Archive for chefs

Angela Hartnett: Watercress and goat’s cheese tart

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

(Source: Grauniad)

Celebrate the fact that spring has sprung with some fresh watercress, which is just coming into season. If goat’s cheese is not your thing, a good cheddar or blue will work just as well. The most important thing to get right with a tart is the pastry – too often it’s soggy and the ruin of any good filling.

300g ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
2 bunches watercress minus the large stalks, torn roughly
125g goat’s cheese, rind removed
3 free-range eggs
200ml double cream
salt and pepper

You will need a tart ring of around 8in in diameter – use one with a loose bottom, or put it on a baking tray.

Roll the pastry out to overlap the edges of the tin. Blind bake the pastry – prick the base with a fork, add some baking beans (or dried pulses or rice) to preserve the shape. Bake for 15 minutes at 180ºC.

Remove the baking beans and cook the pastry for a further five minutes, until golden brown, then allow to cool.

Beat the eggs and cream together and season.

Steam the watercress to wilt it, dice the cheese roughly, then scatter both around the tart base and pour over enough of the egg mix to cover (we’re binding the filling, not aiming for an eggy tart).

Bake in the oven at 180ºC for 15-20 minutes until set. Allow to cool, trim the excess pastry and serve with a green salad.

• Angela Hartnett is chef patron at Murano restaurant and consults at the Whitechapel Gallery and Dining Room, London.

Angela Hartnett’s midweek suppers

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Posted in Blog Stats, Culture, Food, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

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Nettle and snail soup

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

Americans and similar small-minded people may be surprised to learn that snails are edible. In fact, if you have ever had a McFlurry from McDonald’s, then you have consumed snail, or at least the part of a snail that … perhaps I’ve said enough.

We tend to associate snails with France, but there is a historic snail-eating culture in Britain dating back at least 2,000 years. And in Somerset in the Sixties, the chef Paul Leyton popularised snails further when he invented Mendip Wallfish, a dish in which they are cooked with butter and herbs. But you can use snails in many other ways – with, say, wild rabbit cooked in cider, or like this, as a soup garnish.

You can buy cooked snails or use garden snails, but you must purify them by leaving them in a container with a mix of flour and water or lettuce leaves for a week before cooking. To cook them, bring some cider to the boil with a tablespoon of salt, some fennel seeds, a bayleaf and black peppercorns and simmer for about 40 minutes or until tender; leave to cool in the cooking liquid. Once cool, remove from the shells and remove the black sack, rinse them – and they’re ready to go.

16-20 snails
2 leeks, trimmed, cut into rough 1cm rounds and washed
a couple of good knobs of butter
1 tbsp flour
1.5l vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a handful of young nettle tops, washed

Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan and gently cook the leeks for 3 minutes to soften, stirring every so often. Stir in the flour, then gradually stir in the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer on a medium heat for about 20 minutes.

Add about two-thirds of the nettles and simmer for another few minutes. Blend in a liquidiser until smooth, then return to the pan. Add the rest of the nettles and simmer for a few more minutes, seasoning again if necessary. Add the snails to the soup and serve.

Interview: Paul McCartney

Posted in Food, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Barbara Ellen interviews Sir Paul McCartney for the Observer:

Paul McCartney, rock star, family man, northern lad, contender for most famous person on the planet, is leaning back on a squashy sofa. In just a short time, he will announce that he is not going to lunge forward and kill me. However, for now, he’s musing on his favourite-ever vegetarian ingredients.

“Could I have a few?” he asks eventually. You can have as many as you like, you’re Paul McCartney. “OK, so … olive oil, balsamic. There’s this great hummus you only seem to be able to get here, ‘Amvrosia’ – Ambrosia with a v, I use that a lot. Lemon juice, salt, spinach leaves, rocket leaves, plum tomatoes. You see, it’s getting good already.”

You’re a decent cook then?

“I’m not bad. I can turn a meal out.”

McCartney loves steamed vegetables. “If I go on tour and eat a lot of restaurant or hotel food, I come back, and it’s like, yeah, broccoli! So, if I’m cooking, I’ll be steaming vegetables, making some nice salad, that kind of stuff.”

Do you follow recipes?

“No, I just make it up, like Linda did.”

This Sunday’s Observer Food Monthly is a vegetarian special, guest edited by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney. As part of this very special event, OFM sourced a selection of vegetarian recipes from top chefs and celebrities, with everyone from Jamie Oliver to Gwyneth Paltrow contributing their favourites.

Before & After: Marco Pierre White

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Before


After

Even before Marco Pierre White has to face his wife, Mati, in the divorce courts, he has suffered the indignity of being accused of bringing celebrity chefs into disrepute by Ainsley Harriott, of all people.

Harriott, the cheap and cheerful presenter of Ready Steady Cook claims that White demeaned himself by agreeing to promote Bernard Matthews.

“Marco has compromised himself, but then money speaks louder than words in some cases,” says Harriott, who has provided voice-overs for television advertisements for cough medicine and promoted Fairy Liquid. “Turkey Twizzlers is something you would more expect someone like me to be associated with, with my fast food connections and all. Marco has always tried to align himself with the really high-end side of things. You spend years building a career and working on your restaurants and earning a reputation, but there comes a point in some people’s careers where they think: ‘I’ll sacrifice a bit of credibility and buy a house in France.’”

White signed up in March as an ambassador for Bernard Matthews, whose Turkey Twizzlers were singled out for criticism by Jamie Oliver in his series Jamie’s School Dinners. The product became an emblem of the mass-produced, processed food that Oliver wanted to remove from schools. Marco Pierre White once described Jamie Oliver as “a fat chef with a drum kit”.

Marco Pierre White is one of my heroes and I’m sorry to read that his wife is taking him to the cleaners, but not before metaphorically and for all we know literally going through his pockets to determine how much he’s worth.

Brown Bread: Rose Gray

Posted in Food, Obituaries with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Rose Gray, the co-founder of the River Café restaurant, has died after a prolonged battle with cancer. She was 71.

The chef and cookery writer set up the London restaurant with Ruth Rogers in 1987. The pair were credited with influencing the likes of Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who both worked there.

Oliver paid tribute, describing Gray as a “pioneer” and a “’really great boss”.

The 34-year-old television chef said: “’I’m so saddened by the death of Rose. She really was one of life’s very, very special, natural, genius chefs; a true pioneer of delicious simple cooking. It was my honour to have worked with her – a really great boss, a wonderful person who gave me some of my fondest cooking memories and great funny times. The quality of food and chefs that have left the River Café over the last 20 years speaks for itself and is all credit to the partnership, love and values of Rose Gray and Ruthie Rogers. Without question the world has lost one of the most important chefs of our times, she will be sorely missed.”

The River Café opened in Hammersmith in 1987, bringing the two women’s version of Italian cooking to British diners with a focus on freshness and seasonal ingredients.

Gray and Rogers were awarded MBEs in this year’s New Year’s Honours list for services to the hospitality industry.

R.I.P. Clemency Anne Rose Gray 1939-2010

Brown Bread: Keith Floyd

Posted in Food, Obituaries with tags , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by Robin Gosnall

Keith-Floyd-006

“I’ve not felt this well for ages.”

Sad news of the death of Keith Floyd. What a great character. All these celebrity TV chefs should be grateful to him for their current high profiles.

I loved the way he used to introduce each recipe as “another cooking sketch”.

I’ve just watched the Channel 4 documentary in which Keith Allen spent a weekend with Keith Floyd at his home in Provence – which was shortly to be taken from him in a divorce settlement. What strange synchronicity that it was shown the night of his death.

It is a fascinating film, Floyd is clearly not a well man, but his opinions and manner are as forthright as ever – the language is not for the faint-hearted, especially when venting his spleen on “celebrity chefs”.

It is also quite sad, Floyd being deeply moved by the arrival of the estranged daughter he hadn’t seen for ten years – a set-up by Floyd for the camera? Probably, in the hope that the presence of a TV crew would aid a reconciliation. Sad too, as Keith Floyd had aged so much since I last saw him. He said he sought solace in alcohol because he was often lonely. He was a great character and had a warmth and humanity about him despite the rough edges. He will be missed.

I hope Channel 4 will show Keith on Keith again, do try and watch it if you can.

The quote I’m left with is from the very beginning of the film, where Floyd says:

“I probably drink more red wine than I should, and smoke more than is good for me, but it’s my life and that’s the way I want it.”

The darker side of this attitude to life is pointed out in the Daily Telegraph obituary:

At its worst, his bon vivant style and turbulent relationships had seen him come to rely on whisky. With a bottle in the bedside table, “I felt I had to have a few large glasses before I could even get downstairs.”

R.I.P. Keith Floyd 1943-2009

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