Beetroot and Bocconcini Bites
These little mouthfuls are very cute and summery but also really delicious. Serve them as a starter with a little green salad to the side, or make them half the size and put them on crostini as a canapé.
2 large beetroot
4 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
12 seedless grapes
12 bocconcini (or sliced mozzarella)
Sprouts for garnish
2 teaspoons walnut oil
Place beetroot in a pot with vinegar and sugar and cover with cold water by 5cm. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to the boil. Turn to a gentle boil, cover and cook until you can insert a skewer through the beetroot – about 30 minutes.
Leave beetroot to cool in the liquid then put on some gloves and peel. Slice thinly and use a cookie cutter or a small wine glass to cut out 24 discs.
Pat dry with Chux cloths and lay 12 discs on a tray. Thinly slice grapes.
Lay a bocconcini on each of the beetroot slices, sprinkle with a little salt and a few drops of walnut oil then lay another slice of beetroot on top and press down gently. Transfer to plates and lay sliced grapes on top, tuck in some sprouts and drizzle with remaining walnut oil.
Makes 12, serves 4-6 as a starter
Asparagus, Ricotta and Couscous Salad
In summer there are many vegetables that are great to eat raw, including asparagus. Combined with crunchy fennel, sweet tomatoes, bitter witloof, milky ricotta and the texture of couscous, this salad makes a cleansing starter.
50g instant couscous
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon liquid honey
200g asparagus, ends snapped off
2 witloof (1 red and 1 green)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 head fennel, trimmed
1 handful mixed salad leaves and edible flowers
Mix couscous with 50ml tepid water, a little salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil and leave until the water has been absorbed (about 30 minutes).
Mix 1 tablespoon oil with lemon juice and honey. Season with salt and pepper.
Assemble vegetables, slicing the asparagus thinly, separating the witloof leaves, halving the tomatoes and thinly shaving the fennel (a mandolin is good for this). Place in a bowl with salad leaves, flowers, half the couscous and the lemon dressing, then gently toss together and divide between 4 plates.
Dollop remaining couscous and the ricotta on top and drizzle ˝ teaspoon olive oil over each salad.
Coconut Jelly with Strawberries and Pistachios
This is a take on jelly whip, using flavoured jelly crystals. It reminds me of my childhood.
85g packet jelly crystals (I used raspberry)
300ml boiled water
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh or candied ginger
200ml unsweetened coconut milk or coconut cream
1 punnet strawberries
1 heaped teaspoon icing sugar
2 passionfruit (or use jarred passionfruit and omit icing sugar)
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons coconut thread, toasted
Place jelly crystals in a heatproof bowl and pour on 300ml water that has come to the boil but cooled for a minute. Mix until dissolved then stir in ginger and coconut cream and leave to cool 10 minutes. Stir it again then divide between 6 glasses and place in the fridge to set.
Hull strawberries then slice 5mm thick and mix with icing sugar and passionfruit. When the jelly has set, spoon this on top.
Just before serving, sprinkle with nuts and coconut and eat chilled.
More Peter Gordon recipes from this menu are featured in the February 2012 issue
|Photographer: Manja Wachsmuth|