Posts Tagged: cheese

Sep 09

Roll out the ricotta for a light lentil salad


Ricotta is one of those ingredients that needs quite a lot done to it to make it exciting. I personally love the fact that it is rather the blank canvas and perfect for both sweet and savoury. In the restaurant where I work we do a fantastic lemon and ricotta cake, delicious, squishy and sharp.

It can be quite wet, so baking it adds an interesting extra layer of textures and flavours as in this recipe for a late summer salad, full of vibrant herbs to perk you up on a near-Autumnal evening.

The earthy lentils add a wonderful contrast of texture. I wrote a note in the margin of this recipe suggesting that a roasted red pepper cut into strips might make a lovely addition.

Lentil and baked ricotta salad

Ingredients (serves 2 as a light salad)

  • 75g lentils
  • 200g ricotta
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • A handful basil
  • A handful mint
  • half a small packet of cress

For the dressing

  • 1tsp Dijon
  • 1 tbs chestnut honey
  • 2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbs olive oil


Cook the lentil in stock or water for 12-15 minutes until cooked but still with bite. Set aside to cool.

Cut the ricotta into ½ cm slices and bake at 180 for 20 minutes until starting to brown.

Quarter the tomatoes, finely slice the red onion and chop the herbs. Mix these all together gently with the cress and season with salt and pepper. Add the cooled lentils and crumble in the cheese.

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together and pour over the salad. Serve with crusty bread.

Aug 09

Cooking the classics


There are a few essential dishes every cook worth their salt should be able to whip up at the drop of a hat or in an emergency without resorting to a cookbook. These are the backbones of cookery; the Victoria sponge, the bechamel, a quick bread dough, a great standby sauce for pasta.

I’m as guilty as the next for not knowing the ins and outs of all these dishes as my mother did – most of the time I can pass muster in the kitchen but occasionally a dish comes along that for one reason or another I’ve never got round to cooking, like Welsh Rarebit.

I suppose I was always content with good old cheese on toast – but this is a more luxurious version, rich with egg yolks and piquant from the Worcestershire sauce. It is transformed from late night snack into a satisfying mid-week supper, perfect with a green salad on the side.

This recipe comes from my friend Lawrence Keogh at Borough Market’s Roast Restaurant, famous for their modern takes on traditional British dishes, and for doing quite possibly the best roast potatoes in London.

Roast’s Welsh Rarebit

The mixture is best made 24 hours in advance as it matures in flavour

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

  • 500g grated cheddar cheese
  • 5tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 50g English mustard
  • 1-2 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 50ml stout
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 8 slices of bread


Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl. Taste for seasoning adding more Tabasco if required.

Toast the bread on one side and then spread the other side with some of the mixture.

Cook under a hot grill until bubbling.

Jul 09

A simple French salad


Trawling through my old recipes often turns up a forgotten gem – and it’s always with a little bit of joy that I remember the flavours and wonder why I haven’t cooked this or that for ages. This recipe is what our French cousins are so very good at – taking the healthy and turning it into something distinctly naughty.

Now, strictly this is an Alpine dish, so in theory one should do some serious trekking before tucking in without the faintest glimmer of guilt, but a brisk walk around the garden should suffice.

It’s perfect for a British summer and will convert even the most resolute of meat n’ two veg eaters. A little something for everyone.

Salade Savoyarde

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 200g Beaufort cheese (you could use Comte or Gruyère)
  • 200g lardons or diced bacon
  • 400g potatoes
  • 50g walnuts
  • 50g bread, cubed
  • 1 head Frisée or a bag of mixed salad
  • 1 carrot, grated

For the dressing

  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 5 tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Peel the potatoes and boil them in salted water until tender, a matter of some 15 minutes or so. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2 centimetre slices and set aside.

Cut the cheese into pieces roughly the same size as the lardons.

Toast the walnuts in a dry pan for a few minutes, then tip them out and fry the lardons in the same pan until crisp. Set these aside also.

Fry the croutons – you may need to add some butter to the pan if there isn’t enough bacon fat. Drain them on kitchen paper when done.

Allow everything to cool slightly, before lightly tossing together with the frisée and the grated carrot.

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing, or shake in a jam jar. Pour over the salad and season. Serve with crusty bread.

May 09

Fresh and light – mozzarella with mint and chilli


As we move towards the summer months (until it all came abruptly to a stop this week!) my cooking gets lighter, with less saucing, less starches and stodges – and ultimately less cooked.

I lean towards green salads adorned with good grated parmesan, to bruschetta made so the bread slightly softens in the juice of the tomatoes. I also love cold meats and pickles, bowls of Jersey Royals dotted with butter and hummus and baba ganoush – the smoked aubergine puree that has no equal.

I like to serve up cold platters of these ingredients, arrangements which show colour, texture and serve to appetise with hot ciabatta or pitta on the side.

One of my favourite additions is this recipe – mozzarella with mint and chilli. The milkiness of the cheese cut through with the freshness of the mint and the zing of chilli lends a touch of vibrancy to the cool palate.

Try to use buffalo mozzarella here – its flavour is vastly superior

Buffalo mozzarella with mint and chilli dressing

Ingredients (serves 2)

•    Buffalo mozzarella
•    1 small bunch mint leaves, picked
•    ½ a red chilli
•    3 tbs extra virgin olive oil


Finely chop the mint. Deseed and finely dice the chilli. Add both to the olive oil. Slice the mozzarella into about eight pieces and spoon the oil, mint and chilli over, seasoning with sea salt.

Apr 09

The recipe collector – anchovy and mozzarella bread


I’m a recipe hoarder. I collect books, magazines, cuttings, hand-written notes. I’ve got photographs of all the pages from one of grandmother’s cookbooks and a box of neatly-typed cards from another. I have photocopied pages by the hundreds, stashed away for use on a rainy day. They are a constant source of inspiration, from lost classics to modern treats – and an insight into the evolution of the British diet.

The most recent addition to my ever-expanding collection is this fantastic, mouth-watering recipe from my girlfriend’s father, Tony. It’s a perfect addition to a barbecued lunch – and a great one for converting the non-anchovy lovers amongst you. The salty, savoury edge provides a perfect balance to the creamy milkiness of the chewy, golden mozzarella.

Tony’s anchovy and mozzarella bread

Ingredients (serves 6)

.    1 baguette
.    2 balls of mozzarella
.    1 tin anchovies plus oil
.    30g butter
.    olive oil


Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.  Cut the baguette top down two thirds of the way through about eight to ten times. Cut the cheese into quarter inch thick slices and slip into the holes in the bread. Drizzle over some olive oil and place on a baking sheet in the oven till golden brown, about ten to fifteen minutes.

Whilst the bread is cooking, warm a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and tip in the anchovies and their oil. The trick here is to let the anchovies essentially dissolve to form an unctuous sauce. Cook slowly until they break down, pushing them around with the back of a wooden spoon then set aside.

When the bread is ready, take it out of the oven, pour over the anchovy sauce and serve.

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