We’re seven weeks into London lockdown and five weeks into our Chefs Recipe Series, and if you’re anything like us, mealtimes are one of the things getting you through these strange times.
This week we have plenty to whet your appetite with, from Thomasina Miers’ Grilled Ancho Chicken Tacos – the perfect dish to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this evening – to some special VE Day dishes created by the team at Searcys to brighten up the weekend – we’re loving the seasonal Allotment Salad and terribly British Toffee & Milk Puddings.
Plus, there are some easy, quick wins to keep mealtimes fuss-free and healthy, including a chicken soup that’s sure to become one of the trusted dishes in your repertoire.
Roasted Miso Cauliflower
by Hideki Maeda, Head Chef at Nobu London
- 1 head of cauliflower, sliced into pieces
- 1 head of romanesco, sliced into pieces
- 30g pine nuts
- 1 jalapeño, chopped
- 50ml yuzu juice
- 350ml / 1 ½ cups sake
- 350ml / 1 ½ cups mirin
- 800g / 28oz white miso
- 500g / 15oz granulated sugar
- A sprinkle of Ito Togarashi pepper
- To make the miso, boil the sake and mirin over a high heat and reduce by a third. Turn down the heat, add the miso and sugar, and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes. Bring to room temperature.
- Place the cauliflower and romanesco in a bowl and pour over the miso to cover. Leave for 2-3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F. Remove the sliced vegetables from the miso marinade and sear in a hot frying pan until golden. Place onto a baking tray with the pine nuts and bake in the oven for 3-5 minutes.
- Arrange the cauliflower and romanesco on a plate, pour over the yuzu juice and finish with a sprinkle of pine nuts and the chopped jalapeño.
Chefs tip: Any sturdy, crunchy vegetable that you have would work well for this recipe. If you can’t find yuzu juice at the moment, a combination of 40ml of lime juice and 10ml of orange juice would also work – you can adapt the levels of sweet and citrus to suit your tastes. This is a perfect vegetarian meal with sticky white rice, or served as a side dish alongside meat or fish.
VE Day Allotment Salad
- 150g fresh peas – podded, reserve 4 x pods of peas for garnish
- 1 x little gem lettuce
- 150g heritage carrot
- 150g cucumber
- 1 bunch breakfast radishes
- 150g purple radishes
- 150g watermelon radishes
- 20g wild fennel
- 30g Dijon mustard
- 100ml virgin rape seed oil
- 20ml cider vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Thinly shave carrots, cucumber, watermelon and purple radishes.
- Remove outer leaves of breakfast radishes and stand in cold water.
- Prepare and wash the gem lettuce cutting into small pieces.
- For the dressing; place Dijon mustard and cider vinegar in blender and slowly add rapeseed oil until emulsified, season to taste.
- Arrange vegetables in bowl, finish with a large spoon of dressing, the picked wild fennel, unzipped pea pods and serve.
Grilled Ancho Chicken Tacos
by Thomasina Miers, Owner of Wahaca
- 1 chicken, segmented, or 8 chicken thighs
- Ancho marinade (see below)
- Corn or flour tortillas (2-4 per person, depending on size)
- 1 bunch spring onions
- A small bunch coriander
- 2-3 limes, cut into wedges
- Guacamole or a roast salsa, or ideally both
For the marinade:
- 2 ancho chillies
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 10-12 cloves
- 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 2 large tbsp soft brown sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 large cloves garlic, or 3-4 smaller ones, crushed
- 4-5 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- First, make the marinade. Open up the ancho chillies like a book and discard the stem and seeds. Toast for 30-40 seconds a side in a hot dry frying pan until smelling fragrant, then cover with boiling water and leave to rehydrate for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, get out all the spices.
- Briefly toast the spices in the same dry frying-pan and then grind to a powder in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Work the salt, oregano and garlic into the spices to create a paste. Now drain the ancho chillies and pound them in too (in the mortar, or a small food processor). Finally add the oil.
- Rub over the chicken pieces and marinate for a few hours, or overnight. Heat the coals in the BBQ (or heat a char-grill). Grill the chicken pieces for 20-25 minutes, turning to grill all over.
- At the same time peel away the outer leaves from the spring onions and rub in oil, salt and pepper. Grill over the coals for 5-8 minutes until beautifully blackened. Arrange on a plate and squeeze over the juice of half a lime. Heat up the tortillas on the BBQ, cut the chicken into slithers and put out on a table with the lime wedges, coriander, guacamole and salsas.
Chef’s tip: Do NOT worry if you are missing a few of the spice mix, just make the quantity up with what you have – i.e. fennel and coriander seeds are delicious; allspice if you are lacking clove or cinnamon – whatever mix you use will be delicious!
Rack of Lamb with Pea, Courgette, Lemon, Olive & Feta
by Tom Booton, Head Chef of The Grill at The Dorchester
- 1 x lamb rack
- 500g fresh English peas
- 3 green courgettes
- 25g butter
- 30g double cream
- 5g basil
- 10 pitted Nocellara olives
- 3 cubes of feta
- 1 sliced preserved lemon
- Rapeseed oil
- Sea salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 180C. Slice two courgettes thinly and add into a hot pan to sweat down for 2 mins with no colour, then add in butter, cream and basil. Cook for three more mins on low heat then transfer into a food blender and blitz for two minutes until smooth.
- Pod the peas, bring a large pot of water to the boil and season generously with salt. Ready a bowl of ice water to cool down the peas. Blanch the peas for 45 seconds – 1 minute, when ready put straight into ice water to cool, drain and refrigerate ready to use.
- Bring the lamb rack to room temp before cooking, season well, place into a cold pan fat side down and melt the fat slowly on a low heat (tip: drain off the lamb fat and save for roasties) After 40 mins, turn up the heat to caramelize all around the rack. Pop in oven for 4 mins, rest for 30 mins with garlic and rosemary if you’ve got any.
- In a bowl mix the peas, thinly sliced remaining courgette, feta, lemon and quartered olives together and dress with rapeseed oil, salt, pepper and basil.
- Spoon the courgette purée onto the base of the plate, add the mix salad, then place the sliced lamb rack on top.
Toffee & Milk Pudding
For the Anzac biscuits (makes 10):
- 40 gm porridge oat
- 45 gm desiccated coconut
- 50 gm plain flour
- 50 gm caster sugar
- 50 gm unsalted butter
- 12 gm golden syrup
- 3 gm bicarbonate of soda
For the milk pudding:
- 900 ml evaporated milk
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise
- 200 ml condensed milk
- 4 g silver gelatine leaves
- 180g caramel condensed milk
- Heat oven to 180C.
- Put oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Place butter in a saucepan and place over as medium heat.
- Melt butter slowly and once starting to melt add golden syrup and mix well to dissolve together.
- Add bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water and allow to dissolve.
- Once dissolved stir into golden syrup and butter mixture.
- Make a well in the middle of dry ingredients and pour in butter and golden syrup mixture.
- Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.
- Put dessert spoonfuls of mixture onto lined baking sheets, about 2.5cm/1in apart to allow room for spreading.
- Transfer to pre heated oven and bake for 8-10 mins or until golden.
- Once baked remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- In a thick bottomed pan add evaporated milk and vanilla pod.
- Place over a medium heat and bring to the simmer.
- Once simmered remove from the head and add condensed milk.
- Mix well and allow to infuse.
- Soak gelatine leaves in cold water until pliable, gently squeeze dry and add to hot milk mixture.
- Stir until gelatine has dissolved.
- Pass milk through a fine chinois or sieve to remove any excess vanilla seeds and undissolved gelatine.
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes or until it is at room temperature.
- Carefully pour mixture into 6 pots, glass ones look great.
- Transfer to refrigerator and allow to set in fridge for at least 1 hour.
To make up:
- Top the set milk puddings with a layer of caramel condensed milk and just before serving crumble an Anzac biscuit on to each to finish.
Any aromatic vegetables you have such as:
- herbs and chilli
- Vegetable stock
- Top with whatever you like such as
- Leftover chicken
- Soft boiled egg
- vermicelli pasta
- In a large pan, add aromatic veggies – whatever you have left in your fridge. This could be onion, garlic, carrots, celery, leek, but you can also be creative and add chili, herbs, peppers etc
- Season well before adding leftover bones, this could be from a Sunday roast for example. Add water and simmer for at least a couple of hours although the longer the better! For a veggie soup base, use vegetable stock
- Once you’ve done this, you have the base of your soup and you can add whatever you fancy – perhaps leftover chicken, vermicelli pasta, or even a soft boiled egg! Alternatively, keep it simple and enjoy with a side of warm garlic butter toast
by Hamdy Hassan, Executive Chef at Andaz London
For the topping:
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup pecans
For the cake:
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 450g carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
- Make the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk the sugars, cinnamon and salt. Add melted butter and stir to combine. Add flour and pecans and stir until moist clumps form. Set aside.
- Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9″ x 13″ metal baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment leaving a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Grease the parchment.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In another large bowl, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until thick and pale (about 3 minutes). Add the oil and beat until well combined. Add dry ingredients, alternating with buttermilk until combined.
- Fold in the carrot and scrape into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the prepared topping evenly over the batter.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.