Beetroot panna cotta

Beetroot panna cotta with dukkah-dusted goat’s cheese and pickled beetroot

Panna cotta:
4 medium beets
2½ cups water
½ cup cream
1 tablespoon gelatine
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Peel and cube the beets. Cook in salted water until they are very soft. Remove the beets from the water, but preserve the remaining liquid. In a liquidiser, add the cooked beets and 1½ cups of the preserved cooking liquid, the butter and the cream, and blitz until smooth. Sprinkle the gelatine over ¼ cup cold water to soften. Return the beet mixture to the pot and bring to boil, then remove the pot from the heat and add the gelatine. Ensure it melts and dissolves well in the beet mixture. Optional: The mixture can be strained for a silky
smooth texture. Pour the mixture into bottles, ramekins or cups and refrigerate for a few hours until set. Garnish with fresh sliced heirloom beetroot and beetroot microherbs.

Dukkah-dusted goat’s cheese:
1 cup roasted hazelnuts
1⁄₃ cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
4 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 block of goat’s cheese

Set the oven to 180°C and roast the hazelnuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds and cumin on a baking tray for about 10 minutes, until fragrant. In a liquidiser pulse the roasted mixture together with the salt, pepper and brown sugar. Roll the goat’s cheese into small 2cm balls, then coat the goat’s cheese balls in the dukkah mixture.

Beetroot Pickle:
½ cup vinegar
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon pickling spice (peppercorns, bay leaves, mustard seeds, dried chilli)
Beetroot, chopped into small cubes
In a saucepan, add the vinegar, water, sugar, and pickling spice and bring to the boil for 1 minute. In a separate pot, cook the small beetroot cubes in water until tender. Preserve half the cooking liquid. Combine the beetroot cooking liquid with the pickle mixture. This will add a light pink colour to the pickle mixture. Add the cubed beets to a jar three quarters full and fill up with the hot pickle liquid. Leave it overnight to cool and cure.

The Gardener