Yotam Ottolenghi’s peach recipes

There are few things as, er, peachy as a ripe peach( and even unripe ones have their utilizes)

I went to a party earlier the summer months and took a tray of ripe peaches instead of a bottle of wine. I would never have dreamed of taking a tray of, say, avocados or a bunch of bananas. Its not that those fruit are any less special; its only that they dont have quite the same wow factor, that tempting, feed me now look of a perfectly ripe peach.

The difference between peaches and avocados is all to do with the way the fruit ripen. Bananas and avocados( along with pears and tomatoes) are climacteric and often store their sugar in the form of starch. Once picked, a simple hydrocarbon gas called ethylene triggers the process that converts that starch back to sweetness. This constructs such fruit a logistical dreaming for those who grow and sell them: they can be picked unripe and shipped hard( so theyre not prone to bruising ), and ripened once the travel is done.( On a smaller scale, you can achieve a similar impact at home by putting an unripe fruit in a paper bag with a ripe one. The ripe fruit will emit ethylene, which helps ripen the unripe fruit .)

Peaches, on the other hand, are not such a peachy logistical dream. Along with other non-climacteric fruit such as pineapple, citrus, most berries and melons, they dont store starch, so they dont go across the same process of converting it into sugar. Theyll continue to soften once picked, sure, and also develop an odor, but their sweetness wont develop any more post-picking.( The cold temperature at which the objective is stored when shipped and stocked, to prolong shelf life, also means the flesh often turns very mealy .)

Thats why I regard a tray of ripe peaches as something of a gift: feeing them right there and then, and hitting that sweet spot, really is worthy of a festivity. Its also why I reserve firmer fruit for cakes and tarts; overripe ones go into jams, compotes or todays shrub. Hard peaches may absence some natural sweetness, true, but you can draw that out depending on how you cook them. They also have the advantage of being robust enough to hold their shape: chargrill wedges and pair with slices of salty corpuscle or pork belly, spoonfuls of creamy cheese or a hard herb such as rosemary.

Peach, rosemary and lime galette

This makes good utilize of firm , not-so-ripe peaches. By macerating them in sugar and lime juice, you not only soften the fruit, but you also make a beautiful syrup to pour over the dish at the end. Rosemary, which Ive utilized both in this dish and in the shrub, is a fantastic match for peach. Its a combining I detected only recently, and now I cant get enough of it. Serves four generously.

2 limes 1 peeled in 7 long strips, the other grated, to get 1 tsp, then both juiced, to get 1 tbsp
80 g caster sugar
2 large firm peaches, stoned and cut into 0.5 cm-thick slice( 300 g net weight)
2 large sprigs rosemary, plus tbsp picked leaves
150 g creme fraiche
Plain flour, for dusting
200 g all-butter puff pastry
10 g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm pieces
1 egg, beaten
tsp cornflour

Heat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ gas mark 4.

Mix the lime juice with 60 g sugar in a large bowl, add the peaches, strips of lime scalp and rosemary sprigs. Stir and set aside to macerate for at the least 40 minutes, and up to a couple of hours. Strain the peaches through a sieve set over a small saucepan, and discard the rosemary and lime peel: you should end up with about 60 ml peach syrup.

Mix the grated zest and a teaspoon of sugar into the creme fraiche and refrigerate until ready to serve.

On a lightly floured run surface, roll out the pastry into a 26 cm-wide circle just under 0.5 cm thick, then transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

Arrange the strained peaches haphazardly in the middle of the pastry, leaving a clear 6cm perimeter all around the edge, then fold this outer 6cm rim up and over the peaches. Dot the butter over the exposed peaches, then brush the pastry all over with beaten egg. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar evenly over the pastry and bake for 20 minutes, until its golden and the fill is beginning to bubble.

While the galette is baking, whisk the cornflour into the reserved peach syrup. Simmer over a medium-high heat until it thickens to the consistency of honey( about two minutes ), then pour over the peaches. Sprinkle the rosemary leaves on top and return the galette to the oven for 15 minutes, until the pastry is golden-brown and the fill bubbling.

Leave to cool slightly, then serve with a bowl of the lime creme fraiche on the side.

Peach and rosemary shrub

Shrubs( basically, sharp, sweet syrups) are traditionally used to flavour soft drink and cocktails. Theyre also great drizzled over desserts. In making this shrub, youre left with the bonus of 400g cooked peach pulp, which is delicious over yoghurt and granola( find next recipe) or ice-cream. Makes 600 ml.

1kg very ripe yellow peaches, stoned and approximately chopped
3 sprigs rosemary
120 ml apple cider vinegar
150 g caster sugar

Put everything into a large saucepan on a medium-high hot, and cook at a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has broken down and is the consistency of a thick compote.

Line a large sieve with muslin, then set it over a large bowl or container( make sure the sieve does not touch the bottom of the container, so the liquid can drain through ). Tip the peach mix into the lined sieves and leave to drain for one to two hours, until all the liquid has strained through. Discard the rosemary.

Store the shrub and the strained fruit in separate airtight receptacles in the fridge: the shrub will maintain for up to a month, the fruit for a week.

Strained peaches with granola and yoghurt

This is a great breakfast, but by all means convert it into a pudding by swapping the yoghurt for whipped cream or ice-cream. Serves four.

600 g Greek-style yoghurt
350 g-4 00 g strained peaches from attaining the shrub( assure previous recipe )
100 g granola
60 ml peach and rosemary shrub( ensure previous recipe )
4 tsp honey
tsp Chinese five-spice
1 tsp roughly chopped rosemary foliages

Divide the yoghurt, strained peaches and granola between four serving bowl, dishing it up so that you can see each element. Pour the shrub over the strained peaches, then drizzle honey evenly over everything. Finish with a sprinkling each of five-spice and rosemary.

Peach and rosemary bellini

My ideal summer drink. Makes four.

120 ml peach and rosemary shrub( insure previous recipe )
Finely shaved scalp of 1 lemon (8 strips )
4 small rosemary sprigs
About 400 ml prosecco

Pour the shrub into the bottom of four champagne glasses. Add two strips of lemon peel and a rosemary sprig to each glass, top with prosecco and enjoy.

Grilled peaches and athlete beans with goats cheese

Yotam
Yotam Ottolenghis grilled peaches and athlete beans with goats cheese. Photo: Louise Hagger for the Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay, assisted by Agathe Gits

This is an unusual, and delectable, combination. Serves four as a starter.

400 g runner beans, stringy edges removed and cut on an slant into 8cm-long pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
Flaked sea salt and black pepper
2 firm peaches, stoned and cut into 0.5 cm-thick slices
5g mint foliages, roughly torn
tbsp lemon juice
80 g young, soft goats cheese, approximately broken into 4cm pieces
20 g roasted salted almonds, chopped
tbsp honey

Toss the beans in two tablespoons of oil and a half-teaspoon of salt. Heat up a barbecue or a ridged griddle pan on high hot, and cook the beans for three to four minutes on each side, until they get clear grill marks all over and are nearly cooked. Transfer to a bowl and covering with a plate for five to 10 minutes; the residual heat will softened the beans, so leave on their covering depending on how crunchy you like them.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the peach slicings and grill for one to two minutes a side, until they take on visible char marks.

Add the peaches and the mint to the bean bowl, then transfer to a platter and season with the lemon juice, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Dot the cheese and almonds around the plate and finish with a drizzle of honey.

Yotam Ottolenghi is chef/ patron of Ottolenghi and Nopi in London.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Anna Jones’s homemade ricotta recipe and three things to cook with it | The modern cook

Its easy to make your own ricotta from scratch. Its ideal for a gentle herb and citrus dip, as the main attraction on a tray of honey-baked figs, or stirred through a plate of spicy spaghetti with chard, garlic and herbs

There is so much to love about ricotta. First up, its clean, fresh cloud-like milkiness many of us think of it as a spring-time thing, but in fact, it works brilliantly as a much needed partner for the roots and roasts and punchier flavors well be feeing for the next few months. Next, its versatility in baking and desserts; to fill ravioli or spoon over warm veggies. Best of all, though, is that its made from something that would otherwise be wasted. The ricotta that you buy in the shops is a byproduct of the cheesemaking process. Whey that has been drained off the cheese curds is reheated to stimulate ricotta hence its Italian name, which entails recooked.

My recipe involves gently heating whole milk, then adding vinegar to promote little curds to form, which are then gathered and strained to form the softest and most gentle of the cheeses. Ive tried lemon juice, but vinegar somehow renders more ricotta. The quantity of vinegar is key, too little and the curds wont form properly; too much and the end result will taste like a chip store. Because this recipe is so simple there is nowhere to hide, so use the best milk that you can afford( the best ricotta Ive savor was induced in Italy use raw, unpasteurised milk, but thats not as widely available in the UK ).

Some recipes require a certain type of ricotta. The type you can buy in most supermarkets can be very soft, more mascarpone-like in texture than the firmer, strained ricotta I got used to working with when I cooked in Italy. Thats why I started constructing my own and Id urge you to try too its not as difficult as you might gues. If thats a step too far though, you can induce the recipes below with supermarket ricotta. If you do, then leave it in a sieve to drain excess liquid for a few hours, or ideally overnight, so its a little firmer. If youre luck enough to live near an Italian deli, most sell a good strained ricotta.

As well as a recipe for homemade ricotta, I have included three of my favourite simple ways to eat it. Aside from these almost any pasta would benefit from a little ricotta stirred through it, any flapjack or waffle will sit merrily next to a spoonful, and most fruits will team up well with a clean white helping drizzled with a little honey.

straining The type of ricotta available in most supermarkets can be very soft. Strained ricotta is firmer, and much closer to what is available in Italy. Photograph: Matt Russell for the Guardian

Homemade ricotta

How long you hang your ricotta for will be dependent on how you want to use it. To bake your ricotta whole or to use it to fill pasta you want something firm, so no moisture oozes out during cooking. For other recipes, such as the pasta or the whipped ricotta below, you could get away with a less firm texture, so hanging it for just a few hours would suffice.

Makes about 300 g
2 litres whole milk
A pinch of sea salt
40ml distilled white vinegar

1 Pour the milk into a large pan, add a pinch of sea salt and put over a medium hot. Allow the milk to heat up slowly, stirring from time to time.

2 When it is almost coming to the simmer when steam and small bubbles begin to appear on the surface( if you have a kitchen thermometer it should be 82 C-8 5C) remove from the hot, add the vinegar and stir gently. You will see curds starting to sort. Continue to stir for 1 minute or so.

3 Cover with a clean cloth and allow it to sit for a couple of hours. Once the ricotta has rested, line a colander with a large piece of damp muslin and put this over a larger bowl or pan.

4 Spoon the ricotta into the colander and allow it to drain for an hour or so, or overnight depending on your desired firmness( see note above ). To test whether the cheese is ready, gently lift the muslin up by the corners and twist lightly the liquid should be somewhat milky in colouring. The ricotta is now ready. Transfer to a container, seal and store in the refrigerator and use within 3 days.

Whipped herb and lemon ricotta

Quick and super-light, this combination of herbs and ricotta is ideal for dipping. I use baby veggies, but fingers of good toast or crackers would work too.

Serves 4
450g fresh ricotta
Salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed or grated
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp mint foliages, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus a good squeeze of lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

To serve
Baby carrots, beetroots and radishes, cut into sticks

1 Put your ricotta into a bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then beat it with a wooden spoonful until light and fluffy. You can do this with an electric mixer if you want it actually cloud-like.

2 Now stir in the garlic, herbs, zest and olive oil. Savor for balance and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, adding a squeeze of lemon juice and a bit more of whatever you think it needs.

3 Serve in the middle of the table with your selection of veg or toast for dipping.

4 Drizzle with some olive oil and serve.

Honey ricotta with baked figs

This is a faintly sweet take on ricotta that could be served as a dessert or a quick lunch, piled on top of toasted bread with some bitter foliages to counter the very slight sweetness.

Honey Any leftovers can be spread on warm toast the next day. Photograph: Matt Russell for the Guardian

Serves 4-6
250g ricotta
1 tbsp of runny honey
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1 orange, zested, juice reserved
6 figs
50g almonds

1 Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.

2 Turn the ricotta out of its packet on to the lined tray, then drizzle it with honey. Grate over the orange zest and scatter the vanilla seeds on top.

3 Halve the figs and arrange them around the ricotta. Squeeze over the juice of the orange and a little more honey then put into the oven to cook for 20 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, roughly chop the almonds. Scatter them over the baking tray and roasted for the last 5 minutes.

5 Serve straight from the oven in the middle of the table.

Spaghetti with chard, garlic, chilli and ricotta

One of the fastest pastas I know( the sauce is cooked in the time it takes for the pasta to turning al dente) and for my money one of the nicest.

Serves 4
400g spaghetti
Extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
12 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
400g chard, rinsed leaves shredded and stubbles finely sliced
Grated zest and juice of 1 large unwaxed lemon( plus an extra lemon for juice, if needed)
Salt and black pepper
150g of ricotta
Parmesan or pecorino( optional)

1 Put a large pan of simmering water on to boil and add a couple of generous pinches of salt. Once the water is at a rolling simmer, add your pasta and cook according to the packet instructions or until simply al dente.

2 Meanwhile, hot a good drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic, chilli and rosemary. Fry for a minute or so, until the garlic is starting to colouring, then add the chard stems and sizzle for 1-2 minutes. Add the leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 34 minutes, or until the leaves have wilted a little.

3 Drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of cooking water. Add a splash of the pasta water to the greens and mix well. Grate over the zest of the lemon and squeezing over the juice. Take off the heat and savour for seasoning. Crumble over the ricotta and stir it though. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and, if you like, a wispy grating of parmesan or pecorino.

Anna Jones is a chef, novelist and author of A Modern Way to Eatand
A Modern Way to Cook( Fourth Estate ); annajones.co.uk; @we_are_food

Yotam Ottolenghi’s peach recipes

There are few things as, er, peachy as a ripe peach( and even unripe ones have their utilizes)

I went to a party earlier the summer months and took a tray of ripe peaches instead of a bottle of wine. I would never have dreamed of taking a tray of, say, avocados or a bunch of bananas. Its not that those fruit are any less special; its simply that they dont have quite the same wow factor, that seducing, feed me now appear of a perfectly ripe peach.

The difference between peaches and avocados is all to do with the style the fruit ripen. Bananas and avocados( along with pears and tomatoes) are climacteric and often store their sugar in the form of starch. Once picked, a simple hydrocarbon gas called ethylene triggers the process that converts that starch back to sweetness. This constructs such fruit a logistical dreaming for those who grow and sell them: they can be picked unripe and shipped hard( so theyre not prone to bruising ), and ripened once the travel is done.( On a smaller scale, you can achieve a similar impact at home by putting an unripe fruit in a paper bag with a ripe one. The ripe fruit will emit ethylene, which helps ripen the unripe fruit .)

Peaches, on the other hand, are not such a peachy logistical dreaming. Along with other non-climacteric fruit such as pineapple, citrus, most berries and melons, they dont store starch, so they dont go through the same process of converting it into sugar. Theyll continue to soften once picked, sure, and also develop an odor, but their sweetness wont develop any more post-picking.( The cold temperature at which they are stored when shipped and stocked, to prolong shelf life, also entails the flesh often turns very mealy .)

Thats why I consider a tray of ripe peaches as something of a gift: feeing them right there and then, and hitting that sweet place, really is worthy of a gala. Its also why I reserve firmer fruit for cakes and tarts; overripe ones go into jams, compotes or todays shrub. Hard peaches may absence some natural sweetness, true, but you can draw that out depending on how you cook them. They also have the advantage of being robust enough to hold their shape: chargrill wedges and pair with slice of salty tinge or pork belly, spoonfuls of creamy cheese or a hard herb such as rosemary.

Peach, rosemary and lime galette

This constructs good utilize of firm , not-so-ripe peaches. By macerating them in sugar and lime juice, you not only soften the fruit, but you also make a beautiful syrup to pour over the dish at the end. Rosemary, which Ive utilized both in this dish and in the shrub, is a fantastic match for peach. Its a combining I discovered only recently, and now I cant get enough of it. Serves four generously.

2 limes 1 peeled in 7 long strips, the other grated, to get 1 tsp, then both juiced, to get 1 tbsp
80 g caster sugar
2 large firm peaches, stoned and cut into 0.5 cm-thick slices( 300 g net weight)
2 large sprigs rosemary, plus tbsp picked leaves
150 g creme fraiche
Plain flour, for dusting
200 g all-butter puffed pastry
10 g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm pieces
1 egg, beaten
tsp cornflour

Heat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ gas mark 4.

Mix the lime juice with 60 g sugar in a large bowl, add the peaches, strips of lime scalp and rosemary sprigs. Stir and set aside to macerate for at least 40 minutes, and up to a couple of hours. Strain the peaches through a sieve defined over a small saucepan, and discard the rosemary and lime peel: you should end up with about 60 ml peach syrup.

Mix the grated zest and a teaspoon of sugar into the creme fraiche and refrigerate until ready to serve.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry into a 26 cm-wide circle merely under 0.5 inches thick, then transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

Arrange the strained peaches haphazardly in the middle of the pastry, leaving a clear 6cm perimeter all around the edge, then fold this outer 6cm rim up and over the peaches. Dot the butter over the exposed peaches, then brush the pastry all over with beaten egg. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar evenly over the pastry and bake for 20 minutes, until its golden and the filling is beginning to bubble.

While the galette is baking, whisk the cornflour into the reserved peach syrup. Simmer over a medium-high heat until it thickens to the consistency of honey( about two minutes ), then pour over the peaches. Sprinkle the rosemary foliages on top and return the galette to the oven for 15 minutes, until the pastry is golden-brown and the fill bubbling.

Leave to cool somewhat, then serve with a bowl of the lime creme fraiche on the side.

Peach and rosemary shrub

Shrubs( basically, sharp, sweet syrups) are traditionally used to flavour soft drink and cocktails. Theyre also great drizzled over desserts. In making this shrub, youre left with the bonus of 400g cooked peach pulp, which is delicious over yoghurt and granola( assure next recipe) or ice-cream. Makes 600 ml.

1kg very ripe yellow peaches, stoned and roughly chopped
3 sprigs rosemary
120 ml apple cider vinegar
150 g caster sugar

Put everything into a large saucepan on a medium-high heat, and cook at a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has broken down and is the consistency of a thick compote.

Line a large sieve with muslin, then set it over a large bowl or receptacle( make sure the sieve does not touch the bottom of the receptacle, so the liquid can drain through ). Tip the peach mix into the lined sieve and leave to drain for one to two hours, until all the liquid has strained through. Discard the rosemary.

Store the shrub and the strained fruit in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator: the shrub will maintain for up to a month, the fruit for a week.

Strained peaches with granola and yoghurt

This is a great breakfast, but by all means convert it into a dessert by swapping the yoghurt for whipped cream or ice-cream. Serves four.

600 g Greek-style yoghurt
350 g-4 00 g strained peaches from building the shrub( insure previous recipe )
100 g granola
60 ml peach and rosemary shrub( see previous recipe )
4 tsp honey
tsp Chinese five-spice
1 tsp approximately chopped rosemary leaves

Divide the yoghurt, strained peaches and granola between four serving bowls, dishing it up so that you can see each element. Pour the shrub over the strained peaches, then drizzle honey evenly over everything. Finish with a sprinkling each of five-spice and rosemary.

Peach and rosemary bellini

My ideal summer drink. Makes four.

120 ml peach and rosemary shrub( consider previous recipe )
Finely shaved skin of 1 lemon (8 strips )
4 small rosemary sprigs
About 400 ml prosecco

Pour the shrub into the bottom of four champagne glass. Add two strips of lemon peel and a rosemary sprig to each glass, top with prosecco and enjoy.

Grilled peaches and runner beans with goats cheese

Yotam
Yotam Ottolenghis grilled peaches and athlete beans with goats cheese. Photo: Louise Hagger for the Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay, assisted by Agathe Gits

This is an unusual, and delectable, combining. Serves four as a starter.

400 g athlete beans, stringy edges removed and cut on an slant into 8cm-long pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
Flaked ocean salt and black pepper
2 firm peaches, stoned and cut into 0.5 cm-thick slices
5g mint foliages, roughly torn
tbsp lemon juice
80 g young, soft goats cheese, approximately broken into 4cm pieces
20 g roasted salted almonds, chopped
tbsp honey

Toss the beans in two tablespoons of petroleum and a half-teaspoon of salt. Heat up a barbecue or a ridged griddle pan on high heat, and cook the beans for three to four minutes on each side, until they get clear grill marks all over and are virtually cooked. Transfer to a bowl and encompas with a plate for five to 10 minutes; the residual heat will softened the beans, so leave on their cover-up depending on how crunchy you like them.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the peach slices and grill for one to two minutes a side, until they take on visible char marks.

Add the peaches and the mint to the bean bowl, then transfer to a platter and season with the lemon juice, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Dot the cheese and almonds around the plate and finish with a drizzle of honey.

Yotam Ottolenghi is chef/ patron of Ottolenghi and Nopi in London.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Yotam Ottolenghi’s peach recipes

There are few things as, er, peachy as a ripe peach( and even unripe ones have their uses)

I went to a party earlier the summer months and took a tray of ripe peaches instead of a bottle of wine. I would never have dreamed of taking a tray of, say, avocados or a bunch of bananas. Its not that those fruit are any less special; its simply that they dont have quite the same wow factor, that seducing, eat me now seem of a perfectly ripe peach.

The difference between peaches and avocados is all to do with the style the fruit ripen. Bananas and avocados( along with pears and tomatoes) are climacteric and often store their sugar in the form of starch. Once picked, a simple hydrocarbon gas called ethylene triggers the process that converts that starch back to sweetness. This constructs such fruit a logistical dream for those who grow and sell them: they can be picked unripe and shipped hard( so theyre not prone to bruising ), and ripened once the travel is done.( On a smaller scale, you can achieve a similar impact at home by putting an unripe fruit in a paper bag with a ripe one. The ripe fruit will emit ethylene, which helps ripen the unripe fruit .)

Peaches, on the other hand, are not such a peachy logistical dreaming. Along with other non-climacteric fruit such as pineapple, citrus, most berries and melons, they dont store starch, so they dont go across the same process of converting it into sugar. Theyll continue to soften once picked, sure, and also develop an odor, but their sweetness wont develop any more post-picking.( The cold temperature at which the objective is stored when shipped and stocked, to prolong shelf life, also means the flesh often turns very mealy .)

Thats why I consider a tray of ripe peaches as something of a gift: eating them right there and then, and reaching that sweet place, really is worthy of a celebration. Its also why I reserve firmer fruit for cakes and tarts; overripe ones go into jams, compotes or todays shrub. Hard peaches may absence some natural sweetness, true, but you can describe that out depending on how you cook them. They also have the advantage of being robust enough to hold their shape: chargrill wedges and pair with slices of salty tinge or pork belly, spoonfuls of creamy cheese or a hard herb such as rosemary.

Peach, rosemary and lime galette

This attains good use of firm , not-so-ripe peaches. By macerating them in sugar and lime juice, you not only soften the fruit, but you also make a beautiful syrup to pour over the dish at the end. Rosemary, which Ive employed both in this dish and in the shrub, is a fantastic match for peach. Its a combining I detected most recently, and now I cant get enough of it. Serves four generously.

2 limes 1 peeled in 7 long strips, the other grated, to get 1 tsp, then both juiced, to get 1 tbsp
80 g caster sugar
2 large firm peaches, stoned and cut into 0.5 cm-thick slicings( 300 g net weight)
2 large sprigs rosemary, plus tbsp picked leaves
150 g creme fraiche
Plain flour, for dusting
200 g all-butter whiff pastry
10 g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm pieces
1 egg, beaten
tsp cornflour

Heat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ gas mark 4.

Mix the lime juice with 60 g sugar in a large bowl, add the peaches, strips of lime scalp and rosemary sprigs. Stir and set aside to macerate for at least 40 minutes, and up to a couple of hours. Strain the peaches through a sieve defined over a small saucepan, and discard the rosemary and lime peel: you should end up with about 60 ml peach syrup.

Mix the grated zest and a teaspoon of sugar into the creme fraiche and refrigerate until ready to serve.

On a gently floured work surface, roll out the pastry into a 26 cm-wide circle merely under 0.5 cm thick, then transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

Arrange the strained peaches haphazardly in the middle of the pastry, leaving a clear 6cm perimeter all around the edge, then fold this outer 6cm rim up and over the peaches. Dot the butter over the exposed peaches, then brush the pastry all over with beaten egg. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar evenly over the pastry and cook for 20 minutes, until its golden and the filling is beginning to bubble.

While the galette is cooking, whisk the cornflour into the reserved peach syrup. Simmer over a medium-high hot until it thickens to the consistency of honey( about two minutes ), then pour over the peaches. Sprinkle the rosemary leaves on top and return the galette to the oven for 15 minutes, until the pastry is golden-brown and the fill bubbling.

Leave to cool slightly, then serve with a bowl of the lime creme fraiche on the side.

Peach and rosemary shrub

Shrubs( basically, sharp, sweet syrups) are traditionally are applied to flavour soft drink and cocktails. Theyre also great drizzled over desserts. In making this shrub, youre left with the bonus of 400g cooked peach pulp, which is delicious over yoghurt and granola( assure next recipe) or ice-cream. Makes 600 ml.

1kg very ripe yellow peaches, stoned and approximately chopped
3 sprigs rosemary
120 ml apple cider vinegar
150 g caster sugar

Put everything into a large saucepan on a medium-high heat, and cook at a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has broken down and is the consistency of a thick compote.

Line a large sieve with muslin, then set it over a large bowl or receptacle( make sure the sieve does not touch the bottom of the container, so the liquid can drain through ). Tip the peach mix into the lined sieve and leave to drain for one to two hours, until all the liquid has strained through. Discard the rosemary.

Store the shrub and the strained fruit in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator: the shrub will maintain for up to a month, the fruit for a week.

Strained peaches with granola and yoghurt

This is a great breakfast, but by all means convert it into a dessert by swapping the yoghurt for whipped cream or ice-cream. Serves four.

600 g Greek-style yoghurt
350 g-4 00 g strained peaches from stimulating the shrub( ensure previous recipe )
100 g granola
60 ml peach and rosemary shrub( ensure previous recipe )
4 tsp honey
tsp Chinese five-spice
1 tsp approximately chopped rosemary foliages

Divide the yoghurt, strained peaches and granola between four serving bowls, dishing it up so that you can see each element. Pour the shrub over the strained peaches, then drizzle honey evenly over everything. Finish with a sprinkling each of five-spice and rosemary.

Peach and rosemary bellini

My ideal summer drink. Makes four.

120 ml peach and rosemary shrub( consider previous recipe )
Finely shaved skin of 1 lemon (8 strips )
4 small rosemary sprigs
About 400 ml prosecco

Pour the shrub into the bottom of four champagne glass. Add two strips of lemon peel and a rosemary sprig to each glass, top with prosecco and enjoy.

Grilled peaches and athlete beans with goats cheese

Yotam
Yotam Ottolenghis grilled peaches and runner beans with goats cheese. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay, assisted by Agathe Gits

This is an unusual, and delectable, combination. Serves four as a starter.

400 g athlete beans, stringy edges removed and cut on an angle into 8cm-long pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
Flaked sea salt and black pepper
2 firm peaches, stoned and cut into 0.5 cm-thick slices
5g mint leaves, approximately torn
tbsp lemon juice
80 g young, soft goats cheese, roughly broken into 4cm pieces
20 g roasted salted almonds, chopped
tbsp honey

Toss the beans in two tablespoons of oil and a half-teaspoon of salt. Heat up a barbecue or a ridged griddle pan on high hot, and cook the beans for three to four minutes on each side, until they get clear grill marks all over and are nearly cooked. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a plate for five to 10 minutes; the residual heat will soften the beans, so leave on their covering depending on how crunchy you like them.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of petroleum over the peach slices and grill for one to two minutes a side, until they take on visible char marks.

Add the peaches and the mint to the bean bowl, then transfer to a platter and season with the lemon juice, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Dot the cheese and almonds around the plate and finish with a drizzle of honey.

Yotam Ottolenghi is chef/ patron of Ottolenghi and Nopi in London.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

M& S drops cauliflower ‘steak’ amid ridicule from customers

Costing double the price of a whole vegetable and shrouded in layers of plastic, clean feeing product fails to make the cut

Marks& Spencer has withdrawn its” cauliflower steak” product from sale after it was ridiculed by customers for its “excessive” plastic packaging and inflated price.

The sliced cauliflower, which comes in plastic packaging with a separate sachet of lemon and herb drizzle, was being sold for twice the price of a whole, single cauliflower at the supermarket chain.

The product had come under fire on social media, with critics describing it as “wasteful” and “ridiculous” and complaining about the volume of packaging used as well as the inflated price. Whole, untrimmed cauliflowers are sold at M& S for PS1- typically for even less at other supermarkets- while the single-slice “steak” version cost shoppers PS2.

Confirming its decision to stop selling the item, a spokesperson for M& S said:” Once we’ve sold the stock that is currently in stores, we won’t be ordering any more of this product. We work hard to create rapid and convenient dinners for customers; however, on this occasion we didn’t get it right. We have launched many other vegetarian dishes that are already demonstrating popular with customers .”

The product was part of the store’s new “Veggie” scope, and was first spotted on Twitter by Rachel Clarke @rachclarke27, who triggered a lengthy thread after tweeting:

Another( Kathryn @ katie2 779) said:” People who buy this must have more fund than sense! What a wasteful item. The quantity of plastic and processing involved in this is ridiculous. Like you say, buy a cauliflower, rinse it and cut( and use all of it ).”

Rival Sainsbury’s also sells a similar product– a pack of two” cauliflower steaks in a herb and spice marinade” for PS1. 80, which is still on its shelves.
Trewin Restorick, chief executive of environmental charity Hubbub, said:” The public is increasingly concerned about the impact plastic packaging has on the environment, and social media gives them a chance to voice their concerns directly to companies. The too packaged, too priced cauliflower steak shows what happens when companies don’t get things right and hopefully it will lead to more environmentally sensible solutions in the future .”

With so-called ” Veganuary” under way and shoppers opting to reduce or cut out meat consumption in favour of ” clean feeing “ selections, supermarkets have been pulling out the stops to offer clients a range of ready-prepared spiralised vegetables- and even “mince” made of pulverised mushrooms and cauliflower and beetroot “rice”- to help them get back into shape after the festive season blowout. But this year has assured a backlash from shoppers complaining on social media about excessive packaging.

The U-turn from M& S arrives as the governmental forces prepares to announce a crackdown on excessive packaging and plastics on Thursday. A Defra spokesperson told:” Everyone has a role to play in tackling the scourge of plastics trash, and industries need to make sure their packaging does not exceed what is required to make sure that the products are safe, hygienic and acceptable for both the product and for the consumer.”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Anna Jones’s homemade ricotta recipe and three things to cook with it | The modern cook

Its easy to induce your own ricotta from scratch. Its ideal for a gentle herb and citrus dip, as the main attraction on a tray of honey-baked figs, or stirred through a plate of spicy spaghetti with chard, garlic and herbs

There is so much to love about ricotta. First up, its clean, fresh cloud-like milkiness many of us think of it as a spring-time thing, but in fact, it works brilliantly as a much needed partner for the roots and roasteds and punchier flavours well be feeing for the next few months. Next, its versatility in baking and desserts; to fill ravioli or spoon over warm vegetables. Best of all, though, is that its made from something that would otherwise be wasted. The ricotta that you buy in the shops is a byproduct of the cheesemaking process. Whey that has been drained off the cheese curds is reheated to make ricotta hence its Italian name, which means recooked.

My recipe involves gently heating whole milk, then adding vinegar to foster little curds to form, which are then gathered and strained to form the softest and most gentle of the cheeses. Ive tried lemon juice, but vinegar somehow creates more ricotta. The quantity of vinegar is key, too little and the curds wont form properly; too much and the end result will savor like a chip shop. Because this recipe is so simple there is nowhere to hide, so use the best milk that you can afford( the best ricotta Ive tasted was attained in Italy using raw, unpasteurised milk, but thats not as widely available in the UK ).

Some recipes require a certain type of ricotta. The form you can buy in most supermarkets can be very soft, more mascarpone-like in texture than the firmer, strained ricotta I got used to working with when I cooked in Italy. Thats why I started attaining my own and Id urge you to try too its not as difficult as you might suppose. If thats a step too far though, you can attain the recipes below with supermarket ricotta. If you do, then leave it in a sieve to drain excess liquid for a few hours, or ideally overnight, so its a little firmer. If youre lucky enough to live near an Italian deli, most sell a good strained ricotta.

As well as a recipe for homemade ricotta, I have included three of my favourite simple ways to eat it. Aside from these almost any pasta would benefit from a little ricotta stirred through it, any flapjack or waffle will sit blithely next to a spoonful, and most fruits will team up well with a clean white helping drizzled with a little honey.

straining The type of ricotta available in most supermarkets can be very soft. Strained ricotta is firmer, and much closer to what is available in Italy. Photo: Matt Russell for the Guardian

Homemade ricotta

How long you hang your ricotta for will depend on how you want to use it. To cook your ricotta whole or to use it to fill pasta you want something firm, so no moisture seeps out during cooking. For other recipes, such as the pasta or the whipped ricotta below, you could get away with a less firm texture, so hanging it for just a few hours would suffice.

Makes about 300 g
2 litres whole milk
A pinch of ocean salt
40ml distilled white vinegar

1 Pour the milk into a large pan, add a pinch of sea salt and put over a medium heat. Let the milk to heat up slowly, stirring from time to time.

2 When it is almost coming to the boil when steam and small bubbles begin to appear on the surface( if you have a kitchen thermometer it should be 82 C-8 5C) remove from the heat, add the vinegar and stir gently. You will see curds starting to form. Continue to stir for 1 minute or so.

3 Cover with a clean cloth and allow it to sit for a couple of hours. Once the ricotta has rested, line a colander with a large piece of damp muslin and set this over a larger bowl or pan.

4 Spoon the ricotta into the colander and allow it to drain for an hour or so, or overnight depending on your desired firmness( see note above ). To test whether the cheese is ready, gently lift the muslin up by the corners and twist lightly the liquid should be slightly milky in colouring. The ricotta is now ready. Transfer to a receptacle, seal and store in the fridge and use within 3 days.

Whipped herb and lemon ricotta

Quick and super-light, this mix of herbs and ricotta is ideal for dipping. I use baby vegetables, but thumbs of good toast or crackers would work too.

Serves 4
450g fresh ricotta
Salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed or grated
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus a good squeezing of lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

To serve
Baby carrots, beetroots and radishes, cut into sticks

1 Put your ricotta into a bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then beat it with a wooden spoonful until light and fluffy. You can do this with an electric mixer if you want it genuinely cloud-like.

2 Now stir in the garlic, herbs, zest and olive oil. Taste for balance and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, adding a squeeze of lemon juice and a little more of whatever you think it needs.

3 Serve in the middle of the table with your selection of veg or toast for dipping.

4 Drizzle with some olive oil and serve.

Honey ricotta with baked figs

This is a faintly sweet take on ricotta that could be served as a dessert or a quick lunch, piled on top of toasted bread with some bitter leaves to counter the very slight sweetness.

Honey Any leftovers can be spread on warm toast the next day. Photograph: Matt Russell for the Guardian

Serves 4-6
250g ricotta
1 tbsp of runny honey
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1 orange, zested, juice reserved
6 figs
50g almonds

1 Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.

2 Turn the ricotta out of its packet on to the lined tray, then drizzle it with honey. Grate over the orange zest and scatter the vanilla seeds on top.

3 Halve the figs and arrange them around the ricotta. Squeeze over the juice of the orange and a little more honey then put into the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, approximately chop the almonds. Scatter them over the baking tray and roast for the last five minutes.

5 Serve straight from the oven in the middle of the table.

Spaghetti with chard, garlic, chilli and ricotta

One of the fastest pastas I know( the sauce is cooked in the time it takes for the pasta to turning al dente) and for my money one of the nicest.

Serves 4
400g spaghetti
Extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
12 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
400g chard, rinsed foliages shredded and stubbles finely sliced
Grated zest and juice of 1 large unwaxed lemon( plus an extra lemon for juice, if needed)
Salt and black pepper
150g of ricotta
Parmesan or pecorino( optional)

1 Put a large pan of boiling water on to boil and add a couple of generous pinches of salt. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add your pasta and cook according to the packet instructions or until merely al dente.

2 Meanwhile, hot a good drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic, chilli and rosemary. Fry for a minute or so, until the garlic is starting to colour, then add the chard stalks and sizzle for 1-2 minutes. Add the leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 34 minutes, or until the foliages have wilted a little.

3 Drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of cooking water. Add a splashing of the pasta water to the greens and mixture well. Grate over the zest of the lemon and squeeze over the juice. Take off the heat and taste for seasoning. Crumble over the ricotta and stir it though. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and, if you like, a wispy grating of parmesan or pecorino.

Anna Jones is a chef, novelist and writer of A Modern Way to Eatand
A Modern Way to Cook( Fourth Estate ); annajones.co.uk; @we_are_food

Anna Jones’s homemade ricotta recipe and three things to cook with it | The modern cook

Its easy to make your own ricotta from scratch. Its ideal for a gentle herb and citrus dip, as the main attraction on a tray of honey-baked figs, or stirred through a plate of spicy spaghetti with chard, garlic and herbs

There is so much to love about ricotta. First up, its clean, fresh cloud-like milkiness many of us think of it as a spring-time thing, but in fact, it works brilliantly as a very much partner for the roots and roasteds and punchier flavours well be feeing for the next few months. Next, its versatility in baking and desserts; to fill ravioli or spoon over warm vegetables. Best of all, though, is that its made from something that would otherwise be wasted. The ricotta that you buy in the shops is a byproduct of the cheesemaking process. Whey that has been drained off the cheese curds is reheated to induce ricotta hence its Italian name, which means recooked.

My recipe involves gently heating whole milk, then adding vinegar to foster little curds to form, which are then gathered and strained to form the softest and most gentle of the cheeses. Ive tried lemon juice, but vinegar somehow makes more ricotta. The sum of vinegar is key, too little and the curds wont form properly; too much and the end result will savour like a chip store. Because this recipe is so simple there is nowhere to hide, so use the best milk that you can afford( the best ricotta Ive tasted was induced in Italy employing raw, unpasteurised milk, but thats not as widely available in the UK ).

Some recipes need a certain type of ricotta. The kind you can buy in most supermarkets can be very soft, more mascarpone-like in texture than the firmer, strained ricotta I got used to working with when I cooked in Italy. Thats why I started inducing my own and Id urge you to try too its not as difficult as you might suppose. If thats a step too far though, you can make the recipes below with supermarket ricotta. If you do, then leave it in a sieve to drain excess liquid for a few hours, or ideally overnight, so its a little firmer. If youre luck enough to live near an Italian deli, most sell a good strained ricotta.

As well as a recipe for homemade ricotta, I have included three of my favourite simple ways to eat it. Aside from these almost any pasta would benefit from a little ricotta stirred through it, any pancake or waffle will sit blithely next to a spoonful, and most fruit will team up well with a clean white helping drizzled with a little honey.

straining The type of ricotta available in most supermarkets can be very soft. Strained ricotta is firmer, and much closer to what is available in Italy. Photo: Matt Russell for the Guardian

Homemade ricotta

How long you hang your ricotta for will depend on how you want to use it. To bake your ricotta whole or to use it to fill pasta you want something firm, so no moisture oozes out during cooking. For other recipes, such as the pasta or the whipped ricotta below, you could get away with a less firm texture, so hanging it for just a few hours would suffice.

Makes about 300 g
2 litres whole milk
A pinch of sea salt
40ml distilled white vinegar

1 Pour the milk into a large pan, add a pinch of sea salt and put over a medium hot. Let the milk to heat up slowly, stirring from time to time.

2 When it is almost coming to the simmer when steam and small bubbles begin to appear on the surface( if you have a kitchen thermometer it should be 82 C-8 5C) remove from the hot, add the vinegar and stir gently. You will see curds starting to sort. Continue to stir for 1 minute or so.

3 Cover with a clean cloth and allow it to sit for a couple of hours. Once the ricotta has rested, line a colander with a large piece of damp muslin and put this over a larger bowl or pan.

4 Spoon the ricotta into the colander and allow it to drain for an hour or so, or overnight depending on your desired firmness( see note above ). To test whether the cheese is ready, gently lift the muslin up by the corners and twist lightly the liquid should be somewhat milky in colour. The ricotta is now ready. Transfer to a container, seal and store in the fridge and use within 3 days.

Whipped herb and lemon ricotta

Quick and super-light, this combination of herbs and ricotta is ideal for dipping. I use baby veggies, but thumbs of good toast or crackers would work too.

Serves 4
450g fresh ricotta
Salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed or grated
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus a good squeeze of lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

To serve
Baby carrots, beetroots and radishes, cut into sticks

1 Put your ricotta into a bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then beat it with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. You can do this with an electric mixer if you want it really cloud-like.

2 Now stir in the garlic, herbs, zest and olive oil. Savor for balance and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, adding a squeezing of lemon juice and a bit more of whatever you think it needs.

3 Serve in the middle of the table with your option of veg or toast for dipping.

4 Drizzle with some olive oil and serve.

Honey ricotta with baked figs

This is a faintly sweet take on ricotta that could be served as a dessert or a quick lunch, piled on top of toasted bread with some bitter foliages to counter the very slight sweetness.

Honey Any leftovers can be spread on warm toast the next day. Photograph: Matt Russell for the Guardian

Serves 4-6
250g ricotta
1 tbsp of runny honey
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1 orange, zested, juice reserved
6 figs
50g almonds

1 Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.

2 Turn the ricotta out of its packet on to the lined tray, then drizzle it with honey. Grate over the orange zest and scatter the vanilla seeds on top.

3 Halve the figs and arrange them around the ricotta. Squeezing over the juice of the orange and a little more honey then put into the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, roughly chop the almonds. Scatter them over the baking tray and roast for the last five minutes.

5 Serve straight from the oven in the middle of the table.

Spaghetti with chard, garlic, chilli and ricotta

One of the most wonderful pastas I know( the sauce is cooked in the time it takes for the pasta to turning al dente) and for my money one of the nicest.

Serves 4
400g spaghetti
Extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
12 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
400g chard, rinsed leaves shredded and stalks finely sliced
Grated zest and juice of 1 large unwaxed lemon( plus an extra lemon for juice, if needed)
Salt and black pepper
150g of ricotta
Parmesan or pecorino( optional)

1 Put a large pan of boiling water on to boil and add a couple of generous pinches of salt. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add your pasta and cook according to the packet instructions or until only al dente.

2 Meanwhile, heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic, chilli and rosemary. Fry for a minute or so, until the garlic is starting to colour, then add the chard stalks and sizzle for 1-2 minutes. Add the leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 34 minutes, or until the leaves have wilted a little.

3 Drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of cooking water. Add a splash of the pasta water to the greens and mixture well. Grate over the zest of the lemon and squeeze over the juice. Take off the heat and taste for seasoning. Crumble over the ricotta and stir it though. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and, if you like, a wispy grating of parmesan or pecorino.

Anna Jones is a chef, novelist and author of A Modern Way to Eatand
A Modern Way to Cook( Fourth Estate ); annajones.co.uk; @we_are_food

Anna Jones’s homemade ricotta recipe and three things to cook with it | The modern cook

Its easy to build your own ricotta from scratch. Its ideal for a gentle herb and citrus dip, as the main attraction on a tray of honey-baked figs, or stirred through a plate of spicy spaghetti with chard, garlic and herbs

There is so much to love about ricotta. First up, its clean, fresh cloud-like milkiness many of us think of it as a spring-time thing, but in fact, it runs brilliantly as a much needed partner for the roots and roasts and punchier flavours well be feeing for the next few months. Next, its versatility in baking and desserts; to fill ravioli or spoon over warm vegetables. Best of all, though, is that its made from something that would otherwise be wasted. The ricotta that you buy in the shops is a byproduct of the cheesemaking process. Whey that has been drained off the cheese curds is reheated to induce ricotta hence its Italian name, which means recooked.

My recipe involves gently heating whole milk, then adding vinegar to encourage little curds to form, which are then gathered and strained to form the softest and most gentle of the cheeses. Ive tried lemon juice, but vinegar somehow creates more ricotta. The sum of vinegar is key, too little and the curds wont form properly; too much and the end result will taste like a chip store. Because this recipe is so simple there is nowhere to hide, so use the best milk that you can afford( the best ricotta Ive tasted was stimulated in Italy employing raw, unpasteurised milk, but thats not as widely available in the UK ).

Some recipes need a certain type of ricotta. The type you can buy in most supermarkets can be very soft, more mascarpone-like in texture than the firmer, strained ricotta I got used to working with when I cooked in Italy. Thats why I started building my own and Id urge you to try too its not as difficult as you might believe. If thats a step too far though, you can build the recipes below with supermarket ricotta. If you do, then leave it in a sieve to drain excess liquid for a few hours, or ideally overnight, so its a little firmer. If youre luck enough to live near an Italian deli, most sell a good strained ricotta.

As well as a recipe for homemade ricotta, I have included three of my favourite simple ways to eat it. Aside from these almost any pasta would benefit from a little ricotta stirred through it, any pancake or waffle will sit blithely next to a spoonful, and most fruit will team up well with a clean white helping drizzled with a little honey.

straining The type of ricotta available in most supermarkets can be very soft. Strained ricotta is firmer, and much closer to what is available in Italy. Photo: Matt Russell for the Guardian

Homemade ricotta

How long you hang your ricotta for will depend on how you want to use it. To cook your ricotta whole or to use it to fill pasta you want something firm, so no moisture seeps out during cooking. For other recipes, such as the pasta or the whipped ricotta below, you could get away with a less firm texture, so hanging it for just a few hours would suffice.

Makes about 300 g
2 litres whole milk
A pinch of ocean salt
40ml distilled white vinegar

1 Pour the milk into a large pan, add a pinch of sea salt and put over a medium heat. Allow the milk to heat up slowly, stirring from time to time.

2 When it is almost coming to the simmer when steam and small bubbles begin to appear on the surface( if you have a kitchen thermometer it was necessary to 82 C-8 5C) remove from the heat, add the vinegar and stir gently. You will see curds starting to sort. Continue to stir for 1 minute or so.

3 Cover with a clean cloth and allow it to sit for a couple of hours. Once the ricotta has rested, line a colander with a large piece of damp muslin and set this over a larger bowl or pan.

4 Spoon the ricotta into the colander and allow it to drain for an hour or so, or overnight depending on your desired firmness( see note above ). To test whether the cheese is ready, gently lift the muslin up by the corners and twisting lightly the liquid should be somewhat milky in colour. The ricotta is now ready. Transfer to a container, seal and store in the refrigerator and use within 3 days.

Whipped herb and lemon ricotta

Quick and super-light, this combination of herbs and ricotta is ideal for dipping. I use baby veggies, but fingers of good toast or crackers would work too.

Serves 4
450g fresh ricotta
Salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed or grated
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus a good squeezing of lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

To serve
Baby carrots, beetroots and radishes, cut into sticks

1 Put your ricotta into a bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then beat it with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. You can do this with an electric mixer if you want it actually cloud-like.

2 Now stir in the garlic, herbs, zest and olive oil. Savor for balance and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, adding a squeezing of lemon juice and a little more of whatever you think it needs.

3 Serve in the middle of the table with your option of veg or toast for dipping.

4 Drizzle with some olive oil and serve.

Honey ricotta with baked figs

This is a faintly sweet take on ricotta that could be served as a dessert or a quick lunch, piled on top of toasted bread with some bitter leaves to counter the very slight sweetness.

Honey Any leftovers can be spread on warm toast the next day. Photograph: Matt Russell for the Guardian

Serves 4-6
250g ricotta
1 tbsp of runny honey
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1 orange, zested, juice reserved
6 figs
50g almonds

1 Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.

2 Turn the ricotta out of its packet on to the lined tray, then drizzle it with honey. Grate over the orange zest and scatter the vanilla seeds on top.

3 Halve the figs and arrange them around the ricotta. Squeezing over the juice of the orange and a bit more honey then put into the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, approximately chop the almonds. Scatter them over the baking tray and roasted for the last five minutes.

5 Serve straight from the oven in the middle of the table.

Spaghetti with chard, garlic, chilli and ricotta

One of the most wonderful pastas I know( the sauce is cooked in the time it takes for the pasta to turn al dente) and for my fund one of the nicest.

Serves 4
400g spaghetti
Extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
12 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
400g chard, rinsed foliages shredded and stems finely sliced
Grated zest and juice of 1 big unwaxed lemon( plus an extra lemon for juice, if needed)
Salt and black pepper
150g of ricotta
Parmesan or pecorino( optional)

1 Put a large pan of boiling water on to simmer and add a couple of generous pinches of salt. Once the water is at a rolling simmer, add your pasta and cook in agreement with the packet instructions or until only al dente.

2 Meanwhile, hot a good drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic, chilli and rosemary. Fry for a minute or so, until the garlic is starting to colour, then add the chard husks and sizzle for 1-2 minutes. Add the foliages. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 34 minutes, or until the leaves have wilted a little.

3 Drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of cooking water. Add a splashing of the pasta water to the greens and mixture well. Grate over the zest of the lemon and squeeze over the juice. Take off the heat and savour for seasoning. Crumble over the ricotta and stir it though. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and, if you like, a wispy grating of parmesan or pecorino.

Anna Jones is a chef, novelist and author of A Modern Way to Eatand
A Modern Way to Cook( Fourth Estate ); annajones.co.uk; @we_are_food

Anna Jones’s homemade ricotta recipe and three things to cook with it | The modern cook

Its easy to induce your own ricotta from scratch. Its ideal for a gentle herb and citrus dip, as the main attraction on a tray of honey-baked figs, or stirred through a plate of spicy spaghetti with chard, garlic and herbs

There is so much to love about ricotta. First up, its clean, fresh cloud-like milkiness many of us think of it as a spring-time thing, but in fact, it works brilliantly as a much needed partner for the roots and roasts and punchier flavors well be eating for the next few months. Next, its versatility in baking and desserts; to fill ravioli or spoon over warm veggies. Best of all, though, is that its made from something that would otherwise be wasted. The ricotta that you buy in the shops is a byproduct of the cheesemaking process. Whey that has been drained off the cheese curds is reheated to build ricotta hence its Italian name, which entails recooked.

My recipe involves gently heating whole milk, then adding vinegar to promote little curds to form, which are then gathered and strained to form the softest and most gentle of the cheeses. Ive tried lemon juice, but vinegar somehow creates more ricotta. The quantity of vinegar is key, too little and the curds wont form properly; too much and the end outcome will savor like a chip store. Because this recipe is so simple there is nowhere to hide, so use the best milk that you can afford( the best ricotta Ive savor was attained in Italy employing raw, unpasteurised milk, but thats not as widely available in the UK ).

Some recipes require a certain type of ricotta. The type you can buy in most supermarkets can be very soft, more mascarpone-like in texture than the firmer, strained ricotta I got used to working with when I cooked in Italy. Thats why I started building my own and Id urge you to try too its not as difficult as you might believe. If thats a step too far though, you can induce the recipes below with supermarket ricotta. If you do, then leave it in a sieve to drain excess liquid for a few hours, or ideally overnight, so its a little firmer. If youre lucky enough to live near an Italian deli, most sell a good strained ricotta.

As well as a recipe for homemade ricotta, I have included three of my favourite simple ways to eat it. Aside from these almost any pasta would benefit from a little ricotta stirred through it, any flapjack or waffle will sit happily next to a spoonful, and most fruit will team up well with a clean white helping drizzled with a little honey.

straining The type of ricotta available in most supermarkets can be very soft. Strained ricotta is firmer, and much closer to what is available in Italy. Photo: Matt Russell for the Guardian

Homemade ricotta

How long you hang your ricotta for will depend on how you want to use it. To cook your ricotta whole or to use it to fill pasta you want something firm, so no moisture seeps out during cooking. For other recipes, such as the pasta or the whipped ricotta below, you could get away with a less firm texture, so hanging it for just a few hours would suffice.

Makes about 300 g
2 litres whole milk
A pinch of sea salt
40ml distilled white vinegar

1 Pour the milk into a large pan, add a pinch of ocean salt and put over a medium hot. Permit the milk to heat up slowly, stirring from time to time.

2 When it is almost coming to the boil when steam and small bubbles begin to appear on the surface( if you have a kitchen thermometer it should be 82 C-8 5C) remove from the hot, add the vinegar and stir gently. You will see curds starting to form. Continue to stir for 1 minute or so.

3 Cover with a clean cloth and allow it to sit for a couple of hours. Once the ricotta has rested, line a colander with a large piece of damp muslin and set this over a larger bowl or pan.

4 Spoon the ricotta into the colander and allow it to drain for an hour or so, or overnight depending on your desired firmness( see note above ). To test whether the cheese is ready, gently lift the muslin up by the corners and twisting softly the liquid should be somewhat milky in colour. The ricotta is now ready. Transfer to a receptacle, seal and store in the fridge and use within 3 days.

Whipped herb and lemon ricotta

Quick and super-light, this combination of herbs and ricotta is ideal for dipping. I use baby veggies, but fingers of good toast or crackers would work too.

Serves 4
450g fresh ricotta
Salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed or grated
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus a good squeeze of lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

To serve
Baby carrots, beetroots and radishes, cut into sticks

1 Put your ricotta into a bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then beat it with a wooden spoonful until light and fluffy. You can do this with an electric mixer if you want it really cloud-like.

2 Now stir in the garlic, herbs, zest and olive oil. Savour for balance and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, adding a squeezing of lemon juice and a bit more of whatever you think it needs.

3 Serve in the middle of the table with your choice of veg or toast for dipping.

4 Drizzle with some olive oil and serve.

Honey ricotta with baked figs

This is a faintly sweet take over ricotta that could be served as a dessert or a quick lunch, piled on top of toasted bread with some bitter leaves to counter the very slight sweetness.

Honey Any leftovers can be spread on warm toast the next day. Photograph: Matt Russell for the Guardian

Serves 4-6
250g ricotta
1 tbsp of runny honey
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1 orange, zested, juice reserved
6 figs
50g almonds

1 Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.

2 Turn the ricotta out of its packet on to the lined tray, then drizzle it with honey. Grate over the orange zest and scatter the vanilla seeds on top.

3 Halve the figs and arrange them around the ricotta. Squeezing over the juice of the orange and a little more honey then put into the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, approximately chop the almonds. Scatter them over the baking tray and roast for the last five minutes.

5 Serve straight from the oven in the middle of the table.

Spaghetti with chard, garlic, chilli and ricotta

One of the most wonderful pastas I know( the sauce is cooked in the time it takes for the pasta to turning al dente) and for my fund one of the nicest.

Serves 4
400g spaghetti
Extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
12 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
400g chard, rinsed leaves shredded and stalks finely sliced
Grated zest and juice of 1 large unwaxed lemon( plus an extra lemon for juice, if needed)
Salt and black pepper
150g of ricotta
Parmesan or pecorino( optional)

1 Put a large pan of boiling water on to boil and add a couple of generous pinches of salt. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add your pasta and cook in agreement with the packet instructions or until merely al dente.

2 Meanwhile, heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic, chilli and rosemary. Fry for a minute or so, until the garlic is starting to colouring, then add the chard stubbles and sizzle for 1-2 minutes. Add the foliages. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 34 minutes, or until the foliages have wilted a little.

3 Drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of cooking water. Add a splashing of the pasta water to the greens and mix well. Grate over the zest of the lemon and squeeze over the juice. Take off the hot and savor for seasoning. Crumble over the ricotta and stir it though. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and, if you like, a wispy grating of parmesan or pecorino.

Anna Jones is a chef, novelist and author of A Modern Way to Eatand
A Modern Way to Cook( Fourth Estate ); annajones.co.uk; @we_are_food

No backyard , no problem: how to grow your own veggies in an apartment

We are increasingly unplugged from the food we eat. What better way to fix that than to grow your own stash? Madeleine Somerville explains how

For the five years I expended as a youth worker, I spent my days playing pool and handing out condoms, functioning as an advocate and running a gardening program called Grow. Grow was designed to reconnect children with the process of planting, growing and harvesting organic fruits and vegetables.

While bribing teenage boys to care about organic horticulture was challenging, it also had unique rewards. I witnessed a 17 -year-old kid discover how broccoli grows and watched as he idly picked snap peas right off the vine and declared with shock that they actually tasted good. These discoveries underlined for me how disconnected many of us have become from our food.

Today, the farm-to-table motion has stimulated many of us consider the origins of what we eat at restaurants. But at home it can be difficult to stay mindful. The simplest style to take on a proactive relationship with what you feed is to grow some of it yourself. Its a trend that seems to be taking off.

In 2011, the UK reported that 5%of fruits and vegetables consumed were home-grown, up from 2.9% in 2008. As of 2014, the US, boasted 35% of households, or 42 m, growing food at home or in their home communities garden, up 17% in five years.

The internet offers a wealth of resource guides distinct to your regions soil makeup, climate and growing season, stimulating planting and troubleshooting a snap. So theres merely not much standing in between you and your future garden.

How to grow your own vegetables in a flat, condo or studio apartment

If you live in a flat or a condo and absence the space for a garden of your own, you may still be able to access a plot of land through a community garden. Ask around to see if one exists near you.

When you do get started, veggies such as kale, peas and zucchini are easy to grow and can offer a confidence boost to novice gardeners, but the best guidebook for what to plant should be what you love to eat. Browse through a seed catalogue and consider what induces your mouth water Ive always loved West Coast Seeds for unique heritage seed assortments, but detecting a seed supplier local to you will give you your best chance of success.

The
The start of something special. Photo: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

Fill the garden plot with your favourite veggies or those that tend to be more expensive to buy in grocery stores, such as cauliflower. Staggering the planting of one-time harvest veggies such as broccoli or radishes by planting their seeds in several batches a few weeks apart means they wont ripen all at once and overload your garden( or your capacity to eat them ).

Planting a few ranges of squash or pumpkin means youll enjoy harvests all the style into late fall but make sure you have plenty of room for them, as their vines do like to wander.

If a ground-level garden is out of your reach, you can still tackle gardening on a much smaller scale. Growing herbs on your countertop or windowsill allows you to replace dried old pantry staples with the real thing, and growing salad greens instead of succulents means you can enjoy a fresh salad every day, without the plastic packaging or the cost.

This
This could be the fruits of your labor. Photograph: Igor Golovniov/ Zuma Press/ Corbis

Secondhand stores often have plant pots for simply a few dollars; fill them with spinach, arugula, radicchio and romaine lettuce for a great salad mix you can harvest as needed. Old teacups are the perfect size to hold a handful of herb staples such as basil, cilantro, oregano, and parsley( but unless youre experienced in drilling ceramics, the cups wont have drainage, so be careful not to overwater ).

Dont get suckered into buying a whole bunch of specialized gardening gear you can do this on a somewhat barebones budget and with repurposed items too. As long as its not leaching anything toxic, your carrots arent going to care what they grow in, promise.

Its unbelievable how much you can grow on a balcony: things such as chard, tomatoes and strawberries can thrive in container gardens, depending on your growing season and the amount of sun you get. You can even regrow some veggies right from the trims, without starting over from seed.

Finding a way to grow your own food connects you with what youre eating, and it also offers massive nutritional benefits too. Nutrient degradation passes rapidly between when produce is picked and when it is eaten green beans, for example, lose 77% of their vitamin C after seven days. The quicker you can eat your create after its been harvested, the very best. Having a backyard or balcony full of fruits and veggies is a great reminder to do so.

But what of those who havent the time, the space or, frankly, the inclination to grow their own food? It neednt be all or nothing, a choice between a backyard garden or a sprawling supermarket.

Farmers marketplaces offer a fantastic in-between option for those who want to close the gap between field and table without getting their hands dirty. Food in the US travellings an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate, but shopping at a farmers marketplace allows you to buy the freshest and in-season produce, absent long-distance shipping or artificial ripening. In the UK, this site dedicates a great listing of local farmers markets; this site does the same via a zip code search for the US.

At the heart of it, this is about more than carrots or kale. When I speak about being unplugged, its more than kumbaya hippy nonsense. We are increasingly living at limbs duration from what we feed and wear, from our communities and those we love. This detachment is having a profound impact on our social, emotional and psychological health and although growing veggies in your backyard isnt a cure, its a damn good start. It closes the gap between us and the food we eat, it reminds us that food doesnt come from the supermarket shelves, cleaned, trimmed and packaged.

Read more: www.theguardian.com