In the late 1980’s I was invited to the “Cheltenham Ladies College” leavers ball, and memories of that night came flooding back when current head mistress Eve Jardine-Young hit the front pages of The Guardian this week, suggesting her pupils were too stressed out as a result of excessive homework.

Ahhh yes that “Leavers Ball”!  At the beginning of the evening, disposable Kodaks were placed on every table in order that attendees could capture the occasion; as I recall Joe Holley and I spent most of the night photographing our nether regions with as many different camera’s as possible, which I’ll agree was naughty, although I blame our exam schedule and the stress it caused.

I can only imagine how many shades of grey parents would have gone when collecting their photos from the developers…

This week’s recipe is subsequently dedicated to any ladies that lunch, and is a salad of sea bass with potatoes, capers, slow roasted tomatoes and onion.

The tomatoes are scored on the bottom, blanched in boiling water for 30 seconds and then when blistered, the outer skin removed. Once halved, they’re slow cooked in an oven at 130°C for an hour and then used as the base of the dish.  Next, follow the tomatoes with a handful of salad, which has first been dressed in a mixture of the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. The leaves are then topped with the potatoes, capers and a fillet of the fish, which is pan fried on a medium to low heat in rapeseed oil for 90 seconds on each side (non skin side first).

It’s political correctness gone mad and I think kids are turning soft; in my day failure to do prep would result in a good hiding, although now they’d probably be sent to Alton Towers for day.  Mind you given the theme park’s current safety record, I think I’d rather have six of the best.



Salad of Sea Bass with Slow Roasted Tomatoes –

Serves 2

2 sea Bass Fillets 200g each skin on

6 medium sized tomatoes

small handfull of capers

3 large handfuls mixed leaves


For the Potatoes

100g Jersey Royals, sliced, cooked in boiling water for two minutes and then pan fried for 1 minute each side in rapeseed oil on a medium heat


For the onion:

Slice an whole onion, drizzle with olive oil (2 tablespoons), season with alt and pepper and roast in the oven at 130oC for 20 minutes


For the dressing:

2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard