Spoilt for choice

Liz Nicholls

We’re spoilt for choice with fantastic British seasonal produce and cooking light, speedy food is key to feeling good, inside and out! Recipes created by Katie Kingsley.

French toast with cherry compote & vanilla mascarpone

I love making French toast with slightly stale challah bread. The sweet, gutsy slices offset the sharpness of the compote making it a nicely balanced dish that we often eat as a late summer brunch. Almost any fruit works nicely cooked in this fashion, just by adding a little citrus juice, sugar and cooking down until it reaches a jammy consistency.

First pit 600g of cherries then add to a pan with 100g of caster sugar and the juice from an orange. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thick and syrupy. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. Using a spatula, mix together 250g of mascarpone with 150g of crème fraiche, 40g of sieved icing sugar, ¼ tsp of vanilla extract and the seeds from one vanilla pod then leave in the fridge until serving. Heat 500ml of full-fat milk in a pan with 2 tbsp of caster sugar and the seeds from another vanilla pod, stirring occasionally with a whisk. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from heat and transfer to a shallow dish. When cooled, add three whisked eggs, whisking to combine. Thickly slice a challah or brioche loaf and saturate in your milk mix while you heat a knob of unsalted butter in a frying pan.

Use tongs to remove slices from the milk mix and fry gently on each side until golden brown and crisp. Serve with a dollop of vanilla mascarpone, cherry compote and dusting of icing sugar.

Breakfast pots

A perfect way of using up leftover compote, simply layer in glasses or jam jars with plain yoghurt and fresh fruit if you wish then top with granola and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Crab sandwich

What makes this special is the homemade mayonnaise. I highly recommend making your own with fresh herbs; well worth the minimal effort!

To make the mayonnaise, add two egg yolks, 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, the juice from half a lemon and pinch of salt to the small bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, very slowly and steadily pour in 100ml of rapeseed oil in a thin stream until the mayonnaise emulsifies. Add a small handful of fresh tarragon and chives then blitz again until the herbs are finely chopped and mixed into the mayo. Ideally, use about 300g of fresh white crab meat, but a mix of white and brown will do almost as well with as much mayonnaise as you like. Check seasoning and adjust salt then add white pepper to taste. Serve on toasted brown buttered bread with lemon wedges.

Griddled courgettes with fregola and ricotta

This feels fresh but substantial and goes well with barbecued meat or fish. If you can’t get fregola, use orzo or Israeli couscous.

Slice about 10 baby courgettes into 1cm rounds, season with salt and fry in a hot pan with a little rapeseed oil until nicely charred on both sides then leave to cool. Cook 1 cup of fregola in salted water according to the packet then drain and mix through 1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and the juice from a lemon. Take a chunk of pecorino and use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese until you have a large handful of shavings. Add the cooled fregola to a large serving bowl and mix through the pecorino, 150g of fresh ricotta in chunks, a handful of fresh torn basil leaves, a few handfuls of black olives and the courgettes. Adjust the seasoning and lemon juice and olive oil, too. When happy with the flavour serve with more pecorino shavings and basil leaves.