Peanut Butter Pudding, Peanut Caramel, Dark Chocolate Sorbet by Chantelle Nicholson

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This is one of those desserts that ticks all the boxes for a luscious treat
– peanut butter, caramel and chocolate. You can make the puddings as well as the sorbet in advance and freeze until needed. The sorbet is also delicious on its own – it makes a little more than you need for 4 people.

Serves 4

For the peanut butter pudding
80g aquafaba
80g caster sugar
65g ground almonds
65g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
20g peanut butter
20g olive oil
20g non-dairy butter, melted
20ml non-dairy milk

For the dark chocolate sorbet
125g caster sugar
90g cocoa powder
90g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa
solids, broken into pieces
100g ice

For the peanut butter caramel
60g caster sugar
30g non-dairy butter
60ml non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon peanut butter
¼ teaspoon table salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4. Grease 4 ramekins,approximately 250ml in volume. Start by making the sorbet. Put the sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan with 200ml of water. Whisk well, then place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Continue whisking and cooking the mixture until it thickens,
about 5 minutes. Put the chocolate in a mixing bowl and pour the cocoa mix
through a fine sieve onto the chocolate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then whisk
together. Add the ice and whisk until the ice has melted and the mixture has cooled. Churn in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions, or transfer to the freezer and remove and whisk every hour to break up the ice crystals.

For the puddings, whisk the aquafaba in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form.
Gradually add the sugar and whisk until glossy and all sugar grains have dissolved.

In a separate bowl, combine the ground almonds, flour, baking powder and salt. In a third bowl, mix the peanut butter, olive oil, melted butter and milk together. Stir the peanut butter mix into the dry ingredients, then gently fold in the meringue. Divide between the ramekins and bake for 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, make the caramel. Put the sugar into a small, heavybased
saucepan or frying pan. Set over medium heat and leave the sugar to melt, swirling the pan occasionally for even caramelisation. Once the sugar has dissolved and reached a deep golden colour, add the butter and whisk to combine well. Bring the milk to the boil, then add to the caramel and whisk well. Lastly, whisk in the peanut butter and salt.

Drizzle the warm caramel sauce over the peanut puddings and serve with a big scoop of dark chocolate sorbet.

Cook more from this book
Seeded granola with chai spiced poached plums
Whole barbecued spiced cauliflower

Read the review

Buy this 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

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

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

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

Aska by Fredrik Berselius

Aska

What’s the USP? Cutting edge, natural cooking from a leading New York chef.

Who’s the author? Two Michelin-starred, Swedish-born chef Fredrik Berselius of Aska restaurant that’s located in a Brooklyn back street under the shadow of the Willamsburg Bridge.

What does it look like? The book is a very desireable object with its textured black and gold cover, elegant design and stunning landscape,  portrait and food photography.

Is it good bedtime reading? In addition to the inspirational food, Berselius writes evocatively about his homeland of Sweden, his foraging trips to upstate New York and being a restaurateur and chef in Brooklyn.

Will I have trouble finding ingredients? Recipes tick all the modish ‘New Nordic’ boxes with ingedients like aged diary cow, birch, buttermilk, lingonberries and white currents, some of which may be tricky to track down for the home cook.

What’s the faff factor? Berselius has his own distinctive style. Some of the the most impactful presentations are the most simple, yet belie the numerous processes that go into their creation. Lamb Heart Burnt in Bedstraw appears to be a black disc on the plate but is in fact brunoise of fermented sunchoke, sunchoke emulsion and rendered lamb heart fat dusted with a powder of lamb heart that’s been cured, dried, grated, dry-fried, burnt with bedstraw, dry-fried and burnt a second time then blended and passed.

How often will I cook from the book? Techniques such as smoking, pickling and fermenting (along with a fair bit of foraging) mean that cooking from the book will require a fair amount of committment in terms of time, energy and organisation. Definately not the book to reach for when you come home late from work and need to rustle something up in 20 minutes.

Killer recipes? Lichen, caramelised cream, pine mushroom, spruce and chanterelle; grilled eel head on a branch; mackerel and black locust; sourdough, smoked hake and toasted milk.

What will I love? Berselius might be a resolutely urban chef saying, ‘I knew I wanted to be in New York. I fell in love with the city as soon as I set foot here’, but his cooking draws on formative experiences and memories from growing up in the suburbs of Stockholm and visiting his grandmother in the north of Sweden with its ‘reindeeer and white and black birch bark’ and summers spent among the ‘wheat, oat, rapeseed, grazing cows, and horses’ of the lowlands. Berselius’s achingly beautiful creations put nature right there on the plate in front of you. The food ranges from delicate (lenghts of pickled and compressed cucmber are artfully decorated pickled linden flowers) to red in tooth and claw (truffles made from pigs blood, butter and rose hip) but always seem to evoke some wild Nordic landscape.

What won’t I like? Some readers may find the book a little po-faced and over serious.

Should I buy it? Aska provides genuine insight into the mind of an exciting chef who is pushing the boundaries of his own creativity. As accomplished as Berselius obviously is, I get the feeling that there is much more to come from him. Roll on Aska book two.

Cuisine: Progressive
Suitable for: Professional chefs
Cookbook Review Rating: 4 stars

Buy this book
Aska
£39.95 Phaidon

Room for Dessert by Will Goldfarb

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What is it? Will Goldfarb has worked in the kitchens of Ferran Adria, Tetsuya Wakuda, Paul Liebrandt, and Morimoto. He is one of the top pastry chefs working today and is featured in the fourth series of acclaimed Netflix series Chef’s Table. In his first book, he shares 40 recipes, plus additional basics like sorbets, gelatos and mousses, from his acclaimed Room4Dessert restaurant in Bali.

What’s the USP? Along with the highly complex and bizarrely-named recipes called things like ‘Footsteps, or Burbur Injin’ (black rice pudding), each with their own obscure and sometimes almost unintelligible introduction, the book contains an extended biographical section and ‘The Lab of Ideas’ that provides an insight into Goldfarb’s unique creative process.

What does it look like? The modern, often minimalist desserts are all illustrated with overhead photographs which do some of the less visually impactful creations like Pom Pom Yeah: The Horse Thief (a take on Mont Blanc) no favours at all and makes you wonder what Violet de Meuron (frozen horchata with a dramatic purple hibiscus and onion skin ‘veil’) would look like from another angle.

Is it good bedtime reading? Let’s put it this way, there’s plenty to read, but whether or not you should be looking at it before trying to go to sleep is another matter. Goldfarb has a fascinating life story to tell but does so in such an oblique manner that he sacrifices clear narrative substance for a ‘clever’ turn of phrase and an odd pseudo-poetic style (not dissimilar to that employed by Sean Penn in his much-derided recent novel Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff),  that your frustration with the many gaps in the story might well keep you up at night. Best stick with the latest Laura Lippman.

Will I have trouble finding ingredients? Not at all, as long as you’re in Bali. Otherwise, see how you go asking for lontar nectar, fresh moringa leaves or snake fruit at your local Nisa (this is unfair, many of the recipes don’t include exotic ingredients and you should be able to source most of what you need with some diligent online shopping).

What’s the faff factor? This is a book by a progressive, experimental professional pastry chef written for his peers. What do you reckon it’s likely to be?

How often will I cook from the book? Determined hobbyist cooks who want to one-up their nerdy friends or intimidate their dinner party guests with their dazzling pastry skills will be all over this like a rash. Mere mortals will simply admire from the safety of their sofas.

Killer recipes? It’s difficult to say. Is Plat du Jour’s combination of yoghurt sorbet, coffee anglaise, grilled aubergine puree, vermouth gel, white chocolate and ginger ‘Toblerone’ and brioche, soaked in milk and blonde coconut nectar and cooked French toast-style, a winner? Who knows until you’ve made it and eaten it.

What will I love? You will have never read a cookbook quite like it.

What won’t I like? You will have never read a cookbook quite like it.

Should I buy it? If you are a professional pastry chef working at the cutting edge of cuisine, fill your boots. Others should approach with caution unless strongly attracted to whimsy and folderol.

Cuisine: Modernist desserts
Suitable for: Modernist pastry chefs
Cookbook Review Rating: 3 (or 5 if you’re a modernist pastry chef)

Buy this book
Room for Dessert
£39.95, Phaidon

Hawksmoor: Restaurants & Recipes by Huw Gott and Will Beckett

Hawksmoor

What is it? A sequel to the excellent Hawksmoor At Home was always going to be a tough gig but Gott and Becket, owners of the London-based modern steak restaurant group Hawksmoor that’s recently expanded to Manchester and will open in New York in 2019, have nailed it.

What does it look like? In a word, sumptuous. That’s not a word I particularly like but I can’t think of a better one for this hefty, 300-odd page tome with its hand-drawn illustrations, stunning photography of the food and restaurant interiors and imaginative page layouts.

Is it good bedtime reading? Absolutely. The story of the restaurant is told in detail with essays written by all the key players with additional contributions from suppliers.

Killer recipes? I could just copy out the book’s index, but some standouts include potted beef and bacon with yorkshires; Tamworth belly ribs; lobster slaw; macaroni cheese; whole roast pig’s head; trotter sausages; short rib bubble and squeak and sticky toffee tatin

Will I have trouble finding ingredients?  If you want to follow Hawksmoor’s ethos of serving the best quality meat and fish, you’ll want to give Asda a swerve and start chatting up your local butcher and fishmonger, if you’re lucky enough to have them, especially when it comes to things like pig’s head, trotters and whole brill and monkfish. Otherwise, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem.

What’s the faff factor?  Although the food is often quite simple, if you want to go full on Hawksmoor at home, you will have to set aside some time to make stocks, sauces and condiments.

What will I love? The sheer breadth and depth of the recipes. As well as all that meat, the chapters on seafood, vegetables and sides, breakfast and brunch and puddings are excellent. There’s even recipes for bar snacks like hot buttered lobster rolls and some serious sounding cocktails including Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew made with gin, London Pride beer and ginger syrup.

What won’t I like? Some material from Hawksmoor At Home is repeated including how to cook the perfect steak and how to make the restaurant’s signature burger but there’s more than enough new content, including a new seafood chapter written by Mitch Tonks, to justify the purchase if you already own the first book.

How often will I cook from the book?  You’ll be most likely to reach for Hawsmoor: Recipes and Recipes at the weekend when you have a bit more time in the kitchen, but the snacks, salads, vegetables and sides (and those cocktails) will come in handy anytime.

Should I buy it? Here’s a tip: if you’re best friends with Morrissey who wrote the song ‘Meat is Murder’, he probably won’t talk to you again if this celebration of all things carnivorous ended up on his coffee table. But if you’re a chef considering opening a steak restaurant or looking for inspiration for meaty starters and mains, this book is unbeatable. For fans of the restaurant, it’s the perfect memento with many of the recipes achievable at home. In short, Hawksmoor: Restaurants and Recipes over-delivers in every department, making what could have been a cash-in into an essential purchase.

Cuisine: British
Suitable for: Confident home cooks and chefs
Cookbook Review Rating: 5 stars

Buy this book
Hawksmoor: Restaurants & Recipes
£30, Preface