As lovely as it is to go out somewhere special for dinner on Valentine’s Day, I much prefer a romantic night in. Light some candles, stream some cool blues and jazz, set a bottle of good champagne on ice. The menu? Steak’s always a banker for the main course and this roasted beetroot starter with St Auger cheese, walnuts and a tangy dressing is my absolute favourite. I’ve created this new ‘Amore’ style recipe presentation especially for Valentine’s Day in association with the Central England Co-operative.
You will need…
- Heart-shaped cutters as below.
- 2 large beetroot, washed and dried. Choose beetroot the right width for cutting the heart shapes.
- 40g St Augur, Goat’s cheese or Dolcelatte cheese.
- 6 walnuts (or a handful of hazelnuts if you prefer).
- Fresh thyme leaves.
- Dressing: a teaspoon of French mustard, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, a pinch of sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon of honey.
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Wrap the whole beetroots up in a loose foil parcel, place it on a baking tray and roast for about an hour and a half. Set aside to cool once it’s cooked.
- Put the dressing ingredients in a small screw-top jar and give it a good shake to emulsify the oil, mustard, honey and vinegar. Check and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- To prepare the beetroot, it’s best to wear rubber gloves so your hands don’t get stained. The skins should slip off really easily. If you prep it over the foil you can just discard the leftovers in it and then there’s no mess. Slice a little off the top and bottom of each beet so that they are flat and slice them carefully into 5 equal circles. Using a medium-sized heart-shaped cutter and a smaller one, cut 4 large shapes and one small one. Arrange them on a plate using the picture above for guidance.
- Dot each plate with pieces of the St Augur cheese, chopped walnuts, a scattering of fresh thyme leaves and the dressing.
- Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!
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