Monday, 21 May 2012

Heirloom Tomato and Basil Salad With Mozzerella Ice Cream and a Tomato And Lemon Thyme Tea

From today until Sunday 27th May it’s National Vegetarian Week in the UK, which aims to raise awareness of inspirational vegetarian food and the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle.

As we’re fast approaching Royal Ascot we’ve taken this opportunity to highlight a popular vegetarian dish prepared by our Head Chef Gemma Amor which is served during the Royal Meeting. 

"Sometimes vegetarian options appear an afterthought on menus but at Ascot we deliver exciting, vibrant and innovative dishes whatever your dietary requirements. A particular favourite of mine from the current Royal Ascot menus is the Heirloom Tomato and Basil Salad with Mozzarella Ice Cream topped with a Lemon and Thyme Tea. A twist on a classic dish the ice cream is particularly tasty!"
Gemma Amor, Head Chef

Please find below the recipe on how to make this tasty vegetarian dish:

Serves 8

Mozzarella Ice Cream
5oz buffalo mozzarella
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (you can add more sugar later, to taste)
4 egg yolks
A few basil leaves
A dash of salt and pepper, to taste

Cut up the mozzarella into small pieces. Put them in a blender with the cream and milk. Put the blended mixture in a saucepan on medium heat.

While the cream mixture is heating, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt and pepper.

Once the cheese/cream mixture is hot but not boiling, pour about 1/2 cup of the hot cream over the eggs and sugar to temper the eggs.

When the cream mixture almost reaches boiling, stir in the eggs and sugar. Cook over medium heat for another 3 minutes or so. After 3 minutes, taste the mixture to see if you need to add any more sugar. Just keep in mind that the final product (ice cream) will not be quite as sweet as the hot cream mixture.

Take the cream mixture off the heat and let it sit for about 15 minutes. When the mixture has cooled a bit, throw it back in the blender with about 6 or 7 basil leaves. Pulse the blender until the basil is fully incorporated.

If you have a strainer or food mill you might want to strain the mixture before you put it in the refrigerator. If you don’t have a strainer, just pour the mixture directly into a bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

When the ice cream base has fully cooled, follow the instructions on the ice cream maker and voila! You will have mozzarella ice cream.

Tomato and Lemon Thyme Tea

10lb Ripe tomatoes
1 large bunch of basil
2 tbsp of salt
1 bunch lemon thyme

Wash tomatoes under cold water and then dry. Cut tomatoes in to quarters then add to picked basil and season with salt.

Prepare colander with muslin about 3 layers of the cloth pour cold water over so that it is damp. Place colander in a deep bowl so that it catches the liquids when draining.

Blend the tomatoes and basil on high speed for 30 seconds then place in to the colander now cover and place in the fridge over night.

The next day, discard the pulp of the tomatoes from the colander and you will have left in the bowl the tomato water (Please note you may need to place onto the stove to reduce and intensify the flavour of the water). If you are happy with the taste then add the lemon thyme to infuse when serving.

Tomato Vinaigrette 
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 small (4oz) tomato, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard with seeds
1 small garlic clove, crushed with salt

In blender, combine all ingredients; blend just until puréed.

Transfer dressing to a bowl or jar. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.

Mix well before serving.

Tomato Garnish

500g Small Heirloom tomatoes yellow and red
1 ball of mozzarella

Place pan of water on to boil.  When boiling add the tomatoes and cook until the skins start to split.  Take the tomatoes out and place into iced water and when cold peel the skins from them. Once peeled, place on to a cloth to dry, slice the mozzarella into small disc place to one side.

To serve

Place a slice of mozzarella in the middle of the bowl, on top place 2 red tomatoes and 2 yellow tomatoes; around this place a couple of teaspoons of the tomato vinaigrette, then add a small ball of the ice cream on the top, garnish with baby basil cress and balsamic syrup. Place tomato water into a glass tea pot to serve.

To book a table during Royal Ascot, call 0844 346 0346, visit or email

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