Wild garlic pesto recipe

18 Mar

I confess that I am addicted to wild garlic. When I saw this spring’s first leaves appear in a crate at Booth’s vegetable stall in Bermondsey, I made a beeline for it. As I’ve been busy, it’s been in the fridge for a week. I decided to make a wild garlic pesto, so I can keep some of this delicious taste of spring to hand, once the season is over.Image

For the pesto you will need:

  • 80-90 grams parmegiano reggiano, cubed
  • 100 grams pine nuts
  • 200 grams wild garlic (leaves and stems)
  • 120 grams olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

I used my Thermomix for this, but you could use any food processor, adjusting for mixing times accordingly.

Cube the parmigiano reggiano, put in in the TMX bowl and grate at speed 8 for 10 seconds.

Add pine nuts and wild garlic, whizz at speed 6 for 10 seconds. Scrape down and repeat. Your pesto should look fairly smooth by this point.


Weigh 120 g olive oil into a measuring jug, turn TMX to speed 4 and slowly pour in the oil. It should take about 40-50 seconds.

Add salt and pepper to taste. The pesto at this stage will taste pretty strong, like raw garlic. Hence you will want to cook it through a bit when you use it.

I made some tiger prawn linguine with mine, and mixed in the pesto to cook through a bit at the end with the pasta. Delicious.



Neil Rankin at John Salt preview photos

11 Jan

Nobody else in London cooks meat and fish using fire quite as well as Neil Rankin so we were excited to hear the news that he was taking over as resident head chef at John Salt. It’s not easy to follow in Ben Spalding‘s footsteps, but we have every confidence in Neil. We’ve been well acquainted with him in the last year or two both from visits to Pitt Cue and his occasional forays at Maltby Street Market, most recently the pop-up Cornish Bird collaboration with Little Bird Gin and Matt of Cornish Grill fame (who will continue to supply Neil). The steak was to die for.

Neil revealed an example menu earlier in the week, and food photographer Paul Winch-Furness was there to snap some food porn, embedded below. (Paul is everywhere! If you see a beautiful photo of a London restaurant or its food there’s probably a 50% chance it’s Paul’s, I swear…)

Almost 90% of the menu has had some degree of smoke or fire added to it. Even the cold dishes, the salads and a couple of the desserts. It’s my intention to use charcoal and smoke almost like a seasoning. Sometimes its very subtle but you’d notice it if it wasn’t there.

A few examples from the menu are:

  • Potted dishes including pork jowl, smoked brisket and shrimp all with sourdough
  • Salami cure crackling
  • Starters include – raw bass with apple and bergamot; raw beef, pear, sesame, oyster; oysters, lardo, bacon dashi; scallops with peanut and shrimp; crab and fennel on pork skin; scallops, popcorn, bay ice and frozen, cured and smoked loin; burnt leeks, shiitake, parmesan and truffle vinaigrette.
  • Mains include Half/whole coal baked crab with bisque butter, green chilli poussin and a whole megrim sole in bone sauce with capers. There will also be rare breed beef, all with bone marrow butter, including skirt steak, sirloin and a 1k rib eye for two.
  • Sides include frites with pulled pork, kimchi and cheese, chicken skin hash, cheese and brisket on dripping toast as well as pickles and salad.
  • And finally, for dessert there will be brown butter ice cream, salted caramel and peanut sundae; old-fashioned trifle with clementines and bacon panna cotta.
As for us, we’ll hopefully be visiting for a test night next week. Can’t wait!
  1. More gently filthy delights @JohnSaltN1 @FrontLineChef – Crab & Fennel on Pork Skin @ John Salt http://instagr.am/p/UTtjn2r2MU/
  2. Raw bass, apple & bergamot @JohnSaltN1@FrontLineChef @ John Salt http://instagr.am/p/UTrtZbL2Kz/
  3. Coal baked crab & bisque butter @JohnSaltN1 @FrontLineChef @ John Salt http://instagr.am/p/UTu5_or2Nk/
  4. Oysters, lardo, bacon dashi @JohnSaltN1 @FrontLineChef @ John Salt http://instagr.am/p/UTwmn0L2PE/
  5. Scallops peanuts ponzu @JohnSaltN1 @FrontLineChef @ John Salt http://instagr.am/p/UTyDGuL2Af/
  6. . @FrontLineChef getting busy with the @BigGreenEggUK @ John Salt http://instagr.am/p/UT1Vi-r2DJ/

Festive cranberry sauce recipe

1 Dec

There’s nothing better than a homemade cranberry preserve to serve alongside your turkey, cockerel, goose or whatever fowl you may have on your Christmas table. This would make a lovely Christmas gift for friends or family too.

Cranberry sauce

Here’s an easy recipe that I’ve adapted for the Thermomix. If you don’t have a Thermomix, all you have to do is bung it all in a saucepan. I don’t really know why people go out and BUY cranberry sauce. I bought my fresh cranberries at M&S, Waitrose also sell them, and you can find them at markets as well. Any white wine will do.

Makes about 1L of sauce


600g fresh cranberries
240ml or 210g white wine
240g caster sugar
zest of 1.5 oranges or 3 clementines (I used 1 orange and 1 clementine)


Put all of the above in your TMX bowl.
Cook at 100/20 minutes/reverse/stir speed/MC on
Taste to see if you want it sweeter. If you do, then add more sugar and put on as above for another couple of minutes.

If you are doing the saucepan version, this will probably take about 15-20 min as well, but you’ll need to stir every now and again to prevent it sticking at the bottom.

The cranberries after cooking in the TMX

Cranberries in TMX

Cranberries in TMX

Orange and clementine zest

Orange and clementine zest

Orange and clementine zest

The finished product:

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce

cranberry sauce

Cornish Grill & Little Bird Gin popup restaurant at Maltby St

1 Dec

On Friday 30th November we went to the Cornish Grill and Little Bird Gin popup at Lassco on Maltby Street (aka Rope Walk) in Bermondsey. If you’ve never explored this particular area of London, and you like antiques and quirky reclaimed furniture, then you need to visit.


Resting ribs of tasty tasty beef

Neil Rankin is one of the most talented chefs we know when it comes to handling a good piece of meat ;-) on a barbecue.

Neil Rankin cooking mackerel

Neil Rankin hard at work with the mackerel

BBQ Grill

Red hot grill

Lassco is full of treasures that make you wish for a large house that you could decorate using the items found here.

The building was transformed into a gin palace and beef eatery for one night. The photos below are grainy as it was dark, but it gives you an idea of the atmosphere.

When we walked through the door, the smell of well-aged beef hit us straight away. To us, that’s one of the greatest aromas ever.

We sat in the bar area and had a pre-dinner dirty dry gin martini (this was after a Delgrado Amontillado sherry aperitf at Bar Tozino) before going to take our table in the dining room.

Entrance and 'bar' at Cornish Grill & Little Bird popup at Lassco, Maltby Street.

Entrance and ‘bar’ at Cornish Grill & Little Bird popup at Lassco, Maltby Street.

Below is the menu. We were all about the beef, so didn’t get to try the mackerel, but I am sure it was delicious as well.

Cornish Bird Menu

The #CornishBird menu

Hand-dived scallops with jamon Iberico provided by Tozino.

The scallops were sweet, prepared raw and sprinkled with paprika salt. Chuse’s ham, as ever, is delicious and cut to the requisite thinness.

Hand-dived scallops with jamon iberico

Hand-dived scallops with Jamon Iberico

Côte du Boeuf with beef dripping frites and chimichurri.  If this had been my last meal I would have died happy. Beef was perfectly cooked and it tasted properly of cow.  The frites were well-seasoned and crispy, done in beef dripping. Proper.  The chimichurri was delicious. There was also aioli, rich and garlicky, but I didn’t take a photo of it.

Côte du Boeuf with beef dripping frites and chimichurri

Côte du Boeuf with beef dripping frites and chimichurri

Poached pear with hazelnuts. The pear was poached well, still slightly firm, but juicy and sweet. A nice light end to the meal.

Pear with hazelnuts

Pear with hazelnuts

Fleur de lis water glass

Fleur de lis water glass (or was it gin?)

We are looking forward to seeing what Cornish Grill and Little Bird Gin do next. We’ll be there.

Christmas Eggnog recipe

29 Nov

My family has been making this eggnog for as long as I can remember. It’s boozy and rich, and not for the faint hearted!  This recipe is adapted from the bible of Canadian cooking – the Canadian Family Cookbook. My parents managed to find an edition for me, even though it’s out of print.

It makes about enough for 25 small punchbowl glasses.


6 egg yolks
2 cups caster sugar
1 pint or 568 ml bourbon or whisky
1 cup or 250 ml Jamaica rum
1 cup or 250 ml brandy
3 cups or 750 ml double cream
2 cups or 500 ml milk
6 egg whites


Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until it’s mixed together and very thick. Gradually add the liquors, stirring constantly, then blend in the cream and milk.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, not dry, peaks. Gently fold into the eggnog. Turn into a punch bowl, cover, and chill. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg when served.

Enjoy several glasses but don’t even think about driving afterwards!