One perfect summer tomato deconstructed and plated in four layers. The skin and flesh, finely diced. The seeds separated on top, the tomato 'water' pooled at the base, surrounded by a pureed pulp of its core, dotted with extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with sea salt flakes and fresh pepper.
Produce from North Africa
They look artificial but this is what they looked like when they arrived in my kitchen straight from the African lady in the market. Hot bell peppers, chillies, okra, mangetout and in a warm brown paper bag a prebaked sweet potato.
Crab, pawpaw, avocado and scallion
Fresh crab meat straight from the fishmonger, combined with fresh avocado, paw paw and scallion strips, drizzled with lime, a squeeze of freshly grated ginger juice and a tiny drizzle of olive oil.
And onto the char grill
An onion added into the mix, all pre steamed to soften a little, removed some of the very hot seeds, a light chargrilling, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned and strewn with fresh coriander.
Not for the restaurant but just for the fun of seeing so many varieties of produce and eating them all very simply with a touch of lemon juice and olive oil in the centre cup.
Raw produce tonics
Here's the recipe for the spinach power cup, my favourite green boost.
150g fresh spinach leaves,
1 small apple,
1 ripe pear,
2g fresh ginger root,
150ml fresh apple juice,
1/2 lemon juiced,
Peel the apple, remove the core and finely grate the flesh, combine with the lemon juice. Peel and finely grate the ginger. Peel and dice the kiwi and pear. Roughly chop the spinach. Put all ingredients into the liquidizer and blend until smooth. Consume immediately or refrigerate and use within 4 hours.
Fresh herb pesto
We prefer to make our pesto in small batches by hand rather than using a processor. Finely chop the herbs with a very sharp knife (1 bunch coriander, 1 bunch parsley, 1 bunch basil), combine with 3 tablespoons chopped pine nuts. Add to 100ml extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons finely grated mature manchego cheese, 2 garlic cloves (finely grated), season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Will keep well, bottled and stored in the fridge for a week or so.
Mise en place
Market produce, prepared and in place for service, here's the recipe for our coarse olive tapenade - the one without the anchovies. Combine 2 cloves garlic(crushed or finely chopped), 2 tablespoons small caper berries, juice of 1 lemon, 200g roughly chopped pitted olives (green or black), 1 tablespoon finely chopped mild white onion, 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley with about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to. Mix thoroughly, season with freshly milled black pepper.
We make this every summer when there is a glut of vine tomatoes everywhere, their fabulous taste and smell sees us through the winter. Put all the ingredients into a large pan. 2 kilos ripe vine tomatoes (chopped), ½ kilo white onions (finely chopped), ½ litre white wine vinegar, 300g caster sugar, 1 head of garlic (peeled and finely grated), fresh ginger root (2x10cm length peeled and grated), 1 large bunch fresh coriander, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Put on heat and bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer, stirring constantly, reduce until very thick. At this point the ketchup can be blended until smooth or left chunky. Bottle into sterilized jars. Keep in a cool place.
Pumpkin and red onion chutney
Peel and finely dice 500g pumpkin (or orange squash). Peel and dice 1 large apple. Finely slice 2 large red onions. Combine in a large pan with 500 ml white wine vinegar, 500g white sugar, 2 teaspoons ground ginger and 2 teaspoons ground coriander. Bring to the boil, reduce and simmer gently, stirring from time to time, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Bottle into sterilized jars.