Asian Steak and Mango Salad

Ok – This ones a goody. The salad is based on food journo God-Mother Diana Henry from her book ‘A Change of Appetite’. It’s an absolute cracker and the original recipe is with a marinated and grilled pork chop. Yum!
I’ve gone with a simple steak with mine because it was what I fancied. It just so happened that they were on a deal at my local supermarket and it also it cuts down on the faff of Diana’s recipe. There’s no marinade in my recipe, just a simple, pan-fried, well rested steak. Beautiful.
The washing up here is also pretty minimal – Win!
Enough waffle, just make sure you make this. Its unbelievably umami-delicious, the list of ingredients isn’t massive and it’s also pretty healthy.

To feed two greedy bastards:

  • 2 mangoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 steaks (mine were 2 X 225g Sirloins)
  • a thumb sized piece of ginger
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp Wholegrain Mustard
  • 1 Red Chilli
  • 2 tsp sugar (I had soft brown sugar)
  • Bunch of coriander

Before starting make sure your steaks are out of the fridge well in advance of when you plan to cook them. Having them at room temperature (what they call in the restaurant bizz ‘tempering’) ensures that they will cook evenly and be as juicy and tender as possible.
Peel your mangoes, take off each cheek and lump into whatever shape or slither you like. I just sliced mine. Thinly slice your chilli and roughly chop your coriander, toss through the mango making sure you reserve some for a bit of wanky instagram garnish. Add the zest and juice of your lime too.
Grate your garlic and ginger into a small bowl and stir through a few tablespoons of water, to create a paste. Alternatively whizz it all up with a food processor, hand-blender or bash it up in a pestle and mortar.
Meanwhile get a heavy-bottomed frying pan onto a high heat on the largest ring. Drizzle your steaks with olive oil and season really really well with salt. A good steak tastes a million times better when its well seasoned. Be brave.
After a few minutes heating up, get your timer ready and pop your steaks into the pan. Once they are in, do not touch them. Let them sit and create a beautiful caramelised crust. How long you cook your steaks for is completely up to you. Just think about how you like it cooked and also the thickness of your meat. I gave mine 2 minutes on each side as sirloins are fairly thin and I like my meat cooked medium.
Once out, put your steaks onto your chopping board to rest for as long as you have cooked them for.

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Take your pan off the heat and leave it there for at least 2 minutes before adding your ginger and garlic paste. Put it in too soon and it’ll burn in seconds! Add a tbsp of oil to the pan before adding your paste and stir constantly for around a minute. You should be able to tell by the smell once it has cooked out – it won’t smell raw!
Stir through your mustard, add your fish sauce and sugar and throw in your mango, coriander and chilli mix. Taste and season. It may need a touch more lime juice, fish sauce or chilli. I like mine sour, salty and hot!
By this time your steak will be perfectly rested and ready to slice. Being an ex-chef I cant resist cutting it at a jaunty angle. You get a much better view of the tender, pink meat.

Lob it all on a plate and devour!
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Harissa Baked Eggs

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Some days, you just need to splash out a bit for lunch. A sarnie, soup or salad simply won’t cut it. In my humble opinion, there are few better option for lunch/brunch than baked eggs, or Shakshuka as its also know.

Ive spent years trying to recreate the baked eggs from the Angel branch of Ottolenghi, and these are pretty damn close! This recipe is from Sabrina Gheyour’s cookbook Persiana and I love the fact that as well as harissa in this recipe, which is a North African chilli paste, but also ground spices. You know its going to be good.

Make this for your mates or missus when youre a bit hungover, and serve it with massive handfuls of coriander, extra feta to crumble and big thick wedges of toast to dunk in.

Ive also spent a lot of time trying to perfect the runny yolk/cooked white concundrum. You sort of have to sacrifice one for the other. If you can handle your whites a little under for that perfect yolk, then crack on. But if ive had a few lagers the night before, seeing that see-through egg-to-plasm hanging off my fork can turn me green at the gills.

Just make ’em how you like ’em! Ive added a bit of pepper into my recipe as i like the sweetness it adds, and it just fits in perfect with all the other ingredients! Enjoy.

To feed four you’ll need:

  • 4tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 red onions, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cut into inch chunks
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp Harissa paste
  • 6 large tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 40g chopped coriander
  • 200g feta, crumbled
  • 8 medium eggs

Start by getting your oil into a frying pan and softening your onions and garlic. Add a pinch of salt to help them sweat until they become translucent. Add your spices and fry gently for 2 minutes before stirring in your harissa paste. Remember to have a little taste of this before adding it in, some are spicier than others! Add the tinned and fresh tomatoes, a splash of water, a pinch of salt and pepper, your cubed red pepper and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes.

While this is simmering get your oven onto 180ºC. Once your sauce is ready, stir through a handful of the coriander, I use mainly the stalks at this stage, leaving more of the leaves to scatter on at the end. Pour your sauce into a baking dish and dot some of the feta around, in and on top of the sauce.

Make 8 holes in the sauce and break your eggs into each indentation. Bake for 10-12 minutes until your eggs are cooked to your liking. Serve with coriander and feta to sprinkle, chilli sauce on the side and big wedges of toast to dunk in!

Panzanella

  
Since I’ve become a baker I’ve (as you’d expect) been inundated with left over loaves. Aside from donating to my missus who is an absolute bread fiend and slicing and freezing them all for toast, I’ve been trying to use them up for my dinner. 

Like all bread based recipes, they link back to when times were tough. Soaking up juices and bulking out a meagre meal. Mine isn’t quite like that, but a great summery way to use up stale bread. And it must be stale. 

The recipe I used is from Jamie’s Italy. I really great starting point on most Italian recipes, when it come to Italian food Jimbo does know shit. 

Don’t bother making this with unripe tomatoes or poor quality bread. Your outcome will be shit. 

To feed 2 fat bastards or 4 normal people:

  • 200g good quality stale bread
  • 600g ripe tomatoes
  • 1 small handful of capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced 
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Big bunch Basil 
  • Tabasco

First off, get your peppers roasted. Either hold them over your gas hob with a pair of yonks until the skins blacken, or put them under the grill for the same result. Most importantly wrap them in a little foil parcel for 20 minutes so the skin peeles of like a dream. Delia once said that life’s too short to roast and peel a pepper. She’s wrong. 

I used my grill to blacken my peppers, and once I’d finished I tore my bread into inch pieces onto a roasting tray and popped it in the oven (once turned off) to dry while I made the salad. 

Finely chop your anchovies and put a bowl with the capers, and a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Lump up your tomatoes and put them In a colander/sieve above your anchovies. Give the tomatoes a generous pinch of salt and squash with your hands. Leave this for 10 minutes and it will put beautiful tomato juice into your dressing. 

Once you’ve peeled your peppers, cut into slithers the width of your little finger. A little smaller if you’ve got sausage fingers. Add these to the dressing with your onion, bread and tomatoes, a good glug of olive oil and toss together with your hands. 

You’re nearly there. Rip-in shit loads of basil and give it another toss. It’s really important to taste. Add salt, pepper, more oil and vinegar If necessary and if your feeling a bit spicy a few splashes of Tabasco. 

Serve in a big bowl in the sunshine. Something like this:

  

Gazpacho 

  So yesterday in London it was 37 degrees. THIRTY SEVEN. That was most definitely too hot for me and my pale, Irish/Scottish skin and temperament. I wasn’t made to cope with temperatures like that! 

So to cool down the only thing that would do was gazpacho. I’d been through chapel market in Angel the day before and spotted some beautiful on-the-vine English tomatoes sat in the sunshine. You know they’re gunna be good. 
Gazpacho is all about the tomatoes. If you haven’t got good tomatoes, don’t bother. There’s no point wandering down to your local supermarket and grabbing a pack of cold, under ripe tomatoes on the day either. Buy them early and leave them out, to ripen as the fruit they are! 

Get good tomatoes and this recipes a doddle. I’m also a baker so if you use cheap sliced white bread in this recipe I’ll excommunicate you. Gazpacho is most definitely the sum of its parts. If you buy shit ingredients you’re gazpacho will be, well, shit. All the ingredients are raw so if you don’t use quality throughout, your gazpacho will suffer.  Use the best you’ve got or can afford. 

This recipe will feed 6 people, 4 greedy bastards, or 2 very greedy bastards for 3 hot days. 

  • 150g good quality stale bread – I used a country style sourdough, crust and all. 
  • 1kg very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 1 cucumber
  • 200ml extra Virgin olive oil
  • 3-4tbsp red wine vinegar/sherry vinegar
  • Basil

Tear your bread into pieces and soak in cold water for 20 minutes before starting. 

After your bread has soaked, squeeze out the excess moisture and place in your food processor or bowl. Lump up your tomatoes, peppers and cucumber and add it to the bread. You’re going to blend it so it doesn’t matter too much on the size and shape. Grate or crush your garlic. 

Blend

Add your oil in parts or stream in slowly as you’re blending to ensure it emulsifys thoroughly. 
Add some of the vinegar and a good pinch of salt. Taste and adjust. I won’t give you a measurement on salt, as its up to you to season how you like it. All I will say is: once it’s in, you can’t take it out! Season in small amounts and get someone else to try it for seasoning. 

That’s pretty much it. Piece of piss. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving, or if you can’t wait like me, throw in some ice cubes. 

Drizzle with some oil and lob on some torn basil.