This is a sticky / sweet and savoury sharer dish, lovely with some fresh bread to mop up the dressing (I made foccacia with rosemary and salt to go with it).
2 whole beetroot medium or large
A handful of walnuts
3 tbsp fresh labneh (Palestinian Breakfast 1 – Labneh (yogurt cheese))
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp of rose water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tsp of date syrup
A small handful of mint leaves thinly sliced
Heat the oven to 180°C
Put the beetroot in a high sided tray, add about 2/3 cm of water to the tray depending on the size of the beetroot, cover the beetroot with tinfoil and roast for 1 hour. It should be slightly tender but not mushy, as it will then be difficult to slice. Check it after 30 minutes by poking it with a skewer. Once it pierces the skin easily it is ready.
When it is done, leave it to cool and then place in the fridge. Once chilled (minimum 1 hour) using a mandolin or a peeler shave off the beetroot in to thin slices. Lay the slices on a plate not overlapping each other and cover and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
Add the lemon zest and rose water to the labneh, whip it with a fork and put it in the fridge.
Toast the walnuts dry in a pan and break each walnut in to 2/3 pieces.
Take the olive oil and combine it with the balsamic vinegar, date syrup, a pinch of salt and pepper.
Finally, take the beetroot and put a little dollop of the labneh on each slice, with a piece of walnut, drizzle over the dressing and scatter the sliced mint leaves and sprinkle a pinch of salt crystals and pepper.
This is nice with sage as well, although it gives the dish a richer more wintery feel, whereas the mint offers a more fresh and summery note. Toast the sage leaves and warm on a low heat for 1 minute to release the flavours before scattering.