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So think picnics, brunches, taco nights and festive feasts.
“It’s written purely to help you get ahead again so you can smash out the best dinner party ever.”
The idea was to provide guaranteed food combinations in ways to create them that are low stress.
“The way to do that is by getting organised, getting ahead of the game.”
He mixes it up from the usual starter-main-dessert format to the sharing, family-style type service.
“Curry Night”, includes sharing plates of aubergine dal, turmeric paneer, fluffy naan and a dessert, while “Last Minute Feast”, features antipasti, pasta and a dessert of panettone French toast.
“I want you to be inspired, to make wonderful moments you can share.”
Precious pear tart
Almond frangipane & ginger nut crust
with leftover pears
200ml elderflower cordial
4cm piece of cinnamon stick
4 fresh bay leaves
1 large orange
12 small ripe pears
240g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
150g gingernut biscuits
200g blanched almonds
200g golden caster sugar
2 large free-range eggs
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 Tbsp plain flour
vanilla ice cream, to serve
Get yourself a deep pan that will snugly fit all the pears in one layer.
Pour in the elderflower cordial and 300ml of water, then add the cinnamon, bay and cloves.
Use a speed-peeler to add thick strips of orange peel, then squeeze in the juice.
Peel the pears, then trim the bottoms off to give each one a flat base. Sit them in the liquor, cover with a scrunched-up sheet of damp greaseproof paper and simmer gently on a medium heat for 20 minutes, or until soft.
Remove the pears from the pan and leave to cool.
Gently reduce the syrup until thick, then cool, cover everything and refrigerate overnight.
ON THE DAY
Preheat the oven to 180degC. Lightly grease a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin with butter.
Blitz the gingernuts into a fine crumb in a food processor, pulse in 40g of butter, then tip into the tin, patting it across the base and a little up the sides.
Blitz the almonds until super-fine in the processor. Add the remaining butter, along with the sugar, eggs, vanilla paste and flour. Blitz until combined, then spoon evenly into the tin.
Cut into six of the pears from the stalk down to the base at 1cm intervals, then fan out, nestling the pears into the frangipane, like in the picture.
Spoon a little reserved syrup over each pear, then bake the tart for 50 minutes, or until golden and cooked through (covering the edges with tin foil if they start to get too dark).
Slice and serve warm or cold with the remaining syrup, for drizzling, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and maybe a little glass of amaretto or vin santo.
Jam jar prawn cocktails
Cocktail sauce, avo, tomatoes & crispy pancetta crumbs
1 clove of garlic
4 rashers of higher-welfare smoked pancetta
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
3 Tbsp natural yoghurt
3 Tbsp tomato sauce
2 little gem lettuces
200g ripe cherry tomatoes
1 punnet of cress
1 ripe avocado
100g cooked brown shrimp, from sustainable sources
200g cooked peeled prawns, from sustainable sources
ON THE DAY
Peel the garlic and finely chop with the pancetta, then place in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the breadcrumbs and fry until crunchy and golden, tossing regularly. Leave to cool.
For the sauce, whisk up the mayo, yoghurt, tomato sauce, half the lemon juice and a dash each of Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce, then season to perfection, tasting and tweaking.
Finely shred the lettuces. Halve the cucumber lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon, then chop into 1cm dice.
Quarter the cherry tomatoes. Snip the cress. Halve and de-stone the avocado, squeeze the flesh into a blender with the remaining lemon juice and blitz until smooth, loosening with a splash of water, if needed, then season to perfection.
Line up six clean wide-necked jam jars or glasses ready to fill. Divide the lettuce between them, followed by the cucumber and tomatoes, gently pressing down as you build the layers.
Spoon in the cool, crispy pancetta crumbs, top with the cress, then sprinkle in the shrimp and prawns. Drizzle in the sauce and add a pinch of cayenne to each. Spoon over the blitzed avo, cover and you’re done.
A good fishmonger will have a nice selection of prawns - I like to use a mixture here, even a few smoked ones would be great. Have fun with it.
Extraordinary seafood parcels
Fish, scallops, king prawns, pak choi & fragrant green sauce
For me, recipes like this feel like a little adventure. Sourcing beautiful fresh fish and seafood, and cooking it all in a sealed bag really amplifies the flavours and feels exciting, meaning each of your guests ends up with their own parcel of treasure to enjoy.
2 cloves of garlic
8cm piece of ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
4 × 125g white fish fillets, skin on, scaled, pin-boned, from sustainable sources
1 stick of lemongrass
2 spring onions
1 fresh green chilli
2 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp low-salt soy sauce
6 lime leaves
1 bunch of coriander (30g)
1 × 400g tin of light coconut milk
4 raw king scallops, coral attached, trimmed, from sustainable sources
4 large raw shell-on king prawns, from sustainable sources
2 pak choi
1 large free-range egg
Peel the garlic and ginger. Put one clove into a pestle and mortar, then slice and add half the ginger, the turmeric and a small pinch of sea salt. Pound into a paste, brush all over the fish fillets, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Crush the lemongrass, remove the outer layer and trim with the spring onions.
De-seed the chilli. Roughly chop it all with the remaining garlic and ginger and place in a blender with the sesame oil, soy sauce, and the lime zest.
Tear in two lime leaves, discarding the stalks, add the coriander, stalks and all, then tip in the coconut milk.
Blitz until super-smooth, and refrigerate overnight.
ON THE DAY
Use a small knife to gently score a criss-cross pattern into each scallop. Leaving the heads and tails attached, remove the prawn shells, then run a knife down their backs to butterfly them, removing the vein. Quarter the pak choi lengthways.
Get yourself four 50cm square sheets of greaseproof paper or tin foil, fold each in half and place a plate under half of one sheet to act as a base.
Pour a quarter of the sauce into the centre - the plate will stop it running away.
Sit two quarters of pak choi, one piece of fish, one prawn, one scallop and one lime leaf on top, drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil, then eggwash the exposed paper.
Fold it over, then work your way around from one side to the other, folding in as you go to seal the parcel.
Carefully transfer to your largest baking tray, and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 180degC. Put the tray of parcels over a high heat on the hob for three minutes, or until you can hear them start to sizzle, then carefully transfer to the oven for 15 minutes.
Slide a parcel on to each of four plates, and let your guests tear them open at the table.
Serve with lime wedges, ready to tweak the sauce to perfection.
Swap out the seafood in each parcel for 2 rounded scoops of silken tofu (125g) and 60g of shiitake or oyster mushrooms.
Tinned water chestnuts would also be a joy, and use a little oil instead of the eggwash.