The new season produce is coming thick and fast, it gives me so much pleasure to see the fresh young broad beans and peas still in their pods.  They would be fantastic eaten natural or simply podded, cooked for about 1 minute, drain served with some green gold (Scotchbrook and Goodfellow) extra virgin olive oil, a little fresh ricotta cheese and fresh mint.  Or perhaps try my seasonal "Market Plates" i think this style of eating is perfect for this fresh, easy to prepare produce which is available.  It quite simply is a selection of whatever tickles your fancy and served simply with fresh herbs, good olive oil, and the freshes products you can find.

On todays menu i have created some simple dishes like the radish tzatziki, shaved fennel salad, beef or lamb koftes and  falafels from Jackob and Ilana. Come and see me if you need more suggestions or tips and lets see what we can create!


I do a love these hot little balls of pink with their snowy white flesh. However apart from eating them whole or in a salad I sometimes ponder what to do with them. Try them grated and mixed through Greek yoghurt . Not only will you have a delightfully pink dip but it also has a little bite!

Makes 300ml (1 small bowl)

300 ml thick Greek yoghurt
2 cloves garlic
6 radishes and some leaves
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch salt
1 tsp red wine vinegar

Put yoghurt into a bowl, crush garlic to a smooth paste with a little salt (mortar and pestle is good for this). Add to the yoghurt and mix through.
Grate the radish and squeeze out excess liquid (the dryer the better). Add to the yoghurt mixture along with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt. Mix well, finely cut the radish leaves and add, fold through, taste and adjust if necessary.
Store in the fridge until required.
Serve in a small dish drizzled with the remainder oil and plenty of flatbreads, and crudities’.

FALAFELS - by all means you can easily make your own.  But sometimes it is just easy to buy the mix which by the way has been authentically made by Ilana and Jakob.  Take it home and cook them to add to your "Market Plates", now thats easy!

FENNEL SLAW WITH MINT DRESSING – Whether you are eating it raw in salads, slow cooked in milk or simply stir-fried with ginger you will find the fresh, crisp aniseed flavour a refreshing addition to any meal

Serves 4-6.

1 large fennel bulb (or 2 medium bulbs)
1 ½ tsp sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp mustard
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tsp finely diced onion or spring onion

Make the dressing by putting the lemon juice, onion, mustard, salt, sugar and mint in a mortar and pestle or use a hand-wand and pulse briefly to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until it is thick.

Slice the fennel as thing as possible with a sharp knife or if you happen to have a mandolin, shave the fennel into 2mm slices starting from the bottom of the bulb. Don't worry about coring the fennel bulb, it's unnecessary. Chop some of the fennel fronds as well to toss in with the salad.

Toss with the fennel and marinate for at least an hour. Serve this salad either cold or at room temperature.

This is a classic way of cooking fennel in Italy, the milk and butter reduce to create a thick, almost curdled sauce which has sucked up all the flavours to produce a very flavoursome sauce.  Wonderful served with pork and fish!
Serves 6

4 Large fennel bulbs cut lengthways
70g butter
500ml milk
30g Parmesan or Pecorino or cheddar, finely grated

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over high-heat. Add the half the fennel and coat with the butter, cook until just golden (5-7minutes). Remove the cooked fennel from the pan and repeat with the remaining fennel, once they have gone golden add the milk and 80 ml water, cook until the fennel is tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened. Sprinkle over the parmesan cheese and let sit for a minute or two.
Fennel is the perfect partner with pork or fish.

Makes 12-14

600g minced beef or lamb
1 onion, grated
3-4 fresh parsley sprigs
2-3 fresh coriander sprigs
1-2 fresh mint sprigs
½ tsp cumin, ground
½ tsp mixed spice
1 tsp paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl add the minced meat and grated onion.

Finely chop together the parsley, coriander and mint together and add to the mince. Add the spices and season with salt and pepper. Mix well, I recommend using your hands so you can combine all the ingredients well.

Get a bowl with a little water. Dip your hands into the water to help mould the mince into small sausage shapes. You can skewer them if desired. Refrigerate until required.

To cook them heat up your BBQ or grill on your oven to medium-hot, drizzle the koftes with a little oil and sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook until golden and just cooked. Squeeze over a little lemon juice and serve immediately.

Try them with the radish tzatziki and some flat breads!

This is such a fantastic dessert, I love the yoghurt as a replacement for the usual cream as it gives it a slight tart flavour which works a treat with the stewed gooseberries.

Serves 4-6

800g gooseberries, topped and tailed (you can use frozen)
275g Greek yoghurt
150g raw cane sugar
1 elderflower (optional)
100g rolled oats
3 Tbsp raw cane sugar

You can either cook the gooseberries in a pot with the sugar, elderflower and a splash of water or you can pre heat your oven 190C and bake them by placing the elderflower on the base and scattering the gooseberries on top, add the sugar. Bake them in the oven, uncovered for 20 minutes or until tender when gently squeezed.

Meanwhile place the rolled oats with 3 tablespoons raw cane sugar and bake until the oats lightly toast and the sugar caramelises a little. Cool and set aside

When tender remove from oven and tip them into a sieve set over a bowl to drain off the excess liquid.

Remove the elderflower and discard and gently mash 2/3 of the gooseberries with a few tablespoons of liquid until you get a thick pulpy consistency (you can do this in the food processor). Leave to get cold.

In a large bowl empty the Greek yoghurt with ½ the gooseberry pulp and fold together.

Spoon this mixture into serving glasses and then finish off with the remaining pulp on top. Scatter over a little of the toasted oats and serve.


ILANA AND JAKOB - falafels
BUTLERS BERRIES - gooseberries