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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Eggs-cellent fast food

Eggs-cellent fast food

Easter eggs aren’t all chocolate for Jonny Nicholson of The Bell At Sax’ in Saxmundham

12 000 000 000 is a big number, isn’t it, a really big number, in fact a really really ginormous number as my kids would say? 12 billion is the number of eggs, give or take a few dozen, we consume each year in the UK alone. That’s a whole lot of egg boxes to stack in the shopping trolley and buttered soldiers that need to be cut, as each one of us tucks into something like 190 eggs per person annually.

I love eggs, like most of the population it seems, and probably like you, I don’t think of the humble egg as a proper meal or even a favourite ingredient, but they are so integral to the British diet. I guess it’s because they are always with something else, meat, fish, cheese, veggies - the egg is never the star but always the supporting actor, yet well worthy of a culinary Oscar. And health-wise, the now widely-accepted approval of eggs as a great source of nutrients means that we can crack them open to our hearts’, and stomachs’, content within reason and enjoy them as part of a varied healthy diet.

Keeping it simple is easy with eggs and they are such a quick treat, either as a speedy brunch, who can resist a boiled egg or two with the aforementioned soldiers, I love to spread my toast fingers with marmite or stilton for a bit of a twist or indulge by cooking bacon-wrapped asparagus spears or a spicy glazed rarebit to dip . There is an art to getting the perfect boiled eggs with the white set but yolk still runny, for room temperature large hens’ eggs, I find giving them 5 – 6 minutes into a pan of rolling boiling water is best.

And for the ultimate scrambled eggs, I like to whisk up my whole eggs with a dash of cream, lots of freshly-ground black pepper and a little sea salt, then add a small knob of butter to a cold deep frying pan over a low-medium heat, when it is just melted, pour in the eggs, allowing to set on the edges, before slowly moving around with a soft patula constantly until the liquid mixture is almost all set. Slide off the heat and allow to cook through until the same creamy texture throughout.

An omelette is prepared much the same but leave out the cream and don’t stir it, rather waiting until it is properly set at the bottom, then scattering in grated cheese or other cooked fillings onto one half and then folding over the other, before putting it under a hot grill to set the top (ensuring it is an ovenproof pan of course!).

On a not-too-dissimilar theme,  here is a lovely recipe for frittata, an Italian thick omelette, smart enough for unexpected guests, when you need to rustle up something tasty and swift from your larder and fridge. This really is a flexible friend in the kitchen, using up whatever leftovers you have from the weekend or whatever else is lingering without a use. Things like smokey bacon, herby sausages, smoked salmon or haddock, most cheeses, any cooked vegetables, the remains of the Sunday joint, the world is your proverbial oyster for frittata (though I wouldn’t waste the king of shellfish on this recipe…).

So here is the perfect eggy staple for when your nearest and dearest spring themselves on you with little warning - grab a nice loaf, knock up a simple dressed salad and 30 minutes tops in the kitchen, you will do them and yourself proud on the plate!

Get cracking! 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 starter and main course from our a la carte menu, and we’ll offer you complimentary dessert and coffee on us, completely free!  Available from 1 – 30 April 2016  Tuesdays – Saturdays 12 noon – 2.30pm

 

JONNY’S SUPER-FAST FRITTATA

First prepare all your fillings and keep warm once cooked. I’ve gone with some local Suffolk smoked bacon, spicy sausage, red peppers and garlic mushrooms, bulked up with baby potatoes plus some herbs for flavour.

Serves 4

100g local chorizo-style sausage in 1cm chunks, fried

100g thick cut Suffolk pancetta bacon, thinly sliced, fried

1 red onion, peeled, halved and sliced, fried with thyme

Large handful chestnut or wild mushrooms, fried with butter and garlic

250g baby potatoes, cooked and cut into chunks

125g roasted red pepper (drained from a jar) in thin strips

6 large free range eggs

Sea salt and black pepper mill

100ml thick cream

Handful of grated firm cheese (I like local aged Shipcord)

Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely shredded

Heat your oven to 190c. Once the fillings are all hot and cooked, put a large, deep frying pan (ensuring it is non-stick and ovenproof) on to a medium heat, with a drizzle of oil. Crack the eggs into a large wide glass bowl, whisk together with seasoning to taste plus the cream, cheese and parsley. Finally fold in the hot fillings.

Add the mixture carefully to the heated pan. Next transfer the pan to the hot oven for approx. 15 minutes, checking the egg is fully set throughout before serving.