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carrot pancakes, carrot houmous
and feta salad
lemongrass and sweetcorn soup with
crème fraîche
sweetcorn relish tomato, feta, almond and date baklava rosemary popcorn capri lemon pasta with peas, broad beans
and asparagus
griddled radicchio and strawberry risotto five-spiced plum and red wine sorbet barkham blue, pear, coppa, ginger jelly
and bitter leaf salad
new season lamb two ways, with chickpea
chips and chickpea mayo
strawberry, pimm's and elderflower trifle sardines on toast with cherry vine tomatoes,
basil and parmesan
soft meringue roulade with raspberries,
mint, mascarpone cream and pine nuts
watermelon and seafood curry
links to more recipes

A few favourite recipes from my cook book ‘The Modern Vegetarian’ (Kyle Cathie), beautifully photographed by the amazing Jonathan Gregson. Available to buy from Amazon HERE

carrot pancakes, carrot houmous and feta salad

A fabulous feast of flavours and textures easily prepared in advance. Perfect for lunch, as a starter or canapé size for a party. The salad is optional, but I find the orange really lifts the earthiness of the roasted carrot houmous; the watercress and almonds adding texture too.
Serves 6

maria elia
Photograph: Jonathan Gregson
For the pancakes
150g carrots, grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g chickpea flour (also known as beesan or gram flour)
50g semolina
2 teaspoons salt
150–200ml water
3 tablespoons olive oil, for frying

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

To make the pancakes, mix all the ingredients, except the olive oil, together to form a thick batter. Heat the oil in a small non-stick frying pan until hot, then spoon in a quarter of the batter and fry until golden on both sides. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make 4 pancakes in total. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the carrot houmous

200g carrots, peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g chickpeas, cooked (tinned will do)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Cut the carrots into thin slices, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and roast for about 20 minutes or until softened. While still hot, put them in a blender with the remaining ingredients and whiz to a smooth purée, adding a little water if too thick. Season again if necessary and refrigerate until needed. If you prefer, you can boil the carrots instead; just cook until tender and follow the recipe as above.

For the salad
a bunch of watercress, thick stems removed
1 orange, peel and pith removed, cut into segments
1 punnet shiso (or any micro) sprouts
1 punnet coriander sprouts (or coriander leaf)
12 mint leaves, torn
50g alfalfa shoots
25g flaked almonds, toasted
pinch of ground cinnamon
50g feta cheese, crumbled

For the dressing
25ml sherry vinegar
25ml water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch of sugar

1 garlic clove, crushed



To make the salad, mix all of the salad ingredients and toss together well. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and season to taste. To assemble the dish, reheat the pancakes in a warm oven, place on individual plates and top with the carrot houmous. Dress the salad with the sherry dressing and place on top of the houmous.

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lemongrass and sweetcorn soup with crème fraîche

One lunchtime service at Delfina’s we were extremely busy, and although it was a summer’s day, there was an unexpected run on the soup! I knew there wouldn’t be enough for the evening and there were no ingredients left to make more. Faced with such situations, I usually go to the walk-in fridge and look for possible ingredient combinations. On this particular occasion, my eye fell upon sweetcorn and lemongrass. I was saved, and this soup was born! Fresh, seasonal corn is best for this, but you can always use frozen or tinned if unavailable. Cauliflower and lemongrass is also a wonderful combination – cut a small cauliflower into florets and follow the recipe as below. Then try roasting some thinly sliced florets in a hot oven and adding to the remaining relish ingredients. For those of you who aren’t vegetarian, this soup is great topped with pan fried prawns, crab meat or lobster!

maria elia
Photograph: Jonathan Gregson

3 corn cobs
50g butter
1 small white onion, finely chopped
3cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
25g plain fl our
1 litre milk
5 sticks lemongrass, finely chopped
salt and pepper 4 tablespoons crème fraîche


Using a sharp knife carefully cut the corn kernels from the cob. Set cobs and kernels aside.

Gently heat the butter, add the onion, ginger and chilli. Sauté until softened but not browned (about 5 minutes). Add the fl our, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk, lemongrass, corn and the cobs and stir, bringing to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Discard the corn husks and blend the soup in a food-processor until smooth, then pass through a sieve and season. Serve with a swirl of crème fraîche and Sweetcorn Relish

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sweetcorn relish

1 corn on the cob, leaves removed
4 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
10g chopped coriander 1 stick lemongrass, finely chopped


Roll the sweetcorn in a little of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cook on a preheated griddle pan or barbeque untill tender. When cool enough to handle, remove the corn kernels from the cob, place in a bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste.

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tomato, feta, almond and date baklava

Baklava is usually sweet, but I always like to think outside the box, and I find that once I do this, a whole new culinary world opens up before me. This recipe doesn’t break any rules, but it certainly makes a wonderful-tasting dish combining my love of eclectic Greek flavours.
Serves 6-8

maria elia
Photograph: Jonathan Gregson

100ml olive oil
5 Spanish onions, halved and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch of granulated sugar
a bunch of dill, finely chopped (or 3 teaspoons dried)
10 vine plum tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped (reserve half of the juices)
3 teaspoons tomato purée
1 packet filo pastry (9 sheets)
150g melted butter
60g blanched almonds, whizzed to a crumble
100g Medjool dates, stoned and finely sliced
250g feta cheese, crumbled
4 tablespoons clear honey


Heat the olive oil in a large-bottomed pan. Gently fry the onions over a low heat, add the garlic, cinnamon and sugar and increase the heat. Fry for about 12 minutes, until caramelised. Add the dill, tomatoes and half of their juices and the tomato purée and cook for a further 10 minutes, until reduced. Season to taste.

Unfold the pastry and cut in half; keep it covered with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out. Brush a baking tray (approximately 30 x 20cm) with melted butter, line the tin with a sheet of filo, brush with butter and repeat until you have a 3-layer thickness.

Unfold the pastry and cut in half; keep it covered with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out. Brush a baking tray (approximately 30 x 20cm) with melted butter, line the tin with a sheet of filo, brush with butter and repeat until you have a 3-layer thickness.

Unfold the pastry and cut in half; keep it covered with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out. Brush a baking tray (approximately 30 x 20cm) with melted butter, line the tin with a sheet of filo, brush with butter and repeat until you have a 3-layer thickness.



Spread half the onion mixture over the pastry, top with half the almonds, the dates and half the feta. Sandwich 3 layers of filo together, brushing each with melted butter and place on top of the onion and feta mix. Top with the remaining onions, almonds and feta and again top with a 3-layer thickness of filo. Lightly score the top, cutting diamonds (see photo) or squares, brush with butter and splash with a little water. Place on a baking tray and cook for 30–35 minutes until golden.

Leave to cool a little before serving, then drizzle each portion with honey. Serve with a Fennel Salad and some tzatziki.

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rosemary popcorn

A decadent popcorn, easily made by infusing olive oil with rosemary. Fabulous to serve at a drinks party. To vary the flavour, try adding a little chilli powder once cooked. Or infuse the oil with sage or finely grated lemon zest instead of rosemary. You could also pop the corn, then drizzle with truffle oil and sprinkle with sea salt. If you prefer a more buttery taste omit the oil at the end and add a lump of salted butter then sprinkle with your favourite spice. Popcorn will never be the same again! Serves 4 generously!

maria elia
Photograph: Jonathan Gregson
100ml extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs of rosemary
150g popping corn
sea salt


Pour the oil into a small saucepan, strip the rosemary leaves off the sprigs and add the leaves to the oil.

Warm over a low heat for 10 minutes, then set aside for 20 minutes or overnight to infuse.

Following the directions on the popping corn packet, make the popcorn. When popped and still warm, drizzle with a little rosemary oil, sprinkle with sea salt, toss well to mix and serve.

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capri lemon pasta with peas, broad beans and asparagus

While working aboard a luxury yacht as a private chef, I had the great fortune of meeting the skipper, Eric, who also happens to be a fanatic foodie. Whenever there was an opportunity, he would take the crew out to eat, and I remember one such dinner in particular, on a balmy summer’s evening in Capri. In a beautiful courtyard restaurant we were served the most amazing lemon pasta; it quite simply took our breath away. It was such a simple dish, yet perfectly balanced and bursting with flavour, and this is my interpretation, simplified to make a sofa supper within minutes. I’ve added vegetables, which you could vary (courgettes – green and yellow – would work as well as their flowers) or omit altogether. If you only have dried pasta, just cook as directed on the packet, adding the vegetables 3 minutes before the end of cooking. Serves 4-6.

maria elia
Photograph: Jonathan Gregson
300ml double cream
juice and finely grated zest of 2 lemons
a bunch of asparagus
450g fresh broad beans, podded (or 160g frozen)
400g fresh pasta (such as linguine, tagliatelle or spaghetti)
400g fresh peas, podded (or 150g frozen)
4 tablespoons mascarpone
80g Parmesan cheese, grated
a small bunch of basil, torn salt and black pepper


Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Meanwhile, pour the cream and lemon zest into a saucepan and carefully bring to the boil, then simmer for 3 minutes.



While the cream is simmering, prepare the asparagus: Snap off the woody ends and cut into 3cm pieces. You could also peel the outer skin from the broad beans (that’s what we do in the restaurant).



Cook the pasta, peas, broad beans and asparagus together in the boiling water for 3 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Reserve 50ml of cooking water and drain the pasta, peas, beans and asparagus. Pour the cream into the cooking pot, add the lemon juice, mascarpone and reserved cooking water. Return to the boil, add the pasta and vegetables, Parmesan, basil and seasoning and toss together. Divide between bowls and serve immediately.

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griddled radicchio and strawberry risotto

Italians love their seasonal produce; so much so that they often have festivals to celebrate it. It was during festa di fragole (the strawberry festival) that I first tasted a risotto like this one. You are probably thinking that it sounds a little strange, but I promise you the bitterness of the radicchio really does work with the sweetness of the strawberries. It is best served with some reduced balsamic vinegar (see note below). I guess radicchio is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it! I think radicchio is a thing of beauty. I love its colour and the way it’s white veined leaves entwine. Griddling radicchio mellows its bitter peppery flavour. Serves 4.

maria elia
Photograph: Jonathan Gregson
For the radicchio
1 head radicchio, approximately 350g
olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt
balsamic vinegar (approximately 2 tablespoons)

For the risotto
2 tablespoons olive oil
50g butter
4 shallots, finely diced
375g risotto rice (such as Arborio or Carnaroli)
300ml white wine
900ml hot vegetable stock
juice of half a lemon
4 tablespoons mascarpone
sea salt and pepper
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
8 strawberries, quartered
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives (optional)


Preheat a griddle pan over a medium heat. Cut the radicchio into quarters lengthways, keeping some of the stem attached to each quarter (trim off any dark parts of the stem). Open the leaves a little, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Place the oiled radicchio on the hot griddle and cook for 2–3 minutes on either side. When it begins to brown, remove to a plate and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar. Leave to cool before shredding into thin strips.

To make the risotto, heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, add the shallots and cook till translucent.

Add the rice and fry for 1 minute, stirring to prevent it from sticking. Reduce the heat a little and add the wine. Allow the wine to be absorbed before adding a ladle of hot stock (that’s approximately 200ml, depending on the size of your ladle). Stir and allow the rice to absorb the stock before adding the next 200ml. Continue to add stock in this way, stirring frequently, until it has all been absorbed and the rice is ‘al dente’ (with just a bite to it). This will take about 20 minutes. Stir through the lemon juice, radicchio, mascarpone and salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat, stir in the Parmesan and half the strawberries.

Serve, garnished with the remaining strawberries, chives, a drizzle of olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar (below) or an aged balsamic (which is optional).

Note: Pour a bottle of balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and warm over a low heat (don’t use an expensive balsamic for this). Continue to heat until the balsamic has reduced and coats the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat and pour into a container. Leave to cool before covering; there is no need to refrigerate. If it thickens too much, gently warm in a microwave or in a bowl of boiling water for 5 seconds. This is great served over risotto, salads and fresh figs with honey. Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar is also delicious reduced.

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five-spiced plum and red wine sorbet

A great-coloured refreshing sorbet, and perfect for using up ripe plums. I’ve used five-spice but star anise works equally well – use six star anise and discard before puréeing; I would also use orange rind in place of lemon. Try adding a scoop of this to a glass of chilled champagne! Serves 4.

maria elia
Photograph: Jonathan Gregson

500g ripe plums
170ml red wine
175g caster sugar
160ml water
2 teaspoons five spice
1 cinnamon stick
3 strips pared lemon zest (removed with a potato peeler)


Halve the plums, remove the stones and place in a saucepan with all the remaining ingredients. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes or until the plums have broken down. Discard the cinnamon stick and lemon zest, purée until smooth, then pass through a sieve.



 Leave to cool then refrigerate covered overnight or for at least 1 hour. Churn in an ice-cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Maria's summer recipes - a homage to Delia Smith. As featured in The Guardian, July 2009.

barkham blue, pear, coppa, ginger jelly and bitter leaf salad

A fantastic and simple summer salad - other than the jelly and dressing, it's more assembly job than cooking - that uses top British ingredients. Barkham Blue is a soft blue cheese from Berkshire (I get my cheese from Rippon Cheese Stores, ripponcheese.com). Trealy Farm in Monmouthshire (trealyfarm.com) make great charcuterie - its coppa, being delicately cured and slightly sweet, complements the other ingredients brilliantly. (For a vegetarian version, simply omit the meat.) The zingy jelly, meanwhile, cuts through the rich cheese (it also goes very well in a sandwich with cold roast pork). Agar agar is a seaweed-based thickener from Japan, and is a great veggie alternative to gelatine; it's flavourless, too, so lends itself to all kinds of uses. It's widely available in supermarkets and healthfood shops. This salad is lovely with a cold glass of fino sherry. Serves 4.

maria elia
Photograph: Rob White

20g mizuna or other bitter leaves
1 head dandelion, leaves picked in 5cm lengths and washed
80g Barkham Blue, thinly sliced
1 pear, quartered, core removed and thinly sliced
12 slices Trealy Farm coppa (optional)
For the jelly
30g ginger, peeled, and finely grated
Zest of 1 lemon
50ml fresh lemon juice
30g caster sugar
½ tsp agar agar
For the white-wine dressing
10ml olive oil
10ml extra-virgin olive oil
10ml chardonnay vinegar


First make the jelly. Put the ginger, zest, juice and sugar in a saucepan, add 200ml water and bring to a boil over a low heat. The moment it starts boiling, lower the heat, whisk in the agar agar and cook for a minute. Tip into a shallow container and set aside to cool before covering and refrigerating. You can make the jelly up to three days in advance. (These quantities make more than you need, but it will sit happily in the fridge for up to a week.) Lightly whisk together the oils and vinegar for the dressing. To assemble, scatter the leaves in a narrow line on four plates, top with alternate slices of cheese and pear, and top with slivers of jelly (I use a spoon to scrape the surface). Top with coppa, drizzle with dressing, grind over a little black pepper and serve.

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new season lamb two ways, with chickpea chips
and chickpea mayo

Aka marinated griddled lamb with slow-braised lamb, date, chickpea, mint and swiss chard parcels. I love using two different cooking methods for lamb, for reasons both of taste and of texture. Though the list of ingredients and method may appear daunting at a glance, it's nowhere near as complicated as it looks and much of it can be prepared well in advance (use ready-made hummus instead of chickpea mayo to make it easier). And there's no reason you can't take the individual elements and adapt them for other uses. Serves 4.

maria elia
Photograph: Rob White

For the lamb shoulder rolls
At the restaurant, we make this by rolling shredded lamb in filo, but since swiss chard is abundant right now, I thought I'd use that instead. You may end up with meat left over, but that's no hardship - it's great picnic food with hummus or tzatziki, or mixed with a few salad leaves.

1 small lamb shoulder
(around 2kg), bone in
3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tsp ground cinnamon
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 sprigs fresh oregano
Maldon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
For the lamb parcels
1 large bunch swiss chard
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 tsp ground cumin
1 pinch chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
125g Medjool dates, stones removed, finely chopped
20g mint leaves, finely chopped
125g preserved lemon
240g tinned chickpeas, drained
½ lemon, juiced

Heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Lay a large sheet of foil on a work surface and put the lamb in the centre. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with the remaining ingredients, wrap in the foil and make sure it's sealed tight. Place on an oven tray and roast for around four hours, by which time the meat should be soft, tender and easily removed from the bone using two forks. Remove all the meat from the bone and set aside to cool. You can do this in advance. Bring a large pan of water to a boil, add the chard leaves, cook for a minute, remove and plunge into cold water (iced is best). Remove from the water, place on a tray lined with a cloth, cover and refrigerate. This, too, can be prepared ahead of time. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the onion and sauté until soft (about two minutes). Add all the spices, cook for two minutes more, stirring, then tip into a bowl. Add the shredded lamb, dates and mint. Cut the preserved lemons into four, cut away and discard the pith, wash what's left of the lemon quarters, finely chop and add to lamb. Put the chickpeas in a blender with the lemon juice and around 50ml water, blend to a soft paste, add to the bowl, mix and season well. Put four chard leaves, stalk side up, on a worktop (remove any tough stalks as they'll hinder your rolling). Form four 100g "logs" out of the lamb mix and lay one in the centre of each leaf. Fold the leaf over the logs, fold in the sides and roll into a neat parcel. Roll each parcel in clingfilm and secure at both ends. Repeat with the remaining leaves. This can be prepared up to two days ahead.

For the chickpea chips
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
140g chickpea flour (also known as beesan or gram flour)

Lightly oil a 23cm square cake tin/tray. Heat half a litre of water in a saucepan with the salt, pepper and cumin, and, when almost boiling, reduce the heat and slowly whisk in the chickpea flour until thickened and smooth. The going will get progressively tougher, so I usually swap the whisk for a heatproof spatula at this stage. Cook the mix over a low heat for five minutes, stirring constantly, until the batter holds its shape. Check for seasoning, then scrape into the oiled tin. You'll need to work quite quickly now, because the batter sets almost at once. Cover with clingfilm and smooth the surface with a rolling pin (or even with another tray). Set aside to cool, then tip out and cut into chips around 2cm wide and 7cm long. (I like to alternate the lengths a little because I think they look more dramatic on the plate.) Set aside in a cool spot until ready to serve.

For the chickpea mayo
120g cooked chickpeas (around half a tin, if you go down that route)
1 clove garlic
1 pinch ground cumin
4 tbsp mayonnaise
Sea salt


Combine all the ingredients in a blender, blitz until smooth, season with salt, and refrigerate till needed.

To finish the dish
At the restaurant, we garnish this with shiso and coriander sprouts, which aren't the easiest things to get your hands on; a few coriander sprigs will work just as well. I also add a few pea shoots, because I like the continuity of "peas" throughout the dish (chickpeas in the parcels, mayo and chips), but again, if you can't find them, don't worry.
 While the lamb neck is cooking, add the chard parcels to hot water and re-heat. Once the neck is in the oven, heat the oil for the chips in a frying pan and, once hot, fry in batches until golden on each side. Drain on kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place; sprinkle with salt just before serving. When you take the lamb from the oven to rest, remove the chard parcels from the water, set aside to cool for a minute or two, then remove the clingfilm. 
To assemble the dish, place a spoonful of mayo (or hummus) at the top of each plate, stand five chickpea chips in the mayo and garnish with pea shoots (if using). Place another spoon of mayo in the centre of each plate and top with a swiss chard parcel. Carve the roast lamb neck and top each parcel neatly with a few slices of lamb. Sprinkle over coriander and shiso sprouts, or a few coriander sprigs, drizzle with oil and serve.

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strawberry, pimm's and elderflower trifle

A twist on the classic British trifle in Delia's Complete Cookery Course (1992), combining three of the best elements of an English summer. I've also taken a leaf out of the much-maligned How To Cheat (2008) and used ready-made madeira cake to make things easier. Serves 6.

maria elia
Photograph: Rob White

300ml lemonade
5 sheets leaf gelatine, soaked
75ml dry ginger ale
300ml Pimm's
1 lemon, juiced
600g strawberries, hulled
and quartered
80ml elderflower cordial
60g icing sugar
200g madeira cake, cut in 1cm slices
150g Greek yogurt
300g mascarpone

Heat half the lemonade in a saucepan until almost boiling and take off the heat. Squeeze out the gelatine and stir into the hot lemonade until it dissolves. Pour in the remaining lemonade, the ginger ale, 250ml Pimm's and the lemon juice. Strain through a sieve and leave to cool. In a bowl, drizzle the strawberries with 20ml of cordial, the remaining Pimm's and half the icing sugar. Lay a slice of madeira cake in the base of six dessert glasses. Scatter half the strawberries evenly on top, then pour over the cooled Pimm's mixture. Chill for three hours, or until the jelly has set. Once the jelly is set, make the cream. Whisk together the yogurt, mascarpone, 60ml elderflower cordial and rest of the icing sugar until thick. Spoon the remaining strawberries over the jelly, top with elderflower cream and serve chilled. Garnish with a whole strawberry, if you fancy.

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As featured in The Telegraph, June 2009. Serves 4.

sardines on toast with cherry vine tomatoes,
basil and parmesan

Nothing beats fresh sardines on toast. As a kid they were a Sunday supper staple in our house. Here's my grown up version

maria elia
Photograph: Chris Terry

500g cherry vine tomatoes
1 small bunch basil
1 garlic clove, crushed
20g freshly grated Parmesan
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tsp Maldon sea salt
4 slices ciabatta or sourdough
Olive oil for drizzling 4 large sardines, butterflied

Quarter the tomatoes and place in a bowl with the torn basil leaves, garlic, Parmesan, extra-virgin olive oil and salt. Toss until combined. Set aside. Drizzle the bread with a little olive oil and cook on a preheated griddle until lightly charred on both sides. Rub the sardines with a little more oil, season and cook on the griddle for one to two minutes per side (skin-side first), or until cooked through. Put an even layer of tomatoes on each piece of toast, top with a sardine, skin-side up, drizzle with oil and serve immediately.

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soft meringue roulade with raspberries, mint, mascarpone cream and pine nuts

As featured in The Telegraph 29 May 2009.
Meringue is one of my favourite desserts. This recipe is inspired by my time spent in the kitchen of Christine Mansfields restaurant in Sydney, a truly iconic chef. Try substituting plums for raspberries, or replace with roasted apricots using orange flower water instead of rose, equally delicious. Serves 8-10.

maria elia
Photograph: Chris Terry
For the meringue
4 egg whites
190g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp cornflour, sifted
Icing sugar, to serve

For the filling
250g mascarpone
175g Greek yogurt
50g icing sugar
3 tbsp rosewater
175g raspberries
25g pine nuts 6 mint leaves, shredded

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Line a 23 x 33cm (9 x 13in) baking-tray with parchment paper and lightly grease with oil. In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar and continue until thick and glossy. Fold in the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour. Spread evenly on to the baking-tray and bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and cook for a further 10 minutes. Dust a sheet of parchment paper with icing sugar. Remove the meringue from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before turning out on to the second piece of paper. Cool for five minutes, then gently peel off the first sheet of paper. Roll up the meringue from the long side until ready for use; put the mascarpone, yogurt, sugar and rosewater in a bowl and whisk until thick. Unroll the meringue, spread on the mascarpone, top with raspberries, sprinkle with pine nuts and mint and roll up again, using the paper to help you. Refrigerate until required, serve sliced, dusted with icing sugar.

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As featured in The Guardian, June 2010. Serves 6.

watermelon and seafood curry

I have an obsession with watermelon, and to me this is the ultimate summer dish – refreshing, light, colourful and with an abundance of flavour. I've suggested squid and crab, but prawns and scallops work, too. My book features the vegetarian version with paneer and black beans.

maria elia
Photograph: Colin Campbell for the Guardian

For the curry
3kg watermelon (seedless variety works best) peeled and seeds removed 4 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 Onion finely chopped
60g Ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
2 Red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 stalks Lemon grass, finely chopped
2 tsp Turmeric
4 tsp ground Coriander
2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Fish Sauce, to taste
Freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste (approx 3 limes)


For the seafood
1 1/2kg or 10 tubes Squid
150g meat from crab claws


For the coconut rice
350g Basmati rice
350ml coconut milk
350 ml water
Pinch of Salt
1 bunch Coriander, finely chopped, to garnish
3 limes cut in half to serve


To make the curry liquidise 2,5 kg of the watermelon in a blender or food processor. Cut the remaining watermelon into 1cm cubes and set aside. Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan and when hot, gently cook the onions, ginger and garlic until soft. Add the chillies, lemon grass and spices and cook for a further minute, or until fragrant. Add the liquidised watermelon juice, bring to the boil, and then simmer until reduced by half. (Approx 20 minutes). Once reduced, flavour with about 2 tablespoons fish sauce and lime juice to taste.

To prepare the seafood, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan; season the squid with salt and pepper and fry in batches over a high heat for 3 minutes. Set aside and repeat. Once the watermelon curry has reduced add the squid, crabmeat, coriander and diced watermelon to the curry and heat through. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and lime juice to taste. Serve immediately with coconut rice.

To make the rice; wash the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Place the rice, coconut milk, water and salt in a large pan. Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Cover the pan and reduce the heat. Simmer gently for 15minutes. Turn off the heat, leave covered for minutes, then 'fluff' with a fork. Serve the watermelon curry with the coconut rice and garnish with coriander and lime halves.

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