Nik Sharma’s recipes for roast grape, cheese and walnut salad and lime sorbet with a Thai twist

I’m always amazed by the sheer variety of fruits that exist in nature, each with their own personality. This lime sorbet is robust with the sour taste of citric acid, but also has that delightful, refreshing perfume that is most welcome on a hot summer day. Makrut lime leaves are used in Thai cooking to build citrus flavours in curries, and infusing a few leaves into the base of the sorbet adds a hint of their special aroma. Taking a step away from the citrus is a roast grape salad with hints of fresh herbs, lemon and creamy sheep’s cheese; slices of warm, toasted sourdough with butter are a great way to finish up.

Roast grape salad with cheese, walnuts and baby gem (pictured above)
Grapes with rich, bold flavours like concord go well here; alternatively, try isabella or muscat grapes.

Prep 15 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

300g seedless grapes
75ml extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
60g candied walnuts
4 heads baby gem lettuce, leaves separated
2 tbsp fresh dill
2 tbsp fresh mint
2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
50g soft sheep’s cheese or feta, crumbled

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Lay the grapes on a baking tray, drizzle 15ml olive oil over the top of them and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until they start to burst and char a little, then remove from the oven, tip into a large bowl, along with any drippings from the pan, then leave to rest for five minutes.

Add the walnuts, lettuce and herbs to the grape bowl. In a second small bowl, whisk the vinegar and remaining 60ml olive oil, add half a teaspoon of ground black pepper and season with salt to taste, then drizzle this all over the grapes. Toss to coat, add the crumbled cheese and serve.

Lime and makrut lime leaf sorbet

If you can get your hands on some Australian finger limes, those caviar-like beads of citrus will make a wonderful garnish.

Prep 20 min
Chill 2 hr 30 min+
Cook 10 min
Serves 4

200g sugar
1 tbsp honey
480ml water
4-5 large makrut lime leaves
240ml fresh lime juice
Zest of 2 limes

Dissolve the sugar and honey in the water in a medium saucepan set over a medium-high heat. Crush the lime leaves, add them to the mix, then bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to cool completely.

Stir in the lime juice, then freeze for 30 minutes – if you have the time to spare, leave it overnight in the refrigerator, to develop a stronger flavour. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve, discard the spent leaves, pour the liquid into an ice-cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the mixture to an airtight, freezer-safe container, sprinkle the zest over the frozen sorbet and fold in. Cut a piece of baking paper or plastic wrap, press it down on the surface and cover the container with the lid. (If you don’t own an ice-cream maker, proceed until the lime juice step, then stir in the zest. Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container and freeze for two hours, or until it starts to form ice crystals on the side. Break the crystals with a fork and return it to the freezer. Repeat this process four more times at 30-minute intervals.)

Transfer the sorbet to the fridge for at least 30 minutes to soften before serving.