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.
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: www.sailloftsouthwold.uk 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.