Angela Hartnett is deftly sculpting Scotch eggs and popping them into her frying pan. “The secret to a good Scotch egg,” she says, “is not to cook the eggs for 10 minutes, like some recipes say, but for seven minutes instead, so you get a nice yellow yolk. Season it up a bit too – I add chilli and garlic or thyme to mine... Eat them straight away!”
In honour of the monarch, and at the behest of her neighbours, Hartnett will be serving these eggs and more on the Jubilee weekend from the big basement kitchen of her Georgian house in Spitalfields, east London. Her boyfriend Neil, a chef at The Square in Mayfair, will help, but the menu will stay faithful to the street-party ethos. “I hope [the neighbours] don’t think they’re getting Michelin-style food, because it’s going to be quite simple stuff,” she laughs. “The idea is that everyone brings a bit of food and just has some fun.”
This is a big year for Hartnett, whose career has gained momentum since she broke away from the Gordon Ramsay empire in 2010 and took over Murano, the Mayfair-based Italian restaurant formerly under the Ramsay umbrella.
After the Jubilee she’ll be cooking for VIP guests at Wimbledon and will then move on to a rather bigger job – catering at the Olympics. “I’ll be there for the whole time. It’s going to be great fun,” she says blithely (details of exactly what she’s cooking and when are strictly under wraps until the Games begin). “I remember when I found out London had got the Olympics I was working at the Connaught. The manager was in one office and I was in the other and we were both watching the result. We ran out and gave each other a massive hug and danced around shouting. It’s so good for London.”
Will it be good for London’s restaurants though? “I don’t know if it will increase trade for restaurants. Because you’ve got all the action this side of town but all the big sponsors are based out west, I’m not sure how that’s going to work.”
Like any celebration that revolves around food, a street party does require forethought. Hartnett’s advice? “Make quick and easy food that you can pick up with your hands, so you don’t have to worry about crockery. [And] make things spicy and tasty and don’t worry too much about accompaniments, dressings and mustards. They end up being wasted because people just want to eat something straight away.”
And if it rains? “Just take it all to the pub!”
Chicken and chickpea salad
6 chicken thighs
1 tin (400g) chickpeas
1 bunch radishes
1 fennel head, sliced
3 spring onions, sliced
100ml olive oil
1 tsp mustard
20ml red wine vinegar
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp mint, chopped
Season the chicken. In a sauté pan cook the chicken thighs over a medium heat with some crushed garlic and thyme for about 15 minutes making sure the skin is nice and crispy. In a large bowl add the chickpeas, sliced radish, sliced fennel and spring onion. When the chicken is ready, allow to cool and then remove the meat by slicing large strips from the bone until it is all removed. Add to the bowl and toss the ingredients together. Finally, add the olive oil, mustard and vinegar, then finish with the chopped herbs. Mix well, check seasoning and serve.
Serves 8 (or 16 half-portions)
6 good-quality sausages
1 tsp thyme, chopped
120g plain flour, seasoned
Salt and pepper
500ml groundnut oil
To a pan of boiling water add six of the eggs and cook for seven minutes on a simmer. Remove from the pan and cool the eggs down in iced water. Peel the shells, pat dry and leave to one side.
Beat the two remaining eggs in a shallow bowl. Remove the skin of the sausages, leaving just the meat. Add the chopped thyme and mix and split into six large balls. Flatten into patty shapes.
Lightly dust the first egg and your hands with flour. Begin to roll the sausage meat around the egg; continue rolling until the egg is evenly coated in sausage meat and a nicely shaped ball is formed.
When the egg is completely covered, roll in flour on a shallow dish. Next dip into and cover with the beaten egg. Roll the egg in breadcrumbs. Repeat the flour, egg and breadcrumb process for each of the boiled eggs. Leave the eggs to one side.
Heat the groundnut oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Check the oil is hot enough for frying by adding some breadcrumbs. If they sizzle, the oil is ready. Deep-fat-fry the eggs for about five minutes, moving them occasionally. Be aware that the more Scotch eggs you put in the oil, the quicker the temperature lowers, so only fry a couple at a time.
Once golden, drain the eggs on a few sheets of kitchen paper. Cut in half, season and serve.
Sweet and sour spare ribs
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp honey
1 dash Tabasco
1 dash of tomato ketchup
1 dash of soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, crushed
pinch of dried chilli
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp English mustard
Salt and pepper
8-12 pork spare ribs, separated
Mix all the ingredients together, minus the ribs. Add the ribs and roll until they are completely covered and marinate for 30 minutes (if you’re extra-organised, leave them to marinate overnight). Season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 25 minutes on a tray in the oven at 200C, until sticky and crispy. Alternatively, cook them on a hot barbecue grill for 10 minutes or so, until charred on the outside. Then move them to a cooler part of the grill and cook for at least another five minutes, or until they are cooked through.
Marinated lamb chops with mint salsa
8 lamb chops
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
For the salsa
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 lime zest and juice
100g roasted pine nuts
1 small red onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Dash of olive oil
Mix the lamb chops with the olive oil, crushed garlic, thyme and rosemary. Marinate for up to 24 hours if you have time, or for a minimum of one hour.
When ready to prepare, mix together all the salsa ingredients in a bowl and leave to one side. Then, using a grill pan or barbecue, grill the lamb chops for about three minutes on each side or until cooked. Allow to rest and serve with the mint salsa.
8 sponge fingers, broken
1 punnet of strawberries
500ml custard (see method below)
200ml double cream
30g flaked almonds
To make the custard, split one vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Put pod and seeds in a medium pan together with 250ml milk and 250ml double cream and slowly bring to the boil. Remove and leave to stand. Whisk five egg yolks and 120g golden caster sugar in a bowl until pale and thick. Remove the vanilla pod and pour the milk and cream over the eggs and sugar and whisk vigorously. When mixed in, return to the pan to warm.
In eight to 10 glasses, line the bottoms with sponge fingers. Slightly soak with sherry. Layer with the chopped strawberries.
Pour on the custard and finally cover with whipped double cream and the flaked almonds. Set in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.