Beetroot, in recent years, has at last become persona grata in my kitchen. As a baby boomer, I still have a clear image in my mind of what passed for a fresh summer salad in the days of my youth. The collection of over cooked hard boiled eggs, with black edged yolks and crimson stained whites, nestling amongst flaccid pale green leaves, slices of seed filled pale tomatoes and, most horrid of all, cubes of beetroot that had been preserved in cheap vinegar were a feature of the season. Vinaigrette, or even a simple dressing of oil and lemon, was only encountered on rare occasions and was replaced by various versions of “Salad Cream”, a thick,viscous condiment that was quickly reduced to scarlet streaked curds on first contact with the virulently infectious beetroot. Part and parcel of a reasonably privileged background was the thrice daily appearance of , at best, unappetising food. Restaurants were no better apart from the fact that someone brought the unappetising food to your table and took it away afterwards. My childhood visits to France had shown me that things could be a lot better but I think my psyche associated the good tastes with the pleasure of “holiday” rather than any superiority of cooking skills. There is a notation in an early Elizabeth David book which says that when recipes in the book included olive oil as an ingredient, small bottles could be obtained at a good chemist. Back to beetroot. The markets here are awash with beetroot, but they are of a different ilk to those found in floating like medical specimens in jars of clear, acidic condiment. The beetroot that I favour cannot be judged by its cover. Its cover is dark and wrinkled with a suggestion that all may not be well within, and how misleading is that cover. Beneath the skin there lies a sweet, soft garnet coloured flesh. This is a roasted beetroot that has all the delicacy of a confit. The dish in the picture was produced by cutting some rough chunks of beetroot and adding a tablespoon of creme fraiche. A few small wild rocket leaves, some capers and baies roses make it taste wonderful and look like a bowl of jewels. A splash of walnut oil didn’t do any harm either.