I think a weekend brunch is sometimes the best meal of the week because you have a little more time to prepare and a little more time to enjoy the meal. I don’t get to have brunch that often at the moment because I’m usually cooking for other people at the restaurants, but it’s a great way to entertain friends and family. This tart is easy to assemble and most of the components can be made ahead of time. It looks pretty and tastes delicious and fresh. If you don’t want to use peas you can use another vegetable.
350 g (12 oz/2½ cups) frozen peas, thawed overnight
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 sheet store-bought all-butter puff pastry, about 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inches)
12–14 asparagus spears, peeled and trimmed
150 g (5½ oz) feta cheese
3 soft-boiled eggs
micro herbs, to garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Put the peas in a bowl and crush them. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
Put the pastry on the prepared tray and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown, puffed up and very firm. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Heat a chargrill pan or a barbecue grill plate to high. Drizzle the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 1–2 minutes, until grill marks appear.
To assemble the tart, put the pastry on a serving board or chopping board (this will make the tart easier to cut) and top with the crushed pea mixture. Crumble the feta evenly over the tart. Tear the eggs in half and arrange them on the tart. Top with the grilled asparagus and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter over micro herbs, if using.
The pastry has a long cooking time. Once cut, it needs to be able to hold its shape and soak up the juices.
Excellent served for brunch or even a Sunday night dinner, this dish, which sits somewhere between an omelette and a frittata, is so easy to make. I don’t think we celebrate the versatility of eggs enough—they are quick to prepare, nutritious and so much more than a breakfast food. The main ingredient in this dish is courgette—and it may seem that there is a lot of it, but it helps to give the omelette its light, fluffy texture. The sujuk sausage adds a salty, spicy kick.
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) zucchini (courgettes), about 4 in total, coarsely grated
1 tablespoon salt
100 ml (3½ fl oz) olive oil
200 g (7 oz) sujuk sausage, diced
2 tablespoons labneh, plus 4 tablespoons extra to serve
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
2 large handfuls mixed herbs, such as chives, flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, mint and coriander (cilantro), leaves picked
70 g (2½ oz) pine nuts, toasted
juice of ½ lemon
Put the grated zucchini in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Set aside until the zucchini releases its juices, about 15 minutes. Drain the courgette, return to the bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 24 cm (9½ inch) ovenproof frying pan over medium–high heat. Fry the sujuk until crisp, then transfer to a plate and set aside. Leave the excess oil in the pan to cook the omelette.
Add the eggs, labneh, chopped parsley and half the crispy sujuk to the courgette. Season with freshly ground black pepper and whisk to combine.
Reheat the frying pan over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and cook for 2–3 minutes, then transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes, or until the omelette is done to your liking.
While the omelette is cooking, put the remaining crispy sujuk, mixed herbs, pine nuts, lemon juice and remaining olive oil in a bowl and toss to combine.
Flip the cooked omelette onto a plate and serve topped with dollops of labneh and the sujuk and herb mixture.
I always struggle to find light desserts to serve at the end of a meal as most people tend to like chocolate-based desserts. The pink grapefruit in this pavlova has a lovely bitter flavour that cuts through the sweetness of the meringue and balances a rich meal. If you don’t like the bitterness of the grapefruit it can be substituted with orange or any other citrus, but I suggest giving it a try as I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
7 egg whites, at room temperature
375 g (13 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon rosewater
250 g (9 oz) mascarpone cheese
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) thin (pouring) cream
50 g (1¾ oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
4–5 pink grapefruit, segmented (see page 245)
300 g (10½ oz) good-quality Turkish delight, finely chopped
3 tablespoons pistachio nuts, lightly toasted and crushed
edible dried rose petals, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Spray a 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inch) cake tin with non-stick oil and line with baking paper.
Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites for 2–3 minutes, until soft peaks form. With the machine running, slowly add the caster sugar and then whisk for a further 8–10 minutes, until firm and glossy. Use a metal spoon to fold in the vinegar and rosewater.
Spoon the meringue mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for exactly 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely. Don’t worry if the meringue looks a bit rustic when you take it out of the oven.
Put the mascarpone, cream and icing sugar in a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.
To assemble, cut the meringue in half so there are two 20 x 15 cm (8 x 6 inch) pieces. Put one piece on a serving plate and top with half the mascarpone mixture, half the grapefruit segments and half the Turkish delight. Top with the remaining meringue, then the remaining mascarpone mixture, grapefruit and Turkish delight. Scatter the pistachios and rose petals over the top.
How to segment citrus
This is a great technique to use to segment fruit for the Orange, harissa and black olive salad (page 65) as well as segmenting the grapefruit for the Layered Turkish delight pavlova (page 183).
Cut off the top and bottom of the citrus fruit. Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the skin and white pith, following the line of the fruit. Remove each segment by slicing either side of the membrane.
It is good to do this over a bowl to capture any juice that comes out of the fruit.