Chantelle Nicholson serves up a homemade ricotta recipe with romesco sauce, made with toasted Brazil nuts and almonds for a slight twist on the classic. A crunchy, nutty rye cracker and crisp fennel bring plenty of crunch to the dish.


  • 400ml whole milk
  • 50ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 100g wholemeal rye flour
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 40g pumpkin seeds, chopped
  • 100g piquillo peppers, drained
  • 20g almonds, toasted
  • 30g Brazil nuts, toasted
  • 40g olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 dash sherry vinegar
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested


  1. Bring the milk, cream, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, rosemary, bay leaf and seasoning to the boil in a saucepan. Add the vinegar, whisk well and turn the heat down to low. Allow the mixture to split then pour through a sieve lined with cheesecloth sat over a jug to collect the liquid. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Mix together the rye flour, agave nectar, sesame oil and pumpkin seeds with seasoning and 50g water to form a dough. Rest for 20 minutes. Roll out very thinly between two sheets of parchment paper and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden and crisp.
  3. Place the piquillo peppers, almonds, Brazil nuts, olive oil, paprika, parsley, tomato purée and sherry vinegar in a blender and pulse until combined, then season to taste. The sauce should be well mixed but not totally smooth.
  4. Dress the fennel with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and the lemon juice and zest. Place a mound of romesco sauce on a plate and dot with the ricotta. Add the fennel salad and serve with the rye crackers.

Recipe by Chantelle Nicholson, courtesy of

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