English Summer Recipes from a hot weekend at Newmarket

Despite the glorious weather and subsequent low turnout, Ondine and I had a blast at Newmarket Racecourse at the weekend.   We love our Oakleigh Fair events, that take us round the counties.    Top hit recipes this weekend were definitely the Homemade Salad Cream  and th, the luscious Panzanella, and Ondine’s Seared Watercress with Harissa Dressing and Halloumi.   For that one you will have to whizz over to www.oakleighfairs.co.uk.   But if you want to try out some of the dishes I cooked up with her, here are the recipes:


Old-Fashioned Salad Cream with coarse grain mustard and tarragon

Serves 4-6

2 hard-boiled egg yolks

½ tablespoon coarse grain mustard

a good pinch of cayenne pepper

¼ tsp sugar

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

100ml single cream

Finely chopped leaves 1 large sprig tarragon


Mash the cooked egg yolks in a bowl, then work in the mustard, sugar, cayenne, vinegar and salt.  Gradually whisk in the cream.   Stir in the tarragon. Taste adjust seasoning, adding a splash more vinegar and/or salt if needed.



Seared Lettuce and New Potato Salad with Home Made
Tarragon Salad Cream


Serves 4

400-500 g new potatoes

A splash of white wine vinegar

a little sunflower oil

salt and pepper

2 little gem lettuces, quartered lengthways through their bases

Home-made salad cream (see above)


Boil the potatoes in their skins in salted water until tender.   Drain and halve or quarter depending on their size.   While still warm, dress with a little vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.   Leave to cool.

Shortly before serving, put a heavy griddle pan or frying pan on a high heat.   Brush the cut sides of the lettuce with oil.   Lay, cut side down, on the hot pan.   Turn onto the other cut side as soon as the first is patched with brown.   Brown the other side, then toss with the potatoes in a serving dish.   Drizzle over some of the salad cream and serve the remainder alongside.


Jane Grigson’s Sweetmeat Tart

Serves 8

300g shortcrust pastry

125g best quality candied peel, chopped

60g chopped, roasted and skinned hazelnuts

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

175g caster sugar

175g lightly salted butter, melted


Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160Fan/Gas 4.   Place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.   Line a 23cm tart tin with the pastry.  Scatter chopped peel and hazelnuts over the pastry.   Beat together the remaining ingredients and pour over the peel and nuts.   Bake for 35-40 minutes.

“The top should be crusted with rich golden all over – so keep an eye on it after 30 minutes in the oven.   At first the filling will rise with the baking but once the cake is removed from the oven and transferred to a plate, it will sink again as these egg mixtures usually do.   Do not worry if the centre part of the filling is a little liquid beneath the crust, as it makes a delicious sauce.   The consistency is a matter for individual taste.

Like most sweet tarts, this one is best eaten warm.   Serve cream with it.”

From English Food, by Jane Grigson.


Duck with Pomegranate and Chinese Five Spice Powder

Not so much a recipe, but a method….

Duck breasts

Chinese five spice



Sunflower oil

Pomegranate molasses

Pomegranate seeds

Rocket or watercress


Pat the duck breasts dry, and pierce the skin, here and there with the tines of a fork, or the tip of a knife, to encourage the fat to come out as it cooks.   Mix Chinese five spice powder with 2 parts sugar to 1 part salt.  Spread over the duck breasts and wrap snuggly in clingfilm.   Leave to marinate for several hours in the fridge.


Shortly before serving, preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200/Gas 7.  Pre-heat a heavy base frying pan or griddle pan over a high heat.   Lay the duck breasts, skin side down in the pan.   Leave for a minute or two until the skin is beginning to brown.   Turn the duck over, skin side  upwards, and slide into the oven.   Cook for 7 minutes.   Take out, transfer the duck to a chopping board and leave to rest for 3-5 minutes.   If there is a lot of fat left in the pan, drain most of it out.


Put the pan back on the heat.   Add a generous slurp or two of water and bring up to the boil, stirring in the brown goo from the duck.   Add pomegranate molasses and leave to boil down until reduced to a few tablespoonfuls.  Taste ad add a little sugar if it is too sharp..


Meanwhile, spread rocket or watercress out on a serving plate.   Carve the duck into thin slices and scatter over the greenery.   Scrape any juices left on the board into the sauce, then spoon over the duck.   Finally, scatter with pomegranate seeds and serve.





Roast salmon with Gooseberry stuffing

Serve hot with a jug of melted butter to serve as a sauce, or cold with mayonnaise.

Serves 6-8

1.35-2kg tail piece of salmon, filleted

220g gooseberries, topped and tailed

sugar to taste

55g butter

55g breadcrumbs

1tbs chopped parsley

2 spring onions, finely chopped

a little melted butter

salt and pepper

Melt half the butter in a saucepan and add the gooseberries. Cover and cook over a low heat until the juices begin to run, then raise the heat slightly. Continue cooking until fruit is very tender. Mash coarsely and stir in the remaining butter,just enough sugar to take the edge off the sourness, and enough breadcrumbs to bind, parsley, spring onions and salt and pepper.

Sandwich the two pieces of salmon together with gooseberry stuffing. Lay on a buttered baking dish and brush lightly with melted butter. Cover with foil. Bake at 180C/160Fan/gas  4 for 20-30 minutes until the salmon is just cooked through. Carefully pull the skin off the upper half. Serve hot or cold.





 Good quality, stale bread, torn into small pieces

lots of very ripe red tomatoes, roughly chopped

cucumber, diced

celery, diced or thinly sliced

red onion, finely chopped

a little sugar if needed

red wine vinegar

olive oil

lots of basil leaves, roughly torn up

salt and pepper


Put the bread into the bottom of a big bowl.  Sprinkle with water to soften.  Add the tomatoes, cucumber, celery ,plenty of basil and a little red onion.   Season with vinegar, generous amounts of oil, salt and pepper.   Mix well, then taste and adjust seasonings, adding a little sugar if necessary   Set aside for an hour or longer, then toss again and correct seasonings for the last time.  Tip into your serving bowl, scatter with a few more fresh basil leaves, and serve.



Serves 4-6

1 onion, sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 red peppers, deseeded, destemmed and cut into long strips

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

450g (1 lb) tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped (or 1 tin chopped tomatoes)

1 tablespoon tomato puree

1 teaspoon sugar (unless your tomatoes are exceptionally good)

salt and pepper


Sauté the onion in the olive oil until lightly coloured.  Add the peppers, garlic and fennel seeds and cook for a further couple of minutes.  Cover the pan and let them cook down gently in their own juices for 5 minutes.  Now add the remaining ingredients and a glass of water, bring up to the boil, then simmer gently for half an hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Reheat when needed or serve at room temperature.




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