In case you missed it, here’s my first video for Sainsbury’s. It’s all about making the ultimate roast pork and includes tips on making gravy, how to ensure crunchy crackling and carving. Enjoy!
I’m incredibly pleased, excited and slightly amazed to announce that I’m part of the new Sainsbury’s Food Goes Further campaign (along with Pam Clarkson, Jack Monroe and Nick Coffer). It’s been a truly wonderful experience and quite a change from the unremitting tedium of washing up and cleaning under a high chair that my life usually consists of. I’ve had Mr David Loftus plus a crew of about 20 odd people crowded into my kitchen to photograph my dishes and have spent some of the most fun-filled days I’ve ever had filming a series of cooking videos with the wonderful crew at Gravity Road. Over the next month or so you’ll be able to watch them (every Friday) here. I’ll be demonstrating how to make the perfect roast, some quirky yet tasty alternatives for a slightly more exciting roast dinner, how to make the most incredible gravy, and inspiration on what to do with your leftovers and as well as other handy tips.
You can find my two recipes for lamb and pea pie and lamb ragu in this leaflet in a Sainsbury’s near you.
For another tasty twist, here’s my keema lamb pie – it’s spot on for this kind of weather, spicy, warming comfort food at its absolute best.
1-2 medium onions, finely chopped (approx. 160g)
3-4 tbsp. ginger paste
3-4 tbsp. garlic paste
1 tbsp. oil
300g shredded leftover roast lamb
2 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 finely chopped fresh green chilli (or 1/2 – 1 tsp. chilli powder)
390g carton chopped tomatoes
130g full fat natural yoghurt
250ml lamb stock
100g frozen peas
500g mashed leftover potatoes and vegetables
1-2 tsp. garam masala
- sweat the onion, garlic paste and ginger paste in the oil.
- add the curry powder, chilli and cumin and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- add the lamb, tomatoes, yoghurt and salt and cook for a couple of minutes.
- add the stock and simmer for 25 minutes.
- add the peas, check seasoning and put filling into a pie dish.
- mash the potatoes and vegetables with the garam masala and smother over the pie filling. Sprinkle with grated cheddar and bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden.
- if you don’t have any fresh chillies it’s fine to use chilli powder instead
- a squeeze of lemon and a scattering of finely chopped coriander at the end of cooking is a nice flavour lift.
- if you can, cook out the onions, ginger and garlic long and slow over a low-ish heat until nicely caramelised around the edges to really bring out the natural sugars.
It’s been a bit relentless round here lately. A lot of juggling exciting work stuff with a very sick toddler plus doing that last minute Christmas shopping thing that we promise ourselves we’re not going to do every year. Basically, we’ve been in dire need of some proper comfort food and this dhansak has delivered in spades.
I spotted lamb on offer in my local supermarket and so bought more than we needed, froze half and made a huge vat of this warming, rich Persian-Indian lentil based joy with the rest. Buy bone in lamb if you can, as simmering with the bone adds a ton flavour and make sure you don’t leave the tamarind out as that sweet sour balance is crucial. Just the sort of thing to have blipping away in the background while you
chase your 19 month round the room with a dose of Calpol get into the Christmas spirit and perfect with a stack of parathas.
500g lamb shoulder, diced plus the bone if possible
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
an inch of ginger, shredded
4 green cardamom pods
1 heaped tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. curry powder
1 cinnamon stick
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. fenugreek
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 whole star anise
200g red lentils
200g yellow split lentils
1 whole peeled tamarind pod (or a tablespoon of paste)
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger until the onions have taken on a dark caramel hue.
- Add the cardamom, cumin, curry powder, cinnamon, chilli, turmeric, fenugreek, coriander powder and star anise and continue to stir and fry for about 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the lamb and mix well, before adding the red and yellow lentils again combining really throughly to ensure everything gets a good coating of spices.
- Slosh in the stock, tomatoes and add the bone and tamarind pod. Turn the heat to low and simmer for at least two hours, stirring every now and again and adding more stock/water if things start drying out.
- Add a good pinch or two of sea salt and also about a teaspoon of sugar. Mix in some natural yoghurt if you want to tone things down a bit and serve.
They’ve started stocking cobbler in my local Sainsbury’s, which I love because it’s one of the cheapest on the fresh fish aisle (it works out at just over a pound per fillet) and every time I’ve bought some, it’s tasted pretty fresh. Annoyingly it seems that everyone else has cottoned on to this and they’re now almost always sold out of it. So I made this version with trout.
I’m also a bit of an aioli fan, mainly because it’s so easy that even a dufus like me can make it. Plus the basil and pomegranate molasses take it somewhere very special indeed. You need to give it a few hours or even an overnighter to really leach out those herbal essences, which is ideal if you’re planning to have it for a manic Monday night supper – all you really need to do is get home and fry up your fish.
for the aioli
1 fresh egg yolk
1 crushed clove garlic
salt to taste
approx 20g (most of a plant from the herb aisle) basil leaves, finely chopped
1-2 tsp. pomegranate molasses
for the fish
2 x fish fillets
1 tsp. curry powder
splash of oil to fry
- Using an electric whisk gradually whisk the egg yolk with incremental droplets of oil until you have an emulsion. Thereafter you can take things up a gear.
- Add the garlic, salt, basil and pomegranate molasses. Taste, bearing in mind that the basil will intensify over time. Chill until needed.
- When you’re ready to eat, mix the flour, salt and curry powder on a plate and dredge the fish. Fry until crisp and serve with the aioli, steamed greens and a mound of buttery pilaff. Also makes an excellent posh fish finger sarnie.
I haven’t written a restaurant review for aaages.
But the food at White Rabbit was amazing enough to make me want to. I’m still obsessing over a stand out dish of charred broccoli (and as someone who really doesn’t like broccoli, trust me when I say this was a revelation) with mead puree, pickled mustard seeds and almonds. The vegetable had an almost meaty caramelisation to it, while still retaining a tender vibrancy. I’ve never wanted to eat broccoli as a main course before but I could have happily sat there and polished off plate after plate of this.
A small dish of of burrata, sweet pickled plums, squash, sea purslane, pumpkin seeds and fennel pollen was scarfed with gusto, the perfectly al dente squash worked really well with the sweet and sour plums and velvety cheese. Charred aubergine with smoked yoghurt, honey and ash was another winner. Having said that the yoghurt may have been a teensy bit overkill. Just ever so slightly.
Gin and beetroot smoked salmon bejewelled with roe, a pickled tangle of fennel, dill pollen and pomegranate was an exercise in freshness and light. This was followed with hake with burnt leeks and confit garlic aioli which was hauntingly flavoursome, the tiny beads of smoked yeast like so many hundreds and thousands, laced with pure eau de croissant. We fought over a bowl of mussels in miso dashi with shiitake mushrooms, which was basically layer upon layer of concentrated savoury goodness. Then a dish of king scallop with hunks of Tuscan sausage, harissa, coriander oil and crowned with straw potatoes which was sweet, spicy and demolished in seconds. It’s a bit of an understatement to say they do some pretty clever things with seafood in this place.
We were so full at this point that we were reduced to just morosely picking at the final dish of lamb belly with miso and melon radish. If I had one criticism it was that the lamb wasn’t crispy enough for my liking and the miso barely detectable.
On a Saturday night the place was rammed. Nonetheless the staff managed to remain incredibly laid back, approachable and totally clued up about everything on the menu. I was invited to eat at White Rabbit, but in the words of Mr A Schwarzenegger – I will be back.
16 Bradbury St
020 7682 0163
Sprouts are possibly my least favourite of all vegetables. I’ve always been baffled by their time honoured spot on the table of otherwise deliciousness that makes up Christmas lunch.
So when an errant net of these toxic little brassicas turned up in my veg box I decided to do what I always do when faced with the unpalatable and give them a Bengali makeover.
Panch phoran, that magical Bengali five spice of fennel, fenugreek, cumin, mustard and nigella works really effectively here, namely because the fennel and mustard seeds temper and tame any sulphuric business. You do need to shred the sprouts quite finely and to patiently steam fry over a lowish heat until they’re properly caramelised and charred. A splash of coconut milk to mellow things out and a handful of prawns if you’ve got them make this a killer dish to have alongside a nice tomato, red onion and coriander salad and a stack of parathas to mop the lot up.
brussel sprouts, trimmed and finely shredded
1 tbsp. oil
a pinch of turmeric
1-2 tsp. panch phoran (alternatively add fennel, cumin, mustard, nigella, fenugreek seeds)
1 onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. fresh finely shredded ginger
1 tsp. dried red chilli (or chilli powder)
200ml coconut milk
- heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and all the spices.
- Tip in the sprouts, mix well and fry over a lowish heat, partially covered with a lid for about 15-20 minutes or until charred and caramelised.
- Add the salt and sugar and adjust seasoning according to taste. Add the coconut milk and serve.
Niku jaga, literally means “meat and potatoes” in Japanese. I’ve had such a hankering for this simple hearty stew lately. I first tried it in the depths of a very snowy Saitama Winter when my neighbours Kei-chan and Masa-chan invited me over for dinner. Slightly sweet, savoury and rich with soy and caramelised beef, this is more comforting than a Hello Kitty onesey. It might seem a bit odd to add sugar to a beef stew, but my mum always adds a hefty pinch to her phenomenal meat curries and here the see-saw of salty-sweet really works. The niku is traditionally wafer-thin slices of fatty steak but I found it to be just as satisfying with some leftover roast topside. If you do invest in steak, the whole thing is padded out with enough potatoes, carrots and shiitake mushrooms to justify matters. Perfect with a fat tangle of udon or steaming rice and fantastic the next day once the flavours have done that developing thing.
- 1 tbsp. oil for frying
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped into wedges
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
- leftover roast beef or steak, thinly sliced
- 500ml dashi stock/beef stock
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. sake/dry sherry
- 3 tbsp. mirin
- 4 tbsp. soy sauce
- shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 100ml boiling water
- handful of green beans
Heat the oil up over a medium heat and saute the onions. After a few minutes add the potatoes and saute for another five minutes.
Add the carrots and mix well. Finally stir in the beef and continue to cook until it’s just turned pink.
Sprinkle over the sugar and stir until everything begins to caramelise then throw in the sake and reduce. Add the mushrooms and the soaking water.
Add the dashi, mirin and soy and bring to the boil (skim off any scum that arises)
Reduce and simmer for 15 minutes, add the beans.
Simmer for a further 5 minutes and serve.