(Theguardian) – Of all our glorious summer berries, the raspberry is far and away my favourite
My love of British apples is so strong that, despite the delights of summer, I always feel a bit bereft that they’re no longer available. No matter, berries are there to save the day at this time of year, and I find none as delicious as the raspberry. I like to use raspberries in savoury and sweet dishes alike, which is one reason I’m so delighted by the resurgence of raspberry vinegar, thanks in no small part to our love affair with all things Scandinavian. So, today, I’ve used them in a wonderfully colourful savoury salad, and in a lemongrass-infused compote that transforms a homemade scone.
Roast beets, goat’s curd, raspberries and spiced almonds
The fruit here lends refreshing bursts of sweet acidity to the creamy cheese and earthy beetroot. Serves six.
1 tbsp cooking oil (something neutral such as groundnut or rapeseed)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 baby shallots, peeled and finely sliced
3 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 tsp soft brown sugar
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 baby gem lettuces
2 large handfuls watercress
1 large handful mint leaves
400g goat’s curd
For the spicy almonds
300g whole almonds, skin on
½ tsp hot smoked paprika
1½ heaped tsp turmeric
2 tsp sea salt
1 small handful thyme, leaves picked
1 tsp brown sugar
Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. Put the beets on a large sheet of tin foil, rub them all over with the oil, season and pour over two tablespoons of cold water. Wrap up the package to seal the beetroots and roast for about 50 minutes, until completely tender.
Toss the almonds with the spices, sea salt and thyme, roast on an oven tray for about 10 minutes, until pale golden all over, then roughly chop. Heat the butter in a frying pan on a high heat until foaming and smelling nutty, stir in the nuts and sugar, and stir-fry for a minute. Set aside to cool.
While the beetroots are roasting, toss the shallots in the vinegar, add the sugar and season. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt, then leave the onions to macerate.
Once the beets are tender, rub off the skins – I wear gloves, so my hands don’t get stained pink. Cut the beetroot into wedges and toss these with the extra-virgin oil.
Separate the baby gem leaves, and wash. Wash the watercress and mint, too, then roughly chop the mint. Pat dry all the leaves with a cloth or in a salad spinner, otherwise your salad will become watery.
Beat the curd in a bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth, then divide neatly between six plates. Season the leaves, lay them over the curd, then top with the beetroot. Scatter over the almonds and the raspberries, spoon the shallot dressing on top and serve at once.
Kamut scones with raspberry, ginger and lemongrass compote
When cooking for friends, I often use kamut flour in case anyone finds regular white flour hard to digest. Its nutty flavour really complements the spicy, exotic flavours of this jam. Makes 10 scones.
For the scones
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g kamut (aka khorasan) flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 pinch fine sea salt
2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
150g butter, at room temperature
200ml natural yoghurt
2 tbsp demerara sugar
Beaten egg yolk
Clotted cream or creme fraiche, to serve
For the compote
230g golden caster sugar
2 thick slices fresh ginger
1 lemongrass, outer layer peeled, bashed
Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Sterilise a 300ml jam jar and keep warm in a low oven.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, bicarb, salt and muscovado sugar, then rub in the butter until evenly combined. Stir in the yoghurt, then tip out on to a clean worktop and knead until you have a smooth ball. Dust the worktop with a little flour and the demerara sugar, then roll out the dough to 4cm thick. Cut out 10 10cm fluted circles of dough (you may need to gather together the trimmings and re-roll the dough), then place on the lined baking sheet. Brush all over with egg yolk, loosely cover with cling-film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the compote in a large saucepan and leave to macerate.
Bake the scones for 25 minutes, until risen and golden, then leave to cool.
Put a small plate in the freezer. Heat the raspberry pan gently, until the juices run and the sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil and keep at a rolling boil for five minutes. Take the pan off the heat and spoon a teaspoon of jam on to the chilled plate. Leave it for a minute or two, then run your finger through it: if the line this creates stays in place, or if the surface wrinkles, the compote is ready; if not, put the pan back on the heat for a few minutes and repeat the test. Pour the jam into the sterilised jar, seal and leave to cool; if you’re planning to use it straight away, spoon into a bowl.
Serve the scones with the jam and clotted cream or, for a lighter version, thick creme fraiche.
And for the rest of the week…
The spiced almonds make a great pre-dinner nibble: gently toast them in a pan or in the oven with all the spices, until golden. Double up on the beets and dressing, too, and keep the leftovers in the fridge: they make a fine accompaniment to grilled meat and sausages, as well as to lunch boxes. Store any excess jam in the fridge – I love it on morning toast or for spooning over yoghurt.