Faced with a glut of coxes I decided to try my hand at pickling a few. I can’t believe I’ve never done this before because pickled apples are truly superb. Sweet and crunchy yet saturated with the acidity of cider vinegar, these were the perfect partner to some smoked mackerel and fat chunks of garlic roasted onion squash. I trickled over lime and cumin yoghurt dressing for a truly autumnal mid week supper.
for the apples
2-3 coxes or other eating apples
100ml cider vinegar
8 tsp. caster sugar
1 tsp. salt
for the roasted squash
one onion squash (or any squash) hacked into chunks
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a sprinkling of mace
for the dressing
250ml greek yoghurt
a splash of olive oil
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground roasted cumin seeds
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 a finely diced red onion
the juice of half a lime
a handful of toasted sunflower seeds
smoked mackerel, flaked
- mix the sugar, salt, vinegar and water together in a bowl until dissolved. Core and chunk the apples and leave to steep in this mixture.
- Toss the pieces of squash in the mace, garlic, salt and oil and roast for about 40-50 minutes at gas mark 4 until tender.
- Mix the dressing ingredients together. Place the lettuce, seeds and cress in a salad bowl with the mackerel. Add the roasted squash and the drained pickled apples. Dress liberally with the yoghurt.
I came across this at Yalla Yalla the other day. Gloriously sharp and refreshing, it’s immensely quaffable and there’s been nothing else I’ve wanted to drink quite so much since. Don’t forget to strip the leaves from the stalks. There’s nothing worse than stalky bits in your lemonade.
the juice of 4 lemons
45g mint (leaves only)
75g caster sugar
1 litre water
optional- a dollop of orange blossom honey
- make a rough syrup by placing the sugar and water in a pan and simmer until just dissolved.
- Blitz the mint and lemon juice in a blender. Add the cooled syrup, honey (if using) and adjust adding more lemon, mint or sugar as required. Serve with plenty of ice.
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.
I can think of few things nicer to slowly crisp in the oven than char siu duck. Goose perhaps, but that’s trickier to get hold of.
By giving the tender, fatty poultry the same treatment as you would a more traditional bit of pork and smothering in garlicky, umami-rich condiments the flesh is rendered heady with aromatics. Char siu literally means “fork roast” in Cantonese and is typically a mixture of honey, five spice powder, red fermented bean curd, soy, hoisin and a drop of rice wine (I sourced a tin of the curd from my Taiwanese corner shop). After a quick blanch in boiling water, the duck was rubbed in a mixture of five spice and salt before being liberally anointed with the rest of the marinade ingredients. This doesn’t have the same maltose laquered gloss as those burnished specimens you see dangling from hooks in the windows of China town, but it’s still pretty special nonetheless. After a tantalisingly languid roast we devoured this with some stir fried greens and steamed jasmine rice. The dish that keeps on giving, the leftover carcass went on to form the stock base of a truly stunning ramen.
2-3 tsp. five spice powder
1 tsp. salt
½ bulb garlic, crushed
3 tbsp. honey
120ml hoisin sauce
2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tbsp. mashed red fermented bean curd
2 tbsp. rice wine
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 lemon, halved
- at least 4 hours in advance or preferably the night before, prick the duck all over and blanch in a large pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Dry completely and thoroughly before rubbing all over with the five spice powder and salt.
- Combine everything else and smear over the duck, cover and leave to work it’s magic.
- Heat oven to 140C/gas mark 1 and stuff the duck cavity with the lemon halves and then roast on a rack for 2 and a half hours, basting every 20 minutes. Crank the heat up to 220C for the final 15 minutes.
There’s something seriously whack in the world of food. At the risk of sounding like a dolorous, preaching, harbinger of doom proclaiming that we are all going to hell in a handcart; we are in fact all going straight to hell. In a solar-powered handcart.