I love the casual simplicity of Australian food writer Donna Hay and if you haven’t yet seen her website, books or magazine I do urge you to do so. Her recipes are simple yet sophisticated and are illustrated with chic, elegant photography. A favourite treat is to visit our hideaway lunchtime spot, Café Caesar; a tiny family run Italian restaurant (Avenue Carnot, right next to Arc de Triomphe) but only after a visit to WH Smiths on Rue de Rivoli to pick up a couple of magazines then sauntering along Champs Elysee to lunch. Admittedly, stores such as Banana Republic and Massimo Dutti do slow down progress but, this is a time for unadulterated self-indulgence.

Yesterday’s supper was inspired by Food & Wine Magazine (March 2014), Swordfish Skewers with Salsa Verde that was accompanied by a version of Donna Hay’s warm tomato and mozzarella salad, Caprese Salad.


Making the skewers, I replaced about half of the parsley with basil leaves and reduced the quantity of garlic to a more social level and working with the confines of my local fish counter, I substituted a chunky loin of cod for swordfish. The resulting skewers burst with flavour; a great recipe – light food superbly balanced by a high kick of flavour.

Donna’s salad calls for prosciutto wrapped tomatoes that are drizzled in oil and oven roasted before serving with a chunk of mozzarella and basil leaves. The cheese adds richness and complimented the complete dish. Instead of prosciutto I used swathes of wafer thin pancetta and it worked a treat though, next time I shall increase the intensity of the basil; thin the salsa verde (skewer marinade) with a little olive oil then sprinkle over the tomatoes. Not only does this bolster the flavour but, it also provides rich emerald speckled puddles that are perfect for dipping chewy morsels of Baguette Tradition.