A friend of mine was telling me recently about her son’s first serious relationship. Apparently, this is the first one who’s lasted more than three weeks, and he’s smitten – enough to want to make her a full three-course dinner at home!
She’s gluten free, which has added a little extra challenge, but he’s determined to make her something special. My friend asked me if I could come up with a foolproof starter that’s likely to impress but is very easy, because he’s used up all his concentration on the main course and dessert!
This gluten free rice dish is so simple it’s ridiculous, but it tastes so sophisticated – perfect for a romantic evening to begin the way you’d like it to go on!
Roasted Baby Beets & Goats Cheese on Rice
Ready in 40 minutes. Serves 2 as a starter
- 1 x 250g precooked red & brown wholegrain rice (I used a packet of Sunrice Superbrown)
- 1 bunch (6-8) baby beets, with stalks
- 5 large sage leaves, chopped
- Coarse sea salt (I like pink Himalayan sea salt for this)
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 100g goats cheese
- Oil, to drizzle (I like the Olivado Avocado Oil with Lemon Zest with this, but any good dressing oil is fine)
Preheat oven to 180°.
Wash baby beets, then arrange on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle with 3 of the sage leaves, chopped, and salt. Drizzle quite liberally with olive oil. Cover beetroot loosely with tin foil then cook for 30 minutes or until beets are soft. Allow to cool slightly (they are best eaten warm), then, using your fingers, peel the outer skin and stalks away. (If you don’t want beautiful purple hands on your date, a pair of gloves is quite a good idea!) Try to keep the tail intact.
Heat the rice according to packet instructions, and divide evenly between two bowls. Cut the beetroots in half, and arrange, along with small broken pieces of goats cheese, onto your rice.
Finish your dish with a couple of sage leaves and drizzle with oil. Serve immediately.