Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Keston Kitchen Calendar 2013

Back in 2010, The Keston Kitchen Calendar was born.  Packed with seasonal, delicious recipe's by the 4 of us and featuring some excellent photographs plus we raised £1000 for The Passage, a charity that helps feed homeless people in London and recieved a personal letter from Her Delianess.  It was a good year!!

We are very excited to announce that 2013 will welcome the 2nd edition of the KK Calendar. Each month features original, seasonal recipes, and the calendar as a whole reflects the variety of British dishes conjured up in the Keston Kitchen.  This year we are  lucky to feature the incredible photographic talents of Miss Ellen Doherty from Duchess Photographic
Peckham Fried Chicken- shot from 2013 Keston Kitchen Calendar

For 2013, we are delighted to be supporting a wonderful charity called Give Me Education whch was set up by Viv Nutt, a friend of ours from The Shire. Give Me Education supports children in Aksum, Ethiopia by giving them resources for an opportunity to go to school. 

The design has once again been lovingly put together by the fantastic Nick Ritchie.  Thanks so much to Ellen and Nick for their time, patience and commitment to the project.

So, if you are at a loss for what to buy loved ones at Christmas, or just can't get enough of the Keston Kitchen, order your calendar today! They cost £10 each plus P&P - we want to raise as much as possible for Give Me Education.  If you would like to order a copy, email thekestonkitchen@gmail.com to place your order. We will then reply with payment and delivery details and get them to you before Christmas.

Alternatively, if you are local to Peckham or Camberwell we can arrange collection.

Jules, Ceri, Charl and Rach. xxx 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Winter Tomato Tarts

Winter Tomato Tarts
with Parmesan short crust
New / old tins from ebay have been staring at me for two months now so here goes...
Rule - half fat to flour. I used 110g flour to 55g butter (Netherend is simply the best) with a pinch of salt and tbsp of water. Rub the fat into the flour lifting as much as possible - mum says add the water and mix with a knife - do no knead. Add some grated Parmesan if you fancy. Pinch the ingredients together, form a ball and put in the fridge wrapped in baking paper until you are ready.

Roll out the pastry and push into your tin(s). Metal tins are best as they are good heat conductors. Prick the pastry, fill with your beans to bake blind and bake on 200C for 12-15mins.
Meanwhile make you're tomato sauce, a basic sauce that can be used for many things. Slice and slowly cook an onion in olive oil, add a clove of crushed garlic. Add one tin of tomatoes, a handful of fresh tomatoes (not many around right now), chopped basil and salt & pepper. Simmer for 20-30mins. Cool.
Heat the oven to 180C and when the pastry has cooled make the filling - whisk one egg and one egg yolk, add 110ml milk/cream mix and your tomato sauce with a tsp chopped marjoram. Season. Pour the filling into your tart(s) and bake for 30-40mins until firm to touch. Eat warm.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Berlin - 5 days of food

Last weekend i went to visit Julia and her Keston Kuche in Berlin. The weather was very chilly but the cafes were warming and there is an amazing choice of food to sample from traditional German to cuisines from around the globe.
Berlin may not be the obvious choice for a foodies paradise but if you go to the right places (and hanging out with a resident definitely helps) you will be pleasantly surprised.
Her are some of my culinary highlights, take note if you are planning a trip there!

Rachael x

 My favourite gallery in Berlin is the Hamburger Bahnhof, before embarking on the art we paid a visit to the restaurant in the gallery. I have been to Berlin a few times and always avoided currywurst and the orange sausages they serve everywhere but this menu made it sound appetizing and promised that the sausage was organic. It came with lots of mustard and fresh horse radish which made it edible!

For dessert at the gallery restaurant we had apple strudel with vanilla sauce which was absolutely delicious and not to be missed!

It was Julia's friend Andrew's birthday while we were visiting so Ju whipped up some black bottom cupcakes (from the humming bird bakery cook book) and a lovely coffee cake to celebrate.

This brunch featured in the previous Keston Kuche post and rightly so, i was keen not to miss out on trying it for myself. Anna Blume is a bustling cafe in Prenzlauer Berg, the brunch was worth making the trip for - a tower of meats, cheeses, salad, fruit and jams and a basket of bread to go alongside.

 Julia and I stopped for cake at a cafe in the Hackescher Markt courtyards, i had a huge slice of apple, walnut and caramel cake with cream cheese and caramel frosting. Ju had an equally exciting looking carrot cake.

After a long morning of culture in the sub zero temperatures we were in serious need of a hot meal, we stopped at a restaurant called Schwarzwaldstuben for a hearty lunch of schnitzel with fried potatoes and a cucumber salad. 

Back to Anna Blumes for a fruity breakfast

We headed south one evening to a jazz night in Neukolln at Cafe Engel and stopped off on the way for a Korean meal at Kimchi Princess. Lu and I opted for this feast which was strips of pork belly that you barbeque yourself at the table and the eat wrapped in lettuce with a selection of tasty curry pastes and spicy cabbage. I will definitely be keen to try more Korean food in future.

 The last thing i ate before leaving Prenzlauer berg was at my favourite cafe from previous visits. Kauf Dich Glucklich on Oderberger Strasee does the most amazing waffles with a huge choice of toppings. Every time a visit i have the same though - apple sauce and cinnamon!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Roasted & Stuffed Butternut Squash

by Ceri x

Autumn is officially my favourite season.  Summer is lovely, but always infinately hectic and, erm well... hot!

With the arrival of Autumn comes the crisp clear mornings and the inevitable back to school feeling, that I still very much get due to how busy the summer is.  I love seeing your breath as you step out into a cold sunny morning with frost still on the ground, kicking and crunching the leaves underfoot in the park, digging out the knitwear and cosying up by the fire.  Then to top it all off: there is the food!  Autumn brings us the harvest so is the very best time for picking, foraging, pickling, boiling up big vats of chutney and generally getting the best that the country and season has to offer.  Stews, pies, casseroles, steaming puddings, soups, crispy skinned jacket potatoes and all the other foods that are just too heavy for the hot summer months.

This year, I have been loving the fig.  That delightfully juicy fruit with an amazing texture,  flavour and which I recently cooked up a fig tart recipe courtesy of our Jules (currently on location in Berlin) which she posted previously and is well worth a look.  However, my other dearly beloved part of  the autumnal menu is the return of the most traditionally fabulous of British food institutions, the Roast!

I love a Sunday roast.  Sundays and Autumn seem to go together hand in hand.  Lazy Sundays reading the papers, giggling about the activities of Friday and/ or Saturday night, doing the crossword, drinking good coffee/ Bloody Marys and having a stroll in the park whilst donning aforementioned knitwear before coming home/ going to a decent pub and settling in for a damn fine roast eating session for me are irresistible.

This Sunday, Rachie cooked up a Pork Belly with delicious home made Apple sauce and the crunchiest crackling I ever did chomp.  However, for  this post I am going to go for a vegetarian option and roast up another shining star of Autumn, the Butternut Squash.  This works very well as the vegetarian option on a Sunday, or you can do as I did and serve it with salad for your Monday Roast (why limit yourself to just once a week).

(Apologies for the slightly fuzzy picture, my camera is playing up!)

Roasted & Stuffed Butternut Squash
Serves 2

1 medium sized butternut squash
4 garlic cloves
1 small onion
100g chopped walnuts
60g blue cheese (I used roquefort)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary (dried will be fine if that's all you have)
5 mushrooms
150g spinach
200g watercress or other leaves for salad
drizzle of olive oil + more for dressing if used
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Tip- You can more or less make up the stuffing as you wish.  Goats cheese, peppers, celery, tomatoes, feta, cabbage, pine nuts, toasted almonds, olives etc etc would all work well and it's fun trying out different flavour combinations.  I have done a few though and this is my favourite.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Cut the butternut squash lengthways.  Scoop out the seeds but do not throw away. Cut out the flesh approx 2 cm down leaving a 2 cm ledge around the edge of the squash.  If the flesh is too hard for this at this stage, you can always do it once it has cooked a little.  Place both halves skin side down into a baking tray.
  • Score crosses in the flesh, drizzle some olive oil over both sides, add a garlic bulb inside each + one in the bottom of the tray.  Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and the thyme then bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the walnuts to a heated, dry frying pan with the squash seeds and a little salt, moving the pan often for approx 5- 10 minutes until they start to toast- set aside in a bowl.
  • Then chop the garlic and onion, add to the frying pan with a bit more olive oil and gently fry.  Once the onion has softened, add the chopped mushrooms . Fry for another 5 minutes, then add watercress and spinach until it wilts.  
  • Check that the squash has cooked through  the flesh will be soft and the edges will have begun to brown slightly.  Cube the blue cheese and sprinkle throughout the stuffing mixture along with the toasted walnuts and place inside the squash.  I like to give the whole thing a short drizzle with balsamic vinegar or worcester sauce at this point.
  • Turn the oven down to 100 degrees and return the squash for 5-10 minutes until the filling has heated back through and the cheese has begun to melt.
  • Serve with a salad and enjoy!  Happy Monday Roast :)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sloe Gin

This year on my birthday i was in Cornwall. One of the gifts i was very happy to receive was the River Cottage Handbook 2 - Preserves. This has been an important resource in the Keston Kitchen, particularly at this time of year, very glad to now own a copy myself as the previous one moved to Camberwell with Charlotte!

When i got the book i was keen to use some of the recipes from it as soon as i could, where we were staying by the Helford river, the blackberries were not quite ripe. There was one thing though that could be found growing along the shore in vast quantities - sloes.
I filled a bag full of the fruit, they were small and took some persuading to be parted from the blackthorn bush. As i understand you ideally wait until after the first frost before picking your sloes but if you are concerned about the birds eating them all before this has happened, or if like me you have to grab them while you can, the alternative is to freeze them. This process helps break down the internal structure of the berries and gets the juices flowing.

When i got home to London i popped the sloes in the freezer for a couple of days and then let them defrost before following the recipe below. These instructions make about a litre of sloe gin but i just worked out how many sloes i had an adjusted the other ingredients proportionally.

Mine has been infusing for about a week now, should just about ready in time for Christmas!


450g sloes, frosted or pricked
450g granulated sugar (or less for a more tart gin)
600ml gin
A large glass jar or bottle - Make sure your jar has a good seal and you will be shaking the contents around and you don't want the precious liqueur leaking out. I found that for the quantities above i needed a jar with a capacity of about 2 litres because the fruit takes up a lot of space.

Put the defrosted sloes into your jar or bottle. Pour over the sugar, followed by the gin. Secure the container with the lid and give it a good shake to mix up the contents. For the next week shake it daily to prevent the sugar from settling on the bottom and to help get the juice out of the sloes. Thereafter shake and taste once a week for 8-10 weeks.
When the sloes have instilled their flavour, pass the mixture through a fine sieve. Pour the strained liqueur into bottles.
Ideally, you should leave sloe gin for 18 months before drinking to allow the flavour to mature and mellow but i know from experience that it rarely lasts until the end of the festive season.
In the preserves book they recommend keeping the sloes, removing the stones and eating them with ice cream or folded into melted chocolate, i have not tried this yet myself but i will report back!

Of course if you don't have sloes you can use different fruit like damsons or blackberries and apple. One year some friends brought round their greengage rum which was delicious! Adding fruit and sugar to any half empty bottles of spirits sat in your cupboard is definitely the way forward.

Rachael x

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Brunch in Berlin

577 miles between us but Keston Kitchen teamwork is still going strong.   So as Keston Kitchen UK was dishing up an exotic brunch at the Elrington TableKeston Küche has been dutifully dining out at some of the best brunch tables in Berlin.

Brunch platter for two at Cafe Anna Blume in Prenzlauer Berg

Brunch is a Berlin institution.  It's reflective of this city's laid back mentality that Sundays are perfectly designed to help you gently and easily recover from the night before.  You stroll into one of the many and varied cafes when you wake, anytime between 11 and 5pm, establish yourself in a comfy spot - in the last throws of summer this has been on sunny terraces outside - and prepare to stay a while.  

I've been to two types of brunches.  The first is the standard choose-of-the-menu brunch.  I guess the difference here is the array of choice and the generous portions, designed to be consumed slowly as you digest the events of the night before with a couple of bleary-eyed pals.

Then there's the brunch buffet.  But this is no mad rush to stock your plate with cold toast and greying scrambled eggs; it is a delicious ever-evolving spread that will gently bring you back to life.  When you first arrive, there's fresh fruit and yoghurt... then at some point croissants and bread and cheese emerge... then you notice the meats beginning to take over the table…. and for the hungrier there's pastas and hot dishes from mid afternoon.  Who could fail to feel right as rain after this?  And once you've spend a couple of hours at brunch, you stroll home and… do nothing.  And that is Sunday in Berlin.  Perfect.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Join us for - BRUNCH CLUB - Hackney - 22nd Sept

Join Keston Kitchen and the Elrington Table in Hackney E8 for BRUNCH this Saturday.

Monday, 10 September 2012

I Heart Italia: Sausages & Broccoli

I Heart Italia: Sausages & Broccoli

Italians do it better. Well, sometimes at least. If you like sausages and broccoli this is the dish for you. It goes very well with a smooth, creamy mash and takes sausage and mash to new heights. I dream about this dish.

850g Italian sausages - the ones from East Dulwich Deli are simply the best!
600g broccoli, cut into florets
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 French shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 red chilli, finely chopped
125ml chicken stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 pitted black olives

Serves 4

Place the sausages in a single layer in a deep non-stick frying pan and add cold water - 1.5cm deep. Bring to the boil, reduce and simmer for 20 minutes.
Turn the sausages from time to time and when they are cooked all the water should have evaporated, leaving just a little sausage fat in the pan.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the broccoli with a teaspoon of salt and simmer for 4-5 minutes, until the florets are barely tender. Drain and set aside.
Add the oil to the pan and brown the sausages. Push them to one side and add the shallots, garlic and chilli.
Cook on a low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Add the stock and lemon juice, turn up the heat and cook until reduced by half.
Add the broccoli and olives, spoon the sauce over and serve when it has heated through.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Nora's Bacon Hash

Nora's Bacon Hash by Charlotte

Recently, Nora Ephron died. Unrelated to this I started to read Heartburn, Nora's book on life, love, food and the rest. It is easy reading and she is funny, laugh on the tube kind of funny, and what's more, there are recipes that pop out of the pages from time to time. Having marked them all down [before realising there is a recipe index at the back] this is the first to go from page to pan.

Following Nora's instruction:
Cut some bacon into small pieces and start to cook it over a slow flame so that some of the fat is rendered. Then add diced cooked potatoes and cook slowly until the potatoes and bacon are completely crunchy. Eat with an egg.

I wasn't sure which egg to do, with so many options and all of them good, I decided to go soft boiled, a new favourite of mine, along with baked eggs. It turns out that this was the right decision - a soft boiled egg split on top of the hash does the job. Salt must be sprinkled onto the yolk - of course.

Feeling the need for something green I turned and saw a ripe avocado, resting in the Spanish vegetable trolly [small plastic trolly left by previous tenants who must have been mad - who leaves a perfectly good vegetable trolly?] So, I made guacamole with avocado, spring onion, lime juice, a pinch of chilli and salt. This is a good call. Green always = good.

Good post work food and also a potential brunch number… enjoy.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

This week I have mostly been eating...

Herefordshire Cherry Focaccia with Caraway Seeds. No.1 breakfast for champions.
Milk Tea & Pearl - cold tapioca tea[!] - either love it or hate it I guess.

Olympic Onion Rings. Thanks to Rachael for inspiring me with her Cheese Javelins.
Pickled Radicchio-mouth watering!! Basic recipe: 150ml malt vinegar; 300ml water, 65g caster sugar, salt. Add spices of choice. Mix cold and pour over. EASY.
BBQ Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad.

2 ears of corn, husks removed
1-2 tomatoes
2 green chillis
1/3 red onion
1 ripe avocado
1 lime
2tbsp coriander
salt and pepper

Take the coriander and roughly chop it. Rub the corn with butter, a bit of salt and 1 tablespoon of the chopped coriander. Put it on the bbq until it is thoroughly cooked and coloured on each side, about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, get a third of red onion in one thick slice and put it on the bbq. You can grill it if it is falling apart. Cook the onion until it is slightly translucent, turning it to ensure it cooks evenly on both sides.

Then cut the tomatoes into large chunks and add to a bowl with the remaining tablespoon of coriander. Next, dice the chilli, removing the seeds first and add to the bowl.

Cut your avocado in half, remove the stone and then cut away from the skin into pieces similar in size to the tomato. Add these to the bowl.

Once the onion is translucent remove it from the grill, dice it and add it to the salad bowl also.

Then take the corn off the grill [once evenly cooked all over]. Let it cool for a minute and then use a large knife to slice all the way down the corn to remove the kernels. Add everything to the bowl and mix.

Squeeze the lime juice on top, and toss with a bit of salt and pepper before serving.

The Battle of the Bak Kut Tehs - For Action Against Hunger

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


 Tempura - an enjoyable summer battering

Fish and chips is one of the best things when the mood is right, although the batter can cause a food coma to come on rapidly and immediately after consumption. Fritto misto is also one of the best things when in Italy and by the sea. 

When the food coma is not an option [you need to do things/speak to people/move around freely] and you're not leisurely hunting for lunch on the Italian coastline I suggest applying a light tempura batter to anything that you have to hand.

In this instance I had half a courgette, leftover asparagus, quite a few small carrots and two squid in my kitchen.

Firstly, cut your veg and fish to size:
Carrot and courgette batons
Asparagus (whole)
Squid - cut into rings

Get a plate of cornflower to toss the veg in before it goes into your batter.

Make the batter by mixing 80g cornflower, 80g self-raising flour, 210ml sparkling water, 2 tsp rapeseed oil (I used olive oil), 1/4 tsp salt and whisk to get a smooth runny paste. 

You can add in and herbs and spices to flavour the batter – I split it and added lemon rind to half (to go on the squid, asparagus and courgette) and fennel seeds to the other half (for the mountain of carrots). Dip everything in the batter ready to go into the frying pan.

You then want to fry everything in batches so that it cooks evenly and does not stick together. I opted for shallow frying in about 300ml of vegetable oil. Get the oil hot in the pan on a high heat and then turn down to medium.

Piece by piece put the vegetables and squid into the pan without too much excess batter. Soft veg should take about 1 minute and harder veg like carrots 2 minutes. Remove and place on kitchen paper to get rid of unwanted oil.

There are lots of dipping sauces out there but on this occasion I went with lemon wedges and salt as it was supposed to be a quick lunch break!
One happy lunch buddy

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Jubilee Week Roundup

Pizza Oven - the beginnings - a delightful dome - reminds me of something in Florence...
Devonshire cream tea in Torbay - with ginger scones and all mind!
Marcus Wareing's banana bread - made in a jelly mould. Crinkle cut.

100% Forest of Dean wild boar salami. Satisfying.
The Silver Spoon chicken with pomegranate (and Italian dried mushrooms). Che libro!

Brustengo - another Italian dish, also known as bubble and squeak! It goes very nicely with HP sauce (sshhh!)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Chicken Breasts stuffed with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Olives, Basil & Feta

by Ceri X     

It's all quiet on the Keston front this week.  The girls are away for a seaside holiday, so I am on my own which has meant pottering around the house; cooking and generally recovering from the weekend.  Last weekend was spent in the first of many fields of the 2012 season at the lovely Fire in the Mountain festival in Wales.  Whenever I return from a festival; the 4 days of fun, work and generally giving my body a hard time (booze, cold, rain, sleeping on a floor in a tent, crew food, more booze) means that I come back craving some healthy, tasty food that I have cooked myself.  Today, I decided on chicken stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, olives, basil & feta to be eaten with salad & asparagus. 

The humble chicken often gets a bad press, but I believe if you buy Happy Chickens that have been able to run around in daylight and you cook it well, not much can surpass its flavour. You can buy happy chickens from most supermarkets these days and it's worth looking out for the freedom food stickers/ rspca assured labels to make sure.  Or just hot foot it down to your nearest good butcher who will be able to tell you all you need to know about just how happy it was and where it was raised.  Stuffing a chicken always looks more impressive/ complicated than it actually is, so goes down well at a dinner party.  It's quick, simple, very tasty & the whole thing takes under 40 mins.  I'd call that a weeknight win of a meal!

So having located my happy chicken; feeling summery, healthy and in need of some vitamins and keen on Mediterranean flavours, I came up with the following:

Ingredients: Serves 2.

2 Free range chicken breast- (I prefer skin on for flavour)
A few green olives sliced in half- 8-10 should do
8 fresh basil leaves
8 sundried tomatoes
12 cubes of feta (I bought the olives with feta in the mix), Mozzarella works just as well.
Olive oil
Dried oregano
Salt & pepper
4 cocktail sticks

Salad- use whatever you fancy

Asparagus spears (approx 6/ 7 per person)- June is 100% Asparagus season, so I'd urge you to get amongst it.  It's AMAZING!!

1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees (or 180 for a fan oven).  Slice the chicken breast down one side, but don't cut all the way through (to make a pocket type space for the stuffing).  Place the basil leaves, sundried tomatoes, olives  & feta inside and close up the chicken breast.  Push a couple of cocktail sticks through to hold into place.  Rub some salt & pepper onto the skin, drizzle with a little of the oil from the sundried tomato container and finally sprinkle some oregano on the top.  A delicious variation on the cocktail sticks, is to wrap parma ham around the chicken breast to keep the stuffing in place, which is well worth a try too.

2.  Place the breasts on a baking tray and into the oven.  Cooking will be approx 20- 25 mins.  The chicken is cooked when juices run clear.  Be sure not to over cook as chicken goes dry in this case and loses that lovely juicy quality and much of the flavour.

3.  Meanwhile, assemble your salad on the plate.  Use whatever you fancy, I used mixed leaves, tomato, olives, basil leaves, avocado, cucumber & shredded carrot.

4.  Dress the salad.  I don't really believe in buying salad dressings when they are so very simple to make.  If you haven't done it before, it's all about having a go and mixing up ingredients & flavours you enjoy.  Here is a very simple base recipe.

Pour 100 ml of olive oil into a clean, empty jam jar, followed by 50 ml of balsamic vinegar (cyder or white wine vinegar will also do the trick).  Mix in 1 tsp of wholegrain mustard & 1 tsp of honey.  Season, then give the jar a good shake with the lid on.  You now have dressing (hooray!).  You can vary this using lemon juice and or different herbs/ vinegars.  If you feel your dressing is too thick, you can thin it out with a bit more vinegar and vice versa with olive oil/ honey if it is too runny.

5.  To griddle the asparagus start by snapping the woody tough end from the bottom of the spears.  Place the spears on a hot griddle pan which has been drizzled with a bit of olive oil (or under a heated grill).  Turn the spears a few times to keep the cooking even.  Once cooked through (I like  mine a bit crunchy still, which should take approx 6 mins depending on the size of the spears), drizzle with a little of the dressing and/ or juices from the chicken & serve onto the plate with the dressed salad & chicken.  Remove the cocktail sticks from the chicken and voila; a very lovely Wednesday night  happy chicken dinner for one :) The girls will be sad they missed it.  I am looking forward to seeing them on their return & roll on summer!  Happy June everyone :) Xx

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Lamb & Cannellini Beans

I Heart Italia: Lamb & Cannellini Bean Spezzatino

I love lamb. It has always been my favourite roast. Over the last month I've been waiting for the right opportunity to make lamb and cannellini bean stew, a staple in the Italian kitchen. I got some lamb, got some beans, found some cousins and a sister to invite for dinner, got some more lamb and beans to ensure sufficient quantities and got to work.

I checked with Jacob Kennedy in the Bocca book to see if he had anything to say about this dish and found a rather lovely lamb and broad bean stew which made for the basis of my recipe.

Other key ingredients that I wanted to make an appearance were rosemary, as I have lots in the garden, white wine because the weather has been so hot and garlic, to hit the meat with some extra flavour. The result was a delicious spezzatino - a stew with an bold sauce, one that cannot be left behind and requires bread to swipe every last bit from the bowl.

Here's what I used: [serves 6]
500g leg meat, cut into pieces
Lamb ribs - I currently have an obsession with ribs - great inexpensive cut of meat
Olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bunch spring onions
Pinch dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
6 rosemary sprigs
1 bottle white wine
2 cans cannellini beans
2 tomatoes, diced
Chard, finely sliced - this is optional, I fancied something green

First you need to toss you meat in seasoned flour. Then heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan and lightly brown your meat.
Add the spring onion, crushed garlic, chilli flakes and anchovy paste to the meat and cook for a few minutes.
Add the rosemary and white wine and simmer for an hour and a half with the lid on. The meat will be lovely and tender by this point.
After an hour add your diced tomatoes and a cup of water if it needs more liquid.
Taste and season the sauce ten minutes before cooking time is up and then add your cannellini beans and chard if you're using.
Serve hot with some fantastic bread.

Sunday, 29 April 2012


The egg is a great gift from the chicken. 
Sometimes I wonder if I eat too many eggs.
Below are three recent egg dishes.
All were invented 'use up ingredients' recipes.

Baked Eggs - leftover pork & lemon meatballs, spinach and eggs - oven baked 

Corned Beef Hash - caralmelised red onions, leftover mustard mash, leftover broccoli, corned beef and a fried egg

Asparagus Frittata - leftover asparagus, onion, eggs, parsley, Parmesan and nutmeg

Sunday, 15 April 2012

New York New York!

New York New York!
A food diary for two.

Dinner at La Esquina (coming to London soon...)
A perfect margarita and a beer cocktail with fruit juice, salsa roja, salt and lime - never again!
Ceviche Acapulco (market fish, salsa roja, avocado, jalepeno, lime) with plantain fritters
- pulled pork, picked onions and habanero
- pork shoulder, condensed milk, salsa roja

Breakfast on Union Square
Cappuccino x2
Eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine - served with sauteed potatoes and tabasco

Lunch in Central Park
Philly cheese steak roll
Rueben on rye

Dinner at Freeman's
Bread and cheese
Hot artichoke and cheese dip with bread - so good
Hunter's stew with venison, elk and boar
Venison cutlets (Milanese style) with roasted cauliflower and pistachio pesto
Dessert wine

Breakfast at The Smile
French toast with strawberries and Maple syrup - a lot of it!
Scrambled egg, ham and caramelised onion sandwich
Really good coffees

Lunch uptown
A sandwich of braised short beef ribs in red wine with onions and cheese - blew Matt's head off
Mardi Gras chicken sandwich (chicken, peppers, onions and chipotle)

Dinner at Roberta's, Brooklyn
Gin cocktails, Hot Toddy (bourbon, lemon, cloves) - in the garden while waiting for a table
Axyl Rosenberg pizza - double garlic, jalepenos, sopressata, tomato, mozzarella, mushroom

Brunch at Saxon & Parole
Amazing cappuccino
Poached eggs on sourdough with mushrooms and spinach and yuzu (Asian citrus fruit) hollandaise
Poached eggs with ham and Parmesan potato cakes and yuzu hollandaise

Late lunch at Mandoo Bar - Korean dumpling bar
Fried pork mandoo
Mandoo spicy ramen with veggie mandoo
Spicy beef bim bap - incredible

Pre-theatre snack on Mulberry Street
Chicken and chips with BBQ sauce - a bit like eating a Burger King (!)

Breakfast at Jack's Stir Brew Coffee
Stella - a flat white with cocoa - highly recommend
Pain au chocolat
Cherry an almond scone

Lunch in Brooklyn
Pizza with anchovies, basil, oregano, tomato, mozzarella
Three apple miso salad with an apple juice, cider vinegar and mustard dressing

Last supper at The Spotted Pig
Bourbon Sour
Beef burger with Roquefort and shoestring fries x2
Roasted beets - with a kick

Sunday, 4 March 2012

South East London Salami

The Salami Cupboard...
by Charlotte

The idea of having a little house in the garden where the salami live seemed like a good idea.

Several things pushed me to embark on the salami project. Firstly, I went to see Jacob Kennedy (head chef at Bocca di Lupo, an Italian restaurant in Soho) talk about his cookbook. I left the evening with a copy of the book and page 80 (Finocchiona - Tuscan fennel salame) cemented in my mind. Fennel always reminds me of Italy as this is where I discovered the joys of cooking with the fennel seed and first ate the thick bulb raw with an olive oil dressing.

After these initial thoughts about salami I chatted to a friend from the Forest of Dean about the culling of the wild boar population there, due to increasing high numbers since their reintroduction. We discussed the idea of getting our hands on some boar meat to experiment with...

Finally, I read a piece by a journalist who made his own salami and hung them outdoors (in the UK) to cure. This made everything much more feasible as the Tuscan recipe is very specific and requires temperatures and humidity levels that I could not keep constant at home. So, after an email exchange with Jacob from Bocca I was confident that I could make the salami at home and hang them outside.

Pork shoulder and back fat from Kent - trial run before working with boar meat.
! worked with a kilo of meat and fat in total: 800g meat to 200g fat.
(The high fat content in salami helps to repel water and stop the meat being attacked by bacteria).

The meat is flavoured with fennel seeds, garlic and black pepper.

The meat, fat, spices, salami culture and curing salts (28g per kilo of meat) are mixed really well - you knead the meat on the work surface for ten minutes. It is not dissimilar to working a piece of dough and is great for the arms.
The meat goes in the fridge for a couple of hours. I prep the casing - a cows intestine which is very long and has a slightly unpleasant odour. A jam funnel was the perfect size and this helped me to stuff the casings by hand.
I tied the salami with twine as they are pretty large. Make a loop in the twine at one end.

Weigh and date the salami and hang indoors for a couple of days to kick start start the process.

Then transfer outdoors. The meat will gradually darken and you should expect the salami to decrease in weight by around 30%. If mould appears you can remove it with a weak vinegar water solution.
Expect to see an increase in local cats and foxes who stop by for a sniff.

One month to go until the salami party...
In that time I may experiment more as I have over twenty meters of intestine in my fridge.