I love all forms of chilli - fresh, dried, sauce, oil, flakes - and the hotter the better! So when I came across this scotch bonnet chilli jam, made locally in the UK by Eddie’s Chilli Jam, there was no doubt it was coming home with me. Scotch bonnet is one of the hottest peppers in the world, so this jam packs a fair bit of heat. To counter the jam’s sweetness, I needed to pair it with something sharp and salty, with strong flavours to stand up to the spiciness. Sardines with jam sounds a little bit strange but with the heat from the chilli, and lemon and capers to cut through the sweetness, it kind of works. A surprisingly addictive treat!
Most vindaloo curries in Indian restaurants are made with lamb or chicken, but traditionally this dish is made with pork. Vindaloo originated in the Indian state of Goa, which was a Portuguese colony, so it’s believed that the dish is derived from a Portuguese pork stew made with wine, or “vinho”, and garlic, or “alho”. The story goes that the wine turned into vinegar on the journey from Portugal to Goa, and then local chillies and spices were added. The traditional version of this dish is quite different from what you get at restaurants, and in my opinion much tastier, so it’s definitely worth the while making it at home.
This is one of those recipes that requires a little bit of fore planning,to marinate the brisket overnight, but other than that it’s so simple. The meat is marinated inside aluminium foil, and then the next day, just pop the whole package into the oven to roast it “low and slow”. The brisket comes out really juicy and incredibly tender. Here I’ve served it with deviled eggs and celeriac coleslaw (both made with homemade mayonnaise) - my sort-of homage to American BBQ food.
This is a great way to use duck legs, which is almost half the price of breast meat. By slowly roasting in the oven, the Chinese five spice really gets into the meat, making it very flavourful and aromatic. The sweet, sour and spicy salad is a perfect accompaniment and helps cut through the fattiness of the duck.
Living in Boston over the last year, I’ve had my fair share of clam chowders - both good and bad renditions. Sometimes the clam chowder is just right - rich, creamy and full of seafood flavour. But other times it’s either too thick or too thin, you can barely taste the clams, or worst, the clams taste unfresh and like they came out of a can.
At home, I like to make a slightly healthier version by using potato and whole milk instead of cream to get the right texture and creaminess. It’s not completely healthy though as there’s still a fair bit of bacon! Here I’ve used fresh littleneck clams - if you can’t find fresh, frozen chopped clams are a decent substitute but I would avoid the canned ones.
I first tried bibimbap while I was at university. As a student, I was always looking for delicious and affordable food, and bibimbap fit the bill; a complete meal in one bowl. I didn’t have the dish for many years but fell into love with it again after happening on it in Koreatown, New York. Each element is tasty by itself - spicy pungent kimchi, lightly seasoned vegetables, sweet garlicky beef - but in this case, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. When all the ingredients are mixed together with the right amount of chilli paste, a runny egg yolk and balanced with plain white rice, the results are unbelievably good.
Pumpkin or squash soups can be a bit sweet; here I’ve roasted the pumpkin with generous amounts of garlic, thyme and olive oil to give a rich and savoury soup.
Galician-style octopus, or pulpo á galega, is a traditional tapas dish from the Northwest of Spain. The key to dish is to tenderize the octopus - the actual cooking is very simple. For best results, use frozen octopus (the freezing process helps break down the meat) and defrost in the fridge the night before. Before cooking, beat and rub the octopus to further tenderize it.
Skate is often overlooked by home cooks but when fresh, it tastes really sweet and slight nutty with soft, meaty flesh. This a classic French preparation - sauteed whole and “on-the-bone” (figuratively speaking because like sharks, skates have no bones, only cartilage) with brown butter, capers, lemon juice and parsley. So simple and delicious that it had me wondering why I don’t cook skate more often.
This is real comfort food - rich beef and mushroom filling slowly braised in red wine and topped with silky mashed potatoes and a cheesy crust. If shepherd’s pie and beef bourguignon had a baby, this dish would be it!
Swordfish is very meaty and un-fishy, which is perfect for meat lovers looking to mix it up every now and then. It’s also firm enough to chuck onto the grill without falling apart, but be careful not to overcook it - swordfish can dry out very quickly. Here I’ve marinated the fish in ginger, soy and lime before pan frying (personally, I like my swordfish cooked to medium rare).
I love dumplings. Little parcels of meaty goodness. Bite into them and all the delicious juices inside spill out. Dip them into a little bit of vingear, pair with a few strands of ginger, and maybe even add a touch of chilli. I could eat dumplings for breakfast, lunch and dinner.