Some of you may have recently embarked on 40 days of Lent: you’ve given up your favourite treat, your worst habit, or maybe you’ve decided to ‘take up’ rather than ‘give up’. Either way, I’m sure that for most of us, Lent involves food or drink in some way.
So, if you’re giving up on snacking, that is no excuse to give up on flavour! And if you’re ‘taking up’, steal some tips from H. Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa’s Maximum Flavour . This is the ultimate guide to cooking high impact, big-flavour food. And the focus is on what you can do as a home cook.
With a maxim that runs along the lines of: “we’re only interested in the tricks and techniques that help deliver maximum flavour!” when preparing their food, here is a maximum impact recipe we think will be essential in the coming 40 days!
And from the author’s themselves: “The sirloin cap steak is a triangular piece of meat that lies right above the top sirloin. It is an increasingly popular cut because it is relatively tender, flavourful and economical. We employ a Japanese technique of crosshatching the steak to help keep the muscle fibres from contracting and toughening up the meat during the cooking process while still leaving it as one large piece for searing. Flipping the meat regularly as you sear it promotes rapid, even cooking of the meat. A salad of grapefruit, papaya and watercress creates a sweet, peppery side for the beef.”
Thai Beef Salad:
1 sirloin cap steak or coulotte steak (500 grams)
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
½ fresh jalapeño, thinly sliced
10 grams pickled ginger
2 tablespoons / 30 grams sweet vermouth
2 tablespoons / 33 grams tamari
1 tablespoon / 14 grams fish sauce
¼ teaspoon / 1.5 grams fine sea salt
Rice bran oil or peanut oil, for frying
Leaves from 1 bunch coriander
5 teaspoons / 15 grams palm sugar, grated on a box grater, or packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon / 14 grams rice vinegar
2 teaspoons / 10 grams fish sauce
½ teaspoon / 3 grams fine sea salt
1 unripe papaya
1 bunch watercress, chopped into bite-size pieces
SERVES 4 AS A LIGHT MAIN COURSE
PREPARE THE BEEF: Put the beef on a cutting board and remove any silver skin or large pieces of external fat. Cut a crosshatch grid into the top of the meat, cutting about 13 mm deep and leaving about 13 mm between the lines. Flip the meat over and repeat on the bottom, being careful not to cut all the way through the meat.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, jalapeño, pickled ginger, sweet vermouth, tamari and fish sauce. Put the meat into a large zip-top bag and add the marinade. Squeeze out the excess air and seal the bag. Turn the bag over a few times so that the meat is evenly coated. Refrigerate the meat in its bag on a baking dish or large plate for at least 24 hours and preferably 48, flipping the meat over twice a day, to allow the flavours to be absorbed.
MAKE THE SALAD: The day you are planning to cook the meat, grate the zest from the grapefruits. Transfer the zest to a small container, cover and reserve in the refrigerator. Use a knife to cut the top and bottom off each grapefruit, exposing the inner segments. Stand the grapefruit up on a cutting board and pare off the skin, slicing it away from the top to the bottom, following the curve of the fruit. Once all of the pith has been removed, hold the grapefruit over a small bowl and use a paring knife to cut between the membranes and free the segments, letting them drop into the bowl. Squeeze the remaining membranes over the segments, catching the juice in the bowl. Remove the grapefruit segments from the bowl, cut them into thirds, transfer to another bowl and set aside separately.
Add the palm sugar, rice vinegar, fish sauce, grapefruit zest and salt to the bowl of grapefruit juice. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Return the grapefruit segments to the bowl. Peel the papaya and cut it in half lengthwise, then remove the seeds. Use a mandoline to thinly slice the fruit. Add the papaya to the grapefruit vinaigrette and stir to blend with the grapefruit segments. Cover the salad and reserve at room temperature.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium–high heat. Remove the beef from the marinade and remove any garlic or jalapeño slices that may be stuck to it. Season the meat with the salt. Add 6 mm of oil to the bottom of the hot pan and when the oil shimmers, slide the meat into the pan. Turn the heat down to medium. Cook the meat for 30 seconds and gently flip it. Cook for 30 seconds on the second side and flip the meat again. Repeat this process until the meat has cooked for a total of 6 minutes.
While the meat is cooking, put half of the coriander leaves on a platter large enough to hold the meat. When the meat has finished cooking, transfer it from the pan onto the bed of coriander leaves. Cover the top of the meat with the remaining coriander leaves and then invert a large platter over the meat to hold in heat while it rests. Let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes; the heat will release the oils in the herbs and they will permeate the meat while it rests.
Remove the top plate and transfer the meat, still covered in coriander leaves, to a cutting board. Carve the meat into slices, cutting against the grain. Put the meat on a serving platter and add any juices and leftover coriander from the cutting board or the resting plate. Add the watercress to the marinated fruit salad and mix gently to combine. Taste and add a pinch of salt if needed. Arrange the salad over the meat and serve immediately.
How many references do we see relating to love and food? “If music be the food of love…”; “a way to a man’s heart is through is stomach”; “you should find someone to eat with before you find something to eat.” How many pivotal moments are there in films where the flicker of a romantic flame ignites over the dining table? Lady and the Tramp tenderly nibbling on a spaghetti strand, Sally ‘educating’ Harry over a pastrami and rye in Katz’s Deli, Thurman making eyes at Travolta over a $5 Shake. It’s obvious, love revolves around food!
So whether you believe food and love are synonymous in a blossoming relationship, if you are refusing to sell-in to the extortion trap of a Valentine’s menu, or are choosing to throw an anti V-Day feast with friends, then we should take note of Harriet Van Horne who so eloquently said “Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all”, and spend this Friday throwing ourselves into the creation of delicious, edible delights that will make life seem well and truly rosey. Especially so with these enchanting and indulgent Raspberry Rose and Chocolate Cupcakes…
Raspberry, Rose & Chocolate Cupcakes
From trEATs by April Carter
Pretty pastel colours are a popular way to decorate cupcakes, but I also love tinting buttercream this beautifully bold deep pink to complement the raspberry and rose flavours. You can buy special cupcake boxes that fit six, twelve or even single cupcakes to package these in – seek out brown or black boxes and cupcake cases for a modern look.
For the chocolate cakes
50 g (2 oz) cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
125ml (4 fl oz) boiling water
110 g (3 ¾ oz) unsalted butter
100 g (3 ½ oz/ 2/5 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
100 g (3 ½ oz/ ½ cup) dark brown soft sugar
2 large (US – extra large) eggs
175 g (6 oz/1 2⁄5 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
60 ml (2 fl oz) milk
For the raspberry filling
4 tablespoons raspberry jam
For the rose buttercream
125 g (4 oz) unsalted butter
250 g (9 oz/2 cups) icing (confectioner’s) sugar
2 teaspoons milk
3 drops of rose extract
claret or pink gel food colouring
To make the cakes, preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F/gas mark 3). Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with cupcake cases. Mix the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and boiling water in a small bowl until combined, then set aside to cool.
Using a food processor with the beater attachment, beat the butter and sugars in a bowl for 3–4 minutes, or until the mixture is pale and creamy. Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
Into a clean bowl sift the the flour, baking powder and salt and stir to combine. Add to the butter mixture, along with the milk and the cocoa mixture, and use the food processor to beat it all together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure that all of the ingredients are well incorporated, then divide the mixture between the cupcake cases until each one is two-thirds full. Bake for 18–20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the cupcake tin and set aside to cool.
To make the buttercream, place all of the ingredients into a bowl and use a food processor to beat them together for 4–5 minutes, or until pale and creamy.
Once the cakes have cooled, cut a small, cone-shaped, 2 cm (¾ in) deep piece from the top of each cake. Fill each hole with a teaspoon of jam and top with the cut-out piece. Then, pipe the rose buttercream onto the top of each cake using a large star tip. To pipe a rose design, start piping from the centre of each cake and spiral outwards.
Cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Any leftover buttercream can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Quinoa, Black Lentil, Pumpkin & Spinach Salad
Taken from Grains by Molly Brown
Serves 6 as a side dish
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
This is one of the prettiest dishes in the book – the colours are stunning.
FROM THE GROCER
50 g (1 ¾ oz) sultanas (golden raisins)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
200 g (7 oz) black lentils, rinsed and drained
200 g (7 oz/1 cup) quinoa
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
80 ml (2½ fl oz/ 1/3 cup) rapeseed oil
¼ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon korma curry powder
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) pouring (single/light) cream
FROM THE GREENGROCER
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) peeled and seeded pumpkin (winter squash)
35 g (1 ¼ oz/3/4 cup) baby English spinach leaves
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Cover the sultanas with boiling water and leave to plump up for 20 minutes or so, then drain well. Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin into chunks and put into a roasting tin. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 20–30 minutes, or until completely tender.
Put the lentils in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook for 15–30 minutes, or until tender but not falling apart. Drain and rinse. Cook the quinoa in boiling water for 15 minutes then drain.
To make the dressing, mix the vinegar with the honey, rapeseed oil, garam masala, curry powder, salt and pepper and cream. Stir in the drained sultanas. Toss the lentils and quinoa together and gently stir through the spinach, pumpkin and dressing. Serve immediately.
Oat, Ricotta & Berry Pancakes with Thyme Honey
Taken from Grains by Molly Brown
These are so light it’s hard to believe they contain oats. Change the berries according to what’s in season – blackberries and blackcurrants are good too.
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
FROM THE GROCER
250 g (9 oz/1 cup) fresh ricotta
3 eggs, 1 whole and 2 separated
50 g (1¾ oz/ 1/3 cup) wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour
50 g (1¾ oz) soft light brown sugar
25 g (1 oz/1/4 cup) rolled (porridge) oats
25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus non-melted butter for frying
icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted, for dusting
thyme honey or any floral honey
FROM THE GREENGROCER
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
125 g (4 ½ oz) blueberries or raspberries
Drain the ricotta and mash with the 1 whole egg and the 2 yolks. Add the flour, sugar, oats, melted butter and lemon zest. Gently stir in the berries, mixing carefully so they don’t break up too much. Beat the 2 egg whites until stiff and then fold them into the mixture.
Melt a knob of butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and spoon enough of the batter in to make a pancake the size of your palm. If you are using a fairly big pan you should be able to cook about 3 pancakes at the same time.
Cook the pancakes until set underneath and stable enough to turn. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden and set in the middle. The pancakes should take 3–4 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the other. As they cook, remove them from the pan and keep warm in a 150°C (300°F) oven in a single layer or between sheets of baking paper. Add more butter to the pan as needed but be careful not to burn it. Serve the pancakes dusted with icing sugar and drizzled with honey.
This week we’re celebrating grains. Whole grains, pulses, seeds, cereals and legumes. A food stuff which has long suffered an image problem but is actually a delicious and exciting food discovery, rather than a bland health food for those who prioritise nutrition over flavour.
As Molly Brown knows, and explains in her book Grains: 150 recipes for every appetite, a plateful of plain boiled beans is not going to excite anyone’s taste buds. But treat grains as they were made to be treated, as cultures across the globe have for years in their traditional cuisines, and you have recipes at your fingertips for food which is delicious and incredibly good for you. (The health benefits of many grains are outstanding.)
So for this reason we are having a week of grains, sharing recipes from Grains and delving into the possibilities of the world of pulses, seeds and more. Stay tuned for an exclusive recipe for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a sweet treat, as well as inside information from Molly Brown on specific grains. Be prepared to discover the joy of grains!
Back in 1976, Charmaine Solomon released a pretty chunky collection of 800 recipes from across fifteen Asian nations. Immediately heralded as a classic, the influential and iconic The Complete Asian Cookbook became the go-to book in kitchens across the world for delicious and diverse Asian food. For the first time the book has been divided into geographical regions in a beautifully crafted series, with the first three of the series being published here in the UK this February (today in fact!): India & Pakistan; Indonesia, Malyasia & Singapore and Japan & Korea.
Here we’ve shared one of our favourite recipes from Japan & Korea – Guchulpan. Guchulpan is usually served as a prelude to a meal or to accompany drinks. Small pancakes are piled in the centre of a tray, around which are a selection of finely shredded omelettes, stir-fried shredded beef and various vegetables for filling them. The ingredients are picked up with chopsticks and put in the centre of a pancake, which is rolled around the filling, dipped in a special sauce and eaten.
Serves 12 as an appetiser, 6 as a main dish
225 g (8 oz/1 ½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250 ml (8 ½ fl oz/1 cup) milk
vegetable oil for frying
pine nuts and parsley sprigs (optional) to garnish
10 dried shiitake mushrooms
vegetable oil or sesame oil for frying
soy sauce to taste
sugar for sprinkling
3 eggs, separated
250 g (9 oz) beef fillet
3 carrots, cut into thin strips
12 spring onions (scallions), cut into thin strips
1 large daikon (white radish), peeled and cut into thin strips
250 g (9 oz) zucchini (courgettes), cut into thin strips
190 ml (6 ½ fl oz/ ¾ cup) soy sauce
1 tablespoon mild vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted, crushed sesame seeds
2 tablespoons fi nely chopped spring onion (scallion)
To make the pancakes, sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, milk and 250 ml (8 ½ fl oz/1 cup) water. Add to the flour and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon to combine, beating until smooth. Set aside while preparing the fillings.
To make the fillings, soak the mushrooms in hot water for 20–30 minutes. Drain, reserving 125 ml (4 fl oz/ ½ cup) of the soaking liquid, then cut off and discard the stems and thinly slice the caps.
Heat a little oil in a wok or large heavy-based frying pan over high heat. Add the mushroom, soy sauce, freshly ground black pepper, the reserved soaking liquid and a sprinkling of sugar. Cover the pan and simmer for 15–20 minutes, or until the mushroom is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Set aside.
Beat the egg yolks and egg whites in separate bowls. Heat a little oil in the clean wok and separately fry the yolks and whites to make large, flat omelettes – do not allow to brown. Allow to cool, then slice into very fine strips.
Partially freeze the beef then slice it very thinly. Continue to slice into shreds. Heat a little oil in the clean wok over high heat and stir-fry the beef, adding soy sauce and pepper, to taste – the beef should be well done and any liquid absorbed.
In separate batches, add a little oil to the wok and stir-fry the carrot, spring onion, daikon and zucchini, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. The aim is to keep the natural colour of the vegetables so cook for only a short time and do not allow anything to brown. Arrange all the filling ingredients in separate piles around the edge of a plate or in a compartmented tray, leaving the centre for the pancakes. Set aside.
To cook the pancakes, heat a little vegetable oil in a wok or large heavy-based frying pan over medium–low heat. Pour in a ladleful of the batter, sufficient to make a fairly thin pancake and cook until set. Turn and cook the other side, then remove to a large chopping board. When all the pancakes have been made, use a round pastry cutter with a 7.5 cm (3 in) diameter to make small circles. Pile the pancakes into the centre of the tray or dish and garnish with a few pine nuts and parsley sprigs, if desired.
To make the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients and divide between individual sauce bowls to serve.
It’s the middle of January, it’s cold and (mostly) rainy, and the festivities of Christmas and the New Year seem a distant memory. Most of us have given up on the health kick already (apparently January 9th is the day we typically fail on our resolutions - seriously guys, where is the nation’s willpower?!). So with this in mind, and green juices and salads tossed aside, today we want dessert. Chocolate. And pastry.
And where can we find this? In Italian Food Safari, by Maeve O’Meara and Guy Grossi, (new paperback edition released on February 10th). Here the pair share a delicious recipe for Grandma’s Tart (La Torta Della Nonna Garreffa), a wonderful, simple tart with layers of vanilla and chocolate custard. To be devoured.
La Torta Della Nonna Garreffa
250g (9 oz / 1 2/3 cup) self-raising flour
125g (4 1/2 oz) butter, softened
125g (4 1/2 oz) sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
11/2 tablespoons custard powder (instant vanilla pudding mix)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
350ml (12 fl oz) milk
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons custard powder (instant vanilla pudding mix)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
11/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
350ml (12 fl oz) milk
1 egg yolk
To make the pastry, put the flour and butter in a bowl and rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, egg and lemon zest and form into a dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Butter a deep 20 cm (8 in) flan or tart tin. Roll out the dough and lay it into the tin.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). To make the vanilla custard, place the custard powder and sugar in a saucepan and blend with some of the milk until smooth. Stir in the remaining milk and egg yolk and cook over low heat, stirring, until thickened.
Repeat the process to make the chocolate custard, adding the cocoa with the custard powder and sugar.
Pour the vanilla custard into the pastry base. Top with the chocolate custard. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Leave to cool before cutting and serving.
Today in the HG office we had scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam for Friday treats.
This fruit scone recipe is from Lucy’s Food by Lucy Cufflin. Enjoy!
I encourage you to go a little ‘off piste’ with this recipe. Replace the raisins with chopped, dried apricots and serve with apricot jam, or use dried cherries soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes and serve with a good cherry jam. This lifts a scone from traditional to bespoke.
PREPARATION TIME: 10 mins
COOKING TIME: 12–15 mins
COOK: oven (375˚F/190˚C)
• food processor or hand blender & bowl
• baking sheet
500g self raising flour
150g butter or margarine
2 tablespoons caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Put the flour, butter, sugar and salt into a food processor and blend until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also do this by hand by rubbing the butter and flour between your fingers and thumbs and then adding the sugar. Add the baking powder and mix through.
2 Add the milk and whizz briefly until a soft dough starts to appear. Turn out onto a floured surface at this point and knead very lightly by hand to make a smooth ball. Add the raisins into the centre of the ball and knead again lightly to distribute the raisins evenly.
3 Pat the ball out onto the surface to about 2cm thick and then cut out rounds or squares. Re-knead, flatten and cut the leftovers until all the dough is used up. Place the scones onto a baking sheet.
4 Bake for 12–15 minutes or until the scones have risen and are just browned. Remove from the oven and place the scones on a wire rack to cool. Best eaten straight away with butter, jam and clotted or whipped cream.
The Christmas season is now in full swing. Although we don’t have carols playing in the office (yet), step out of our building and you are in a wonderland, where twinkling lights, an enormous Christmas tree and a giant Rudolph complete with flashing nose bring Yuletide spirit to a cold city.
Meze is the perfect style of food for Christmas entertaining, where everyone can have a taste of everything. Today’s treat comes from Turkish Meze by Sevtap Yuce. You can make mini Turkish ‘pizzas’ for a hungry crowd or just a big one for yourself!
Lahmacun - Lamb Pide
Here’s a recipe for a classic Turkish ‘pizza’, loved the world over. If you have any dough left over after baking the pide, heat the baking tray in the oven again until very hot. Roll the dough into 20 cm (8 inch) circles and bake them in the oven for 5 minutes, to make little pocket breads.
If you are lucky enough to have a woodfired oven, you can stretch the dough out thinly and make lavash bread, as well as your pides.
You can also cook the pide in a pizza oven. Heat the pizza oven until hot. Roll each ball of dough into thin sheets, spread a thin layer of topping over each and bake until golden brown.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
250 g (9 oz) minced
30 g (1 oz/1 cup) chopped
flat-leaf (Italian) parsley,
plus extra to garnish
2 long green chillies,
2 tomatoes, finely diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
lemon wedges, to serve
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried yeast
450 g (1 lb/3 cups) plain
(all-purpose) fl our
80 ml (2½ fl oz/¹⁄³ cup)
To make the dough, mix the sugar and yeast in a large bowl with 300 ml
(10 fl oz) lukewarm water. Allow the yeast to activate for a few minutes.
Add the flour and a pinch of sea salt and mix into a dough, using your
hands. Knead in the bowl until the dough feels like your earlobe. Cover
and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and knead in the bowl for another 5 minutes.
Cover and leave to rise for a further 1 hour.
Roll the ball of dough in the olive oil. Cover and leave to rest for a
further 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, make the topping. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and
gently fry the onion until golden. Add the remaining topping ingredients,
except the lemon wedges. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black
pepper and stir together for a few minutes, ensuring all the ingredients
are well mixed. The lamb should remain partially uncooked, as you will
be baking it in the oven.
Place the topping mixture in a strainer and set aside to drain.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Heat two large baking trays in
the oven until very hot.
Punch the dough down again and divide into 12 small balls. Let the
dough rest again for 2–3 minutes, then roll each ball out to a 20 cm
(8 inch) circle. Spread each one with about 2 tablespoons of the topping
and place on the hot baking trays (you may need to work in batches).
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the bread is is golden.
Garnish with extra parsley and serve hot, with lemon wedges.
So this week we are going savoury for our afternoon treats with some delicious tarts and bruschetta from Grow Harvest Cook, by Meredith Kirton and Mandy Sinclair. These simple but flavoursome recipes are perfect for an afternoon snack, and fresh from the oven they make a comforting and warming treat to share with friends. You won’t be having just one of these bite-sized goodies…
Fig and Blue Cheese Tarts
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
100 g (3½ oz) soft blue cheese, at room temperature
6 small figs, halved lengthways
thyme sprigs to serve
Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F) or 200°C (400°F) for a fan-forced oven. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Cut six 7.5 cm (3 in) rounds from each sheet of pastry. Place on the prepared tray. Score each round 1 cm (ó in) from the edge. Prick the centre with a fork. Brush with the egg and bake for 10 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.
Remove from the oven and press the centre of each pastry round down with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Spoon a little blue cheese into the centre of each tart shell. Top with a fig half, cut side up, and a little more cheese. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve topped with a sprig of thyme.
Mushroom and Feta Bruschetta
4 field mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
25 g (1 oz) feta
salt and pepper to taste
50 g (1¾ oz/1 cup) firmly packed basil leaves
¼ cup vegetable oil
4 slices Italian white bread, lightly toasted
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) or 160°C (320°F) for a fan-forced oven. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Lay the mushrooms on the tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes. Crumble over the feta and season well. Bake for another 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
Meanwhile, make the basil oil. Place the basil and vegetable oil in a small food processor. Process until smooth.
Spread the basil oil over each bread slice. Top with a mushroom and serve with extra basil oil for drizzling.
You could use Swiss brown or button mushrooms in this recipe. Leave whole or chop and cook as per above.
Our weekly Friday Treats is fashionably late this week. Which is appropriate because this week’s recipe is from our chic coobook Le Petit Paris by Nathalie Benezet. Now that it’s getting chilly, snuggle up with this comforting pudding, with a French twist!
For the rice pudding
200 g (7 oz/1 cup) short-grain pudding rice
1 vanilla pod
900 ml (30 fl oz/33/4 cups) milk
75 g (21/2 oz/3/4cups) caster (superfine) sugar
pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
50 g (2 oz/1/4 cup) butter
For the caramel sauce
150 g (5 oz/3/4 cup) light soft brown sugar
200 ml (7 fl oz/scant 1 cup) double
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, add the rice and cook it for 2 minutes. Strain and set aside.
Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Place the pod and seeds in a large saucepan with the milk, sugar and salt and heat to a gentle simmer. Pour in the rice and stir well. Cover and simmer for 30–40 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat when all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Remove the vanilla pod. Add the egg yolks, return to the hob and heat gently for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and leave to cool.
To make the caramel sauce, heat the sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat. Keep an eye on it and stir frequently to ensure the sugar doesn’t burn. When the sugar has melted remove the pan from the heat, leave to cool for about a minute, then slowly pour in the cream and stir until you have a smooth sauce.
Pour the rice pudding into individual small serving dishes. Serve the caramel sauce on the side for guests to add their own.
If you want to taste some of Nathalie’s food head to her pop up food stall at Night Tales at Abbott Street Car Park, Dalston, E8 3DL
Thursday - Saturday, for 6 weeks - 7th November - 14th December
Thursdays : 6pm – 11pm
Fridays : 6pm – 12am
Saturdays : 3pm – 12am
Le Petit Paris by Nathalie Benezet (£12.99, Hardie Grant) Photographer: Jacqui Melville
Ever since The 100 Best Albums of All Time by Toby Creswell & Craig Mathieson landed in the HG UK office we’ve been debating what the Best Album actually is.
After listening to A LOT of the suggested albums in the office here is our list:
Stephen, Managing Director: Mine is probably Bryan Ferry’s Bete Noir or Grace Jones Island Life. But then, how can you go past Duran Duran’s Rio
Kate, Publisher: Prince: The Hits/The B-Sides. Soundtrack to my adolescence for sure.
Emma, Publicist: Bon Jovi – Keep the Faith or These Days. You can judge, I don’t care. Loved blasting out Bon Jovi in the living room playing air guitar with the brothership.
Kajal, Desk Editor: This is TOO hard! Radiohead – In Rainbows, The Velvet and Underground and Nico, Arcade Fire – Funeral, Nirvana – Nermind. I have about 6 more I could say too..
Jennifer, Marketing & Sales Assistant, Avril Lavigne, Let Go. I don’t have anything to say to justify it…
Steph, Publicity Assistant, Queen’s Greatest Hit. These are the only songs I know all the words to after listening to it with all siblings on the way to school every morning!
Head to our Twitter @HardieGrantUK to tell us what yours is!
We’re getting in early on our Friday treats (our weekly gorge-fest here at the HG office) to celebrate Halloween with some spooky sugary goodness from April Carter’s trEATs. April’s Gingerbread Bats and Spiced Pumpkin Cakes are the perfect sweet treats for today, whether that be with an afternoon cup of tea or to hand our to trick and treaters this evening – get into the Halloween spirit with these seasonal goodies.
Makes 30 bats
FOR THE GINGERBREAD
100 g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter
75 g (2 ½ oz) treacle
75 g (2 ½ oz) golden syrup
75 g (2 ½ oz/2/5 cup) dark brown soft sugar
450 g (1 lb/3 3/5 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground black pepper
1 large (US – extra large) egg yolk
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
FOR THE DECORATION
250 g (9 oz) Instant Royal Icing sugar
2–3 tablespoons water
a few drops of black food colouring
To make the gingerbread, heat the butter, treacle, golden syrup and sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and all of the ingredients are well combined. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Into a clean bowl sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper, and stir to combine. Once the butter mixture has cooled, add the egg yolk and fresh ginger to it, mixing well. Then, fold in the flour mixture to form a dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Split into two discs and wrap each one with clingfilm. Chill them in the fridge for at least 2 hours to allow the dough to rest.
Once your dough is fully chilled, preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F/gas mark 3) and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Put one disc in the freezer while you roll out the dough of the other disc to 4–5 mm (¼ in) thick on a floured surface. Cut out bat shapes using a cookie cutter, or make your own cardboard template and use a sharp knife to cut around it. Transfer your bats to the baking trays and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Bake in the oven for 8–10 minutes, or until the edges of the shapes are firm. Fully cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Using a food processor with the whisk attachment, whisk the Instant Royal Icing sugar with the water for 5 minutes to create a smooth paste that is thick enough to pipe with. Place a small amount of the white icing in a bowl for the bat eyes. Cover and set aside.
Add the black food colouring to the remaining icing and mix well in the with a spatula. Transfer the black icing to a piping bag and snip a small amount off the end. Pipe a black outline on all of the bat shapes. Reserve a small amount of the remaining black icing in the bag for the bat eyes.
Thin out the remaining black icing with some more water to give it a runnier consistency, then, with a teaspoon, use it to fill in the bat outlines.
Allow the icing on your gingerbread bats to set for at least 2 hours, then ice the bat eyes using the remaining white and black icing. Store in a tin or an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Spiced Pumpkin Cakes
FOR THE CAKES
60 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
75 g (2 ½ oz/2/5 cup) light brown soft sugar
1 large (US – extra large) egg
150 g (5 oz) pumpkin purée
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
150 g (5 oz/1 1/5 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
FOR THE CREAM-CHEESE FROSTING
60 g (2 oz) full-fat cream cheese, chilled
120 g (4 oz/1 cup) golden icing (confectioner’s) sugar
pumpkin seeds to decorate
Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F/gas mark 3). Line a 24-hole mini muffin tin with squares of baking paper or mini cupcake cases.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, then allow to cool. Using a food processor with the beater attachment, beat the butter and sugar until combined. Add the egg, pumpkin purée and vanilla extract and mix well.
Into a clean bowl sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt, and stir to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in the food processor, and mix until the ingredients are well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure that all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
Divide the mixture between the cake cases until each case is two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Set the cakes aside to cool in the pan for 2 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cream-cheese frosting, use a food processor with the beater attachment to mix the icing sugar and cream cheese until it forms a smooth mixture. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag with the end cut off, and pipe small amounts of frosting onto the cooled cakes. Finally, decorate with the pumpkin seeds. Though best eaten fresh, you can store the cakes in a tin or an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.
Luke Nguyen is in London to launch his new book The Food of Vietnam. His schedule has been a whirlwind of interviews, launch parties, cooking demonstrations and an appearance on C4’s Sunday Brunch. We managed to sneak fifteen minutes in the Hardie Grant UK offices to chat about Vietnam, London and jellyfish.
The Food of Vietnam is a culinary guide to all the regions of Vietnam. Luke said that the project never started out as a book, rather his aim was to discover the regional food, cooking techniques and culture of his parents’ country. Raised in Australia in a small Vietnamese community, “as most children of emigrants do, I wanted to find out why my parents brought me up a certain way”. This was a project six or seven years in the making and from all the rich material gathered along the way, the book emerged.
Whilst Vietnamese food is hugely popular in Australia, where Luke’s restaurant Red Dragon celebrates the finer elements of the cuisine, Luke is aware its hold in the UK is not as strong. For those who are new to Vietnamese food, Luke recommends the salad and wrap recipes in his book. He extolls the “flavours, colours and vibrancies” of these dishes and promises a meal that is “light, balanced, fresh and healthy.”
Luke believes Vietnamese food is perfect for entertaining and paints a warm communal picture of a dinner party where everyone gathers around the table filled with steamed fish garnished with herbs, wets rice paper wrappers and builds their own wraps.
We talk about the salads Luke served at his London launch party in Sony, where he cooked six dishes from his book including Pork & Prawn Rice Paper Rolls, Char grilled Lemongrass with Pork Skewers, Seared Scallops with Tamari, Lemongrass and Chilli and Chicken Salad with Jellyfish. Luke handed around the ‘Chicken Salad’ only revealing the secret ingredient of jellyfish when the spoons were empty. When another round of salad came around, most people took a second.
“That’s why I do what I do. I want to share the eating experience, share the cuisine. I want to educate people, create the element of surprise,” Luke says.
When asked what’s next, Luke, who managed to squeeze in visits to many of London’s most popular restaurants during his trip, says he would like to bring his food to London. Maybe we’ll being seeing a lot more of Luke in the future.
1. If you could have a meal cooked by any chef who would it be?
An old woman who has been sitting on the corner of Hai Ba Trung and Dien Bien Phu for forty five years
2. Last meal.
3. Favourite ingredient
4. Food you wouldn’t eat.
Nothing. I’d try anything once
In the Hardie Grant office we are having coconut cake for our Friday treat today. Normally we choose a selection of treats and have a taste of everything. But it turned out that more than a few members of our team had been dreaming about coconut cake, since it was first sampled a few weeks ago.
Whilst we are working our way through world’s biggest slices of coconut cake this afternoon it only seems fair to share a recipe from our new cookbook Lucy’s Food by Lucy Cufflin.
Coconut, ginger and lime cake
PREPARATION TIME: 15 mins
COOKING TIME: 35 mins
COOK: oven (350˚F/180˚C)
• mixing bowl
• electric whisk/hand blender
• 500g loaf tin
• baking parchment
200g butter at room temperature
1 lime, zest and juice
215g self raising flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
100g desiccated coconut
FOR THE DRIZZLE
150g icing sugar
1 lime, zest and juice
1 Line the loaf tin with baking parchment.
2 Blend, whisk or beat the butter and sugar together until you have a smooth and pale mixture. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing as you go, then add the lime juice and zest. Stir in the flour, ginger and coconut by hand to prevent over-mixing.
3 Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 35 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch.
4 Meanwhile, make the drizzle by adding the zest to the icing sugar and mixing the juice in a little at a time. Pour the drizzle over the cake while it is still warm and in its tin.
5 When the cake is cool, lift it out of the tin and wrap in a double layer of cling film to keep it really moist.
For special diets…
• Vegetarian Yes
• Vegan No
• Gluten-free No
• Nut-free Yes, check coconut
• Dairy-free No, use vegetable margarine instead of butter
• This actually tastes better after a couple of days so try to leave it a while before eating!
• Use a fine grater to make the lime zest.
• Use a lined 20 x 20cm roasting tin to make this as a traybake instead if you prefer.
• Store in a double layer of cling film in a cool, dry place for up to 5 days.
• This cake can be frozen.