for the beetroot dust
3 medium beetroots
for the panna cotta
3 gelatine leaves (you use less because the panna cotta remains moulded)
6 big rose-geranium leaves
for the syrup
2 big handfuls of African hibiscus petals
1 handful of stevia leaves
½ handful rose-geranium flowers, to serve
½ handful stevia flowers, to serve
To prepare the beetroot dust, which can be done a day in advance, preheat the oven to 50˚C. Peel and slice the beetroot thinly (as evenly as possible) and place it on a non-stick baking tray on convection. Dehydrate the beetroot for about two hours until it is completely dried out, then blend it with a hand blender. Push it through a sieve to weed out the stubborn pieces. You will be surprised at how easy it is to make this and the intensity of the earthy flavour that results. Place it in an airtight container.
To prepare the panna cotta, soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water until they are soft. Wash the rose geranium leaves well and bruise them. Slowly bring them to a simmer in a pot with the milk, cream and sugar for three to five minutes. Do not let it boil. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Squeeze out the gelatine and add it to the warm mixture, stirring softly until it has melted. Let the mixture cool, then pour it in into eight petri dishes or ramekins. Place these on a tray and refrigerate for at least four hours.
To prepare the syrup, place the sugar in a pot and boil the water in a separate pot. Pour the boiling water over the sugar and stir softly to help the sugar to dissolve. Turn on the heat to low and let the sugar dissolve completely. Place the hibiscus, a pinch of beetroot dust and the stevia leaves into the syrup and simmer softly for about 40 minutes until it starts to thicken. You want a light syrup consistency. Let it cool and then pour it through a sieve.
To serve, place a petri dish onto a plate on top of a base plate. Pour the syrup thinly onto the base plate. Sprinkle beetroot dust on top and garnish with rose geranium and stevia flowers. SERVES 8
Originally published HL September 2015