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Frenchman Bruno Loubet created a splash this summer with vegetables – the star ingredients at his new London restaurant The Grain Store, set in a rejuvenated quarter of King’s Cross.
Loubet, who also runs an eponymous bistro at the Zetter Townhouse hotel, uses veg with style, as seen in this pumpkin prize-piece.
Roast pumpkin with mulled wine sauce
Serves 6 people
500g Jerusalem artichokes
4 red onions
4 red beetroots
500g soft goat’s cheese
8 cloves garlic
1 tbs pickled rosemary
5 sprigs thyme
6 sage leaves
100ml olive oil
Mulled wine sauce
350g fruit chutney
750ml red wine
¼ orange zest
¼ cinnamon stick
1 tbsp sliced ginger
5 crushed cardamom pods
1 fresh bay leaf (2 if dried)
8 black peppercorns
1 bag English Breakfast tea
Sherry vinegar to taste
Maple syrup to taste
For the mulled wine sauce
● Place the wine, tea bag, orange zest and spices in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, lower the heat to a light simmer and reduce the liquid by half; take off the heat and cover with a lid to infuse. When the liquid is tepid, pass through a fine sieve and discard the tea bag and spices; add the chutney and bring to the boil. Once boiled, add sherry vinegar and maple syrup to taste. Set aside to cool.
For the stuffed and roast pumpkin
● Preheat oven to 180C. Cut all the vegetables (except the pumpkin) into large chunks. Cut a lid from the top of the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds in the middle and discard. With a strong metal spoon, scrape out the pumpkin flesh into a bowl, making sure to leave a layer (about 1.5cm). It is important not to scrape right back to the skin. Place the pumpkin with its lid off and its lid (separate from each other) in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove and keep aside.
● Place the carrots, artichoke, parsnips, celeriac, potatoes, red onions and beetroot in a roasting tray, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes (until a nice golden colour), then add the pumpkin flesh, crushed garlic, rosemary, thyme and sage. Cook for another 20 minutes. Drain the vegetables, place on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Layer the vegetables and crumbled goat’s cheese inside the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin and the lid (again, separately) in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.
● Serve with the lid on the pumpkin and the rich mulled wine sauce on the side.
Tom Kerridge’s 2013, featuring a successful BBC television series, has been a “huge year” for the chef at the Hand & Flowers pub in Marlow. “Pub” is a loose term here; Kerridge’s menu has two Michelin stars and is all about beautiful English ingredients – roast quail, venison, crispy pig’s head – in a relaxed setting. Christmas for Kerridge growing up meant “turkey roll, cheap port and rubbish movies”. This year his mother-in-law will be doing the honours but Kerridge “will help out – I love cooking”.
Slow roast venison haunch with shallots, cranberries and chestnuts
Serves 6 people
2-2½kg venison haunch from the top end (bone in)
12 banana shallots, peeled but whole
100g dried cranberries
150g vac-pack chestnuts, crumbled
300ml red wine
50g redcurrant jelly
750ml dark chicken/beef stock
2 tsp dried sage
200g bacon lardons
400g brussel sprout tops (washed)
Vegetable oil for cooking
2 tsp juniper
1 tbs cracked black pepper
2 tbs flaky sea salt
1 tbs cumin seeds
2 tbs thyme leaves
This fantastic slow-cooked dish is perfect for this time of year – a great Christmas alternative.
● Lightly score the venison haunch with a sharp knife. In a pestle and mortar or spice grinder blend together the venison rub ingredients. Rub them all into the haunch and leave it to sit for 1-2 hours to take on the flavours.
● In a large casserole pan, heat a layer of vegetable oil and cook the bacon lardons until crispy and brown.
● Add the shallots and cook until they start to brown. Add the dried sage and stir. Put in the redcurrant jelly, red wine and the stock. Bring to the boil and then place the venison on top. Turn the heat off and place a lid on the top or cover with tin foil. Place in a preheated oven at 150C for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove from the oven and take off the lid. Check the stock level to make sure it is not burnt, and add a little more if needed.
● Place back into the oven for a further 1½-2 hours, until the venison is cooked, tender and can be flaked from the bone. Leave to rest for half an hour.
● Gently lift the venison from the shallots and stock and place on the serving plate or board. Place the pan on the hob and heat up. Add the flaked chestnuts and dried cranberries. Stir and season. Then add the brussel sprout tops and stir until wilted – about 1 minute. Serve with the venison and some roast potatoes. There should be enough stock and red wine to act as a gravy.
Food is a family business for Karam Sethi: his sister Sunaina is sommelier, his brother Jyotin is business partner and together they have raised the game for contemporary Indian cooking in London, both at Trishna in Marylebone and at their new colonial-style Mayfair restaurant, the excellent Gymkhana. Its menu is a novel curry paradise – pepper partridge, spiced pig cheek vindaloo – and here Sethi’s turkey biryani, aromatic trimmings and mince pie samosas should make for a perfectly spicy Christmas supper.
Turkey biryani with potatoes, spinach and root veg
Serves 4 people
750g skinless and boneless turkey, cut into dice (approximately 4cm)
500g long-grain basmati rice
250g onions blended to a paste in a food processor
Ground seeds of 2 black cardamoms
85ml ghee mixed with oil
2 tbsp ginger paste (50g ginger with 1 tbs water)
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
½ tbsp cumin seeds
½ g (small pinch) saffron threads
1l whisked yoghurt
Salt, fresh coriander, mint andcrispy fried onions, to taste
Dried rose petals, for garnish
Atta bread (for sealing the pan, optional)
250g dry atta (chapatti flour or whole-wheat flour)
1-2 tbs oil (optional)
● This dish can be made using atta dough to seal the pan. To make the atta dough, combine the flour, water and oil, then knead together.
● Place the skinless, boneless turkey in a large bowl or tray. Rub on the saffron and onion paste and leave to marinate at room temperature for 2 hours (24 hours if you can). During this time, dry roast the black pepper, cumin and cloves separately in a hot pan. Allow the spices to cool and then grind in a pestle and mortar.
● Once the spices are cool, add half the whisked yoghurt and ground black cardamom seeds. Then rub the mixture into the turkey before placing it in a heavy-bottomed pan. In a separate pan, heat three-quarters of the ghee/oil mixture and, once warmed through, pour it over the turkey.
● Wash the rice by running it through cold water to remove some of the starch [I use Amira’s “Superior” rice]. Leave to soak for 20 minutes. Strain the rice and mix it with the remaining yoghurt, 284ml of water and two teaspoons of salt, then add the rice to the turkey mixture.
● Cover the pan with a tightfitting lid and seal the edges with the atta dough to stop any steam escaping. Alternatively you can cook your turkey in a pressure cooker. Cook over a high heat for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to low for approximately half an hour. Uncover the dish and pour over the remaining ghee/oil mixture before sprinkling the milk on to the rice.
● Cover the turkey once again and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the meat is tender and the rice grains have separated. Before serving, garnish with dried rose petals, crispy onions, chopped fresh coriander and mint.
Roast potatoes with cumin, ginger and coriander
1 tbs cumin seeds
1 tbs cumin powder
1 tbs fresh grated ginger
1 green chilli
Salt to taste
30g fresh coriander
● Preheat oven to 180C. Bring the water to a rolling boil and add the washed potatoes. Boil for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. Drain and place in a roasting tray. Add the cumin seeds, cumin powder, ginger, diced green chilli and salt to taste. Roast for approximately 45 minutes, until golden brown. Toss with fresh coriander.
4 bunches spinach
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp oil
1 green chilli, finely chopped
½ medium onion
1 clove garlic
Salt to taste
½ cup cream
● In a pan, temper cumin seeds in oil, then add chopped green chilli, chopped onion and garlic. Cook until softened.
● Boil the baby spinach until soft, then strain it and purée in a blender. Remove from the blender and add to the pan of cumin, chilli, onion and garlic. Continue to cook for five minutes, then add the cream and season with salt.
Mashed root vegetables
1kg beets, parsnips, squash, celeriac
1 tbs oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs mustard seeds
2 curry leaves
1 tsp asafoetida
1 red chilli
1 tbs fresh grated ginger
1 tbs butter
Few sprigs coriander
● Heat the oven to 180C. In a tray, roast beets, parsnips, squash and celeriac in the oven with oil, salt and pepper until tender. Then strain and mash very coarsely.
● In a pan, temper mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida and whole red chilli in oil. Add diced shallots and ginger, and soften. Pour this mixture on to the veg and mix in. Finish with a dollop of butter and roughly chopped coriander including the stems.
Mince pie samosa
200g mince pie mix
100g chenna curd cheese
50g roasted almond flakes
500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbs sunflower oil
1 tsp salt
A little melted butter
● Place flour, oil and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre of the mixture. Add water slowly and knead dough until smooth, then make eight dough balls, about 5cm in diameter. Cover with a cloth and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
● In the meantime, preheat oven to 180C. Mix together the mince pie mixture, chenna, roasted almond flakes and cardamom.
● Once the pastry balls have rested, roll each one out on a lightly floured surface to a circle shape, about 10cm thick. Cut into quarters and layer the quarters on top of each other. Make sure to dust each layer lightly with flour so that they do not stick together.
● Add a spoonful of the mince pie mixture to the centre of the pastry quarters and brush the edges with melted butter. Then layer another pastry quarter on top and seal edges of pastry together. Cook until golden brown.
There is nobody we’d entrust our sweet-tooth cravings to more than the woman who used to be head pastry chef for Yotam Ottolenghi. Sarit Packer, who with her husband Itamar Srulovich now runs the tiny but totally delicious Honey & Co restaurant on London’s Warren Street, makes sweet things for all hours – doughnuts, lemon and saffron cakes, and this fabulous honey and quince trifle, which we could eat at any time.
Quince, honey and hazelnut trifle
Serves 6-8 people
Honey and ginger sponge
225g caster sugar
250g plain flour
Pinch of salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g vegetable oil
2 tbs demerara sugar, to sprinkle
This is a great cake recipe, and tasty even before it goes in the trifle. You can, of course, use a bought sponge, but this is so easy that there is no reason to be lazy – it is literally a two-step cake.
● Line the base of a shallow rectangular baking tin (approximately 400cm x 20cm) with greaseproof paper. Preheat your oven to 180C.
● Mix all the dry ingredients together and pour them over all the wet ingredients. Mix to combine and tip into the lined tin. Smooth down and sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top – it will bake into a great crunchy crust. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, cut in half and use one half to line the base of your serving bowl. The other half I like to cut into dice and lay on a tray to dry a little, then use to garnish the top of the trifle.
Quince and jelly
3 large quinces
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
Juice of 2 lemons
6 gelatin leaves (or use producer’s guidelines to set 750ml liquid)
3 tbsp sweet Muscat wine
I like to leave the skin on the fruit as it has loads of flavour and helps it keep the shape. The cooking liquid will become the jelly – I like to add the sweet Muscat wine but it is up to you.
● Combine the water, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a large pan.
● Cut the quince into wedges – 8-10 from each fruit, then with a sharp knife remove the core. Place all the wedges in the water and bring to a boil on a medium-low heat. Once it has reached boiling point, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Soak the gelatin leaves in 200ml cold water. Very carefully, using a ladle, remove 500ml of the quince cooking liquid to a jug, then add the water and soaking gelatin to the hot liquid and stir till combined. Set aside. Leave the remaining quince and liquid to cook for a further 30 minutes until the quince is fully cooked and the colour has deepened to a warm orange.
6 cardamom pods, crushed
4 egg yolks
50g plain flour
½ tsp ground ginger
You can, of course, buy a ready-made custard and use that to top the trifle, but try to go to the extra effort and make this pastry cream yourself. I use cardamom instead of the more traditional vanilla, as I think it works amazingly well with the flavour of quince and honey.
● In a small pan, combine the milk, sugar and cardamom and heat slowly. Once it has almost come to a boil, turn the heat off and wait for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. In the meantime, mix the egg yolks with the flour to make a thick paste, and add the ginger. Reheat the cream and, using a small tea strainer, remove the cardamom pods, mix a ladleful of the milk into the egg mix and return to the pan. Set the pan on the stove and, while stirring constantly, thicken the custard mix. Once it is thick, remove from the pan to a bowl, cover with cling film and allow to cool in the fridge.
To assemble the trifle
2 tbsp sweet Muscat wine (optional)
200ml double/whipping cream
75g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 tbsp honey
Pinch sea salt
● Douse the sponge you have set in the serving bowl with the sweet wine, if you are using it. Lift the quince wedges out of their now thick syrup and layer them over the sponge. (You can reserve 3-4 wedges to use as a garnish later). Pour over the mixed jelly and set in the fridge – it will take 3-4 hours to set fully.
● In the meantime, whip the cream and fold it into the custard base until you achieve a silky-smooth mixture that holds in peaks. Set in the fridge. Mix the roasted hazelnuts with the honey and the salt.
● Once the jelly has set, scoop large dollops of the cardamom cream and spread it all over the top, garnishing with the hazelnuts, the cubed sponge pieces and the retained quince wedges cut into small dice.