The best time to eat goat's curd is right now. Light, clean and slightly lemony, it is a very young cheese – essentially the curd that has gathered once the whey has been removed. At Petersham, we are using it on as many dishes as we can at the moment, largely because I can't resist it, but also because it will not be so good in a month or so.
Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627, petershamnurseries.com
Tomato and goat's curd salad with new-season's olive oil
Tomatoes are beginning to drizzle in from Spain and Italy. Properly ripened by the sun, they have that lovely green and grassy smell, and a fruity ripeness about them. This salad is so simple – nothing more than one or two ingredients – but please don't make it unless all the ingredients are at their very best. Very ripe tomatoes can take a gutsy and peppery new-season's oil – the ones from Tuscany are my favourites. Use a combination of different tomatoes if you can; if not, a single variety that is in peak condition will still be perfect.
8 ripe tomatoes
1 tbsp good-quality red-wine vinegar
A glug or two of the best extra-virgin olive oil you can find
A generous pinch of salt and a good grinding of black pepper
200g/7oz young goat's curd
20 or so little black olives, stones removed
1 bunch of basil – purple if you can find it
A small bunch of soft thyme, leaves only
Slice the tomatoes any which way you want – I like to cut them in slightly haphazard shapes, just because I think k it looks nice. Arrange the tomatoes attractively on a plate, carefully drizzle over the vinegar and then the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Spoon over the goat's curd and finish with the olives and herbs. Serve straight away with crusty, peasant-style bread.
Goat's curd, toasted almonds and acacia honey
This is a simple dish with which to finish a meal. Really fresh young goat's cheese works really beautifully with a light honey that is not too overpowering – acacia works beautifully.
This is not really a recipe at all – the quantities are not really important, but rather the combination. It is best served on individual plates so that it retains some sort of neatness. It is important to roast the nuts lightly, as it tickles out their flavour. Buy nuts only in small amounts, as they tend to oxidise quickly.
A handful of almonds
4 generous tbsp goat's curd
4 tsp acacia honey
A small pinch of salt
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Place the almonds on a baking tray and roast for 3-4 minutes or until just very lightly brown. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
Arrange the almonds, goat's curd and honey on individual plates and finish with a pinch of salt. Serve with a fine crisp bread such as pane carasau.
New-season's garlic with wild garlic and goat's curd
Wild garlic has a very short season – really only as long as the bluebells they sit side by side with in the woods. It has a lovely flavour but in my opinion it should be cooked – raw in salads, its taste can be overpowering. Roasted in the oven, new-season's garlic is sweet and gentle and can be eaten whole.
4 heads of new-season's garlic
350ml/12fl oz white wine – Riesling is best
150ml/5fl oz water
1 medium-sized bunch of thyme, leaves only
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
75ml/3fl oz mild-tasting olive oil
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
A generous bunch of wild garlic leaves, well rinsed
180g/6oz very fresh goat's curd
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Remove only the first outer layer from the new-season's garlic and slice in half horizontally. Lay in a roasting tin and pour over the wine and water. Season with salt and scatter over the thyme leaves and dried chilli, then finish with the oil and Parmesan and seal the tin well with foil.
Place on the middle shelf of the oven and roast covered for 35 minutes, at which time remove the foil, turn up the heat to 200C/400F/Gas6 and roast for a further 15 minutes or until the garlic is meltingly soft and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and stir in the wild garlic leaves – they will wilt almost immediately. Dot over the goat's curd and allow it to melt just slightly before serving. It is very nice on top of grilled toast, but really it is up to your own taste as to whether you serve it in that way.