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Raised Waffles with Beef Shin and Mushroom Ragu & Gremolata

Raised Waffles with Beef and Mushroom Ragu & Gremolata

Raised Waffles with Beef and Mushroom Ragu & Gremolata

Do you like this? Huh? You do, don’t you? And it is a little confusing, isn’t it? Is that breakfast colliding with dinner? Just a bit, but as a flavour and texture combination, it is sensational.

Let me tell you how to spend a glorious weekend afternoon. Maybe one with the rain dragging outside, better again, a day with that horizontal rain that drives into your face and makes the outdoors utterly inhospitable. One of those days that is best approached in pyjamas and a big jumper, slippers and no desire to do anything but stay inside. A day, like this one, is a day for ragu.[Read more]

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Recipe: Spaghetti with Tomato, Calabrian Chilli, Rosemary & Kale

Recipe: Spaghetti with Tomato, Calabrian Chilli & Kale

Recipe: Spaghetti with Tomato, Calabrian Chilli & Kale

I found myself down an unfamiliar January cul de sac yesterday evening. Already in the midst of a Spring clean (my hoarding demands it) and with my eyes and mind firmly planted on a tin of pork sausages confit in goose fat in my cupboard, I found myself wander as I cleaned, towards the bag of kale in the fridge.

I love kale, I find it fiercely underrated and viewed as the cheap relation to the swisher (and also delicious but more expensive) cavolo nero. However, I had determined that after the horror of spring cleaning I wanted indulgence. Goose fat preserved sausages seemed more my thing. I went with the kale though, to kill the craving, I was beginning to obsess. The cleaning had demanded freshness and vibrance instead.

Spaghetti is frowned upon by dieters but ponder this: (good) pasta cooked al dente is low GI. When I say good, I mean pasta that is made with great flour that is high in protein, made properly using bronze dies and not teflon so that the pasta has roughness and grip and clings to the sauce.

The best comes from Gragnano in Italy, and I prefer Pastificcio dei Campi. In itself it is an indulgence, but once you start using it, it is hard to turn back, as my last two years of pasta eating testify. It is often assumed that fresh pasta is superior, this is not the case. Great fresh pasta is, but there is poor fresh pasta too (I am looking at you supermarket chillers).

Back to my kale. I am obsessed with crispy kale too, making it at least weekly if not several times each week. I finished this pasta with some crispy kale on top, to add texture and further deliciousness. (Looking for alternatives to the word delicious, please).

Recipe: Spaghetti with Tomato, Calabrian Chilli & Kale

Recipe: Spaghetti with Tomato, Calabrian Chilli & Kale

This is simple, the flavours are strong, fresh and restorative. You can substitute some things, which I have indicated in the recipe e.g. Calabrian chilli is wonderful (and highly recommended) but if you can’t get it, a normal red chilli will do.

RECIPE: Recipe: Spaghetti with Tomato, Calabrian Chilli, Rosemary & Kale

Ingredients

(for two)

200g spaghetti
2 generous handfuls of shredded kale, leaves removed from the stem (most supermarkets sell it like this already)
1 dried Calabrian chilli, finely chopped (or a normal red chilli)
2 cloves smoked garlic (normal garlic will do), peeled and finely chopped
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 stem fresh rosemary, pines removed from the branch and finely chopped (optional – gives an extra layer of flavour, but not essential)
1 tin good chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (cider vinegar will do too)
sea salt to taste
light oil for frying
extra virgin olive oil for crispy kale

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 deg C.

Sauté the red onion over a medium heat in a tbsp of light oil until soft but not brown. About 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, chilli and rosemary for a minute.

Add the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar, bring to the boil, and reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.

Place one handful of the (washed and dried) kale in a shallow tray in one layer. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Toast until crispy, 8-10 minutes. Leave to the side.

While the sauce is simmering and the kale crisping, cook your spaghetti until al dente, according to packet instructions.

When the pasta is almost done, add the remaining handful of kale to the tomato sauce and cook for a minute or so. Season to taste.

Add the spaghetti to the sauce and toss, ensuring that the pasta is coated with sauce.

Serve immediately with a sprinkling of crispy kale on top.

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Blaggers’ Banquet – Update

Blaggers' Banquet

Well, the blaggers’ banquet is all systems go and we’re blagging like k-razy. We’ve had an amazing and very supportive response from producers, restaurants, chefs, wineries, breweries… it’s been really inspiring. Everyone’s really pulled together and gotten things done. Wonderful.

We had our first meeting at the new Draft House on Northcote Rd, who donated the whole bar for the evening which was wonderful. This helped galvanise everyone and get things moving bringing us nicely to where we are now. We had a great evening drinking Murphy’s of Cork on draught and blackberry whiskey with some fantastic bar food – I’ll be back for sure.

We’ve have some fantastic donations since, both for the meal and for the night itself. We’re not going to spoil it by revealing anything for the meal or everything from the auction, but here’s a taster of some of auction items. The auction will run partially on the night and for a month after the banquet online, so, even if you’re not in London or not at Hawksmoor on the night, you can participate.

Autographed cookbooks from Fergus Henderson at St John’s – these are definitely unique and I expect a battle for them!

A year’s supply of Chilango vouchers (£2,400 value).

A Mexican cookery class from Thomasina Miers: author, intrepid tv chef, winner of Masterchef, and of Wahaca in London. The course is being run exclusively for the Blaggers’ Banquet auction. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn authentic Mexican Cuisine in London.

A Kitchenaid worth £369 for all you passionate cooks.

A cookery lesson at La Cucina Caldesi followed by lunch + a signed copy of Katie Celdesi’s new book.

White Christmas Tea collection from the fabulous Rare Tea Company including 2 lovely white teas and a teapot and tea cocktails at Hix Soho with the Tea Lady.

Tasting menus from L’Anima, Racine, Maze, Theo Randall, Tom Aikens & Launceston Place.

1 hour cooking lesson in the Konstam kitchen, a seasonal dish from start to finish.

A lovely Gordon’s Choice Hamper from Selfridge’s worth £130.

There’s lots more, all of which we will write about soon. Thanks to all of the blaggers who are doing *sterling* work and to all those who donated. We really appreciate it all of the support, as do Action Against Hunger.

So, we still need more auction items and items for goodie bags, indeed we need the bags themselves! Drop me an email at niamheen@gmail.com if you have something you would like to donate. We would love to hear from you.

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Dine with Dos Hermanos at The Bull & Last

A bit of a photostory for you today. Last night I had the pleasure of attending another wonderful Dine with Dos Hermanos at The Bull & Last in Highgate. It was a great night with really excellent food, and fun company. The theme was Best of British and was fantastically well executed.

Favourites (and it’s tough to chose) were a wonderful hand of pork, shoulder of mutton with lentils, steak tartare with quails egg yolk and fried cornish skate cheeks with tartare sauce. It really was all wonderful. There wasn’t a weak dish, and the deep fried calves brains were intriguing, almost like a mozarella fritter, I now know why a brain dish is called head cheese!

Starting with the snacks while mingling and drinking martinis, we proceeded to the main course and dessert, which we ate at one enormous table, family style. I was a little worried about this, as my memories of family style usually mean some eat really well and others badly. That was not a worry here, there was so much food. Courses were matched with drinks starting with a fine martini made with Plymouth Gin and finishing with Compass Box Oak Cross Whisky. The dishes in between were matched with some great beers that I’ll be seeking out. All at £40 a head inclusive of drinks, bargainous.

Simon excelled himself once more. The Bull & Last was gorgeous, intimate and friendly, I would highly recommend it and I will be going back. If you are interested in future Dine with Dos Hermanos, be sure to join their facebook group.

Simon and the chef at The Bull & Last

Simon and the chef at The Bull & Last

I’m off now to raid my enormous goodie bag from last night. LOOT!

The Bull & Last, 68 Highgate Road, Kentish Town, NW5 1QS, Tel: 020 7267 364

View the full photoset on flickr.

THE “BEST OF BRITISH” @ THE BULL & LAST

ENGLISH SNACKS

Fried Cornish Skate Cheeks (Tartare Sauce)
Scottish Razor Clams w/ Tomato, Garlic & Parley
Steak Tartare (Quail Egg Yolk)
Arbroath Smokie & Horseradish
Caerphilly Sticks, Pork Scratchings & Marinated Caper berries
Deep-Fried Calves Brains w/ Gribiche & Pickled Cabbage

DRINK: Plymouth Gin Martini

STARTER:

Rare Hare Loin, Roast Pumpkin, Walnuts, Hairy Bitter Cress & Cabernet Vinaigrette

MATCHING BEER: Fuller’s London Pride

MAIN COURSE:

Slow Cooked Shoulder of Mutton, Prunes & Bacon
Roast Hand of Pork, w/ Apple Sauce
Served with Black Cabbage, Creamed Potatoes & Roast Salsify

MATCHING BEER: Badger

DESSERT:

Trifle
Eton Mess

MATCHING BEER: Thornbridge Brewery Jaipur IPA

CHEESE: Leagram Dairy Tasty Lancashire & Curd Cheeses served with oak cakes, pickled grapes & Damson Cheese

Coffee & Petits

DRINK: Compass Box Oak Cross Whisky

Fried Cornish Skate Cheeks (Tartare Sauce)

Fried Cornish Skate Cheeks (Tartare Sauce)

Arbroath Smokie & Horseradish

Arbroath Smokie & Horseradish

Deep-Fried Calves Brains w/ Gribiche & Pickled Cabbage

Deep-Fried Calves Brains w/ Gribiche & Pickled Cabbage

Scottish Razor Clams w/ Tomato, Garlic & Parley

Scottish Razor Clams w/ Tomato, Garlic & Parley

Steak Tartare (Quail Egg Yolk)

Steak Tartare (Quail Egg Yolk)

Rare Hare Loin, Roast Pumpkin, Walnuts, Hairy Bitter Cress & Cabernet Vinaigrette

Rare Hare Loin, Roast Pumpkin, Walnuts, Hairy Bitter Cress & Cabernet Vinaigrette

Slow Cooked Shoulder of Mutton, Prunes & Bacon

Slow Cooked Shoulder of Mutton, Prunes & Bacon

Roast Hand of Pork, w/ Apple Sauce

Roast Hand of Pork, w/ Apple Sauce

Eton Mess

Eton Mess

Leagram Dairy Tasty Lancashire & Curd Cheeses served with oak cakes, pickled grapes & Damson Cheese

Leagram Dairy Tasty Lancashire & Curd Cheeses served with oak cakes, pickled grapes & Damson Cheese

Leagram Dairy Tasty Lancashire & Curd Cheeses served with oak cakes, pickled grapes & Damson Cheese

Leagram Dairy Tasty Lancashire & Curd Cheeses served with oak cakes, pickled grapes & Damson Cheese