Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Peas and Lettuce

Well a quick little post before I get on a plane and spend a week on an island lounging next to a pool with a book in one hand and a drink in the other.

This is a great little side dish that’s packed full of flavour and a novel way of serving lettuce, or it can be made a bit more substantial and turned into a light meal with the addition of a poached egg (or 13 minute egg). There’s not a whole lot of prep that needs to be done, and it all should be easy to knock off while the egg gently cooks.

13 minute egg
1 Baby Cos, sliced crosswise into 1 cm strips
2 rashers of streaky bacon, diced
Handful of frozen peas
half a cup of chicken stock, use less if it’s already reduced
Mustard, a good spoonful
Shallot, very finely diced
Anchovies (to taste), minced

Sauté the onions and bacon in a little olive oil, try not to colour it too much, when cooked through add the anchovies and cook until amalgamated. Pour in the chicken stock and add the mustard, simmer until it has reduced by about half. Add the peas, and when almost cooked add the lettuce and simmer until it has become limp, take care not to overcook the lettuce. Season with salt and pepper and serve in a bowl with the egg placed in the centre. The runny yolk mingles with the stock and creates a lush sauce.

Friday, August 16, 2013


This is pretty much my go to recipe for cookies, these are not ooey gooey chewy cookies, they have a good snap and are perfect for dunking. Rolled into a log and wrapped tightly it freezes extremely well, meaning you can slice off rounds (with a hot knife) and have fresh biscuits cooked in about 10 minutes, no need to cook up the whole batch at once. Rounds rolled very thin and baked nice and crisp also make a great ice cream sandwich.

100 g butter
200 g sugar
200 g flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder salt

Cream the butter and sugar until pale light a fluffy, beat in the egg. Sieve in the flour, baking powder and salt, and work into the batter, this is also the perfect time to add any extras such as chopped nuts or chocolate, try not to overwork the dough.

Tear off a large rectangle of cling film and place the dough in a rough log shape in the centre, use the cling film to tightly roll up into an uniform log, a second layer can help. Place either in the freezer for future use or in the fridge for at least half an hour before slicing and baking for about 10 minutes in a preheated 180ºC oven. Cool on a wire rack, well that is if you can wait for them to cool before devouring.

When making cookies for an ice cream sandwich I’ll take a ring mold and press ice cream into it on a sheet of baking paper, then transfer to the freezer. Then slice a round of the cookie dough off and roll out with a rolling pin so it’s a little larger than the ring mold and nice and thin. Cook it just as above, but keep an eye on it as it will cook a little quicker.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Caesar Salad

Whenever I make up a batch of 13 minute eggs I usually make a couple extra so they can sit in the fridge and be used over the next few days, it seems like a waste of effort to only make one or two when I need them, plus they make a great Caesar Salad dressing. Well my version of a Caesar dressing on my version of the Salad, an easy toss together lunch or light dinner and a great way to use up a glut of cos lettuce.

1 very soft egg (13 minute egg)
1 tsp hot mustard
Juice of one lemon
rice bran oil, to start the emulsion
olive oil, to bulk out

Use a whisk to break up the egg, stir in the mustard, whilst whisking slowly, drip-by-drip, pour in the rice bran oil, once a stable emulsion has been formed switch to olive oil, I usually end up using about a fifty-fifty mix of oils, add the lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.

1 baby cos
Streaky bacon
red onion

Well it’s all prep and assembly really, firstly I like to cook the bacon, starting in a cold oven to help the fat render, cook it until it’s nice and crisp or as Agent Dale Cooper would say “Bacon, super-crispy. Almost burned. Cremated.”[1] Remove the bacon from the oven and drain on paper towels.

Using the same tray, toss cubed bread in the hot bacon fat and put in the oven until the bread is golden and crunchy.

Thinly slice the red onion, much like anchovies you’re either a fan of raw onion or not, I love it.

Separate the lettuce leaves and thoroughly wash set aside to drain.

Building the Salad
Garlic confit (or slow roasted garlic)

If you’re making the salad for more than one, and perhaps not everyone appreciates anchovies for  just how awesome they are, this is a simple way to customise the dressing for each serving. So in a clean bowl put in some minced anchovies, to taste, along with a clove or two of some garlic confit, mashed, a large spoon or so of the dressing and mix through.

Build up the salad putting in enough leaves, bacon, croutons and onion to satisfy and gently toss through the dressing.