Some great easy recipes from Nigel Slater for when you don’t fancy cooking….
It may have been the wettest summer for years, but when the sun finally shines we don’t necessarily want to be standing over a hot stove. Here are a few ideas for those rare, sweltering days when you want to eat great food but prefer to leave the oven switched off
French bean and mozzarella
This needs a little flour-dusted, airy ciabatta for mopping up the dressing.
French beans 200g
buffalo mozzarella 1 large ball
sun-dried tomatoes in oil 200g
For the dressing
basil leaves a handful
white wine vinegar 1 tsp
olive oil 3 tbsp
Top and tail the beans and cook them briefly in boiling, salted water. Drain them and refresh in cold water. Drain and set aside.
Slice the buffalo mozzarella into thick pieces, and place on a serving dish and scatter with the drained green beans.
Make the dressing by whizzing the basil leaves in a food processor with the vinegar and oil. Season lightly. Chop the sun-dried tomatoes and stir into the dressing. Spoon the basil and tomato dressing over the mozzarella and beans.
Beef carpaccio with horseradish and walnuts
I rarely splash out on expensive cuts of meat but this is one occasion when I feel it is worth it. The meat needs an hour in the freezer to firm it up for slicing, but no longer.
beef fillet 200g
fresh horseradish root to taste
olive oil 5 tbsp
sherry vinegar 1 tbsp
shelled walnut halves a handful
Wrap the fillet in cling film and place in the freezer. Leave for an hour, no longer. Peel the horseradish and grate it finely. The amount you use will depend on how hot you like your dressing, but I think you should start with about a tablespoon. Stir the horseradish into the olive oil, and add the vinegar. Toast the walnuts in a pan, add to the dressing with a little salt and pepper.
Using a long bladed, very sharp knife, slice the beef very finely. (You should almost be able to see through it.) Lay the slices flat on a plate. Trickle the dressing and walnuts over the beef. Remove shavings from the parmesan with a vegetable peeler and add to the beef.
Ceviche of prawns and avocado
“Cooking” fish by marinating it with acidic ingredients such as a lemon or lime juice and vinegar produces a particularly refreshing result that is perfect for hot weather. This is a light main course but it will also make a neat starter.
prawns whole, raw 250g
red chilli 1
Peel the raw prawns and remove their heads. Now devein them – using a small knife, score the prawns down the back and pull out and discard the dark vein that lies just beneath the surface.
Rinse the prawns, briefly, and place them in a dish large enough for them to sit in a single layer.
Finely chop the chilli, squeeze the limes and pour the juice over the prawns. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for a good two or three hours, but not much longer than that.
Peel the cucumber, removing only the toughest outer skin, then cut into large dice. Peel the avocado, dice then add to the cucumber.
When the prawns are ready, toss gently with the cucumber and avocado, check the seasoning –it will need salt – and serve.
Bright tasting and fresh, these pickled vegetables can be used as a side dish for the cold beef above or any main course.
Enough for 4 as a side salad
carrots 3 medium
white wine vinegar 2 tbsp
Peel the carrots and the mouli and slice them into very thin rounds. Slice the radishes, too. Peel the shallots and cut them into quarters, toss the radishes and shallots gently together and place in a shallow layer in a mixing bowl.
Make the dressing: squeeze the lime into a small bowl, add the juice of the oranges and the lemon, then stir in the white wine vinegar. Season with a generous pinch of salt. Pour the dressing over the sliced vegetables, then cover with cling film and leave for at least 3 hours. They should be bright, crisp and slightly sour.
An easy ice cream terrine requiring no ice cream machine.
For the fruit
sugar 2 tbsp
water 2 tbsp
For the ice cream
caster sugar 80g
vanilla extract a few drops
double cream 300ml
Line a loaf tin approximately 22cm x 12cm with cling film.
Remove the blackcurrants from their stalks, drop into a small saucepan and add the sugar and water. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and continue cooking until the fruit has started to burst and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool.
Separate the eggs, put the yolks in the bowl of a food mixer with the sugar and whisk till thick and creamy. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Whisk cream till thick but not stiff. It should still be able to slide a little in the bowl. Fold the cream gently into the egg and sugar. Transfer to the tin.
Lightly crush blackcurrants with a fork then, holding back the juice, spoon the currants into the tin and gently swirl them through the mixture. Take care not to overmix. Fold film over the top and freeze for a good 6 hours before turning out and slicing.
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