Bring me my spear

Bring me my spear

Not quite burning gold but purple sprouting broccoli is edible treasure for Jonny Nicholson, Chef – Proprietor of The Sail Loft in Southwold

Early spring is far from a purple patch for chefs and gardeners; the brassicas are mostly over, the root vegetables might store well but quite frankly we’re getting bored; the game season long since finished, mussels are off the menu but lobster and crab really aren’t about much yet and asparagus is still a good few weeks away; but all is not lost, there is one glorious vegetable to savour.

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Margarita time

Margarita time

Precious downtime from the stove in his busy kitchen means easy comfort food for Jonny Nicholson, Chef – Proprietor of The Sail Loft in Southwold

This month I thought I would take it easy or rather you might with a favourite pizza recipe. It is perfect for nights on the sofa in front of a good film, for the kids on a sleepover, for a light lunch al fresco with salad, and for whenever you feel like taking it easy in the kitchen. Pizzas are the easiest dish to do in a hurry as there are so many cooks’ cheats you can use or you can make the tomato sauce and bake the bases ahead. Below is my idea of a perfect pizza but if you don’t have the time to make the ragù or the dough, there are lots of ready-made alternatives. For the sauce, you can use simple tomato and garlic purée and/or basil pesto (green or red both work well) and for the bases, thinly-cut baguette horizontally is delicious as are naan or pitta breads. You’ll see I make the basic margarita recipe and then top it with raw ingredients, this keeps the flavour and texture in the lovely ham and olives but if you prefer it all baked together, be my guest.

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Man-size happiness!

Man-size happiness!

Spoil your Dads and Grandads this Fathers’ Day with a proper burger, says Jonny Nicholson, chef-owner of The Sail Loft in Southwold

Fast food joints might be obviously quick and easy and the kids love them of course. But whilst their pretty adverts try to convince us how authentic their take-aways taste and other than being convenient on a long journey, I do try and avoid them.

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The Food of Love

The Food of Love


All it’s all about shared indulgence come February 14 for Jonny Nicholson of The Bell At Sax’, Saxmundham

Perhaps every day should be Valentine’s Day, not just one day when we celebrate Cupid and his proverbial arrow, but I guess the heartfelt expressions and good intentions on the big day make us appreciate our loved ones even more all year round.

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Earthy Delight - Potato Recipe From Jonny at the Bell at Sax

Sweet velvety new potatoes, fresh from the earth are a simple treat for Jonny Nicholson, Chef-Proprietor of The Bell At Sax’

To peel or not to peel? Rather like olive oil stopped being sold by chemists and could be found in the supermarket aisles, when did we stop peeling new potatoes?! It is curious how food fashions change and we see the flavour and health benefits of things like potato skin. Who would ever imagine that we would fall in love with the American starter of stuffed potato skins, giving the muddy protective outer more value than the precious insides we should be eating. I remember as a kid seeing a mound of empty baked potato skins on our stacked plates at the end of the meal, no-one ever ate them. Now all that lovely melted cheese, crunchy bacon bits, sweetcorn kernels in a crisp-baked potato skin sounds delicious right now, even at breakfast time, how times do change!

New potatoes are such a simple thing, very easy to cook and a great foil for all manner of flavours and other textures, so flexible in what you can add to complement them in terms of condiments and accompaniments; few ingredients are as versatile and co-operative in the pan and on the plate. And you definitely don’t want to be peeling them, just a gentle soak and light scrub before preparing.

This month’s recipe is just a stylish twist on classic herby buttered new potatoes that looks great for guests.

Here are six other favourite ways of enjoying new potatoes (cooked in their skins of course!):

Salad - warm with soft-boiled eggs, petit pois, thick yoghurt and tarragon

Gratin - grilled with local Baron Bigod brie, pan-fried bacon lardons and shallots, wholegrain mustard and flat-leaf parsley

Braised – finished with shredded little gem lettuce, peas, broad beans, garlic, a little white wine, chicken stock and crème fraiche

Tortilla – in a perfect Spanish omelette with crisp chorizo sausage, onions, paprika and roasted red pepper

Hash – sauté with proper corned beef (not from a tin) and spicy sausages, red chillies, shallots and mustard and served with poached eggs and parsley

Rissole – lightly flattened and roasted with lots of oil until crispy and browned, glazed with cyder vinegar, and sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper

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:   T: 01728 602331



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 August 2016 by arrangement.


Hasselback new potatoes (serves 4+)

16 – 20 large new potatoes

Rapeseed oil

Unsalted butter

Sea salt and black pepper

Few finely-chopped garlic cloves

Chives or mint leaves

Pre-heat the oven to 190c.  Place a potato in a tablespoon and cut down every 5mm until you are almost through to the bottom but not quite.

Repeat with the remainder. Melt a couple of knobs of butter with similar amount of oil before brushing it around a gratin dish to fit the potatoes snugly. Add the potatoes as a single layer and brush with more buttery oil, then season  generously before scattering with a little garlic. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until softened (test the thick part with a knife) and lightly browned.

Remove and scatter with chopped chives or mint before serving.