Served in the street markets of the Sichuan province of China, Bang Bang Chicken is a chilled chicken dish served with a spicy dressing, perfect for warm summer evenings. Traditionally the raw chicken is tenderised by pounding it with a wooden mallet - hence it's quirky name.
Our black rice is the perfect foil for the assertive flavour of asparagus and with some sweet preserved tomatoes, crisp radish, nutty edamame beans, fresh herbs and a delicious garlic and lemon dressing, this dish is a total winner.
Chicken soup is soul food in the purest form. It's simple, healthy and good for your very being. Poaching chicken meat has gone out of fashion here in the UK. Admittedly you do lose the gooey, sticky caramelised bits that are so good when roasting a whole bird - but there are real benefits that come from gently simmering a chicken. As well as soft, juicy, tender meat - you end up with a wonderful broth to use as the base for a hearty soup.
This is a great warm bao bun sandwich recipe - incorporating layers of flavour and texture so each mouthful is a sensory explosion. This recipe cranks up the umami dial with sweet, sticky umami pork, contrasting with sharp pickles, crunchy veg textures, creamy mayo and fragrant herbs.
I have eaten lots of different gnocchi dishes, some stuffed, some fried and some baked, I love them, just avoid the gnocchi sold in supermarkets! A wonderful Italian friend of mine - Anna has been telling me that I should try Gnocchi alla Romana - it's made with semolina rather than potato...
In a Japanese ramen bar, the menu is divided into three main categories. This recipe is for a 'Shoyu' (soy) ramen - because soy is used to season the broth. The two other types are Miso ramen, which uses miso as the seasoning and Shio ramen that uses salt. Shoyu ramen is the most popular in Japan and there are loads of variations.
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.