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Beet, Many Ways



I find it really exciting to try and use different textures of one ingredient in a dish. Plus, we are just a day away from valentine's and everyone seems to looking for a bit of red in their life, so how about creating something fun and exciting out of beetroot. Let me talk you through the elements on this plate. I brushed beet hummus down the plate. On one side of the hummus border is a dab of yogurt with cooked beetroot slices. The other side has thin slivers of pickled beetroot interspersed with some more hung yogurt. And towards the edge you see beet leaves, filled with cottage cheese, rolled up and lightly sautéed in olive oil.

You could obviously do away with all the dramatics and put the two dips (hummus and yogurt) in bowl to serve with beet crudites. But have some fun instead, and plate this as first course of your valentine's meal. Follow it up with a simple pasta or risotto and end with something that's simply spectacularly red, like these strawberries in cream or this pomegranate panacotta and you have the makings of a beautiful evening.

Ingredients
For beet hummus
1 small beetroot
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp yogurt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
juice of 1 lime
salt
2 tbsp olive oil

For pickled beetroot
1 beetroot
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tsp coriander seeds

For beet leaf rolls
2 beetroot leaves
3 tbsp crumbled cottage cheese
salt
black pepper

For yogurt dip
1 cup plain yogurt
5-7 pink peppercorns
salt

Make the pickled beetroot a day in advance. Peel and thinly slice the beetroot, preferably on a mandolin. In a glass or ceramic bowl, mix together water, vinegar and salt. Stir until salt is fully dissolved, then add the beetroot slices and coriander seeds. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Also a day before, pour the yogurt into a tea strainer lined with cheesecloth. Pop the strainer on top of a bowl and leave in the fridge for the whey to drain out. The next day, remove the thick yogurt to a bowl and mix will peppercorns and salt.

Peel the beetroot and cook in plenty of water until soft. Blend half the cooked beet with all the other ingredients for hummus until you have a smooth paste. Reserve the other half to be used as beet slices while plating.

Wash the beetroot leaves and wipe dry with a towel. Mix the cottage cheese with seasoning. Put a tbsp of cottage cheese at one end of the leaf and roll tightly. Heat a pan and lightly brush with olive oil. Carefully saute the rolls on both sides until warmed through.

Now that you have all the components, dip a pastry brush in the bowl of hummus and draw a line down the middle of the plate. Spoon yogurt dip on one side of the hummus and arrange beet slices around it. Take 3 slices of pickled beet, dab a little yogurt on each and stack them on the other side of the hummus. Finally, place two beet leaf rolls at the edge of the plate to finish.

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