Friday, 17 June 2016

Chocolate Mousse with Honeycomb and Sea Salt

I’ve always loved chocolate, who doesn’t? But I LOVE the dark stuff, just a little bit of insanely tasty chocolate. I’ve never been one for milk chocolate or overly sweet bars but a small taste of dark chocolate is irresistible. I’ve always got a few types at home hidden away somewhere to satisfy that craving. 

At one point, a few years ago, I almost changed what I was doing career-wise to become a chocolatier at the thought of tempering chocolate all day, filling moulds and flavouring ganaches. In the end I decided against it but as you can probably guess it fuelled an already ridiculous passion for chocolate. It’s also one of those things that I like playing around with in the kitchen because it’s not easy - it’s more of a challenge; it can be super tricky, it can burn easily, it can split but there’s something about that that I love. Luckily this recipe isn’t like that, it’s actually really easy, it’s just got quite a few steps to it. Follow the steps and it’s worth the effort. Trust me. This is a great dessert to have ready for a barbecue or big event as you can do this the day before just have it ready to serve from the fridge. You could do it in individual pots but I really like serving it as a blob of hole-y mousse on a plate. Mmmmm.

The honeycomb is also really easy and actually really quick! (I say it’s quick but you have to leave it for about an hour before it’s ready to use as it takes time to cool) It’s also really cool when you add the bicarbonate of soda as it froths and bubbles. Definitely get the children to watch but be careful as it’s super hot!

Ingredients -

Chocolate Mousse -

  • 110g Dark Chocolate (at least 75%), broken into small pieces
  • 40g Butter
  • 3 Eggs Yolks
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 75ml Water
  • 100ml Double Cream
  • 90g Egg Whites (2 large or 3 small eggs)
  • Sea salt to serve (I use Maldon)
Honeycomb -
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 5 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Method -

Chocolate Mousse -
  • Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and then set aside, stirring occasionally
  • Dissolve the sugar in the water in a heavy based saucepan over a low heat, when dissolved increase the heat and bring the syrup to the boil.
  • Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl until pale and creamy
  • Boil the syrup until it reaches 120 degrees C on a sugar thermometer
  • With the whisk on fast slowly trickle the hot syrup onto the beaten egg yolks
  • Keep whisking until the mixture is thick, smooth and has increased in volume
  • Whisk until the bowl no longer feels hot and then set aside, this is called a Pate à Bombe
  • Whip the cream to soft peaks in a separate bowl
  • Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks in another bowl
  • Fold the chocolate mixture into the pate à bomb (sugar syrup and egg yolk mix), then fold in the whipped cream and lastly the whisked egg whites
  • Transfer into a container for the fridge, it’s best left for a few hours in the fridge before serving
Honeycomb -
  • Grease a 20cm tin with the butter
  • Put the caster sugar and syrup into a heavy bottomed pan and dissolve on a low heat
  • When dissolved increase the heat and bubble until you have an amber coloured liquid
  • Quickly turn off the heat, add the bicarbonate of soda and beat with a wooden spoon until the bicarb has been fully incorporated and the mixture is bubbling
  • Transfer the mixture into the tin and leave to cool before using (this will probably take 1 - 1 1/2 hours)
When you come to serve simply put a spoonful of mousse on a plate and then add crushed honeycomb and sea salt!

Both of these can be kept for a while and so it's a really good one to prepare hours before and will certainly impress your guests


Sunday, 12 June 2016

Wild Garlic Pesto from Joshua's Wood

I went home the other weekend to Preston and whilst out walking the dog we came upon seas of wild garlic covering the floors of 'Joshuas Wood'. You never really see wild garlic as a tiny crop but instead it grows like a weed, literally covering the floor, usually on banks or near to a stream. It grows in damp conditions and you’ll usually find that you smell it before you see it! As the dog happily ran herself mental with all the woodland smells we got to work picking a hearty crop of wild garlic, or ramsons as some people call it. However much you decide to pick doesn’t really dent the amount that grows so you don’t need to feel guilty about picking a ridiculous amount, which we did, obviously.

Firstly we ate it like spinach, simply washed and then wilted with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice but I had bigger plans for the leaf. Delicious as it was I wanted to try wild garlic pesto which sounded great and thought it’d go great with some braised lamb and butter beans. Man was I right! Here’s the recipe for the pesto. If you see wild garlic please try this recipe as you’ll be massively rewarded. This recipe is massively influenced by River Cottage's Recipe so credit goes to them!


Ingredients -

- 50g Wild Garlic leaves
- 30g Pine nuts (briefly toasted)
- 30g Parmesan, freshly grated
- 80ml Olive Oil
- Sea salt and Fresh Black Pepper

Method -

- Finely chop the Wild Garlic leaves
- Grind the leaves with the pine nuts and parmesan in a pestle and mortar
- Add olive oil to make a paste at the end, if storing make sure the pesto is covered with oil to preserve

*If you keep the pesto covered in the fridge it should last several weeks in the fridge

Friday, 27 May 2016

The Pig Dig

There was a series on last year called ‘Chef’s Table’, I’m sure some of you have been watching it but if you’ve not watched it - WATCH IT! As it happens tonight unveiled the second series which I’m very excited about and after reading this you should all be going home and watching avidly. The last series featured 6 inspirational chefs and their stories. They all inspired me in different ways but the one that left a lasting impression was the story of Francis Mallmann who [abbreviated bio] after much acclaim in Paris went back to his roots and started cooking in his own native way in Patagonia cooking outside by fire - he uses pits to cook animals overnight and throws breads directly on coals. Basically the most manly way of cooking humanly possible! This obviously made my ears perk up and my saliva glands work overtime and so I decided that I should try it out. Cooking how we used to cook food thousands of years ago is no easy feat.

One cold night last halloween we embarked on a pit roast of half a pig in a friends garden in Arsenal, London. The results were truely incredible, so much so that we’ve done it again since and plan to do a few more as events in and around London. If you fancy running an event with us I’d be very interested to hear from you but this post wasn’t about selling myself so I’ll stop there. The pork was the juiciest I have ever eaten (no moisture is lost whatsoever in the cooking process as the pork is starved of oxygen) and the combination we eventually came up with of pork, tarragon and blood orange in a toasted brioche bun is D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S!

So in a very abbreviated step by step here we go:

  • Get a pig / half a pig / piece of pig
  • Dig a pit 1 foot wider on all sides than your pig (or piece of pig) and about 5 foot deep. This is by far the worst bit about the entire cooking process as it’s back breaking work. Be sure to get a few of you ready to dig and have a digging party before the event.
  • Light a fire
  • Keep fire going until you have 3 feet of red hot embers (this will take at least a few hours)
  • Season your pig. We seasoned with salt, thyme, rosemary and garlic.
  • Wrap the pig in tin foil
  • Wrap this in hessian sacks
  • Wrap this in chicken wire
  • Throw on embers
  • Cover with a lid (we used a piece of corrugated iron)
  • Cover with soil to seal all air gaps
  • Leave for as long as you think it needs (we did half a pig for 18 hours and a large pork shoulder for 11 hours, both were delicious)
  • Eat with mates and lagers and music, in a ideal situation on a glorious summers day!

To serve -

Toast a brioche bun and then pile on the meat, extra salt and pepper if needed, a good amount of tarragon and a few blood orange segments. Heaven.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Pasta perfection is my new Mecca!

When I was at University I wasn’t actually into pasta that much, the pasta and pesto staple diet of many students wasn’t part of my repertoire. I’m not really sure why I was like that, I probably thought I’d be being a bit lazy so instead favoured a more complicated alternative. Fast forward 10 years and now I have fallen in love with a good bowl of humble pasta. I’ve been trying to perfect all the old classics that I feel an old Italian Grandmother would pass down to her children, keeping it simple but all about the fresh ingredients. It literally has become a bit of an obsession, one of my cupboards is just full of different types of pasta! It’s ridiculous 

I recently shot a pasta called ‘Pastificio Di Martino' for Pulp Magazine (Click here for picture1and picture 2) and starting divulging into the history of it. With over 100 years of manufacturing experience and pasta still being dried on special racks in the street it really is an incredible pasta and a tastes delicious. Pasta might be quick to make but the same amount of time and passion has gone into it as any other classic dish! The Pastificio pasta didn’t last long in my kitchen but it helped me to perfect some recipes that I’m going to share with you

I can’t call these recipes my own but they’re definitely worth trying to perfect, they’re both heavily based on recipes from ‘The Geometry of Pasta’ which is well worth a read and will help you on road to pasta perfection. 

Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and pepper) is a delicious simple pasta and Spaghetti alla Vongole (Spaghetti and clams) done right is near perfection.  These are both perfect for a summer dinner in the garden sipping a glass of fresh Vinho Verde. If there’s two pieces of advise I’d give you it’s to spend a bit more money on the pasta (don’t buy 79p pasta as it’ll always taste like 79p pasta) and also add a good amount of salt to the cooking liquid (12g salt per litre) as pasta is made un-seasoned.


Ingredients (for 2 people) - 

  • 200g Bucatini pasta
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 100g grated Pecorino Romano 
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Reserved pasta water

Method - 

  • Boil the pasta until just before cooked
  • In a separate frying pan heat the olive oil and add half the pepper
  • After a few seconds add 4 tbsp reserved pasta water
  • Add the pasta and sauté for a few seconds until there is no loose water
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the cheese. Keep turning the pasta until the cheese is mixed through and melting into the pasta
  • Serve with the remaining pepper

This pasta is so delicious and fresh and all the flavours should marry together perfectly. The liquid that comes out of the clams when cooking adds a taste of the sea which is so fresh it’s addictive. If you’re ever trying to impress someone with a pasta dish this is the one to do it with!


Ingredients -

  • 200g Spaghetti
  • 6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 500g Clams
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • Chilli flakes / 1 dried chilli chopped into flakes
  • 1 handful chopped Parsley
  • 4 tbsp White Wine

Method -

  • Put the pasta on to cook
  • While the pasta is cooking heat a wide frying pan over a high heat
  • When smoking hot add the oil and then quickly add the garlic, chilli and clams
  • Fry for a few moments (20 seconds, until the garlic starts to colour) and then add the parsley and the wine
  • When the majority of the clams have opened add the drained pasta and cook together until the rest of the clams have opened. The sauce should be half oil, half water
  • Serve immediately

Friday, 13 May 2016

Do you like Pina Coladas? Or getting caught in the rain?

Forget about the rain but hopefully this will change your mind about the cocktail! I recently went on a 3 week trip around Cuba and whilst the food wasn’t as incredible as I thought it was going to be the cocktails were great. We travelled from East to West, North to South and feel like a saw a good amount of the country to comment on its current state. I think a lot of negative opinions are being said about what’s currently happening to Cuba, but from speaking with the locals I feel that it’s only going to help them, they’re looking forward to seeing change and with it is only going to come positives. There is already loads of work going on in Havana, installing new drainage systems, making better roads and I feel that it’s very single minded to say that it’s going to destroy the country. I’m sure it will keep its cultural heritage and I’m definitely sure those old American cars will not be replaced. Aside from the politics of the country it's such a beautiful country and is the nearest to paradise I've ever been!

I used to be a bar tender and cocktail shaker (I’d love to say mixologist but don’t think I was inventive enough) so I have a huge love for good drinks and spirits. As we arrived into Havana on the first night the first thing we did was to throw down our bags at our ‘Casa Particular’ and then head out for a drink…or two…. “Dos cerveza y dos mojitos por favor?” Without realising that the cocktails are about double strength things quickly became blurry from there!

After a week or so sampling all the drinks I realised that I actually have a new found love for Pina Coladas. I know what you’re thinking, however, if it’s made properly it is actually a great drink and perfect for an on-the-beach post-swim pick me up so without further ado here’s my recipe for Pina Coladas. After trying this recipe you’ll change your mind about the frowned upon classic. “Do you like Pina Coladas?” I sure do! (Please enjoy while singing along, responsibly…obviously…)


This recipe is different to a lot you’ll find on the internet, in Cuba I found the drink was way more creamy and less pineapple-y. In my opinion it’s this overly sweet pineapple-y drink that people don’t like and so give this a go and you’ll be sure to love it!

Ingredients - 

50ml white rum
50ml coconut cream
25ml Pineapple Juice
2 teaspoons sugar syrup

Method - 

  • Along with a handful of ice throw all the ingredients in a blender and blend well
  • Serve with a slice of pineapple and as many cocktails add ons as you can get your hands on (I was a bit gutted I couldn’t find those little monkeys that hang off your glass!)

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Greetings one and all. It's been too long since my last post and so I thought I'd get back in the habit! I've been travelling around quite a lot recently and there are so many recipes I want to share with you. This one is simple but tastes SOOO GOOD! I tried a similar dish in Spring Restaurant in Somerset House and it haunted me for weeks, in a very good way. You know when you just can't stop thinking about something you've eaten? And then last week in Tinos, Greece when we were shooting for Bon Appetite Magazine I had this - braised courgettes on flat bread. They're extremely easy to make but take a little time. The idea of braising courgettes was a bit alien to me until then but once you try these you'll want the courgettes as an accompaniment to EVERYTHING.


Serves 4 (as a side dish or on toast as a light lunch)

Ingredients -

4 courgettes
6 sprigs of Thyme
50g-100g grated parmesan
Olive oil

Method -

- Slice courgettes thinly (2mm thick)
- In a medium hot pan add the courgettes along with the thyme
- Saute for around 30 minutes until the courgettes are soft. Be careful when moving around the pan as you don't want to break them too much but you want to cook them as long as possible without them getting to a mush.
- Add the grated parmesan towards the end of the cooking and mix carefully through the courgettes
- Serve on toasted flat bread (I used Turkish side in the picture) rubbed with garlic or as a side to a nice steak

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Corn Dogs

As promised here's the corn dog recipe. They were surprisingly easy to make and tasted incredible. We had them as a starter and then had burger and chips! Although it was way too much food and we didn't eat half of it all...which I guess is a bonus as it means more burgers today...

Happy Eating

  • Ingredients - 

    vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • 150g cornmeal or polenta
  • 125g plain flour
  • 40g sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 225ml full-fat milk
  • 12-15 frankfurter sausages
  • 12-15 wooden skewers, soaked

    Method - 

    1. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fat fryer to 160C (a bread crumb should go brown in about 30 seconds) or as I did in a shallow based pan, it worked well and you don't have to use as much oil!
    2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and milk together and gradually stir the mixture into to the dry ingredients. Whisk together to make a heavy batter.
    3. Put a skewer through each frankfurter sausage and dip it into the batter until well coated.
    4. Place the frankfurters into the oil, a few at a time, and cook for three minutes, or until golden-brown. Drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
    5. To serve, mix the mustard and mayonnaise together in a bowl and serve with the frankfurters.