“As a food writer, I always relish the opportunity to surround myself with farmers, producers and cooks who really care about the journey our food has taken to reach our plates. This month, I’m delighted to be taking part in Spots on my Apples Festival in the glorious East Neuk of Fife.
It’s a celebration of all things organic – something very close to my heart. I’ll be there alongside inspiring farmers and writers, James and Helen Rebanks, from the Lake District; nature writer and organic grower Claire Ratinon; River Cottage chef and writer Rachel de Thample; as well as many brilliant others.
The event is hosted by the wonderful Stephen and Lucy of Futtle brewery and will take place at Bowhouse in St Monans. Over the last five years, it’s become known as a hub for organic food production in Scotland. Drinking a glass of something interesting and listening to a record in Futtle’s taproom on a Saturday afternoon really is one of my favourite things to do.
At the Elliott’s Cafe and Studio in Edinburgh, where I cook, teach and write, my focus is always on simple cooking that puts seasonal ingredients at the heart of everything. I’ve created these fresh summer recipes as a tribute to the wonderful produce available at this time of year and hope you enjoy recreating them in your own kitchen”.
Elliott Dennison will be doing a demo and discussions at Spots on My Apples Festival, June 17, tickets £25, see www.futtle.com
Signed copies of her cookbooks Salad Feasts, Tin Can Magic and Lazy Baking will be available, along with her ceramics, kitchenware and textiles range.
Braised fennel, courgette and tomato butter beans
4 tbsps cold-pressed rapeseed oil
2 large fennel, finely sliced, (reserve the green fronds for garnish)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
Pinch of chilli flakes
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 courgettes, finely sliced
5 large, ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
250ml white wine
4 stems fresh oregano, leaves stripped, stems discarded (reserve a few for garnish)
1 x 700g jar of giant butter beans
1 Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the fennel and salt, gently fry for 10-15 minutes until golden but not too brown. Crush the fennel seeds then add, along with the chilli flakes.
2 Add the garlic, stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn. Increase the heat in the pan and add the courgettes. Fry on a high heat for 2-3 minutes to get some colour on the courgettes, then clamp a lid on your pan so they sweat in their own juices for 5 minutes.
3 Throw the tomatoes, wine and oregano into the pan, simmer for 5 minutes, then add the butter beans, including jar juices. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes, or until reduced and the courgettes and tomatoes are really tender. Using the side of a wooden spoon, crush a few butter beans to thicken the stew.
4 Using a microplane, zest in the lemon. You might want to add more salt, or even some of the lemon’s juice, depending on how acidic your wine is.
5 Serve with the reserved fennel fronds and oregano leaves plus rapeseed aioli or extra virgin olive oil and black pepper.
1 egg yolk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt flakes
Juice and grated zest of 1/2 lemon
300 ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil, in a jug for easy pouring
1 Combine the egg yolk, mustard, garlic, salt, lemon juice and zest in a large bowl using a balloon whisk.
2 Dampen a few sheets of kitchen paper, then place the bowl on the paper to stop it moving about. Drop by drop, pour in the oil while continuously whisking until very thick. This should take a couple of minutes. Don’t be tempted to rush pouring in the oil or your aioli might split. (If it does, start with a fresh egg yolk in a clean bowl, and slowly drizzle in the split mixture until thickened and emulsified).
3 Taste, you might want to add more lemon juice and salt. (Keeps in the fridge for 5 days).
Asparagus with baby potatoes, soft-boiled eggs and salsa verde
12 baby potatoes
sea salt flakes
1 x salsa verde - see below
1 tbsps oil
Small bunch of asparagus (approx 175g)
1 Place the potatoes and a pinch of salt in a pan, fill with water then simmer for 10-15, or until tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander and allow them to steam-dry. Toss with a few spoonfuls of salsa verde in a large bowl while they’re still warm.
2 Bring another small pan of water to a boil then add the eggs. Simmer for 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer them to a bowl of cold water, cracking their shells to allow cold water to reach the egg white (this will make them easier to peel). Once cool enough to handle, peel the eggs, cut in half, then season.
3 Heat the oil in a frying pan on high heat. Snap the woody parts off the asparagus, then fry on high with a pinch of salt for 3-4 minutes until charred at the edges and tender in the middle.
4 Divide the potatoes, asparagus and egg between 2 plates, then spoon over extra salsa verde.
15g flat leaf parsley, leaves only
15g basil, leaves only
15g mint, leaves only
1 garlic clove
1 ½ tbsps capers
30g anchovies in oil (drained weight) - optional
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsps red or white wine vinegar
120ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil
1 Finely chop the herbs, garlic, capers and anchovies then place in a small bowl. Stir in the mustard, vinegar and oil.
Keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days.