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Cherry Polenta Cake Recipes

Serves 8-10.

butter 220g
caster sugar 220g
cherries 200g
ground almonds 180g
fine polenta 220g
baking powder 1 tsp
lemon 1
eggs 3, large
For the syrup:
cherries 400g
honey 3 tbsp
elderflower cordial 160ml

Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Line the base of a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.

cake

Dice the butter and put it in the bowl of a food mixer with the caster sugar and beat until light and creamy. Halve and stone the 200g of cherries.

Mix together the ground almonds, fine polenta and the baking powder. Grate the zest from the lemon and stir into the polenta. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a small bowl. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them lightly.

Add the beaten egg to the butter and sugar mixture, beating continuously, adding a little of the polenta mixture should it start to curdle. Fold in the remaining polenta mixture and the lemon juice.

Spoon half the batter into the lined cake tin, add the cherries, then the remaining batter and smooth the surface. Bake for 35 minutes, then lower the heat to 160C/gas mark 4 and bake for further 25 minutes until the cake is lightly firm to the touch.

While the cake bakes, make the syrup. Halve and stone the 400g of cherries. Warm the elderflower cordial and honey in a small pan, then add the cherries and let them simmer for 5-7 minutes until the fruit has given up some of its juice.

When the cake is ready, remove from the oven, then pierce all over with a skewer or knitting needle. Spoon some of the syrup from the cherries over the surface so it runs down through the holes into the crumb of the cake, then leave to cool.

Remove the cake from its tin; serve with the cherry compote and, if you like some cream or crème fraîche.

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Even a couple of tablespoons of salted ricotta grated over a dish of warm vegetables can bring things to life.

Serves 2
broad beans 500g
small tomatoes 150g
parsley a few sprigs
pea shoots 25g
olive oil for dressing
salted ricotta 4 tbsp

Remove the beans from their pods. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, salt it lightly then add the beans and let them cook for 4 or 5 minutes.

Drain the beans and plunge them into iced water. Pop the larger beans from their skins, but leave the smaller beans be.

Slice each tomato into four then put them in a bowl. Remove the leaves from the parsley and chop enough for 2 heaped tablespoons. Add the parsley to the bowl, together with the drained, cooled and skinned broad beans.

Wash the pea shoots, then toss them with the tomatoes and beans. Dress with a little olive oil, gently turning the ingredients over till finely coated. Divide between plates then grate over the salted ricotta and serve.

Prawns take so well to south-east Asian flavours such as chillies, coriander and fish sauce, and never more so than in a neat little fish cake. Sometimes I sandwich the crisply fried prawn cakes in a soft, flour-dusted bun; other times I eat them between a couple of slices of hot toast. Either way, they need a spoonful of herb-flecked mayonnaise.

Makes 4
red onions 2
olive oil 3 tbsp
golden caster sugar 1 tbsp
balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp

For the prawn cakes
prawns 200g, shelled weight
coriander 20g
spring onions 3
fish sauce 3 tsp
chilli 1 small, hot
groundnut oil 2 tbsp

To finish
bread 8 thin slices
chopped coriander 2 tbsp
mayonnaise 3 tbsp

Peel the onions, halve them, then cut each half into thin segments. Warm the oil in a saucepan, add the onions then let them cook over a low heat until soft and translucent. They shouldn’t brown. Stir in the sugar and continue cooking until it starts to darken and caramelise. Add the balsamic vinegar and set aside.

Tip the prawns into the bowl of a food processor, add the coriander, spring onions, fish sauce and chilli and process briefly to combine. The texture should be soft enough to hold together when lightly pressed, but not so well mixed as to be paste-like. Remove the mixture from the bowl and shape into four small patties.

Warm the groundnut oil in a shallow pan then add the patties and let them cook for three or four minutes till lightly browned. Turn them carefully and cook the other side. Toast the bread. Chop the coriander and stir into the mayonnaise and check the seasoning. Place a spoonful of the onions and another of the coriander mayonnaise on top of each patty, then sandwich between the hot toasts.

We make this modernised, vegetarian interpretation of a full English whenever we crave something savoury in the morning. It’s warm, filling and generous without being too heavy. Apple and kale keep the flavours interesting, while browned onions, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and sprouts make it rich and hearty. We love to add some sriracha or gochujang sauce for a sweet and spicy flavour punch, but regular chilli sauce or even a good-quality ketchup can be used instead. The servings are quite generous here, so if you are a small family, it should still be enough for all of you with the addition of one or two extra eggs.

Vegetarian breakfast recipe

Serves 2
extra-virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
onion 1, peeled
sweet potato ½, peeled
brussels sprouts 10, trimmed
mushrooms 10 of your choice, cleaned
cherry tomatoes 10
red apple 1, cored
cavolo nero or curly kale 2 handfuls, stems removed
ground cayenne pepper a pinch
free-range eggs 2

Heat the oil in a medium-sized frying pan on a medium heat. Finely slice the onion, add it to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes or until it begins to soften.

Thinly slice the sweet potato, cut the sprouts in half and roughly chop the mushrooms. Add them to the pan and sauté for 5 more minutes.

Cut 5 of the tomatoes in half (leaving the others whole), thinly slice the apple and roughly chop the cavolo nero or kale. Add them to the pan along with the cayenne pepper, season to taste with salt and pepper and sauté for a further 5 minutes or until all of the vegetables are tender.

Create two small wells in the vegetable mixture and crack an egg into each one. Cook the eggs to your liking.

Serve straight from the pan, topped with a drizzle of spicy sauce or ketchup.