Summer pudding

 

Serves 8 – 10

For the sponge

15g unsalted butter, plus extra to grease

7 organic free-range medium eggs, separated

375g caster sugar

Small pinch of salt

360g plain flour, sifted

5 tbsp warm water

 

For the fruit

300g blackcurrants

250g caster sugar

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

200g blackberries

200g raspberries

100g strawberries

 

For the sponge, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and grease 33 x 23cm baking tin. Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat; set aside to cool. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks with half the sugar until pale and thick enough to leave a ribbon trail on the surface when the whisk is lifted.

In a separate, clean bowl, whisk the eggs whites with a pinch of salt and remaining sugar, whisking slowly to begin with, then increasing the speed slightly after a minute or two. Continue to whisk until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

Carefully fold the flour into the egg yolk and sugar mix, a third at a time, alternately with the water. Fold in the whisked whites, third at a time. Finally, fold in the melted butter.

Spread the mixture thinly and evenly in the prepared baking tin. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 8 – 10 minutes or until the sponge is just golden and dry to touch. Leave in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack while you prepare the fruit.

Place the black – and redcurrants in a saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice and cook over a medium heat until the fruit just starts to release its juices. Remove from heat and add the rest of the fruit and the lemon zest. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

Line a 1-litre pudding basin with cling film, leaving plenty overhanging all round. Using a pastry cutter, cut 2 rounds of sponge, one to fit the bottom of the basin and one the diameter of the top. Place the smaller disc in the bottom of the basin. Now cut long, tapering strips of sponge and use to line the sides of the basin, overlapping them slightly and pressing tightly to ensure there are no gaps.

Using a slotted spoon, spoon the fruit into the sponge-lined basin, filling it to the brim. Spoon on the juices, reserving a few spoonfuls for serving. Lay the other sponge disc on top. Fold over the cling film to seal and place a saucer on top that just fits inside the rim of the basin. Weigh down with a tin (or something similar) and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, fold back the cling film and invert the pudding onto a deep plate. Using a pastry brush, smear any pale areas of sponge with the reserved juice.

A stylish accompaniment to roast chicken or poached white fish.

 

Serves 6

2 bunches of breakfast radishes

200ml chicken stock60g unsalted butter

Sea salt and freshly ground

black pepper

 

Remove the stalks from the radishes and wash thoroughly in cold water. Shake dry and place in a heavy-based medium pan that is large enough to comfortably hold the radishes and their cooking liquid.

 

Pour over the chicken stock and add the butter (don’t worry if the liquid doesn’t completely cover the radishes). Add a small pinch of salt and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the radishes are almost tender, tossing them once or twice to coat in the cooking liquor; this should take no more than 8 minutes.

 

When the radishes are almost tender, turn up the heat. Slightly to reduce the liquor down until there is just enough to coat the radishes in a pale, glossy glaze. Spoon the radishes into a warm bowl, add a sprinkling of salt and a generous grinding of pepper and serve.

These plump little pasta pillows are filled with a light yet luxurious filling, cooked quickly to order and served in a delicious herb-infused butter.

Serves 8

1 quantity freshly made pasta

Semolina flour, to dust

For the filling

400g sheep’s milk ricotta

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

4 marjoram sprigs, leaves only

100g Parmesan, freshly grated

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the herb butter

120g unsalted butter

20 sage or marjoram leaves

To make the filling, put the ricotta into a bowl with the lemon zest, marjoram, Parmesan and some salt and pepper. Stir well to combine, then taste and adjust as necessary – it should be well seasoned and have a clean, lemony taste.

Roll out the pasta dough into a rectangle, about 40 x 20cm. Turn the dough so you have a long side facing you. Spoon little mounds of ricotta filling along the side closest to you at 5cm intervals, leaving a 3cm clear border along the front edge. Once all the ricotta has been positioned on the dough, bring the furthest edge over the filling to join the front edge and enclose the stuffing. Using your thumb and forefinger, press the pasta dough down firmly around the filling to seal. Now, using a sharp knife, cut through the sealed pasta into little square ravioli parcels.

Arrange the ravioli on a clean tea towel, spaced apart slightly, to allow them to dry out a little before cooking. If you like, you can make them a few hours in advance and keep them on a flat tray that has been slightly dusted with semolina flour.

To cook, bring a large pan of water to the boil, add salt, then the ravioli and cook for 3.5-4 minutes until al dente.

Meanwhile, for the herb butter, melt the butter in a saucepan large enough to hold all the ravioli once it is cooked. Add the sage or marjoram and season with a little salt and pepper.

Scoop the cooked ravioli from the water and add to the herb butter with 1tbsp of the water. Spoon the melted butter over the ravioli. Transfer to warm plates and serve at once.

This combination of of textures and flavours works beautifully and makes for a lovely simple starter. At the restaurant we serve it on individual plates but you could just as well arrange it nicely on one large plate in the centre of the table for everyone to help themselves. 

Serves 6

360g freshly prepared white crab meat

2 ½ – 3 tbsp mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste

A handful of mixed herb leaves, such as chervil, purslane and mint, and/or rocket leaves

180ml crème fraîche

100g lumpfish roe

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rye crackers, to serve

 

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting and warm the rye crackers gently on a tray in the oven while you prepare the other ingredients.

Pick over the crab meat to remove any fragments of shell, then place in a bowl and season very sparingly with salt and just a little black pepper. Add about 1 ½ tbsp olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Toss together very lightly but thoroughly with your fingertips.

In a separate bowl, dress the leaves with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to coat.

Divide the crab meat among the plates and arrange the dressed leaves alongside. Spoon the crème fraîche on top of the crab and finish with the roe. Serve the warmed rye crackers on the side.

At the end of a meal, I enjoy a few bites of something intensely sweet
that is also fragrant and delicate, so this beautiful nougat rounds
off a meal perfectly for me. It is particularly good made with the candied peel of blood oranges, which we prepare at the restaurant when they
are in season. In the summer months, I like to serve the nougat with
a tisane made with lemon verbena. 

Makes 60 small pieces
150g shelled pistachio nuts
200g good quality white chocolate
125g unsalted butter
150g candied citrus peel (preferably homemade or fine quality shop-bought)
4 large, tender rosemary sprigs
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
4 sheets of rice paper
440g caster sugar
125g honey
250g liquid glucose
60ml water
2 organic free-range medium egg whites
Good pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 100°C/Gas ¼. Scatter the pistachios on a baking tray and roast in the low oven for about 20 minutes – to just tickle out and intensify their flavour rather than colour them. Roasting also firms up their texture to give the nougat a little crunch.

Using a sharp knife, cut the chocolate into roughly 1cm pieces and place in the freezer to chill thoroughly. Cut the butter into 1cm chunks and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Cut the candied peel into 1–2cm pieces. Strip the leaves from the rosemary and finely chop them. Remove the seeds from the vanilla pod and set them aside along with the rosemary.
Line a shallow 20 x 30cm baking tin with two sheets of rice paper, making sure you have enough to fold up and cover the sides. I find it helpful to lightly grease the tray with
a little butter first, to help the rice paper stick to the tray.

Put the caster sugar, honey and glucose into a heavy-based pan and add the water. Place the pan over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar and bring to the boil. Once the sugar begins to boil, little crystals may form on the sides of the pan; if so remove these by brushing with a pastry brush dipped in water. Continue to boil until the syrup reaches 135°C; you will need a sugar thermometer to check this.

While the syrup mixture is heating, using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, slowly whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until the eggs break down. Then increase the speed and whisk until soft peaks form.

 

As soon as the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature, remove from the heat and let it rest for a minute or so. Then, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup onto the whites as they are whisking. Once it is all added, increase the speed; this will cool the mixture slightly.

When the mixture is still just warm, add the butter pieces, still whisking to break down and incorporate the butter as it moves through the meringue. Once it is evenly combined, add the vanilla and rosemary. Remove the bowl from the machine and fold in the pistachios and candied peel. Lastly stir in the white chocolate pieces. It is important to work quite quickly at this stage as the mixture will begin to set.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Press the two remaining sheets of rice paper firmly on top, ensuring any air bubbles are removed. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Using a sharp serrated knife, trim the edges of the nougat to neaten, then cut into small slices. Return to the fridge until ready to serve.

Quail is one of my very favourite little birds. Deeply flavourful and
deliciously plump, each one gives a few succulent mouthfuls and perfect
little bones that are irresistible to gnaw on! This is an elegant and suave
first course with complex and interesting flavours.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

4 quail
1½ tbsp roasted spice mix
(mixed coriander, cumin,
fennel and cardamom seeds,
toasted and freshly ground)
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
About 12 baby plum tomatoes
½ tbsp red wine vinegar
1 small celeriac
Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
1 small radicchio, leaves
separated
12–16 shelled fresh walnuts
Sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper
For the dressing
2 tbsp crème fraîche
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
For the marjoram oil
A bunch of marjoram, leaves
only
100ml extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Place the quail in a bowl.
Sprinkle over the spice mix and dried chilli and season well
with salt. Drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil and turn the quail to
coat. Transfer the seasoned quail to a roasting tray.

Place the tomatoes in a small roasting tray, trickle over the
wine vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil and toss lightly. Season with
a little salt.

Roast the quail on the top shelf of the oven, with the tomatoes
on a shelf below, for about 12 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, peel the celeriac and slice into fine rounds, then
into matchsticks. Immediately drop into a bowl of cold water
with a little lemon juice added to prevent discoloration.

For the dressing, put the crème fraîche in a bowl with the
mustard and a small pinch of salt and stir well to combine.
Once the quail are cooked, cover loosely with foil and rest
in a warm place for 10 minutes. Let the tomatoes cool slightly.

Meanwhile, dress the radicchio with lemon juice and olive
oil, salt and pepper to taste. Drain the celeriac and toss in a
separate bowl with the mustard dressing.

For the marjoram oil, pound the marjoram leaves with a
pinch of salt, using a pestle and mortar, then gradually work
in the olive oil – you will have a lovely sludgy sauce.

Arrange the salad leaves, tomatoes and celeriac on plates
and sit the quail on top. Finish with a scattering of walnuts
and a few spoonfuls of marjoram oil. Serve immediately.


Quince is probably my favourite autumn fruit. Tasting somewhere
between an apricot and a pear, it is beautiful to behold and a joy to cook.
It does, however, need long, slow cooking to soften the flesh and
intensify the lovely colour. This upside-down tart is really a variation
on a tarte tatin and is best eaten still slightly warm from the oven,
with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche.

Ingredients:

Serves 8–10

For the quince:

4 firm, ripe, unblemished
quinces
100g caster sugar
2 bay leaves
1 vanilla pod, split in half
lengthways
About 350ml verjuice or
water

For the pastry:

150g plain flour
85g chilled unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 tsp caster sugar
3 tbsp chilled water
To assemble
30g chopped cobnuts or
hazelnuts
20g chilled unsalted butter,
cut into small flakes
1–1½ tbsp caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas 3. Wipe the quince clean with
a clean, damp cloth, then cut lengthways in half, using a
sharp knife.

Place the quince, cut side up, in a small roasting tray in which
they fit snugly, and scatter over the sugar, bay leaves and
vanilla pod (with seeds). Pour over enough verjuice or water
to just cover, then seal tightly with foil. Bake on the middle
shelf of the oven for 1 hours, then remove the foil and
return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and pour off the cooking liquor into
a small pan. Bring to the boil and let bubble until reduced
to a thick syrup consistency, almost like a caramel. Set aside
with the baked quince.

For the pastry, it’s a good idea to chill the flour in the fridge
for 20 minutes or so before you start. Sift the flour into a
bowl. Cut the cold butter into 5mm slivers, letting them fall
into the flour as you cut them. Add the salt and sugar. With
your fingertips, work the butter lightly into the dough. You
should have a texture like very rough sand. Add the water
and mix until the dough just comes together.

Tip the crumby dough onto a large sheet of cling film and
lay another piece of cling film on top. Using a rolling pin,
roll the dough out between the cling film to a thick disc, then
transfer to the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Core each baked quince
half, then slice into 4 or 5 wedges. Arrange, skin side down,
in a circular pattern over the base of a 20cm springform
cake tin. Scatter over the chopped nuts and spoon over
2 tbsp of the reduced quince cooking liquor.

Unwrap the pastry and place on a lightly floured surface.
Roll out very thinly to a large round, about 24cm in diameter
and no thicker than 3mm. Trim the edges.

Dot the quince with the butter flakes. Carefully lay the pastry
over the top, tucking the edges down inside the rim of the
cake tin. Prick the pastry with a fork and sprinkle with the
sugar. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the pastry is
dark golden and the juices are bubbling around the edges.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes before carefully inverting and
unmoulding the tart onto a plate to serve.

I prefer grouse early in the season when their flavour is sweeter and milder
than a little later in the year. The accompanying sweet, young corn
and plump, roasted figs work beautifully with these young grouse.
Later in the year, when their flavour is more intense, I pair the birds with
more robust flavours, such as porcini, barolo and smoky meats.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

4 grouse, plucked and cleaned
4 garlic cloves, peeled
8 large thyme sprigs
50g unsalted butter
250ml sweet red wine, such
as valpolicella
Sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper
For the corn purée
2 corn cobs, outer husks
removed
250ml milk
1 red chilli, deseeded and
roughly chopped
2 tsp golden caster sugar
30g unsalted butter
2 tbsp crème fraîche
For the figs
8 ripe figs
4 thyme sprigs
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp vincotto
20g unsalted butter

Method:

First, make the corn purée. Stand the corn upright, pointed
end down, on a board and strip the kernels from the cobs
by running a sharp knife from top to bottom. Put the kernels
in a saucepan with the milk, chilli, sugar and a good pinch
of salt. Top up with enough water to just cover the corn.

Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then lower the heat
and simmer until the corn is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain,
saving 2 tbsp of the cooking liquid.

Purée the corn with the reserved liquor in a blender until
smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve and return
to a clean pan. Add the butter and crème fraîche and warm
over a low heat until the butter is absorbed. Taste and adjust
the seasoning, adding more salt and a little pepper; the purée
should be well seasoned.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Slice or tear the figs in half
and place them in a roasting tin. Scatter over the thyme,
season with a little salt and pepper and drizzle over the oil
and vincotto. Cook on the middle shelf of the oven until the
figs are just soft and have begun to ooze a little of their juice.
Remove from the oven and add a knob of butter. Stir gently,
allowing the butter to melt into the cooking juices. Set aside.

Turn the oven up to 200°C/Gas 6. Season the grouse inside
and out with salt and pepper and add a garlic clove and
2 sprigs of thyme to each cavity. Place a frying pan over a
medium heat and add the butter. When it is hot, colour the
grouse, two at a time, until well browned all over. Transfer
to a roasting tin.

Add the wine to the pan, turn up the heat, stir to deglaze
and let the liquor bubble to reduce by half. Pour this liquor
over the grouse and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove
from the oven and leave the birds to rest in a warm place
while you reheat the figs and warm the corn purée gently
over a low heat.

To serve, spoon the corn purée onto warm plates. Lay the
grouse alongside and finish with the figs and their juices.

Samphire and chilli oil

This is a simple and pretty side to serve with roasted sea bass or salmon,
or barbecued lamb, during the months when samphire is in season.
Samphire can be salty, so resist the temptation to salt the cooking water
during cooking – and taste the vegetable before seasoning to serve.
A squeeze of lemon juice will help to counteract any slight saltiness.
Use sweet-tasting, succulent English samphire if possible.

Serves 4

1 red chilli
50ml extra virgin olive oil
150g yellow wax beans
600g samphire
Lemon wedges, to serve

Slice the chilli in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds.

Cut the chilli into fine strips, then chop across the strips to
give neat even shapes. Place the chopped chilli in a bowl,
pour over the olive oil and stir to mix. Set aside while you
cook the beans and samphire.

Bring a small pan of water to the boil, add the yellow wax
beans and cook for about 3 minutes until just tender, then
drain well.

In the meantime, rinse the samphire well in several changes
of water and trim the base of the stems. Add the samphire
to a large pan of boiling water and cook until the water
returns to the boil; this should take no more than a minute.

Drain the samphire in a colander and toss with the beans.
Pile into a warm serving dish or onto individual plates and
spoon on the chilli oil. Serve with lemon wedges.

Iced summer fruits with rose-scented
geranium syrup

Wonderfully refreshing, this is the perfect ending to a long, lazy
summer lunch in the garden under dappled light. Not too sweet, slightly
ethereal in flavour and unfussy in execution, it is the sort of dessert
I like to serve. It isn’t served frozen as such, it just feels cool – like ice –
as it slips down your throat. Vary the fruit according to what’s in season;
later in the summer I use greengages in place of gooseberries.

Serves 6

6 ripe, sweet peaches,
unblemished and heavy
for their size
100g icing sugar
A few sprigs of rose-scented
geranium leaves (Attar of
Roses), or a splash of rose
syrup
1 vanilla pod, split in half
lengthways
200g gooseberries
200g small ripe strawberries
100g ripe blackberries

Slice the peaches in half and remove their stones. Place in
a wide heavy-based pan, in a single layer. Add the icing sugar,
geranium leaves, if using, the vanilla pod (with seeds) and
enough water to just cover the fruit. Place over a low heat
and bring to just below a simmer. Stir once or twice, then
put a lid on the pan and cook very gently for 10 minutes or
until the fruit is just tender when pierced with a small knife.

Meanwhile, top and tail the gooseberries. Add to the pan
and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and
set aside to cool.

Once the fruit has cooled, if using rose syrup, add a little to
taste. Transfer to a suitable container and place in the freezer
for about 45 minutes or until really well chilled.

To serve, slice the strawberries in half lengthways. Arrange
the peaches and gooseberries on chilled plates, spoon over
the syrup and add the blackberries and strawberries. Finish
with a few geranium leaves and/or the vanilla pod if you like.
Serve at once.