Recipes from our pub kitchen
by Amanda Pritchett
Mildly bitter Belgian chicory is grown in darkness to achieve a pale yellow -white leaf.
It gets what it deserves here – something sweet, something sharp and punchiness from the mustard. It is also great raw with pear, Roquefort, toasted walnuts and mustard dressing. Braising it changes its texture to something silky and unctuous at the same time.
This kind of pasta dish with sausage and cream is typical of Norcia in central Italy, where their black pigs give very good meat. Truffles are added when in season, or some ceps. Sedanini is a bit like slim rigatoni - other pasta shapes that work here are tortiglioni, penne, orecchiette, rigatoni and casarecce.
This lemon pickle has a very assertive flavour, but for some reason it goes really well with white fish. I suppose although its strong, it has quite a clean taste. You could also use it with cod or hake.
The weather can still be quite cold in February, and this pie is warming, using meaty celeriac and mushrooms. The pastry is based on a Delia Smith recipe, it’s pretty simple, and she has some good tutorials for this online.
Pearl cous - cous (Moghrabieh) is a lovely chewy addition to the salad if you can get it, but chickpeas, or pearl barley could be used instead. Raw kale and roast squash add very contrasting textures. Unlike most salads, you can eat it the next day – just bring back to room temperature.
This recipe comes from the Charentes-maritime region of France, on the coast just north of Bordeaux.
I guess the spices came from the trade in the Port, but I like to imagine that one day, a slightly hungover commis chef, fed up with endlessly cooking mussels in wine and cream, thought to herself - “putain de merde, aujourd’hui je vais mettre du curry dans les moules”.
Making a pesto from the kale helps to distribute the flavours throughout the pasta. Buy whole hazelnuts with the skins, as the ready blanched ones are often not fresh. I prefer this with buckwheat pasta, but if you prefer the wheat variety, that works here too.
This is one of our favourite dishes, actually Tom Gilroy’s favourite dish. In Portugal it is often cooked in a cataplana - a double sided pan which clamps together like a clam shell holding in all the juices.
The flavours come from white wine, bay leaves and “massa de pimentao”- a rich red pepper and garlic paste.
In the pubs, we make this in individual dishes, but you can make it in a big dish. You can use ready-made puff pastry – look for butter puff pastry, otherwise it will be made with dreaded margarine. Rough puff pastry is relatively easy to make at home.
Tortilla is a humble dish, but it does require a lot of good olive oil, patience, and the right pan. You will also need a pan lid a bit larger than the frying pan – or you can use a plate. In the pub we use small blini pans for individual tortillas.
A comforting plate for autumn or mid-winter, the spicy, creamy lentils, are offset by sweet squash and sharp bright coriander salsa. Red lentils are thirsty beasts , so you may need to add a bit more stock or water if they become too dry. This dish regularly out-sells steak on our menus.
If I could only have one meat dish, this might be it. You could make this with grilled pork chops or Italian sausage instead if you want a simpler dish. If you don’t fancy fennel, then some greens would be lovely. The belly needs to be marinated for 8 hours.
This risotto makes use of purple leaved, round headed radicchio or Treviso lettuce which is elongated in shape. In the north of Italy, around Treviso where this type of leaf is grown in different varieties, they are used in pasta, rice dishes and salads. They pair well with salty cheeses, gorgonzola, pancetta and anchovies. In a salad, an orange dressing would be good, or they can be grilled and tossed in balsamic vinegar to go with grilled quail or pork.
The cooking of these bitter lettuces somewhat tempers their flavour, and we add some sundried tomato to offset the bitterness further. You could make a pale monochromatic version of this with Belgian endive/chicory which is milder, leaving out the tomatoes, and using prosecco instead of red wine.
There are many versions of this hunter’s style stew which is part of the coq au vin family of dishes. Cook the mirepoix slowly to give proper body to the finished stew. It should never be overwhelmed with tomatoes. It would be even better with rabbit, pheasant or guinea fowl.
This dish is really great for cold weather and if you have plenty of time. It is typical of stews found in the mountainous regions of Spain. The character of this stew is – Large creamy white beans slowly cooked in a good stock with saffron and smoked paprika and served with pieces of pork that have been cooked in the stock.
This is a hearty vegetable dish, flavoured and thickened with paprika. There are basically four types of paprika – smoked hot, smoked sweet, unsmoked sweet and unsmoked hot. This recipe calls for unsmoked sweet, and if you can get Hungarian, it is one of the best.