How disappointed I was when even at the vegetable specialist I did not find fresh beetroot. The salesman even laughed at me and said that I should be in the Guinness book of records because he figured I’m probably the only young person in town willing to make food from scratch. But it did not entirely spoil my mood; I could almost taste the puree I had in mind; I was determined to make it. So precooked beetroot in plastic it had to be and the result was not disappointing at all. —Janneke Verheij
Preheat the oven to 200C/ 390F.
If you did find fresh beetroot, prepare them (cook or put in aluminum foil in the oven) until nice and soft. If you have to work with the precooked ones, cut them small and put in a cooking pot.
Put the sweet potato in the oven, peel and all for 40 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the potato, so maybe you have to leave it a bit longer or shorter. To check if ready, pierce the potato with a knife, it should go easily through.
Peel the shallots and cut them in half, put them on a big piece of aluminum foil with the cloves of garlic, add a drizzle of olive oil, pepper, salt and sage. Fold it into a package and put in the oven for about 40 minutes.
When the potato is cooling down, move to the apples. With a melon bowl spoon, cut bowls out of the apple, drizzle with a squeeze of lemon juice. In a wide pan melt the butter with sugar and ginger. Add the apples and bake until they are soft but don't fall apart.
Put the shallots, including sauce that formed, in the pan with beetroot. Peel the potato, cut it into pieces and add to the beetroot. Since all the ingredients are cooked already, it is safer to puree it now instead of heating it and puree when hot. Warm the puree; add the port, balsamico, pepper and salt. Serve with the apple pearls on top.