Heston’s Cod. Cod. Leek. Potato. Stock. Mustard. Pea shoots.

At the weekend, I made Heston’s Cod from Waitrose – I am, in many ways, a bit of a Waitrose geek.

The most interesting thing about it is the sauce, which is a leek and potato based sauce with fish stock and cream.

I always take a tiny slice from fish fillets and turn it into a bit of crispy fish crackling in the pan by letting it stick repeatedly with a little butter, which isn’t in the recipe.  That’s what is sitting on top of the dish.

I dressed some potatoes and asparagus with Sherry Vinegar, shallots and mustard and topped it with Pea leaves.

The sauce is subtle and velvety.  I think I’d add Chervil to it, and maybe Lemongrass, in future.

It’s really easy to do, if you skip the sieving parts of the recipe which aren’t really necessary for home cooking!, and was  pretty cheap too.

In general, the Waitrose recipes are great and I’m using them more and more.

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Jerusalem Pot. Jerusalem Artichoke. Chicken. Bacon. Stock. Thyme dumpling.

This is bleedin’ comforting to eat.  I made it first for my friend Michael a while ago.  He doesn’t mince his words, and he used to be fat, so he’s a harsh critic.  He loved it, so that’s good enough for me.

The jerusalem artichokes melt to give the stew a great velvety texture, and a lovely subtle sweet hum of earth.

For me, good stock (I use bouillon) is the key, as is some white wine for depth of flavour.

I find that my mother’s mix of suet and flour makes the most perfectly textured dumplings that go golden and crispy on top.  When you cut these ones open, it feels like someone is bellowing clouds of thyme up your nose.

And yes, you’ll be noticing that I bladdy love soda bread.

Fry off some bacon and mushroom and sweat down carrot and onion with garlic.

Add a glass of white wine and cook until this has evaporated.

Add the diced chicken thighs and then pour in a lot of good stock.

Add the artichokes and put it in the oven.

Cover and cook for between 1.5 and 2 hours (depending on how much time you have) at about 160.

Mix (in the ratio of 1:3) suet and flour with a little water, salt, pepper and thyme to make dumplings.

Put these in about 45 minutes from the end.

About 30 mins from the end, I add puy lentils and cabbage/kale and remove the lid.

Some prize culinary colemanballs

Where to start?  This assortment of no no nos come in no particular order of un-preference.

We have my grandmother’s “lemon meringue pie”.  You are my grandmother, and I love you, but this is an epic fail.

We have a coffee shop in this country called “Cilantro”.  WTF?  If anyone used that word for coriander here, they would ask why it is relevant to a coffee shop and think that the thought of coffee and coriander is disgusting.  As it is, they just say “What?”.

There is a “Salmon Cottage Pie”.  No wonder this was abandoned at the checkout in Saino’s.  No. No. No.

To finish, the greatest wine listing of all time from Efes Turkish Restaurant in London.  Needless to say, I got this wine.

Sirloin. Dauphinoise. Bistro Salad. Dijon Dressing.

After work one night I was feeling like eating something really classic and French.

This is all so easy and quick, just slice up your potato and onions for the dauphinoise and cover them in a cream that has nutmeg, thyme and garlic in.

I gratinate them later with parmesan too, which is not classic but is tasty.

Steak pan fried on a medium heat with a salted butter baste from halfway through cooking and a classic dressing that’s one part dijon, 3 parts olive oil plus a splash of white wine vinegar and slat and pepper served over bistro leaves.

The kind of thing it’d be great if Cafe Rouge actually did well.

Sausage Stew. Tomato. Chili. Sausage. Sage. Garlic.

When I can’t afford to buy the more expensive items at The Ginger Pig I resort to this – the cheapest (and quickest) of my one-pots.

 

This is no compromise though.  It’s hearty and honest, and it was the beginning of my current one-pot penchant.

 

The sausage does, of course, maketh the stew.  I splash out a bit more on good ones.  I like to mix it up with different types in the same pot.  Sausage-roulette.

 

The chili warms your cockles, the tomato revives you, the sausage sustains you and the different beans make you feel you like you are healthy after all.

 

Left-overs work well as a pasta sauce.

 

 

Sweat onions and carrot with garlic.

Add a glass of red wine and cook this off.

Add the diced sausages, and chopped tomatoes (and maybe real), chili, sage, and a little stock.

Cover and cook for an hour ish at 200.

Towards the end I add in borlotti beans, and broad beans

Again, I also finish with a bit more sage and fresh chili.

 

Cochinita Pork. Orange. Chili. Pork. Tomato. Bay.

I was eating a Burrito called “cochinita” on my lunch at work.  They said that they steeped the slow cooked pork in orange juice.  It had made it soft and beautiful and punchy.

I thought it’d be cool if I could incorporate that idea into a stew.  So that’s what I did.

Warming, aromatic and zingy, this is one pot is a stew with a slightly unusual twist.  It’s good for dinner parties, as people say “ooh, orange and pig. cool”.

I use a cheap bit of pork, like shoulder, that benefits from cooking slow.  It goes all pulled pork style, a la mexican restaurants or the Graceland of unctuous pig, Bodean’s.

This one is dedicated to “El Burrito” on Charlotte Place – you may not be as fancy as “Benito’s Hat”, but I think you’re better.

Marinate the diced pork in the juice and zest of the oranges and some sage.

Sweat onions and carrot with garlic.

Add a glass of white wine (or a little dry sherry would be very good) and cook this off.

Add the pork and orange, and chopped tomatoes (and maybe real), chili, bay, and a little stock.

Cover and cook for 3 hours or so if you can at about 160.

Towards the end I add in chick peas, and spinach or curly kale.

I also finish with a bit more sage and fresh chili.

Soda Bread Breakie with bacon and egg.

Nothing really needs to be said about this one.

Apart from that I also finally worked out how to use the frother on my coffee machine (see Cappuccino attached in sweet ass mug)