#27 FOOD NEWS: Recipes that rock with Blur’s Alex James

Every monday

Rock and cheese roll?

After  swapping rock and roll for making artisan, award winning, cheese. The bassist from Blur, Alex James has now teamed up with Australian chef, Matt Stone, for a second series of Recipes that Rock. There’s some humdingers (I think that’s good) as they travel across the Great Southern area of Australia. The ricotta, chilli and avocado combo was calling me with this little number – perfect for brunch with a kick:

Avocado, ricotta, fried egg & spelt flatbread

Final

Serves 4 with 6 flatbreads leftover (Note re. my pics: I halved everything to serve 2 then had 3 flatbreads leftover for lunches).

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For the flatbread
1.5kg spelt flower
900ml water
30g yeast
35g salt
2 tbsp flakey salt
Olive oil

Steps 1

1 Warm the water to be at blood temperature, then add the yeast and dissolve. Mix in the flour and 35g salt.

steps 2

2 Gather together, turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead for about 5 mins until the dough is silky. Place the dough into a bowl and leave to prove in a warm place for 40mins.

steps 3

3 Knock back the dough and portion into 10 balls, slightly smaller than a tennis ball.
Roll the balls out to circles about 1cm thick. Brush with olive oil and season with flaky salt. Cook on a chargrill [or griddle pan if it’s October and Blighty!] for about 5 mins each side.

For the avocado mix
4 avocados, peeled and chopped
250g ricotta
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped, plus extra to serve (optional)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus extra wedges to serve
1 cup mixed herbs: dill, parsley and mint, chopped
Olive oil
4 eggs

1 Place the avocado into a mixing bowl with the ricotta, chilli, lemon zest and juice and the herbs and mix well. Set aside.

chilli

2 Fry the eggs to your liking. Place 4 flatbreads on 4 plates. Make sure the avocado mix is seasoned with salt and olive oil, then spoon onto the flatbreads. Place a fried egg on top of each and serve with lemon wedges.  Serve with a side of chill (if using).

Britalian tip

No time to bake bread? Try serving on warmed sundried tomato ciabatta rolls. A match made in heaven. Available at Morrison’s for 35p each.

alt bread

For more Alex James & Matt Stone recipes tune into Recipes that Rock on Food Network UK, Freeview 41, freesat 149, Ski 248, Virgin 287.

#26 FOOD NEWS: Curry week meets chocolate week!

Every monday
We’re not only celebrating one of the nation’s favourite cuisines this week (besides Italian!) with National Curry Week but Chocolate Week also now joins this mid-October party! Here’s my 3-step Britalian guide to making this the hybrid week of all weeks.

1. THE RECIPE

Fruity chocolate ‘pizza’

pizza crop

Pizza gets a chocolate make-over! A delicate chocolate shortbread base, topped with sweetened mascarpone and piled high with fruit will guarantee smiles all round.

strip ingred

125g butter, softened
4 tbsp clear honey
50g caster sugar
150g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
250g tub mascarpone
142ml double cream
500g chopped and sliced mixed fruit (such as strawberries, kiwi, nectarines, banana – tossed in lemon juice and blackberries).
50g dark chocolate, melted

1 Preheat the oven to 180’C, 160’C fan, gas 4. For the base, beat together the butter and 2tbsp of the honey and the sugar until creamy. Sift over the flour and cocoa powder.

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2 Stir with a fork until the mixture starts to stick together. Gather the mixture together with your fingertips to form a ball of dough.

dough

3 Place the dough on a large sheet of baking parchment. Roll out to a 30 cm circle. Prick the dough all over with a fork, cut into 6 segments. Lift the baking parchment on to a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 mins until just firm to the touch; cool.

4 For the topping, place the mascarpone, cream and honey in a bowl; stir until smooth. Spread the mixture over the base. Arrange the prepared fruit on top; drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve within 2 hours.

2. THE BOOK

Cover

Whenever I’m with Southern Italians there’s always chilli oil, dried chilli or chilli powder to hand to sprinkle over anything and everything in front of you. So it wasn’t a surprise when I introduced Giuseppe to the great British tradition of an Indian take-away 9 years ago, you could see a spark of delight and hungry discovery in his eyes.

curry book

The beautiful book; Curry recipe collection by Sainsbury’s, is now firmly one of my favourite cookery books (although as the food editor I might be a teeny weeny bit biased!). Next time the Italians are over I’ll be making the chicken jalfrezi followed by the tropical pannacotta with coconut snaps. I will still, of course, have extra chilli to hand! Available in Sainsbury’s stores for £5.

3. WEAR THE T-SHIRT (Or couture dress!)

CHOCOLATE FASHION SHOW

Love chocolate? Now you can wear it! Stunning couture outfits inspired by chocolatiers such as Lindt, Paul A Young and Fruitful Blooms will be on the runway for the gala evening of  The Chocolate Show on the 16th October.

From the 17th-19th garments will be on display at the Olympia show in a dedicated exhibition from 5pm.

http://www.salonduchocolat.co.uk

CREDITS: Curry book photography; Jonathan Kennedy. I can’t claim the pizza recipe as my own, I tore the original version from Bella mag years ago – it’s an oldie but a goodie!

#18 FOOD NEWS: Italian tomato in London update, Sai’s salsicce supper & celebrating Martini!

KEEPING AN EYE ON ALL THINGS BRITALIAN…

Every monday

 

Italian tomato in London update

Tomato banner1

Off to Calabria next week I’ll be enjoying some stunning spots along the west coast, exploring the mountainous countryside and visiting a few augritourismo along the way but of course one of my biggest priorities will be checking out Mamma Romeo’s tomatoes! So it was only right that this weekend I catch up with the Italian tomatoes in London first – and what a stunning crop they are:

tomato banner 2

They’ve gone wild this past month. Mummy ‘E’s’ hard graft and dedication to watering the cause every single night has definitely paid off! With a gorgeous organic shape, they’re unripe at the moment but the stalks and leaves are giving off that gorgeous summer-tomato-foliage-smell that I would bottle if  I could – perhaps that’s just me?! At a plump and healthy 6cm, I can’t wait to see how the Italian tomatoes are getting on (again that’s probably just me).

For previous Italian Tomato in London posts:

#1 Food News
#4 Food News
#14 Food News

Sai’s salsicce e friarelli con patate al rosemarino pronto!

Sai's Supper2

When I met a bunch of crazy Italians in Chiswick over 10 years ago (one of which I married), I also met Sai, my fellow Englishman, who helped translate what the hell was going on when 5 Italians, all on their feet were deep in animated conversation. Like me, this rich culture  is now firmly in Sai’s blood and clearly so is the food with his delicious recreation of  this Naples classic:

sausage banner1

Serves 4
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 35 mins

For the patate al rosemarino (rosemary potatoes)
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1kg new potatoes, cut into pieces
1 (preferably red) onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic,  finely sliced
handful Rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
120g of pancetta (or streaky bacon)

For the salsicce e friarelli ( sausages and broccoli)
375g Chipolatas sausages (or any sausages preferably with herbs or a chilli kick)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chilli powder (you could also use chopped up dry chillies)
1tbsp powdered dry sweet peppers or paprika (or you could use chopped up oven roasted peppers)
1/2-3/4 glass white wine
350g Tenderstem broccoli (or wild ‘Friarelli’ broccoli if you can find it)

1 Preheat the oven to 200’C, 180’C fan, gas 6. Grease a baking tray with the olive oil, then add the chopped potatoes, onion, rosemary and garlic. Drizzle over the olive oil and toss to coat. Scatter over the pancetta (or streaky bacon) and roast for 35 mins.

potatoes bacon

2 For the sausages and friarelli, heat the oil in a large lidded frying over a medium heat, add the sausages and fry, turning occassionally, until browned. Add the chilli and powdered dry sweet peppers and half a glass of white wine, allow to simmer for a few mins, then add the broccoli.  Cover the frying pan and cook on a low to medium heat for about 5-9 mins.

broccoli sausage pan

3 Check the broccoli is starting to tenderise and maybe add another quarter a glass of white wine if the base of the pan is starting to dry up.  When the sausages are cooked through, halve, if liked, then divide between four plates with the broccoli and serve with the potatoes.

sausage

Marvellous Martini

martini crop

Any exhibition that lets visitors climb into a Martini glass Dita Von Teese-style is a must for me. 8 public figures and characters including James Bond and Elizabeth Taylor will each be represented by an art installation. Legends of Martini, Royal Academy Senate Rooms is on until 31st August. Free entry. Tasting sessions £15. For session times visit the Belvedere website.

 

#13 FOOD NEWS: All weather lamb, Napoli in Chiswick & Wonder web

Every monday
 
All-weather lamb

A bit like the officials at Wimbledon, I had my eye on the weather this weekend. Without a retractable roof to  cover my garden I needed a dish that was going to compliment our unpredictible British summer. The short cooking time on my butterflied all-weather lamb keeps things light for a summery(ish!) afternoon. And you just need 15 minutes of sunshine to finish it off on the barbecue to get  a lovely smoky flavour.

lamb strip

Method

Place 3 cloves garlic, 2tbsp olive oil, a small handful mint, 1tbsp rosemary leaves, a small handful basil leaves, the juice from 1 lemon and 1 deseeded chill in a mini chopper or food processor. Process for 1 minute.

Place a 1.5kg butterflied leg of lamb (See Britalian Kitchen Tip) in a large baking tray. With the tip of a knife pierce the skin all over. Massage the rub all over the surface, working well it into the slits. Roast, uncovered at 200’C, 180’C fan, gas 6 for 40 mins.

If the weather holds out, you can finish it off on the barbecue, place on the grill for 15 mins, turning once. Allow to rest for 15 mins before serving (Full-on rain? Rest for 15 mins after removing from the oven and serve – it’s still delicious). Serves 6.

coleslaw

Serve with a Cumin, beetroot & fennel coleslaw and potato and green salads, if liked.

Napoli in Chiswick (& Teddington)

Napoli strip

I love discovering Italian restaurants in London – even better when they’re tucked away and you feel like you’ve discovered a little gem. Canta Napoli is a cafe-style restaurant with a genuine relaxed Italian vibe. Great food without the hefty price-tag. For the full menu and for further info visit  www.cantanapoli.co.uk

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My Goats’ cheese bruschetta was delicious, but I had total ‘anti-pasto- envy’ when my friend Sai’s Frittura Mista arrived (on the Secondi menu but the chef was very happy to make a half-size portion for a starter).

photo 5

Pizza Parma. All my favourite things on a pizza. Yum.

Wonder web: Delicatezza.co.uk

delicatezza strip

For days when you want authentic Italian food at home, but your pasta making arms are quite up to it – a website that delivers everything from handmade tortelloni, to regional salami to baby food. Delicatezza caters for any occasion for when you or your baby (!!) might be feeling the need for supreme Italian food. At the moment it looks like they only deliver to inner London postcodes but are looking to expand. For a browse round the pantry visit www.delicatezza.co.uk

Britalian Kitchen Tip

You can ask your butcher to Butterfly your leg of lamb for you, alternatively buy a boned and rolled leg, unroll and slice along any thicker parts of meat to ensure you have an even thickness.

#6 FOOD NEWS: Edible art afternoon tea, Buckingham Palace & a cheeky Negroni!

Edible art: It’s the real deal!

afternoon tea crip

Espresso Martini in Soho or afternoon tea in Park Lane (with compulsory  touristy pics of Buckingham Palace)? You won’t find me saying no to either. But for the same price as two cocktails in London my mate Nic found a great Groupon deal: Chocoholics Afternoon Tea. We literally inhaled yummy open sandwiches, savoured endless cups of tea and marvelled over (and ate) designer cakes that sat on top of an artist’s palette made of chocolate. Set in the peaceful surrounds of the Hilton hotel – perfect for uninterrupted  girlie catch-ups. All of this and one of the prettiest doggy bags I’ve ever seen!

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