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Spatchcock poussin with dijon and paprika butter rub

This recipe is loosely based on one I learned at Leiths School many years ago during my chef's diploma. It was one of my favourites, I've made some changes over the years to the recipe, but the main elements remain the same. If you can try and use Hungarian sweet paprika as it has a better flavour, though a sweet Spanish one (not smoked) will work as well. My preference for cooking this is on the BBQ as the smoky flavour brings an additional depth but you can also cook this in the oven. 
2 poussin
To spatchcock the poussin, turn the bird breast side down and remove the backbone with a poultry sissors
Turn the bird breast side up and push down to flatten it

15g sweet paprika
20g dijon mustard
10g grated red onion
1 clove crushed garlic
10ml lemon juice
70g softened unsalted butter
10g fresh flatleaf parsley
2g crushed black peppercorns
2g maldon sea salt
5ml honey

Mix all the rub ingredients together until well combined
Cover the poussin all over with the rub
Allow to marinate for 30 minutes

Set the BBQ up for indirect cooking at 180c
Place the bird bone side down on the griddle and ensure you have a drip tray underneath
Cook the bird for 30-40 minutes until core temp hits 65c, allow to rest for 10-15 minutes in a warm place and it should hit 72c
For those of you cooking in the oven, cook at 180c (fan) 190c (normal) for 30-40 mins, keep checking the internal temp in the breast until it reaches 65c and then allow to rest for 10 - 15 minutes

Mango chutney

This recipe was born out of necessity. I'd been craving mango chutney for a while but wanted one with a bit of a kick and not too sweet. The varieties I found here in the shops tended to be too sweet and not enough aromatic spices. So like most things since I moved to the land of clogs I decided to make some myself. Naturally this recipe involved a bit of research on traditional recipes and what spices are used, but after some playing around I think I got it to where I wanted it.

4 almost ripe mangoes peeled and roughly chopped
2 red chillies finely chopped
2g fennel seeds
5g garam masala
2g mustard seeds
10 curry leaves
5g cumin
70g caster sugar
100ml white wine vinegar

In a heavy based saucepan roast off the fennel, mustard seeds and cumin for 2 minutes on a medium heat
Add some oil and cook for a further 2 minutes
Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes

For those of you using the Magimix CookExpert
First roast off the spices in a separate pan
Next place all ingredients in the metal bowl
Expert programme speed 2A for 15 minutes at 95c or Speed 3A if you want a smoother chutney

What's in season - January

It's that time of year when we're all partied out from the festivities and indulgences of Christmas and thoughts turn to healthy eating. There's still plenty of veg and fruit available if you want to go vegetarian for the month. Try and stick to whats in season as it will be at it's best and of most nutritional value. For the rest of us who have no such intentions, there's still plenty of good fare to enjoy.

Beetroot, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chicory, horseradish, jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, salsify, shallots, swede, truffles, turnips

Apples, blood oranges, clementines, kiwi fruit, lemons, oranges, passion fruit, pears, pineapple, pomegranate, rhubarb, satsumas, tangerines

Almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts

Meat and Game
Duck, guinea fowl, hare, mallard, partridge, turkey, venison


Clams, cockles, dab, dover sole, gurnard, haddock, halibut, hake, langoustine, lemon sole, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, red mullet, scallops (queen), sea bream, skate, turbot, winkles

For more information visit Eat the Seasons

Vanilla meringue with rhubarb compote and an orange and elderflower cream

This recipe came about as I had a glut of egg whites, leftover cream and some rhubarb compote that needed using up. I was also stuck for dessert ideas but wanted something a little different. I like the combination of these flavours, but you do need to be careful with elderflower as it can overpower a dish quite easily. It is a lovely fragrant element and the sharpness of the rhubarb and warmth of the orange work really well with it.

First make the meringues
2 egg whites
110g sugar
1 vanilla pod de-seeded or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
pinch salt

Whisk the egg whites and salt until firm and they hold their peaks
While still whisking add the sugar in gradually until you have added half
Next add the vanilla seeds or paste
Continue to whisk gradually adding the rest of the sugar until you have got stiff peaks
Place some baking parchment on a baking tray and spoon the meringue mixture onto it
Shape the mixture into a round and make a slight hollow in the middle
Bake in a fan oven at 120c (130c normal oven) for 90 minutes  

Rhubarb compote
4 sticks of rhubarb roughly chopped
30g caster sugar
5ml water

Heat the rhubarb, sugar and water in a pan until the rhubarb has broken down and the sugar is dissolved

Place to one side and allow to cool

To make the cream
150ml double cream
20g icing sugar
10ml elderflower liqueur
Zest of 1/2 an orange
10ml orange juice

Whisk the cream, liqueur, juice, zest and sugar together until they thicken

To finish the dessert
Spread the cream on the meringue and add the compote on top

Merry Christmas and a Happy new year to all!

Where does the time go? 2017 has been and gone in a flash and a lot of recipes have graced the pages of Kitchen Exile. First of all I'd like to thank you, the readers, it's nice to know that there are a few people out there who read my recipes, often you feel you're sending them out into the ether, never to be seen again. So, it means a lot to get comments and responses when you do.

There seem to be a lot of firm favourites recipe wise. I'm glad to see that many of you liked my slow roasted Goat recipe, good to see less popular meats creating some interest. The top favourite seemed to be Beetroot cured salmon which was closely followed by my beef and guinness stew with marrowbone.

2017 certainly got off to a great start for me as I got to meet my food hero chef Fergus Henderson, author of one of my favourite cookbooks Nose to Tail and chef at my favourite restaurant in London St John. Ironically I met him here in The Netherlands and not in London at a collaborative dinner at Restaurant Rijks in Amsterdam.

I also cooked at the Big Green Egg flavour fair in the summer which was hard work ( mostly due to it being the hottest day of the year) and immense fun. It was strange being on the other side of the grill for a change as opposed to being a visitor. It was an interesting collaboration with Ataros spices cooking West African Suya and we got a lot of interest as many people had not tried Nigerian cuisine before. We were kept pretty busy on the day and got a lot of good feedback on the suya chicken dish. 

The latter half of the year brought some new collaborations with Magimix, a brand that I've been using for many years now, it started off with me testing their Cook Expert and lets just see where our collaboration takes us in 2018. I was also really pleased to start a collaboration with Big Green Egg too, you've seen me cooking on the Egg for a few years now and it has changed the way I cook, so it's always nice to to associate with brands you respect. I've also started to collaborate with local businesses such as Kitchen Art in Leiden (and also my favourite kitchen shop), so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming cooking demonstrations in the New Year.

There have been many excellent dinners and lunches over the year and also many great cocktails. I've got to know a lot of chefs and bartenders over the year and have a lot of respect for the hard work they put into their craft. I've had some standout dishes at BAK, Daalder and Rijks in Amsterdam and my eternal favourites here in Leiden at Jeanpagne, Terroir and Better Bagels. It's was also lovely to meet with Malaysian chef Norman Musa and looking forward to meeting him again next year at his future pop ups. I really shouldn't leave out the guys from Bar The Tailor in Amsterdam, who have made some wonderful concoctions for me over the past year. I've also had the pleasure of meeting some inspiring distillers from Wyand Fockink and Brewers from Lowlander Beer.

Of course my cookbook addiction has not abated, in fact I think it may have gotten worse, but it's not a bad addiction to have. I do have a few standout books for this year; Nigel Slater's Christmas Chronicles, a must read, wonderfully written and inspiring. Jeroen Hazebroek and Leonard Elenbass' Hete Rook (only available in Dutch), which is a great read for any aspiring BBQ'er and also a wealth of information for the more experienced one. The first cookbook from Joris Bijdendijk, Een Keuken voor de Lage Landen (The Lowlands Kitchen) is a celebration of Dutch ingredients and has some wonderful recipes, I do hope it is published in English so the rest of you can enjoy it.

So that was the year that was. 

All that's left for me to do is wish you all wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.

Pork, sage and apple stuffing

Pork and apple are a natural flavour combination and with the addition of sage it gives a nice herby hit to the stuffing. I like to combine both streaky bacon and pork shoulder in this stuffing which keeps it moist. I used quite a lot of sage in my recipe as the variety I had was quite mild. Some sage can have quite a strong flavour and can end up overpowering the dish, so if it has a strong aroma, it will be strong in flavour, so just add it little by little. If using dried sage then use it sparingly as that can be quite strong as well.

This serves 10 people or 5 people who like their stuffing. 

200g pork shoulder finely minced
100g streaky bacon finely minced
100g breadcrumbs
20g fresh sage finely chopped (use 10g dried or 10g if the fresh variety is strong)
1 apple grated
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
15ml dijon mustard
10ml oil for frying
2 eggs beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry off the garlic and onion on a low heat in the oil until soft and glossy, place to one side and allow to cool
Place all the ingredients together with the onion and garlic in a bowl and stir well to combine
Season with salt and pepper
To test if there is enough seasoning, fry off a little of the mixture in a pan and taste, add more seasoning if you require
Place the mixture in a 500g loaf tin lined with baking parchment or tin foil and bake in a moderate oven at 160c (fan), 170c (normal) and cook for 50 minutes 
For those of you baking this on your BBQ, set the BBQ up for indirect cooking and at 170c, cook for the aforementioned time

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

We're now well into December, the temperatures have plummeted, it's crisp and frosty outside and the nights have now drawn in. For some of us, there have been snowstorms and general snow related chaos. How many of you have given a thought to Christmas dinner? Me being the sad person I am, have been mulling over the main event for some time now. The decision has finally been made and it will be a 3 bird roast.

My other half and I are not the words biggest fans of traditional fare such as Turkey or the whole Christmas dinner charade. Neither of us like dried fruit either, so that rules out traditional fare such as mince pies, Christmas cake, pannetone and Christmas pudding. 

I think my hatred of xmas dinner may go back to when I was a kid and my grandmother used to have a live Turkey which was kept in her back yard and fattened. Now this was all well and good but my grandmother's toilet was an outside one (yes, really), so in order to get to the toilet you had to pass the turkey and boy was it vicious. I was traumatised by a very angry turkey at a young age.

Since I've had the option of cooking my own Christmas dinner rather than spending it at someone else's behest. I've enjoyed other options such as goose, roast stuffed quail or rack of venison. Other years have been cote de boeuf cooked on the BBQ with the neighbours thinking I had lost the plot barbecuing on Christmas day. What you need to keep in mind is that Christmas day does not need to be a stressed out mad dash to the finish line where the meal is concerned. 

Here's a few simple tips. 

  • Think about what you'd really like to cook, and what can be prepared in advance. 
  • Get the family and or friends/guests involved or ask them to bring a side dish or dessert which will help ease the pressure.
  • Cooking things a day at a time up until a week before is always a good idea, that way you can take food out of the fridge or freezer and reheat/defrost on the day. 
  • Start the food shopping a couple of weeks early by buying groceries that can be bought in advance rather than the last minute panic at the supermarket. 
  • Make a time plan for what needs to be cooked and when so you can tick things off on the day

While it may be a special occasion with family and friends around, at the end of the day it's just a bigger version of a Sunday roast. For those of you may not want to do a roast dinner, it doesn't have to be traditional, it just has to be something you enjoy.