Seafood pappardelle

A luxurious pasta dish that we always make with way too much seafood!


  • Palourde clams
  • Prawns shell on
  • Squid
  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Mascarpone
  • Can of san marzano tomatoes
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar
  • White onion
  • Unwaxed Lemon zest
  • Noilly Prat
  • Pappardelle
  • Parmesan (optional)


  • Sweat finely diced onion in olive oil.
  • Add the tomatoes, a splash of red wine vinegar and literally a pinch of sugar (san marzano tomatoes are already very sweet.)
  • Then add a pinch of salt and bay leaves.
  • Simmer for about 1 hour until the colour deepens and it tastes divine.

Make prawn stock

  • Peel and de-vein the prawns and make a stock from heads and shells.
  • Butterfly the prawns and set aside.
  • Key here is to hard-fry the shells first, before adding stock veg and a splash of white wine. Once alcohol has burnt off add water to cover.
  • Now shmoosh everything with a potato masher to extract all the prawny goodness.
  • Strain through a chinoise.


  • Get a saucepan fiercely hot, throw in the clams.
  • Then add 1 glass of white wine and 1/4 glass noilly prat (optional).
  • Cool for as little time as possible for clams to open. You want them as underdone as possible but need to make sure they have opened.
  • Once the clams are beginning to open strain them and return the winey juice to saucepan and put back on the heat.
  • Separate those clams that have opened from those that haven’t.
  • Return those that haven’t to the boiling liquid. Give it a couple of minutes and re-strain and discard any that haven’t opened by that point.
  • TIP although essential to discard unopened clams/mussel etc, as a dead one will make you really sick, it is the Beetle’s view that on first cooking a bunch don’t open because they haven’t got round to it yet, but if you keep cooking the whole lot until they’re all open, the early adopters will have got chewy!
  • Gather and set aside the clam meat; discard the shells.
  • Now strain the clam cooking liquor. Discard the grit that will have formed at its base.

The Sauce

  • Now add the clam liquor and prawn stock to the tomato sauce and reduce at a medium heat until nice and “saucy”.
  • Add a big old spoonful of mascarpone and zest of the lemon.
  • Season with plenty of black pepper and check for salt, acknowledging that you’ll add some of the salted pasta water later.
  • Finally, if you’re concerned that you’ve been looking too good in swimwear, throw in a chunk of decent butter.
  • Grate Parmesan, pull off basil leaves and chop dill.
  • Get large pan of heavily salted water to the boil for the pasta.

The seafood

  • Have your fishmonger clean the squid (if you can’t get cleaned, YouTube it – it’s a satisfying process).
  • Cut tentacles into manageable-to-eat sections.
  • Cut body into thick rings. Then open each ring into a fat strip.
  • Lightly score (diamond pattern) the strips.
  • Get the frying pan fiercely hot. The frying pan needs to be big enough to hold the whole finished dish. Use your biggest.
  • Add a little olive oil (to avoid burning/bitter taste get ingredients in quickly).
  • Now you want to sear the squid in a super hot pan in a single layer… NEVER over crowding the pan.
  • Basically you want to colour but under cook this stuff and finish it in the sauce. In and out then into a cold holding dish.
  • With the prawns follow the same process.
  • Once the seafood is seared and removed from frying pan, pour the reserved sauce into to the pan, incorporating all crusty goodness into the sauce.


  • With pasta, it needs a little bite and you want to finish in the sauce to absorb the flavour.
  • Boil pasta for a couple of minutes less than al dente.
  • Reserve a cup of cooking water, drain pasta and then add pasta to the frying pad of sauce on the heat.
  • Add the cooked seafood, dill, basil, some parmesan and get it all hot but not much more. Add a little of the reserved pasta water just to loosen things off.
  • Then serve with additional sprinkle of parmesan and splash of olive oil.

Bourbon Ribs

  • Ribs
  • Belly pork
  • Chilli 
  • Ginger 
  • Onion
  • Dark sugar
  • Garlic 
  • Chipotle 
  • Date syrup 
  • Mustard 
  • Ketchup 
  • Soy sauce
  • Bourbon 
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Star anise
  • Cumin seeds

BBQ sauce made in a saucepan : date syrup, mustard, ketchup, dark  soy sauce, bourbon, star anise, cumin, red wine vinegar, soft dark brown sugar, chipotle- simmer together. 

Ribs & Belly : 

  • Dip and cost the ribs and bellly in the sauce.
  • Then roast with chilli, ginger garlic and  onion for 2.5 hours covered in tinfoil then 30 mins uncovered. 
  • Drain the juices into the sauce (strain off any excess fat).  Reduce briefly.
  • Chop up ribs and belly and put in roasting pan.  
  • Put aside onion,  ginger, chilli and garlic for a moment.
  •  Return the mushy garlic and onion to the roasting pan. Cover it all with the sauce.  Then back in oven and turn a little to get everything glistening and covered in sauce.  
  • Roast until caramelised and sauce perfectly thickened.



  • Chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • Fresh squid in rings
  • King prawns (raw and shell-on)
  • Cooking chorizo
  • Red onions
  • Garlic
  • Carrot
  • Red pepper
  • Fennel
  • Lemon
  • Frozen peas – defrosted in cold water.
  • Tomato puree
  • Prawn + chicken stock (see the method)
  • Bay leaf
  • Thyme
  • Parsley (stalks separated from chopped leaves)
  • Glass of white wine
  • Paella rice
  • Salt pepper
  • Smoked paprika

The method

The stock: Peel prawns, devein (slice along back to remove) and set prawns aside.  Fry heads and shells in olive oil with a little carrot and onion.  Squish the heads with a wooden spoon.  Fry for a good 8-10 minutes until everything smells concentrated.  De-glaze with white wine and reduce.  Cover with water, then add bay leaf, parsley stalks and thyme.  Use a potato masher to further extract the goodness from the prawn heads.  Simmer for 25-30 mins. Strain through a chinoise, using wooden spoon to squeeze all liquid from the shells.  Heat strained stock gently, add organic chicken stock cube and a pinch of saffron.

Brown the chicken: Salt the skin and heat the olive oil in large wide pan.  Fry skin side down until well crisped, then brown all over. Remove and set aside.

The squid & chorizo: Spoon off the excess oil leaving 1-2 tablespoons and all the crispy bits.  Back on the heat fry the chorizo and squid briefly.  Set aside with the chicken.

Sweat the veg:  In the remaining oil sweat the veg for 5-10 mins.  Add 1 tbsp of tomato puree and a heaped tsp of smoked paprika.  Add the rice, coating it in all the flavours.  Fry for another 5 mins.  Return the chicken, squid and chorizo to the pan.

Add the stock: Reduce the stock to 750 ml (or add water to increase to 750 ml if less).  Add to rice and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes.

[TIP:  If cooking with gas you may find the narrow diameter of heat means the rice in the centre of the pan cooks faster than the rice on the outside – we assume traditional paella cooking involves an even heat to the pan that a low gas hob does not achieve.  Authentic paella should not be stirred, to allow the crusty crispy bottom (sorcarrat) to form.  However, uncooked rice will kill the dish so we scarified the sorcarrat and do occasionally stir the rice around – but this is not risotto!)]

Sear the prawns:  Sear prawns in olive oil in a very hot frying pan fast to achieve a little colour.  Set aside.

Final steps:  Once chicken is fully cooked, remove (ensuring no rice comes with it). Continue to simmer the rice until it is just done.  Now fold in the prawns and peas allowing the prawns to finish cooking in the residual head.  Return the chicken to the pan and scatter chopped parsley and garnish with fat lemon wedges.

We served ours with sour cream and chive but this is disgracefully  inauthentic.

Green Tomato Chutney

Year one of the garden and some over-enthusiastic horticulture  efforts have left me with a glut of green tomatoes.  Next year plant out earlier, in the meantime make chutney while the sun (doesn’t) shine.


  • 1250g green tomatoes
  • 250g sultanas
  • 250g apples (prefer cooking but granny smith will do if added later to the stewing process)
  • 250 red onion
  • 250 dark sugar
  • 670 ml malt vinegar
  • mace
  • mustard seeds
  • Orange peel
  • cloves (3-4)
  • bay leaves
  • pepper corns
  • cinnamon stick
  • salt about 1-2 table spoon of good salt (e.g. malden)


Slice the tomatoes then finely dice red onions.  Then salt both in about 1 tbsp of good salt overnight.IMG_0168.JPG

Pickling Liquor

Boil the malt vinegar and spices then let it cool. Then boil again and leave at least 15 mins. Strain the spices out.  If you can leave it overnight before straining.

Make chutney

Add the sugar to the pickling liquor and boil for 10 mins to dissolve.

Then add sultanas and simmer for 10 mins.

Then strain the tomatoes and onion (don’t rinse) then add to the liquor.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 mins.


Once the tomatoes are beginning to soften and brown add the chopped apples.

Simmer for about 30-40 mind (keep a bit of bite in the apples).


Once the mixture becomes thicker and stickier take off the heat.

When cold pot up in sterilised jars or pots.






Chairman Mao Pork


  • Pork belly – skin on bone out – 1 kg
  • Shaoxing Wine – 2 tb sp
  • Light soy 
  • White sugar – 4 tb sp
  • Garlic cloves – lots – peeled, halved and green bit removed.
  • Ginger – lots – unpeeled and sliced into discs.
  • Star Anise – 2
  • Cinnamon – 2 sticks
  • Dry red chillies – 4 whole
  • Spring onions – lots.  Half of them cut into 4cm lengths and the rest finely sliced.


  • Prep the ginger, spring onion and garlic.




  • Put the pork belly into boiling water for 4 minutes.  Remove and cut into bite size chunks.




  • Melt the sugar in an equal quantity of vegetable oil.  Cook until it turns into a rich caramel.
  • Carefully add the pork pieces and turn to coat in the caramel.  
  • Pour in the shaoxing.  

sugar and veg oil


Caramel begining to colour


Caramel ready for the pork



  • Add garlic, ginger and spices.
  • Add water to just cover, simmer until pork begins to feel tender.  Skim off fat during the simmer.



  • Turn up the heat add the lengths of spring onion and reduce until the sauce has enough body and the pork is melting.  
  • Season with soy sauce, salt and sugar to taste.


  • Scatter over the finely chopped spring onion and serve.
  • We ate ours with a king prawn and egg fried rice.




Beef Short Rib & Roasted Cauliflower 


  • Beef ribs
  • Red wine
  • Beef or chicken stock
  • Tomato Purée 
  • Sugar
  • Orange zest
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cauliflower 

Short rib should give amazing taste and texture once he’s done.  He needs a long slow braise to render all of that fat and to soften the  meat.

  • First job, get those ribs properly browned.  No grey allowed.
  • Remove from the pan, discard excess oil and now add to the pan the: carrot, celery, onion and whole garlic cloves. Gently fry until everything gets a bit of colour.  
  • Combine veg with the short ribs, herbs and orange zest in a roasting tray. 
  • Deglaze the frying pan with a bottle of red wine and beef/chicken stock.  Add some tomato puree and a pinch of sugar, a little salt and pepper.  
  • Reduce this down a little, then pour over the short rib.  They should be 2/3 submerged. 
  • Cover tightly in tinfoil, baking at 140 c for 3-4 hours, basting every 1/2 hour. 
  •  When the meat is deliciously tender put it aside. Skim fat off the liquor  that’s left and reduce until it has a little more body and tastes fantastic. 
  • Adjust seasoning accordingly and pour back over the meat. 
  •  We served this with yorkshire puddings, mash potato, horseradish sauce and roasted cauliflower cheese. 

 Roasted Cauliflower Cheese 

  • Separate out the florets and put in roasting tray.  Put in a little olive oil along with salt and pepper and thoroughly toss to coat.  
  • Roast in medium oven for 25-35 mins, shaking regularly until florets are golden and nutty.  
  • Then add cheese sauce and roast for another 5-10 mins.  

Try this and you’ll never make cauliflower cheese with steamed veg again…!


Triple Cooked Korean Belly Pork & Pickled Vegetables

Ingredients for the pork

  • Belly Pork – skin off, bone in or boneless (as you prefer)
  • Chicken or pork stock
  • Ginger – a lot
  • Spring onions – plenty
  • Garlic – plenty
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Sugar – Asian if possible
  • Zest of a whole orange
  • A lemon
  • Button mushrooms
  • Dark and light soy
  • Korean Gochujang Chilli Paste
  • Korean fermented soy bean paste (Doenjang Paste)

Method – Pork

  • Slice 2/3rds of the ginger roughly (no need to peel ), 
  • Add ginger to the chicken stock with: few smashed garlic cloves, the green half of the spring onions, cinnamon, a little sugar, orange zest, splash of dark soy, a great spoonful of the Gochujang Chilli Paste and about half as much of the Doenjang Paste.
  • Bring the mixture up to the boil, add the pork, then enough water to ensure the pork is covered.
  • Simmer pork for 90 minutes.  Then allow to cool in the broth.
  • Remove the pork, strain the broth and bring it back to the boil.
  • Add the rest of the ginger finely chopped, another big spoonful of Gochujang Chilli Paste and splash of light soy.
  • Reduce until sauce is starting to thicken a little.  At this point slice the pork thickly (if on the bone one rib per slice).  
  • Fry the pork on a high heat until crisp and golden on each side.
  • Return the pork to the sauce and simmer adding the halved button mushrooms, lemon juice and salt to taste.
  • When the sauce has thickened pleasingly and the pork is meltingly tender, sprinkle over the chopped whites of the spring onions.
  • Serve with steamed jasmine rice and the pickled vegetables.

left: Doenjang. right: Gochujang

sauce before pork goes in

sauce after pork goes in

pork cooling and resting

Ingredients for the Pickled Vegetables

  • 1:2 cider vinegar: water 
  • Sugar – a little
  • Coriander seeds
  • Ribbons/thin slices of chosen vegetables (we we used carrot, cucumber, fennel, chilli, red onion, raddish)

Method – the picked vegetables

  • Salt the veg once sliced and leave in a strainer over a bowl for 30 mins.
  • Heat the water, vinegar and coriander to bring to the boil. 
  • Rinse the veg then put in a bowl and cover with the hot pickling liquor.
  • Leave to cool and then serve with the pork.

Porchetta with Gorgonzola Sauce

Porchetta should be a rolled joint that combines loin and belly, however, this is unusual for UK butchers and rolled belly works just as well.

1.5 kilo Belly Pork (skin on but ribs out)
2 x Good, big butchers sausages (Cumberland in this recipie)
Glass white wine
Herbs: Rosemary, parsley and sage – finely chopped
Zest of one lemon
Fennel seeds
Garlic – lots of it and new season if you can get it – finely sliced
Black pepper
Savoy Cabbage
Double cream
Chicken Stock

Prepare the stuffing
Dry fry the fennel seeds until fragrant and grind (one of those occasions it’s better to use a pestle and mortar. You’re not looking for a fine powder.)
Skin the sausage and mix with the herbs, garlic, fennel and lemon zest.

Prepare the pork
Score the skin (a modelling shop scalpel works very well).
Turn it meat side up. It’s likely that what your butcher has given you will have a thicker half and a thinner half. With a sharp (boning) knife cut through the meat of the thicker side, leaving it attached at the far end, creating a flap.



Now season the meat with Maldon salt, including both sides of the flap. Opening the flap out press the stuffing mixture into a thin layer that covers the main body of the meat. Now fold the flap back over the stuffing.




Tying the Joint
Now fold the ends of the joint up to meet to create a cylinder. Tie this with butcher’s string at regular intervals. You could do this with 10 individual pieces of string along the cylinder. But if you want it to look pretty, here’s a guide to do doing it like the butcher.



Roasting the Porchetta
Once the joint is tied, rub all over with a little olive oil, followed by a little fine salt all over the skin.
Make a trivet of celery sticks and place the joint on top (you could use carrot or onion, or whatever veg you’ve got available).
Roast for 30 mins in a 230c oven, turning the joint about every 10 mins, to let the crackling begin to puff.

Then turn the oven down to 150c. Squeeze lemon juice all over the crackling before going back into the oven. Then roast for around 2.5 hours.
Let the meat rest loosely covered with foil.

[ If you like puffy crackling, the biggest factor is dry skin. To get the best results ask your butcher for a piece of pork with good dry skin. If the skin is soft and moist you’ll never achieve that lightness you desire. But if that’s not possible, leaving in the fridge uncovered for a day or 2 helps. A little vinegar over the skin helps too. ]


Now take the roasting pan and pour off the excess fat (reserve for later) and deglaze with a glass of Italian white wine in a small saucepan, cook out 1/2 teaspoon of flour in some of the reserved pork fat. Now add the deglazed wine juices and a cup of chicken stock (this one time when a good quality stock cube will do it). Add a good slug of double cream and reduce by at least 1/3 until it’s tasting really good. Add a small handful of grated Parmesan and a nice lump of Gorgonzola. Whisk until combined and season if required.
[ To save buying white wine each time you want to cook with it get one of those supermarket deals on a bottle at about £5. Boil off all the alcohol, divide into 5 or 6 small containers and freeze until you need them. Perfect for gravies, sauces and stews.]


Once sauce is ready and Porchetta has rested, slice the meat as thinly as that crackling will allow. Pour sauce and serve with buttered Savoy cabbage (spinach would also be great) and perhaps some fried potatoes, though we were naughty enough to choose Yorkshire puddings (for Yorkshire Puddings see this earlier post Roast Forerib of Beef )







Chicken Shawarma Wrap

1 kilo Chicken thighs – bone in

Tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tbsp coriander seed
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 tbsp fenugreek seed
1 clove
Tsp garlic powder
Tsp turmeric
1/2tbsp smoked paprika
10 cardamon pods
5 cloves garlic
Ginger – good chunk
2 medium red chillies (with seeds)
Veg oil
1 lime

Natural yoghurt – small punet
Big clove of garlic
Squeeze of lemon
Mint- a few leaves
Chilli sauce ( sriracha for us every time!)

Some lettuce leaves
Red onion
White cabbage

Kebab extras
Pickled chillies
Red chilli medium

Our local corner shop does a great one, but make your own if you want.

The Chicken
Puree garlic, ginger, chilli, oil & lime
Meanwhile toast the whole spices then grind them. Combine this, the powdered spices and the puréed aromatics. You want a sloppy marinade that will happily coat the chicken. Loosen with more oil if you need to.
Rub marinade into the thighs, getting it right under the skin.
Leave in fridge for 24 hours.
Wipe off excess marinade from the chicken and BBQ until slightly charred and just done (if you’re not bbq-ing obviously you can roast these, but might be worth starting in a fierce pan to give you a bit of char.)



Meanwhile, finely dice parsley, cucumber & tomato, lightly salt and combine, draining away any excess moisture.

Purée the garlic clove, a little salt, yoghurt, lemon juice & mint leaves for “garlic sauce”.

Thinly slice the cabbage and both pickled. Take leaves from coriander.

Thinly slice 1/2 a red onion, the fresh red chillies and squeeze over lime juice and a dusting of salt. Leave for at least 15 mins to take the burn out.

We also had some grated cheddar cheese. I know, not authentic and greedy, but I am the Greedy Rat…..




Now thinly slice the rested chicken thighs, mixing up with any juices that have collected. Warm the wraps in a dry pan.

Build your supper as done in the kebab shop, making sure to carefully fold the bottom, this baby’s going to be leaky ….






Italian Weekend Feasting Part II – Primo: Asparagus Ravioli with Italian Sausage Ragu – Secondi: Grilled Guinea Fowl

Ok time to fess up, there’s a great deli near Tufnell Park called Salvino (Brecknock Road). We got out fresh ravioli there, as the cooking rat tends to have a tantrum when trying to make pasta, leaving a graveyard of pasta machines in his wake…..
The ragu is, however, all home made.
2 x tin chopped tomatoes
White onion
Stick of celery
Garlic, however much you like.
Chilli flakes
1 x clove
1x pinch of fennel seed
1 x pinch sugar
Splash of red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
White wine x 1 glass
4 x sweet Italian sausages
Dice the onion, celery and garlic then sweat down in olive oil, without colouring.
Meanwhile take sausage out of its skin. Break up the meat and fry in a little olive oil over a high heat until you have lots of crust and lots of brown.
Set the sausage meat aside, discard excess fat from the pan. Then deglaze with 1/2 the white wine, ensuring all crust is incorporated. Once vegetables are softened add the tomatoes, clove, chilli flakes, bay leaf, sausage meat and deglazed wine, the vinegar and sugar. Season with a good bit of salt and lot of pepper.
Bring to simmering point and simmer very slowly for at least 2 hours.
[The cooking rat is a fan of both tomato based pasta sauces that cooked quickly (i.e. 20-25 mins), which have a lighter fresher flavour, as well as the richer deeper flavour of a long slow cooked sugo. For the slower sauces, simmer until the deep red oil rises to the top (not unlike a good curry sauce.]



To serve
We cooked the ravioli (as instructed!), drained it, tossed in the sauce, loosened with a little of the cooking water or ensure a glossy finish and then covered in some beautifully aged Parmesan from Salvino’s.


A Guinea Fowl
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Fennel seed
Stock veg
Glass of white wine
Cold butter
Cherry tomatoes
Little gem lettuce
Dijon mustard
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil
The day before, joint the guinea fowl as follows:
Take off the legs and the wings (only the outer two thirds of the wing joints, leaving that first “drumstick” still attached to the breast.








Now get to work with poultry shears or strong kitchen scissors.
You want to completely remove the back bone and any ribs from the guinea fowl’s crown. This is straight forward. Just cut along the line of the crown, leaving those wing joints attached.




You should now have two piles, one for grilling, one of leftover bones. Mix the meat with the marinade ingredients and refrigerate.
[ When marinading meat overnight, don’t overdo the lemon as whatever acid you marinade with it will begin to break the meat down and if you use too much, the results will be poorer.]

Now the leftover bones
Back to the poultry shears and cut the spine into small chunks and any other bits in similar sized pieces.
[When making poultry stock, put in the effort to avoid any large pieces. Large chunks will have less surface area capable of browning and in turn this will significantly reduce the intensity of the stock or sauce. It’s all in the browning!]
Now, brown all the bone pieces in a little oil over a medium heat. Take longer over this than you expect. Get them really brown, but never black.
In parallel fry off slices of stock veg ( carrot, onion, celery) until nicely browned. Add the bones to this, discard the oil (but only the oil) from the bone pan and deglaze with half the wine. Add the aromatics to the stock.
Then add just enough (and no more) cold water to cover the bones. Bring just to boil. Skim the scum.
Low simmer for 90 mins, skimming every so often.
Strain through a fine chinoise (or sieve through a clean cloth).
Leave overnight in the fridge and discard any rising fat the next day.










The Next Day
An hour before grilling take the guinea fowl out of the fridge. We were BBQ-ing, but a hot oven will still be delicious.
You have 3 different types of cut: legs, crown & wing. These will obviously cook at differing rates (in that order). Wipe off excess marinade. Season well with flaky salt (Maldon is always good).
Put the legs on for a bit, then the crown and and later the wing ends – they will cook pretty quickly. Whatever you don’t over cook that breast.
[Do you have a meat thermometer? If so you don’t want the breast to get any hotter then 65 c. (Ignore the hygiene food fashion demanding 70c). Don’t forget once you take it off a high heat, the crown is going to keep going up by at least a few degrees.]
Once all the meat is done let it rest.
The Sauce
Take the stock and the other 1/2 of the wine. Reduce it right down until it’s just a couple of tablespoons. Vigorously swirl in some cubes of cold butter and it’s ready to drizzle over the meat (yes, I know that finish was French not Italian, but so’s the vinaigrette.)

Purify the garlic under knife blade with salt. Leave in red wine vinegar for 10 mins. Add some Dijon mustard, a pinch of sugar and olive oil (3:1 oil to vinegar). Emulsify.
When everything is ready dress your salad, drizzle the Guinea Fowl with some sauce and sharpen up with a couple of lemons.










Italian Weekend Feasting Part I – Slow Roasted Shoulder of Lamb & Tender Stem

Lamb shoulder 

  • 1.5kg lamb shoulder, boned, not rolled and tied 
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    6 garlic cloves, peeled (young garlic if you can get it) 
  • 8 anchovy fillets in oil 
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary 
  • 50g unpitted black olives ( preferably Taggiasche but we couldn’t find any ) 
  • 250ml white wine 


This recipe is usually made with purple sprouting broccoli but we made do with tenderstem. 

  • 500g broccoli, tough stems removed 
  • 2 tbsp good-quality extra virgin olive oil 
  • salt and pepper 


  • In a hot heavy pan add the oil then the lamb getting nicely brown and crusty all over. 
  •  Set lamb aside and discard excess oil from the pan, then add the garlic, anchovies, olives, rosemary and wine. 
  •  Season the lamb (light touch with the salt because of the other ingredients). 
  •  Place lamb back into the pan with the other ingredients.
    Cover tightly with a lid or foil. 
  •  Bake at 180c for 90-120 mins, until the lamb is very tender.
    Baste with the juices every so often. 
  • During final 15 mins of baking, remove the lid/foil. 
  • Remove lamb and keep it warm with a little foil hat. 
  •  Reduce the liquid until it tastes perfect. Remove pits from olives and return flesh to the sauce.
    Carve the lamb against the grain.  
  • Cover in sauce and olives.
    Serve with tenderstem – boiled in salted water until just right and dressed with a little salt pepper & olive oil. 
  •  We added crispy potatoes.














Perfect Roast Rib of Beef & ALL the Trimmings

The Beef
Start with the best, well aged, well marbled, rib roast. I might be biased, but Scottish beef is arguably the best.

20140526-151233.jpgGet a heavy pan absurdly hot…

Lightly oil the surface of the beef. Salt one side and immediately place that side down on the pan. After 20 seconds, salt the upper side and turn it face down. Keep turning every 20 seconds until you have a perfect brown crust. Then holding the meat with tongs, brown off all the edges.








20140526-131121.jpgOnce completely brown put a meat thermometer in, season heavily with pepper and some additional Maldon salt. Put in a 75c oven.

Then deglaze frying pan with a fruity red wine, add beef stock and reduce to make gravy. Finish gravy with cold diced butter just before serving. The beef should be roasted at 75c until it’s internal temperature is 55c, for nice and rare. This may take a few hours, but it’s worth it. If you want it any more cooked than this, you should read a different blog.





The Trimmings
Spinach: blanch, plunge into iced water to quickly chill then squeeze out excess moisture. Then put in a cold plan with salt, pepper and a little olive oil and warm through through when ready to serve.



Broccoli, Cauliflower & Asparagus Grattin: Par cook florets of broccoli & cauliflower.
As it’s asparagus season we’re doing thin slices of the stalk and the tips kept whole. Par cook as well. Then slice some spring onion, this goes into the grattin raw.

Once all the veg is half cooked, plunge into iced water to completely cool. Then drain on kitchen towel for a while to make make sure all the water is gone. There’s nothing worse than a watery cheese sauce…..

Now make cheese sauce. Basic white sauce, lots of cheddar & gruyere (1/2 and 1/2) bay leaves and nutmeg and cayenne chilli pepper. Once veg is drained of all water, put into a buttered oven dish, pour over cheese sauce, top with grated cheese and cayenne pepper. This goes into a hot oven with the Yorkshire Puddings at the end.
















The Carrots: We managed to find lovely purple carrots. Carrots can be prepped and ready to go once you’re ready. Cook in salted water with a nice chunk of butter, pepper and a slice of tangerine (or anything else orangey)

The Yorkshire Puddings: We always follow Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe & method. It’s never failed yet. Just Add some fresh thyme leaves once you’ve whizzed or whisked the mixture. Put aside in the fridge for the final cook once prepped.

The Roasters: Use King Edwards or Maris Pipers. Peeled and cut to the size you like. Poach in salted water at a low simmer for as long as you dare before the potato collapses. Very gently strain the potatoes, then let them dry on kitchen paper.
Next, the oil for roasting: beef fat, duck fat & olive oil are all good in different ways. Choose your fat and coat the dried potatoes in it. Add whole garlic cloves, red onion wedges and fresh rosemary. Then put then aside for the final cook.




The final push
Now get everything else ready, Yorkshires, gratin, carrots, spinach and gravy.
Pour olive oil into the Yorkshire tin and put the Yorkshires & gratin in the oven for 20 mins. Do not open the door…
Carve the beef against the grain.








Spicy Peanut Butter Pork & Toasted Coconut & Chilli Salad

This was delicious ….and nicked from Sunday Brunch

Ingredients: Pork
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp Chinese five spice
1kg pork belly
4 cloves garlic, sliced
100ml rice wine
50ml soy sauce
150g hoi sin sauce
225g crunchy peanut butter
Serve with sticky rice, sliced cucumber and chopped spring onions

Ingredients: The salad
Cucumber – peeled sliced and salted for 20 mins
Coconut -grated and dry fried until golden
Shallots – thinly sliced
Radish – thinly spliced
Red Chillies thinly sliced
All mixed together and then mixed with the dressing:
Coconut Milk & Fresh lime juice ( about 3:1 coconut to lime) and Palm sugar to taste.

1. Rub the cinnamon and five spice into the pork. Seal the meat on all sides in a heavy bottomed pan and then remove.
2. Cook the garlic for 2 minutes, then add the rice wine and cook for another 2 minutes.
3. Add the soy and hoi sin sauces and mix well. Put the pork back in the pot.
4. Cover the dish and simmer for 3-4 hours, then remove from the pan.
5. Add the peanut butter to the pan and mix with the sauce. Thin with a little water if the sauce is too thick.
6. Serve slices of pork belly with sticky rice, sliced cucumber and spring onions and the salad.














Easter Lamb with Salsa Verde & Potato Dauphinoise

One Leg of lamb (controversially de-boned but bone kept for stock)
Stock veg
Red onion
Lemon (for the zest)
Charlotte Potatoes (or other waxy)
Gruyere cheese
Cavalo Nero

the little baa lamb

Split the leg between the shank-knuckle end and the leaner “leggy” end.
The Shank
Properly brown the shank meat in a frying pan.
Roast the bone and make a stock. Even if you only have an hour to make stock, this is still worthwhile.
Poach the shank meat and some rosemary in the stock (we went very low temperature for 24 hours).

The Leg
Butterfly the leg meat. Remove any excess sinew or fat.
Gently fry garlic, a few anchovy fillets, rosemary, parsley, lemon zest, salt & pepper. When soft, cool the mixture then spread over inside of the butterflied lamb.
Tie up lamb into a tight and even parcel.
Completely brown the delicious little package in a frying pan.
Low temperature roast the package until it hits 55c internally (low temp roasting doesn’t need resting).

The Guardian’s Best Dauphinoise is incredibly well researched and bloody delicious – use it and you will be happy.

Salsa Verde
Lots of fresh green herbs..
Big bunch of parsley
1/2 again of basil and mint
2 cloves of garlic
4 big anchovy fillets
3 tablespoons of capers
3 tablespoons of chopped gherkin (rough chopped)
1.5 -2 tablespoons of red wine Vinegar
Olive oil
Add everything apart from the oil to a blender then slowly add oil while blennding. Depending how runny and pungent you want it only add a bit of oil don’t drown the herbs.

Once the shank is braised take the stock and reduce adding any roasting juices from the leg along with some white wine and any other gravy flavours you want. Add some roux if you want to thicken the gravy.

Carve the lamb and plate up with any other veg you fancy (cavelo Nero was great with this dish)


















Chicken Tikka Masala

Anglo-inflected curry, but utterly delicious……….
Whole chicken jointed (carcass put aside for stock)
Chilli powder
Cumin seeds
Coriander seeds
Cardamon pods
Garam masala
Green cayenne chillies
Fresh coriander
Tomatoes fresh
Tinned tomatoes
Tomato purée
Ground almonds

Preparing the chicken
We took whole chickens, jointed and skinned them.
Breast cut into big dices and the leg/thighs with the flesh scored.
Carcass put aside to make a stock and brined the chicken.
The brine was 1 litre cold water, 60g Malden salt and teaspoon of sagar.
Brine for at least 45 mins, but ideally a couple of hours.
Once brining complete drain the brining liquid.

Marinade the Chicken
There are 2 stages to the marinade process. The first with lemon juice, the second with yoghurt.
The lemon juice stage involves spices and tenderises the chicken. The yoghurt stage introduces aromatics and allows the flavours to penetrate the meat.

The Lemon Stage: mix lemon juice, paprika, chilli powder and Malden salt. Marinade the chicken for 20 minutes, then add the mix from the yoghurt stage.
The Yoghurt Stage: toast cumin then grind/whizz to a fine powder (set aside half), then pod the cardamon seeds, toast and grind up with the remaining cumin. Skin and roughly chop a good bit of fresh ginger and garlic. Whizz all of the ingredients, with a few tbl sp of yoghurt, together in a blender. Add this purée to the chicken and lemon marinade. Leave for 30 minutes. Once time is up, take out the chicken (scraping off as much as you can) but keep the marinade to add to the sauce later.

The Tikka Masala Sauce
Take chilli and paprika powder along with the set aside cumin. Toast the coriander seed and add to the other spices.
Grate about 25 g of fresh ginger and finely chop the same again of garlic cloves. Finely chop fresh tomatoes.
Finely slice lots of red onions and the dice up a good bit of fresh red chilli (depending on how hot you like it).
Then melt ghee in a big pot. Fry the onions gently until extremely soft. The add the garlic, ginger and diced fresh chilli. Fry for a couple of minutes then add the spices. Fry for a few more minutes, then add the fresh tomatoes (put aside a little to freshen up the sauce before serving) cook for a couple of mins to break them down, then add the tinned tomatoes.
Add a tablespoon of ground almonds and a tablespoon of tomato purée.
Add salt and some boiling water. Let the sauce simmer for about 10 mins add 4/5 fresh green hot chillies (split and put in whole). Let them cook for a bit (30 mins). Take out whole chillies and dice finely, adding back to taste. Then add the chicken’s marinade and the garam masala. Cook for a further 10 minutes.

The Chicken
Heat the BBQ to a fierce heat (or cook on a griddle to get a good crispy layer).
Once hot as hell cook the breast on wooden skewers soaked on water. All you want to do is get the outside a bit charred and then finish in the sauce. The leg/thigh then gets the same treatment.
Finish the chicken on the sauce.

Stir lemon juice and loads of fresh coriander into the sauce and chicken.
Serve with fresh naan bread or rice, or both, along with a spiky salad.














Roast Suckling Pig (& Cochefrito)

This little piggy came to town to celebrate the Cooking Rat’s 40th Birthday. The piggy went very well with the magnum of white Burgundy (and the magnum of Cava) he brought with him.

The Piggy

With a week’s notice you can get a young pig from any good butcher and the investment is worthwhile.
You’ll get very small pig, maybe 4 kilos, but it’s more likely the butcher will supply something around 5.5 kilos. In the centre of London it costs around £14 per kilo, so although hardly cheap, it’s not unaffordable for a really special occasion.
If you are concerned about your oven size, do as we did and ask the butcher to chop in half. Cook it on two trays and put back together for serving. Not only does it look Medieval when feasting, but the flesh itself is divine.

Suckling Pig v Pork
A young pig produces parchment thin crackling.
The flesh is tender, sweet and extraordinarily moist.
Texturally it is almost gelatinous in comparison to older pork; not unlike the difference between brown meat and white meat in poultry.

The Recipe
If you can’t be bothered making this at home go to Fino, we used the recipe in their cook book.

Pig 5.5 kg
2 lemons
7 cloves of garlic
7 bay leaves
Sprig of fresh thyme
1.5 litres of chicken stock
Bunch of mint
High grade olive oil

Wash away blood from inside pig and dry with kitchen towel making sure the skin is completely dry. Critical for crispy crackling.

Rub olive oil all over the pig. Salt and pepper inside and out.Wrap his head in tinfoil. Now pour juice of the 2 lemons over the baking tray. Scatter the peeled and halved garlic cloves (green shoot removed), thyme and bay leaves, all directly under the pig. Open up the pig on top, as much as you can (you want to achieve as little pig curling under as possible so as much of the skin is above the liquid as you can. This will give you more crispy crackling.)

Heat stock and pour into roasting tin (not over the pig or you’ll make the skin wet again).

Roast at 180 c for half an hour then turn down to 140 c and roast for a further 3 hours. Do not baste. For the last 20 mins remove the foil from the pigs head.

Take him out and rest him uncovered for 30 mins in a warmish place. Meanwhile skim all pan juices (save that fat for roasters!). Add a good bit of finely chopped mint and reduce by about half until it tastes just right.

Don a Ermin cloak, carry the whole pig to the table and carve it in front of your friends. Give an ear to the adventurous, some cheek to those you love and make sure you get some of the ribs.

(Ps. Make Cochefrito with the left overs. Basically fried pig with garlic and herbs – see below)











Truffle Chicken

Inspired after a trip to Rome, truffle chicken was: 


  • Whole good chicken, legs and breasts taken off and the carcass used to make a stock. 
  • Chestnut mushrooms 
  • Good jar of creamed white truffle (using the real things if you can get them). 
  • Cream 
  • Broad beans
  • Baby potatoes 
  • White wine
  • Shallots 


Roast the legs in olive oil, salt, pepper and some thyme.
Make a stock from carcass.
Fry mushrooms in butter until golden, season then set aside.
Fry shallots in butter in the mushroom pan.
Reduce the stock. Reduce white wine separately and add to stock with the shallots. Then add some cream & the truffle.
Reduce and season to taste.

Fry the breasts skin side down first to crisp.
Let the chicken rest ( breast and leg).
Par-Boil the potatoes, until just under done.
Then fry in olive oil until scratchy. Season. Place on kitchen role to soak up excess oil.
Take the broad beans out of their pyjamas and blanch, then peel off outer skin.
When just about ready to serve carve the breasts and serve the legs whole.
Add any juices to the sauce.
Re-heat the sauce. If you want warm the broad beans in a little butter, or serve as they are.
Pour a little or a lot of sauce over your chicken breast and legs and serve with potato, fried mushroom and broad bean.




















Seafood Sunday Lunch

Just a very simple but pretty lunch.
Prawn Marie-Rose sandwich.
Crab open sandwich: brown meat mayo with lettuce then white meat on top.



Jerk Chicken & Coconut Rice

Summer is coming and the BBQ is getting hot…..
It’s been a while since my last post as I’ve had the rather tedious task of sitting exams for the first time in 13 years (conversion from Scots law to English law). Yes, it was boring, very boring, but here’s something to get those synapses firing away again.

This is a dish for legs (ok maybe drumsticks or thighs, but not (gasp) breasts)….whole legs.

The Marinade
Use this great recipe for the marinade ingredients but add a good bit of garlic.
Jerk Chicken

Whizz all the marinade bits together.




The Chicken

Lather up your legs with the marinade, critically, get a little between the skin and the flesh.
Leave for 24 hours if you can.





Cooking the chicken:
There are a number of ways of cooking this chook. We’ve tried oven roasting then finishing on the BBQ. Lovely and you can catch the liquid for a sauce. But if you want it roaringly crispy and sticky then BBQ only is the way to go.
This time we went for crispy skin and it was bloody delicious. You can moisten it up with some creme fresh and salad at the end.
Try to get the BBQ to a heat not too fierce, cook for about 45 mins turning regularly.


Long grain rice
2:1 liquid to rice
Liquid: chicken stock & coconut milk
Red onion
Ginger (powdered or fresh)
Whole scotch bonnet
the method
Finely dice some red onion and cook in veg oil till it starts to brown.
Add lots of chopped garlic and the rice and cook off a bit.

Add a couple of bits of mace whole and the ginger along with a good bit of thyme leaf (fresh good but dried fine).
Stir in well and cook for a couple of mins.

Then add liquid and the whole scotch bonnet to infuse.

Cook covered for about 15 to 20 mins until the rice has sooked up all the liquid.
Then rest,still covered, off the heat.

Served with salad & creme fraiche salt and lemon.


Roasted Veal Short Ribs with Mash & Green Beans

The cooking rat has had this recipe nestling in the back of his brain for a few years. Spotting veal ribs in the butcher triggered the memory of Anthony Bourdain’s dish.
This is one of the most delicious things ever and you should all try it.

The Ingredients
Veal Short Ribs x 1 kg
Onions x1
Garlic x 2 cloves
Bouquet Garni (Thyme, Parsley stalks & bay leaf)
Sherry Vinegar x 65 ml
White Wine x 125 ml
Demi glace x spoonful (reduced beef or better, veal stock)
Good extra Virgin Olive oil
Maris piper potatoes
green beans

The Short Ribs
Slice the onion and lightly crush the garlic.
Put into roasting dish with bouquet garni.


Put wine, vinegar and demi glace into saucepan. Bring to the boil and once thoroughly combined pour over the onions.


Cut each short rib into about 3 pieces. Massage in the olive oil, salt and pepper. ( we only realised later that it was better to have smaller pieces). Pour the liquid mix over the onions.


Place the pieces in one layer on top of the onions.

Put the dish of ribs into a cold oven.
Turn to 170c and leave for 1 hour. Turn and baste.

Then cook for another hour, turning and basting every 15 mins.

After 2nd hour, if there is still lots of liquid, strain it and reduce liquid for a bit.

Turn oven up to 200c and cook ribs and liquid for 30 mins. Turn and baste regularly, until everything is a burnished brown.


Garnish with fresh parsley.


Make baked potatoes.
Meantime put a hunk of butter into some milk, cream, salt and butter.
Once potatoes are nearly there warm the butter, cream and milk mix.
Cut open the potatoes and scoop the fluffy insides into the the milk.
Beat and mix the potato.
Blanch green beans and serve with the veal & mash.


Sticky and lovely……Served with a Patrimonio – perfect recommendation from great new French wine shop on Moxton Street near the Ginger Pig (not la Fromagerie), will post the link once I find the website.


Garlic Lettuce (and chicken wings)

Lettuce rolled in olive oil, squashed, salted garlic and lemon juice with a bit of pepper. Perfect companion to any spicy meaty dish – great for an easy Friday night supper.

We had it with sticky chicken wings.






Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde
I love salsa verde, it lifts any piece of grilled or roast meat to new levels. Anchovies are the magical ingredient.
Basil – loads
Parsley – loads
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Dijon mustard

Roughly chop the herbs, shallot, garlic, anchovies and capers. The balance of each element is really down to personal taste.
Whiz in a food processor with the lemon juice and mustard, along with just enough oil to make it as runny as you want it.
It will keep for a day if you want to make a job lot for a meal later in the week, but it does deteriorate quite quickly.
We last served this with huge pork chops….






Coq au Vin – Epic

As with all classics, nobody can on agree what’s in and what’s out. We made the following judgement calls:
The Bird: We used a 100 day old cockerel. Great if you can get it (Ginger Pig regularly has them if you’re in London). If you can’t get old cock use the best chicken available. This dish comes out of a rural French question – “what am I going to do with this scrawny old bird?”. But actually the cockerel makes the dish, not least because if its age. The bones have had long enough to develop, giving the sauce flavour and body. The meat is tougher so demands longer, slower cooking, but the flavour is incomparable.
Breast or Legs (or rather both): We used a whole bird because we managed to get our hands on a cockerel. In an ideal world we’d use just thighs and drumsticks.
The Liquid: Often it’s just cooked in wine. We used a combination of wine and cockerel stock. The stock adds another layer of meatiness. The wine needs to be French. We chose Beaujolais.
To Marinade? Given our tough old cock…. Yes we did, overnight.
The Veg: Onions are a given. We also wanted celery, carrot and (perhaps controversially) garlic.

1 Cockerel
1.25 bottles of Beaujolais
Stock veg
Additional, celery, carrot, onion
Lemon Thyme
Parsley stalks
Cloves – 4
Black pepper corns – 20
Redcurrent jelly
Unsmoked bacon lardons
Baby onions
Button Mushrooms

Prep the Cockerel
Joint the bird (separate leg & thigh, then cut entire crown on bone into 3)

Make brown stock from the rest of the carcass (get things really brown, this will make all the difference).

The marinade
The marinade is: 1bottle of Beaujolais, carrot, celery onion, bay, thyme, 4 cloves, peppercorns, parsley stalks.
All the jointed cockerel pieces go into the marinade. An airtight lunch box is perfect. You can give it a good shoogle, to ensure proper coverage, without a raw meat juice disaster (and enjoy the visual treat every time you open the fridge door).
Leave in the marinade overnight.




The Next Day
Take the cockerel pieces out and dry with kitchen towel. They’ll look all blushed and guilty.

Put the marinade in a pot and bring to the boil. Skim the copious scum. Strain ( this is really to avoid the cloves overdoing it). Bring to boil and burn off the alcohol.


Add the chicken stock and a heaped tea spoon of redcurrent jelly.
Continue boiling to reduce, skimming as you go until you have about 750 ml.
Making it
Heat butter and olive oil (we used butter and goose fat, but that’s just greedy). Fry lardons until just golden, then remove them.

In all the leftover fat fry the cockerel pieces a few at a time until properly golden all over. Remove pieces and discard the fat.


Then deglaze the stickings on the bottom of the pan with some of the 0.25 Beaujolais and 100 mls of cognac, reduce and add to the wine stock mixture and set aside till later.

Add onion to olive oil on a medium heat for 5 mins. Then celery and carrot and fry gently. Then add garlic and fry until every thing is getting a bit sticky. Add heaped table spoon of flour. Stir in well.




Next add back the lardons and cockerel (if using chicken not an old bird, keep the breast aside and add for only half the cooking time. An old bird’s breasts need longer.).
Now add the wine/stock mixture. Simmer gently.
Cooking time depends entirely on the sort of bird you are using. You’re looking for tenderness without the meat falling from the bones.
Roughly speaking an organic supermarket chicken may need 50 mins, an old cock 2 hours. Just keep an eye on it. This dish does benefit from a day or so in the fridge before serving but not essential.



To Serve
Onion & Mushrooms
Blanche the whole onions for 2 mins, peel, then fry off in butter to give some colour, add some water and braise until tender.
Fry mushrooms in butter until the are golden. Add both to casserole just before serving to keep the colour.







We served with:
Crispy fried bread triangles (we fried in goose fat)
Boiled and bashed potatoes with spring onions and butter.
Braised courgette, peas and little gem lettuce. Braise all three briefly butter, season & serve.



Far East Banquet

We cooked this for a visiting friend between Christmas and New Year. A good bit of spice and light (well apart from the belly pork) to get us through until New Year. 

The Pork
Rick Stein’s Chinese Pork.
Belly Pork plus the ingredients in the link above.





Green Beans 

  • Green beans 
  • Soy 
  • Pork mince 
  • Tianjin Preserved Vegetables 
  • Shaoxing 

Fry beans in a little oil. Set aside.
Fry the pork mince and add the other ingredients, including the shaoxing and soy. Fry off then add the beans to finish.




Prawns & Scallops 

  • Garlic 
  • Ginger 
  • Spring onion
  • Cornflower 
  • Soy 
  • Shaoxing 

Lightly cover the prawns and scallops in cornflower.
Put pan on a high heat. Quickly fry all the veg ingredients and then add the scallops and prawn.
Add a splash of the soy and shaoxing at the end then serve with some fresh spring onion on top.





See the Goose Rendang for recipe.
Serve with boiled rice and some more spring onion and a good Clare Valley Riesling.



Chicken & Mushroom Pie

An entire roast chicken goes into this dish. You could save the legs and get another supper out of it.
One small whole roasted chicken.
Dried shiitake mushrooms
Chestnut mushrooms
Bay leaf
Parsley stalks
Spring onions
All butter puff pastry

Either roast a small chicken, or cheat like we did and buy one pre-roasted. Waitrose do a really good rotisserie chicken.

The Stock
Joint the chicken. Take off the breast and legs and strip off the rest of the meat meat from the carcass – set aside.
Chop the carcass into quarters (poultry shears help).
Place in a large heavy bottomed pan and cover, just, in cold water.
Add the roughly chopped vegetables, a bay leaf, parsley and spring onion peel.
Bring to boil, skin, then turn down to a bare simmer.
Skim regularly and simmer for few hours.
Strain and then reduce without boiling and constantly skimming.

Pie Mix
Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms. Set aside the mushrooms for later. Retain the mushroom water (pass through a sieve to remove any grit).
Make roux and then add the stock to create a good thick sauce.
Add cream to enrichen.
Now fry the halved chestnut mushrooms in butter and add to the sauce along with diced shiitake.
Cut the chicken meat into good sized chunks and add to the sauce.
Add the sliced spring onion and then the mushroom juice.





Cook through and set aside.

The Pie
Grease the pie tin with butter.
Roll out the pastry and lay into the pie tin with enough to hang over the edges.
Fill the casing with the pie mix.
Mix a little egg to brush along the edges of the pastry.
Roll out another piece of pastry and cover the mix. Crimp the edges together and cutaway any excess.
Cut a little hole in the top.
Crimp the edges and lightly brush with some egg.
Bake till pastry done (35 mins @ 175c).



Spikey Salad

red onion
spring onion
Loads of coriander and mint
Lemon juice

Peel cucumber, scoop out watery bits & seeds. Then cut into chunks.
Put the chunks into a sieve over a bowl and salt lightly.
Leave for 10-20 mins.

Thinly slice all the other ingredients. I would mandolin the fennel.
Roughly chop the herbs.
Squeeze over a good bit of fresh lemon juice.
Mix in the cucumber & herbs.
Serve with a curry.


Veal Polpette in Tomato Sauce with Tagliatelle (& radish & tomato salad with salsa verde)

One of my favourite new pasta dishes, fennel seed is key.

The Veal Polpette (or..Balls)
Minced Veal (or pork, or a mixture)
Bread crumbs
(10:1 ratio of veal to breadcrumbs)
Fennel Seed
Dried chilli flakes
Egg ( to bind)

Toast and then grind/whizz the fennel seeds.
Combine the ingredients above and add 1 egg per 500g of meat to bind.

Form into balls and place in oven tray lined with grease proof paper.

Put in a very hot oven until browned all over. Set aside ready to finish in the sauce.


A Light Tomato Sauce
Chopped tin tomatoes
Red wine
Bay leaf
Sherry vinegar

Finely chop the onion, garlic and celery. Lightly fry in olive oil.
Once softened add the wine, reduce then add the tomatoes and bay leaf.
Add a splash of sherry vinegar and a pinch of sugar. It will transform your sauce.
Simmer for no more than 15 mins. Keep it nice and fresh, don’t over reduce.

make the salad: sliced radish and tomato, with shallots and salsa verde ( recipe to follow)

Pop the veal balls into their tomatoey bath for a short braising till done.

Remove the balls so you can properly coat the pasta in sauce.

Then cook the tagliatelle and add to the sauce with a little pasta water to loosen.


Add loads of Parmesan – then serve.


Goosey Part III – Rendang

Goosey Part III – The final battle….. A Rendang curry.

It was a big goose okay. There’s only two of us and we had to contend with this:


(We did have a proper left overs meal in between the Goose Risotto and this dish.)

Normally we make Rendang with beef, but the bird lends itself well to the dish as the flavour is strong enough to survive the spices. The Rick Stein recipe if the Far Eastern Odyssey is great.

Rendang Curry Ingredients
See Rick Stein’s Recipe here. Make the paste.

Then soak the tamarind, remove the seeds and strain the liquid into a bowl.

Bash the rest of the lemon grass and put aside.
Lightly dry fry the shredded coconut and put aside.
Use a large thick bottomed pot to heat the coconut oil and add the cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamon. After a couple of minutes add the paste and fry for a few minutes.
Then add all the other ingredients (except the left over goose) and simmer the mixture for a few hours.
Add the left over goose towards the end just enough to heat through and take on the flavour. Be careful not to over cook as the goose will disintegrate and go mushy. Sprinkle fine strips of spring onion over the top of the finished dish.

We served with boiled basmati rice. There was enough left over to form part of a spicy banquet for a post x-mas pre-new year guest.. (Rendang is on the left)


Goosey Part II – Risotto & Gremolata with Goose Breast

Following our roast goose on Christmas day we made a stock from the carcass which formed the base of a fantastic risotto dish….
See the method for Goose Breast in the Goosey Christmas post.




Zest of one or two lemons
Finely chopped garlic cloves ( 2 depending on taste)
Large bunch of parsley finely chopped
Mix it all together and put aside until ready to serve.


The Risotto
Good butter – lots
Parmesan finely grated (and pecorino but only for serving not mantecatura)
Olive oil
Shallots finely chopped
Risotto rice
Stock (we had goose)
A glass of some half decent white wine

Cube a good bit of butter (and add some more) and put in the fridge for the mantecatura later.
Put stock in a saucepan and keep hot (but not boiling).
Dice and fry off some mushrooms in butter and set aside.
Take a good heavy based saucepan and heat some butter and olive oil, add the shallots and gently fry until translucent.
Add the rice and stir until rice is hot.
Add the wine and keep stirring until mixture begins to look dry – probably a minute or two. The mixture will now look slightly creamy.
Add the saffron.
Now begin to add the stock a ladleful at a time until rice no longer has a chalky bite.
Add fried off mushrooms to the mix
Take the rice off the heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes. This is important as the cold butter you then mix in will split otherwise.
The mantecatura: Basically making the risotto all glossy (and buttery)…..Take butter out of fridge and whip/beat both the butter and parmesan into the rice vigorously a little at a time. Once finished serve straight away with Gremolata sprinkled on to the risotto and, if you like, the goose breast (or whatever meaty accompaniment you may have).
We also added grated Parmesan to the finished dish. Having made the risotto a few times since, grated pecorino is even better for finishing.











Goodman’s Goosey Christmas – Part I

Roast Christmas Goose with all the trimmings

Goodman’s Goose 5.5 kg (for 2 but we’re very greedy and we got 4 other meals out of it: soon to come What We Did with Our Goose).
Roast Potatoes
Stuffing wrapped in bacon
Creamed Celeriac
Swiss Chard
Apple Sauce
Orangey Carrots
and a simple gravy………

The Goosey
A wonderful dilemma with goose: keep it queen like and whole, or take off the breast to ensure a soft and giving leg while preserving a rare and bloody breast.

We opted for the later, but more of a medium rare and pink breast. And what a grand goose it was….

Dissecting the Goose
Take off the breasts and set aside.








Smear legs with goose fat, season, add herbs ( we had rosemary & sage) then roast in a low oven (120/130 c) for 5 or 6 hours. Turn up the heat at end until the goose skin is brown, crispy and lovely..
Drain off the goose fat and cool. Keep in an airtight container for future use, put some aside for the potatoes. Keep the roasting juices after draining fat. Retain the carcass and any gnawed bones for stock (essential for the goose risotto from left overs).



Now the breast.

Score skin at half centimetre intervals. Fry skin side down until the skin is brown and the fat has rendered. Flip over and cook until the flesh side is brown. Then roast until the internal temperature has reached 57 or 58c. Remove from oven and rest.

The Gravy
Chicken stock
Water from the boiled potatoes
Roasting juices from the birdy
No booze….a revelation from Rick Stein (more an English gravy than a French jus)

The Stuffing
Good quality pork sausage meat
Lemon zest
Softened shallot
Fresh sage, rosemary, parsley
Crushed pistachio
Finely diced dried apricot
Egg to bind
Streaky bacon
Mix all the ingredients and form into balls and then wrap each one in streaky bacon. Roast until done.






Creamed Celeriac
Celeriac cubed
Simmer in milk with a few whole cloves of garlic and bay leaf until celeriac soft.
Strain but keep the milk for the purée.
Purée the celeriac adding back as much milk as you need (probably not all of it). Add cream, nutmeg and butter, the seasoning to taste.



Then eat!





Now, once you are able to waddle off to the kitchen, start your stock