The 50 Best; ALL THE INGREDIENTS FOR A GREAT SUMMER

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The Independent Culture
Last week in 'The Information', Simon Hopkinson chose 25 of his favourite summer recipes. This week, in the second and final part of our series, he tackles a different range of dishes: seafood, from salt cod to shellfish; exotic salads for starters, side-dishes or main courses; and the lightest, freshest puddings - granitas, ice creams and jellies, all bursting with summer fruit

Recipe photographs by Jason Lowe

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POACHED COD WITH LENTILS & SALSA VERDE

Try to find the French lentils called lentilles de Puy for this dish, as their flavour is far superior. They are slate grey in colour, and becoming more widely available in supermarkets. The combination of succulent flakes of fish, the earthiness of lentils and the sharp punch of the sauce gives this dish a fine balance of flavours, and makes one of the most satisfying plates of food I know; both for texture and flavour.

700g/11/2lb cod, descaled, filleted & cut into 4 pieces

juice of 1 lemon

For the lentils:

225g/8oz lentilles de Puy, thoroughly washed & drained

450ml/3/4 pint water

1/2 chicken stock cube

1 clove

1 bay leaf

1 small onion, peeled

salt & pepper

For the salsa verde:

a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only

10 basil leaves

15 mint leaves

2 garlic cloves, peeled & crushed

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

6 anchovy fillets

I tbsp capers, drained

150ml/1/4 pint extra-virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

To serve:

1 lemon, cut into wedges

extra-virgin olive oil

sea salt & pepper

a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley

First cook the lentils. Place them in a stainless-steel or enamelled saucepan, cover with the water, and add the stock cube. Push the clove through the bay leaf, then into the onion. Add the onion to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30-40 mins or until the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils are tender. Season now rather than before, as salt added at the beginning of cooking can make the skins tough. Keep the lentils warm.

Meanwhile, make the salsa verde. I generally use a food processor, but traditionally it is made in a pestle and mortar. Put the herbs, garlic, mustard, anchovies and capers into the food processor with a few tbsp of the oil. Process for a few minutes, occasionally stopping to scrape down what is thrown up against the sides of the bowl. With the machine running, add the rest of the oil in a thin stream, as if you were making mayonnaise; in fact, the finished sauce should look like coarse, green mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper.

To poach the cod, place it in some lightly salted boiling water. Bring back to the boil, then switch it off and leave for 5 mins. Lift out the fish, and do not remove the skin. This is a personal preference, on aesthetic grounds, as I think the fish looks nicer unskinned.

To serve, place a portion of fish on each individual plate with a wedge of lemon. Pour a little olive oil over the fish, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and a grinding of pepper, and tuck in a couple of sprigs of flat-leaf parsley. Serve the lentils and salsa verde separately.

CRAB TART

The combination of tomato, garlic and saffron with any shellfish is a good one. When set in a rich egg-custard tart, it is sublime. Crab works extremely well here, though any other sort of shellfish, or a mixture, can be most successful.

1 small tin Italian plum tomatoes, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped

1 bay leaf

1 small thyme sprig

salt & pepper

20.5cm/8 inch cooked pastry case

300ml/1/2 pint double cream

1/2 tsp saffron threads

4 egg yolks

white meat, plus a little of the brown, from a 900g/2lb cooked cock crab

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4. Put the tomatoes, garlic, herbs and seasoning in a saucepan, and reduce to a thickish sauce. Cool, remove the herbs, and spread the sauce in the bottom of the pastry case. Warm together 3 tbsp of the cream with the saffron, and allow to steep for a few minutes. Beat together the egg yolks and the rest of the cream, and add the saffron cream. Season. Loosely fold the crab into the custard, and carefully pour into the tart case. Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins or until set and pale golden brown. Serve warm, rather than hot from the oven.

WARM HAKE WITH THINNED MAYONNAISE & CAPERS

In Italy, I once had a dish of warm fillets of sea bass, lightly cooked and dressed with mayonnaise and some little flageolet beans. It was delicious. Made with hake, it can be just as good, certainly less expensive, and is perfect for a summer outdoor lunch.

1.8kg/4lb hake, in a whole piece

1 quantity court-bouillon

1 small garlic clove, peeled & finely chopped

450g/1lb tinned flageolet beans, rinsed & drained

2 large tomatoes, skinned, deseeded & finely chopped

2 tsp tarragon vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper

1 tbsp capers, drained

extra tarragon leaves

cayenne (optional)

For the mayonnaise:

2 egg yolks

1 tsp Dijon mustard

salt

a few dashes of Tabasco sauce

2 tsp (or more) caper vinegar

150ml/1/4 pint groundnut oil

150ml/1/4 pint light olive oil

4 tarragon sprigs, leaves only, finely chopped

Poach the hake in the court-bouillon, and keep warm. For the mayonnaise, whisk together the egg yolks, mustard, Tabasco, vinegar and salt. Pour in the groundnut oil in the thinnest stream possible, then follow it with the olive oil, beating all the while until thick. Add the tarragon, and set aside.

Mix together the garlic, beans, tomatoes, vinegar and olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and warm through gently until hot but not boiling. Pour into a warmed deep white oval dish. Remove the skin from the hake, lift off the fillets, and lay them neatly over the beans. Thin the mayonnaise with a little of the court-bouillon water to give it a coating consistency. Spoon over the fish fillets, and sprinkle with the capers and a few tarragon leaves. Dust with a little cayenne, if you wish.

CEVICHE OF SALMON

Ceviche derives from Mexico, and is, when all's said and done, raw fish "cooked" (ie marinated) in lime juice. The other basic ingredient in ceviche is usually just onion, but the dish comes into its own when tomato, coriander and chilli are introduced. The chopped and seasoned avocado is an addition of my own, and closely resembles that other Mexican favourite, guacamole.

450g/1lb fillet of salmon, skinned & boned

4 ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded & finely chopped

green chillies, deseeded & chopped, to taste (4-6 small hot chillies makes quite a fiery ceviche)

juice of 2 limes

1 small red onion, peeled & finely chopped

1 bunch of coriander, leaves only

salt

For the guacamole:

2 small ripe avocados

1 garlic clove, peeled & finely chopped

juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper

Cut the salmon into chunky slivers, and mix with the tomatoes, chillies, lime juice and onion. Chop the coriander leaves coarsely, add to the mixture, and season. Leave to marinate for up to 1 hour; any longer, and the fish will be too "cooked". Meanwhile, peel and coarsely chop the avocados, and put in a bowl. Mix with the garlic, lime juice, olive oil and seasoning.

Put a bowl of ceviche and a bowl of the avocado on the table, and let people help themselves. Serve with crusty bread or corn chips. A bowl of sour cream is an added indulgence.

SALT COD HASH

To find good salt cod in the UK is not that easy, so I would urge you to bring some home from foreign holidays (Spain, norther Italy, southern France and anywhere in Portugal). Otherwise, search out Portuguese or Spanish shops in London and other major cities. (See picture below.) Serves 2

1 tbsp olive oil

75g streaky bacon (pancetta is good), cut into slivers

1 medium potato, peeled, cut into dice, boiled till tender & well drained

175g salt cod

1 large clove garlic, peeled & chopped

3 spring onions, finely chopped

2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled & grated

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1-2 tbsp red-wine vinegar

freshly ground black pepper

Take a roomy (preferably non-stick) frying pan, and pour in the olive oil. Fry the bacon in it until crisp, and then add the potato dice. Continue cooking until the potatoes have also browned, and stir in the cod, garlic, spring onions and eggs. Stir-fry briskly for 3-4 mins until all is well coloured, and then finally mix in the parsley and vinegar. Tip onto a warmed serving dish, and grind over the pepper. Eat at once. 6

CHILLED LOBSTER GAZPACHO

This soup could be made with prawns or crabmeat, but the sweet lobster flavour would be sorely missed. It is based upon a dish from El Bulli, a restaurant near Cadaques, in northern Spain, which has recently been awarded three stars by the Michelin guide.

Part 1:

2 x 500g live hen lobsters

2 tbsp tarragon vinegar

4 tbsp olive oil

Maldon sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Part 2:

the shells of the lobsters

4-5 slices of fresh ginger

1 clove of garlic, crushed

2 tbsp cognac

570ml tomato passata

300ml water

3 sprigs tarragon, roughly chopped

Part 3:

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1/2 cucumber, peeled & chopped

1 small red onion, peeled & chopped

2 tbsp tarragon vinegar

Maldon sea salt

a few shakes of Tabasco

150ml whipping cream

For the garnish:

1 tbsp each finely chopped red & green peppers, red onion, cucumber & tomato flesh

very thin croutons cut from a small baguette, smeared with olive oil, crushed garlic & parsley, then baked in a moderate oven till crisp & golden

a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

a little chopped tarragon

Ask your fishmonger to kill the lobsters and cut them in half, or do it yourself. Remove the stomach sac, which lies in the head, and also the central grey digestive tract. Crack the claws with the back of a heavy knife. Put each lobster on a deep plate, and spoon over the vinegar and olive oil. Season. Cook separately, in two batches, in a steamer for 15 mins. Remove and cool slightly. Lift the flesh from the carapace, and put onto a plate to cool. Tip the shells and their juices into a pan. Add the rest of the ingredients in Part 2. Bring to a simmer, and cook gently for 45 mins. Strain into a deep bowl through a colander, and leave to drip for 10 mins or so. Add all the ingredients of Part 3 apart from the cream. Liquidise in batches until very smooth, and pass through a sieve into yet another bowl. Stir in the cream, check for seasoning, and chill for at least 3 hours. Pour into chilled soup plates, add the lobster flesh cut into chunks, and sprinkle over the vegetable garnish. Arrange the croutons around the edge, drizzle with a little olive oil, and scatter with tarragon.

WARM HARICOT BEAN SALAD WITH SEAFOOD

Almost any combination of seafood and shellfish may be used in this salad - lobster, scallops, little brown shrimps, etc - whatever is best on the day.

200g dried white haricot, cannellini or flageolet beans

1 onion stuck with 4 cloves

2 bay leaves

2 carrots, peeled

3 celery ribs, washed & cut in half

20 medium clams

4 dozen fresh mussels, cleaned & debearded

1/2 bottle dry white wine

700g cooked, shell-on frozen prawns (25-30 per 500g), defrosted & shelled - keep the shells

8 small to medium prepared squid tubes

6 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp red-wine vinegar

Maldon sea salt & cayenne pepper

2 shallots or 4 spring onions, finely sliced

4 large tomatoes, peeled, deseeded & diced

1 big garlic clove, finely chopped

3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Put the beans in a pot, cover with several inches of cold water, and soak overnight. The next day, wash the beans thoroughly, put in a pan, and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil, then drain and rinse with cold water. Return to a clean pan, with the cloves, onion, bay leaves, carrots and celery. Do not add salt, as this can toughen bean skins. Simmer gently for about an hour, until tender. Some scum will form, so skim the surface occasionally. Now add a little salt, and keep the beans warm in the cooking liquor.

Put the clams and mussels in a solid-bottomed pot, and pour over the wine. Bring to the boil, shaking the contents till the clams and mussels open. Lift out with a slotted spoon and set aside, discarding any that are still closed. Add the prawn shells to the cooking liquor, and simmer for 15 mins. Strain through a very fine sieve into another pan, and reduce to a few tablespoonfuls. Pour into a small bowl (the bowl in which the dressing will be made). Grill or fry the squid for a minute or two on each side; both cooking surfaces should be very hot and smeared with olive oil. Season, slice into rings, and put in a bowl with the prawns. Shell the mussels and clams, and mix with the squid and prawns. For the dressing, combine the vinegar, remaining olive oil, shellfish liquor and seasoning (bearing in mind the latter's saline content), and pour over the shellfish meat. Add the shallots or spring onions, garlic, tomatoes and parsley. Mix well. Drain the beans (discarding other vegetables), and mix with the shellfish. Tip into a shallow serving dish, and squeeze over the lemon juice.

TWIDDLED PRAWNS

The silly name for these delicious prawns (pictured above) is the affectionate title for any dish cooked by my parents that came about by fiddling around (or twiddling) with ingredients.

The fenugreek should preferably be in its dried herb form (sold as methi; find it in Indian stores, or ask your local Indian restaurant for its supplier). Otherwise, buy ground fenugreek seeds as a spice, sold in most supermakets. If you have to use the spice, add a little freshly chopped coriander leaf to the sauce at the end.

4 medium thick slices of bread from an unsliced small white loaf, crusts removed

clarified butter (melt some butter, allow to settle, skim off froth & pour off the clear butter)

25g butter

1 medium onion, peeled & finely chopped

1 small clove garlic, finely chopped

2 good pinches of dried fenugreek herb, or 1 level tsp ground fenugreek & chopped coriander leaves

2 small tomatoes, skinned, deseeded & finely chopped

1 tsp plain flour

75ml milk

75ml double cream

a squeeze of lemon jiuce

225-275g prawns (defrosted/shelled weight); frozen will do, but fresh are, naturally, better

Fry the slices of bread in clarified butter until golden brown on each side, drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven.

Melt the butter, and fry the onion and garlic until softened and pale golden. Add the fenugreek, and allow to cook for a minute or two. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook out their moisture. Add the flour, stir in till well blended, and pour in the milk. Cook as for a basic white sauce, and add the cream. Allow to simmer gently until thickened to a creamy consistency. Then throw in the prawns, heat through, add the coriander if using, and spoon over the fried bread. Serve immediately.

PROVENCAL FISH SOUP

Culinary squabbles over what constitutes a proper Provencal fish soup are legion; mainly over which fish to use. Mullet, they say, is indispensable, as is rascasse, John Dory, weaver fish, and a generous cross-section of conger eel for richness and body. Actually, you can almost use any fish you like, though oily ones, such as salmon, herrings or mackerel, are not brilliant. It is the rouille, a spiced garlic emulsion, that makes the soup a class act. Serves 6

100ml pure olive oil (not extra-virgin)

1 tbsp tomato puree

5 large leeks, trimmed & sliced, then washed

1 whole head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled & crushed

4 sticks celery, chopped

1 large bulb fennel, chopped

1.4-1.8kg mixed Mediterranean fish, cut into chunks

a good slug of Pernod or Ricard

1/2 bottle dry white wine

2.3 litres water

6 strips orange peel

1 tsp (or less) dried chilli flakes

1 generous tsp saffron threads

a few sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

1 star anise, crushed

10 ripe tomatoes, peeled & chopped

Maldon sea salt

For the rouille:

2 hard-boiled egg yolks

2 uncooked egg yolks

1/2 tsp saffron threads, steeped in 1 tbsp hot water for 5 mins

3 anchovy fillets

1 garlic clove, peeled & crushed

1 tsp tomato puree

1 tsp Dijon mustard

a little Maldon sea salt

a squeeze of lemon juice

several drops of Tabasco

250ml virgin olive oil

Heat the olive oil gently in a roomy pan, and add the tomato puree. Fry carefully over a low heat until the puree has become rust coloured. Now, add the leeks, garlic, celery and fennel. Stew gently until the vegetables have coloured - about 10 mins. Tip in the fish, and turn the heat up slightly. Stir around until the fish is starting to break up, turn up the heat, and then slosh in the Pernod or Ricard, and set light to it. Once the flames have died down, pour in the wine and top up with the water. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Slowly bring up to a simmer, and then start to skim the froth from the surface, which will appear in copious amounts. Simmer gently for one hour, stirring occasionally.

Now, tip the whole lot into a spacious colander suspended over a clean pan. Allow it to drip for at least 10 mins, then press and push the mulchy mess around the colander so that as much as possible of the flavour left in the fish can be transferred to the soup below. Discard the mulch, and then pass the soup through a reasonably fine sieve into another vessel. Allow it to stand for a few minutes, before removing excess oil from the surface with several sheets of kitchen paper; don't remove it all, since a nice sheen of oil is one of the characteristics of this soup.

The soup now needs some reduction to intensify its flavour. Simmer it down gently, skimming off any impurities as you go, until the flavour is good and full flavoured (you should end up with around 1.5 litres).

To make the rouille, puree the first 10 ingredients until smooth in a food processor. Add the oil in a thin stream, until the rouille is thoroughly homogenised.

To serve the soup, check the seasoning, pour into a handsome tureen or bowl, and accompany with croutons made from a small baguette that has been well rubbed with a clove of garlic, sliced into discs, and dried out in a low oven until crisp. Serve the rouille separately in a bowl, for people to take as much as they wish and then stir in, or spread upon the croutons.

I am not a fan of the traditional grated Gruyere cheese that is often served with this soup; I just don't find cheese and fish compatible.

ANGUILLE AU VERT

Skinning a fresh eel is less worrisome than you might think. Just behind the head, make a circular cut through the skin. Now, with a pair of pliers, holding onto the head with a damp tea towel, pull away the skin sharply with some determination and fortitude: it will peel away as one long inverted bicycle inner tube. Trust me. Although the dish may be served hot or cold, I prefer the latter. It is perfect for a summer lunch outside, with hot new potatoes. Serves 3-4

50g butter

75g watercress leaves, chopped

75g sorrel leaves, chopped

4 sprigs mint, leaves only, chopped

12-15 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped

8 sprigs tarragon, leaves only, chopped

1 tbsp chopped lovage leaves, if you can find them, or else celery leaves

1 small bunch spring onions, trimmed & finely chopped

a 450g piece of eel, gutted & skinned, cut into 5cm lengths (ideal width about 4cm)

Maldon sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

200ml dry white wine

3 large egg yolks

2 tbsp double cream

a squeeze of lemon juice

Melt the butter in a deepish shallow pan that has a lid, and put in all the greenery and herbs and the spring onions. Allow to stew gently for a few minutes, and then put in the eel on top. Season, and pour over the wine. Bring up to a very, very gentle simmer, and cover. Cook for 15 mins. Lift out the eel and put into a (preferably) deep white dish.

Beat the egg yolks and cream together, then incorporate into the mulchy liquor, stirring as you go. Cook very gently over a thread of heat until the sauce starts to thicken, but watch that you don't scramble the egg. Check for seasoning, add the lemon juice, and pour over the eel. Cover it with clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours. 11

SPICED AUBERGINE SALAD

This recipe is inspired by Imam Bayeldi, a middle-eastern aubergine dish, and uses similar ingredients. It is best served cold.

2 large aubergines

salt

100ml/4 fl oz olive oil

2 large onions, peeled & finely chopped

8 ripe tomatoes, skinned & coarsely chopped

1 heaped tsp ground cumin

1 heaped tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp cayenne

4 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped

2 tbsp currants

2 heaped tbsp fresh mint, chopped

2 heaped tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Cut the aubergines into 1cm inch cubes, and put in a colander, sprinkled with 2 tsp salt. Mix with your hands, and leave to drain for 30-40 mins. Now, heat 50ml of the olive oil in a pan, and fry the onions till golden. Add the tomatoes and spices. Stew gently for 5-10 mins, then stir in the garlic and take off the heat. Stir in the currants.

Tip the aubergines into a clean tea towel, and gently squeeze dry. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan until smoking. Briskly stir-fry the aubergines until thoroughly golden and cooked through. Stir in the onion-and-tomato mixture and fresh herbs. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool. Taste for seasoning. I often serve it with a bowl of yogurt, with more chopped mint and a little Tabasco.

ORIENTAL SALAD

The idea for this recipe developed from traditional Thai salads, which make use of bean sprouts, noodles, mint and coriander, chillies, onions, peanuts and strips of other vegetables. It is a cooling salad to eat, though the herbs and chilli give it an aromatic punch. To achieve the thinnest slices possible of carrot and cucumber, use a potato peeler.

1 small packet rice noodles, cooked as per instructions, drained, rinsed & cooled

225g/8oz bean sprouts

1 large carrot, peeled & thinly sliced lengthways

1 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthways, deseeded, & thinly sliced lengthways

two 2.5cm/1 inch pieces of fresh root ginger, peeled, sliced & cut into thin strips

a small bunch of coriander, leaves only

6 mint sprigs, leaves only

3 large mild red chillies, deseeded & sliced into thin strips

1 red onion, peeled & sliced into thin rings

For the dressing:

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

4 tbsp oriental fish sauce, such as nam pla

1 garlic clove, peeled & finely chopped

1 tbsp sesame oil

6 tbsp groundnut oil

Mix the sesame seeds, vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce and garlic together in a bowl. Whisk in the oils.

In another large bowl, mix together all the salad ingredients thoroughly with your hands. Pour over the dressing, toss lightly and leave to wilt slightly before serving.

This could be a light first course or, alternatively, an accompaniment to a dish such as pork with soy, ginger and garlic. You could also turn it into a light lunch dish by topping the salad with thin strips of grilled duck breast, cold roast chicken, pork or rare beef. Deep-fried whole prawns in breadcrumbs would be very sassy.

SALAD FRISEE AUX LARDONS

The essential part of this dish is tipping the hot bacon and its fat straight onto the salad, followed swiftly by the hot vinegar. As for the frisee (or curly endive), there are two types. One has quite tough, wildly curly leaves, with the outer green ones being particularly bitter. These should be discarded. The other, sometimes called "spider" frisee, has much thinner, altogether more manageable leaves, and a milder flavour. Have all the ingredients to hand, together with pans, spoons, etc, before you start, as everything happens at the same time.

1 head of frisee, washed & picked over into small tendrils

salt & pepper

6 tbsp olive oil

vinegared water for poaching

4 eggs

6 thick, rindless, streaky bacon rashers, cut into lardons

3 tbsp red-wine vinegar

1 small baguette, sliced, rubbed with a garlic clove, cut into cubes & fried in olive oil

1 heaped tbsp flat-leafed parsley, chopped

Have the frisee ready in a roomy bowl, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan through, and bring the vinegared water to simmering point. Start to poach the eggs over a gentle heat. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in the hot olive oil until crisp and golden. Throw onto the frisee and stir in. Immediately, add the vinegar to the hot frying pan, and swirl around. Add this also to the salad. Mix in the croutons and the parsley, and divide between four plates. Place a poached egg in the middle of each. Sprinkle a little sea salt and a grinding of pepper over each egg, and serve immediately.

CHICORY SALAD

As a young apprentice in the kitchens of a fine French restaurant in Lancashire, I one day found myself at the mercy of chef Champeau's mischievous nature: he had discovered that I did not like chicory. The next thing I knew was that I had been invited to lunch with Chef and Mrs Chef, where I was forced to eat five courses, all, neatly and naturally, revolving around the astringent chicory family. I must, however, thank him, as I now love the stuff.

For the dressing:

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp red-wine vinegar

4-5 tbsp of warm water

Maldon sea salt

300-450ml groundnut oil or other flavourless oil

For the salad:

8 medium chicories

1 tbsp chopped parsley

freshly ground black pepper

Blend the mustard, vinegar, water and salt in a liquidiser. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream until homogenised. At this stage, if you think the dressing is too thick, add a little more water; if too thin, add more oil and perhaps a smidgen more mustard. The final consistency should be that of salad cream. This recipe makes much more dressing than you will need for four salads, but it is a good stand-by to have in the fridge.

To make the salad, cut off the base of each chicory, and separate the leaves. Wash briefly, and drain well. Pat dry on tea towels, then place in a large bowl, and sprinkle with the parsley and pepper. Add 5-6 tbsp of the dressing and gently mix with your hands until it is all well coated.

Arrange the leaves on individual plates, architecturally; or serve them directly from the bowl, in family style (see picture, below).

GAY BILSON'S PARSLEY SALAD

My friend Gay Bilson serves this as an appetiser at her restaurant, Berowra Waters Inn, in Sydney, Australia. It is one of the best things I have ever eaten: refreshing, sour and salty - everything you need to sharpen the appetite. The little biscuits that go with it are perfection.

This recipe serves 25 people as a small taster, which, in the restaurant, comes with a complimentary glass of Bollinger. For a first course at home, halve the recipe.

For the salad:

110g/4oz finest quality fleshy, black olives

110g/4oz flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

110g/4oz red onion, peeled & finely chopped

50g/2oz Italian salted capers, rinsed

2 large garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped

20 large anchovy fillets (preferably pink Spanish anchovies)

grated rind of 2 lemons

black pepper

100ml/4 fl oz olive oil

lemon juice, to taste

thin slivers of Parmesan cheese

For the biscuits:

250g/9oz strong plain flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp baking powder

100ml/4 fl oz water

1 tsp soft butter

For the salad, coarsely chop the black olives, and mix them together with the parsley, onion, capers and garlic. Chop the anchovies into small pieces, mix with the lemon rind, plenty of black pepper and olive oil, and mix into the other ingredients. Add lemon juice to taste, spoon onto a flat dish, and finish with thin slivers of Parmesan.

To make the biscuits, put all the ingredients, apart from the water and the butter, into a food processor. Heat the water and butter together, and pour into the machine with the motor running, until it forms a ball. Leave the mixture to rest for 30 mins. Using a pasta machine, roll the pastry out on the thinnest setting (usually 7), and cut into manageable lengths. Cut into 5cm/2 inch wide rectangles, and deep-fry at a temperature of 360F/185C until puffed up like poppadoms. Drain on absorbent paper, and serve with the salad.

LEMON SURPRISE PUDDING

This recipe, from food-author Margaret Costa, is one of my favourites. It has nursery-food qualities about it, and the soft sponge topping and the lemony custard beneath is a sublime combination. Eat it warm with thick cream.

50g/2oz butter, softened

grated rind & juice of 1 lemon

90g/31/2 oz caster sugar

2 eggs, separated

15g/1/2 oz plain flour, sifted

about 300ml/1/2 pint milk

"Cream the butter with the grated lemon rind and sugar. When it is fluffy, beat in the egg yolks; then stir in the sifted flour alternatively with the milk. Add the juice of the lemon, and fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites, lightly but thoroughly. Bake in a moderate oven, 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4, for about 45 mins, until the pudding is golden brown. Underneath the sponge topping there will be a creamy lemon sauce - this is the charming little surprise."

CREME RENVERSEE A L'ORANGE

This variation on a creme-caramel theme came from my friend Gay Bilson (see No 15). The first time I tasted it was while I was on holiday with her and some friends in southwest France. I had done much of the cooking on this holiday, and on the last night Gay decided to have a turn in the kitchen. She made this dessert in one big dish, which, when it was turned out, looked magnificent, with an almost glassy sheen to the surface of its rich, golden caramel. The texture beneath, on the other hand, was almost that of junket.

If you are worried about turning out something so delicate, then make it in individual ramekins, and remember to reduce the cooking time.

finely grated rind of 4 oranges

500ml/18 fl oz full-cream milk

90g/31/2 oz caster sugar

2 whole eggs

4 egg yolks

110g/4oz caster sugar

Put the orange rind, milk and the 90g/31/2 oz dose of sugar together in a stainless-steel saucepan. Bring gently to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and infuse for 2 hours. Put the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl, and pour on the orange milk. Mix lightly together, but don't allow the mixture to become frothy. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing down well on the orange rind to extract all the flavour. Let it rest for a few moments, and skim the surface. Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/ Gas Mark 2.

To make the caramel, put the 110g/4oz measure of sugar in a heavy-based saucepan or copper pan, add enough water to cover, and cook to a rich- brown caramel. Pour into an ovenproof dish (with a capacity of about 900ml/11/2 pints), making sure that the base of the dish is completely covered. When the caramel has set, gently pour on the milk mixture. Place in a bain-marie, making sure that the water comes at least two thirds of the way up the sides of the dish. Cook for 1-11/2 hours, checking from time to time to see whether the custard is set. When you think that it's not quite cooked - the centre still looks a little runny - take it out and leave it, still in the bain-marie, for anything up to 30 mins, by which time it should have set. Chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

When turning out, run a small, thin knife around the edge of the dish, place a plate over the top, and carefully invert the whole.

I have to say that I have eaten this pudding soon after it has come out of the oven, warm, with a spoon, straight in. Couldn't wait. I almost think it is better like this, but then you don't get the full visual effect of the dish.

FRUIT FOOL

"Soft, pale, creamy, untroubled, the English fruit fool is the most frail and insubstantial of English summer dishes" (Elizabeth David, An Omelette and a Glass of Wine). The perfect description. The fool is one of the few quintessentially English desserts that should not be tampered with. Rhubarb is my favourite, followed closely by gooseberry. Both use fruit that is cooked with sugar; other fools can be made simply by pureeing soft fruits, such as strawberries and raspberries.

900g/2lb rhubarb, trimmed & coarsely chopped

310g/11oz caster sugar

grated rind of 1 small orange

350ml/12 fl oz double cream

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C/ Gas Mark 5. Mix together the rhubarb, sugar and orange rind in an ovenproof dish. Do not add water. Cover and bake for 45 mins to 1 hour or until the fruit is completely soft. Drain in a colander and reserve the juice. Puree the fruit until totally smooth, then chill the reserved juice and the puree until very cold.

Whip the cream in a large chilled bowl until the whisk forms ribbons. Carefully fold and stir in the rhubarb puree and some of the juice so the mixture is streaked, rather like a raspberry-ripple ice cream. This is the way I like to do it because you get contrasts of pink, white and crimson rather than that homogeneous pink blancmange-like appearance. 19

FRANCIS COULSON'S STRAWBERRY POTS DE CREME

I first came across this recipe in a (sadly) forgotten book called The Good Food Guide Dinner Party Book. It was published in the early 1970s, and culled recipes from restaurants around the country that were included in The Good Food Guide. It still makes a good read, and there are some real gems from an era that was gently excited rather than fanatical about food.

One restaurant that has been in the Guide for an uninterrupted 32 years is the extraordinary Sharrow Bay Hotel in Ullswater in the Lake District. It has been open for 44 years, and Francis Coulson, who owns it with Brian Sack, has been there from day one.

225g/8oz strawberries, hulled

3 tbsp caster sugar

4 egg yolks

300ml/1/2 pint double cream

11/2 tbsp Cointreau

Preheat the oven to 275F/140C/ Gas Mark 1. Puree the strawberries (raspberries work just as well) in a blender with the sugar and egg yolks. Pass through a fine sieve, then stir in the cream and the Cointreau, and mix well. Pour into individual ramekins, and cook in a bain-marie in the oven for about 1 hour. Check from time to time, as cooking times vary in different ovens; the texture of this custard should be just set and slightly wobbly in the centre, and the custards will carry on cooking a little in their own heat.

Leave it to cool, then chill thoroughly for at least 6 hours. Serve with cold double cream poured on top so that each time you take a spoonful, the cream fills up the hole.

MILK CHOCOLATE MALT ICE CREAM

I came across this on my first trip to California. It was in San Francisco, at Wolfgang Puck's fifth restaurant, called Postrio. In fact, the original recipe comes from Nancy Silverton, one of Puck's first pastry chefs, who now has a restaurant in Los Angeles called Campanile.

I think it is terrific to put together sickly things such as Horlicks, milk chocolate and Bailey's Irish Cream, and to end up with a really smashing ice cream.

300ml/1/2 pint double cream

300m1/1/2 pint milk

6 egg yolks, beaten

50g/2oz Horlicks powder

215g/71/2 oz milk chocolate, broken into small pieces

11/2 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur

Heat the cream and milk together. Beat the egg yolks and Horlicks together, add the hot milk/cream mixture, and blend thoroughly. Return the mixture to the pan, and heat gently until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat, and add the chocolate, stirring until melted. Cool completely, and add the liqueur, then freeze the concoction in an icecream machine, following the maker's instructions.

APPLE HAT

The first time I ever ate an apple hat (pictured, right) was at Rules restaurant in Covent Garden. It was beautifully turned out, a little individual steaming damp dome sitting in a moat of yellow custard. With this family recipe, the hat is at least a size 6 - rather than the dimensions an infant's pate. I am indebted here to Sara Paston-Williams's marvellous Book of Traditional Puddings, published by the National Trust some years ago but now, sadly, out of print. Serves 6

225g self-raising flour

a pinch of salt

125g shredded suet

6-8 tbsp cold water

700g cooking apples (Bramleys)

50g raisins or sultanas

75g soft brown sugar

3 cloves

a generous pinch of cinnamon

a generous pinch of ground ginger

grated rind & juice of 1/2 a lemon or orange

50g unsalted butter

1 tbsp clotted cream

Generously butter a 1-litre pudding basin. Sift the flour with the salt into a mixing bowl. Stir in the suet, and mix with sufficient cold water to make a soft, light dough. Knead lightly, and roll out onto a floured board to a thickness of about 0.5cm. Use two-thirds of the pastry to line the prepared basin.

Peel, core and slice the apples, and fill the lined basin with layers of apples, raisins or sultanas, sugar and spices. Add the lemon or orange rind and juice, and the butter, cut into small pieces. Cover the basin with the reserved pastry, dampening the edges and pressing together firmly. Cover with a piece of well-buttered, pleated greaseproof paper followed by piece of similarly buttered foil with a further pleat, but placed at right angles to the greaseproof, so as to allow the pudding to rise. Tie around securely with string. Steam for 2-21/2 hours.

Turn out onto a warmed serving plate, and remove a piece of the pastry from the (now) top of the pudding. Pop in the clotted cream, which will melt into the pudding. Serve hot with more cream and brown sugar or with custard.

BLACKCURRANT JELLY AND MADELEINES

This particular jelly has been on and off the menu at Bibendum since we opened the restaurant. However, its first outing was on the menu at the slightly more diminutive Hilaire, 15 years ago, where I first caused a bit of a ripple in South Kensington with such things as saffron mashed potato and grilled aubergine with pesto. Exciting days! The fruit jelly has truly remained everyone's favourite, and is gorgeous when served with freshly made warm madeleines and lightly sweetened whipped cream. Serves 6

500g fresh blackcurrants (it can be successfully made with frozen, too)

225g sugar

300ml water

4 leaves gelatine

150ml port

2 tbsp creme de cassis

For the honey madeleines:

You will need a madeleine baking tray with the traditional indentations - usually six per tray. Good kitchen shops stock them

100g butter

200g caster sugar

50g plain flour, sieved

50g ground almonds

3 egg whites

1 tbsp honey

a little melted butter & some flour for lining the tins

Remove the blackcurrants from their stalks, but there is no need to top and tail them. Put them into a stainless-steel or enamelled pan, together with the sugar and the water. Bring to the boil, and simmer very gently, covered, for 10 mins. Then tip into a sieve suspended over a bowl. Leave to drain and drip for a couple of hours. Don't be tempted to force the syrup through the sieve, as pressing it too much will cause the jelly to become cloudy. Discard the pulp, or eat it as jam - although it can be a bit dry and flavourless.

Soak the gelatine in cold water for a few minutes until soft and soggy. Gently warm the drained syrup, and dissolve the gelatine in it. Add the port and cassis, and stir in well. Line the base of six ramekins with circles of wetted greaseproof paper. Pour in the jelly, and place them in the fridge to set for at least 6 hours, or, preferably, overnight.

To make the madeleines, melt the 100g butter until it turns pale golden brown. Pour into a metal bowl to cool. Mix together the sugar, flour and almonds in another bowl. Beat the egg whites with a whisk until light and spumous. Add the sugar/flour/ almond mixture, and thoroughly fold in. Now, stir in the honey and browned butter.

Brush the indentations with the melted butter, and then dust with flour. Tap out any excess flour. Pour about 1 tbsp of the mixture into each indentation; they must be filled to the brim. Put in the fridge for 1 hour, and preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5.

Bake in the oven for 15 mins or until golden, puffed up and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in their tins for a few moments, then lift out. Try to serve them warm with the jellies, as the contrast is most agreeable.

RASPBERRY CREME BRULEE - WITHOUT THE BRULEE

The idea for this rich little number came to me when I wanted to make a creme brulee but did not have access to a grill. In a way, I find it a nicer dish than creme brulee made with raspberries lurking at the bottom of the dish, buried under the custard. I always think they disturb the smoothness of the thing, and appear as an unnecessary surprise. Raspberries are just the tops on this little pot of yellow eggy cream. Serves 4-5

600ml double cream

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways

4 large egg yolks

2 tbsp caster sugar

250g raspberries

about 1 tbsp sieved icing sugar

Heat the cream with the vanilla pod in a heavy-based saucepan, until hot but not boiling. Whisk thoroughly for a few seconds to disperse the seeds from the vanilla pod, cover and leave to infuse for 30 mins. Meanwhile, gently whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream, shake well, lightly rinse, and store in some sugar if you like. Or, something I have recently taken to in a big way, bury them in with your coffee beans; the subtle flavour, once brewed, is delightful.

Pour the warm cream over the egg yolks and sugar, and whisk together. Return to the pan, and cook very gently over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Everybody (well, almost everybody) will tell you to cook the custard until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. I think this is misleading, as the mixture almost coats the spoon from the start, resulting in an insufficiently cooked custard that won't set. I find - and it becomes easier and less risky with practice - that one can almost allow the occasional boiling blip (and I mean occasional!) to form on the surface, followed by vigorous whisking to disperse them back into the less hot parts of the custard. Finally, the consistency should be one of cold tinned Heinz tomato soup, which, as everyone knows, coats the back of a wooden spoon superbly well - and is not the daft analogy it sounds.

When you feel that the custard is ready, pour it either into one large shallow dish or, if you are in the neat-and-tidy dinner-party mood, into generous individual ramekin dishes, and chill well for at least 4 hours.

Note: the mixture should not reach much higher than two- thirds of the way up the sides of whichever container you are using, so as to make room for the raspberries. Carefully pile the raspberries on top, and dust generously with the icing sugar. Serve immediately.

COFFEE GRANITA

The very best coffee granita I have yet eaten was at Tre Scalini, on the Piazza Navona, in Rome. It was possibly the hottest day of July 1996, and that spectacular, deeply cooling glass of granita - even though clad with a collar of whipped cream - was a welcome refreshment after the rigours of my morning's culture.

600ml very strong coffee (espresso is best)

120g caster sugar

Chill a shallow metal tray in the freezer in advance.

While the coffee is still hot, whisk in the sugar until dissolved. Allow to cool completely, and then pour into the chilled tray. Place in the freezer for about an hour, and then have a peek. What you are looking for is ice crystals forming around the edge of the tray (completely opposite to ice cream or sorbets, as here the ice crystals are the essential charm of the thing). Once the crystals have reached about 5-7cm towards the middle of the tray, gently lift them with a fork into the not-so-frozen coffee. Return to the freezer. Have another look in about 30 mins, and repeat this forking about.

Continue this procedure until all the mixture has formed crystals; it may take up to 2 hours or so. Once made, tip into a suitable lidded plastic container, and store in the freezer until ready to use. The granita will keep its granular texture for several days, but after that, the granita will start to firm up into a block. However, it is easy to start again by simply melting the coffee over heat and going through the motions once more.

To serve the granita, pile into tall glasses, and top with a large spoonful of creme Chantilly.

LEMON POSSET

I first came across this remarkable little dessert while enjoying the closing moments of a delicious lunch rustled up by one Lucy Crabb, when she was cooking in a country restaurant in Suffolk.

Lucy was one member of a group of very special chefs who started up Bibendum with me in 1987. She is a remarkably natural cook, and has since become a close friend.

I cannot remember the origins of this posset, but it remains one of the easiest desserts it is possible to make. This recipe makes enough to fill 8-10 ramekins.

1 litre double cream

275g caster sugar

juice of 4 lemons

Bring the cream and sugar to the boil in a large pan; the size is important, to allow for the expansion of the cream as it boils - and it must boil for exactly 3 mins. Take off the heat and whisk in the lemon juice. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, and then ladle into the ramekins. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

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