Raymond Blanc's summer recipes

Date:10-06-2013 07:58:05 read:2

Raymond Blanc's summer recipes

Making the most of our bounty of produce, Raymond Blanc celebrates the season with some sunshine-filled recipes

Raymond Blanc: loves cooking with seasonal, local food Photo: Martin Pope
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  • Recipe

    Healthy fish and chips

  • Recipe

    Watercress soup

  • Recipe

    Summer fruit pavlova

  • Recipe

    Lemon cake

  • Recipe

    Sticky rice with coconut milk and mango

  • Recipe

    Roast wild duck with blackberry sauce

  • Recipe

    Peaches poached in white wine, citrus and herbs

  • Recipe

    Green papaya and pomegranate salad

  • Recipe

    Fig tart

  • Recipe

    Summer tomato tart

  • Recipe

    Salad of grilled squid with Provencal vegetables

  • Rcipe

    Fillet of mackerel with fennel, soy and lime

  • Recipe

    Cherry clafoutis

My love affair with Britain began on a summer's day, way back in June 1972. I drove off the ferry and then from Dover to Oxfordshire in a Renault Clio, complete with six sets of dazzling headlights and "go-faster stripes". Mind you, as a French driver I needed no encouragement to go faster.

I was here to take a job as a waiter at the Rose Revived pub, and the long journey – long because no one could understand me when I stopped to ask directions – took me up and down country lanes and past farms. England's pleasant land.

At the time, Britain was on its knees, seemingly doomed by a poor economy, strikes and general gloom. The restaurant scene was at its worst – an international joke.

Over the years I have seen the face of British gastronomy transformed, from truly desperate and depressing to sheer magnificence. We should all be extremely proud of what has been accomplished. Of course, it is great news for the cook and those who know the cook.

I am delighted to be a judge for Bring Home the Harvest, a new competition run by the Telegraph and Love British Food. The challenge is both exciting and inspiring: find the most innovative and inclusive harvest celebration to take place during British Food Fortnight 2013, September 21 to October 6. It is a competition that celebrates seasonality and encourages communities to get together and enjoy the pleasures of food; to be connected by food.

Seasonal, local produce will always beat food that has had to travel. It is fresher, has more flavour, better texture and colour, and the nutrients have not died with old age. Both Le Manoir and Brasserie Blanc have always celebrated those values, and passed them on to hundreds of chefs.

I would love to take British farmers to Paris, so that the French can try their produce. But before that I will bring Joël Thiébault to Britain. He is the king of vegetables, and supplies his produce to the finest restaurants in Paris. I want to show Joël what's happening in this country. We have extraordinary variety of vegetables and fruit, but also livestock, where we have more varieties of heritage breeds than any other country in Europe. A few weeks ago at Brasserie Blanc in St Albans, I met food producers and farmers. I was so happy because I found that two breeds that were lost had been rediscovered: the Aylesbury duck and the Sandy and Black pig.

When I was the BBC's "Very Hungry Frenchman" in Alsace, it took me about two days to find a good pig. In Britain I could have found similar in about five minutes. Not long from now I'll be able to find one in seconds, because I am planning to create a rare-breed farm at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.

To the food… We all have our favourite summer dishes, but here are some of mine: including refreshing watercress soup, healthy fish and chips, and a stunning fruit pavlova.

I endured fish and chips for the first time when I crossed the Channel. It was dreadful – and I still shudder when I recall the harsh acidity of the malt vinegar hitting my nostrils. Since then I have enjoyed the greatest fish and chips here. How can you trust a Frenchman who's telling you how to make the perfect fish and chips? You can't, unless they have an Adam – I have been working on this dish with Adam Johnson, chef at Le Manoir. The fish is baked so it's healthier than battered fish. It also means less mess in the kitchen.

Speaking of mess, the Eton one is a favourite of mine and made with British summer fruits. I am reminded of those days at the Rose Revived. One of my daily rituals was to visit the pick-your-own. There I was picking pea shoots, young broad beans, carrots and courgettes with their flowers. The British pickers thought I was a completely deranged Frenchman who didn't know his food. They were picking the marrows. How times have changed.

Bon Appétit!

    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013