High Summer Delights

This season, Turkish-born and Hong Kong-based Soho House chef Işıl Okçu shares two of  her favourite recipes for high summer.
Drawing on her inspiration from her culinary experiences in New York, Istanbul, Berlin and Lyon, you will normally find Işıl Okçu styling a table of intricate delicacies, baking an endless array of tarts or arranging bouquets of flowers for gatherings of all kinds. The chef and food stylist took some time out from her busy day to whip up two of her go-to dishes.


This whipped ricotta with grilled peaches makes for the best summer breakfast or appetizer. Perfect for hosting, grazing or snacking on the beach. Easy, delicious and fresh! Just what summer needs…


200g whipped ricotta
20g double cream
2 peaches per person
3 tbsp. local honey mixed with truffle agave
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla bean
75g pumpkin seed
100g basil
3 cloves garlic
100g parmesan cheese
Handful of pea shoots
Pinch of sea salt

The Ricotta

In a food processor or blender, add ricotta, double cream and sea salt. Blend briefly to combine, continue processing on high speed until the ricotta is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.

The Peaches

Combine the lemon juice, vanilla bean, honey and olive oil. Add the sliced peaches and turn to coat in the honey mixture. Grill until peaches are tender for about 2 minutes, brushing with the honey mixture halfway through.

The Pesto

Place the basil leaves into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times. Add the garlic and parmesan and pulse several times more.

While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady, small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly while the processor is running will help it to emulsify and keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor.


Scoop and spread the ricotta into a wide, shallow bowl and drizzle with the honey mixture and fresh pesto. Plate the peaches on top and garnish with the pea shoots and basil leaves.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


The perfect bread for warm evening gatherings or beach-day picnic. Top with summery vegetables, herbs, fruits or edible flowers.


5000g pizza flour
3500ml water
125g salt
10g yeast, fresh
125g starter flour
625g semolina
20g sugar
40g olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Handful of cherry tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil
Crushed garlic

Sprinkle the yeast on top of warm water (50–60°C) and give a quick stir. Let it sit for 5–10 minutes until the yeast is foamy.

Set the mixer to allow speed and gradually add the flour and salt. Increase the speed to medium-low and continue mixing the dough for 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky and isn’t pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add in an extra 1/4 cup flour while it is mixing.

First dough rise: remove dough from the mixing bowl and use your hands to shape it into a ball. Grease a mixing bowl with olive oil then place the dough ball back in the bowl and cover it with a damp towel. Place in a warm location – I set mine by a sunny window – and let the dough rise for 45–60 minutes, or until it has nearly doubled in size. Place the dough into the fridge overnight.

Second dough rise: turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll it out into a large circle or rectangle until the dough is about 1/2-inch thick. Cover the dough again with the damp towel and let it continue to rise for another 60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 200°C. Transfer the dough to a large parchment-covered baking sheet and use your fingers to poke deep dents all over the surface of the dough. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil evenly all over the top and sprinkle with the fresh rosemary, cherry tomatoes, garlic and sea salt.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the dough is slightly golden and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with a little more olive oil if desired. Slice, and serve warm.

Discover Isil’s dishes at Soho House Hong Kong and follow her wild-inspired recipes @isilokcu