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“There is no sauce in the world like hunger.”

Miguel de Cervantes

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Monday
Dec192016

Cinnamon buns for Christmas morning

This recipe is from the wonderful Arianna Halshaw, baker and pâtissier extraordinaire. Arianna is my colleague at Natoora, but until recently she owned her own bakery, Bittersweet Bakers. Since Arianna started working with us, office treats have taken on a whole new meaning (and my waistline a few more digits).

I arrange cooking classes for staff once a quarter and Arianna has been kind enough to teach a few of these. We did a Christmas special recently where she shared these cinnamon buns for Christmas morning.

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Monday
Nov212016

Debbie's roasted beetroot with goat's curd

This recipe from Debbie Vernon, trader at Borough Market and co-owner of Ellie's Dairy, is a great vegetarian dish that's easy to throw together. It is substantial enough for a light lunch, but also great as a starter or side dish. This recipe first appeared on the Borough Market website as part of my series, I Am What I Eat, where I interview Borough Market traders about the foods that are important to them and why. 

Debbie’s passion for good, honest food is rooted in her childhood. There was no supermarket when she was growing up—her parents bought meat from the butcher, bread from the baker and all their fruit and vegetables came from the garden. She loves this recipe because it is simple and delicious: “I don’t do complicated, it’s quick and easy—throw it in and it happens, you know?” 

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Saturday
Nov122016

#CookforSyria: Bashar's Mugadara

One of the most striking things about Bashar is how warm, generous and overwhelmingly positive he is. Without probing – and you do have to probe – you would never know the trauma that he has been through.

Perhaps it is not remarkable; all of the Syrian refugees I met when I visited Calais were equally warm and welcoming. It was their generosity that really struck me though; these people who had so little were so keen to show us hospitality. It was their way of thanking us for the bags of food we brought and the odd jobs my friends did around their makeshift homes.

Khairun Dhala, who runs the Marhabtayn Syrian Supper Club, tells me that “Syrians are very hospitable people”. One of the aims of their supper club is to show people that and “counter the image of refugees being scroungers or just wanting to take benefits.” It’s a friendly space where people can feel welcome, enjoy a good meal and learn a bit about Syrian food and culture.

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Sunday
Oct092016

Marcello's margherita pizza

This recipe from Marcello Basini, trader at Borough Market, is probably the closest you'll get to a proper pizza at home. A domestic oven is never going to give you the crisp base you get from a wood fired oven, but Marcello has some great tips to help you get as close as possible. This recipe first appeared on the Borough Market website as part of my series, I Am What I Eat, where I interview Borough Market traders about the foods that are important to them and why. 

“If it’s a good pizza, I like it simple,” says Marcello Basini of Jumi Cheese. “As an Italian my favourite is the margherita.” Marcello uses a ‘mother’ or ‘starter’ for his pizza dough, but as most people are unlikely to have that to hand, I’ve given the option of using yeast as well.

He makes his dough the night before, then knocks it back in the morning and leaves it to rise again until the evening. You can get away with letting it rise for 2 hours first time, knocking it back and then letting it rise again for another 30 mins, but the longer it proves, the better.

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Monday
Sep262016

Nahm round 2

As well as eating the street in Bangkok, I also treated myself to one top-end meal at Nahm, David Thompson’s restaurant. Thompson is an Australian chef who has earned himself a reputation as one of the world’s leading experts on Thai cuisine. His book Thai Food is referred to in my family as the ‘Thai Bible’, an encyclopaedic tomb on Thai food, history and culture, including over 300 recipes.

I went to his restaurant in London several years ago and was disappointed, but my experience at Nahm, Bangkok could not have been more different. I wonder whether this is because I left the chefs in charge of the menu choices.

The tasting menu at Nahm comes in three parts, canapés followed by the main meal – a dish from each section of the main menu served ‘family-style’ for the whole table – and then dessert. In this instance I was the whole table and, as before, I found myself wishing that they would westernise this part of the meal and serve it in stages. I do understand though that Thompson’s aim is to educate diners about authentic Thai cuisine and one part of that is the custom of sharing dishes.

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