Recipes: Strawberry salsa | Sardine and chorizo stew | Raspberry frangipane tart

Make the most of the summer by preparing, cooking and eating dinner outdoors, says Jacqueline O’Donnell chef/patron of the Sisters Restaurants

Jacqueline O’Donnell is chef/patron of the Sisters Restaurants in Glasgow. The Jordanhill branch has been operating for 15 years while the Kelvingrove restaurant is eight years old (www.thesisters.co.uk).

At an early age I remember being sent out to my granny’s garden to pull rhubarb, turn the soil for tatties and pick up any apples. I thought this was pretty hard work, but I was only four-years-old at the time. My reward was a stick of crisp rhubarb with a wee poky made of newspaper filled with sugar.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is where my love of great home cooking began and I’m still rising to the challenges that the wonderful Scottish larder throws me. I’ll never tire of cooking fantastic produce from a country that so expertly grows, rears or cultivates so much.

I keep my cooking simple and Scottish and mostly allow the produce to speak for itself – or, rather, shout.

As our summer tends to be quite short, I cram in as much time under blue sky as I can. Every day I’m in the garden with a coffee before 6am and I take every opportunity to cook outside on the barbecue.

I’m much happier in my garden of an evening – even if it means that I’m the one who has to do the cooking. Being outside is also inspiring, as I can see what’s growing and what’s ready to come out of the ground.

If we do decide to eat out, I like restaurants with a garden, so we can eat al-fresco, especially if we’re by the seaside. My favourite places include the Plockton Hotel’s garden, the Plockton Inn’s garden seafood bar and the Applecross Inn.

This menu can be prepared either inside or in the great outdoors. However, I’m sure that even reading the names of these dishes, all of which feature ingredients that are easy to get hold of right now, will make you think of being out in the sunshine.

Shopping list

STARTER

1 punnet of Scottish strawberries

zest of ½ lime

½ red chilli de-seeded and chopped

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

1 tbsp mixture of chopped basil, mint, coriander and chives

pinch of cracked pepper to taste

1 tsp balsamic glaze

1 tsp Summer Harvest rapeseed oil

MAIN COURSE

12 fresh sardines, cleaned, boned and gutted

2 red peppers

1 yellow pepper

1 small red onion

100g Clyde Valley cherry tomatoes in yellow and red

2 tbsp olive oil

200g Rosario chorizo

juice of one lemon

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

small handful fresh basil leaves

salt and pepper

DESSERT

1 pack ready-rolled quality 
butter puff pastry

1 pack Scottish raspberries

150g butter (out of fridge until quite soft)

150g icing sugar

150g ground almonds

50g plain flour sieved

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

3 free-range eggs, beaten

2 tbsp dark brown sugar or demerara

Strawberry salsa with sliced mozzarella

This Scottish strawberry recipe was invented when I was too impatient to wait for double cream. I actually remember the day I first put the recipe out there at the Royal Highland Show in 2010. My audience were sceptical. However, the proof is in the tasting and I won the Farming Association round quite quickly. It’s also a great side for a barbecue main of grilled chicken breast or lamb chops.

SERVES 4

1 Chop the strawberries.

2 Add the zest of lime.

3 Fold through the herb mixture and chilli and season to taste.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

4 Arrange sliced mozzarella around a plate then place the salsa in the middle.

5 Drizzle with balsamic glaze and rapeseed oil.

Sardine and chorizo stew

I first made this dish when I was on holiday. The sun was out, it was a warm night and the wine was local and very chilled. It has summer sensation in every mouthful and, if this dish does not take you to a metaphorical sunny place, I would start looking at holidays to the Antarctic, as ice fishing might be more your thing.

SERVES 4

1 Slice the peppers into thin strips, getting rid of any seeds. Chop the chorizo into rough chunks and thinly slice the red onion.

2 Slice the tomatoes in half and season with salt and pepper. Leave for half an hour before beginning to cook the dish.

3 Fry the chorizo chunks in the oil until they begin to release some of their oils. Add the pepper strips and the red onion, and fry until they begin to soften. Alternatively, you could char the peppers in the oven before tearing them into strips.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

4 Add the sardines to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or so on each side, until cooked through.

5 Add the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice to the pan and stir well, then add the cherry tomatoes and their juices and the basil leaves.

6 Season once more then serve straight from the pan. A large chunk of crusty bread on the side, as well as a glass of wine, should go down very nicely.

Raspberry frangipane tart

If you cannot say no to a bakewell tart then this just about pips it at the post. The finest Scottish raspberries give it a unique and tart burst of flavour, which works well with the sumptuous frangipane that I have never been able to resist since first making it at college when I was 17 years old.

SERVES 6

1 Beat the butter and icing sugar with the almonds, flour and cinnamon.

2 Add eggs slowly, beating as you go.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

3 Cut two discs of pastry (8in/20cm in diameter) place raspberries in the middle of one and spoon the almond mixture over the top.

4 Egg wash round the edge, then place the other pastry disc over the top of mixture before glazing a few times with egg.

5 Sprinkle with the brown sugar, which helps produce a glossy finish.

6 Bake in oven at 180C for 20-25 minutes until golden brown all over.