“This is the most divine, indulgent and irresistible pud,” says Prue Leith.
“Don’t skimp on the cream or jam. Better forgo it altogether than try to make it healthy!
“It’s best made with ripe fresh apricots. If using canned fruit, roast them anyway – it will deepen their flavour.”
Apricots, almonds and clotted cream on English muffin
2 large apricots, or 3 small ones
40g butter, half of it melted
2 tsp caster sugar
1 English muffin, split and toasted
2 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
1 small pot of clotted cream
1. Get the grill as hot as possible.
2. Halve the apricots, remove the stones and put the halves, stoned side up, on a grill tray. Brush them with the melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar.
3. Grill the apricots, not too close to the elements or gas flame, for eight to 10 minutes until brown round the edges.
4. Meanwhile, butter the toasted muffin halves and put them on warm plates. Spread them with apricot jam and share the apricot halves between them.
5. Sprinkle with the almonds and serve with clotted cream.
Tip: You can toast the flaked almonds in the oven under the grill tray at the same time as roasting the apricots, but they burn in a flash, so be careful. Safer, probably, to stand over them while you gently turn them in a frying pan, or toast for three minutes in the microwave, giving them a stir halfway.
Chicken tikka with yoghurt on naan
“Chicken tikka has long been one of the UK’s most loved flavours and makes a great sandwich, pitta or wrap,” says Leith. “But this is what it was born for – to eat with hot naan or chapati.”
100ml plain yogurt
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp tikka paste
4 raw skinless and boneless chicken thighs
Oil for the tray
2 small naans, or chapatis
Butter for spreading
½ mild red chilli, finely chopped
A few mint or coriander leaves (or both)
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 240C/fan 220C/gas mark 9.
2. Mix the yogurt, lemon juice and tikka paste together and reserve half of it for later. Turn the chicken thighs in the rest and spread them out on an oiled baking tray. Roast for about 35 minutes until brown and cooked through (a skewer should glide through the flesh easily). Slice each thigh into three.
3. Warm the naans or chapatis briefly in the microwave or toaster and spread with butter.
4. Pile the chicken on to the breads, seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Top with a dollop of the reserved yogurt, the chilli and herbs.
Tomatoes with English pesto on toasted focaccia
“I think I prefer this English version of pesto even to the classic Italian basil one. It’s lighter and more versatile,” says Leith. “It’s good with pasta, on pizza, or just as flavouring for salad dressing, or indeed to serve with grilled chicken or lamb chops.”
2 squares of focaccia
4-6 big slices of ripe tomato
For the pesto:
30g bunch of parsley
1 garlic clove, crushed
30g cheddar cheese, finely grated
75ml rapeseed oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas mark 6. Put the walnuts on a baking tray and into the hot oven for five minutes to toast. Or toast them in the microwave for five minutes, giving them a stir halfway through.
2. Chop the stalks of the parsley, which have a lot of flavour you don’t want to waste, with a sharp knife. (Chopping in the machine can result in stringy bits – better to start by hand.) Put them, the parsley leaves and garlic into a blender and chop briefly.
3. Then add the Cheddar and walnuts and blend again. At this point, you will need to add the oil to loosen the paste. When everything is in, blitz to a smooth-ish sauce and season with salt and pepper.
4. Toast or grill the focaccia pieces to warm them through, then spread with the pesto and overlap the tomato slices on top.
Tip: The pesto will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge if stored in a jar with a little more oil on top to keep the air out. But it will lose its brilliant colour, sadly. To make it vegan, use vegan Cheddar or any other hard vegan cheese.
‘Bliss On Toast’ by Prue Leith (published by Bloomsbury, £14.99; photography by Haarala Hamilton), available now.