I suppose I should start with the cheese:
This is the Meredith Dairy Goats Cheese marinated with herbs, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Packaged as large chunks, it's a soft and creamy cheese with a pleasant tang.
As a cheese, it is one that you can easily enjoy on its own with just some crusty bread so for me, it needs to be an equal partner in any dish.
I've selected baby beetroot as a match for this cheese
and created a simple warm salad of roasted baby beetroot and goat cheese served with shredded beetroot leaves and a dressing of roasted beet juices and olive oil.
baby beetroot, cleaned
reserved baby beetroot leaves, shredded
Meredith Dairy Marinated Goats Cheese
Cook the beetroot:
I buy baby beetroot in bunches and they are sold with their stems and leaves attached - when choosing, look for one with fresh, crisp leaves that don't show signs of wilting.
Cut the stems about an inch from the beetroot - reserve the stems and leaves. If you are looking for something to do with either, consider this pasta recipe.
Place the cleaned beetroot in a bowl, along with a few cloves of garlic (don't bother removing the skin), a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of sea salt flakes. Toss to ensure the beetroot is well coated.
Take a piece of foil about the size of a baking tray and cover it with a similar sized sheet of baking paper - tumble the beetroot mixture into the centre
and seal the edges to form a package.
Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven until the beetroot are tender. The time taken will depend on the size of the beetroot.
Inside the package you'll find that a wonderful beetroot coloured and flavoured juice has formed - pour all the juice out into a small bowl. Take one of the garlic cloves and squeeze it out of its skin - mash it to a paste and add it back to the juice. Add a little more extra virgin olive oil to form a dressing - taste and adjust for seasoning.
Once the beetroot have cooked, it's important that you peel them while they are still warm as the skin tends to stick as it cools.
Cut the beetroot into bite-sized wedges and place them into a bowl. Add a tiny spoonful of dressing, just enough to give the beetroot a bit of shine.
Assemble the salad:
If I was to add the cheese directly to the beetroot it would become beetroot coloured and you just wouldn't be able to recognise it in the dish.
I've presented this in a more organised manner, keeping the ingredients separate but binding them with the dressing.
Take a serving plate and casually arrange the beetroot pieces on it, followed by roughly broken pieces of Goat Cheese - finish with a scattering of the beetroot leaves.
Give the dressing a little whisk and then drizzle it over all the ingredients.
Served in this manner, this makes for a colourful and tasty starter.