Heston Blumental meets Jamie Oliver in a strictly practical, less indulgent but still exquisite take on the iconic Meat Fruit from Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental. No fiddly individual fruits here – just an ineffably smooth and deeply savoury chicken liver parfait, topped with a fresh clementine jelly rather than the traditional clarified butter.
Posted in Budget, Easy, Mass catering (party!), Meat, Poultry
Tagged food, heston, heston blumenthal, liver, meat fruit, pate, recipes
What’s the best way to say “I love you”? Assuming words are out of the question, there’s always the grand gesture – but that can backfire. For example, a chap I knew at university covered every available surface of his bedroom with glowing tea lights, only to be informed by his not-for-much-longer girlfriend that “Fire hazards are not romantic”.
To adequately convey a sense of “I love you – obviously not romantically because that would be super weird – just as friends but somehow more than friends, siblings almost but without any sense of obligation, and in fact it’s more of a collective expression of love; that is, we love you (plural)” I can think of worse ways than a loaf of homemade bread.
You don’t have to use words, or even make eye contact! What could be less awkward than that?
The cake part of this is Nigel Slater’s luscious chocolate beetroot cake from the Kitchen Diaries, which he serves with sour cream and poppyseeds, making it clear that it’s not a serving “suggestion”. The one time I encountered Nigel Slater in real life (at the butcher) I was exactly the too-eager, inept self we all hope not to be when we meet our heroes. To be exact, I announced breathlessly “I really like to both read and eat your recipes!!!” to which he responded, gravely, “Thank you.” I lingered just long enough for it to be awkward without saying anything else, then ran.
Anyway, I’ll never be able to face Nigel again, because rather than serving his cake with unsweeted Slavic accompaniments I’ve realised that a raspberry chocolate ganache filling and white chocolate icing (plus perhaps some chocolate covered strawberries) make it a perfect celebration cake.
Speaking of BBC talent in Islington, last summer I was on the same bus as Nick Robinson and called out to him from the top deck “You’re great on the Today Programme! Who’s going to win the Conservative leadership contest?” He called it right, incidentally.
Posted in Baking, Celebration, Chocolate, Dessert, Fruit, Mass catering (party!)
Tagged chocolate beetroot, chocolate dipped, food, ganache, gardening, nigel slater, recipes, vegetable cake
…or, fried flat noodles with prawns and eggs.
The photo doesn’t do it justice, but this is one of my favourite things to eat – probably top 5, maybe top 3. It’s a speciality in Malaysia, where half of my family is from, and where my mum learned how to make it by carefully watching (and interrogating) the specialists, who cook nothing else on fiery hot woks in hawker centres and coffee shops.
My mother’s is just as good (or better) and that isn’t some kind of fluffy emotional bias talking (we’re really not that kind of family, by which I mean, we’re Asian. “I won a maths prize Mummy!” “Hmmm.”) it’s cold objective analysis. I always request char kway teow when I go home, and order it pretty much whenever it’s on the menu. But I’ve been watching carefully too, and even without a wok, managed to make it at home on my own.
I sent her this photo and asked “Mummy are you proud??”
And she replied “Looks really authentic and I am thinking ,tastes really good too. Well done you.”
…which would have been the sweetest taste of all!! except that after I’d sent the photo I realised it was underseasoned. But a few more iterations later and I’m ready to write down the recipe, something neither my mother nor her hawker gurus have done, as far as I know. So here goes:
Posted in Asian, Budget, Easy, Quick, Weeknight dinner
Tagged char kway teow recipe, food, hawker, hokkien, malaysian, recipes, singapore
Or, as per the message I sent to my vegetarian friend, “come round for dinner? I’ve made cauliflower pizza dough, so we can eat like hipsters”.
It might not quite be hipster pizza, because I forgot to put the kale on top, but I consider this relatively healthy pizza – with a thin wholewheat crust, half made up of vegetables, topped with reduced fat cheese and more vegetables (spoiler alert: heaps of vegetable ribbons, instead of tomato sauce), it doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable for a weeknight dinner.
Traditional pizza with asparagus, mozzarella and fresh basil
Healthier version: thin crust courgette pizza with aubergine, salami and reduced fat cheese
Posted in Baking, Budget, Healthy, Make ahead, Vegetarian, Weeknight dinner
Tagged cauliflower pizza, courgette pizza, food, healthy pizza, pizza, recipes, sourdough pizza, zucchini pizza
A week after coming back from a long weekend in Florence in January, and I was already nostalgic. Rather than go through photos or finish unpacking(!), I preferred to eat my memories. We’d eaten incredible handmade pasta all over the city – with ragu of rabbit, wild boar, or beef shin, and with mushrooms, squash and burnt onions. Without the equipment or expertise to recreate any one of those dishes exactly, we made this instead: egg-yellow envelopes of ravoli, filled with sweet, silky pumpkin puree, with a touch of brown butter and garnished with cubes of salami and chives.
Totally worth the effort!
Ribs are my favourite cut of beef, for roasting (US prime rib, UK standing rib/forerib), seared and juicy steaks (ribeye), braising (short rib/thin rib – although I’m also partial to shin and oxtail) and for low-and-slow smoked barbecue, narrowly beating brisket.
Until very recently, the best barbecue in London was available down the road for very reasonable prices at The Horatia, where Texas Joe’s had their residency. Their smoked brisket was a thing of wonder – tender and perfectly pink, with a smoky bark and a richly marbled interior. I can’t pass by the pub without thinking about it. Unfortunately, it’s on my commute, so this occurs at least twice a day.
How to cope, then, with the long winter of our barbecue withdrawal? It is still far too cold to barbecue outside and Joe’s haven’t yet announced their new location.
Marinated ribs cooked low-and-slow, glazed and grilled to finish
Posted in Easy, Make ahead, Meat, Slow cooking
Tagged barbecue, BBQ, beef, beef ribs, food, french onion soup, indoor barbecue, oven, oven barbecue, pho, recipes, ribs, short ribs