Bearing fruit

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 May, 2012, 12:00am


Mother's Day should be a stress-free day for the woman in question. Make her breakfast, then let her choose what she wants to do for the rest of the day. For dinner, make these light, easy dishes and serve them to your mother with a pretty bouquet of flowers.

Summer pudding (pictured)

When I lived in San Francisco, I worked for Andrew, an English pastry chef who wanted to introduce traditional British desserts to the American public. They weren't very enthusiastic about things such as sherry trifle, fruitcake or Christmas pudding with brandy sauce, but summer pudding proved very popular.

Summer pudding is so easy to make that it almost doesn't need a recipe, but Andrew gave me some good tips. He said it should include some frozen fruit, because it gives off more liquid than the fresh, and the juice keeps the pudding moist. He also said that for larger puddings, a good guideline on the amount of fruit you'll need is to fill the mould with water, then pour out the water and weigh it - you'll need roughly the same weight of fruit (there will be some leftover, but that can be used to garnish the pudding). Finally, the sugar to fruit ratio should be 1:10, although that can be adjusted according to the sweetness of the fruit.

To the fruit suggested below, you can add or substitute fresh cherries and/or purple plums. Don't use any pale stone fruits because the flesh discolours.

Make this as soon as you can in the morning, because it needs time to chill.

200 grams frozen raspberries

200 grams frozen blueberries

200 grams fresh strawberries

200 grams fresh currants

200 grams fresh blackberries

About 100 grams granulated sugar

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

10-12 thin slices of sandwich bread, crusts removed

Mint leaves, to garnish

Double cream, to serve

Put the frozen berries in a bowl and let them thaw before mixing in the sugar and salt. Remove and discard the stems from the strawberries, then slice them about 5mm thick. Add the strawberries, currants and blackberries to the bowl and mix everything together until the sugar is dissolved. Taste the fruit and adjust the sugar level, if needed. There should be quite a lot of liquid in the bowl.

Cut a round of bread to fit the bottom of a one-litre mould that's deeper than it is wide. Dip the round on both sides in the fruit liquid and place it in the mould. Slice the sandwich bread so it fits with each piece slightly overlapping in the mould, first dipping each slice on both sides in the fruit liquid before placing it in the mould. After the mould has been lined with bread, ladle the fruit and some of the liquid into the mould, completely filling it and pressing on it so it's firmly packed. Cut more bread to cover the fruit, again, soaking it in liquid before laying it on top. Press firmly so the bread is flush with the top of the mould. Wrap the mould entirely and securely in cling-film, in case any liquid gets pressed out. Lay a plate directly on top of the mould so it slightly presses on the bread and filling. Refrigerate the pudding and the remaining fruit for at least six hours.

To serve, run a thin-bladed knife between the pudding and the mould, then carefully invert it onto a serving platter and lift away the mould. Spoon the remaining fruit and liquid over and around the pudding then garnish with mint leaves before serving with double cream.

Tiger prawn linguine with roasted tomato

If you like, remove the heads from the prawns and use them to make a seafood stick.

8 fresh large tiger prawns

300-400 grams linguine

750 grams cherry tomatoes, halved

40ml olive oil

4-5 large garlic cloves, unpeeled

1/4 tsp dried oregano

30ml cooking oil

3 shallots, diced

3/4 tsp dried chilli flakes, or to taste

90ml dry white wine

1/4 tsp granulated sugar, or as needed

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Mix the tomatoes with the olive oil, garlic, oregano and a light sprinkling of salt. Spread the ingredients in one layer on a baking dish and cook until the tomatoes are slightly shrivelled (about 15 to 20 minutes). Remove and discard the skin from the garlic cloves. Roughly chop the tomatoes and garlic.

Cut a slit down the back of the prawns through the shell from where the body meets the head down to the tail. Remove and discard the vein. Rinse the prawns under cold water then pat them dry with paper towels.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and start cooking the pasta.

While the pasta is boiling, heat the cooking oil in a large skillet (or a wok) set over a low flame. Add the shallot and cook until it becomes translucent. Increase the heat, add the chilli flakes and stir until fragrant. Add the white wine, bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for about three minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and some salt. Simmer for about a minute over a medium-high flame then taste the ingredients and add more salt, if needed. If the sauce is too acidic, add a little sugar to balance it. Add the prawns and simmer for one minute, then turn them over, cover with the lid and decrease the heat. Simmer until the prawns are cooked (about two to three minutes).

When the pasta is al dente, drain but do not rinse it. Add it to the pan containing the other ingredients and mix to coat the pasta with the sauce. Divide the pasta and sauce between four plates then add two prawns to each portion. Sprinkle with chopped parsley then serve.

Styling Nellie Ming Lee