Sheer Simplicity

With the extreme heat we need to eat something fresh and healthy. When the weather is so hot, nobody wants to spend too much time cooking at the stove. So this month I’m giving you some quick and easy recipes. I hope you will enjoy them.

Avocado with Crab – Serves 4

30ml vegetable oil
1 small onion, skinned and very finely chopped
10ml garam masala
150ml mayonnaise
10ml tomato puree
Finely grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
225g white crab meat, flaked
2 ripe avocado
Lemon twist and paprika to garnish

To start with we’re combining the most delicious, healthy ingredients of avocado and crab meat. If you want to make it in advance for a lovely evening dinner in the garden, just remember to drizzle the avocado flesh with a little lemon juice to prevent discolouring.

1. Heat the oil in a small saucepan, add onion and garam masala and fry gently, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes until the onion is soft. Turn into a bowl and cool.
2. Add mayonnaise to the cold onion with tomato puree, lemon rind and juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Fold the crab meat gently into the mayonnaise, taking care not to break up the crab meat too much.
4. Cut the avocados in half lengthways and then prise the halves apart by twisting them in opposite directions. Remove the stones from the avocados by gently easing them out with your fingers.
5. Place half an avocado on each plate, then pile the crab filling into each half. Garnish with lemon twist and a sprinkling of paprika, and serve immediately.

Suggested Wine: Riesling (Austria)

Pan Fried Squid with Beans, Chilli, Anchovy and Rocket – Serves 4

6 cleaned squid with tentacles
25ml extra virgin olive oil
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
3 anchovies fillet, drained and chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

For the beans sauce
2 plum tomatoes
1x 400g can of cannellini beans drained
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 fresh red chilli, pricked with a knife
1 garlic clove, cut into quarters
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Sprig of sage

To serve
250g wild rocket, chopped and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice

This is one of the most delicious summer dishes ever. Just try it once and it will become a favourite. On a hot day with a glass of cold white wine believe me, it’s pure Heaven. If you ask our fishmonger in Cranleigh to clean and cut your squid that will remove half the work away and I bet he will be delighted to do it for you. For this dish to succeed you only have to remember 2 key factors:
1) The squid should be no longer than 20cm. This is very important, because any bigger than that and it will be too hard and chewy.
2) The pan for the squid should be really hot.

1. Start with the beans sauce. Score the skin of the tomatoes, then put into a pan of boiling water and leave to blanch for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl of cold water using a slotted spoon, then remove the skin. Chop the tomatoes. Put the beans into a saucepan with tomatoes, sage, chilli, garlic and 100ml of water. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cut each squid in half length ways and open flat, skinned side down. Score with a sharp knife in a criss-cross pattern. Set aside with the tentacles.
3. Discard the chilli and the sage from the beans. Remove the garlic and mash it with a fork, then return to the beans. Season with salt and pepper and add the olive oil and the vinegar. Stir to mix, then keep warm.
4. Season the squid with salt and pepper and rub a little olive oil into the scored flesh. Set a no stock pan over medium heat. When hot (remember really hot), add the squid pieces scored side down, along with the tentacles. Cook for 1 minute until golden brown, then turn the pieces over. Add the chilli, anchovies, parsley and lemon juice to the pan.
5. Remove the squid and quickly slice into bite-size pieces. Return to the pan and toss briefly over the heat to mix with the other ingredients.
6. To serve, spoon the beans mixture into the centre of each plate. Place a small amount of rocket on top and then the squid.

Suggested Wine: Chardonnay (France)

Home Made Italian Ice cream – Serves 6

This is a very easy recipe and great for people who are coeliac or gluten intolerant.

500g of whipped cream
300g of condensed milk
120g of dark chocolate powder
2 kinder chocolate eggs

I published this recipe a couple of years ago, but I want to publish it again because I think is an amazing cheat for ice cream lovers. Artisanal ice cream is really expensive and to buy an ice cream machine just for couple of months in my opinion is a waste of money. This recipe is really easy and you will enjoy amazing homemade ice cream.

1. Place whipping cream in a large mixing bowl and, with the help of an electric whisk, whisk the whipping cream to a firm consistency. Now add condensed milk and with a wooden spoon (or a silicon spatula) gently mix until it is well blended in.
2. From this main mixture we will make 2 ice cream flavours. On this occasion a dark chocolate and kinder egg (children love this one), but you can personalize it to your own taste by adding other ingredients for example, strawberry jam or Nutella.
3. Divide the mixture between 2 mixing bowls. Into 1 one add the dark chocolate powder and mix gently with a whisk until it’s well blended. In the other bowl add the 2 kinder chocolate eggs roughly broken in pieces.
4. Finally place the 2 mixtures into freezable containers with a lid and place the containers in the freezer for a minimum of 6 hours.
5. After 6 hours you are ready to serve your Italian ice cream. Enjoy!

Simone Conti

Enjoying these recipes? You can read more of Simone’s meals HERE.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Cranleigh Magazine