Recipes from The Modern Cook’s Year, the new book by Anna Jones
SUMMER BEET SALAD WITH ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER & CURD CHEESE SERVES 4 AS A STARTER OR A SIDE
In this salad I use every colour of beetroot I can get my hands on: the deep pinky-purple beetroots of my childhood, next to the candycane striped Chioggia beets and the paint-pot yellow ones. It makes for the most beautiful plate of food.I use orange blossom water here, which I think works particularly well with the earthy flavour of beetroot; however, its delicate fragrant flavour can split opinion, so if you are not a fan just stick to the orange zest. 800g raw beetroot (see note above) a small bunch of coriander, leaves picked
and roughly chopped 125g goat’s curd 50g walnuts, toasted and lightly chopped FOR THE DRESSING juice of 1 orange 2 teaspoons orange blossom water or rosewater 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon runny honey Scrub or peel the beetroot; if the skin is thin and tender, as it should be at this time of year, a good scrub should do. Use a mandoline or your very good knife skills to slice the beetroot into 1cm-thick rounds and place them in a bowl.
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Pour half the dressing over the raw beetroot and leave to rest for 15 minutes so the flavours can meld and mingle.
Toss the beetroots with the coriander, then arrange in a bowl or on a platter and top with the rest of the dressing. Dot the goat’s curd over the top and scatter over the walnuts.
VEGETABLE SHAWARMA SERVES 4
There is something so good about charred, soft flatbreads with some cooling yoghurt and warming spice. Some years ago on a trip to Granada in Spain I remember discovering their amazing shawarma stands. There is such a strong North African influence there, and the barbecue smoke and heady spices filled the streets.
We sat outside and ate from our laps as we drank rosé mixed with lemonade, and ice-cold beers. For years since I have been trying to perfect a vegetable shawarma that didn’t feel second best, and I think I’ve managed it.
I use spring carrots, little new potatoes and asparagus, which are spiced with cumin and coriander and charred and roasted in the oven, though on a hot day they could be blanched and then charred on a griddle or barbecue. They sit on top of warm flatbreads with a very good pistachio yoghurt spiked with coriander and sweetened with a drop of maple syrup. Vegans can use coconut yoghurt here to keep it free of dairy.
This dish is one I love in late spring and summer, but you can change the vegetables as they come into and out of season. Other favourite combinations are red peppers and aubergine; broccoli and runner beans; beetroot and cauliflower. Just be clever when you chop the veg – cut the veg that will cook slowly quite small and the quicker-cooking veg a bit bigger. 1 tablespoon cumin seeds 1 tablespoon coriander seeds 400g bunch of baby carrots, scrubbed well olive oil 250g new potatoes ½ a cucumber 1 lemon 200g asparagus, woody ends snapped off 4 flatbreads or round pittas FOR THE HERBED PISTACHIO YOGHURT 100g Greek yoghurt 1 teaspoon maple syrup a few sprigs of coriander, roughly
chopped (stalks and all) the zest of 1 unwaxed lemon 50g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan.
Bash the cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar until roughly ground. Toss the carrots with a good drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and half the cumin and coriander seeds.
Transfer to a large roasting tray, cover with foil and roast in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the yoghurt by mixing all the ingredients together with a pinch of salt. After the carrots have had their time, push them to one side of the roasting tray, quarter or halve the potatoes and add to the other side.
Drizzle over a bit more oil, and the other half of the cumin and coriander. Toss to mix the potatoes with the spices, put the foil back on and return the tray to the oven for 20 minutes.
While the potatoes are roasting, thinly slice the cucumber (I like to scoop the seeds out of the middle first), mix it with the juice from half the lemon, a good pinch of salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil, then put to one side.
Once the potatoes have had their 20 minutes, remove the tray from the oven, take off the foil and scatter over the asparagus. Squeeze over the remaining juice of the lemon, drizzle with a little oil and put back into the oven for 10 minutes until the asparagus are beginning to brown.
Toast or warm the flatbreads. When you’re ready to eat, take the tray out of the oven and roughly crush the carrots with the back of a fork.
Spread some of the pistachio yoghurt over half of each flatbread and add the roasted carrots, then the potatoes and asparagus. Add a generous pinch of the cucumber and fold the warm flatbreads over to envelop everything. Eat straight away.
ELDERFLOWER BROAD BEAN TOASTS
SERVES 6 I love elderflowers. When the floaty little blooms show up all over the parks near where I live, I know that the first days of summer are here. These toasts have a lot going on: the sweet but slightly sharp elderflower contrasts with delicate leaves (I use a mixture of rocket and pea shoots), milky burrata and the smokiness of the charred sourdough. You can make the salad and dressing ahead of time and keep them in the fridge, but make sure you griddle the toast at the last minute. a good loaf of sourdough bread FOR THE SALAD 300g podded broad beans 400g delicate salad leaves a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil 1 unwaxed lemon 300g burrata or good buffalo mozzarella FOR THE DRESSING 3 tablespoons elderflower and rose cordial (see page 116)
or use a good-quality bought version 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil TO FINISH (OPTIONAL) some fresh elderflowers* (see cordial recipe overleaf for information about sourcing elderflowers) First, blanch your broad beans in boiling water for 2-4 minutes depending on their size, then drain and leave to cool. Once cool, peel the bitter skins from each one unless they are small and sweet, in which case you can leave them on.
Heat a grill pan on your hob’s highest heat. Next, make your dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a jug, season well with salt and pepper and leave to one side.
Carefully pick through your salad leaves, wash and dry them well, then put them in a bowl with the broad beans.
Slice the sourdough loaf into 1.5cm-thick slices and griddle them until they have nice char marks on both sides. Drizzle all the toasts with olive oil, grate over the zest of the lemon and season well with salt. Put the toasts on a big platter or individual plates and tear over the burrata or mozzarella. Dress the leaves and broad beans with the elderflower dressing and pile on top of each toast. Finish with a scattering of confetti-like elderflowers if you like.
STRAWBERRY & ANISE GALETTE
SERVES 4-6 This galette is quick and easy to make, and buttery and flaky to eat. The strawberries roast and melt to a pool of molten scarlet jam in the middle, some still holding their shape, but all of them releasing their juices to create a seriously good jammy centre.
What I love most about this, though, is that it uses very little sugar; the natural sweetness of the strawberries shines through. I have given an approximate weight for the sugar I use to sweeten the strawberries, as the amount you need will depend on the strawberries as well as your own tastes (I usually end up using about 60g).
The surprising element is anise seed, a sweet fennel-like seed which I love. The seeds can be harder to come by than other spices, but if you like you could replace them with fennel seeds or even just a grind of black pepper (you won’t need as much as a tablespoon).
When you take the galette out of the oven it will look a little runny in the centre, but it will set within minutes as it cools. 750g strawberries 1 tablespoon anise seed (see intro) 50g-100g golden caster sugar FOR THE FLAKY SPELT PASTRY 160g spelt flour, plus a little extra for dusting a pinch of flaky sea salt 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar 100g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes a glass of iced water 1 organic egg, beaten TO SERVE coconut yoghurt, whipped with a little honey and vanilla, or thick Greek yoghurt, cream or ice cream For the pastry, combine the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and use the back of a fork or a food processor to cut the butter into the flour until you have a rough scruffy mixture, still with some bigger chunks of butter.
Add the ice-cold water bit by bit, until the pastry comes together – you will only need 4-5 tablespoons. Bring it together into a ball with your hands, or pulse a few times in the food processor. Handle it as little as possible, then wrap it in cling film and put it into the fridge to cool and rest for at least 45 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, hull the strawberries and cut them in half, or any larger ones into quarters. Put them into a bowl with the spice and half the sugar and leave to sit.
Once the pastry has rested, take it out of the fridge to soften a bit and preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan.
Flour your work surface and, once the pastry has warmed slightly, roll it out quite thinly into roughly a 30cm round, then lift it on to a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Pile the strawberries in the middle of the pastry, leaving about a 4cm border of pastry to fold over. There’s no need to be too precise with the strawberries, as they will shrink and change as they cook.
Next fold the edges of the pastry over the strawberries to hold them in. Brush the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg, then sprinkle the strawberries and pastry edges with the remaining sugar.
Bake in the hot oven for 55 minutes, until thew strawberries are soft and bubbling and the pastry is golden and crisp. Serve with my choice of some coconut yoghurt stirred with a little honey and vanilla, or with ice cream, cream or thick Greek yoghurt.
STRAWBERRY & ANISE GALETTE recipe page 115