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Monthly Archives: September 2011

  • Leiths classes, spring 2012

    Our next available set of cookery classes at Leiths are starting in January 2012. As before, there will be a short window of opportunities to sign in to the classes, due to their great popularity. Leiths' booking line (020 87496400) will be open on 17th of October 2011 only, from 9am onwards, until places run out. We advice you to be persistent and keep on trying even if the line is busy. Once connected, you'll be able to book a class for up to 2 people. We hope you all have success in booking and looking forward to teaching you soon! 14 January, with Sami Tamimi Purple sprouting broccoli with chilli, garlic and feta Root mash with wine braised shallots Spicy lamb and kebabs Kohlrabi and white cabbage slaw with lemon zest, tarragon, dill and sesame seeds Plum, grappa and hazelnut trifle 18 February, with Yotam Ottolenghi Bulgur and cauliflower tabouleh with red onion, pomegranate and sweet spices Smoked aubergine salad with red onion, yellow pepper, tomato and cumin Swiss chard cakes with Greek yoghurt Purple sprouting broccoli with chilli, garlic and lemon Busbusa: semolina, orange and coconut cake 24 March, with Sami Tamimi Courgette fritters with Greek yoghurt and mint sauce Char-grilled chicken, orange and herb salad Roasted red and golden beetroot salad French beans with tarragon, sesame and garlic Baked rhubarb with meringue and yoghurt cream 21 April, with Yotam Ottolenghi Padron pepper fritters Chicken and courgette burgers with spring onion and yoghurt-dill sauce Saffron couscous with chervil Caramelised fennel with goat’s curd and fennel seeds Baked pears in white wine and cardamom 12 May, with Sami Tamimi Baked artichokes and broad beans Pork belly and fresh fennel salad with sumac, lemon and mint Saffron rice with barberries, pistachio and mixed herbs Okra with tomato, preserved lemon and coriander Limoncello and mascarpone trifle 16 June, with Yotam Ottolenghi Roasted aubergine with preserved lemon and chilli yoghurt Salmon steaks with chreime (North African sauce) French bean salad with fennel, roast cherry tomato and basil oil Bulgar and herb pilaf Baked cherries with meringue and yoghurt cream 21 July, with Sami Tamimi Padron pepper fritters Butterbean mash with lemon juice, garlic, spring onion and sumac Yoghurt flatbread Roasted aubergine with a sharp salsa of walnut, pomegranate and coriander Caramelised fennel with goat’s curd and fennel seeds Fresh strawberries with orange blossom syrup and cream
  • Nopi, Sep 20th, 2011

    Back Camera

    14/9: Honami and the chefs had a quick food and wine pairing session. The dish at question - Pork belly cooked in a jar with coco bean cassoulet, salsa verde and cracklings. The two wines that made the closest match were: Vernaccia di San Ginignano Sono “Tradizionale” Montenidoli, Elisabetta Faguioli, Tuscany, 2007 (straw yellow tending towards gold, with herbal and almond perfumes, rich flavours and a dry, crisp aftertaste) and Trousseau “Sous la Rouche”, Domaine Ganevat, Cotes du Jura, France 2008 (beautiful light ruby with plenty of acidity, leather and musk overtones and a peppery finish)  

  • Harvest Festival

    A weekend at two harvest festivals, Alex James in Oxfordshire and Jimmys in Suffolk, was full of small exhilarating moments, some slightly nerve wrecking, others of great joy. I travelled with Mark Hannell, ex-Ottolenghi currently-NOPI chef, with the unclear position of companion / assistant / sous / big spoon. Our drive from London to Oxforshire on a serene Saturday morning was going so smoothly that we just had to manufacture some drama. Waiting for two and half minutes for the coveted blue wristbands (VIP!), allowing you to roam freely in the grounds, threw Mark into a fit of rage. Here is Mark, livid at having to wait at the gates: And then, finally, the desired bands: Then, some real drama. We are sat sipping wine minutes before our demo on the big stage, with screens and other paraphernalia all around, when earlier demonstrator, Nuno Mendes of Viajnte, (pictured below with Gee, the back stage manager) blurts something about having to bring all his ingredients with him from London. A shiver down the spine, a violent bout of cold sweat, a tight knot in the stomach... Ingredients? What ingredients? And Mark and I are marching/running/sprinting towards the back stage, arriving breathless with pleading grins: Gee, Gee, Ingredients? Maybe? “Oh, it’s all been sorted out hours ago, of course”, says the annoyingly chilled Gee. Pheeeww..... The rest went smoothly and delightfully. I cooked couscous, a seafood stew and fennel with soft goat’s cheese (recipes below), the audience seemed happy, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall featured prominently, Richard Corrigan tried kicking me off the stage and Mark even got an autograph request (he’ll never hear the end of it from fellow NOPI-chefs)   Fat Freddys Drop were brilliant on stage and dinner at The Chefs Table with the festival team, Jay Rayner and Ravinder Bhogal was delicious, even if I was (arguably) responsible for some of the dishes. The next morning we were at Jimmy’s where there was no drama, real or made-up, just a perfect peaceful festival atmosphere, mostly blue skies and a loving crowd. Couldn’t ask for more! Green couscous (adapted from my book Plenty) Serves six 100g fregola (giant couscous) 150g couscous 170ml boiling water or vegetable stock 2 tbsp olive oil 1 large onion, thinly sliced 1 tsp ground cumin 50g shelled unsalted pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped 3 spring onions, finely sliced 1 fresh green chilli, finely sliced 80g rocket leaves Salt Herb paste Grated zest of 2 lemons 30g parsley 20g coriander 3 tbsp chopped mint 2 tbsp chopped tarragon 2 tbsp chopped dill 120ml olive oil ½ teaspoon salt Place the fregola in a pan of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon of salt per litre) and simmer for 18 minutes or until aldente (this may vary according to brand). Drain into a colander and run under plenty of cold water. Leave to dry completely. Place the couscous in a large bowl, cover with the boiling water or stock and drizzle with half the olive oil. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 5–10 minutes. Use a fork to fluff up and then stir in the cooked fregola. Meanwhile, fry the onion in the remaining olive oil on medium heat until golden and completely soft, 10-15 minutes. Add ½ a teaspoon of salt and the cumin and mix well. Leave to cool slightly. Next, make the herb paste by placing all the ingredients in a food processor and blitzing until smooth. Add this to the couscous and fregola and mix everything together. Add the cooked onion, the pistachios, spring onions, green chilli and rocket and gently mix. Taste, add salt if needed and serve at room temperature. Tiger prawns, scallops and clams with tomato and feta Serves four 250ml white wine 1kg clams 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish 600g peeled and chopped Italian plum tomatoes (fresh or tinned) 1 tsp caster sugar 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano 1 lemon 200g tiger prawns, peeled and de-vained 200g large scallops, cleaned 120g feta, broken into chunks 3 spring onions, thinly sliced Salt and black pepper Place the wine in a medium saucepan and reduce to 1 quarter. Add the clams, cover immediately with a lid, and cook for about 2 minutes, shaking occasionally, until the clams open. Transfer to a fine sieve to drain, keeping the cooking juices. Remove the clams out of their shells, keeping just a few in the shells to finish the dish. Set the oven to 220ºC. Cook the garlic in the oil for about a minute, until golden. Carefully add the tomatoes, clam liquids, sugar, oregano and some salt and pepper. Shave off 3 lemon skin strips, add them and simmer gently until the sauce thickens well, about 20-25 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper accordingly. Add the prawns and scallops, stir gently and cook for just a minute or two. Fold in the shelled clams and transfer everything to a small ovenproof dish. Sink feta pieces inside the sauce and sprinkle with spring onion. Top with some clams in their shells and place in the oven for 3-5 minutes, until the top colours a little and prawns and scallops are just cooked. Remove the dish from the oven, squeeze a little lemon juice on top and finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Caramelised fennel with goat’s curd and fennel seeds (from my book Plenty) Serves four 4 small fennel heads 40g unsalted butter 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish 2 tbsp caster sugar 1 tsp fennel seeds 1 garlic clove, crushed 50g dill, roughly chopped 140g goat’s curd or a young and creamy goat’s cheese such as rosary Grated zest of 1 lemon Coarse sea salt and black pepper Start by preparing the fennel bulbs. First take off the leafy fronds and keep them for garnish. Then slice off some of the root part and remove any tough or brown outer layers, making sure the base still holds everything together. Cut each bulb lengthways into 1-1½cm thick slices. Melt half the butter and half the oil in a large frying pan placed over high heat. When they start to foam add one layer of sliced fennel. Do not overcrowd the pan and don’t turn the fennel over or stir it around in the pan until one side has become light golden, about 2 minutes. Turn the slices over, using kitchen tongs, and cook for a further minute or two. Remove from the pan. Continue with the rest of the fennel using up the remaining butter and oil. Once the entire fennel has been seared, add sugar, fennel seeds and plenty of salt and pepper to the pan. Fry for 30 seconds and then stir the fennel slices back into the pan, caramelising them gently for 1-2 minutes (they need to remain hard inside so just allow them to coat in the melting sugar and seeds). Remove the fennel from the pan and leave to cool down on a plate. To serve, toss the fennel in a bowl along with the garlic and dill. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Arrange on a serving plate, dotting with spoonfuls of goat’s curd. Finish with a drizzle of oil, scatter with lemon zest and garnish with the fennel fronds. Serve at room temperature.
  • Nopi, Sep 12th, 2011


    12/9: Katie’s back and we’re all ecstatic!!

  • Nopi, Sep 2nd, 2011

    Back Camera

    2/9: Honami Matsumoto, our sommelier appearing on the left in the last post, is featuring a couple of her pride and joys: Bellotti Bianco, a biodynamic white from Piedmont with 100% Cortese (the same grape for the Gavi di Gavi). She can go on and on about the hint of butterscotch, lemon zest and nuts, but the more interesting point is that it matches like hand to glove our new sea trout and bulgar tartar. Then there’s Kerner, which comes from Abbazia di Novacella, a working 12th century Augustinian abbey in Alto Adige, Northern Italy. Kerner is a cross between Riesling and Black Trollinger (almost exclusive German red grape). This you’d want to have with our savoury cheesecake that’s served with lightly pickled beetroots. Intoxicating!

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