How wonderful English asparagus can be, even if it does only have a six-week
season from the beginning of May to June 21. So make the most of it now! It
is such an adaptable vegetable and can be used for so many different and delicious
dishes. The supermarkets have some great offers on locally grow asparagus so
have a go: you can roast it, barbeque it, sauté it or turn it into a
A favourite starter of mine is prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Simple to make,
blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 5-6 minutes, depending on the
thickness of the spears. Drain and plunge into cold water, then wrap around
a slice of Parma or Seranno ham. just before serving, pan-fry in a little olive
oil to crisp up the ham. This can then be served with a drizzle of olive oil
and some shavings of Pannesan, or alternatively with a hollandaise sauce or
a salsa verde.
TOP CHEF DAVID WILBY GIVES HIS TIPS ON MAKING
THE PERFECT “CHIP SHOP”
Antony Worrall Thompson’s right-hand man and executive chef David Wilby believes the British
know how to make the best chips and – in the run up to National Chip Week
(February 21-27) – reveals his recipe for fabulous fries and hand cut
“Greasy, limp and soggy chips can be a thing of the past with the
right ingredients and the right techniques,” says David, who works alongside
Worrall Thompson in running The Greyhound
pub, near Henley-on Thames, Windsor
Grill and Kew Grill restaurants
and Windsor Larder delicatessen and
David and Antony’s restaurants are famous for their hand cut ‘chunky’
and ‘skinny’ chips, with the Grills selling more than 200 kilos of chips every
week alongside succulent British steaks!
“Good chips can be really difficult to find outside the chip shop
these days,” says David, who gives intensive training to all his restaurant
chefs on the art of the perfect chip. “Many pubs and restaurants use frozen
chips and very few attempt to hand cut because it’s so labour intensive. But we
British have always appreciated what makes a good chip and we work hard at AWT
Restaurants to make them the best in the business.”
top five chip tips
Pick your potatoes. We only use ‘floury’ Maris Pipers in our restaurants because they
give just the right crispy, golden exterior and fluffy interior once cooked -
waxy potatoes are no good for frying. We
buy them unwashed – the dirt protects them from sunlight and keeps the potatoes
in tip-top condition. If you want really superior chips, Mayan Gold cannot be
beaten. This is an old fashioned variety that’s not widely available but has a
Prepare properly. Wash and peel your potatoes and dab them dry with a paper towel. Cut
them into 3 quarter inch by 3 quarter inch batons about 3 to 4 inches long
(thicker cut chips tend to be slightly lower-fat because they absorb less oil)
and make sure they are all of an even width so they cook at the same rate.
3. Cook twice. Always
blanch your chips first in cool oil in a deep, heavy-based pan (or preferably in
a deep-fat fryer) at around 140 degrees for around 8 minutes and then leave them
to cool properly. Then, just before serving, pop them into very hot oil (around
180 degrees) for 2/3 minutes. Drain on kitchen towel and serve
4. Watch the heat. Always
have a thermometer to hand so you don’t under heat or, more importantly, over
heat your oil (many accidents are caused through neglected chip
5. Flavour with fat.
Personally, I love frying chips in beef dripping as this give incredible flavour
but good old vegetable or nut oils work well too (and are better for
Hollywood's Brown Derby Restaurant made Cobb Salad famous
in the 1920s when restaurant manager Bob
Cobb invented it to use leftovers and now
with the credit crunch upon us it’s our
turn to ‘re-do’ food.
How many times are those leftover vegetables,
roast potatoes, even meat from the Sunday
roast just binned, too many? Sorry to get
on my high horse but the months ahead are
going to be tough both for all of us as
individuals and households but even more
so for our farmers and for businesses. Be
sure to refrigerate leftovers promptly and
use them within one or two days or freeze.
If you have any doubt about whether any
food is still safe to eat, throw it out!
We all need to make economic use of all
the odds and ends that invariably get leftover
from previous meals or forgotten in the
1.Any left over bread which is
on it’s way out can be blitzed
up with salt, pepper and any
herbs and frozen down as breadcrumbs
to make into stuffing or to
2.You can also use bread, croissants
etc to make bread and butter
pud – you can jazz it up with
fruit – dried or fresh, spices,
3.Make croutons - Toss cubed bread
with olive oil, salt and ground
black pepper, spread onto a
baking sheet and cook in a 175ºC/
Gas Mark 4 oven until they begin
4.French toast is a great way
to use up bread that is going
stale along with those eggs
loitering in the corner – beat
an egg with a splash of milk,
a pinch of sugar and a pinch
of salt. Soak flour slices of
bread in turn in the milk on
both sides and then fry in melted
butter and serve with maple
the glut of fruit around to
make jams – if you don’t grown
your own; go blackberrying,
look out for fruits which are
reduced in the supermarkets
to turn into jams and compotes
Make smoothies, muffins, pies/tarts
with fruits in your fridge that
are starting to go soft.
Don’t waste money on potpourri
– put leftover lemon peel on
fire to give a zesty aroma around
Freeze leftover lemon and lime
peel so when a recipe calls
for zest, you can just grate
it without wasting the rest
of the fruit.
Cooked too much? Fry up chopped
veggies – onions, peppers, mushrooms,
maybe add some meat – chopped
ham, bacon, chicken or even
cooked prawns. Add the rice
and heat through for a quick
Cooked white rice can be frozen
after it’s cooled, so if you
can’t use it right away, put
it in an airtight container
and freeze it.
1. Make potato cakes – mix mash with other left over veggies, make into
patties, fry and serve with apple sauce for a delicious supper.
2. Potato scones - add enough flour to your left over mashed potatoes to make
soft dough, roll out in thin rounds and cook both sides, in a dry frying pan,
until it starts to brown. These can be eaten plain with a bit of butter or jam
or use them as wraps to house your leftover veggies or even stew. These potato
scones will also freeze well so you can make up more than you can eat and
freeze for emergency suppers.
1. The good old bubble and squeak – fried up leftover veggies – the chief
ingredients are potatoes and cabbage but any other leftover vegetables can be
added – delicious served with cold left over roast.
2. Five a day omelettes – chop up & fry any vegetables lurking in your
fridge or larder that have seen better days, stir into some beaten eggs and
season, cook, top with a slice of cheese and fold over.
3. Leftover onions and red/green peppers can be chopped and sealed in bags
and kept in the freezer. It's economical and time-saving, too so that next time
you need chopped onions, just pull a bag out of the freezer!
4. Pot luck soup – keep a bucket with a lid in your freezer for leftover
veggies – once a week make into soup – the children will love seeing what comes
out of the bucket they put their leftover in!
Store your leftover meat
in the fridge, ensuring it’s
cooled and packaged within an
hour of finishing your meal.
Wash your hands thoroughly,
use clean utensils throughout,
and ensure the meat is piping
hot before you serve it when
you reheat it. Chop any left
over roast meat or poultry and
freeze and used in a casserole
later in the week however meat
in prepared dishes (like stews
or curries) keeps better than
plain diced pieces, which can
dry out on defrosting.
left over roast into small pieces
and mix into mashed potatoes,
cauliflower and leeks. Serve
piping hot as a main dish with
a little mustard.
finely chopped left over roast
with an egg, breadcrumbs, a
pinch of sage and pepper. Shape
into patties and fry in butter.
Serve hot in burger buns.
Leftover meat like roast
beef, turkey or chicken can
easily be used in sandwiches
for tomorrow's lunch.
Leftover ham makes great
ham salad or you can use it
to make ham and pea soup.
meat of any type makes great
meatballs! Blitz it in a processor
(or chop finely by hand) with
an onion or two, an egg, and
seasonings of your choice. Lamb,
for instance, suits rosemary,
garlic, oregano and lemon zest;
beef deserves plenty of garlic
and oregano; pork is great with
dried apricots. When the mixture
is mouldable, form it into meatballs
and shallow-fry them until golden,
then drop into tomato sauce
to simmer until they’re thoroughly
reheated. Great served over
way to use up leftover beef
or lamb – fry some chopped onion
and add finely-diced potato
and a pinch of chopped herbs
(rosemary, thyme or oregano),
before adding the shredded meat.
Roll out some shop bought shortcrust
or puff pastry, and cut into
large circles. Fill half of
each circle with the meaty mixture
and brush the edges with egg,
then seal tightly using a fork.
Sit each pasty seam-upwards
on a baking tray, brush with
more egg, and bake until golden.
Eat hot, warm or cold!
I love cooking with mushrooms as
they are so versatile and
earthy! However, a word of warning: treat them with respect. They are very fragile.
They really don't need peeling and are not fond of water - so simply rub off
any dirt. There are many great varieties and the more artisan, wild mushrooms,
such as ceps and chanterelles; are great to stir-fry. Oyster mushrooms are
perfect in risottos and for tonnes of taste opt for chestnut mushrooms. The
trumpet-shaped chanterelles are brilliant to use with creamy scrambled eggs and
gigante mushrooms are ideal for stuffing.
1. lf you don't use the basic dough all in one go, divide it into
portions and put each one in a floured polythene bag. These should keep for 2-3
days in the fridge. When you want to use them, let them stand at room
temperature for 2 hours tirst, to re-awaken the yeast.
2. For the salami pizza, you can ring in the changes by using pepperoni
3. When preparing the classic tomato pizza base, be aware that
oregano is an oily herb and the flavour is intensified when dried, so use
4. For Caesar chicken pizza, experiment with cheeses. Fontina
is an Italian cows’ milk cheese and well worth a try.
5. You can substitute red onions for Spanish ones in the onion
and Gorgonzola pizza.
6. Other fruits, such as apricots, plums, peaches or nectarines,
would also be brilliant for the raspberry pizza.
To make your own crostini, use thinly sliced ciabatta or
French bread. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little rock salt and bake
at 160°C until golden brown. Also, any dessert wine will do if you can’t get Vin
Cheddar or Camembert can be used in the cheese and champagne
soup, instead of Emmenthal.
Remember it’s important to keep the asparagus green and
crunchy. Floppy asparagus will be messy with the eggs.
lf you want to spice up the bruschetta of beef, add a little
For the deep fried Camembert, if the cheese has a chalky
centre it is not fully ripe. lt ripens from the outside in.
Sumac has a lovely citrus tang which goes very well with white
fish. If you have some remaining from the tiger prawn recipe, rub a little on
your fish before grilling or frying.