As Spring is upon us with longer days, this lamb dish helps bring out the tastes of a sunny Mediterranean summer - sun dried tomatoes, olives, herbs and olive oil all are reminiscent of lazy summer holidays, heady aromas and with it, amazing flavours...
Vietnamese cuisine is a real melting pot of flavours. It's heavily influenced by the French who occupied the country during the 19th Century so you'll see ingredients like French baguettes and pate commonly being eaten. Mix those up with more traditional South East Asian ingredients like noodles, chilli and coconut, add in wonderfully fragrant herbs and you have something remarkable. Vietnamese food is about fine-tuning your tasting skills to balance out sweet, sour, salty, umami, bitter and hot flavours. It's also about combining perfect textures, crunchy vegetables and silky meat or fish to create the perfect harmony of taste.
Discovering Achiote Paste for me was an epiphany moment in Mexican cooking. It's deep red in colour and actually more of a solid block than a loose paste. The key ingredient is annatto seeds, which are extracted from an evergreen shrub native to Latin America. It has a slightly smoky, earthy flavour that is popular in Mexican cuisine as a marinade for meat and fish. You have to dilute the block to use it and Mexicans often use a particular bitter orange for this. Getting hold of this special variety can be a challenge but you can recreate a similar effect by using regular oranges with some added vinegar.
The Japanese understand seasoning better than anyone. People talk about 'umami' as the 5th sense of taste, elevating savoury flavours to a new level. Umami literally translates as 'yummy' and was first discussed in Tokyo in the early 20th century.
Christmas in my family is all about traditions, I think we all like to recreate a little bit of our own childhood memories. Here's a good old recipe given to me by my mother who makes these every year. They taste of Christmas and are so delicious they rarely make it through to Boxing day. I've given them a little twist by substituting golden syrup for agave syrup which gives the florentines a slightly chewy texture.
Just the other day, I was very lucky to be given a box of the most amazing king prawns by a foodie friend (thank you Caroline). Determined to do them justice, I used one of our brilliant Alejandro spicy chorizos, our Spanish saffron and smoked paprika and a box of Riso Torro Arborio Rice. Ok, ok I know that Arborio rice is not classic, but paella rice and Arborio rice are pretty close. We've recently listed a great quality Spanish Saffron, it comes in a 1g container and is half the price of the saffron you find in the supermarkets - I love it's earthy flavour and it's great in so many other dishes.
There is something primal about making your own pasta, a bit like making your own bread. I don’t always have time to do this (or the organisational ability), but when I do, it's deeply rewarding and tastes just SO GOOD. You need just two ingredients for this recipe...00 Pasta flour and fresh eggs.
Apricots aren't always the easiest fruit to work with, but few can resist the delights of a beautiful apricot tart. We invited our friend Lucy from the Pockeredge Pantry to show us her recipe for this stunning tart. Using her glorious Apricot Jam, full of big chunks of fruit, our Matthews flour and ground almonds we make a tart befitting the best French patisseries.
When I first worked in London, there was a Kebab shop close to us in Soho that we would often frequent after a few post-work beers. Although the kebab meat was carved from a large rotisserie, it didn’t resemble the processed 'elephant leg' that often gives kebabs a bad name.