The other day I was reminiscing about my days in Paris prior to acquiring my microwave-sized oven (as seen on The Little Paris Kitchen). If you thought that studio apartment was small, its predecessor was positively minute. Catching up with an old friend from Paris in Tokyo last week he reminded me of the days I would hurry over to his flat on Sundays to make the most of his luxurious full-sized oven, and bake away the day.
I, of all people, fully acknowledge there’s something special about the warm crumb of a freshly baked cake and the aromatic anticipation as it cools on the wire rack. But I am also acutely aware of the fact that some people only have intermittent access to a functioning oven, which is when no-bake desserts, raw food or simple stovetop cooking comes in very handy.
Among the great cakes in the no-baking hall of fame is cheesecake. Yes there is of course New York style, dense and delicious, but I have a penchant for a quick refrigerated number like my No-Bake Berry Swirl Cheesecake.
You’ll notice quite a few of these style recipes in my culinary repertoire, lots of which date back to my days in a cramped kitchen. But they also stem from the principle of savouring the season’s bounty; I’m often hesitant to cook produce when it’s at its peak of deliciousness. Sometimes the best ingredients are wasted on cooking and a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil is as good as it gets, whether it’s a cep plucked from the earth hours earlier, a clutch of sweet Isle of Wight tomatoes or even a succulent and squidgy fig. And that’s not even touching on the health benefits.
A tomato gazpacho is a jazzed up version of this very principle, try my recent recipe from my Evening Standard column.
Last month, I was in Sweden where I picked lots of apples and made a simple, no-cook dish of Apple, Cheese and Walnut tartare. Watch the video below to see me in action…
This Rawsome Life (which is a beautiful blog) has some clever ideas for raw desserts: the Salted Caramel and Sesame Chocolate Cream Tarts particularly took my fancy.
Summer rolls are an excellent carrier for delicious raw vegetables and make a great oven-free starter. Try this mini tutorial from White on Rice Couple.
My chilled courgette and yoghurt soup is ready in a matter of minutes and is great for lunch or dinner.