Heritage beetroot with buttermilk, horseradish and bronze fennel

  • medium
  • 8
  • 1 hour 30 minutes plus overnight freezing and infusing time

A savoury beetroot ice cream is served with baked heritage beetroot, punchy horseradish cream and a sourdough crumb in this almost psychedelically colourful dish. This makes a great vegetarian dinner party starter as nearly all the elements need to be prepared in advance, then can simply be plated up when ready to serve. Freeze any leftover lovage oil to retain its bright green colour.

First published in 2021




Beetroot discs

Beetroot ice cream

  • 30g of egg yolk
  • 100ml of milk
  • 100ml of double cream
  • 3g of salt
  • 40g of sugar

Horseradish infused buttermilk

Lovage oil

Sourdough crumb

  • 200g of sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 50g of butter


  • 3.5cm round cutter
  • Ice cream maker
  • Thermomix or blender
  • Thermometer
  • Muslin cloth



You will need to start the day before to give the ice cream time to freeze – but you can also prepare the beetroot discs, buttermilk and lovage oil in advance as well. Begin by roasting the beetroot, as you need this to make the ice cream. Preheat an oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4


Place each beetroot on a separate piece of tin foil (so the colours don’t bleed) with ½ a garlic clove, a sprig of thyme, 15g salt, 15g of vegetable oil and 15g sugar in each parcel. Wrap up tightly then bake in the oven for around 45 minutes, or until just soft


Leave the beetroot to cool slightly, then peel whilst still warm. Cut each beetroot into 3mm slices then use a 3.5cm round cutter to create 24 small discs from each beetroot (so 72 in total). Reserve all the leftover beetroot for the ice cream. Place the beetroot discs in a container and reserve in the fridge


To make the ice cream, place the egg yolk, sugar, milk and cream into a Thermomix and set at 80ºC – when it reaches 80ºC add the beetroot trimmings and salt and blitz until smooth. Alternatively, heat in a pan with a thermometer to 80°C, transfer to a blender with the trimmings and salt, blitz until smooth then pass through a fine sieve. Transfer to an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Reserve in the fridge until needed

  • 30g of egg yolk
  • 40g of sugar
  • 100ml of milk
  • 100ml of double cream
  • 3g of salt

You can also infuse the buttermilk a day before too. Pour the buttermilk into a bowl and finely grate the horseradish into it. Add the salt and leave to infuse for at least 2 hours in the fridge, or overnight


To make the lovage oil, blanch the lovage leaves in boiling water for 1 minute, then refresh in iced water. Squeeze out as much water as possible, then place in a blender with the oil and blend on full speed for 6 minutes. Line a sieve with a piece of muslin cloth (or a j-cloth), set it over a bowl, then pour the oil into it. Place in the fridge and leave to strain – this will take a few hours, so it's best done the day before too


On the day you plan to serve, make the sourdough crumble. Melt the butter in a pan and fry the breadcrumbs until crisp and golden in the foaming butter. Drain on kitchen paper and season with a pinch of salt

  • 200g of sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 50g of butter

To plate, arrange the beetroot discs (3 of each colour per plate) in a circle, alternating the colours until they almost rejoin. Place a spoonful of the crispy breadcrumbs in the gap for the ice cream to sit on. Spoon 25ml of the buttermilk into the centre and split with some of the lovage oil, then add a rocher of the ice cream and top with a few sprigs of bronze fennel

First published in 2021

Growing her own vegetables from the age of thirteen, Ruth Hansom has spent years developing her own ultra-seasonal style of cookery and has won numerous awards along the way.

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