It is a great pity that many people will not eat beetroot – I suspect it is a hangover from school dinners. I think it has a much more interesting flavour and texture than potato, and maybe this is just the dish to convert them. Can anyone resist baked cream and parmesan? I could very easily eat a whole dish of this on its own, although it is also wonderful with a good roast chicken. Do try to hunt down some decent parmesan – it is worth the effort. Christopher Lloyd’s niece Olivia Eller brings a good quality parmesan over from France for me, and it is so much better than the version you generally find in supermarkets.


  • 7 Beetroot golf-ball-sized
  • 1tsp Dill leaves finely chopped
  • 4tbsp Double cream
  • 2tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • STEP 1

    Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2. Butter a 25cm diameter baking dish.

  • STEP 2

    Twist the leaves off the beetroots (beet) but leave the long roots attached. Gently wash off any soil, then place the beets on a double thickness of aluminium foil and wrap loosely. Put the parcel (package) on a baking sheet and bake for about 2 hours, or until the beets are tender all the way through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then cut off the roots andtops and peel off the skin.

  • STEP 3

    Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Slice the beetroot about 5mm thick and arrange the slices in the prepared dish. Whisk the chopped dill into the cream in a small bowl and spoon it evenly over the beetroot. Sprinkle with the parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper. Put the dish back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes or so until everything is heated through and the parmesan is starting to brown.

This recipe is taken from The Great Dixter Cookbook: Recipes from an English Garden by Aaron Bertelsen (Phaidon, 2017).


Having studied at Kew Gardens and spent two years at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Israel, Aaron Bertelsen is now vegetable gardener and cook at Great Dixter. His book, The Great Dixter Cookbook was published in March 2017.