WARM summers induce a reluctance to slave away Martha-like in a hot kitchen. Simple and tasty food is my preference, usually prepared in advance. The Italians have a splendid dish of cold roast veal with tuna-mayonnaise sauce on top. Veal is not widely available here; so I use pork for a Porchetta tonnata. Porchetta is a slow-roasted, herb-stuffed pork joint, and can be sourced from some deli counters, but cold roast pork is fine and easily obtainable.
12 slices cold roast pork
1 can tuna fish (120g/4 oz)
1 clove garlic
1 handful parsley
1 dessertspoon apple sauce
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 tin anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoons capers
1 lemon, sliced
Arrange the meat slices on a large platter, or individual plates.
In a food processor, combine the tuna, garlic, parsley, apple sauce, fennel seeds, three of the anchovy fillets with oil (reserve the remaining fillets), and cider vinegar. Combine well, then add the mayonnaise and half the capers. Season to taste, then dot over the cold meat.
Garnish with the remaining anchovy fillets, half of capers, and lemon slices, then serve. This is usually a starter, but a green salad can transform it into a main course.
Recently I visited Honey and Smoke, a new restaurant in London which rejoices in Middle Eastern flavours. At the end of the delicious banquet came their Honey cheesecake: a revelation for featuring feta, and I have tried my own version here. You can get the authentic one from their book (Honey & Co, published by Headline Home) — particularly as they use the vermicelli-like kadaif pastry, which is not easy to find, but is a staple in so many baklava examples.
250g (½lb) digestive biscuit crumbs
40g (1½oz) melted butter
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
160g (6oz) cream cheese
160ml (6 fl. oz) double cream
40g (1½oz) icing sugar
40g (1½oz) honey
50g creamy feta cheese
50g (2oz) each of water and honey
handful of roasted almonds and pistachios
Combine the biscuit crumbs, butter, and sugar. Use a cookie cutter for small rounds about the thickness of a £1 coin, and bake on a sheet in the oven for 15 minutes at 325°F/170°C/Gas 3. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, cream, sugar, honey, and feta. Use a spoon or spatula and take your time. Leave in the fridge to firm up a little. Simmer the honey and water in a saucepan, until you have a glossy syrup.
Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan for about 30 seconds, shaking and sliding the pan; then throw them into the honey syrup.
Assemble the cheesecakes by placing a large dollop on to each biscuit base, then topping with the nutty syrup and maybe some berries.