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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Berry Nice

Berry delicious

Summer warmth, alfresco dining and healthy eating put berries centre plate for Jonny Nicholson, Chef-Proprietor of The Bell At Sax’

Few foods are generally loved universally from toddlers to pensioners, but berries pretty much achieve that rare thing, relished by simple eaters to gourmets, definitely a national favourite. There aren’t many popular foods that are actually so good for us!

Having lived and cooked for many years in Suffolk and East Anglia, both renowned for their fine British berries, it is no coincidence that I have a love affair with these sweet juicy morsels and I savour the first of the season, whether a raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, blackcurrant or blackberry. Of course the early eagerly-awaited punnets are mine, all mine, enjoyed with no cream, no sugar, just their natural goodness. But after a month or so, I will be looking for something interesting to do with them, perhaps to impress friends and family over a meal or to put on the menu.

I love trifle and seems like everyone else does too, it is one of those comforting nostalgic dishes from our childhood that just makes you smile.

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 July 2016 by arrangement.



Try and get very big tumblers or tall knickerbocker glasses for this; alternatively layer up in one large glass bowl to share. You will need a long day or overnight to set each of the various layers for several hours.  Naturally other berries and currants work well too.



1.5 gelatine leaves

125g raspberries

1 tbsp caster sugar

Splash of elderflower cordial

100ml double cream, whipped

Cover the gelatine with cold water.

Gently cook the raspberries with the sugar until dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine. Purée smooth in a blender. Cool and then fold in the elderflower and whipped cream.  Add a quarter layer to your glasses and refrigerate to set.



2 gelatine leaves

120ml water

55g caster sugar

200g fresh raspberries

Juice half lemon

Cover gelatine with cold water. Dissolve the sugar in the water. Add in raspberries and cook gently to collapse the berries.  Push through a sieve into a wide measuring jug and mix in lemon juice. Measure to 240ml volume, adding boiling water if needed.  Drain the softened gelatine and whisk in. Allow to cool and pour onto mousse to the same height in the glasses and then chill until set.



1.5 gelatine leaves

300ml double cream

Zest of 1 lemon

25 grams caster sugar

Cover the gelatine in cold water. Simmer the cream and zest, take off heat and whisk in the sugar. After 15 minutes, whisk in the drained gelatine, then sieve into a wide jug. Allow to cool and pour onto the jelly another similar height up the glasses. Set in the fridge.



200g raspberries

40g caster sugar

Put half the raspberries in a pan and heat gently until dissolved. Break up with a potato masher and cook gently for a few minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Fold in remaining whole berries.

Add a layer almost to the top of glasses. Chill before serving.