Summer sensations

Words: Neil Ross, Executive Chef

Delicious recipes to try this month and throughout the summer.

Summer Sentations

Starter - Serves 6-8

Kipper Pâté

• 2 large kippers
• 200 g unsalted butter
• 2 lemons
• 45 ml double cream
• Cayenne pepper
• 6 eggs
• Watercress
• Bread for toasting

1. Place the kippers skin side up in a large oven dish. Place 50 g of the butter on top. Bake the kippers in a hot oven (200C) for 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and pour the rendered butter into a bowl. Very gently peel back the skin and discard it. Edge the fillets apart from the 'frame'. The back fillet can be lifted away easily and should have no bone. Place with butter in the bowl. The belly fillet should be turned over and the pin bones gently lifted off. Getting every single piece off the bone takes time, but is important. Once all the filleted meat is off the bone, place it in the bowl and add to it the strained juice of the two lemons, a twist of black pepper and 100 g of the butter, softened.

2. Place the kipper meat, lemon juice and butter in a food processor and blend until quite smooth. Add the double cream and a pinch of cayenne pepper and blend again until smooth. Check for seasoning and then decant the mixture into small ramekins. Smooth the surface of the mixture with the back of a spoon or a small spatula and sprinkle a little cayenne on top.

3. Melt the remaining butter in a small pan or microwave. Allow to cool a little then pour over the pâtés to create a seal. Refrigerate.

4. Serve with hard-boiled eggs, a bunch of watercress and toast. The pâtés will keep for a week in the fridge.

Summer Sentations

Main - Serves 4

Fish Pie with Saffron Mash

• 3 shallots, finely chopped
• 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
• 150 ml white wine
• 142 ml pot double cream
• 900 g fresh haddock fillets, skinned
• 200 g bag raw, peeled prawns, preferably unfrozen
• 800 g fresh spinach (about 2 bags)
• 200 g crabmeat

For the topping:
• 3 garlic cloves
• 1 red chilli, halved and deseeded
• 200 ml full-fat milk
• A pinch of saffron strands
• 1¼ kg potatoes, cut into large chunks
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1. Tip the shallots and vinegar into a saucepan and place on the heat so the vinegar evaporates quickly. Splash in the white wine and reduce until practically dry. Add cream, bring to the boil, then simmer gently until reduced by two-thirds and very thick. Leave to cool. Cut the fish into bite-size chunks and set aside with the prawns.

2. Tip spinach into a large colander and pour over boiling water from a kettle until all the spinach is wilted (you may need to do this more than once). Cool under the cold tap, then squeeze the spinach tightly to get rid of any excess liquid.

3. To make the topping, mash the saffron, garlic and chilli together using a pestle and mortar. Tip into a saucepan with the milk, bring to the boil, and then remove from the heat to infuse. Bring the potatoes to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes until soft. Drain, then mash well with the infused milk, olive oil, lemon juice and zest.

4. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

5. To assemble the pie, mix the fish and prawns into the cold cream until completely coated. Tip the fish into the bottom of a large gratin dish and scatter over clumps of crabmeat. Unravel the spinach and lay it over the fish, then top with the mash. Cook the pie for about 30 minutes until golden and starting to brown and bubble around the edges. Serve with green veggies if you like.

Dessert - Makes 12 slices

Coffee, Nutella and Praline Slice

• 120 butter
• 120 g golden caster sugar
• 2 eggs
• 120 g self-raising flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 2 tbsp hot espresso coffee

For the filling:
• 6 heaped tbsp caster sugar
• 6 heaped tbsp flaked almonds
• A little groundnut oil
• 200 g butter
• 200 g icing sugar
• 200 g chocolate spread, such as Nutella

1. To make the cake, put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a beating attachment and cream together until light and fluffy. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Line the base of a square 20 cm cake tin with baking parchment. Break the eggs and add them, a little at a time, to the butter and sugar. If the mixture curdles or becomes grainy at all, then add a spoonful of flour. Sieve the baking powder and flour together, and then add, with the mixer on low speed, to the cake mixture. Pour in the espresso coffee, stir well then transfer to the cake tin and smooth the surface.

2. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Check by piercing with a metal skewer or knitting needle. If it comes out of the cake clean, without any wet cake mixture on, then it is cooked. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.

3. To make the butter cream filling, lightly oil a baking sheet. Warm the caster sugar in a
non stick, shallow pan without stirring. As it starts to melt, add the flaked almonds and let them colour lightly. As the mixture starts to darken to toffee colour, stir slowly and gently to ensure an even colour, then remove from the heat and tip onto the oiled baking sheet.

4. Beat together the butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the Nutella and beat until fully incorporated. Crush the almonds and sugar with a rolling pin or in a food processor until they resemble coarse crumbs, putting a few larger pieces to one side for decoration. Stir half of the finely crushed nuts and sugar into the butter cream.

5. Lift the cake from the tin and peel off the baking parchment. Slice it in half horizontally. Spread the cut side of the bottom half with a good third of the butter cream, and then place the second half on top, cut-side down. Spread half the remaining cream thinly on the top. Slice the cake into 12 equal portions, then spread a thin layer of the remaining butter cream around the sides, scatter each with a dusting of the praline, and serve.