Peter Gordon, chef of Sugar Club comes to Ballymaloe

I am so excited – Peter Gordon, chef of Sugar Club fame and one of my great heroes, has agreed to be guest chef at the Ballymaloe Cookery School this year. We met originally on a foodie trip to Barcelona about 8 years ago – I was struck by his passion for food, his curiosity and his self-deprecating humour. Even though he was a super star among London chefs, he was totally grounded, not a universal trait among celebrity chefs – altogether a nice guy.

New Zealand-born Peter is co-owner and head chef of London's Providores and Tapa Room, and is renowned as a leading light of the Antipodean fusion-style of cookery. 
Peter began his career at the age of 17 as an apprentice in Melbourne. With this grounding he spent the next year travelling around south-east Asia, India and Nepal - an experience that was the catalyst to his development of the fusion style of blending East and West cuisines.
Back in New Zealand in 1986, he became head chef of the original Sugar Club in Wellington. Its success convinced the owners to transplant it to Notting Hill in 1995, where he was again appointed head chef. The Sugar Club quickly became one of the hottest tickets in town and picked up a Time Out award only a year later. The best-selling Sugar Club Cookbook followed soon after alongside monthly columns for glossies and several TV appearances.

He left the Sugar Club in 1999 and two years later got together with Anna Hansen and they opened the Providores and Tapa Room to the same critical and public acclaim as the Sugar Club. He also set up the annual charity event Who's Cooking Dinner? in 1999 to raise money for leukaemia research. Like everything else he's been involved in, it's been a roaring success.

Peter also opened a restaurant, dine by Peter Gordon in Auckland, New Zealand in 2005 in the gorgeous 5 star SKYCITY Grand Hotel. Peter now travels to lovely New Zealand 4 times a year to implement seasonal menu changes assisted by his head chef Cobus Klopper and restaurant manager Julie Woodyear-Smith. The menu in New Zealand is based on exceptional regional New Zealand ingredients (fresh wasabi, Wagyu beef, manuka honey, kumara, baby paua (black abalone), avocado oil, native herbs…) combined with the finest ingredients from around the world. 

Peter and Michael, partners since 1988, have also invested in a new vineyard in Kurau, North Otago, called Waitaki Braids. The wines will be made by famed New Zealand winemaker Michelle Richardson. The area is an exciting new region, which will soon develop a reputation for its Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and other cool climate varietals. 

Peter also consults for Air New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand, New Zealand Lamb, Foods from Spain, London’s Gourmet Burger Kitchen and the fantastic changa restaurant in Istanbul and PUBLIC restaurant in New York. Although he is a flag waver for eclectic and exciting Fusion Food, he is also passionate about traditionally made British Cheese and judges at the annual British Cheese Awards, organized by friend and fellow New Zealander Juliet Harbutt. 

We are delighted to welcome Peter to the Ballymaloe Cookery School on 17th July 2006 to teach a 1 day course –  Tel 021-4646785. Here are some recipes from Peter’s book ‘Cook at Home with Peter Gordon’ (Hodder & Stoughton)
Learn to Cook  with Peter Gordon at Ballymaloe
Buy this book from Amazon

Duck, ginger and peanut spring rolls with ginger dipping sauce

from Peter serves these spring rolls as canapés.
Makes 12-15

2 large duck legs, approx. 500-600g (18-20oz)
2 teasp. salt
2 ‘thumbs’ of ginger, peeled and finely minced
100g (3½oz) roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 cup coriander leaves
8 spring onions, finely sliced
10 x 15cm (6in) square, spring wrappers
1 egg, beaten, to seal the wrappers
300ml (10fl.oz) soy sauce
50ml (2 fl.oz) cider vinegar
50ml (2 fl.oz) light honey

Put the duck legs into a saucepan, cover them with cold water, add the salt, bring to the boil and simmer rapidly for 60 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the meat to cool in the liquid. Remove and discard the skin, then take the flesh off the bones and shred it finely. Mix it with half the ginger, all of the peanuts, the coriander and spring onions then taste for seasoning. Separate the spring roll wrappers, then stack them on top of each other to prevent them drying out. (They separate best at room temperature.) Have them in front of you in the shape of a diamond. Brush the egg-wash along the corner furthest away from you, then place a heaped tablespoon or so of duck mixture, shaped into a fat sausage, running left to right in the centre. Roll the edge closest to you tightly over the filling, then fold each side (left and right) over it, overlapping slightly. Roll it away from you towards the egg-wash until you have a firm, sealed spring roll. Place it on a tray lined with clingfilm. Continue until you have used all the mixture.

Make the ginger dipping sauce: put the remaining ginger, the soy, vinegar and honey into a saucepan. Simmer to reduce by half, then strain.

Deep-fry the rolls in oil at 180C, 6-8 at a time, until golden.

Marinated Salmon and Cucumber Salad

Makes a perfect light lunch or early supper on a hot day.
Serves 2 as a small snack

¼ teasp. wasabi powder
20ml (2 dessertp) lemon juice
250g (9oz) salmon fillet, boned and skinned, thinly sliced into 8 pieces
â…“ cucumber, seeded and coarsely grated
½ teasp. caster sugar
2 spring onions, finely sliced
50ml (2fl.oz) soy sauce

Dissolve the wasabi in the lemon juice and mix it with the salmon. Place it in the fridge for 15 minutes, stirring once. Meanwhile mix the cucumber with the sugar and put it in the fridge. Just before serving, drain and discard the liquid from the cucumber, then mix the cucumber with the marinated salmon and spring onions and serve in small bowls, with the soy sauce drizzled over to taste.

Salad of spicy chicken, coriander and peanuts with green yoghurt sauce

This salad will need to be kept cold so if you are bringing it on a picnic put it in a coolbox. Can be adapted by adding chunks or ripe mango or pear, more or less chilli or some fresh Thai basil.
Serves 6

3 chicken legs, skinned and boned
3 chicken breasts, skin and wing bones removed
2 hot red chillies, stems removed, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and grated
1 teasp. ground coriander seeds
1 teasp. cumin seeds
100ml (3½ fl.oz) cooking oil
50ml (2fl.oz) Thai fish sauce
50ml (2fl.oz) water
2 cups coriander leaves, picked from the stems
1 cup mint leaves
8 spring onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely crushed
300ml (10 fl.oz) Greek style yoghurt
1 cup peanuts, roasted and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/gas 8

Put the chicken legs and breasts into a bowl. Place the next 8 ingredients into a blender (not a food processor) and puree to a paste. Pour the paste over the chicken pieces, mix well, then place them in a roasting dish. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn them over and cook for a further 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish and leave it to cool. Drain the juices from the roasting dish into a jug.

Meanwhile, put half of the coriander, the mint, spring onions and garlic into a food processor, roughly chop, add the yoghurt and blend well, add a pinch of salt, then place in the fridge in a clean bowl.
Cut the chicken into chunks, mix it with half of the roasting dish juices, the remaining coriander and the peanuts and mix well. Leave to chill for a few hours.

To serve, simply spoon the yoghurt mixture on top of the chicken, and you’re ready.

Foolproof Food

Mango, banana, cardamom and yoghurt lassi

Lassis are to be found all over India, they are often plain, sometimes salted and are always a refreshing drink to accompany a spicy meal.
Serves 4

500ml (18fl.oz) plain yoghurt
200ml (7 fl.oz) cold water
1 large ripe mango, peeled, then the flesh taken off the stone and roughly chopped
1 banana, peeled and sliced into 8
½ teasp. ground cardamom
Juice of 1 large lime or lemon
100ml (3½ fl.oz) runny honey
1 cup ice cubes

Put the yoghurt, water, mango and banana into a blender and puree for 30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients, and puree for another 30 seconds. You can either drink it now, or pour it into a Thermos with a few extra ice cubes to keep it cold.

Tomato, basil and ginger dressing

This light dressing goes particularly well with grilled duck, cold roast pork, poached chicken and grilled tuna. It is also good as a salad dressing or poured over grilled vegetables. Once again, you will need a blender and very ripe sweet tomatoes.
Enough for 8 main course servings

200ml (7fl.oz) extra virgin olive oil
400g (14oz) ripe tomatoes, washed and quartered
A generous handful of basil leaves
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and finely grated (optional)
1 teasp. salt
1 teasp. freshly ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a blender, in the order above, and process to a reddish pink puree. It will take around 45 seconds. Taste for seasoning, then serve. This will keep in the fridge for 1 day, but remember to serve it at room temperature.

Ginger Crème Caramel

The addition of ginger to crème caramel is a match made in culinary heaven. The creaminess combined with the refreshing bite of ginger is fantastic.
Serves 6

400g (14oz) caster sugar
100ml (3½ fl.oz) water
600ml (1 pint) milk
400ml (14 fl.oz) double cream
80g (3oz) stem ginger, finely sliced
7 eggs

Preheat the oven to 170C/400F/gas 6

First make a bain-marie: fill a roasting tin with 3cm (1¼ in) hot water and place it in the oven on the middle shelf. Now bring half of the sugar and all the water to the boil in a saucepan and continue to boil until it caramelises. Do not stir or the caramel may crystallise. When the caramel has turned a dark golden colour, pour it very carefully into the ramekins and leave it to set. (A handy hint: to clean the saucepan, put boiling water into it and boil for a few minutes to dissolve any caramel left behind.) Put the milk, cream and ginger into a saucepan and slowly bring it to the boil, pour it slowly into the egg mixture while whisking gently then divide it among 6 x 300ml (10 fl.oz) ovenproof ramekins. Sit them in the bain-marie and pour in more hot water to come three-quarters of the way up their sides. Cook for 35 minutes, then test them by inserting a thin knife into the centre: it should come out clean but if it doesn’t cook them for 3-5 minutes more and test again.

Take the ramekins out of the bain-marie and leave them to cool before covering them and placing them in the fridge to firm up over at least 3 hours.

To serve, run a blunt knife around the sides of each ramekin then gently shake it from side to side. Invert it on a plate and tip out the crème caramel with the syrup.

Warm walnut whiskey and sultana cake with mango and mascarpone

This cake may be served warm as a pudding, with afternoon tea or even as a wedding cake, covered with marzipan. It will also keep in an airtight tin for 3 days.
Serves 10-12

200g (7oz) walnut halves
250g (9oz) raisins, currants, muscatels or a mixture
280g (10oz) butter, at room temperature, cut into 2cm (¾in) chunks
400g (14oz) light brown sugar
3 eggs
120ml (4fl.oz) Irish whiskey
350g (12oz) flour
3 teasp. baking powder
2 large ripe mangoes, stoned, peeled and cut into chunks
200g (7oz) mascarpone

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3

Line a 30cm cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. Put the walnuts and sultanas in a saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring it to the boil, then simmer rapidly for 10 minutes. Drain them in a colander, discarding the liquid, and return them to the pan. Add the butter to the pan and stir over a low heat until it has melted. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar for 30 seconds, then stir in the walnut mixture and the whiskey. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir to incorporate. Spoon the cake mixture into the tin and bake it in the centre of the oven for 40-50 minutes. The cake is cooked when a thin knife or skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cook in the tin. Turn out. Spread the mascarpone over it and scatter on the mango. 

Hot Tips

The Irish Cookbook by Carla Blake has just been published by Mercier Press – This is a revised and updated edition of Carla’s much-loved book which was first published in 1971. In this book traditional Irish dishes are adapted to suit present day tastes and lifestyles. The book includes plenty of modern recipes using our finest fresh seafood, farmhouse vegetables, prime Irish meats and cheeses. Carla passionately believes that tasty food that is good for you can be achieved by anyone. 

Carla is well known for her weekly column in the Irish Examiner and many of her readers have visited her wonderful garden in Conna over the years. A founder of the Irish Food Writers Guild, Carla has been writing about food since 1974. She is featured in the dictionary of Munster Women Writers 1800-2000 which cites her journalism as a unique record of 1960’s and 1970’s Irish social history. The Irish Cookbook €9.99.

About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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