2 Paul Ainsworth Recipes To Try This Summer

By Ellie Smith

2 weeks ago

A glimpse inside Paul Ainsworth's new cookbook


One of Cornwall’s top chefs, Paul Ainsworth runs an array of foodie spots across the region – including the beloved Padstow Townhouse and a cookery school. And now he’s adding another string to his bow: a debut cookbook titled For the Love of Food. The book charts Ainsworth’s culinary journey – from growing up in his parents’ guesthouse to learning his craft from Gordon Ramsay to winning his first Michelin star. Here, we share two standout recipes from the cookbook.

Paul Ainsworth Recipes

Vanilla Pavlova with Passion Fruit Cream, Pineapple & Mint Salsa

This pavlova is a highlight on our summer menu at The Mariners and, in my opinion, the epitome of pavlova perfection. The combination of fresh pineapple and passion fruit alongside the whipped cream and marshmallow-like texture inside the meringue is dreamy. Let’s not overlook the crucial role played by the mint, which adds an extra layer of freshness.

Ingredients:

Serves 8

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 330g caster sugar
  • 1½ tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lime

For the pineapple and mint salsa

  • 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and diced
  • ½ tsp fresh or dried vanilla seeds
  • 4 passion fruit
  • 12 mint leaves

For the passion fruit cream

  • 125g crème fraîche
  • 20g icing sugar
  • 150ml double cream

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 110°C fan.
  2. First, make the meringue. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and vanilla and whisk together until light and fluffy.
  3. Now start to slowly add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue whisking on high speed until the meringue forms soft peaks, then stop the mixer. Sift in the cornflour and, using a spatula, fold it through the fluffy egg white. Now add the lemon juice and gently fold it through the meringue.
  4. Transfer the meringue to a piping bag (or a large spoon will also work here) and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Pipe or spoon the mixture onto the paper in 10 cm domed circles – the mixture will make roughly 8 meringues. Bake for 55 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the pavlovas in the oven to cool and dry.
  5. To make the pineapple and mint salsa, take a mixing bowl and add the pineapple and vanilla. Cut the passion fruit in half and scrape out the fruit into a small flour sieve. Retain 1 tablespoon of the juice for the passion fruit cream (see below) and add the rest to the salsa, along with the passion fruit seeds. Chop up some of the mint but reserve a few leaves to decorate.
  6. Now give the salsa a good stir.
  7. Next, make the passion fruit cream. Take a mixing bowl and add the crèmefraîche, icing sugar, reserved 1 tablespoon of passion fruit juice and whisk together to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until you have soft peaks (thick Greek yoghurt consistency). Once the cream is whipped, fold through the passion fruit mixture and whip until stiff. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
  8. To serve, place all the pavlovas onto a large platter. Divide the passion fruit cream between the pavlovas in neat dollops, then spoon over the pineapple and mint salsa. Finish with the lime zest and the reserved mint leaves. 
  9. Stand back, look up and say: ‘How ya like me now?!’

French toast with glazed peaches

French Toast with Vanilla-Glazed Peaches & Cinnamon Sugar

What makes French toast so brilliant, for me, is the versatility of either making it savoury with some nice bacon or sausages, or sweet like this version. Peaches are only in season for a short time, and whether you use the white or yellow variety, they are an absolute winner with French toast. It makes the ultimate summer brunch. This recipe uses brioche, but whatever bread you’re using, staler is better because it holds more texture when soaking up the egg. You name it – I’ve made this recipe with all kinds of toast: supermarket sliced bread, artisan loaves and even croissants.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 4 large eggs
  • 200ml whole milk
  • 30g icing sugar
  • Pinch of vanilla powder or a few drops of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 4 thick-cut slices of brioche (the staler the better)
  • 20g unsalted butter, for cooking

For the caramel peaches

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 4 ripe peaches, stones removed and cut into quarters
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds removed (vanilla powder or vanilla in syrup will also work)
  • 1 star anise
  • 60g demerara sugar

To serve

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 20g icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C fan.
  2. First, make the caramel peaches. Place an ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter. When the butter is foaming and golden in colour, gently add the peaches with the cinnamon stick, salt, vanilla pod and seeds and star anise. Lightly baste the peaches, glazing them in the butter and spices until they start to soften, then sprinkle over the demarara sugar and baste again. The sugar will incorporate with the butter, start to caramelize and become butterscotch.
  3. Keep turning the peaches in the caramel with a spoon, being careful as they will be very hot, letting them soak up all that flavour, then transfer the frying pan to the oven and cook for about 15 minutes until the peaches are tender. Remove from the oven once soft and let the peaches relax and soak up that lovely caramel in the pan.
  4. Now make the French toast mixture. Place the eggs, milk, icing sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Slice the brioche into 1 cm-thick slices and soak in the egg mixture for 2 minutes.
  5. Place a frying pan over a medium–high heat and cook the butter until brown, then place the spiced, eggy bread into the pan and fry until lightly caramelized on both sides – this will take 3–4 minutes until the toast is firm to the touch and golden brown.
  6. To finish, add the cinnamon and icing sugar to a bowl and mix well. Cut the French toast in half and place on plates. Spoon over the roasted peaches and drizzle with some extra peach caramel. Lightly dust with the cinnamon sugar and serve.

Recipe from For the Love of Food by Paul’s Ainsworth (Pavilion Books). Image credit Issy Croker.