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One pot mussel wonder
1 kg mussels
40g butter plus a splash of olive oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
15-20 curry leaves
2 onions (about 225g) finely chopped
3 bay leaves
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
1-2 dried red chillies
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. tamarind paste
200g wholegrain/brown basmati rice
300ml dry cider
400ml coconut milk
200ml vegetable stock
150g frozen peas
fresh coriander and lime wedges to serve
- check over the mussels, ripping out any beards, chucking away any that are broken, or that refuse to close despite being given a good tap against a hard surface. Stick the rest in a colander and wash under cold running water for a couple of minutes.
- Melt the butter over a medium heat and add the olive oil to prevent burning. Once it’s hot add the curry leaves, mustard and cumin seeds and allow to spit and crackle. Add the onion, bay leaves, garlic, chilli powder, curry powder, turmeric, salt and dried chillies and reduce to a very low heat. Allow to slowly brown and caramelise for a good half an hour or so.
- Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes. Glug in the cider and tamarind paste and turn the heat up to reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the coconut milk, stock and sugar. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is almost cooked through (this took about 25 minutes, but it depends on your rice).
- Remove the lid and add the peas and mussels. Turn the heat up fairly high and put the lid on. After about 10 minutes they should all have opened (discard any that haven’t).
- Ladel the rice into warm soup bowls, pile the mussels on top, squeeze with plenty of lime juice and strew with the coriander.
Ever find yourself wanting to trash your local fried chicken shop? Feel yourself coming over all Taxi Driver when you’re sat next to selfish gits stinking out the train with their big macs? Or are you just a bit worried about the bloated, degenerative way in which we’re collectively sleep-running towards obesity and type 2 diabetes? Jamie’s Food Revolution Day takes place next Friday (17th May) and I’ll be doing my little bit by hosting an interactive sushi rolling session for toddlers at the Toy Library in Walthamstow.
We’ll be rolling up our maki with a selection of the following treats: brown sushi rice, miso roasted salmon, avocado, cucumber, crab sticks, pickled carrot, spinach, spring onion, daikon, steamed asparagus and sesame-yuzu cream cheese.
It’s going to be brilliant, messy and chaotic fun. Sign up here to host your own event.
Now that we’re finally onto salad weather, I find myself hankering for nice bit of smoked mackerel. Not that flabby rubbish they vac pack in supermarkets but a proper whole smoked specimen from the fishmongers. For something cheap and delicious that will last for ages in the fridge you can’t do much better than one of these golden beauties.
salt and pepper
- mix the dressing ingredients adjusting the levels of horseradish, chilli and lime to your personal preference.
- combine the salad ingredients. Mix with the dressing just before eating.
Larb, larp, laap whatever you call it, this Lao mince salad has started regularly presenting its zingy little face at our dinner table. Hot, caramelised meat plus frying pan juices poured over crunchy herbal salad, sharply dressed, sprinkled with toasted rice and skinned up with a crisp iceberg leaf. Mmmm.
The “khao khua” or roasted rice powder is a must and as easy as toasting some Thai sticky (or in my case pudding) rice in a dry frying pan and then pounding to grit (or you could just buy a pack from an Oriental supermarket). I marinated chicken thighs overnight before chopping into teeny tiny pieces, pre-minced meat would of course be the more convenient, if less texturally fine option.
There are no claims to authenticity here; I prefer to see larb as a truly magical way of saving salad drawer remnants from the bin. After six months of Winter comfort food the freshness factor has been a welcome relief.
4 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
The juice of one lime
1 shallot or small onion, finely sliced
A little neutral oil (groundnut’s good)
For the salad
3 fat spring onions, finely sliced
½ a yellow, red and green pepper, thinly sliced
A few big handfuls of beansprouts
2 handfuls of coriander, finely chopped
1 handful of mint, finely shredded
1 -2 fresh red Thai chillies, finely chopped
For the dressing
4 tbsp. fish sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. Thai chilli jam/sauce
Pinch of palm/brown sugar
The juice of a lime
3-4 tbsp. uncooked sticky rice or khao khua powder
1 iceberg lettuce
Mix the chicken thighs with the oyster sauce and the juice of one of the limes. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or even overnight if you can.
If toasting your own rice, heat a dry frying pan and tip in the rice. Once it turns golden and smells popcorn-like, remove from the heat and grind to a coarse powder. Keep in an airtight jar, ready for your next fix.
Mix the salad ingredients. Separate the iceberg leaves out. Combine the dressing ingredients and adjust until you’re happy with the sour, salty, hot balance.
Finely chop the chicken and mix well with the marinade.
Heat a frying pan and add just a little slick of oil. When it’s hot, add the shallot and fry until almost crisp. Tip in the chicken and cook until it starts to caramelise in places.
Pour the hot chicken into the cold salad and mix well. Dress, sprinkle with the toasted rice, wrap in leaves of iceberg and eat immediately.
It’s been one of those months. One of those endless months where every cupboard is ransacked for pulses and grains to eke out. One of those never ending months where unlabelled plastic boxes are hopefully defrosted and root vegetables are repeatedly experimented with. And one of those long, long months where we squint at the shopping receipts again and again and wonder if we dare stick the heating on.
We rarely argue, but all of a sudden, our differences in priorities over the food shop slip from teeny fissures into yawning, great chasms. Like most people that just aren’t that fussed about what canters down the cakehole, my OH is content to blithely lob Cathedral City and caged eggs into the basket, whereas I will forego new threads and lather up with budget shampoo in order to eat well. And so we bicker and then we compromise and what we’re left with is a schizo fridge where organic whole milk rubs shoulders with basics Mozarella next to locally grown kale next to a jar of ready made pasta sauce next to a pan full of the stuff I’ve made myself from scratch. We’re both convinced the other has got it completely wrong and we’re enjoying a particularly heated conversation to this effect, when the doorbell goes and it’s like all my religious festivals have come at once.
When Farmison asked if I wanted to review some of their stuff, I wasn’t expecting an entire fortnight’s worth of gourmet delights. But hallelujah here they are, the magnificent fruit and veg box (red skinned potatoes-check, properly sweet oranges-check), the meat box brimming with Dexter veal and salt marsh lamb and the most amazing cheese box we’ve ever had. Even better than our wedding cake.
Farmison deliver seasonal, local produce that they’ve lovingly sourced from the farm to your doorstep within 48 hours. If ever I win the lottery I am going to order my food from them all the time and exile crappy Cheddar from my fridge forever. Until then I’ve got the memory of this incredible lot to feast off.
The veal and lamb go straight in the freezer and I joint up the chicken. The breast goes into Fuchsia Dunlop’s celestial gong bau chicken and the legs and thighs make a killer tikka masala, padded out with plenty of vegetables. The carcass forms the base of a chicken and vegetable soup with parsley dumplings, so that chook alone keeps us going for a good 3 days. And the cheeses, oh the cheeses! The cheeses are a revelation.We spend a couple of days just looking at them, calculating in which order to demolish. We tussle over the Bluemin White and inhale the whole thing with crackers in front of the iplayer. The only duff note is the Caboc, which is almost aggressively cloying, it’s basically a cylinder of double cream rolled in oats. The Harrogate blue is one of the most exciting examples of immortalised milk I’ve ever sampled. My new happy place consists of buttercup golden saltiness shot through with the tangiest of moulds. I single-handedly pick at the entire wedge one exhausted evening.
The Monk’s Folly is sliced into a potato, caramelised shallot and sundried tomato tart. The Yorkshire Blue is crumbled into a sharp dressing which we fork through the remnants of the cabbage. The Dexter veal is languorously pot roasted for hours with sage,oregano, parsley, garlic, wine and cream. We watch the snow fall and have it sliced thickly with creamed turnips and potatoes. The salt marsh lamb is baked to tenderness in a salt dough crust. The apples go into a sticky toffee date and apple pudding. The Marie Flower goes into some decadently oozing little feuilletés . We make it through to payday. Just.
Marie Flower and balsamic spinach feuilletés
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 nuggets of frozen spinach
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. finely grated decent cheddar
1 block of Marie flower (or other soft sheep’s cheese) rind removed and cut into 1cm cubes
Freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper
1 sheet ready rolled all butter puff pastry
1 beaten egg mixed with a little milk to glaze
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently soften the garlic and shallot. Add the spinach nuggets and the balsamic vinegar and cook until defrosted. Remove from the heat, cool and stir in the cubes of Marie Flower, sour cream and cheddar. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Flour your surface and roll out the pastry. Cut into 8 squares. Heap the contents of the pan equally in the centre of each square, leaving a thick margin all around. Brush the edges of each square with the eggy-milk wash and bring the corners in to the centre and crimp together to form a sort of envelope. Try not to leave any gaps or the filling will ooze out during baking. Brush liberally with the remaining egg-milk wash.
- Place each feuilleté on a greased baking sheet and bake at 200C for 20 minutes or until golden and puffy.
Chicken and vegetable tikka masala
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. curry powder, toasted
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
¼ savoy cabbage, shredded
750g skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks
125ml thick Greek yoghurt
125ml double cream
For the masala sauce
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, julienned
Half a bulb of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. coriander powder
½ tsp. turmeric powder
½ tsp. chilli powder
1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped
200g chopped tinned tomatoes
3 tbsp. tomato puree
½ tsp. garam masala
300ml chicken stock
2 tbsp. freshly chopped coriander
1 ½ tsp. salt
- Mix the lime, ginger, garlic, cumin, chilli powder, paprika and curry powder with the yoghurt and cream. Mix the chicken pieces in this coating well and leave in the fridge from anywhere between a couple of hours to overnight.
- Brush the the chicken pieces with a little oil and grill until slightly charred in places.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger. Add the potatoes and carrots and sprinkle over the coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir in the carrot and fresh green chilli. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the tinned tomatoes, salt and tomato puree. Add the chicken stock and garam masala and reduce until you’re left with a thick sauce. Add the cabbage and cook until just tender. Fold in the grilled chicken pieces and eat with a stack of fresh parathas.
So the book’s been officially on sale for a week now, and amazingly has sold out not once, but twice already on Amazon, which has been pretty surreal to say the least.
If you’re interested, here’s what the Metro had to say about it, and even the Mail online voted it their food book of the week which was unexpected. I had a chat with Robert Elms about it on BBC LDN, and to my enormous surprise made the ‘British Bangladeshi Power 100‘ list which left me completely gobsmacked and very happy indeed.
Anyway here’s a nice recipe for some soup.
roasted carrot, red lentil and blood orange soup
750g carrots, peeled and chopped into big hunks
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
150g red lentils
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
cheese rind (optional)
the juice and zest of 3 blood oranges,
a big fistful of chopped parsley
- in a roasting dish, toss the carrots in half the shallots, 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes at 160C.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a saucepan and sprinkle in the cumin seeds. Once they release their fragrance add the second shallot, garlic and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.
- Tip in the red lentils and stir well for a couple of minutes. Pour in the stock and cheese rind if using.
- After about 30 minutes or when the lentils are tender add the roasted carrots and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Add the blood orange zest and juice and more salt if necessary. Remove the cheese rind an blend until smooth and stir in the parsley.
Sodium chloride fans everywhere, let us rejoice!! Yours truly has been featured on the side of Maldon Salt packets, and for a limited time only you can pick one up in your local herb and spice aisle.
As you can see in the photo they’ve grilled me for my Desert Island Dish, which would have to be coronation crispy duck. Here’s the recipe taken from my forthcoming book, out January 31st and available to pre-order here.