Seeded Granola and Chai-spiced Poached Plums by Chantelle Nicholson

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Homemade granola is super simple and has a good shelf life when kept in an airtight container. Dark red plums are among my favourite fruits to poach, so I suggest doing a four times recipe and keeping a large container in the fridge – perfect for breakfast and pudding.

Serves 4

For the plums:
8 plums
50g caster sugar
2 English Breakfast tea bags
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
2 star anise
4 cloves
1 bay leaf

For the granola:
150g rolled oats
60g coconut oil
40g sesame seeds
40g sunflower seeds
60g pumpkin seeds
60g dates, chopped
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons agave syrup
non-dairy yogurt, to serve

Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas mark 3.

First prepare the plums. Cut each plum in half, remove the stone and set aside. Put the sugar in a large saucepan or deep frying pan with 250ml warm water. Bring to the boil, then add the tea bags, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, star anise, cloves and bay leaf. Simmer for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to steep for 6 minutes. Lift out the tea bags and return the pan to the heat. Bring to a simmer, then add the plums, cut-side down. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 5–7 minutes, until just soft. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, then peel off the skins and transfer to a container and refrigerate.

For the granola, put all the ingredients except the agave into a deep roasting tray and cook for 8–12 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until golden. Drizzle over the agave and toast for a further 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Serve the granola with the plums and a spoonful of yogurt.

Cook more from this book 
Whole barbecued spiced cauliflower
Peanut butter pudding

Read the review 

Buy the book 
Planted: A chef’s show-stopping vegan recipes
£25, Kyle Books

Recipes taken from Planted by Chantelle Nicholson. Published by Kyle Books. Photography by Nassima Rothacker

Whole Barbecued Spiced Cauliflower, Tarragon Tzatziki, Summer Slaw by Chantelle Nicholson

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Barbecued Cauliflower is not normally thought of, but give it a try as it is absolutely delicious. Brining it ensures it is seasoned all the way through.
The spice mix does not have too much heat in it, so up the chilli flakes if
you prefer. Using the cauliflower leaves in the slaw also minimises waste.

Serves 4

For the cauliflower brine
7g table salt
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 large cauliflower, leaves removed
and reserved for the slaw

For the spice mix
25g non-dairy butter
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

For the tzatziki
½ cucumber, grated
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
125g coconut yogurt
¼ bunch of mint, leaves chopped
¼ bunch of tarragon, leaves chopped
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the summer slaw
¼ red cabbage, finely sliced
1 nectarine, halved, stoned and julienned
100g sugar snap peas, finely sliced
100g rocket, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
¼ bunch of coriander, leaves finely chopped
50ml Sesame Vinaigrette (see page 186)

First make the cauliflower brine. Bring 100ml of water to the boil with the
salt, bay leaves and coriander seeds. When the salt has dissolved, add
900ml of cold water and submerge the cauliflower in it for 2 hours.

Preheat a barbecue or griddle pan until hot. Combine all the spice mix
ingredients, then remove the cauliflower from the brine, pat dry, and brush
all over with half the spiced butter.

Place on the hot barbecue or griddle pan. Cook all over until a deep golden, then brush with the remaining spiced butter and wrap in foil and put back on the barbecue or pan. Cook in the foil for 20–25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre meets no resistance. Remove the cauliflower from the foil and place back on the barbecue, drizzling the cooking juices from the foil over the top.

For the tzatziki, mix all the ingredients together and season to taste.
for the summer slaw, mix all the ingredients together, including the sliced
cauliflower leaves, then season well and dress with the vinaigrette.
Slice the spiced cauliflower and serve drizzled with the tzatziki and the slaw
on the side.

Cook more from this book
Seeded Granola and Chai-spiced Poached Plums
Peanut Butter Pudding, Peanut Caramel, Dark Chocolate Sorbet

Read the review

Buy the book
Planted: A chef’s show-stopping vegan recipes
£25, Kyle Books

Recipes taken from Planted by Chantelle Nicholson. Published by Kyle Books. Photography by Nassima Rothacker

The Hidden Hut by Simon Stallard

The Hidden Hut jacket

What’s the USP? Recipes from one of Cornwall’s best-loved beach restaurants, famous for its open-air feast nights.

Who’s the author? Simon Stallard is the chef and owner of The Hidden Hut, a casual beachside restaurant set in ‘an old wooden shed’ on a coastal path near Truro. Stallard worked around the globe from ‘New York to New Delhi’ before settling in Cornwall and opening the Hut in 2010.

What does it look like? The numerous scene-setting photographs mean that you can almost feel the sand between your toes and smell the salty tang of the sea. Reading the Hidden Hut will make you want to jump in the car and immediately head for the south Cornish coast. The colourfully rustic food looks very appealing, the sort of pleasingly unpretentious stuff you just want to get stuck into.

Is it good bedtime reading? Not so much, just a short introduction and a ‘How to cook over fire section’ (cooking over a wood fire in the open air is what Hidden Hut feast nights are all about and Stallard shares his expertise over a 10-page section of the book).

Will I have trouble finding ingredients? You will be at an advantage if you live by the coast and can get your hands on spider crabs, octopus and gurnard, but as long as you can get to a good fishmonger you’ll be fine.

What’s the faff factor? Dishes range from a straightforward mid-week meal of lamb cutlets with butter bean mash and fresh mint sauce to a special-occasion-only slow roasted goat in preserved lemons, but overall the food is about as far from overwrought, tweezered complex restaurant food as you can get.

How often will I cook from the book? With recipes for breakfast (smokey bacon pastries), lunch (chicken and wild garlic soup), picnics (green pea scotch eggs) and parties (seafood paella for 40) as well as lots of delicious dinner ideas, it’s difficult to say when you won’t be cooking from the book.

Killer recipes? Despite the crab on the cover, this is not just a seafood cookbook. In addition to dishes like red-hot mullet with sticky rice balls and cucumber salad and Summer sardines with saffron potatoes and oregano dressing, there’s plenty of meat and veg in the form of 12-hour lamb with smoky aubergine, and samphire frittata with warm lemony courgette salad.

What will I love? There’s a real feel-good factor about the book, open it at any page and you’ll be inspired to get in the kitchen and cook.

What won’t I like? If you want super serious, complex cheffy cooking, this is not the book for you.

Should I buy it? The Hidden Hut is the sort of book with recipes that will become perennial favourites that you’ll find yourself going back to time and time again. So that’s a yes.

Cuisine: Modern British
Suitable for: Confident home cooks
Cookbook Review Rating: 4 stars

Buy this book
The Hidden Hut
£20, HarperCollins

Cook from this book
Buttermilk drop cakes with lemon curd
Chicken and wild garlic soup
Fire-pit wild sea bass with verde sauce

Fire-pit wild sea bass with verde sauce by Simon Stallard

THH_FirepitRecipe-6108-Edit

A real crowd pleaser, this chargrilled whole fish is just beautiful in its simplicity. Stuffed with soft herbs and slices of lemon and garlic, the fish is cooked until the skin turns crisp, with striking grill lines. It comes with a slightly sharp herby sauce, which adds a burst of greenness as well as lots of flavour.

Serves 4–6

1 × 2kg wild sea bass, gutted and scaled
olive oil, for coating
2 handfuls of flat-leaf parsley leaves
leaves from a handful of lemon thyme sprigs
1 large lemon, sliced
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
5 bay leaves
½ onion
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
lemon wedges and crusty bread, to serve

FOR THE VERDE SAUCE
7 anchovy fillets in vinegar, or 4 if using salted
10g wild garlic leaves or 1 garlic clove, peeled 2 tbsp capers
20g basil leaves
15g flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 heaped tbsp lemon thyme leaves
juice of ½ lemon
125ml extra-virgin olive oil sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper

To make the verde sauce, rinse the anchovies if using salted, then put them and the remaining ingredients, apart from the olive oil, into a mini food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Gradually pour in the olive oil and blend to a fairly smooth sauce, then season with salt and pepper. (Alternatively, if you prefer a chunkier sauce, finely chop the anchovies, garlic, capers and herbs, or use

a pestle and mortar, then add the lemon juice. Gradually stir in the oil.) Spoon the sauce into a bowl and set aside.

Light the fire pit (or you could use a wood-fired grill or a barbecue) about 30 minutes before cooking, following the instructions on page 76. You want a medium-high heat on one half of the fire-pit grill (check out the method for two-zone cooking on page 78). The rack should be about 20cm above the heat source.

Rinse the sea bass in cold running water, then pat dry inside and out with kitchen paper. You could cut a slash behind the head to enable heat to reach the collar, but I don’t tend to slash the sides – the skill is in creating bass crackling.

Rub the fish all over with a good coating of olive oil. Stuff the parsley, thyme, lemon slices and garlic into the fish cavity, then top with the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

Rub the grill rack with the cut side of the onion to stop the fish sticking to it, then put the sea bass directly on the hot side of the fire-pit grill. Grill the sea bass for 4 minutes on each side, carefully turning/rolling it over using two fish slices. Move the fish over to the cooler side of the grill and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until the skin is crisp and the flesh starts to flake away from the bone, especially around the base of the head.

Serve the sea bass with a splash of olive oil and the lemon wedges, verde sauce and chunky slices of crusty bread.

The Hidden Hut by Simon Stallard (HarperCollins) £20, is out now

Cook more from this book
Chicken and wild garlic soup
Buttermilk drop cakes with lemon curd

Read the review

Buy the book 
The Hidden Hut
£20, HarperCollins

Chicken and wild garlic soup by Simon Stallard

THH_Chicken_Garlic_Soup-885-Edit.jpg

Wild garlic is abundant in local woodlands. They are small ground- covering plants with broad leaves and a little cluster of white flowers during the spring, and they are often found alongside bluebells. If you come across any wild garlic when you are out and about, this recipe is a lovely way to make the best of it. This is an enriching dish full of the flavours of spring.

Homemade stock really is better made with the whole bird, so buy a whole chicken and joint it. Use the carcass and legs for this recipe and freeze the breasts (or use them in the Charred Chicken and Squash Salad on page 104). To make the soup more substantial, cook 200g dried rice noodles and put them in the bowl before adding the soup, if you like.

Serves 4–6

3 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for roasting
1 large chicken, jointed (you can ask your butcher to do this) and breasts reserved for another recipe
3 celery sticks, roughly diced
1 onion, roughly diced
1  leek,  roughly  chopped
1  large  garlic  bulb, cloves peeled
100g wild garlic leaves, roughly sliced (keep the flowers if you have them)
4 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
a small handful of mint leaves, ripped
a small handful of coriander leaves, ripped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan oven) gas mark 7. Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan over a high heat and add the chicken legs, skin side down, along with the wings and the carcass (you may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pan). Fry over a very high heat, to brown all over. Transfer to a roasting tin and coat in a little more oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 15–18 minutes until a deep golden brown.

Add the vegetables to the same pan (there should still be some oil in there) and put it back over a medium heat. Sweat the veg for 2 minutes or until starting to soften but not colour.

Once roasted, return the chicken to the pan and pour over 2 litres cold water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1½ hours. Strain the soup and return the broth to the pan. Take the chicken from the sieve, remove the skin and shred the meat from the bones, discarding the bones and skin. Leave the meat to one side.

Divide the wild garlic among serving bowls and top with the spring onions. Divide the shredded chicken between the bowls and add the herbs.

Taste the broth and check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Ladle it over the chicken and greens in the bowl, and sprinkle over the garlic flowers, if you have them.

The Hidden Hut by Simon Stallard (HarperCollins) £20, is out now

Cook more from this book 

Buttermilk drop cakes with lemon curd
Fire-pit wild sea bass with verde sauce

Read the review

Buy the book 
The Hidden Hut
£20, HarperCollins
 

Gunpowder by Harneet Baweja, Devina Seth and Nirmal Save

Gunpowder

What’s the USP? ‘Explosive flavours from modern India’ runs the subtitle. In reality, this is a collection of recipes from Gunpowder, a ‘home-style Indian kitchen restaurant’ in Spitalfields London.

Who’s the author? Husband and wife team Harneet Baweja and Devina Seth opened the 20-cover Gunpowder restaurant close to Brick Lane in 2015 with head chef Nirmal Save. This is their debut cookbook.

What does it look like? Mouthwateringly good. Recipes collected from family in Kolkata and Mumbai and inspired by Indian street food have been given a makeover with attractive modern plating. There’s some moody black and white scene setting shots of the restaurant and its kitchen and some boldly colourful shots of the subcontinent.

Is it good bedtime reading? There is very little additional text asie from a two page introduction and a spice glossary. Chapter and recipe introductions are concise and to the point.

Will I have trouble finding ingredients?  Unless you can shoot it yourself, you’ll need a good butcher to find you some wild rabbit to make the pulao recipe and you may have trouble finding pomfret (but you can just substitute John Dory the recpe says) but otherwise it’s pretty mainstream stuff.

What’s the faff factor? There are the long ingredient lists of numerous spices that you’d normally associate with Indian cooking which make the recipes look more complicated than they actually are. In reality, most of the dishes are striaghtforward and well within the capability of any confident home cook.

How often will I cook from the book? If you love Indian food, you might well find yourself taking the book from your shelf on a regular basis.

Killer recipes? Chutney cheese sandwich; Mustard broccoli with makhana sauce; Maa’s Kashmiri lamb chops; wild rabbit pulao; blue crab Malabar curry.

What will I love? The small plates chapter is full of inspiration for something a little bit different for breakfast (chickpea pancakes with fried eggs and tomato and coriander chutney) lunch (kale and corn cakes) or beer snacks (kadai paneer parcel; a spicy cheese and puff pastry roll) while the list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks will put a spicy spring in your step.

What won’t I like? At under 200 pages, this is not the most comprehensive cookbook in the world.

Should I buy it? A diverse collection of delicious sounding, attractive looking dishes that are not too demanding to cook and suitable for any number of occasions and times of the day. If you like Indian food, you are going to love this book.

Cuisine: Indian
Suitable for: Confident home cooks
Cookbook Review Rating: 4 stars

Buy this book
Gunpowder: Explosive flavours from modern India
£25, Kyle Books

Cook from this book
Mustard Broccoli

Buttermilk drop cakes with lemon curd by Simon Stallard

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Topped with warm lemon curd and served straight from the stove, these drop cakes are a sure-fire way to draw everyone to the breakfast table. Serve with berries and crème fraîche.

Serves 4

320g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
a good pinch of sea salt
50g caster sugar
2 large eggs
290ml buttermilk
60g butter, plus extra for frying
crème fraîche and berries, to serve

FOR THE LEMON CURD
90g butter, cubed
140g caster sugar
a pinch of sea salt
120ml lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
3 large egg yolks
1 large egg

FOR THE MINT SUGAR
4 tbsp caster sugar
a good handful of mint leaves

First, make the lemon curd. Put the butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Add the sugar, salt and lemon juice. Stir until well combined and the butter has melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and set to one side.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Add this to the lemon and butter mixture and whisk to combine. Return the bowl to the simmering saucepan and heat for 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.

To make the mint sugar, simply either blitz the sugar and mint leaves in a food processor or bash them together using a mortar and pestle. Leave to one side.

Preheat the oven to 110°C (90°C fan oven) gas mark ¼. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs and buttermilk, and whisk everything together to make a smooth batter.

Put half the butter in a non-stick frying pan and melt it over a medium-low heat. Mix the melted butter into the batter.

Put the frying pan back over the heat and add tablespoonfuls of the mixture in small pools around the pan – you should be able to do 4–5 at a time. Cook for 1 minute on the first side, or until bubbles form on the surface. Flip them over and cook for 1 minute.

Remove from the pan and keep warm on a plate wrapped up in a tea towel in the oven while you cook the remaining batter in the same way, adding a little more of the remaining butter to the pan each time.

Serve the drop cakes warm with the lemon curd drizzled over, some crème fraîche and fresh berries and a sprinkle of the mint sugar.

The Hidden Hut by Simon Stallard (HarperCollins) £20, is out now

Cook more from this book 
Chicken and wild garlic soup
Fire-pit wild sea bass with verde sauce

Read the review

Buy the book 
The Hidden Hut
£20, HarperCollins