Wow, what an achievement. I’m over the moon to be crowned this year’s Guardian ‘Cook’ Home Cook of the Year! In my opinion, the ‘Cook’ supplement is the best, weekly food publication in the UK and it’s been great fun contributing my recipes and seeing them in print.
I’ve decided to put a few of my favourite dishes on here, and I really do hope you’ll try to make them. It’s well worth the effort.One of the things the people at the Guardian like about my recipes is that they’re simple, yet at the same time exciting and wonderfully tasty; some of them pure genius, if I say so myself. But you’ll just have to try them to find out.
This is definitely one of my favourite recipes from the past year; sweet, spicy and juicy! The sauce works well with chicken, duck and most other cuts of pork. Try it on some ribs!
500g Belly pork strips
Zest and juice from 4 Clementine
150ml Pineapple juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ scotch bonnet pepper, minced
1 tbsp honey
¼ tsp ground allspice
Fresh thyme leaves, approx 1 tsp, to taste
Salt to taste
2 Clementine sliced
Pre heat the oven to gas mark 6
Combine all the ingredients, except the pork and sliced Clementine, in a saucepan and simmer until reduced by half.
Line a baking tray with enough foil to make a loose parcel for the pork.
Place the pork and sliced Clementine in the foil parcel, pour over the sauce, seal the parcel and place in the hot oven for 1 hour.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and open the parcel. Be careful as there will be lots of steam.
Increase the oven temperature to gas mark 8 and return the pan to the oven for 30 minutes, turning ½ way through.
The liquid will reduce further forming a thick, sticky sauce and the pork will crisp up around the edges.
Serve with coconut rice.
What to do with a tin of Sardines? The best thing I’ve discovered is to make the popular Spanish tapas, Croquetas. Trust me, these are unbelievably good; soft gooey middle with a crispy, crunchy coating, and a doddle to make. These make a great nibble or appetizer for the party season, and if you don’t fancy sardines, substitute ham, leftover turkey, mushrooms and cheese.
Makes approximately 10
120g tin of sardines in oil
30g unsalted butter
2 spring onions, finely chopped
30g plain flour
250ml hot, full fat milk
Good pinch of ground nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
20g parmesan or other hard cheese grated
Vegetable oil for frying
Drain the sardines, reserve the oil, and remove any obvious bits of bone and skin.
Heat the oil from the sardines and butter in a saucepan and gently fry the onion until soft.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour.
Return the pan to a gentle heat and continue cooking for about 6 – 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the hot milk gradually to the pan, stirring as you go, to achieve a thick sauce.
Season with nutmeg, salt and black pepper and continue to cook for ten minutes.
Flake the sardines into the sauce, stir, and set aside to cool. Cover with cling film on top of the sauce to stop a skin forming.
Mix the parmesan and breadcrumbs together.
Place the egg and the breadcrumbs in separate bowls.
Shape the cool sardine mix into cylindrical shapes and dip first in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs.
Heat enough oil to deep fry the croquetas to 180c. Fry in batches until golden, about 2 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately, or keep warm in the oven until you’re ready to eat.
Am I the only one that remembers this from school?
This is a slightly more grown up version in that it has a sprinkling of ground almonds and can be made using a compote if you prefer this to jam. You can also save time and use a shop bought pastry case…just don’t tell anyone!
Makes 4 individual 12cm tarts
225g plain flour
100g butter, chilled and chopped
15g caster sugar
Cold water to bind
100g Jam or fruit compote
115g golden syrup
25g ground almonds
Zest from 1 lemon
Pre-heat the oven to 200
Make the pastry
Blitz the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor until a fine crumb is achieved. Gradually add the egg and a little water until the mix comes together and forms a dough. Cover and chill the pastry for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease the tart tins.
When the pastry has chilled roll out the dough and line the tart cases.
Line the cases with baking parchment and fill with dried beans or baking beads. Blind bake for 20 minutes.
For the filling:
Add the butter, golden syrup, ground almonds and lemon zest to a saucepan. Gently heat the ingredients through for about 5 minutes – until everything has melted and come together. Stir in the cornflakes.
Remove the linings from the tart cases and spoon jam or compote onto the base of the cases. Cover this with the cornflake mix and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
Enjoy with a dollop of clotted cream.