Principal Fiona Burrell of The Edinburgh New Town Cook School shares some seasonal recipes.
Redcurrant soaked strawberries served with cracked black pepper biscuits
115g / 4 oz redcurrants (or raspberries)
30g / 1 oz caster sugar
1 tablespoon water
675g / 1lb strawberries, hulled
To serve: clotted cream or crème fraiche
1. Pull the redcurrants off their stalks, wash them and put in a saucepan with the sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Bring to the boil and cook gently for 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and push through a sieve.
2. Pour the cooled redcurrant puree over the strawberries and allow them to soak in it for at least two hours before serving.
3. Lay a biscuit on a serving plate and spoon some strawberries carefully on the top. Place another biscuit on top of that and dust with icing sugar.
For the cracked black pepper biscuits
115g /4oz butter
55g /2oz caster sugar
115g /4oz plain flour
55g /2oz cornflour
1 teaspoon peppercorns – crushed well in a pestle and mortar or put through a pepper grinder. It should not be too fine.
1. Preheat the oven to 170, gas mark 3.
2. Beat the butter until soft, add the sugar and beat until pale and creamy.
3. Sift in the flours, add the peppercorns and work to a smooth paste.
4. Roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin and stamp into 8cm rounds with a pastry cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 10 minutes.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, put on a wire rack to cool and dust with caster sugar whilst still hot.
Ricotta and herb stuffed breast of chicken (serves 6)
6 x chicken supreme – skin on
12 tbsp ricotta cheese or herb cream cheese
6 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp finely grated zest of lemon
3 tbsp chopped fresh mixed herbs – e.g. tarragon, parsley, mint, chives
6 bunches of cherry vine tomatoes, on their stalks
9 tbsp olive oil
3 shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
500g broad beans boiled for 3 minutes and slipped out of their skins or 500g tinned flageolet beans
1. Preheat the oven to 200/gas mark 6.
2. Make up the ricotta mixture: Mix the ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and herbs together and season well with salt and finely ground black pepper.
3. Loosen the skin on the supreme and carefully insert the cheese mixture (a piping bag is useful for this). Spread over the chicken breast.
4. Pat the skin dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Brown the chicken skin side down in the pan until a good golden brown colour. Turn the chicken breasts over and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. You may need to brown the meat in batches to achieve a good colour. Transfer to the oven to finish cooking for around 15 minutes.
5. Place the cherry vine tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the same oven and cook for 5 minutes until the skins are slightly shrivelled.
6. Put 4 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and gently cook the shallots for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before adding the thyme. Add the beans and stir over the heat to heat through and flavour them.
7. To serve: Spoon the beans onto the serving plates and place the chicken on top. Place the cherry tomatoes beside them.