Month: October 2011

Recipe for Halloween: Stuffed Munchkins aka a Little Orange Hug

Stuffed Munchkins are a joyous thing. They will demand little of you, and can be put together in minutes. They’re tiny little pumpkins, if you’re thinking that I have lost the plot, and you can get them in most supermarkets. You can pretty much put anything in them and then retire them to the oven for approximately half an hour and leave it to cook. When done, the pumpkin wall will be tender, and you can pull the flesh off with your spoon as you eat the rest of the filling. Pumpkin has an inoffensive sweet flesh that goes with most things. It loves spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, adores chilli, plays well with herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage, and is blissfully happy with bacon and chorizo. The stuffing, if it depends on anything, depends on the size of the munchkin. They’re generally very small so will cook quicker than rice added raw, but some are bigger and can take it. I’ve stuffed mine with items that will cook relatively quickly, go well with …

Breakfast of Champions at Hawksmoor Guildhall

It takes a lot of love and curiosity to get me out of my bed and on the tube at 7am on a Monday morning. Especially when I had gone to bed at 1am, and woken again at 5. Hawksmoor can inspire this. This morning, I accidentally became one of the first official customers at the new Hawksmoor Guildhall. I was invited to breakfast last week during the soft launch, but there were some problems with the kitchen, so they kindly offered me a breakfast at my leisure to compensate. I picked today, as it was the friendliest day in my diary, to discover that it was the first day that the new Hawksmoor was officially open when I arrived. Not that you could tell, everything was perfect from service to coffee to steak. This is the third in the mini steak empire, now three branches strong. Based in Guildhall near Moorgate, this is the first branch to serve breakfast, from 7 am Mon – Fri. I quite like the way they ensure that every …

Recipe: Some Homemade Toffee Apples for Halloween

Toffee apples!  Don’t they just screech Halloween? That and swishing around the Irish countryside in a contortion of refuse sacks, crafted by myself to signify a witches costume. When I really made the effort I had backcombed huge hair sprayed blue to match. My sister, cousins and I would wail in 3 part harmony at our neighbours doors in the hope of some coins, fun size chocolate or the dreaded monkey nuts. We hated them so much (the monkey nuts that is). Toffee apples have become a more recent symbol for me. We made them once as children – they’re really very easy, I don’t know why we didn’t make them more – but it’s as an adult that I have come to enjoy making them more and more. They are receptive to flavours, but for this, I have stuck with the original and best. Simple, homemade pure butter toffee encasing a delicious apple on a stick. They’re also the perfect thing to give to visiting children on Halloween night. I like to use small …

Recipe: Spritely Halloween Pumpkin Soup with Lemongrass, Chilli & Ginger

Pumpkins are not just for Jack O’ Lanterns or pumpkin pie. No sir! Pumpkins are utterly delicious. You may remember my recent pumpkin & pecan mash on this blog. This time I have turned the humble – and cheap – pumpkin into an aromatic dish for Halloween. Now, don’t be afraid of pumpkin. They look big and intimidating, but roast it in quarters with the skin on and you can scoop lovely soft flesh out which is perfect for soup. Not only is this the easy way, it is also the best for flavour, the water evaporates off and you are left with something far more pumpkin-y than before. Lemongrass, with its gorgeous citrus high notes, is wonderful with pumpkin. Some chilli is required for a Halloween soup – it has to be a little scary – and to round it all off some lovely fresh ginger. If you haven’t used lemongrass before, worry not. It’s also easy when you know how and is very easy to source these days too in most supermarkets. Simply …

Exciting News: 12 Week Recipe Column in the Evening Standard

Exciting news here, folks! I have a recipe column in the Evening Standard for 12 weeks. It started yesterday (Thursday) with an interview piece also. So, don’t forget to look out for it, Londoners – every Thursday for the next, well, 11 weeks – hope you enjoy. Non-Londoners, don’t worry, it will be online. We started this week with Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter.