A cracking time

Some things simply require repetition to master.

Trial and error, practice makes perfect etc.

There is nothing this applies more to than national lockdowns… and crème brûlées made during national lockdowns.

Drawing inspiration from a simpler time spent in the hills surrounding lake Garda, this pistachio crème brûlée is an ideal showpiece dessert that requires a touch of effort but can be prepared far in advance.

Jeanette – Oye mamà, Oye papà
Helena Deland – Pale
HNNY – Kindness
Action Bronson – Golden Eye

Shopping list (serves 6):
Double cream x 400ml
Egg yolks x 4
Golden caster sugar x 60g
Pistachio kernels (unsalted) x 60g
Vanilla bean paste x 1/2 tbsp
Raspberry sorbet to serve
Ramekins (10-12cm) x 6


Start by soaking your pistachios in boiled water for at least one hour.

Set your oven to 150 degrees celsius.
Remove the nuts from the water, and blitz well until you have a paste. Add a touch of the leftover water to loosen it if needs be.

In large saucepan, add the cream, pistachio paste and vanilla paste. Increase the heat gently until just boiled, stirring frequently. Take off the heat and set aside to infuse for 30 minutes before sieving.

In a separate mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and egg yolks. Add the pistachio/cream mixture and mix well.

Fill your ramekins three quarters of way up with the mixture. Add these ramekins to an oven dish, filling said dish half way with water to make a bain-marie. Bake for 20 minutes so that they still have a slight wobble. They will continue to cook as they cool.

Once cooled, placed in the fridge to cool completely.

When the moment arrives, cover the top of each crème brûlée with caster sugar and use a cook’s torch to caramelise each one.

Serve with raspberry sorbet, if you like.



Enjoy X

Killing me Koftly

You could be forgiven for feeling a touch of déjà vu. It’s almost like we’ve all been here before..

Luckily this time you can ride out the second series of Lockdown with some beetroot koftas and a mint & lime dressing.

Ingredients (serves 6):
Cooked beetroot (grated) x 600g
Chickpeas (drained) x 400g
Harissa paste x 2 tbsp
Large garlic cloves (minced) x 3
sumac x 2 tsp
Fresh coriander (finely chopped) x 1 handful
Onion (finely chopped) x 1
Zest of 2 limes

Mint salsa:
Fresh mint leaves x 25g
Fresh coriander leaves x 25g
Spinach leaves (torn up) x 12
Fresh ginger (chopped) x 1 tsp
Greek yogurt x 2 tbsp
Lime juice x 1 tbsp


Start by squeezing as much liquid out of your grated beetroot as possible. Leave in a colander for five minutes or so to drain.

Fry your onion gently with some rapeseed oil, add your garlic and cook slowly until soft. Add a pinch of salt and leave to one side.

Add your drained chickpeas to a mixing bowl with the beetroot. Once cooled slightly, add the onion and garlic. Add your spices and lime zest.

Blitz with a hand blender until the mixture comes together and is malleable. Mix in the coriander and another good pinch of salt. At this point I’d leave the mixture in the fridge to cool for a couple of hours. This will make it easier to shape a bit later.



For the dressing, blitz all the ingredients until bright green and smooth. Season to taste.

When the time arrives, roll your beetroot mixture into small koftas. Add a touch of gram flour (normal flour will do) if its a bit wet still.

Set a large frying pan over a medium-low heat and add the koftas to the pan in batches, cooking gently until the sides have coloured nicely, and then keep warm. This should take no more than 10-15 mins.

Serve with the mint dressing alongside your favourite dips and flatbreads.



Enjoy! X

Window gazin’, duck bastin’

If you can find some time between making sourdough loaves and baking banana bread, I’m offering up a relatively simple duck, pea puree and tamarind sauce dish to incorporate into your lockdown lunch menus.

Here’s a nice mix by the folks at Gorilla vs Bear. Titled ‘Sunday Mix’, it feels pretty appropriate on any day of the week, given we are in what feels like a month of Sundays..

 Gorilla vs Bear Sunday Morning Mix


Ingredients (serves 4):
Large duck breast x 2
Pak choi x 2
Frozen peas x 600g
Sauce:
Shallots (finely chopped) x 2
Carrot (finely chopped) x 1
Garlic cloves (minced) x 2
Fresh ginger (grated) x 3 tsp
Star anise (crushed) x 1
Ketjap manis 50g
Tamarind paste 50g
Madeira 100ml
Chicken stock 300ml


 Start by salting your duck breast on the skin side. Leave to chill in the fridge for up to 5 hours.

When ready, remove the meat from the fridge and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with kitchen paper and set aside to come to room temperature.

For the sauce, fry your onion, carrot, star anise, and garlic on a medium heat until well browned. Add your ginger, stir well and lower the heat. Deglaze with your madeira, heat for 5-10 minutes until it resembles a syrup.

Add the remaining sauce ingredients, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste. Remove from the heat and sieve. Keep aside and keep warm.

Place your peas in a pot of vegetable stock, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove and strain the peas, and blitz to a puree. Add a squeeze of lemon. Set aside.

Place your duck breasts skin side down in a cold frying pan. Gradually increase the heat from low to medium-high over 5 minutes, slowly rendering the fat. Continue to heat for another 8-10 minutes until skin is crisp and golden, basting frequently. Turn your breast and keep the heat on medium for another 5 minutes.

Remove and leave breasts to rest for 6 minutes.

In the same pan on a high heat, cook and baste your chopped pak choi in the salty duck fat for 2 minutes. Slice your breasts in two. Serve alongside the pak choi, puree and drizzle with the sauce.

Duck, Pea Purée, Tamarind

Enjoy! X.

Lockdown legumes

It’s only during such testing times, that we realise our true hobbies.

Bars, restaurants and that sweet, sweet unnecessary travel, seemingly some of those we miss most.

Therefore escapism is a must at the moment. I know many of you dream of a vegan paradise, where the rivers flow with oat milk, and the mountains are made of smoked tofu…


You can visit this place, if only fleetingly, with a creamy cavalo nero risotto, served with crispy leaves, and dashing of your finest olive oil.

On your next toilet roll run you’ll be buying (serves 4):
Arborio rice x 400g
Cavolo nero x 400g
Large white onion (very finely diced) x 1/2
Large garlic cloves (minced) x 2
Dry white wine x 200ml
Vegetable stock x 600ml
Frozen peas x 1 handful
Good quality olive oil to finish


Sofia Kourtesis – Sarita Colonia

Pender Street Steppers – Our Time (Dub)


Wash your hands.

In large frying pan or pot, start by frying off your onion on a medium heat in a glug of oil for 5 minutes. Season with a dash of salt and leave on a low heat.

Chop up your cavalo nero, and keep a handful to the side. Place the rest in a pan with your hot stock and keep on a high heat for 8 or so minutes. Turn the heat off, and throw in your peas.

Whilst retaining the stock, transfer the leaves and peas to a blender, adding another glug of good olive oil, a touch more salt, and blitz well until smooth.

Now add the garlic and rice to your onion, turn the heat up to medium. Season well.
Fry for around another 8 minutes. Now add your wine and continue to heat until almost entirely reduced.

Gradually add your stock on a medium heat, stirring continuously, for around 20 minutes. When the rice is soft and the texture is creamy, knock the heat off. Add your green puree and stir well.

Put the handful of cavalo nero you kept aside on a baking tray and leave in a hot oven (200c) for 5 minutes, until crisp.

Serve together with the risotto, and a generous dash of your favourite olive oil.

Cavolo Nero Risotto

Enjoy! x

Bucking the trend

I would like to think of this as more of a public service announcement.

A gentle reminder that, this year, you don’t to suffer dry turkey meat on Christmas day.
Besides, there is more than enough tradition wrapped up in your pigs-in-blankets to make up for the removal of said bird. Not to mention those universally-adored brussel sprouts…

I present to you a simple yet stunning alternative.

Roasted rack of venison.

It’s been the centrepiece of my Christmas for two years on the bounce. It requires minimal prep and the results are some of the most tender meat you are likely to eat this year.


Don’t Oho – COEO

Men I Trust – Found Me

Men I Trust – Pierre

CHROMATICS – Sound of Silence


What you’ll need (serves 6):
Six bone rack of venison (french-trimmed) x 1
Juniper berries
All spice
Fresh thyme

Game jus:
Large shallots (finely diced) x 4
Fresh thyme
Fresh rosemary
All-spice
Port/Masala Wine (or other sweet dessert wine) x 100ml
Good quality game or chicken stock x 300ml


Pour yourself a glass of something cold and bubbly.

Set your oven to 100 degrees celsius.

Using a pestle & mortar, mix together the juniper berries with salt & pepper. Melt a knob of butter, and add into it the spice mix with a generous handful of fresh thyme. Leave to cool and then apply generously to the meat.

Using a skillet or hot frying pan, brown the rack evenly.

Place the meat on a roasting tray in the centre of the oven and roast for 90 minutes.

Remove and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.

In the meantime

Pour yourself and anyone in the vicinity another glass of something cold and bubbly.

Fry your shallots in a generous helping of butter, with fresh rosemary and a pinch of all-spice. Add your dessert wine and reduce by a half. Add your stock, then season to taste, add a handful of chopped fresh thyme and reduce further until a silky consistency.

Sieve and keep warm.

Bring together with other obligatory components of your Christmas meal, another glass of something bubbly, and..

Rack of Venison

Enjoy! x

A fruitful catch

I once read about a monkfish and grapefruit dish, which I never got the chance to research properly until recently.

With some tweaking, I substituted the fish for scallops. The dish itself however could still work as main course with monkfish (or other meaty white fish).

I found that scallops with grapefruit and avocado purée worked perfectly in the format of a starter, or small plate.


Longo – Ditongo

Prins Emanuel – Seaside View

Gorilla Man – Condry Ziqubu


What you’ll need (serves 4):

Fresh scallops x 8
Spicy chorizo (finely cubed) x 50g
Grapefruit (peeled and finely diced) x 1
Large ripe avocado x 1
Large shallot (finely diced) x 2
Garlic clove (grated) x 1

Juice of half a lime
Cayenne Pepper x 1/2 tsp
Good quality extra virgin olive oil x 15ml
Fresh parsley (finely chopped)
Fresh coriander (finely chopped)
Pea shoots/watercress


IMG_8774

Start with your purée. Blitz your avocado with 1/2 tsp of coriander, the lime juice, cayenne pepper, olive oil, 50ml of water and 1/2 tsp of salt. Pass through a fine sieve, and set aside.

Fry your shallots and garlic with your chorizo on a medium heat, drawing out the oil and spices from the meat, around 8-10 minutes or so. Add 1/2 tsp of your parsley and coriander, along with the grapefruit. Mix well, and remove from the heat.

Heat a knob of butter in a large frying pan, and fry each side of your scallops on a very high heat for 90 seconds on each side, and then leave to rest a couple of minutes.

Leave to rest for 2 minutes.

Serve on top of the grapefruit and chorizo, with the avocado purée alongside. Finish with cress or pea shoots, if you like.

IMG_8771

Enjoy! x

New tricks

An easy and stress-roast recipe. Have alongside your favourite greens for a simple and healthy meal with leftovers you’ll want to eat all week.

Roast chicken, celeriac and pearled spelt.


Nitai Hershkovits – Flyin’ Bamboo

The Secret Whistle – A Talk Inside the Piano

ABC – Park Hye Jin



A special shoutout to Helena Jenkinson, for the beautifully handmade plates.

HSJ Ceramics

Shopping list: (serves 4)

Whole large chicken x 1
Celeriac (finely cubed) x 2
Large white onion (finely diced) x 1/2
Pealed spelt x 300g
Garlic cloves (grated) x 4
Zest of 1 lemon
Chicken stock x 400ml

Spinach
Fresh thyme
Fresh basil
Good quality Italian extra virgin olive oil


Set your oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Mix together 200ml of regular olive oil with your garlic, a large handful of thyme, the lemon zest and black pepper. Cover your bird well with the oil, sprinkling generously with sea salt.

Place in your oven for 15 minutes. At this point knock the temp down to 180, and roast for another 95 minutes. Baste once half-way through, and once again 15 minutes before you take the chicken out.

Leave to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

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During this time you can fry your celeriac in a pan on a medium-high heat, until just starting to colour. Add your onion and continue on the heat for another 5 minutes. Add your pearled spelt, and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

At this point, begin to gradually add your chicken stock. Treating it like a risotto, stirring regularly, add more fresh thyme.

Season well throughout.

Before serving, stir in big handfuls of fresh basil and your spinach.

Serve with a drizzle of your best Italian olive oil.

Chicken Celeriac

Enjoy! x

Soft pillows

I can’t decide what takes centre stage in this dish.
The fish is as delicious as it is versatile. However, every time I have those freshly made gnocchi pillows, they undoubtedly take a starring role as well.

Though not particularly demanding of a high level skill, this trout, gnocchi & prawns does require a few hours of your time in preparation.

The resulting dish is worthy of every second.


You’re going to want a soundtrack to this one.

La Cadenza – Rudy’s Midnight Machine

Saxyness – Never Dull

Ocean City – Pacific Coliseum

Dust – Broods

50 Ways to Leave your Lover – Paul Simon


What you’ll need: (serves 4)
Trout fillet portions x 4
large tiger prawns x 4
large white onion x 1
Carrot x 1
Large leek (finely diced) x 1
Garlic cloves x 4
Samphire  x 70g
Lemon x 1/4
Single cream x 2 tbsp
Potatoes x 500g
Plain flour x 400g
Eggs x 2
Dry white wine x 200ml

Tomato purée
Smoke paprika
Bay leaves
Fresh thyme
Lemon zest
Butter


The Stock

Roughly chop your onion and carrot, and in a deep saucepan fry them in a glug of oil over a medium-high heat for 10 minutes until completely softened.

Remove the head and shells of your prawns, roughly chop, and set aside.
Cover and store the flesh in the fridge.

IMG_8864

Add 2 crushed cloves of garlic and the prawn shells/heads. Fry on a medium heat with plenty of seasoning for another 10 minutes. Add a quarter of a lemon, 3 bay leaves, and a handful of your thyme. Turn the heat down, and add about a tbsp of tomato purée and stir well.

Add 600ml of boiled water and leave to simmer for at least 2 hours, or until reduced by just over a half.

Sieve and set aside.


The Gnocchi

Boil your potatoes until soft. Strain and leave to cool completely. Season well then combine with your eggs and flour.

Mould together to form a dough, adding more flour if necessary. It shouldn’t be a wet mixture at all. On a floured surface, roll out the potato in batches into long sausages. Cut your sausage into small pillows.

Add your gnocchi in batches to salted boiling water, waiting for them to rise to the top, before removing them and setting aside on some kitchen roll.


In a large pan, fry off your leek on a high heat with a knob of butter. Add 1 crushed garlic clove, a tsp of smoke paprika and continue to cook for another couple of minutes. Add your white wine and reduce on a high heat.

Add your stock and reduce a bit further on a high heat.

Add your cream and mix well, before adding your prawns and gnocchi. Turn the heat right down and stir gently.

In a separate pan, fry your seasoned trout fillets skin-side down on a low heat in a touch of butter, for around 5 minutes. Cook your samphire together with the fish. Flip over your trout and turn off the heat.

Serve the gnocchi with the trout and samphire, and a dusting of lemon zest, if you like.

Trout & Gnocchi

Enjoy! x

Vegan voices

It was bound to happen at some point.

This black garlic and squash tagine is a solid vegan crowd-pleaser with virtually no preparation time needed. The addition of black garlic gives it a real richness and a darker colour.



Folamour – Christmas is Only Beautiful on TV Shows


What you’ll need: (serves 4)

Butternut squash x 1
Large white onions (finely diced) x 2
Black garlic cloves (diced) x 4
Medium red chilli x 1
Coconut cream x 200ml

Ras el hanout x 2tsp
Ground coriander x 1/2 tsp
Ground fenugreek x 1/2 tsp
Fresh ginger x 1 tsp
Lemongrass stem x 1
Zest of 1 lime

To serve:
Toasted walnuts
Fresh coriander
Pomegranate seeds


Set your oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Dice your squash roughly into cubes, and fry in a hot pan with a glug of oil, and plenty of seasoning. Do so until the squash starts to caramelise evenly, probably around 10 minutes.

You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your squash. Remove from the pan and set aside.

IMG_8686

Fry your onions and diced black garlic on a medium heat with a touch more oil, for around about 10 minutes until the onions start to soften. Season well and add in your squash again along with the red chilli.

Mix in your ginger and spices. At this point you can throw in a splash of white wine and reduce, if you like.

Add around 250ml of boiled water, along with your coconut cream and keep the heat on high. Throw in your lemongrass and lime zest with a good pinch of salt, and mix well.

Cover and put in the oven for 1 hour, knocking the temperature down to 120 degrees.

When the time arrives, serve with your chopped fresh coriander and crushed walnuts, adding a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.

Black Garlic Tagine

Enjoy! x

Three

If there’s any testament to basing a meal around three simple ingredients, it’s this.

Seabass, romesco, and braised fennel come together in minimalist harmony.


Lewis Ofman – Je Pense à Toi

The Spy From Cairo – Nafas

French 79 – Between the Buttons


The shopping list (serves 4):

Seabass fillets x 4
Romesco (long red) peppers x 2
Fennel bulbs x 2
White onion (finely diced) x 1
Garlic cloves x 3
Lemon x 1
Small fresh chilli x 1
Ground coriander
Fresh dill


Set your oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Wrap your fennel bulbs tightly in some tin foil, with a good knob of butter, a splash of olive oil, some chopped dill, one crushed garlic clove, and a sprinkling of ground coriander. Place them in the oven for 45 minutes.

When done, set them aside for later.

Turn your grill up to high, and place your peppers under them for at least 15 minutes. Turning half way through, you’re going to be aiming for soft and slightly charred.

Fry 2 crushed cloves of garlic, with your onion and chilli until caramelised, with a healthy glug of olive oil.

IMG_8510

Remove the peppers from under grill, slice into chunks and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Combine your peppers, fried garlic and onions, and blitz to a smooth sauce with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste.

Slice your fennel bulbs in half and begin to fry them gently on a medium heat, until starting to caramelise on one side.

In the same pan, add your seabass fillets skin side down. Fry on a medium heat for 6-7 minutes until the skin starts to crips up nicely. Flip the fillets onto the other side and turn off the heat. Leave for 2 minutes and serve.

Sprinkle with a touch of fresh dill, if you like.

Romesco Seabass

Enjoy! x.