Right, we are nearing the end of July and the weather resembles autumn rather than summer. However, the amazing sunshine we have had over the last few weeks has been truly amazing, and it has inspired me to create a light and refreshing menu. I try to use seasonal produce as much as possible at the Academy. This helps keep things fresh, figuratively as well as literally, and it is nice to know that we are doing our bit to reduce our carbon footprint. These following three recipes are very health conscious but absolutely packed with flavour and are a little reminder of the summer we had (and will have again, I am sure).
You can of course, wash all these down with a glass of Pimms!
For the toppings:
Mushroom topping- Fry brown cup mushrooms in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt until golden brown. Add a few squares of dark chocolate (at least 70%), grated. Pack on top of your bruschetta, top with a fried quail egg and drizzle with truffle oil.
Spinach topping- Heat olive oil in a pan, throw in 1 finely chopped garlic clove with a pinch of salt and fry for 30 seconds. Add a bag of washed spinach and stir. Throw a handful of pine nuts in when the spinach has wilted by about a half. Pop on top of your bruschetta, top with mozzarella and grill until the cheese is starting to melt. Then drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.
Melon soup with spicy prawns
Blend one honey dew melon, one cucumber, a small fennel bulb (outer leaves removed), few sprigs of dill, tip of a green chilli, juice from one lime and season with sea salt. Keep in the fridge until needed. For the prawns, heat a large glug of chilli oil in a pan. When it gets very hot and starts to smoke, throw the raw prawns in. Season with salt. When all the prawns have turned pink all over, pour a dash of kirsch into the pan and let it bubble out and thicken. Pour the soup into bowls and top with the prawns.
To make your own chilli oil: finely chop one chilli pepper and place into a pan and pour 250 ml olive oil over it. Bring to boil, remove from the heat and leave to cool. Strain the mixture and pour into an oil bottle with one dry chilli- just to keep the flavour developing.
Chicken and Nectarine Salad
Heat some olive oil in a pan, season the chicken breast with salt, 1 teaspoon of curry powder and 1/2 a teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika and pop into the hot pan. Preheat the oven to 190C. When the chicken is golden brown on both sides, pour 2 tablespoons of Teriyaki sauce, 1 tablespoon of agave syrup and a dash of sherry vinegar into the pan and pop into the oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Leave to cool and slice. Serve on a bed of salad with a sliced nectarine. Pour a little olive into the chicken juices to loosen them and pour over the salad.