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RECIPES FOR THE WEEKEND; association with Taste Scotland's food championsl This article is in Communications,.

Carina Contini of Contini Restaurants in Edinburgh We've had a rubbish summer and the vivid colours in the garden are fading fast.

As we approach the start of autumn, it's time to shut out the dreich weather and warm ourselves up with good old home cooking.

The return of Saturday's Page Ate will bring you delicious recipes using Scottish products. So what better way to start than with a three-course meal? Carina Contini of Contini Restaurants in Edinburgh starts with spinach and curd cheese drop scones with a Scotch bonnet chilli dressing, followed by fennel sea bass with sauteed courgettes, spinach and garlic and rounded off with a delicious kitchen garden summer pudding.

Carina said: "The drama of serving a whole fish, head and tail intact, really depends on your guests. Even some of our best foodie friends in the restaurant don't like the look of those eyes staring at you across the table.

"Alternatively, buy fillets.Small, individual fillets will have come from farmed fish but if you've got a good fishmonger, ask him to fillet a whole sea bass and cut it into pieces."

Spinach & curd cheese drop scones with Scotch Bonnet chilli dressing

Method:

1 Pan-fry the spinach in a little butter over a low heat just until the leaves have wilted. Season with a little salt and pepper. Transfer to a colander and leave to drain in the sink. When cool, squeeze any excess water from the spinach using your hands, then chop the spinach very finely. Set aside. If the spinach is too chunky, the batter will be very lumpy and difficult to fry.

2 In a large mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon to cream together the curd cheese, egg yolks, spring onion, flour, nutmeg, lemon zest and black pepper and salt to taste. Fold in the spinach. Beat the egg whites until stiff in a clean, dry bowl, then gently fold them into the spinach mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.

3 Heat a non-stick frying pan or flat griddle plate over a medium heat but don't add any butter or oil. It's important that the pan should be at a moderate, even temperature. If it's too hot the batter will burn and if it's too cold, it will stick. Ladle 1tbsp of the batter into the pan. Leave it until you see the edges changing colour. Using a spatula, flip the drop scone over and cook for 1 minute until the underside has coloured but not burned. Remove from the pan and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Repeat until you have used up all the batter. Keep the scones in a low oven until you are ready to serve.

4 To make the dressing, blend all the ingredients, except the salt and pepper, in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with 1/2tsp salt and some pepper.

5 To serve, remove the scones from the oven and pour the dressing in a bowl for dipping.

? Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 200g young spinach leaves 25g unsalted butter Salt and pepper 225g curd cheese 2 eggs, separated 1 small spring onion, very thinly sliced 50g plain flour Little freshly grated nutmeg Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon Scotch Bonnet chilli dressing: 200g creme fraiche 50g flat-leaf parsley leaves 50g mint leaves 1 Scotch bonnet chilli, top and seeds removed 1/2 spring onion, chopped Juice of 1 unwaxed lime 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Salt and black pepper Starter Fennel sea bass with sauteed courgettes, spinach and garlic

Method: 1 Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan or griddle pan. When the oil is hot, place the fish, skin side down, into the oil. Fry for a few minutes until the skin is coloured. If using a griddle pan, the fish will be ready when it releases easily from the pan. Transfer to a baking tray and add a little salt, fennel and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes until flesh is firm to the touch and translucent.

2 Meanwhile put a little oil in a big frying pan. Place over a high heat and when the oil is hot, add the vegetables, starting with the ones that need cooking the longest. If the courgettes are cut quite small and thin, they will only take a few minutes. The spinach only needs a minute or two to wilt slightly. Add the garlic near the end to give a very light aroma that won't overpower the other veg or the lovely salty, iodine flavour of the fish. The aim is to keep the veg crunchy. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice - just enough to give a background taste.

Serve the fish and vegetables alongside each other immediately.

3 Ingredients: 2-3tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 8 sea bass fillets, washed and dried Salt 8 springs of fennel, torn For sauteed courgettes, spinach and garlic: Extra virgin olive oil, for frying 2 courgettes, thinly sliced 400g spinach leaves 4 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced Salt and freshly ground black pepper Juice of 1/2 unwaxed lemon Kitchen garden summer pudding

INGREDIENTS dessert SERVES 5-6 Method: 1.5kg mixed soft fruits, stalks and hulls removed Seeds of 1 vanilla pod 2tbsp water 1tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 200g golden caster sugar 6-7 thick slices of day-old, good-quality white bread Lightly whipped cream, to serve Small selection of berries, mint leaves and pansies to garnish Icing sugar to dust 1 Put the vanilla seeds in a large pan over a low heat with the water, lemon juice and sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, add the prepared fruit. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

2 Taste to see if you need to add any more sugar. While the fruit is cooking, try not to mix the fruit with a spoon as this can bruise it and make it mushy. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into a large bowl. Reserve the juices. Leave the fruit and juice to cool.

3 Meanwhile, remove the crusts from the bread. Line a 1kg pudding basin with a large sheet of cling film. Now line the basin with bread dipped in the reserved juices. Cut a circle from that will fit the top of the basin and set it aside. Cut the remaining bread into Mars Bar-shaped pieces that are long enough reach from the bottom to the top edge of the basin. Arrange these around the inside of the basin gently.

4 When the fruit has cooled, spoon it the bread-lined basin. Gently press it down so there are no gaps. Place the bread lid on top and gently press it down. Make sure the fruit is completely covered with the bread, then trim off any excess from edges. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the top to cover, then stand the basin on a large plate and weigh the top down with another plate. The juices may run over so the bottom plate is there to keep your fridge clean. Refrigerate overnight.

5 To get the pudding out of the mould, stand over the sink and reverse the basin on to the plate. Remove the basin and the cling film. Wipe away any excess juices, decorate with a few berries, some mint leaves and some pansies, then dust with icing sugar. Serve with a generous dollop of lightly whipped cream.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Sep 2, 2017
Words:1253
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