoes. I like mint but feel it really belongs in chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, Vietnamese food, tea, chocolate and ice cream. No, I didn't overlook lamb, but I reserve the right to change my mind.

The deed done, I thought it looked brilliant, but was it good?  Yes, it was. More than good actually. It was tasty when immediately made but after chilling for about 2 hours, it was really as good as any potato salad I've ever had and relished. Clean, sharp, peppery, tangy, savoury and ever so slightly sweet.

Already I'm dreaming of beetroot panna cotta, beetroot chutney, beetroot sorbet, beetroot tempura, beetroot fudge, beetroot schnapps, beetroot popsicles..... *sigh* pink on the brain; watch out, I've got it bad.

Prep 15 mins     Cook 10 mins      Serves 2 - 3


3 medium waxy or creamy textured potatoes, peeled
1 medium beetroot, leave unpeeled and prick all over deeply, with a fork
1 stalk spring onion (scallion), trimmed and sliced (reserve some for garnish)
2 Tbsp thick yoghurt (regular or low fat)
1 tsp mild grainy or smooth mustard
Salt to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste


Put the potatoes and beetroot in a roomy microwaveable bowl, add about 3 tablespoons water and cover. Cook in the microwave on "High" for 8 - 10 minutes. The time will depend on your oven wattage. They're done when easily pierced right through with a fork. The potatoes may cook slightly faster than the beetroot.

Cool vegetables until you're able to handle comfortably. Cut potatoes into chunks and put into a large mixing bowl.

Peel beetroot and cut into dice, about half the size of potato chunks. Put into bowl with potatoes.

Add most of the spring onions, all the yoghurt, mustard, salt and pepper. Toss until combined. Cover and chill at least an hour.

Dish out salad and sprinkle with the reserved spring onions. Serve as a side with roast, barbecued or grilled meat, fish or poultry. I like it fine on its own too.