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
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
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


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.


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

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.


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

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.


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


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.


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.

Into the wild

*insert anecdote about the weather getting colder and the nights darker*

But at least it’s game season.

And so here’s a wild duck recipe to keep you warm… or at least teach you how to make a delicious game stock. This Confit leg and breast of Mallard with chicory and braised red cabbage dish uses only a few basic ingredients, but requires a healthy amount of kitchen time and techniques to serve up.

Here’s a couple of musical ingredients to add to your session in the kitchen:

Gus Miller – Bob

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Hunnybee

Get your hands on:
(serves 2)

Mallard (wild duck) x 1
Large carrots x 2
Large white onion x 1
Celery sticks x 2
Large garlic cloves x 3
Duck or goose fat – 200g
Large shallots x 2
Madeira (or other sweet dessert wine) – 100ml
Red wine – 50 ml
Chicory flower x 1 (halved)
Red cabbage – 1/2
Cider vinegar – 100ml
Caster sugar – 2 tbsp
Cinnamon stick – 1/2

Fresh thyme
Fresh rosemary
Bay Leaves
Star anise

The Stock

The crux to this dish is making the stock, which will transform your sauce. It takes a bit of patience, but is worth doing. As with any leftover stock, you can freeze it/use later in the week for another meal. A sharp knife is essential if you want to split the bird into breasts and legs yourself. If not, your butcher can do so.


Use the link below for a thorough tutorial on how to do so. Ducks have slightly different bone structures to other poultry, and so it is worth noting the techniques. The legs aren’t too tricky to separate. With the breasts you’ll need to keep your knife against the breast bone as you make single, controlled strokes into the flesh, gently and neatly separating the meat from the bone.

How to Break Down a Duck

After doing so, break up the carcass into at least 5/6 separate pieces.
Roughly chop 1 carrot, your onion and celery. Crush 2 of the garlic cloves and fry everything in a large saucepan with a glug of oil, on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add your game carcass (and giblets if you still have them).
Keep on the heat until everything is nicely browned, and the veg is starting to caramelise, 10 minutes or so. Season well.
Add 2 bay leaves, 1 crushed star anise, a handful of thyme. Cover with 500 ml of boiled water, and leave to simmer on a low heat for 2-3 hours at least.

Sieve, and set aside.


Le Confit

Set your oven to 140 degrees celsius.
To confit the legs, place them in a small oven dish. Season well, add some fresh thyme and rosemary and a crushed garlic clove. Cover with the duck fat, and place in the oven. After 1 & 1/2 hours, remove the legs from the oven and place to one side.

At the same time, slice your red cabbage thinly into strips, place in a saucepan with the sugar, vinegar and the cinnamon stick. Add a couple of splashes of boiling water, cover, and leave on a low heat to slowly cook.


To make the sauce, finely slice your shallots, carrot and garlic and fry with a knob of butter on a medium heat until starting caramelise.Add your madeira, red wine, 1 more crushed star anise and reduce by a half. Add 200ml of your stock and reduce on a high heat for 10 mins. Season to taste.
Sieve, and then continue to reduce until almost a syrup, adding a couple more cubes of butter along the way.

Rub salt into your mallard breasts at least 2 hours before cooking, then allow them to come to room temp. Wash off the salt under cold water, pat dry with kitchen paper.

Place them skinside down in a cold frying pan, and gently increase to a med-high temp over around 8 minutes or so, until the skin is golden and crispy. Add a small spoonful of the duck fat, and continue to cook on the other side on a medium heat for 3 more minutes, basting well.

At the same time, add a good spoonful of the duck fat to another pan and repeat the above process with the halved chicory leaves. The duck legs can be cooked alongside the chicory, basting and turning well to warm through and crisp up.

Allow your breasts to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Plate with the cabbage, chicory and madeira sauce.


Enjoy! x

Hogging the limelight

Just as things start to heat up considerably in London, I think it’s safe to say ‘unpredictable’ would probably be an understatement for 2018’s weather so far. With past weeks switching between rain, snow, sunshine and back to sporadic snow, it was at times, a bit jarring.

There is however one thing you can always depend on.

Pork Belly.

Some of the most simple ingredients come together in the dish, and with just a bit of preparation time the day before, this crispy pork belly with butter beans is the perfect oink-ment (couldn’t resist, sorry!) for any dubious British weather.

Here are a few tracks to accompany your upcoming lazy days in the sunshine.

 HNNY – Till Dig

Axel Boman – Cubic Mouth

mtbrd – Damn Fine Coffee

Flamingosis – Long Distance

Shopping list (serves 6):

Pork belly (unrolled and scored) 1kg
Smoked garlic x 1
Medium onions x 2
Fennel bulb x 1
Large carrot x 1
Fresh thyme x 1 bunch
Bay leaves x 2
Dry white wine x 1/2 bottle
Fresh lemon thyme x 1 generous handful
Butter beans x 1.2 kg
Cavolo nero x 150g

(To coat pork belly)
Pomegranate molasses or acacia honey
Wholegrain mustard
Some good olive oil
Fennel seeds


Start the night before by rubbing your scored pork belly generously with rock salt, making sure not to forget to rub the salt into the scoring on the skin.

As the time arrives, set your oven to 200 degrees celsius, and wash the salt off your pork belly under cold running water, and pat dry with kitchen paper. When dry, rub generously with your pomegranate molasses, fennel seeds, a tbsp of the mustard, some good olive oil and of course salt and pepper.

On medium-high, heat a few glugs of your olive oil in a deep roasting tray. Slice your garlic down the centre and press down the two halves into the hot oil. At this point, dice your vegetable roughly (I like to chop the carrots slightly finer than the rest), and add them into the tray as well.
Season well.

Keep them on the heat until they’re starting to caramelise nicely, around 10 minutes. Add the white wine, bay leaves and your thyme. Reduce on a high heat for another 5 minutes, before resting your pork belly on the vegetables, skin side up. Wrap the tray in tin foil tightly, before placing in the oven.
Turn the temp down to 130 degrees and leave for 4 hours.


When the time’s right, remove the belly from the oven and transfer to another baking tray. On top of the belly, place a sheet of cling film and another baking tray, weighed down with a few heavy tins of tomatoes, chickpeas etc. Leave it to cool for at least 2 hours like this.

To make the sauce, add a splash more white wine to the roasting tray, and reduce on a high heat again for another 5 minutes. At this point you may want to add around 100ml of boiling water to pad out the sauce slightly. Keep it on the high heat for a further 5 minutes, before straining into a small saucepan.
Add a chunk of butter if you want, and leave to one side.

Add your butter beans to saucepan, with a small splash of boiling water, a glug of your good olive oil, the lemon thyme and season well. Heat gently for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, place your pressed pork belly under a hot grill, until the top is sufficiently crispy and then slice into cubes to serve. Accompany with the beans, hot sauce and some steamed cavolo nero, if you like. Time to pig out (Sorry!).


Enjoy x 



Fishing for compliments

With the British sunshine apparently dwindling, there’s never been a better time to inject a bit of heat into those lazy summer evenings.

Curried lentils with cod couldn’t be easier to whip up, and the leftovers keep brilliantly in the fridge for another day. If cod isn’t your preferred choice, this recipe works well with any other white fish.

On July 14th American indie band, Japanese Breakfast released their second album, Soft Sounds From Another Planet. As with the band’s first release, the tone switches from song to song, reflecting on the overcoming of trials and tribulations. But it is the album’s scope and variety in melodies which sets it apart from their first album. With powerful lyrics and a distinct sound, the ongoing evolution of Michelle Zauner and her band is plain to see.


Till Death

The body is a Blade

Check out the full album on Bandcamp.

Shopping list (serves 4):

Cod fillets (or other white fish) x 4
Shallots x 6
Leek x 1
Red lentils 180g
Garlic cloves (minced) x 4
Large courgette (Peeled into ribbons) x 1
Spinach 100g
Sunflower seeds 100g
200g coconut cream
Red chilli (finel chopped) x 1
Fresh ginger (minced) 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Smoked paprika 1 & 1/2 tsp
Ras el Hanout 1 & 1/2 tsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
Tomato puree 1 tbsp
Fresh thyme & coriander
Zest of one lime
Good vegetable or fish stock 540ml

(If you have your own fresh fish/seafood stock prepared, then now’s the time to use it, but it’s not essential here. Refer back to Back in bisqueness for how to make a versatile seafood stock!) 

Finely chop your shallots and leek, and add to your pan with the sunflower seeds. Heat with a glug of oil over a medium heat for just over 5 minutes until soft.

Season well, turn down the heat slightly and throw in your garlic, red chilli and ginger. Allow to cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes before adding your lentils to the pan, along with your spices, mustard seeds and the tomato puree. Heat on medium for another couple of minutes. Season well.

Add all of your stock to the pan and reduce hear to a low simmer. Add the coconut cream along with a handful of your thyme, and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils have softened.

When you’re happy with the lentils, go ahead and introduce the courgette ribbons, a generous handful of coriander, and the lime zest (but save some for serving!).


From here you can simply lower the heat right down and place your fish fillets on top, season well and cover.

Taking your fish out of the fridge for 20-30 minutes prior to cooking means they should only take 10-12 minutes here before they’re cooked perfectly. Wilt your spinach as an accompaniment for the lentils.

Sprinkle with more lime zest and red chilli, alongside some toasted flatbreads to serve, if you like.