The Culinary Corner

By The SuperNatural Food Market

Spelt cake photograph by Kristin Perers.

Summer’s in full swing and it’s time to let the sun in whether it is shining or not! It is a blissful seasonal treat to indulge in the light floral flavours that come into abundance at this time of the year.
Fruits, nuts, edible flowers and refreshing drinks such as non-alcoholic ones with a herbal edge like elderflower cordial with sparkling water, chamomile infused homemade lemonade or pzazzy but light alcohols such as prosecco with added cherries, kirsch and amaretto while dozens of varieties of green leaves and delicacies such as asparagus, artichokes and fresh garden peas and beans are all to be savoured over the coming weeks.

Not forgetting that you can throw some fresh fish and lean meat cuts under the grill, in a pan or on the barbeque.
Eating al fresco is also a treat on any given day where we get weather that is either dry, bright or warm and especially so when all three occur together. These are great opportunities to put on a BBQ or cook light dishes, throw together some salads, serve some drinks and finish with something sweet and a cheese board and crackers.

It is perfect for two on the balcony or patio or informal get togethers with family, friends and neighbours or to prepare ahead or with leftovers and pack a picnic.
You don’t have to do much and, if it’s a larger affair, bring-a-dish gatherings are made for the summer. (Our advice to the bringers: master your favourite dish and dazzle.)

We just can’t resist dessert (after salads) and we’ve found just the thing to keep us inspired: The Violet Bakery Cookbook from the London bakery and its owner Claire Ptak who made the sumptuous, mouthwatering organic elderflower and lemon curd, royal wedding cake for Harry and Meghan. The cake and indeed food menus were the star of the show as far as we were concerned. And all we followed was the cake news, obsessively, from the ingredients’ provence – (the eggs, elderflower, flour and lemons: local and Italian respectively; all organic) – to their quantities (immense.)

Her book is well worth a look. And we’re firmly of the philosophy that a little bit of what you fancy is as good for you as the salads and sunshine we hope you will enjoy over the summer. As always, we encourage you to get to the local market and buy all your ingredients directly from the producers who grow and provide organic, clean, sustainable food, free from toxic agrichemicals and practices.

The idea of cooking lettuce may seem strange but hold your nerve and you will be enchanted with the result. You can char the leaves on a griddle pan or on a barbeque. A nice stiff, crunchy variety like cos works best or go for the delightfully tangy bite of chicory leaves if you prefer a bit of bitter, especially if you are adding sweet elements such as grilled red peppers or fruit into your salad. Great garlic-clogged dressings add serious kick. Tahini is a roasted sesame seed paste that is high in iron, calcium, antioxidants and good fats. In ancient cultures and medicine, it is considered a giver of long life and prosperity

Charred Gem Salad with
Tahini Caesar Dressing.
• 6 Little Gems or 3 Cos or chicory or other larger, crunchy variety
• 2 slices (Tartine Bakery) sourdough
• 1 tbsp olive oil (our preference Sunita Greek or Palestinian)
• Maldon Sea Salt & Sonnentor Black Pepper
• Zest of unwaxed organic lemon
• 40g Parmesan

Half or 1-2 garlic cloves depending on taste, crushed with falt of knife and chopped
• 4 tsp of Sunita whole roasted or light tahini
• 2 tbsp of Greek yogurt
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• Juice of 1.5 lemons
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard
• 1 dash of tamari (wheat free long aged Japanese soy sauce)

Mix the dressing ingredients together and blitz to smooth in blender, adding the lesser quantities together of garlic, tahini and lemon juice and then adjusting to taste with more if so desired and set aside. Cut the lettuces or chicory in half lengthways, then again into quarters. Tear breads into pieces, drizzle with oil, season and put into oven at 190-200ºC for 5-10 minutes until crispy. Griddle the leaves on each side until charred. Toss in dressing put on platter, scatter the croutons, grate the parmesan over, dress and season to finish.

The next recipe will hit the summer soiree spot—a light-as-air spelt almond cake. Whisk it up, scatter with cherries and watch them sink or swim. Spelt is lighter than wheat and many with wheat intolerance can eat it. It doesn’t give any bloating and its B vitamins are more easily absorbed, as well as it being high in anthocyanins, which are super immune boosters. Almonds are, in every respect, the food of the gods and unbeatable in both health and flavour terms.
Makes one 23cm cake, which cuts into 8-10 slices

Spelt Almond Cake
• 175g butter, softened, plus more for greasing the tin
• 175g light brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• ¼ vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
• 125g ground almonds
• 175g wholemeal spelt flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 200g halved cherries, or whole raspberries or blueberries
• 200g peaches or nectarines, sliced
• 2 tablespoons caster sugar, for sprinkling
rose petals, for scattering on top (optional)
Icing optional
• 200g icing sugar
• 1-2 tablespoons rose water

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Butter a 23cm cake tin and line with parchment paper.
2. First make the sponge. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and very fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla seeds (pop the scraped pod into your Vanilla Extract, see page 228). Add the almonds and mix to combine.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, then gently beat these dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture. The mixture will be rather stiff but that’s ok.
4. Spread the cake batter into your prepared cake tin and smooth the top with a palette knife or spatula. Scatter the cherries (or raspberries or blueberries) over the batter, then press the slices of peach (or nectarine) down on top to get the fruit inside the cake batter a bit.
5. Sprinkle with the caster sugar and bake for about 60-70 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back to the touch.
6. Let the cake cool in its tin for about 15 minutes before turning it out onto a serving plate.
7. If using the icing, whisk the rose water into the icing sugar until smooth and runny. Drizzle over the cooled cake. Scatter with garden rose petals if you have them. This is best eaten on the day you bake it.
The SuperNatural Organic Food Market is open every Saturday 9am-3.30pm; to find us on twitter @supernaturalU / FB & instagram thesupernaturalfoodmarket