Sim­ply healthy Sum­mer for

Swel­ter­ing heat and an overindul­gent fes­tive sea­son leads me to con­sider cool, re­fresh­ing, healthy eat­ing. It’s a good way to start the year. See if you can make it last, writes JACKIE CAMERON

Weekend Witness - - Arts -

WHEN I think sim­plic­ity, to­mato, av­o­cado and fresh basil salad springs to mind.

It’s the foun­da­tion of tra­di­tional Cap­rese salad, a renowned Ital­ian dish cel­e­brated world­wide for a very good rea­son — it’s de­li­cious.

The first time I ate it, in its home coun­try, was while I was work­ing in Switzer­land and I crossed the bor­der for lunch in Italy.

Buf­falo moz­zarella is the tra­di­tional ac­com­pa­ni­ment to this salad. It’s dif­fi­cult to come by, and the price is re­stric­tive, so I use dol­lops of yo­ghurt.

I have re­cently been in­tro­duced to the Gourmet Greek yo­ghurt. You’ll find it on the Mid­lands Me- an­der and I rec­om­mend it.

For those of you who fol­low me on Twit­ter and Face­book, you will have read me wax­ing lyri­cal about the qual­ity of this thick and creamy yo­ghurt.

It works so well in this salad. Try it, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed.

A smoked salmon ter­rine, in many dif­fer­ent forms, is a pop­u­lar dish on our menu here at Hart­ford House. As the years go by — and I get more ad­ven­tur­ous — the in­gre­di­ents be­come more com­pli­cated. But now I’m fo­cussing on sim­plic­ity and high­light­ing the del­i­cate smoked salmon.

For me, eat­ing an ap­ple on the core is uninteresting — un­like a peach, plum, litchi and mango — but when it comes to us­ing it in a dish it of­fers a fresh crisp tex­ture.

This ter­rine is the heart of any seafood starter — on its own or as a side dish. Let your cre­ativ­ity loose.

Any hot, main course on such sul­try evenings would be wasted on me. I have, there­fore, cho­sen beef salad with peas, caramelised red onions and soft feta. I know you’ll like it too.

Nicoise salad is an­other tra­di­tional favourite. It’s gone out of fash­ion be­cause it was over­done and made with­out love. Make this salad with care oth­er­wise it can go hor­ri­bly wrong. Tuna, salty an­chovies, per­fectly-boiled new po

tatoes, boiled chicken/quail eggs, lo­cal olives, to­ma­toes and crunchy green beans — with or with­out crou­tons — prom­ise a flavour­some ex­plo­sion. We owe grat­i­tude to the foodies/chefs of yes­ter­year whose ex­per­i­men­ta­tions have given us ev­er­last­ing culi­nary mas­ter­pieces such as this one.

To end on the sweet side, home­made meringues, chunks of Bel­gian choco­late and my favourite … fresh apri­cot sor­bet, with any avail­able stoned fruit, add a hint of bril­liance to the end of the meal.

Have you ever tried home­made marsh­mal­lows? They are so easy when you know how. Just fol­low my recipe. You must make sure you have a sugar/dig­i­tal ther­mome­ter — and check that it works.

Serve th­ese light and fluffy mouth­fuls with fresh granadilla pulp, and co­coa sor­bet, which is the “sur­prise” com­po­nent of sil­ver sugar balls. Here you have an in­ter­est­ing bal­ance be­tween sweet and tart. Let’s make 2013 mem­o­rable. Send com­ments and food-re­lated ques­tions to jackie@hart­

I al­ways look for­ward to hear­ing from you. Jackie Cameron (Head Chef: Hart­ford House — 033 263 2713). For the lat­est on lo­cal foodie news add me as a friend on Face­book or find me on Twit­ter — @jack­ie_­cameron. Pho­tos by: Karen Ed­ward’s Pho­tog­ra­phy. See www.karenepho­tog­ra­ for de­tails.

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