As the hungry gap enters its final furlong, and before our spring harvest comes through, we turn to our Cookery School team for three recipes using one of the ingredients we treasure most at this time, the humble beetroot.

When days are short and cold, nothing beats a warming, creamy gratin – and this garlicky beetroot number is a particular favourite. Serve alongside rare fillet of beef on a Sunday or as a standalone dish with greens and horseradish. It can be made ahead of time; simply pop in the oven when ready to cook.


500g beetroot, washed and peeled

500g potatoes, washed and peeled

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

300ml double cream

generous pinch of sea salt

good twist of black pepper

150G CHEDDAR OR OTHER HARD CHEESE, GRATED

2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Thinly slice the beetroot and potato either by hand, with the slicing attachment of a food processor or with a mandolin; it should be about 2–3mm thick.

Mix the garlic with the cream in a small pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.

Put the sliced beetroot and potato in a bowl and add some seasoning. Add the cream, two thirds of the cheese and the chopped rosemary. Mix thoroughly so the beetroot and potato are coated.

Arrange the slices neatly in a gratin dish or baking tray and pour over any remaining cream. Top with the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the top is beautifully golden and crisp – you may need to cover the top with foil if the top looks like it is getting too dark.

We have so enjoyed using persimmons over the winter months at the Cookery School and are always so thrilled to be able to teach another guest about this wonderful fruit – this recipe always goes down a treat. Paired with earthy beetroot from the Market Garden and salty, crispy prosciutto it works brilliantly as a starter for a dinner party or as a quick, simple and healthful lunch.

If you are interested in learning more about cooking for a crowd or dinner party, or to simply to widen your repertoire in the kitchen, then you can browse our wide range of Cookery School courses HERE.


 

FOR THE SALAD:

2 medium beetroot, cooked

2 persimmon

4 slices prosciutto

handful of salad leaves, preferably rocket or something peppery

FOR THE DRESSING:

60ML ORGANIC BUTTERMILK

30g crème fraîche

25G BLUE CHEESE

1 tbsp lemon juice

10g soft herbs such as parsley, chervil or coriander

Method:

Wash your beetroot and remove any tops. Wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 180ºC for 30-40 minutes until soft in the centre.

When the beetroot have cooled, peel and cut into half-moon wedges. Do the same with the persimmon and and wrap each wedge in the prosciutto. Lay onto a tray and heat under the grill until crisp and colouring on the edges; turn and repeat. This should take about 6 minutes.

While the beetroot and persimmon are cooking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, crème frâiche, blue cheese, herbs and lemon juice until thick and smooth. Taste and adjust with seasoning if needed.

Divide a handful of leaves between two bowls and place the beetroot and persimmon on top. Drizzle over the dressing and serve.

Pickling is a technique we turn to often at the Cookery School, offering a way to preserve gluts from our organic Market Garden but also as one of our favourite go-to larder staples to serve with everything from cold meats to salads or as part of a delicious sandwich.

We often teach our guests how to make quick pickles at the Cookery School but to truly master the art of pickling, why not join us on either our FERMENTS TO EAT AND DRINK or our COMPLETE LARDER courses?


5 medium beetroot, cooked

3 shallots, finely sliced

480ML ORGANIC APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

120ml water

100g brown sugar

1 tbsp sea salt

1 stick of cinnamon

10 whole cloves

2 star anise

Method:

Wash your beetroot and remove any tops. Wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 180ºC for 30-40 minutes until soft in the centre.

Once cool, peel the beetroot and slice into 2-3mm rounds using a mandolin or with the slicing attachment of a food processor. Transfer to a bowl, add the finely sliced shallots and toss together.

In a medium pan, combine the vinegar, water, brown sugar, salt and spices. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring to make sure all the sugar has dissolved. Pour this hot liquid over the beetroot and shallots.

Transfer the beetroot and shallots to a jar and cover with the pickling liquid. If you are using more than one jar, make sure the spices are evenly distributed between them.

Allow the jar(s) to sit at room temperature for around three days. The pickles will keep out of the fridge for up to 1 month and in the fridge for 2.