This week, Keith Shearer, Group Executive Chef at Macdonald Hotels & Resorts offers up a delicious fresh dish to our recipe column. From their Steak Houses to their Surf & Turf restaurants, there is an enticing selection to choose from. This recipe is perfect for a summer light bite or as a healthy starter to wow your guests!

Buffalo Mozzarella, Cherry Tomato, Smoked Aubergine Puree, Olive Puree, Basil Shoots

4 portions


200 grams Buffalo Mozzarella

300 grams Cherry Vine tomatoes

5 grams Micro Basil

40 grams Olive Tapenade

40 mls Basil Oil

80 grams Smoked aubergine puree


• Wash and trim cherry vine tomatoes. Leave at room temperature for best flavour.

• Drain and tear the buffalo mozzarella

• Take two tea spoons and quenelle the olive tapenade

• Add a tablespoon of the smoked aubergine puree to the plate, then spread across the plate, using a small palette knife of bread knife would also work.

• Start to assemble the tomatoes, mozzarella, olive tapenade onto the plate

• Adding the picked micro basil, drizzle with fresh basil oil. Season with salt and freshly milled pepper.

Olive Tapenade

200g whole black olives, preferably niçoise or kalamata

3 tbsp capers, well rinsed if packed in salt

2 anchovies, well rinsed if packed in salt, roughly chopped

1 fat clove of garlic, crushed

2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

Juice of ½ lemon

5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Remove the stones from the olives with a pitter or a sharp knife.

Put in a blender with the capers, anchovies, garlic and thyme, and whizz to a rough puree.

Squeeze in the lemon juice and, with the motor still running, add the oil.

Alternatively, pound the garlic, anchovies, capers and thyme together in a pestle and mortar until smooth, followed by the olives, leaving these slightly more chunky, then gradually add the oil and lemon juice, pounding between pours.

Taste, and add pepper and more lemon juice if necessary.

Smoked Aubergine Puree

4 portions

2 Aubergines

10 grams Garlic (peeled and thinly sliced)

5 Grams Thyme (picked)

10 Grams Smoked Powder

20 Grams Tahini Paste

40 Mls Extra Virgin Olive oil

½ Lemon


• Split the aubergine length ways, score the flesh. Add the sliced garlic in the scores.

• Heat a pan to scorching temperature, drizzle the aubergines with olive oil. Place the aubergine flesh side down in the pan. Fry until aubergine starts to caramelise and become dark. Don’t be afraid to make them black, this is what will help develop a Smokey flavour.

• Once the aubergine is black, remove from the pan, place on an oven tray, sprinkle with Maldon salt and picked thyme. Cook at 180*C for 40 minutes.

• Remove form the oven, scape the aubergine flesh into a blender, discard the skins. add the smoke powder. Puree until smooth.

• Now add the tahini paste, juice of half a lemon. Puree one more time, remove from the blender and allow to cool.

• Transfer into an air tight container.

About Keith Shearer

Keith Shearer spent 17 years as group executive chef with Malmaison and Hotel du ViN, and then joined Macdonald Hotels & Resorts in the same role.

He is involved in devising new food concepts, menu creation and training across the group, which owns and manages 42 hotels in the UK. Restaurants throughout the company hold a total of 45-AA-rosettes. They range from the casual steak concept, the Scottish Steak Club, Surf & Turf restaurants and many more.