Starter: Goat's cheese and beetroot

Impress your guests with this elegant starter (serves four)
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Goat's cheese and beetroot
© Bryn Williams/Great British Food
Goat's cheese and beetroot with a salad of Welsh herbs and beetroot dressing
* 4 Welsh goat’s cheeses, each 120g
* Sprigs of thyme
* Olive oil
* 120g sugar
* 3 large beetroots, cooked, peeled and roughly diced
* 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
* 12 or more raw baby beetroots
* 150g Snowdon mountain herbs, such as wood sorrel, hairy bittercress, pennywort or whatever is in season
* 20g toasted pine nuts
* Salt and pepper

1. Put the cheeses in a bowl with some thyme and olive oil to cover. Leave to marinate while you prepare the beetroot dressing.

2. Melt the sugar in heavy-bottomed pan on a moderate heat, then cook until the sugar has turned golden brown. Add the cooked beetroot and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring until the beetroot is completely coated with the caramel. Remove from the heat and add the balsamic vinegar. Transfer to a food processor and blend to a smooth consistency.

3. Pour the puree into a muslin-lined colander set in a bowl and allow the liquid to drain through. Season the liquid to taste and double the volume with olive oil to create a dressing. Season the puree. Set both dressing and puree aside.

4. Preheat the oven to 140C/gas mark one.

5. Wrap the baby beetroots in a foil envelope with some sprigs of thyme. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Peel the beetroots and leave to cool.

6. Remove the cheeses from the marinade and blot off any excess oil with kitchen paper. Glaze the tops of the cheeses using a blow torch (or under a hot grill) until golden brown.

7. Dress the Welsh herbs in the beetroot dressing.

8. To assemble, spread a tablespoon of beetroot puree on each plate. Add the dressed herbs and position the glazed cheeses in top. Drizzle round the remainder of the beetroot dressing, add the baby beetroots and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Serve with warm laver bread.

Recipe from Great British Food
Over 150 superb recipes from BBC Two's Great British Menu.
Published by Dorling Kindersley (

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