The Perfect Summer Lunch: Sicilian style pasta and rocket salad with caramelised oranges, figs and manchego

It was not my intention to post this. I took the pictures to capture the moment of a beautiful summer’s day, sitting under the dappled shade of my fig tree in my own private bubble with my partner. The food was amazingly delicious and so easy to make that it would be a crime not to share it. The pasta was unexpected; the orange and cinnamon are not something I would usually use in a pasta dish, until now. The recipe is from goodhousekeeping:

The salad recipe is from Melissa Hemsley. The orange was a nice tie in to the pasta, though the figs did not come from the tree we were sitting under!

Sicilian Style Pasta


300g wholewheat spaghetti

400g cherry tomatoes (plus extra to garnish)

finely grated zest and juiceof 1 orange

50ml  olive oil

50g sultanas

5cm piece cinnamon stick

2 oregano sprigs, leaves picked, plus extra to garnish

160 g tin tuna in spring water, drained

large handful rocket    


  1. Put pasta into a large, deep frying pan so it lies flat, breaking it up, if necessary. Add tomatoes, orange zest and juice, oil, sultanas, cinnamon, oregano and some seasoning.
  2. Pour in 750ml (1¼ pint) freshly boiled water from the kettle. Bring up to the boil over high heat, then bubble for about 15min, mixing occasionally, or until the pasta is just tender and there is a nice volume of sauce left.
  3. Mix through tuna and check seasoning. Discard cinnamon. Divide among four bowls and sprinkle with some oregano leaves, rocket and tomatoes.    

Rocket salad with caramelised oranges, figs and manchego


3 oranges

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the tray

50g blanched almonds (or with skins on)

3 ripe figs

50g Manchego or vegetarian alternative, rind removed

1 tbsp clear honey

1 x 120g bag wild rocket

2 medium courgettes, shaved into ribbons, or 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat the grill to high. Peel two of the oranges, slice into 5mm rounds and place on an oiled baking tray. Grill the oranges for 5-7 minutes until they start to brown and are a little soft, but not falling apart. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until golden, then roughly chop them.
  2. Halve the figs or quarter if large. Use a vegetable peeler to make shavings of Manchego.
  3. Squeeze the juice from the remaining orange and whisk with the honey, oil and some seasoning. Spread the rocket over a large serving platter. Top with the figs, caramelised oranges and the courgette ribbons or fennel. Scatter with Manchego shavings, drizzle with the dressing and season with salt and pepper. To serve, scatter with thetoasted chopped almonds.

Olive and Orange Maamools

During lockdown I have had a chance to browse through my extensive collection of cookbooks and revisit some of my favourite recipes. Honey and Co at Home, was one of the books we cooked from at the Borough Market cookbook club. There were so many great recipes in this book, a couple of which I have already blogged. You can click on the link to see the posts: Spinach, egg and filo pie, and  Medjool date, honey and macadamia breakfast loaf. Having just made a rose and semolina cake, I still had some semolina left, so I knew I had most of the ‘tricky’ ingredients for these super tasty maamools. What is particularly pleasing about these tasty treats is the beautifully crumbly pastry and the contrast of the salty olive and fragrant orange. They are surprisingly satisfying and filling and freeze extremely well.


For the orange semolina dough

250g plain flour

30g semolina

1tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

50ml olive oil

50ml vegetable oil

100ml orange juice

For the olive filling

1 tsp dried tarragon

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried mint

zest of 1 orange

30g grated pecorino

130g Kalamata olives

large pinch of black pepper

olive oil, for brushing


  1. Mix the flour with the semolina, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  2. Add the oils with the orange juice and mix to form a light even dough. Wrap in cling film and set aside to rest for 30 minutes (do not chill).
  3. Make the olive filling by blitzing all the ingredients together in a food processor.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C fan/ gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper.
  5. Lightly dust a working surface with flour and roll out the dough to a rectangle of 20 x 30cm with the long edge closest to you.
  6. Scoop half the olive mixture onto the bottom part of the rectangle and press to flatten a little.
  7. Roll the dough to create a log. This should roughly reach the centre of the rolled-out dough. Use a knife to cut the log off, leaving the remaining half of the rectangle on the work surface. Lift the log onto the tray and repeat the process with the remaining dough so that you have two olive filled logs.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the tray for an even bake and bake for another 10 minutes. After this time, remove the logs and brush with olive oil, then return to the oven for a final 3 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little, then use a sharp knife to slice each log into 12-14 pieces.