Roast four small beetroot, wrapped in foil with a little oil, at 200C/gas mark 6 for 50 minutes or so. After 20 minutes' cooking, add five whole garlic cloves and four largeish tomatoes. When the beetroot and garlic are ready, peel the garlic, then peel and thickly slice the beetroot. Boil 200g of pearled spelt in 400ml salted water for 20 minutes. Switch off. Melt a large knob of butter in a frying pan, add the cooked spelt and leave to toast lightly for a minute or two. Add the beetroot and the tomatoes, and some black pepper, folding gently until the tomatoes burst. Serves 2.
Use small, young beetroot that take a short time to cook. You can roast or boil them (the latter is quicker), or you can use ready-cooked beetroot. Choose those that haven't been preserved with vinegar. Because of the inherent sweetness of the beets, use small sweet-sour tomatoes.
Use pearl barley if you can't find pearled spelt. If you feel like adding a herb to this, try basil, tearing the leaves in just before you serve it so they keep their peppery fragrance. This makes a good side dish for baked, cold ham or roast beef. You could add steak, grilled and thickly sliced, to it as well.
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In the pink of health: Nigel Slater's spelt with beetroot and tomato recipe. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer