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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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.

But midweek it’s a different story, speed and ease is most important, putting something fresh and nutritious in front of the family, especially in this heatwave. It’s great that summer is finally here but you can have enough of a good thing, especially when it forces a government health warning like now… We really don’t know how to handle the extremes of weather, hot or cold, do we?!

So when the kids get home from school on weekdays and I get to relax, I want to knock up something quick and tasty but of course being so warm, it needs to be light and zingy.

This month’s recipe is a flexible friend, crisp fritters, in this case made with sweetcorn and courgettes but it also works well with shredded cooked chicken or dressed crab folded through, in fact pretty much any kind of cooked meat or fish and of course other shredded vegetables. The main thing is that the ingredients are either pre-cooked or raw and cut small enough to cook through swiftly.

The corn fritters eat well as a starter with Mexican accompaniments such as salsa, guacamole and sour cream or perhaps with an Asian ‘slaw, similar to familiar coleslaw but spiked with chilli and dressed with lime, fish sauce and sweetened rice vinegar. These fritters are also very enjoyable served up as a starchy side on a main course, perhaps jerk chicken or a whole barbecued fish, along with a big dressed salad. And best of all, kids always love anything pancake-style so they are easily-pleased.

Enjoy, Jonny


The Sail Loft, Ferry Road, Southwold IP18 6HQ
Our beachside café-bar-restaurant, proudly using local, seasonal, Suffolk ingredients – find us near the campsite and lifeboat station.
W:   T: 01502 725713

Phone to book for our daily specials: Monday Madness 2 courses for £10; Tuesday Curry-tastic; Wednesday Burger Bonanza; Thursday Live Music; Friday Steak Night

Sweetcorn and Courgette Fritters

If you are changing the flavours, just add enough of your cooked or finely-sliced other ingredients to the batter so it is wet enough to hold together.

1 small courgette, grated

2 large eggs, beaten

125g (3 1/2oz) plain flour

1 rounded tsp baking powder

1 spring onion, trimmed and finely sliced

1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped

Small bunch coriander, leaves chopped

1 can drained sweetcorn


Toss the courgette with a good pinch of salt in a colander and leave to drain for 20 minutes. Whisk up the eggs, flour and baking powder into a batter with black pepper to taste. Next stir through the courgette (lightly-squeezed in your hands before adding it) along with the remaining ingredients. Lightly oil and heat up a large heavy frying pan or griddle on a medium hob. Ladle on small piles of the mixture, keeping them well apart as they spread. Flatten with a fish slice as they set and turn lightly-brown on the underside. With a clean implement, gently flip the fritters over and cook through. Drain onto kitchen paper and season to taste before serving.