Ofada Rice and stew is a Nigerian meal native to the Yorubas but in recent times, everyone, especially those living in Lagos and its environs has been influenced by the Ofada Rice.
Ingredients for Ofada Stew
40 pcs unripe habanero peppers (atarodo, ose oyibo, atarugu) Note: Ofada stew is very very hot and spicy.
Green tatashe peppers or green bell peppers
1 locust bean seasoning (Iru, ogiri okpei or dawadawa)
20cl red palm oil (at least)1 big onion
1 handful crayfish
850g assorted meat and fish. Which can include: Beef
Shaki (cow tripe)
Ofada Stew Prep
Wash and blend the peppers and the onion. Remember to remove the seeds from the green tatashe or the green bell peppers.
Grind the crayfish and the locust bean seasoning with a dry mill.
Cook all the meat and fish with the stock cube till tender.
Pour the pepper blend into a separate pot and cook on high heat till all the water dries up.
Pour the red palm oil into a clean dry pot and bleach till it turns clear. It should look like vegetable oil when done. Bleach on a low heat for atleast 10mins or more depending on your type of heater and the quantity of oil.
Leave the oil to cool down a bit then add the boiled pepper puree. Fry till all the water has dried from the pepper.
Add the crayfish and locust bean seasoning, the meat and fish and stir well.
Add salt to taste, leave to simmer and it is ready to be served.
Serve with boiled Ofada Rice.
Tips for bleaching red palm oil
Bleach the palm oil with a clean dry stainless steel pot. Aluminium pots work well too. Never use non-stick pots or enamel pots when bleaching red palm oil.
If possible, use a free flowing pure red palm oil. The congealed almost yellow ones contain some water.
Use low heat when bleaching the oil. This ensures that the oil is not very dark when done.
Do so in a well ventilated area. Turn on your kitchen extractor to remove the smoke as much as possible or leave your kitchen windows open.
Do not leave the pot unattended because the oil will catch fire if overheated. Check it constantly and turn off the heat once the bleaching is complete.
Do allow the oil to cool down a bit before adding the ingredients. This will prevent hot splashes of oil and will keep your food from burning due to the high temperatures.
‘Yes, here, you get out here.’ I’m not convinced but tumble out of the New York cab and stand in a street of mysterious frontages and even more mysterious smells. I’m on my way to meet the restaurant critic who writes the Hungry City column for The New York Times. This features simple restaurants off the beaten track, mom-and-pop hole-in-the-walls and the like.
I venture behind the heavy plastic curtain indicated by the cabby and am shouted at by a small, irate Chinese lady chopping a mountain of cabbages. Back to the map.
Forty minutes later I reach the Vietnamese restaurant where I’m supposed to have lunch, flustered and parched. I’m handed an iced coffee in a bucket-sized cup. I’ve had iced coffee before. I make my own iced coffee, carefully balancing coffee strength with milkiness, so this is no big deal.
But then I taste it: cold, strong and childishly sweet. I fall instantly in love.Forget all those cocktails with paper umbrellas. Simple summer drinks that you’ve put a little thought into are much more chic
When I get home I check recipes – they’re barely recipes, just coffee and sweetened condensed milk in specific proportions – and become an addict. Vietnamese coffee is what I drink on hot nights, the coffee making the most satisfying crackle at it’s poured over ice. Ideally you should use a special little Vietnamese metal filter called a phin ca phe, but a simple plastic filter does the trick.
It has been a hot summer so a lot of iced coffee has been downed in my kitchen, but so too has hibiscus agua fresca. Please don’t roll your eyes. I know hibiscus isn’t an everyday ingredient (and I hesitated many times before placing an online order for the dried flowers) but I’ve kept a jug of this in the fridge all summer.
Aguas frescas (Spanish for ‘cool waters’) are non-alcoholic Mexican drinks made from fruit, nuts, seeds or flowers mixed with water, sugar and (often) lime juice. Watermelon and cucumber aguas frescas are also thirst-quenchingly brilliant, but make the hibiscus version once and you’ll keep doing it (and people will beg you for the recipe and your precious flowers).
When you have friends round, an imaginative drink isn’t necessary but it shows that you care and, with a few small plates, can make a meal. It’s also, if you’re a keen cook, an interesting area in which to dabble.
A home-infused gin (my rhubarb stuff, made earlier in the year, is all gone now so I’m on the raspberry version below) provokes shrieks of delight and you get to line your kitchen shelves with colourful bottles.
Forget all those cocktails with paper umbrellas. Simple summer drinks that you’ve put a little thought into are much more chic (and Vietnamese coffee the best late-night vice you could develop).
This is a ‘quick’ infusion because raspberries (and other berries of a similar structure) flavour and colour alcohol quickly. It’s ready in two weeks. You can add more sugar if you want, once you’ve drained the raspberries off and tasted the gin.
About 1 litre
250g caster sugar
800ml good-quality gin (because the raspberry flavour is delicate)
Put the caster sugar in a 2.5 litre jar. (A preserving jar, with a good clasp on the lid, is best but any other large lidded jar will do. Clean it well in soapy water before using.)
Drop in the raspberries on top of the sugar. Add the gin and close the lid. Leave somewhere dark for a couple of weeks. If it sits in the sun the colour fades.
Strain the alcohol through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and bottle the gin. Drink with tonic water, or mix with tonic water and regular gin.
Ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee)
This is now the only iced coffee I ever make – there’s no mucking about with sugar syrup or adjusting the quantity of milk.
25g finely ground coffee
130ml just-boiled water
30ml (about 1½ tbsp) sweetened condensed milk
crushed or cubed ice, to serve
Put the coffee into a filter paper inside a coffee filter. Set over a jug and pour the water over.
Put the condensed milk in the bottom of a glass. Add plenty of crushed or cubed ice.
Pour the filtered coffee from the jug over the ice and stir to mix the coffee and milk together.
Hibiscus agua fresca
A fabulous citrusy Mexican drink. Check health-food shops or try souschef.co.uk for hibiscus flowers, or use hibiscus teabags from Ocado. I like it pure and simple but you can add slices of ginger root, strips of orange zest, mint or basil leaves to the hibiscus along with the boiling water.
About 1 litre
30g dried hibiscus flowers
750ml boiling water
125g caster sugar
juice of 4 limes
500ml cold water
ice cubes and lime, to serve
Put the hibiscus flowers in a saucepan with the boiling water and simmer the mixture very gently on a low heat for about 20 minutes.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve it. Leave until cool.
Pour the mixture through a sieve, pressing on the flowers to extract as much flavour as possible. Add the lime juice and the cold water to the hibiscus-infused liquid.
Taste to see if you’re happy with the levels of sweetness and tartness. Serve over ice and add slices of lime (you can also use the leftover flowers).
You can make this a slightly easier way: just use San Pellegrino sparkling grapefruit juice drink – three parts to one part tequila – and add lime juice and ice (no agave or soda needed).
450ml pink-grapefruit juice
juice of 2 limes
4-5 tbsp agave syrup, or added to taste
200ml soda water
ice cubes, to serve
Mix the tequila and the grapefruit juice together with the lime juice.
Add the agave syrup (you can add it to taste if you prefer it less sweet).
Ofe Nsala is one of the fastest and easiest Igbo Soup to prepare and it’s also called the White Soup.
Nsala soup is prepared with pieces of yam, ogiri, utazi leaves and any of fish, chicken or liver. The soup originates from the Eastern part of Nigeria. A major ingredient of Nsala Soup is the cat fish which gives the soup a unique taste. Some times most people choose meat also, like chicken or cow liver to give them different tastes.
1 big Catfish
8 small pieces white yam
5 Utazi leaves
2 small seasoning cubes
Small piece of ogiri okpei
A handful crayfish
Habanero pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Kill and cut it up the Catfish if you purchased the live one. Then pour hot water on the pieces of fish to remove the slime on the fish as well as toughen them. You want to toughen the catfish so it does not disintegrate in the soup.
Quickly rinse off the slime with cool water and place the fish in the cooking pot.
Peel the yam and cut into medium pieces.
Chop the utazi and pound in a mortar with the pepper, ogiri okpei and crayfish. Just give them a rough pound. Same with if you are using a blender.
Procedure for making the Ofe Nsala (Nsala Soup)1,Add the seasoning cubes (crushed) to the pot of fish.
Add the pieces of yam.
Pour water to cover everything and start cooking.
When the yam is soft and moist, bring them out and place in a mortar.
Add the pounded crayfish, pepper, ogiri okpei and utazi into the pot of fish and continue cooking.
Pound the cooked yam in a mortar till smooth and stretchy.
Add the yam into the pot of Ofe Nsala in small lumps, cover and continue cooking.
Once the yam dissolves and thickens the soup, it is done. If you achieve medium consistency before all the yam is dissolved, take out the undissolved yam because you do not want the Ofe Nsala to be too thick.
Add salt if necessary, stir very well and Ofe Nsala is ready for devouring.
This weekend recipe is brought to you by Ifeoma Nnalue Channel. For more recipes, Subscribe to her YouTube Channel with free weekly videos you won’t want to miss.
It turns out that Funnel Cakes are not cakes after all. They are special desserts served at themed events and are so fun that the young and old love to indulge in it. For those who are keen on serving something new and quick to your guests, here is a simple recipe for your pleasure.
3 eggs, beaten
1 tspn, baking powder
3 ½ cups, vegetable oil
2 cups, milk
2 ½ cups flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sugar for dusting
Whipped cream, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla or any complimentary sauce of your choice.
Combine the two mixtures and whisk everything together until everything has blended together. You’ll want it to be thin enough to pour easily, but not too watery or runny. Mix up your batter, then let it sit for a few minutes while you heat your frying oil.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk until blended. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat until it forms a smooth thin batter. The thin batter should not be too watery or runny.
Allow the batter to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes as you heat your oil or prepare any complimentary sauce.
Heat oil over medium heat or temperature of 375 degrees.
Now is the imperfect but perfect time. In the funnel where you have poured ½ or 1/4 of your batter, pour the batter in a large spoon and into the hot oil in a spiral form. OR hold the funnel above the hot oil, then move it in a circular motion.
Regional versions of asaro are served all year round across the south of Nigeria and in other parts of West Africa. Traditionally, the dish is made with the West African yam, but you can also use white or purple taro root or unripe plantains. Here, firm, green plantains are combined with white yams in a sauce rich with caramelized shallots, garlic and ginger.
There is a slight but welcome heat from a single red habanero dropped in whole to infuse the stew. Coconut milk and an optional spoonful of red palm oil — a floral, slightly smoky oil that is pressed from the fruit of oil palm trees — round out the flavors, and hearty greens cut the richness. Serve topped with crunchy shallots, fresh herbs and a wedge of lime.
YIELD: 4 to 6 servings
TIME: 50 minutes
¼cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
4medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
4garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1(2- to 3-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated (about 2 tablespoons)
2teaspoons ground turmeric
2tablespoons tomato paste
1whole red habanero or Scotch bonnet chile, pierced all over with a knife
1(14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
1 ½pounds white or orange yams, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2green (unripe) plantains (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1(13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1tablespoon red palm oil (optional)
4cups julienned hearty greens, such as dandelion greens, collards or lacinato kale, tough stems removed
¼cup fresh basil leaves, torn
¼cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1lime, sliced into wedges for squeezing
Heat a medium pot, large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium. Pour in the neutral oil, add the sliced shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are caramelized and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove shallots from the oil and allow to drain on paper towels or a cooling rack. Season with salt and set aside.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil out of the pot. (Reserve extra oil for another use.) Over medium-low heat, add the garlic, ginger and turmeric to the pot and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 2 minutes or until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pot.
Drop in the chile and add the whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, crushing the whole tomatoes with your hands as they go in. Stir to combine ingredients and dissolve the tomato paste, then add 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Once boiling, season with salt, reduce heat to medium, add the yams and simmer until the yams are just beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the plantains and cook until both are tender but hold their shape, and the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, 15 to 18 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk and red palm oil, if using, season with more salt and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the greens and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, remove and discard the cooked chile. Ladle the curry into bowls, top with the caramelized shallots, a scattering of basil and cilantro, and several squeezes of lime juice.
Have you cooked this? Please leave us a comment below.
Smoked paprika is the secret weapon in this simple barbecue sauce, which goes beautifully with pork and chicken. If you’re painting the sauce onto cooking meat, thin it out with water to about a one-to-one ratio, which will keep the sugars from burning too quickly over the fire. Serve the full-strength stuff alongside the finished meat.
½cup cider vinegar
¼cup brown sugar
2teaspoons pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon kosher salt
1teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Smoking has been used to preserve food since ancient times. Today it is also used to add extra flavour to food – and I love it. I stumbled across the idea of using lapsang souchong tea to create smoked noodles and there is no going back for me. This recipe is fresh, quick, easy, and smoky. You can use what you have in your cupboard – it’s a great time to experiment. I eat this noodle salad for lunch, but if you want to make it for dinner you can quickly pan-fry fish or tofu with soy sauce to make it more substantial.
For the dressing 50ml vinegar (rice, white wine or cider etc) 40g something sweet (honey, syrup or sugar) 30g nut butter (peanut, almond or cashew etc) 5ml hot sauce (chilli, sriracha or peri peri) 1 tsp salt 2 cloves of garlic, minced 30ml sesame oil 10ml soy sauce
For the noodles 1 carrot ½ cucumber 1 mango 30g herbs (coriander/mint/basil) Roasted and salted peanuts 5 lapsang souchong tea bags 150g rice noodles
Start by adding all the dressing ingredients to a jar and shaking it. Put aside.
Prepare the vegetables. Peel the carrot into ribbons, cut the cucumber and mango into batons, roughly chop the herbs and smash the peanuts in a pestle and mortar. Toss all of these together in a large bowl.
Boil 500ml of water in a medium saucepan with the lapsang souchong tea bags. Once they have stewed for five minutes, remove the tea bags and add the noodles, simmer for one minute, then allow to sit for three minutes. Take two tablespoons of the water and add to the dressing. Drain the rest and add the noodles to the bowl with the vegetables.
Pour over the dressing, toss and eat straight away.
Put 150ml of olive oil in a blender with 100ml of water, 10g of dill fronds and 15g of parsley leaves, then process to a vivid green dressing. Add a little salt and pour into a large bowl.
Cut a spring cabbage, or 2 if they are small, into slices about 2cm in thickness. Wash thoroughly, then toss them gently in the herb dressing and set aside.
Peel 750g of sweet potatoes, then cut into large pieces. Pack into a steamer basket or colander and place over a pan of boiling water. Cover tightly with a lid and leave them to steam for 25 minutes, until you can easily pierce them with a skewer.
Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6, then line an oven tray or grill pan with kitchen foil. Place the slices of cabbage on the foil side by side, reserving any extra dressing that may be in the bowl. Dot 65g of butter between them, then bake for 20 minutes, until tender to the point of a knife. Baste them a couple of times as they cook.
While the cabbage is baking, tip the sweet potato into a bowl and mash to a smooth, thick purée with a masher or fork, then season generously. Divide the sweet potato mash between 2 warm plates, then remove the baked cabbage from the oven, trickle over any remaining dressing and serve. Enough for 2
Baste the slices of cabbage as they bake with any dressing or butter in the oven tray (and with a little more melted butter if necessary), and test every few minutes. You ideally want the outer leaves to be green-gold, lightly crisp at the edges and the stalks to be tender.
Use other root vegetables for the mash, including swede or large, maincrop carrots. If you didn’t want to bake the cabbage, you can sauté it in a little oil and butter instead, basting it as it cooks.
An aromatic fish curry with cool coconut milk and lots of spices that really is quick to make. You can use whatever fish is in season – pollack, cod, haddock, gurnard, coley and monkfish are all suitable.
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes
4 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 dried red Kashmiri chillis
2cm sq piece root ginger, peeled and grated
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large plum tomato, finely chopped
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
1 tbsp palm sugar (or soft light-brown sugar)
2 tsp tamarind paste
1 green chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
500g firm white fish fillets, skin removed and flesh cut into chunks about 3cm sq
2 tbsp chopped coriander
Toast the coriander seeds, cumin and dried chillis in a dry frying-pan for about a minute.
Grind in a mini food processor or pestle and mortar, then mix in the ginger, garlic, turmeric and 1 tsp salt.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry until soft and golden.
Stir in the spice mix. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato and cook until it has lost most of its moisture.
Add the coconut milk, sugar, tamarind and green chilli and bring to just under the boil. Immediately turn down the heat and simmer for about five minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Taste for seasoning.
Season the fish with salt, then add it to the sauce and simmer gently for about four minutes until the fish is cooked through. Check again for seasoning. Add the coriander and serve.
This dish can take many variations: use cooked salmon or haddock, especially if you have leftovers, sautéed prawns or fried cubed courgettes. Orzo is a brilliant thing to keep in the cupboard if you have children (especially toddlers) – it cooks so quickly. Sometimes I just make it with spinach leaves, lemon zest and parmesan – no other additions.
Eat this promptly – it gets sticky if it’s kept waiting, although it does reheat well the next day if you do it gently with a little stock or water.
Prep time: 5 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes
1 tbsp olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
625ml chicken stock, or a mixture of stock and water, or stock and dry white wine
325g orzo pasta
250g cooked chicken, cut or torn into bits
90g baby spinach leaves, torn
30g basil, leaves only, torn
35g grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Heat the olive oil and gently sauté the onion until soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the stock and bring to the boil, then add the orzo.
Turn the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 8 minutes. You can stir a couple of times to stop the pasta sticking but try not to do it too much. By the end the stock should have been absorbed and the pasta have become soft, but still with a little firmness. If the stock dries up before the orzo is cooked add a bit more water.
Stir in the chicken and spinach. The spinach will wilt in the heat. Again, if things seem a little dry add more stock or water. Stir in the basil and Parmesan. Taste and season.
Fusion, when it comes to food, can be a bit of a dirty word, but progress often means building on old ideas to create new possibilities and, sometimes, joining the dots between food cultures. In today’s recipe, I’ve taken our ancient Gujarati chickpea pasta, or dhokli, made using gram and wheat flour (then usually simmered in dal), and added it to my favourite Italian springtime stew, vignole. I hope neither the Italians or Gujaratis will mind too much.
Chickpea pasta in a spring vegetable stew
While fresh peas and broad beans will soon be available, frozen vegetables make a very wonderful stew. Gram or chickpea flour can be found on the world foods aisle in most major supermarkets or online.Advertisement
Prep 20 Cook 25 Serves 4
100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting 100g chickpea flour 1½ tbsp olive oil ¼ tsp fine sea salt
For the spring vegetable broth 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish 1 large onion, peeled and sliced 1 large leek (250g), cleaned, trimmed and cut into 1cm-wide pieces 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced ½ tsp salt 250g frozen peas, defrosted (or about 500g fresh in their pods) 250g frozen broad beans, defrosted (or about 500g fresh in their pods) 750ml vegetable stock, suitable for vegans 300g jarred artichokes, drained, to get 200g, and each piece cut into quarters 1 big handful mint leaves (10g)
First make the pasta dough. Put the flour, chickpea flour, oil and salt in a large bowl with 80ml warm water, and use clean hands or a spoon to bring everything together. Divide in half and roll on a floured surface into two large circles the thickness of a lasagne sheet. Cut the pasta into small diamond shapes, about 3cm x 3cm, then spread them out on a tray and toss in flour so they don’t stick.
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Warm the oil in a large, deep pan over a medium-low heat, add the onion, and fry for seven minutes. Add the leek, garlic and half a teaspoon of salt, fry for six to eight minutes, until soft but not coloured, then stir in peas, broad beans and hot stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes (a little less if using fresh peas and broad beans), until the peas and broad beans are just cooked through, then stir in the artichokes and leave to rest while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pan of water to a boil and cook the pasta until it floats to the surface – about a minute or two, then drain and stir straight into the vegetable pot. Rip in the mint, drizzle with a little extra oil and serve at once.
Routine, oh how I miss you … To know what to expect, every single day, is priceless: it keeps you sound and sensible; it gives purpose and focus. But not all is lost in these days of lockdown. Old routines are transforming into new ones, and many of them, I am happy to say, revolve around food. Mealtimes have been regaining their past glory as our main way to punctuate the day, or week. In my house, lunches are now makeshift picnics, Saturday mornings are official pancake time, Tuesday afternoons are dedicated to baking, and on Sundays we’ve reclaimed the old lunch tradition. If you are able to sit down for Sunday lunch, with family, housemates or Zoom pals, it can really provide that bit of comfort that is so needed right now.
Roast chicken with creamy garlic and peppercorn sauce (pictured above)
If you can’t get bone-in chicken legs, use a whole chicken, jointed, instead. Leave out the black garlic if you can’t get hold of it and mix a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar into the sauce instead.Advertisement
Prep 25 min Cook 1 hr 25 min Serves 4-6
3 banana shallots (or 5 ordinary shallots), peeled and finely chopped 2 tbsp green peppercorns, roughly crushed, or 2 tbsp roughly chopped capers 1 lemon, cut into 5 slices 400ml dry white wine 105g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes Salt and black pepper 6 chicken legs, bone in and skin on, or 1 whole chicken, jointed into 8 pieces (ie, 2 legs, 2 thighs and 2 breasts cut in half) 2 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp extra 20 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole 20 black garlic cloves, cut in half lengthways (or 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar – see recipe introduction) 90ml double cream 2-3 tbsp (10g) flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped 3½ tbsp (10g) chives, finely chopped
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/ 390F/gas 6, and put the first five ingredients and 150ml water into a large 38cm x 28cm oven tray with half a teaspoon of salt and a very generous grind of black pepper.
In a large bowl, mix the chicken with two tablespoons of oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper, then lay them skin side up in the tray and spread out as much as possible; take care you don’t get the skin wet.
Toss the whole peeled garlic cloves (ie, not the black garlic) in a teaspoon of oil, arrange them around the chicken legs, then put the tray in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Scatter the black garlic into the sauce around the chicken legs and return to the oven for another 35 minutes, or until the chicken legs are crisp and golden brown.Advertisement
Lift out the chicken and place skin side up on a second oven tray, large plate or board. Whisk the sauce mix, scraping the sides and base of the tray as you go, then gently stir in the cream and herbs. Return the chicken skin side up to the pan, and serve directly from the tray.
Radish and horseradish salad
This punchy and fresh salad is perfect to cut through richer dishes such as the creamy garlic chicken. The dressing works on any mixture of leaves you can find – iceberg, romaine or even white cabbage would work well here.
Prep 15 min Cook 5 min
30g fresh horseradish, peeled and very finely grated (20g net weight), or 1 tbsp jarred prepared horseradish 3 tbsp olive oil 60ml rice-wine vinegar, or white-wine vinegar Flaked sea salt 150g breakfast radishes, very thinly sliced (use a mandoline, if you have one) 2-3 baby gem lettuce, trimmed, quartered and leaves separated (200g) 3½ tbsp (10g) chives, finely chopped 1 small mooli, or ½ large one (220g), peeled and thinly sliced into rounds (again, use a mandoline if you have one), or 220g extra breakfast radishes
Mix the first three ingredients in a large bowl with two and a half teaspoons of flaked salt. Just before you’re ready to eat, add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl, toss to dress and serve.
Hazelnut roly-poly with lemon custard
This traditional school-dinner dessert gets very special treatment here with the flavours of hazelnut and plum, which pair wonderfully with a simple maple- and lemon-infused custard. I like to eat both the cake and custard at room temperature, but you could warm either element, or both, if you prefer. The plum jam can be easily swapped with another jam, and if you don’t have hazelnuts, blanched almonds would also work well.
Prep 15 min Cook 1 hr 45 min Serves 8
300g plum jam 2 tbsp lemon juice
For the cake and praline 140g blanched hazelnuts 4 eggs 80g caster sugar 30g plain flour 1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp lemon zest 2 tbsp double cream 2 tbsp maple syrup
For the custard 300ml double cream 50ml whole milk 2 tsp lemon zest 2 egg yolks ½ tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract 60ml maple syrup
Heat the oven to 170C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Put the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 14 minutes, until very fragrant, leave to cool, then transfer to a spice grinder or the small bowl of a food processor and blitz until finely crushed.
Turn up the oven to 190C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Line and grease a 32cm x 22cm swiss roll tin. Put the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment in place and whip for three minutes, until tripled in size. Add the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, 80g of the blitzed hazelnuts and a pinch of salt, and gently fold together until fully combined. Pour into the prepared tin, smooth the top with the back of a spoon and bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown. While still warm and with the shorter end facing you, use the parchment paper to roll up the cake from the shorter end, then set it to one side to cool while you get on with the rest.
For the praline, put the remaining 60g blitzed hazelnuts in a spice grinder or the small bowl of a food processor with the cream, maple syrup and a pinch of salt, and blitz to a smooth paste.
To assemble, unroll the cake, then spread the inside all over with the praline mix. Mix the jam with the lemon juice and use two-thirds of it to cover the praline, leaving a 2cm border around the edges. Starting at the shorter end, roll the cake back up, then discard the paper.
For the custard, put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat and cook, whisking continuously for about five minutes, until the mix thickens a little, but is still pourable, then leave the custard to cool.
Serve slices of the cake with some of the cooled custard, with the remaining custard and jam in two separate bowls alongside.
The blue-sky days of early spring are currently sandwiched between chilly mornings and even colder evenings. As dinner time approaches, my idea of tossing together a light spring salad all too often turns into the need for a baked potato the size of a rock, butter running down its crisp, salt-crusted skin.
Over the years, sweet potatoes, their orange flesh glowing like a beacon, have begun to replace the trusty Maris Pipers as baked potato of choice. Curvaceous and thin-skinned, their soft interior cooks to a buttery fluff that is infinitely sweeter than a Maris Piper or King Edward. You either like the sugar hit or you don’t. You can tame the sweetness with chilli and coriander or lime. Cheese works if it is white, sharp and salty, like feta or Ticklemore. Golden, fat-rich varieties much less so.
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Earlier in the week I made a green butter for a baked sweet potato with spinach leaves and a seasoning of red chillies, salt and lime. This verdant butter would work with a floury white tattie, too, though I would swap the seasonings for a smidgeon of grated nutmeg and a handful of sautéed button mushrooms instead.
I also made mash this week, a reassuringly soft and velvety batch with a stirring of crème fraîche and plenty of black pepper. We ate it with leeks that we cooked on the griddle until their outside leaves sent up smoke signals. Desperate as I am for full-on spring cooking, these few last weeks of cold evenings do have their perks.
Sweet potato, spinach butter
Sweet potatoes sometimes split their thin skins as they bake, the sugary flesh leaking out and cooking to a crisp on the oven floor. I find lining the baking sheet with foil saves tiresome washing up. Serves 4
sweet potatoes 4 spinach leaves 100g butter 125g, at cool room temperature spring onions 3 coriander leaves 10g red chillies 1, large, mild lime 1
Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Bake the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet for about 45-60 minutes, depending on their size, until they are tender. Wash the spinach leaves, discarding any very thick stalks. Pile the still-wet spinach leaves into a deep pan, add 100ml of water, then place over a moderate heat and cover tightly with a lid. Bring the water to the boil, shaking the pan from time to time, then lift the lid and turn the spinach over, cover and steam for a minute more.
When the leaves are bright and relaxed, drain in a colander, then squeeze out as much water as possible. (I find rinsing the spinach briefly under cold water helps cool it enough to handle.) Chop the leaves roughly and set aside in a small bowl.
Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Slice the spring onions into wafer thin rounds and add to the butter. Coarsely chop the coriander and the chilli, then add to the butter. Squeeze in the juice of the lime, add the chopped spinach and a generous pinch of salt, then combine everything together. You can keep this in the fridge until you need it.
When the potatoes are soft and fluffy inside, split them open and spoon in the spinach butter, letting it melt into the hot potato.
Griddled leeks, crème fraîche mash
By steaming the leeks prior to grilling you get the best of both worlds, a leek that is juicy and sweet with a deliciously toasted, buttery exterior. Serves 2-3
For the mashed potato: floury potatoes 1kg butter 30g crème fraîche 100g
For the leeks: leeks 4, medium butter 35g
For the butter: frozen peas 100g pumpkin seeds 1 tbsp butter 40g sunflower seeds 1 tbsp mint leaves to serve
Peel the potatoes, cut them into large “roast potato-size” chunks, then boil them in salted water for 15-20 minutes until tender. Steam them if you prefer.
Trim the leeks, discarding the root end and any dark green leaves. The trimmings are a worthy addition to the stock pot. Cut each leek in half then wash thoroughly in cold running water, letting the water penetrate right down in between the layers as much as possible. If they are very muddy, I suggest leaving them to soak in cold water for a while.
Bring 200ml of water to the boil in a large, deepish pan, add the leeks and the butter and let them cook for about 9-10 minutes, until they are tender to the point of a knife. Lift out the leeks and drain on kitchen paper.
For the butter, put the peas and pumpkin seeds in a food processor and pulse briefly to coarse crumbs.
Warm a griddle pan, then lower the leeks on to the hot griddle. They will brown quickly because of the butter with which they were cooked. Turn them as necessary until evenly toasted, then remove from the heat.
Drain the potatoes, add the butter, and mash them thoroughly with a potato masher or fork. Stir in the crème fraîche and a light grinding of black pepper, then beat until fluffy with a wooden spoon.
Melt the 40g piece of butter in a shallow pan, add the peas, pumpkin seeds and the sunflower seeds and cover cook over a moderate heat for 3-4 minutes.
Pile the potato on a warm serving dish, place the griddled leeks on top then spoon over the peas, seeds and their butter, scatter with mint leaves and serve.
Put 450g of coarsely minced pork in a mixing bowl. Grind in plenty of black pepper and sea salt. Finely chop 3 tbsp of rosemary leaves and the same of thyme. Grate the zest from 1 blood orange on the finest teeth of a grater. Peel and crush (or mince or finely chop) 2 juicy cloves of garlic. Tip the lot into the mince and work everything together with your hands.
Shape the pork into 4 thick squares of equal weight and set aside on a baking sheet in the fridge for half an hour to settle themselves.
Finely slice 1 large, unblemished bulb of fennel, putting any fluffy green fronds to one side, then cook in 2-3 tbsp of olive oil and a large knob of butter in a shallow pan. Keep the heat low and turn the slices regularly until they are soft and sweet. That’s a good 20-25 minutes over a moderate heat.Advertisement
Cook the burgers on a hot griddle pan or in a shallow layer of oil in a frying pan. Remove the peel from the blood oranges with a razor-sharp knife, then thinly slice the fruit. Split and toast 4 pieces of focaccia that are roughly the same size as the burgers. Trickle some of the fennel’s buttery pan juices over the cut sides of the bread, place some of the fennel on 4 of the pieces, lay a burger on each, a little more fennel, the reserved fronds, then top with the rest of the focaccia. Serves 4
Of all the burgers I make, those made with pork give me the most pleasure. Where you will want to throw the whole spice cupboard at a lamb burger, those made with minced pork need nothing more than rosemary, oregano or thyme, and a smidgen of garlic in the way of seasoning. Oh, and salt. Porkloves a generous hand with the salt. Keep them succulent by using a good fatty cut of meat or by adding a handful of minced streaky bacon or pancetta.
Some dried oregano, in place of the rosemary, will please the little burgers’ Italian hearts. As would a dash of dark, sticky balsamic vinegar in the sautéed fennel. In place of the focaccia, wrap the sizzling patties up in large curls of crisp, iceberg lettuce and sprigs of mint.
This is my take on a Florentine pizza. The bright green topping is made from spinach and butter beans, with a baked egg to finish.
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling time | Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes
A handful of caraway seeds
250g chickpea flour
125–175ml cold water
400g jarred butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus extra for frying
Toasted pumpkin seeds to sprinkle
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
Toast the caraway seeds in a small dry frying pan until fragrant. Tip into a bowl and add the flour and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Gradually mix in enough water to create a thick batter. Chill for two hours.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
To make the spinach mixture, place the butter beans, oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the spinach and blitz again. Set aside.
Heat a little oil in a 20cm frying pan. Spoon in about a quarter of the batter, spreading it out with the back of the spoon to create a large pancake. Once golden on the base, flip over and cook the other side.
As the flatbreads are cooked, transfer them to a baking tray.
When all the flatbreads are on the tray, smear the spinach mixture over them. Crack an egg on top of each.
Bake for two to three minutes until the eggs are cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve.
Recipe from Detox Kitchen Vegetables by Lily Simpson (Bloomsbury, £26)
My mother grew up in relative wealth in Uganda, but entered into poverty when she and her family arrived in the UK after being exiled by the dictator Idi Amin.
Having little money meant cooking very thriftily: she made chutney from fallen apples in the garden, bought sacks of lentils and rice from wholesalers, and ate a lot of spiced masala baked beans.
I am by no means poor, but this time in January (post-Christmas, pre-payday) can be very testing, and these beans are some of the most frugal but delicious things a person can eat.
Masala baked beans on toast with green chutney
Eat these for breakfast, lunch or dinner, on toast or with chapatis, and with or without a little non-dairy yoghurt or the green chutney. This makes enough beans to top two slices of toast generously, so double it to serve more.Advertisement
Prep 10 min Cook 20 min Serves 2
For the beans 2 tbsp rapeseed oil 1 large brown onion, peeled and finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 1½ green finger chillies 1 heaped tsp tomato puree 1 tsp ground coriander ½ tsp ground turmeric ½ tsp ground cumin ¼ tsp fine sea salt 1 x 400g tin Heinz baked beans
For the chutney 60g coriander (leaves and tender stalks) 1½ green finger chillies 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice ½ tsp fine sea salt 2 tbsp rapeseed oil 2 tbsp roasted salted peanuts
To serve 2 slices good bread Non-dairy spread
Make the chutney first. Put the coriander in a bowl, add cold water to cover and agitate with your hand. Fish out the coriander and put it into a colander, leaving behind any gritty bits. Roughly chop the drained coriander, then throw it into a blender with the chillies, lemon juice, salt, oil and peanuts, and blitz to a smooth chutney (the coriander, being wet, will help it blend), adding a drop of water, if need be. Taste and adjust the lemon, salt and chilli as you wish – this chutney should be sour, herbal and hot – then scrape into a bowl and leave to one side.
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To cook the beans, heat the oil in a frying pan and, once it’s hot, add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes, until soft, golden and translucent. Add the garlic and chilli, cook, stirring, for three minutes more, then add the tomato puree, all the spices and the salt. Cook for two minutes, then add the beans and a half-tin’s worth of water, and cook for five minutes, until the sauce has thickened a little, then turn off the heat.
Toast the bread and put on two plates, spread generously with your favourite spread, pile the beans on top and decorate Jackson Pollock-style with the coriander chutney, or just spoon it over, as you wish.
It has rained on and off all day and now, as the streetlights start to come on, it has become bone chillingly cold, too. There is little or no temptation to leave the house. Dinner will be more rummage than forage. I don’t keep a heavily stocked fridge, but I can usually get some sort of meal together without having to shop.
There are cans of chickpeas in the cupboard. I fancy making them into soft cakes, seasoned with rosemary and garlic and frying them to a crisp on the hob. But once the peas are crushed to a velvet purée, I raid the little box of aromatics in the bottom of the fridge for some seasoning. Even that is unusually low, revealing nothing more than a shallot or two, a couple of chillies somewhat past their best and two stalks of lemongrass, but there is a good firm lump of ginger. There is also a bag of spinach, slightly past its use-by date, and a few herbs. The chickpea cakes can have a ribbon of spinach running through them, a southeast Asian seasoning.
The little bowls of fruits in the larder currently offer nothing more interesting than two pears that need a few more days ripening and a handful of tiny scarlet apples. I slice the apples in half and bake them, basting them now and again with a splash of sherry and the remains of a jar of marmalade.
Tomorrow I will fill the little box of aromatics with shiny new chillies, a packet of lime leaves, more ginger and fresh limes. I will come back from the shops with a crinkly leaved cabbage, some smooth heads of pink chicory and a bag of crimson skinned blood oranges. I will pick up a pomegranate, some dark grapes, pumpkins and parsnips. But for now, there’s the satisfaction of having made the most of what there is, quietly, and giving thanks for a few little apples, a bag of spinach and a can of chickpeas.
Chickpea cakes with spinach and lemongrass
A thin, crisp crust is essential here, a contrast to the soft hummus-like texture of the cakes. Once the cakes have rested and firmed in the fridge, they should be lifted carefully into the sizzling oil using a palette knife, then left to form a thin, golden crust on the bottom before you attempt to turn them. Fiddling with them as they cook, although tempting, will result in them breaking up in the pan. Makes 12, serves 4
spinach 200g lemongrass 2 large stalks chickpeas 2 x 400g cans banana shallots 2, small garlic 2 cloves ginger 60g chillies 2 lime 1 coriander 15g mint 15g Dijon mustard 2 tsp breadcrumbs 120g, fine and dried groundnut oil for cooking
Wash the spinach and remove any tough stalks. Put the wet leaves in a deep saucepan over a moderate heat, cover and steam for 2 or 3 minutes. Turn the leaves over and continue cooking until they are bright and soft. Drain thoroughly and give the leaves a firm squeeze to remove any remaining water.
Peel the outer leaves from the lemongrass and discard them. Chop the softer inner leaves and put them in an electric coffee mill or spice grinder and process to a coarse pulp. Alternatively, chop them very finely.
I don’t keep a heavily stocked fridge, but I can usually get a meal together without having to shop
Drain the chickpeas and tip them into the bowl of a food processor. Peel and roughly chop the shallots. Add the lemongrass and shallots to the chickpeas. Peel the garlic, peel and coarsely grate the ginger then add both to the chickpeas.
Finely chop the chilli, grate the zest of the lime finely then add to the food processor. Pull the coriander and mint leaves from their stems, add to the bowl and process to a rough paste, seasoning with mustard and a little salt as you go.
Transfer the chickpea paste to a mixing bowl then combine with the spinach and breadcrumbs. Divide the mixture into 12, shape each into a small cake the size of a digestive biscuit and set aside to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
To cook, warm about 1cm of groundnut oil in a shallow pan over a low to moderate heat. Lower the cakes, a few at a time, without crowding the pan. As they turn golden on the underside, gently turn with a palette knife and cook the other side. Remove carefully to warm plates.
Baked apples with sherry and marmalade
There is something pleasing about basting food as it cooks, about spooning the cooking juices over it as your supper bakes. Basting the apples here will ensure they are evenly caramelised and richly coated with the sherry and marmalade. I do this 2 or 3 times during the 45 minutes or so it take the apples to bake. The sauce will thicken to a jammy consistency on the hob later. Serves 4
sherry 200ml, medium sweet lemon juice 100ml caster sugar 100g bay leaves 2 or 3 orange marmalade 3 heaped tbsp small apples 6
Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Pour the sherry into a medium-sized saucepan. Add the lemon juice, sugar, bay leaves and marmalade, then warm over a moderate heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Cut the apples in half, place them cut side up in a baking dish, then pour the sherry and marmalade syrup over them. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until their flesh has puffed up a little and they are soft enough to cut with a spoon. Baste the apples frequently while they cook.
Remove the tin from the oven and place over a high heat, watching carefully as the syrup reduces to a jammy consistency. Serve the apples and syrup with crème fraîche or thick yogurt.
What to do with under- or over-ripe kiwi fruit? Turn them into a delicious jam
In my endeavour to waste nothing, I’ve made it my mission to learn to love foods that I’d never have eaten before, learning to enjoy new and unfamiliar smells, textures and tastes.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced – which I found worse than any offal or funky ferment – is the skin of a kiwi fruit. To acquire the taste, I applied the theory that you can learn to like a food by trying it 10 times and, sure enough, I now eat kiwis like apples, merrily biting chunks out of the furry fruit and leaving no waste. If you don’t already do so, start by scrubbing the skin to remove some of the fur, then slice the fruit. That way, the skin holds the flesh together, but isn’t the prime textural experience. According to one paper on the health attributes of kiwi fruit, eating the skin can double the fibre content and increases the folate and vitamin content by almost a third.
Unripe kiwis tend to be hard and unpalatable, but once they ripen, they bruise easily and melt into an undesirable mush. But you can easily make a jam with both under- or over-ripe kiwis, and this uses the whole fruit.
Kiwi jam is so delicious, I have no idea why it isn’t already widely eaten. It’s quick to make and a great way to use up an excess of under- or over-ripe kiwifruit. Like citrus, the kiwi season falls over our winter, making them a delicious, vitamin-rich – albeit imported – fruit to enjoy over the colder months when our seasonal fruit is in short supply. Kiwi fruit does grow in the UK and is ready to harvest in late summer, although they can be hard to obtain as it is only in small-scale small production.
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Kiwi fruits, ideally organic or not sprayed with pesticides or fungicides 1 tbsp sugar per kiwi 1 tsp lemon juice per kiwi
Remove the hard node at the top and bottom of the kiwifruit without wasting any flesh.
Cut the fruit into slices and then into rough pieces. Put in a thick-based pan with both a tablespoon of sugar and teaspoon of lemon juice per kiwi fruit.
Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and becomes gloopy. Eat within a week, or store in sterilised sealed jars indefinitely.
A warming treat fit for Burns Night, complete with neeps and tatties.
sudden need for a dinner seasoned with tradition and nostalgia. I pick up lumps of oxtail from the butcher’s, a jumble of bones with deep maroon meat marbled with cream-coloured fat. I cook them with sweet roots and ribs of celery, letting the heat of the oven do the work. There is red wine and beef stock, tufts of thyme and twigs of bay and I serve it in the casserole in which it is cooked, with a mash of swedes and a flat, crisp cake of potatoes. The dinner is a dry-run for Burns Night, the sort of food to set us up for wine and whisky and song.
This is the sort of food to set us up for wine, whisky and song
Of all the bonnie, bony possibilities on the butcher’s counter – the osso buco and the neck of lamb, the shanks and the trotters – it is oxtail that needs the slowest cooking. Once browned in hot fat, you need to lead an oxtail along the slow road to tenderness in a slow oven, the bones wallowing in stock or wine, and with robust aromatics. Thyme, bay leaves, a head of garlic. Rosemary perhaps. It is not a dish that needs updating, but a curious cook can tweak the details. I gave mine a soft smoky note with a whole head of golden-skinned smoked garlic.
Swede is a favourite vegetable in this kitchen, less sugary than carrot, and makes a fine accompaniment to a mahogany-hued, onion-dense gravy. I have baked it in stock, diced and fried it with sausages and added it to a lamb stew, but have never found a better end for one than roughly mashed with butter and black pepper.
Determined to serve neeps and tatties on the 25th, I will be baking potatoes to accompany the oxtail. They will be baked in a round pan, sliced as thinly as my amateur knifemanship will permit, each slice tossed with olive oil and salt and rosemary. Then baked in the same oven as the oxtail, until the top layer is crisp in patches, its edges nut-brown.
Braised oxtail with smoked garlic
It is worth serving a stew such as this in a bowl and offering a spoon as well as a knife and fork. No one will want to miss one drop of the dark and sticky sauce, with its notes of bay and smoked garlic.
olive oil 3 tbsp oxtail 1.5kg onions 3, medium carrots 350g celery 200g plain flour 3 heaped tbsp red wine 350ml, light and fruity beef stock 1 litre smoked garlic a whole head bay leaves 4 thyme 6 bushy sprigs
Warm the olive oil in a very large, deep casserole over a moderate heat. Add the pieces of oxtail and let them sizzle in the hot oil, turning them as each side darkens to a rich golden brown.
While the oxtail is browning, peel and roughly chop the onions and carrots, and cut the celery into short pieces. Remove the oxtail from the pan to a plate then tip the onions, carrots and celery into the pan, toss them in the oil and general stickiness left by the oxtail, then leave them to cook for 5 minutes. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stir and continue cooking for 3 or 4 minutes until the flour is no longer white, then pour in the wine and bring to a fierce but brief bubble. Slice the head of garlic in half horizontally. Pour in the stock and bring back to the boil then season with a little salt, the garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Return the oxtail to the pan.
Lower the heat so the liquid bubbles slowly, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for 2 hours. Lift the lid, check the oxtail’s progress. If the meat still clings tightly to the bones, cover and continue cooking for a further 30 minutes or until the meat is soft and can easily be pulled from the bone. Lift the garlic out and remove the soft cloves from their skins, crush them with a fork and return them to the sauce. Check the seasoning and correct with black pepper and, if necessary, more salt.
Mashed swede and potatoes with rosemary and olive oil
Unlike carrots, potatoes and turnips, you can’t get away with not peeling a swede.
swede 1.5kg butter 50g
Peel the swede then cut into small pieces. Pile into a steamer basket and leave to steam over a pan of boiling water, covered with a lid, until soft. Check for tenderness from 15 minutes.
Put the swede into a bowl or empty pan, add the butter in pieces and crush roughly with a potato masher or fork. Keep warm and covered.
Potatoes with rosemary and olive oil
Should the oxtail be ready before the potatoes, remove it from the oven (it will come to no harm, with its lid in place) and turn the heat up to 220C/gas mark 8, until the potatoes are the requisite golden brown.
potatoes 1kg, Maris Piper or similar olive oil 250ml rosemary 4 large sprigs
You will need a 25cm ovenproof frying pan that doesn’t stick. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Scrub the potatoes (I don’t think you should feel the need to peel them) and slice very thinly. Pour the olive oil into a mixing bowl. Finely chop half of the rosemary, leaving the rest on their stems and add to the bowl. Grind in a little black pepper then add the potatoes and gently turn them over in the seasoned oil. Cover the base of the pan with a single layer of slices, each overlapping the other and adding a little salt as you go. Place a second layer on top, then another and so on, until all the potatoes are used up. Pour any remaining oil over the top.
Bake the potatoes in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until the top layer is golden and lightly crisp at the edges.
Christmas is a time for feasting, but there are only so many mince pies a person can eat. If you have a glut of different foodstuffs right now, this week is the time to plan how to prevent them going off. A soup or stew is the best and most forgiving way to turn a surfeit of ingredients and leftovers into a brilliant meal with five more days’ shelf life.
Stock makes any soup or stew even more delicious, so make sure you keep any leftover roast bones, and that you pick off and save all the meat first. Simmer the bones for one to three hours with any veg trimmings, then strain and keep in the fridge for up to five days, or freeze.
The world is your oyster here, and you really can’t go wrong. Inventing a stew from leftovers is a fun way to experiment and create your own zero-waste recipes, upcycling otherwise unwanted odds and ends into a delicious meal that will last for days in the fridge.
1 small handful alliums (onion, leek, garlic), peeled and chopped, per person 1 tbsp chopped celery per person 1 small handful mixed leftover cooked and raw vegetables per person Stock, to cover (or water) Leftover meat (optional) Optional serving suggestions: torn stale bread, chopped nuts, short-life yoghurt or milk, cooked beans and pulses, finely chopped herb stalks and leaves – just remember not to confuse the taste by adding too many different ingredients: two or three main flavours are plenty to make something taste good
Start by sweating down a base of whatever alliums you have with some chopped celery. Once it’s all cooked through, add any other cooked or raw vegetables such as roast parsnips, boiled brussels sprouts or glazed carrots, all diced into large or small chunks, depending on how you are feeling. Cover the lot with stock (or water) and bring to a boil, then season and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in any saved meat pickings to warm through, then season to taste and serve.
This hearty dinner is warm, comforting and easy to make – perfect for the in-between days of the festive season.
Brown 500g of cocktail or chipolata sausages in 4 tbsp of olive or vegetable oil in a wide, high-sided pan. Peel 3 medium-sized red onions then cut them in half, then cut each half into 6. Remove the sausages from the pan, then add the onions and let them soften and lightly brown.
Roughly chop 200g of carrots and add to the onions. Cut 200g of button mushrooms in half, add to the pan and let them brown lightly. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of flour into the pan, then stir in and continue cooking for 2 minutes to lightly brown the flour. Pour in 1 litre of chicken stock and bring to the boil, then stir in the sausages and season carefully.
Simmer the sausage stew for about 20 minutes then serve. Serves 2.
Soften the chopped red onions in the same pan in which you browned the chipolata sausages. That way they will pick up all the sweet, caramelised meat juices. If you have a few minutes to spare, warm the chicken stock before stirring it into the aromatics. Even better, make some thick toast on which to serve the stew. The juices will soak down into the toasted bread.
When you are cooking the red onions, introduce a few woody herbs, such as thyme or rosemary, the leaves removed and chopped. At the end of cooking, when you are checking the seasoning, stir in 2 tbsp of redcurrant or cranberry jelly.
Start Christmas in the best possible way with a sumptuous, hollandaise-smothered egg on a muffin with smoked salmon, ham or spinach.
Eggs royale – a decadent pile of salmon, eggs and a criminally rich sauce atop a fluffy muffin – is my dream breakfast on 25 December, even if in reality the big day tends to start with chaos and a hurried slice of toast. If you have fewer children and dogs in residence, however, enjoy an extra dollop of sauce with your eggs royale – and benedict or florentine for me, too. It is Christmas, after all.
Prep 5 min Cook 20 min Serves 4
4-8 eggs, depending on hunger 1 drop vinegar 4 English muffins Butter, to spread 400g baby spinach (optional) 4 slices cooked ham or 100g smoked salmon Salt and pepper Nutmeg (optional)
For the hollandaise 125g cold unsalted butter 2 large egg yolks ¼ lemon
1 Precautionary measures
Start with the hollandaise. Fill the sink, or a heatproof bowl larger than your saucepan, with about 5cm cold water and boil a little water in the kettle. These are both insurance policies in case of disaster, but don’t worry: as long as you make these preparations, you won’t need them. Cut the butter into cubes.
2 Combine the eggs and butter
Put the butter in a small, heavy-based saucepan with the egg yolks and two tablespoons of cold water. Put over a very low heat and stir to help melt the butter; I find it easiest to start with a wooden spoon, then swap this for a whisk once the lumps have turned liquid.
3 Stir until it thickens
Gradually, the sauce will thicken; don’t be tempted to turn up the heat to hurry it along, but if it looks like it’s threatening to split or scramble anyway, plunge the base of the pan into the cold water and whisk vigorously. This should bring the temperature back down and you can put it back on the heat and continue whisking.
4 In the event of disaster …
If it does curdle, whisk in a little boiling water to see if it can be rescued; if not, pour the mess into a jug, wash the pan, then put a fresh egg yolk in there with a splash of water, and gradually whisk in the curdled sauce over a very low heat.
5 Finish the sauce and keep it warm
Once the sauce has thickened, beat in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a heatproof pan set over a second pan of hot water, making sure the base of the hollandaise pan doesn’t touch the water, and stir occasionally: unfortunately, hollandaise doesn’t reheat well, so you can’t make it too far ahead, though it will sit happily for a while.
6 Poach (or boil) the eggs
Bring a small pan of water to a boil, and crack each egg into its own ramekin. Put a drop of vinegar into the water and whisk vigorously, then immediately slip the eggs into the centre two at a time. Poach on a low heat and set the timer for three minutes. (Alternatively, make soft-boiled eggs: simmer them for seven minutes, then plunge into cold water and peel.)
7 Now for the muffins and spinach
Meanwhile, split, toast and butter the muffins. If you want spinach, wash, then put in a medium pan on a medium heat with the water still clinging to its leaves. Cover and cook until wilted, shaking the pan from time to time, then squeeze dry and season generously with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Make sure you haven’t forgotten about the eggs.
8 Plate and serve
Drain the eggs and pat dry on kitchen paper. Working quickly now, put two muffin halves on each plate and top first with the spinach (if using) and then the ham or salmon, followed by an egg and a good dollop of hollandaise. Finish with a grating of black pepper or a little nutmeg, and serve at once before the sauce goes cold.
9 Variations on the theme
If you’re not a slave to tradition, swap in ripe avocado, grilled bacon, warm crab meat or brown shrimp, or a grilled field mushroom or beef tomato for the ham, etc. Or swap the muffin for a crumpet or good toast. Or spice up the hollandaise with a squeeze of hot sauce, anchovy paste or a handful of fresh, soft herbs.
The festive season is here again, a season to be jolly, that wonderful time of the year. What Can be more merrier than celebrating the festive season with your family, friends, Loved ones, and colleges.
By Asogwa Precious
Are you still looking for what to do with your chicken this festive period? Are you still confused about what to take to that end of the year party/ get-together?Or do you still plan on cooking your chicken the same ancient way? Lol don’t be boring.Why not try something different from the regular, we want a taste of something different and flavorous.
Here’s a detailed recipe on how to get that crispy chicken you’ve always craved for. For the first recipe you need just six ingredients, and most of these ingredients are what you have and use in your kitchen.
Vegetable oil or butter
Seasoning and spices
Crack your eggs in a separate bowl, add your dry ingredients, salt pepper, grounded garlic, thyme, curry, and any other spices of your choice
Season your bread crumb with a pinch of salt, do same with your flour
Coat your chicken with your flour
Dip into the beaten eggs and coat with your bread crumbs untill it is fully coated\
Heat up your pan with vegetable oil or butter
Fry on both sides for 10-15min until they’re golden brown
(Note: cooking time vary depending on how thick your chicken is and how crispy you want it) The taste is out of this world…it also gives your chicken a very attractive look.
Detailed crispy chicken (2)
Seasoning and spices
Vegetable oil or butter
Start by marinating your chicken with buttermilk, cover and keep it overnight in the freezer
In a empty bowl, combine all your dry ingredients together, (flour, baking powder, thyme, curry, pepper, grounded garlic. You can also add any other spices of your choice that isn’t listed here. Note: this step starts after your chicken have been marinated.
Get your marinated chicken, transfer it to a different bowl and spice it up with a spoonful of thyme and curry
Pick your chicken one after the other and dip it in the mixture, do that till you have all your chicken well coated
Heat up your pan with vegetable oil or butter
Fry on both sides for 10-15 min till it’s golden brown( cooking time vary depending on on thick your chicken is and how crispy you want it.
Serve with any meal of your choice. Trust me you won’t order for a kfc chicken After trying out this recipes. Voilà!
The Indian restaurant classic spinach-and-curd-cheese side dish gets the Felicity Cloake treatment.
Saag paneer has long been my go-to side dish in Indian restaurants, but having managed to recreate the magic of these deliciously oily, garlicky greens dotted with plump pillows of fresh curd cheese, these days I increasingly find myself eating it at home with nothing more than a warm flatbread for company. (Note: to make this vegan, use extra-firm tofu instead of the paneer.)
Prep 15 min, plus draining time Cook 10 min Serves 4 as a side
For the paneer 1.1 litres whole milk 1 tbsp lemon juice ¼ tsp fine salt
For the dish 500g fresh spinach, well washed, or 5 pucks frozen whole-leaf spinach, defrosted (or other greens – see step 9) 1 small onion 4 fat garlic cloves 4cm piece fresh ginger 1 small fresh green chilli 2 tbsp ghee ½ tsp salt 1 tsp garam masala ½ tsp turmeric
1. Start on the DIY cheese (or buy some in)
If you’d rather not make the paneer yourself, use 150g shop-bought cheese instead. If you do, however, you’ll need to work an hour or so ahead.
Put the milk in a saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s foaming but not boiling (93C is ideal, according to Morgan McGlynn’s book, The Modern Cheesemaker). Take off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
2. Finish the paneer
Once the milk has completely separated into solid curds and liquid whey – about 15-20 minutes – pour it into a muslin- lined sieve set over a bowl (the whey that collects in the bowl can be drunk or used in baking).
Squeeze dry the curds in the sieve, mix in the salt, then form into a rough square. Wrap this up in the muslin, weigh it down with a plate topped with a tin or two, and leave for an hour to drain.
3. If you’re using fresh spinach…
Frozen whole-leaf spinach is fine here, if you prefer; just defrost and squeeze it completely dry before roughly chopping it and continuing from step 5 – there’s no need to blanch it. But if you’re using fresh spinach – big, adult leaves, well washed, would be my preference – bring a big pan of well-salted water to a boil and fill a sink or bowl with iced water.
4. Blanch, ice and dry
Blanch the fresh spinach for 10 seconds, then drain and drop into the iced water to cool – this will help it keep its colour. Squeeze out vigorously in clean tea towels, then finely chop any large stalks and roughly chop the leaves. Give it a last squeeze to ensure it’s as dry as possible before you start cooking the saag paneer.
5. Get everything ready to go
Cut the paneer into rough cubes (the homemade sort will always be softer than the commercial kind).
Peel and finely slice the onion and garlic. Peel and grate the ginger, and deseed and finely slice the chilli. Put these and all the other ingredients within easy reach of the hob, because you’ll have to work quickly once you start cooking.
6. Start cooking
Heat the ghee in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the paneer, in batches, if necessary, until golden and crusted on all sides – if it’s homemade, be careful when turning it, because it will be very fragile.
With a slotted spoon, ideally, scoop out the cubes and put them on a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain, leaving as much ghee behind in the pan as possible, then season with a little salt.
7. Fry the onion, garlic and spices
Put the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli in the hot pan, along with the dry spices and remaining salt, and fry, stirring energetically, until they are soft, but not brown – turn down the heat if anything looks like it’s threatening to burn, and add a little more ghee, if necessary.
8. Finishing touches
Tip the chopped, dried spinach into the pan and stir-fry until it’s well mixed in with the other ingredients, then return the paneer to the pan and gently heat through – don’t stir too much at this stage or the cheese may break up. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve at once with your flatbread of choice or rice.
Strictly speaking, the name of this dish should be palak paneer – I’ve used the more familiar name found on restaurant menus, but these often contain a mix of leafy vegetables, so feel free to play around with what you have. Just make sure it’s thoroughly wilted, roughly chopped and completely dry before adding it to the pan in step 8.
From the Island Social Club comes this pineapple-scented, campari and vermouth concoction made with vodka instead of gin – a perfect fireside aperitif.
Stirred drinks, with their bright, clear colours, make great winter cocktails. The pineapple in this one lends it a welcome touch of the warm tropics, although the drink itself was a total accident. While testing a negroni recipe, I picked up a bottle of vodka by mistake and ended up with this. You’ll need to steep the fruit in Campari at least three days ahead.
For the pineapple Campari 1 small wedge fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into cubes (75-100g) 150-200ml Campari (depending on the size of your jar)
For the drink 25ml good vodka 25ml sweet vermouth 25ml pineapple Campari (see above) 1 twist grapefruit peel (or orange or lemon peel – something citrussy and sour, rather than sweet adds another layer to the drink)
First make the pineapple Campari. Put the pineapple in a small sterilised jar, top up with Campari to submerge, then seal. Keep in the fridge for three days, shaking the jar once a day, then strain into a second sterilised jar and store in the fridge; it will keep for up to three months.
For the drink, pour all the liquids into a mixing glass, add ice and stir to chill. Strain over ice into a rocks glass, garnish with a twist of grapefruit peel and serve.
This meat-and-potato stew from Liverpool has versions throughout northern Europe, and not even Scousers agree what the best recipe is, but our resident culinary perfectionist won’t let that stop her …
Scouse is a dish so close to the Liverpudlian heart that they’ve adopted it as a nickname – though lobscouse, or lapskaus, lapskojs or skipperlabskovs, depending where you are, is a popular dish throughout northern Europe, thought to have its origins in the simple cooking of Hanseatic sailors, and with even more variants than names. In Germany, for example, labskaus is more like corned beef hash, while in Norway, lapskaus is a chunky stew much like our own.
Unsurprisingly, given the geography of the area, Liverpool’s scouse isn’t dissimilar to Irish stew or Lancashire hotpot, either, and, like those noble dishes, is eminently practical, easy to make in a small kitchen, or indeed a galley, and to adapt to current circumstances – there’s even a vegetarian variant, blind scouse, for when you can’t, or won’t, run to meat. But while Scousers are united on its virtues, as with all such beloved local specialities, passions run high when it comes to the finer details. Beef or lamb, mince or meat, carrots or swede … wish me luck, I’m going in.
The first problem I have is what kind of meat to use: lamb is apparently the classic choice, and as Andrew Webb notes in his book Food Britannia, there’s “a strong geographical argument for lamb being more authentic”, given that both Irish stew and Lancashire hotpot use it, too, but, “if born-in-the-shadow-of-the-Liver-Building scousers prefer to use beef, who am I to argue?” Indeed, I hear talk of scouses made with corned beef, attributed, by Wikipedia at least, to St Helens, where it is apparently known as “lobbies.” Beef is probably as authentic as any, because sailors would presumably have used salted meat in the original version.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, they all give very different results: mince is handy if time is of the essence, but proves less satisfying to eat than larger chunks of meat, not least because it disappears into the gravy after an hour or so on the hob.
Chuck or shoulder are both excellent choices, depending on which meat you prefer (personally, I think lamb has a more interesting flavour), but bones will always improve any gravy – indeed, the final recipe I try, from Thomas Webster’s 1845 Encyclopaedia of Domestic Economy, starts with bones from a roast, boiled up with potatoes and onions. Only latterly are pieces of leftover meat stirred in, and very fine the results are, too. Presuming you don’t have enough to make a whole stew, however, I think Hollywood’s lamb neck, or scrag end, is the best choice; you can always strip the meat off the bones before serving, if you like. Offal fans might like to add a few kidneys, too, for extra richness.
I’ve also chosen to brown the meat in dripping, because it feels right here; failing that, a neutral oil, or a mixture of oil and butter, as Rimmer suggests, will do fine. Hollywood’s olive oil, however, tastes a bit weird.
Either way, this is a dish that’s packed full of vegetables: onion is a must, and everyone but Webster’s Encyclopaedia adds carrot, too. Hollywood also sticks in swede, which divides opinion; I happen to think that the sweetness works well with lamb, but if you’re not a fan, feel free to use more carrot in its place.
Most important, however, are the spuds. You can go fancy, as Rimmer does, and use them to line the dish, finishing with a crisp potato top reminiscent of a Lancashire hotpot, but we decide it’s far more comforting to cook them until they break down to thicken the gravy, as in Webster’s version. That said, a few fluffy chunks are also welcome to help soak up the sauce, so I’m going to add spuds in two stages: the first peeled and cut small to facilitate their dissolution, the second with the skins left on to help keep the cubes together.
Either make the stock yourself, as in Webster’s recipe, or use ready-made; beef stock seems to be the name of the game, with Oxo cubes and gravy salts mentioned specifically by several correspondents. Liverpool FC starts its gravy with bitter ale, reduced by half, giving the scouse a robustly fruity, hoppy flavour; delicious, but if it ain’t broke … though I will allow for a dash of Worcestershire sauce, because lots of people tell me their mum uses it, so it must be OK.
As with most stews, the longer the cooking, the better – I prefer to do mine in a moderate oven, to keep the temperature fairly constant, though the hob works just fine, if you prefer. Once the meat is falling off the bone, you can cool it and skim the fat off the top, if you like, or do as Hollywood suggests and cover it in puff pastry and turn your scouse into a pie.
Personally, I prefer to eat it straight away, with a generous helping of pickled cabbage on the side (beetroot is also acceptable, and I reckon it would also be nice with steamed greens, but I need to check that with a scouser before I try).
Prep 25 min Cook 2 hr Serves 4
800g scrag end/lamb neck, on the bone, in thick slices, or 600g boneless lamb shoulder 2 tbsp beef dripping or neutral oil 500g floury potatoes, cleaned 2 onions 600ml beef stock 2 sprigs fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 2 carrots 250g swede (optional) Salt and pepper Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Heat the oven to 160C (140C fan)/320F/gas 3; alternatively, cook this on the hob. Heat the fat in a large, lidded saucepan or ovenproof pan over a medium-high heat, then sear the meat in batches, until properly browned.
Lift out and set aside. Meanwhile, peel half the potatoes and cut into small cubes, setting the rest aside for the time being, and peel and thinly slice the onions.Advertisement
Turn down the heat, add the onions and fry, stirring regularly, until soft.
Now add the cubed potatoes, fry for five minutes more, then stir in the stock, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan as you do so, and return the meat to the pot along with the herbs.
Bring to a simmer, then cover and put in the oven (or leave on a low heat) for 60 minutes, until the potatoes have begun to dissolve into the sauce. Mash a few of them against the sides of the pot to help them along.
Meanwhile, peel and cube the carrots and swede, if using, and dice the remaining potatoes – there’s no need to peel them.
After the scouse has been cooking for 60 minutes, add the vegetables to the pot and return to the oven (or hob) for another hour, or until the vegetables are tender.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and serve hot with pickled cabbage or beetroot.
• Scouse or lobbies, beef or lamb – or neither? How do you make yours, what do you eat it with – and can anyone shed more light on its origins?
The Hot Brown was invented in 1926 at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Ky., by the chef Fred Schmidt. The open-faced turkey sandwich, smothered in Mornay sauce and topped with bacon, was served to customers at late-night dances, while the band was on its break. The dish has become a Louisville staple, one well suited for Derby Day or after Thanksgiving, when roast turkey is plentiful. Thick slices of bread do not get lost under the meat and sauce. Hand-carved turkey is best for the dish; deli turkey slices do not deliver the same Hot Brown experience.
½cup shredded Pecorino Romano (about 1 1/2 ounces)
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Shredded Pecorino Romano, for sprinkling
8slices crisp cooked bacon
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Paprika, for garnish
Prepare the sandwich: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 bread slices in half diagonally. Divide the remaining 4 whole slices among four individual 7-by-9-inch (or other similarly sized) baking dishes (see Tip), and place 2 pieces of halved bread on opposite sides of the bread, positioning the longest side of each triangle closest to the whole slice of bread. The formation will look like a two-way arrow. Nestle a piece of tomato on either side of the whole slices of bread, forming a square shape with the bread triangles. Divide the turkey slices among the whole slices of bread. Transfer the casseroles to the oven to toast as you prepare the sauce.
Prepare the Mornay sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until mixture forms a roux. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, 2 minutes. Whisk heavy cream and milk into the roux and cook over medium until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano until the sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the dishes from the oven and pour the Mornay sauce over each, smothering the meat, bread and tomatoes.
Sprinkle additional Pecorino Romano on top of each dish and broil until the cheese begins to brown and bubble, 4 to 5 minutes, working in batches, if necessary.
Remove from the broiler and cross 2 slices of bacon over each dish. Sprinkle with parsley and paprika, and serve immediately.
You can also assemble this in a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Do not slice the bread into triangles, and instead overlap bread to fit casserole, dividing turkey among each bread slice, and nestling tomato quarters evenly along the longer sides of the dish. Prepare and broil as described. Top each broiled square with a slice of bacon broken in half and crossed. Garnish.
At Spoon and Stable, his Minneapolis restaurant, Gavin Kaysen cooks a version of his grandmother Dorothy’s pot roast using paleron (or flat iron roast), the shoulder cut of beef commonly used in pot au feu, as well as housemade sugo finto, a vegetarian version of meat sauce made with puréed tomatoes and minced carrot, celery, onions and herbs. This recipe uses a chuck roast and tomato paste, both easier to find and still delicious.
3pound boneless beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3tablespoons canola oil
2medium red onions, cut into quarters
4carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
3stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
1rutabaga, peeled and cut into 12 to 16 pieces, about a pound
8cremini mushrooms, halved
2parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1head garlic, top cut off to expose cloves
¾cup tomato paste
1 ½cups red wine, preferably cabernet
4cups beef broth
Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Season meat generously with salt and pepper. On the stove top, heat oil in a large Dutch oven, or other heavy roasting pan with a lid, over medium-high heat. Sear the meat until a dark crust forms, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove meat to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium and add butter to the pan. Melt the butter and add the whole head of garlic and vegetables, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot, until the vegetables start to color, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it darkens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Add bay leaves, rosemary and wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a thick gravy consistency, 5 to 7 minutes.
Return meat to the pot. Add broth, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours 20 minutes.
Let roast sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Remove meat to a cutting board to slice. Discard bay leaves and rosemary stems. Squeeze any garlic cloves remaining in their skins into the stew and discard the skins. Serve slices of meat in shallow bowls along with the vegetables and a generous amount of cooking liquid ladled over top.
This warming, highly spiced stew is rich in beans, grains and chunks of sweet winter squash. Feel free to substitute other grains for the barley. Farro works particularly well. If you’d prefer something soupier, thin it with a little broth or water before serving.
YIELD8 to 10 servings
TIME1 hour 45 minutes
⅓cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
2leeks, white and green parts, diced
1bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
1cup finely diced fennel, fronds reserved (1/2 large fennel bulb)
3garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 ½tablespoons baharat (see note)
2tablespoons tomato paste
2quarts chicken or vegetable broth
½cup pearled barley
2 ½teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
Large pinch saffron, crumbled (optional)
4cups cooked beans or chickpeas
2cups peeled and diced butternut squash (1 small squash)
¾cup peeled and diced turnip (1 medium)
½cup red lentils
Plain yogurt, for serving
Aleppo pepper or hot paprika, for serving
In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and cook leeks until they begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
Finely chop cilantro stems. Stir into pot, along with diced fennel and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in baharat, cinnamon and tomato paste, and cook until paste begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes.
Stir in broth, 3 cups water, the barley and the salt. Bring to a gentle boil, stir in saffron, if using, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Stir in beans, squash, turnip and lentils; cook until barley is tender, about another 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Remove cinnamon stick.
Ladle stew into bowls. Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with cilantro leaves, fennel fronds and Aleppo pepper or paprika.
Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice mix. You can buy it at specialty markets or make your own. To make it, combine 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon ground turmeric, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom and 1 teaspoon allspice.
Though far less glorified than rib chops or legs, lamb shoulder is explosively delicious and juicy – also, cheap. Like the shoulders of pigs and cows, it is a hardworking muscle rippled with intramuscular fat, which makes it ideal for stewing or braising.
But the shoulder’s not that hardworking, which keeps it tender enough to be subjected to the shorter blasts of heat typically reserved for more elegant cuts. Here, it’s braised in a flavorful mixture of prunes, red wine and spices until tender.
YIELD4 to 6 servings
TIME2 hours 30 minutes
2pounds lamb shoulder
1cup pitted prunes
1tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper
2teaspoons minced ginger
1 ½cup red wine
½cup stock or water
Cut lamb into 2-inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and brown in a large skillet over medium-high heat; remove.
Add onion, garlic, prunes, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper; cook until fragrant. Add wine, stock or water and browned lamb. When the liquid boils, lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Garnish: Parsley.
There’s not much that can’t be salvaged with butter. Here, it’s tinned apricots: thrown into a hot pan until they begin to char, then glazed with molten butter and maple syrup. Served with a tangy, silken buttermilk panna cotta, these precious little orbs are enough single-handedly to salvage the reputation of untrendy tinned fruit. You can replace the apricots with pears or even pineapple, if that’s what you’ve got lurking at the back of the cupboard. Just treat them with respect. And butter.
2-4 gelatine leaves or vegetarian gelatine (gelatine varies in strength, so use enough to set a half-pint of liquid (285ml), according to the packet; you want a soft set for this panna cotta)
150ml double cream
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 x 400g tin apricot halves in light syrup
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds, to serve (optional)
Cut the gelatine into pieces and put in a bowl of cold water. Leave for five minutes, during which time they’ll transform from brittle shards to soft, slippery slivers.
Drain the gelatine, squeeze out any excess water, then put in a small pan with the cream. Set over a low heat, and stir continuously until the very first bubbles just start rising to the surface. Immediately turn off the heat, add the buttermilk, sugar and lemon juice, and whisk until smooth. Taste for sweetness and acidity, adding a little extra sugar or lemon accordingly.
Divide the mixture between four lightly greased ramekins or individual pudding basins, then put in the fridge to cool and set for two to three hours.
Just before you’re ready to serve, drain the apricots and pat dry with kitchen towel. Heat a nonstick frying pan or griddle on a medium-high flame and, once hot, lay in the apricot halves cut side down (if using a griddle, brush the fruit with a little oil first). Leave to colour and char for a minute or so, then flip over and cook for a minute more. Add the butter and maple syrup, then swirl around the pan to coat the apricot in the rich syrup.
To unmould the panna cottas, dip the ramekins in hot water for 20-30 seconds, then carefully flip out on to a plate. Serve the cool, quivering cream with the hot apricots, scattering over a few toasted flaked almonds for crunch, if you wish.
Food stylist: Emily Kydd. Prop stylist: Jennifer Kay.
An array of aromatic spices, along with chopped dried apricots and preserved lemons give this chickpea stew a complex, deep flavor, while chard stems and leaves lighten and freshen it up.
Served with couscous or flatbread, it’s a satisfying meatless meal on its own. Or serve it with roasted chicken, beef or lamb as a hearty side dish. If you can find rainbow chard, you’ll get the best color here, but any chard variety (red, Swiss, yellow) will work well.
YIELD6 to 8 servings
TIME2 1/2 hours, plus overnight soaking
4tablespoons olive oil
2Spanish onions, chopped
1large jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, chopped
4garlic cloves, minced
1teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
2 ½teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
1teaspoon ground turmeric
1teaspoon sweet paprika
¾teaspoon ground cinnamon
½teaspoon ground cumin
½teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
2tablespoons tomato paste
1fennel bulb, diced (save fronds for garnish)
1very large bunch chard, stems sliced 1/2-inch thick, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
2carrots, peeled and diced
1large turnip, peeled and diced
1pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water to cover or quick-soaked (see note)
⅓cup diced dried apricots
2tablespoons chopped preserved lemon, more to taste
½cup chopped cilantro, more for garnish
Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onion and jalapeño and sauté until limp, 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper and cayenne and sauté until they release their fragrance, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté for another minute, until darkened but not burned. (If tomato paste looks too dark too quickly, lower heat.)
Add fennel, chard stems, carrot and turnip and continue to sauté until vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add chickpeas and water to barely cover.
Return heat to high if you lowered it and bring to a simmer. Partly cover pot, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until chickpeas are softened. Add more water if needed (this should be like a stew).
Add chard leaves, apricots and preserved lemon to pot and continue simmering until chard is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Season with more salt if desired, and serve garnished with cilantro and reserved fennel fronds.
To quick-soak chickpeas, bring them to a boil in water to cover by 1 inch. Turn off the heat and let soak for 1 hour. Drain.
In 2001, Regina Schrambling went on a week long odyssey in search of the ultimate lasagna recipe. She tested several, and finally found her ideal in a mash-up of recipes from Giuliano Bugialli and Elodia Rigante, both Italian cookbook authors.
“If there were central casting for casseroles, this one deserved the leading role. But its beauty was more than cheese deep. This was the best lasagna I had ever eaten. The sauce was intensely flavored, the cheeses melted into creaminess as if they were bechamel, the meat was just chunky enough, and the noodles put up no resistance to the fork. Most important, the balance of pasta and sauce was positively Italian. At last I could understand why my neighbor Geoff had told me, as I dragged home more bags in our elevator, that all-day lasagna is the only kind worth making.”
YIELD:8 to 10 servings
FOR THE SAUCE:
1cup extra virgin olive oil
2medium red onions, finely diced
2large cloves minced garlic
8ounces pancetta, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ½cups good red wine, preferably Italian
228-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes
3tablespoons tomato paste
¾pound ground sirloin
¼cup freshly grated pecorino Romano
10sprigs fresh parsley, leaves only, washed and dried
For the sauce, heat 1/2 cup oil in a large heavy Dutch oven or kettle over low heat. Add the onions, minced garlic and pancetta, and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until the onions are wilted. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Raise heat slightly, add the wine and cook until it is mostly reduced, about 20 minutes. Crush the tomatoes into the pan, and add their juice. Add the tomato paste and 2 cups lukewarm water. Simmer for 1 hour.
Combine the sirloin, cheese and eggs in a large bowl. Chop the parsley with the whole garlic until fine, then stir into the beef mixture. Season lavishly with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until all the ingredients are well blended. Shape into meatballs and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dust the meatballs lightly with flour, shaking off excess, and lay into the hot oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides (do not cook through) and transfer to the sauce.
In a clean skillet, brown the sausages over medium-high heat. Transfer to the sauce. Simmer 1 1/2 hours.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pecorino Romano, parsley and all but 1 cup of the mozzarella. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Remove the meatballs and sausage from the sauce, and set aside to cool slightly, then chop coarsely. Spoon a thick layer of sauce into the bottom of a 9-by-12-inch lasagna pan. Cover with a layer of noodles. Spoon more sauce on top, then add a third of the meat and a third of the cheese mixture. Repeat for 2 more layers, using all the meat and cheese. Top with a layer of noodles, and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle reserved mozzarella evenly over the top. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Pork griot (pronounced gree-oh) is one of Haiti’s most loved dishes, and it’s easy to see why. Big chunks of pork shoulder are marinated in citrus and Scotch bonnet chiles, then simmered until very tender before being fried crisp and brown. This recipe departs from the traditional in that instead of frying the meat, it’s broiled.
The pork still gets charred edges and bronzed surface, but broiling is easier and less messy to do. However feel free to fry if the skillet calls out to you. And do make the traditional cabbage, carrot and chile pepper pickle called pikliz(pick-lees) for serving, which gives the rich meat just the right spicy-vinegar punch.
1small Scotch bonnet or habanero chile
1medium onion, diced
1small green bell pepper, diced
1small red bell pepper, diced
¼cup fresh chopped Italian parsley, more for serving
1tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste
1tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
6sprigs fresh thyme, plus more thyme leaves for serving
2garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼cup cane vinegar or cider vinegar
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lime
1tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3pounds pork shoulder, not too lean, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2tablespoons coconut oil (melted) or olive oil, more as needed
Cooked rice, for serving
Quarter the chile and remove the seeds and membranes. Finely chop one quarter; leave the rest in whole pieces. Handle pieces carefully, preferably while wearing gloves; they are extremely hot.
Transfer quartered and chopped chiles to a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid. Add onion, bell peppers, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme and garlic. Stir in vinegar, orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in pork. Cover pot and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove from refrigerator at least 1 hour and no more than 3 hours before cooking. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place pot over high heat and bring liquid to a simmer; cover and put pot in oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Using a slotted spoon, remove meat from pot, allowing all excess liquid to drip back into the pot and picking any bits of vegetables or herbs off the meat. Transfer meat to a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle meat with 2 tablespoons oil and salt to taste, and toss gently to coat.
Strain braising liquid, discarding any solids. Return sauce to pot and simmer over high heat until reduced by about half, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the broiler. Broil meat, tossing occasionally, until meat is evenly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes. You want it nicely browned in spots but not so brown that it dries out.
To serve, drizzle meat with additional oil and top with sauce, parsley and thyme leaves. Serve on a bed of rice with pikliz on the side.