Showing posts from 2024

New Potato and Asparagus Soup

Continuing my personal plan for 2024, here's another recipe that I've been meaning to get round to for many years. Using new potatoes in a soup may seem a bit odd, but I remember Franco Taruschio used to make a new potato soup back in the hallowed Walnut Tree days and the estimable Simon Hopkinson has made several versions over the years. So, if two of my food heroes make it, then I have to produce my own, prosaic version. It's a different way of celebrating spring or early summer produce and you can even use the bits of asparagus that taste good but may be cheaper because they don't look their best. As I've discovered to my cost, there are two aspects to this soup that are really important. First, don't try to ramp up the flavours by adding too many ingredients, powerful stock or spices because you'll lose the subtle flavour of the potatoes. Second, the purée stage of the soup is absolutely crucial. If you liquidise the potato mix, then the soup is likely

Mango & Chilli Sauce

This simple, versatile recipe is another one that I've been meaning to post for quite a while. It's a sweet and spicy sauce that gives you both colour and powerful flavour. It's based, pretty loosely, on a barbecue sauce that Peter Gordon made back in the London Sugar Club days. The sauce will work well with fresh, frozen or even canned mango but there's likely to be a big difference in the sweetness that each type of mango brings to the sauce, so taste and adjust the acidity as you see fit. It's a very forgiving concoction, so vary the spices and the amount of chilli as you fancy. The sauce is good with most simple meat suppers, like burgers, sausages, pork and venison. But it will also liven up leftovers and veg, including winter root veg. Use the sauce to baste during cooking and serve the warmed sauce over or alongside your chosen main ingredient. You could also try it cold as an alternative to the usual ketchup or chilli sauce. In theory, this makes enough for

Bill's Baked Tuna Risotto

Last Christmas I was saddened to hear the news that Bill Granger had gone. When I first came across the book "Sydney Food" at the start of the new century, it felt refreshing and joyful. There were many high-profile books published at the time that I found repetitious and dull, but Bill's sunny, carefree food was never forbidding and always relaxed and interesting. Reading his recipes made me want to make them or, at least, something inspired by them. If I strayed away from the details of his recipes here and there, it didn't seem to matter. For me, cooks that inspire in that way are rare and always uplifting.   Since then, I've collected a modest pile of his books and made many meals over the years using his recipes, even if I've altered them a bit along the way. Incidentally, BG was called the "egg king" because of his famous, Australian-style scrambled eggs made with a serious amount of cream, but, I suppose because of my European background, that

Duck with Rhubarb & Fennel Sauce

In the area around Amiens in the Somme they take rhubarb very seriously and this recipe is based (pretty loosely) on a dish from there. The sauce has a sweet and sour quality that's sharp enough to cut through the rich flavour of duck but it will also work very well with pork, goose or guinea fowl.   If you're using sweet, forced rhubarb such as the superb product from the Rhubarb Triangle in Yorkshire, then it won't need much (if any) sweetening. If in doubt, use the minimum amount of grenadine and add any necessary sweetening at the end.  Despite my sincere attempts to be lazy, I'm now reluctantly forced to admit that the very best grenadine is homemade. Unless you're obsessed with cocktails, though, you probably don't have any, so use whatever commercial brand you fancy. If you don't have any grenadine at all, then just sweeten with honey, agave nectar or even plain sugar, but combine them with a little pomegranate molasses, if possible. The sauce can be

Basil Chicken with Chorizo Sauce

I've been lobbing recipes into this blog for over 14 years now and, since I must be running out of things to say and original things to cook, I thought that 2024 should be the opportunity to gather up the few recipes that I've been meaning to get round to (or haven't got quite right yet) before I finally shut up once and for all. So, first off, here's a recipe that I've had hanging round for many years but never posted. That might be because it's a bit odd or it might be just because I've never managed to get a good photo of it. Oh well, here goes anyway.  The sauce was (indirectly) inspired by a dish from Les Rosiers restaurant in Biarritz, although their food is a lot more sophisticated than anything you'll find here. Sadly, I've never been near the place, but, many years ago, I saw it featured in an episode of the now defunct TV show 'Les Escapades de Petitrenaud'. Over the years since I first made this dish, I've come to the conclusi