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Spicy Kedgeree

When I used to work in London I occasionally had lunch with a friend in Corney and Barrow (these are a chain of wine bars in London). During the winter they had a lovely creamy kedgeree on the menu which I always had. It was tasty and hit the spot. 

So having had a Marks and Spencers open in Den Haag I have finally managed to get hold of some smoked haddock, which doesn’t seem to exist in the Netherlands (I have yet to find it and if someone knows a fishmonger where I can get some that would be great). Here’s my recipe that is a recreation of that dish I used to have at the wine bar.

1 ½  tsp garam masala or madras curry powder
½  tsp cumin seeds
½  tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp lemon juice
400g smoked haddock
100ml cream
50g butter
200g boiled rice (basmati) and 300g water
1 onion chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste


Put the rice on to cook (if using basmati, wash the rice until the water is clear)

I normally add about ¾ inch of water over the level of rice, bring to the boil and then cover and turn the heat down to a low simmer for 9 minutes 
After that allow the rice to steam for about 15 minutes, do not remove the lid
Cook the haddock in water over a low heat for about 10 minutes, remove from the water and break into flakes, place to one side for later

Fry the onion in butter until soft 

add the garam masala, mustard seeds, and cumin to cook out the raw flavours
Add the rice to the onion and stir through

Add the cream you may not need to use all, it needs to be a creamy not soupy texture
Add the lemon juice last to cut some of the richness of the cream and mix the haddock through
Season to taste with salt and pepper

Chicken in paprika sauce

This used to be a staple dish of mine when I was a student, I always liked to cook it when friends came to dinner. I've played around with the recipe over the years, but the essence of the dish remains the same. I revisited the dish recently when a friend gave me some excellent paprika from Hungary.

4 chicken thighs bones and skin removed
20ml creme fraiche
5ml dijon mustard
5ml sherry vinegar
30ml vermouth 
30ml chicken stock
5g butter to enrich the sauce
Heaped teaspoon sweet paprika
Salt and pepper to season
Finely chopped chives to garnish
5ml rapeseed oil for frying

Place the chicken thighs in a plastic bag, add the paprika and shake until the thighs are coated in the paprika
In a pan on a high heat brown the thighs quickly on both sides
Lower the heat to medium, add the vermouth and chicken stock
Place a lid on the pan and cook for 10 - 15 minutes depending on the size of the thigh or until they reach a temperature of 74 - 80c
Remove the thighs place to one side, cover with tin foil and keep warm
Ensure the pan is now on a low heat, add the mustard to the pan liquid and stir through
Add the creme fraiche and butter and swirl the pan until the butter has melted into the sauce
Last, but not least, add the sherry vinegar and season to taste
Serve the chicken thighs with the sauce and the chive garnish.

This goes well with creamy mashed potatoes.

Broccoli and Shropshire blue soup

Now we've all heard of broccoli and stilton soup. I decided to improvise simply because good Stilton isn't readily accessible here in the Netherlands. The "stilton" that I find in the supermarkets and some cheese shops is a generic import cheese, probably similar to the "edam" and "gouda" that those of you reading will find in your supermarket shelves outside of the Netherlands. 

The shropshire blue however is not the cheap import stuff but a nice creamy cheese with just a hint of sharpness which goes well with the broccoli and easy to get. With the broccoli I prefer to use the stalks as they often get thrown away and are full of flavour. So when cooking with broccoli florets, keep your stalks and freeze them for later use in soups like this. It's one way of lessening food waste in the kitchen.

The soup is relatively easy to make and takes no time at all, it freezes well and I like to make a large amount and freeze for later.

500g broccoli stalks finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 litre chicken or veg stock
1 potato thinly sliced
100g shropshire blue/stilton/cashel blue or whatever blue cheese you prefer, roughly chopped
20ml oil for frying 
salt and pepper to taste
20ml cream to finish

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil on a low heat until softened
Add the broccoli stalks and potato and cook through for a further 5 mins
Pour in the stock and add the florets
Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes
Turn the heat off and add the cheese and cream
Blend the soup until smooth and then season to taste with the salt and pepper


Beef faggots with red wine and onion gravy

Many people don't have a lot of experience of offal. I remember that my family ate a lot of it when I was younger. I think this was a hangover from the days when my grandfather was a butcher. The family would eat all the cheaper cuts and offal that wouldn't sell in the shop. So naturally my mother followed on with this even though we didn't have the butchers shop any more. I always loved kidney and heart, but not so much liver as it always ended up being over cooked. 

In my later years in London I discovered Fergus Henderson's St John restaurants and their motto of nose to tail eating. I also noticed that offal was on the decline in restaurants (other than St John) as well as butchers and shops. In recent years this has changed thanks to Mr Henderson's 2004 Nose to Tail and Complete Nose to Tail books (yes, I have both!). Sadly the popularity of these lesser meats has yet to catch on here in the Netherlands, but luckily I can order some from Paul van den Hooven of Wild Vleesch 

Despite eating various cuts of offal over the years, I never got round to trying faggots until about 8 or so years ago. I was in a pub in Caernarvon and I remember them being served with a fantastic onion gravy and scrappy chips, they were fantastic.  

Faggots originated in the West midlands in the UK and then spread to Wales. They are a mix of pigs heart, lungs and liver minced and wrapped in caul and then roasted. For this recipe I opted for beef, Texas Longhorn to be precise, using heart, liver and brisket.

For the faggots
300g brisket (ensure there is some fat on the meat)
200g liver
300g heart
5g fresh thyme chopped
2g fresh rosemary chopped
salt and pepper to season
500g caul fat/crepinette (you will need to ask your butcher for this, or if you can't get hold of it then use thinly sliced bacon or pancetta instead)

For the gravy
150ml red wine
150ml beef stock
1 medium carrot roughly chopped
2 onions roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed to release the oils
Sprigs of thyme and rosemary

Using the fine blade on your mincer, mince the brisket, liver and heart
Place the meat into a bowl, add the herbs and season with salt and pepper, mix well to combine
Fry off a small piece of the mixture to check the seasoning and add more to the mix if needed
Form the mix into round balls (about 100g each), wrap each ball with caul to hold them together, this should make roughly 10 faggots
Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to firm up

Preheat the oven to 160c (fan) 170c (normal)
In a baking dish place gravy ingredients (veg, herbs, stock and wine) and place the faggots in the dish
Roast in the oven for 40 minutes
Take the faggots out of the dish and place to one side and cover with tin foil to keep warm
Strain the gravy into a pan and reduce until it thickens, then serve with the faggots

I also like to serve this with a creamy mash

Slow cooked Char Siu style pork belly

Who doesn't like the sticky sweet char siu pork that is on almost every Chinese menu, especially the version that comes in those gorgeous fluffy steamed buns? 

I love Chinese food and while its always nice to go out for dinner, sometimes its nice to attempt something other than stir fry at home. 

I will advise to give yourself a good day to make this recipe as it does take a long time to cook. The preparation itself is quick and painless, so you can spend the day relaxing as you wait for the pork to cook. I remove the skin from this piece of belly as I want to be able to shred the pork once its cooked as it should fall to pieces once its done. I make pork scratchings with the skin which make a nice snack while you are waiting for your pork to cook.

For the sauce
2 cloves garlic grated
1 inch ginger grated
50ml red bean paste
50ml hoi sin sauce
50ml soy sauce
30ml runny honey

Mix all the above ingredients together to combine

My preferred method is to sous vide and then finish on the BBQ this as it retains more flavour of the sauce and the meat is less likely to dry out. I have provided other methods should you so wish to cook it that way too. 

Sous vide method 
Place the skinned pork belly in a vacuum bag with the sauce and seal
Cook at 85c in your sous vide for 4 hours
Then remove from the vacuum bag and place in an oven at 200c (fan) 210c (normal) or on the BBQ on indirect heat at 200c, basting with the sauces

BBQ and Oven methods
Take 1 kg pork belly skin removed and baste with all the sauce
Place in a baking tray in a low oven at 110c (fan), 120c (normal)
If cooking on the BBQ then set the BBQ up for indirect cooking at 120c 
For both methods follow the instructions as below
First cook for 3 hours, continually basting with the sauce
Cover the pork with foil and cook for another 2 hours
After 2 hours remove the foil and raise the oven (or BBQ) temp to 190c (fan) 200c (normal) and cook for a further hour
Remove from the oven (or BBQ) to a warm place and cover and allow to rest for 30 mins

You can serve this in bao buns here is the recipe which you can make whilst the belly is cooking

To make the buns

200g plain flour, with extra for rolling out the buns
5g caster sugar
5ml rice wine vinegar
3g dried yeast
20ml milk
100ml water
5ml to 7ml plain oil, allow a little extra to brush the buns when forming them to stop them sticking

Mix all the ingredients together to form a soft wet dough, knead for about 5 mins and cover the dough in the bowl and then rest for 15 mins
On a floured board cut the dough into 10 equally sized pieces form into balls, then roll out each ball into a flat round with a rolling pin
Place each round on a baking tray covered with non stick parchment, using the excess oil brush each round and then fold over one side onto the other
Cover and allow to rise until the rounds have doubled in size this may take over an hour
To cook place the buns in a steamer and cook for 10 - 15 mins

Serve the pork in the buns with some thinly sliced spring onions and cucumber

Ginger and lemongrass crème brûlée

Many of you will associate ginger and lemongrass with savoury Thai dishes, but this works wonderfully in a crème brûlée. 

The trick is to infuse the cream, but not for too long, otherwise you end up with both ingredients overpowering the dish. This dish came about many years ago when I was training as a chef at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London. We were making creme brulee during one of the classes as a dessert and the main course that we happened to be making was Thai influenced. We were asked to make a flavoured brûlée, so seeing the Thai ingredients to hand I decided to go for the less obvious option but one I thought would work well. 

300ml cream
1 stick lemongrass
1 inch ginger thickly sliced
100g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
Additional 20g caster sugar for the brulée

Place the cream in a pan on a moderate heat, add the ginger and lemongrass and infuse for 5-7 minutes
In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar till frothy
Remove the ginger and lemongrass from the cream
Slowly add the warm cream to the egg and sugar and mix together
Strain the egg and cream mixture and decant into 4 ramekins
Place the ramekins into a baking dish and fill the dish halfway up with boiling water (bain marie)
Place in a moderate oven at 160 celsius (fan) 170c (normal) for 20 minutes or until a skin has formed and there is a slight wobble
Once cooked allow to cool and place in the fridge to set for a few hours
To serve sprinkle the sugar over the tops of the brûlées and either heat with a blow torch till the sugar starts to brown or if you don't have a torch just place under a hot grill to quickly brown the sugar