Sweet Summertime

Sweet Summertime

 Life is luscious for Jonny Nicholson, Chef-Proprietor of The Sail Loft when it’s berry season

I love all manner of berries, whatever the size or colour and of course currants, plums and cherries too, they are the sweet epitome of summer sunshine on the plate.

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Sunny Suppers

Sunny Suppers

Cooking in a heatwave, Jonathan Nicholson, chef-owner of The Sail Loft in Southwold is drawn to simple, fast recipes.

Just like most of the nation on your typical summer afternoon, I love firing up the barbecue and sharing smoke signals with the neighbours. That whole al fresco vibe is so appealing, relaxing with a glass or two of something chilled, chatting, sunbathing and leisurely char-grilling steaks and seafood when the mood takes you, as a lazy afternoon becomes late evening, that is a blissful time with friends and family.

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Showstopping risotto!

Showstopping risotto!

A cookery demo appearance at The Suffolk Show for Jonathan Nicholson, chef-owner of The Sail Loft in Southwold calls for a lovely spring risotto of mussels and greens

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This little piggy

This little piggy

Nothing beats great local Blythburgh free range pork for Jonathan Nicholson, chef-owner of The Sail Loft in Southwold If you venture up the A12 near us in Southwold and explore the lovely coastal landscape, you can’t help but come across fields of very happy pigs, rooting around, wallowing and sunbathing.

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Nothing quiche like it

Nothing quiche like it   

Late summer lunches need to flex to the weather and be versatile hot or cold dishes for Jonny Nicholson, Chef-Proprietor of The Bell At Sax’

Tarts, frittata, tortilla, quiches, a hearty wedge of something savoury and egg-based makes a lovely light bite, especially at lunchtime. They fill you up without weighing your afternoon down and go well with simple dressed green leaves on the side. Or accompanied with something more constructed like a warm salade niçoise with green beans, new potatoes and anchovies.

And quiche is queen of them all - a real treat, particularly if still just warm from the oven. Supermarkets have a lot to answer for, the pappy, claggy, dry excuses they call quiche lorraine and the like would scar most kids for life away from ever trying a home-made one. But if you take time to bake your own and can convince the family to try it, you are all in for a treat.

Here are a few of my favourite quiche fillings:

Smoked haddock, curried onions and basmati rice– the classic curried Indian kedgeree brunch in a pastry case

Courgette, pea and green pesto – a herby mouthful, finished with mascarpone and more basil leaves

Spicy sausage, red chilli marmalade and roasted peppers – a zingy choice if you like spicy and hot

Lamb meatball, charred aubergine, mint and feta – bring a Mediterranean feel with a Middle Eastern edge

Smoked bacon, leek, wholegrain mustard and blue cheese – a variation on the traditional quiche lorraine flavours

Butternut squash, fennel, chickpea and ricotta – a hearty late summer vegetable treat, lovely topped with red onion marmalade

This month’s recipe is a modern quiche classic and one that really works well whatever the weather; enjoy it al fresco or inside, still hot from the oven if it’s wet and windy or at room temperature if it’s beaming down on one of those balmy Indian summer days we often enjoy in September or even October (a polite cook’s plea to never serve quiche from the refrigerator, give it at least 30 minutes to warm up before serving).

Feel free to have fun with the recipe, mixing it up with whatever you fancy or have at hand, just add your own little spin on it. Alternatives which work well would be things like watercress or rocket instead of the spinach, courgettes or fennel to replace the peppers, cheeses like feta, mascarpone or ricotta for the goats’ cheese. Just be mindful to how long substitutes take to soften, if they are chunky or firmer, then soften them on the hob or in the oven first.

I like replacing the simple onions with red onion marmalade, red chilli jam or a tasty chutney. Piccalilli might be a step too far, just depends how gastronautically experimental you’re feeling?!

Enjoy....                                                

                                                                               Jonny

Jonny Nicholson, Chef – Proprietor, The Bell At Sax’

 

The Bell At Sax’, High Street, Saxmundham, IP17 1AF.  A laid-back restaurant-with-rooms with good food, proudly using local, seasonal, Suffolk ingredients.  W: www.thebellatsax.co.uk   T: 01728 602331.  

A TASTY OFFER FOR COMMUNITY NEWS READERS

A great lunch deal with The Bell At Sax’ - free dessert and coffee!  Book a table and order two courses per guest of a starter and a main course from our a la carte menu, and we’ll offer you complimentary dessert and coffee on us, completely free!  Available Tuesdays – Saturdays 12 noon – 2pm during September 2016 by arrangement.

 Goats’ cheese and red pepper quiche (serves 6+).

Ingredients:  Deep pastry case, blind-baked, 23cm wide approx, in the tin; Good olive oil; 1 red onion, peeled and sliced; 2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced; 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced; 1 red chilli, finely shredded (optional); Handful baby spinach leaves; Handful of preserved sunblush tomatoes; 200g goats’ cheese, broken into pieces;  3 eggs; 175ml double cream; 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika; Sea salt and black pepper.

Method: Pre-heat the oven to 190C.  Heat a glug of oil in a hot frying pan over a medium heat and add the onion and peppers. Stir occasionally until softened, add in the garlic (and chilli if using) and cook for a few more minutes. Take off the heat and when cooled, transfer with a slotted spoon into the pastry case. Spread out and top with the goats cheese, spinach and tomatoes evenly.  Beat the eggs with the cream, seasoning and paprika. Pour onto the pastry case to just below the rim and bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes until the quiche is golden and set in the centre. Allow to cool until warm before eating.