Sunday, May 19

Sobrasada & Morcilla Stuffed Baby Peppers

Are these more appealing than crisps? Come on........! 

Peppers stuffed with soft Spanish chorizo and black pudding. Why don't we see this sort of stuff in bars and pubs in the UK. Proper man + beer food. 

It's not even a recipe. Just buy some sobrasada and morcilla from Brindisa ( stuffed in some hollowed out baby peppers that are about in greengrocers all over Bristol. Lightly oil a tray and bake in a roasting hot oven until soft, charred and oozing oil - about 15 minutes. 

Friday, May 17

Red Chicory, Pear, Walnut and Roquefort Salad, Sherry Vinaigrette

A very pretty but beautifully simple salad of classical French origin. Try and find the red chicory if you can, the taste is the same but the ascetics are much improved. The sherry vinaigrette is one of my staple salad dressings and the one I turn to most often. For two as a side dish, or one as a main.

Red chicory - 1 head
Ripe conference pear - 1
Lemon - 1
Roquefort - 75g
Walnut pieces - 50g
Olive oil (not extra virgin) - 200ml
Sherry vinegar - 50ml
Garlic - 1/3 of a fat clove
Honey - 3 tbsp
Salt and finely ground black pepper

Peel the pear, cut into quarters and remove the cores. Slice thinly and submerge in water along with the juice from the lemon - this keeps the pear nice and white. To make the vinaigrette, mix the seasoning with the vinegar until dissolved - salt won't dissolve once the oil has been added. Beat in the honey and garlic then drizzle in the oil beating all the time until the vinaigrette emulsifies.

Drain the pear and in a roomy bowl, dress the leaves liberally with the vinaigrette. You will have more vinaigrette than you need so same some for another day. Artfully arrange the chicory and pear on a serving plate, crumble with Roquefort and sprinkle with the walnuts....easy as that.

Monday, May 13

Burrata, Wild Oregano, Lemon & Chilli

I was in the big smoke this weekend - London that is, not New York - and made a pilgrimage to Borough Market. What an inspiration this place is. Why can't all cities have a market like this. Amongst other purchases I picked up some wild oregano which has so much flavour compared to the usual shop bought variety. Paired here with Burrata, a very soft mozzarella-like cheese from Puglia, this made a very special starter.  Fresh marjoram would make a fine substitution to the oregano if you can't find any.

Burrata - 1
Lemon zest
Red chilli
Very good olive oil
Dried wild oregano
Maldon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

~llow the cheese to come to room temperature and simply tear the burrata open and sprinkle liberally with all the remaining ingredients. A green salad would work well as an addition.

Monday, May 6

Chargrilled Rib of Beef, Wasabi Butter

This rib of beef is truly a thing of beauty. There are only three ingredients required so make sure you buy the best beef you can afford, preferably from a local butcher who can tell you where it came from. Wasabi is Japanese horseradish and more usually seen accompanying sushi. I don't understand why wasabi is not used more with beef as it tastes very similar to standard horseradish, but with added have been warned! This feeds 2 to 3 as the main event or 5 to 6 along with some other BBQ stalwarts and salads.

Maldon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Salted butter - 50g
A fresh tube of wasabi - start with 1 tsp
A one bone rib of beef, chine bone removed, trimmed and tied

Heat your oven to 180c. Get the BBQ raging hot, the beef rib should go on first as you want to sear the meat all over. Lightly oil and heavily season the beef all over. Sear the beef moving it around the grill to avoid the flames that will just up as the fat runs. You want a really good crust all over the meat - darkly browned but not black please!

Finish the rib in the oven until the core temperature reads 55c on a meat thermometer - this should give you a medium rare end result. Allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes. To make the butter simply mix the wasabi and some black pepper into the softened butter. Taste and add more wasabi if you like more heat. To serve simply slice the beef and allow some of that beautiful green tinged butter to melt over the slices before devouring.

Sunday, May 5

A Salad of Feta, Asparagus, Baby News, Peas & Leaves

First BBQ of the year coming up today! Here is an effortless salad of great tasting early spring goodies to accompany. Local asparagus, mint from my garden, tiny English new potatoes, and some cracking salad leaves from Secretts Farm in Surrey. Ok, fresh peas are not quite here yet but give it a few weeks.....

Tiny new potatoes - a big handful
Asparagus - 1 bunch
Lemon - 1
Mint leaves - 15 or so - finely shredded
Really good extra virgin olive oil - a few glugs
Frozen petis pois peas - a big handful
Feta - 150g
Interesting salad leaves - a big handful

Boil the spuds until just tender, toss in the asparagus for a few minutes more, then the frozen peas. When the water returns to the boil drain and refresh all the veg in iced water. Drain and toss in a bowl with the salad leaves and mint. Season with a little salt (remember the feta carries a lot of salt) and lots of black pepper, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Toss and crumble over the feta.