To make your own balsamic syrup bring the contents of a bottle to the boil and simmer until reduced by half, then leave to cool. We store ours in small squeezy bottles for convenience. I love to use it as it intensifies the flavour of the vinegar, making it thick and syrupy so it looks great when drizzled onto a plate.

Ingredients

  • 2 large raw beetroots
  • 450ml (3/4 pint) red wine
  • 100ml (3 1/2fl oz) ruby red port
  • 2 tblsp crème de cassis (optional)
  • 225g (8oz) soft goat's cheese
  • 3 tblsp basil oil
  • 1 tsp snipped fresh chives
  • 4 tsp balsamic syrup
  • 1 punnet salad cress
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, shredded into juilenne (core discarded)
  • 4 tsp toasted pine nuts
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. To prepare the beetroots it is best to put a pair of gloves on, otherwise you will stain your hands. Trim the tops off the beetroots and then peel. Using a mandolin, carefully slice each beetroot as thinly as possible. You'll need 24 even-sized slices for this recipe in total.
  2. Place the wine in a pan with the port and crème de cassis, if using. Bring to the boil, then add the thinly sliced beetroot and cook for 8-10 minutes or until just cooked through. Drain well and dry with kitchen paper.
  3. Place goat's cheese in food processor with two tablespoons of the basil oil and blend till soft. Stir in the chives and season to taste. Spoon into piping bag with 2.5cm (1in) plain nozzle and chill for 10 minutes to help the mixture to firm up.
  4. To serve, drizzle each plate with a little balsamic syrup and arrange three slices of beetroot on top. Pipe the creamed goat's cheese in centre of each portion of beetroot and then carefully place three more beetroot slices on top. Cut the salad cress with a scissors and scatter on top with the apple and pine nuts, then drizzle over the remaining basil oil.