A few months ago I wrote a piece on a new young chef called Stevie Parle who is making waves on the London food scene. Stevie was on of the youngest students we ever had on our 12 Week course. He was just 17 years old when he signed up for the January 2002 Certificate Course. He like many young people was fed up with ordinary school – he just wanted to cook.
Stevie is an erudite young chef with a blistering pedigree. Aged just 24, he has already worked at the River Café with Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, for Skye Gyngell at renowned Petersham Nurseries and at the landmark Moro with Sam and Sam Clark. When he set up his pop-up Moveable Restaurant with Joseph Trivelli last year, fashion leaders clamoured to eat at the twice monthly word-of-mouth supper clubs, one of which was hosted by Nigella Lawson. Now, Stevie runs and cooks at the Dock Kitchen in Portobello Docks, where he also continues the highly successful supper club tradition.
Stevie has worked and lived in Tokyo, New York and Sri Lanka, as well as bussed biked, walked and boated all around India, Ireland, Morocco, Italy and south east Asia, picking up recipes magpie like where ever he goes. The London Evening Standard named Stevie and pop-up restaurant partner as the capital’s hottest young chefs.
Stevie lives with his wife on a red barge, the Avontuur, moored at Hammersmith in west London. They keep a pontoon allotment and a dry land plot, and growing fruit and vegetables has become one of Stevie’s passions.
It’s definitely my book of the year so far… My Kitchen – Real Food from Near and Far is an eclectic collection of food and recipes from Stevie’s life in food so far, gleaned from his travels and his intimate knowledge of ingredients. It is a charming mixture of anecdote, tales from his Hammersmith houseboat and wonderful recipes, as well as occasions from his life such as a ‘Ligurian supper for friends, who would prefer to be on holiday but instead have to work’ and Early morning on the deck, watching the cherry blossom on the bank’.
Divided into 12 monthly chapters, the dishes are based around seasonal bounty and Stevie’s global inspirations. Though his influences are incredibly wide, Stevie understands the rules of food and doesn’t mess with the classics, instead finding new ways to approach old recipes, using his vast creativity and impeccably trained craftsmanship. Within each chapter, Stevie gives a master class about a single foodstuff, with the aim of teaching readers how to cook better by watching subtle changes in the pan and by paying attention to the life cycles of fresh produce. If you thought you knew garlic and how to cook it for instance, Stevie may well show you there is more to learn. My Kitchen is a unique cook book from a stunning young culinary talent.
Stevie is one of two young chefs and cooks chosen by Quadrille Publishing for their exciting new cookery book series entitled ‘New Voices in Food’.
Here are some of Stevie Parle’s recipes from the book for you to enjoy…
Coconut Broth with Squash or Potato
This typically Sri Lankan dish is very quick and easy to make.
serves 6 as part of a big selection
200g (7oz) waxy potatoes or sweet squash, in 2cm (1 inch) dice,
1 red onion, chopped very small
1 or 2 hot green chilli, left whole
a small handful of fresh curry leaves,
1 garlic clove, green shoot removed, chipped
1cm (1/2 inch) fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
a knife tip of turmeric,
25 or so fenugreek seeds, whole
½ tsp black pepper, finely freshly ground
1 tsp Maldive fish or 1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and salted
500ml (18fl oz) coconut milk,
lime juice, to taste
Put everything except the coconut milk and lime in a pan. Pour in 250ml (9floz) water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the potato or squash is soft. Add the coconut milk, salt and lime, to taste.
Couscous with Broad Beans
A delicious mixture that makes an excellent breakfast. Here it worked well as part of a mixed table.
200g small fresh broad beans, podded
200g fine couscous (not the coarse or pre-cooked),
1 small spring garlic clove
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 tbsp thin yogurt, preferably homemade
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
Briefly boil the beans in unsalted water (salt toughens the skins), then place in a bowl with the couscous. Sprinkle with salt and 1 tbsp olive oil. Rub everything between your hands to coat in oil. Pour over enough hot water to cover, and leave until it is absorbed (about 15 minutes).
Crush the garlic with salt to a fine paste. Toast the cumin in a dry pan. When it crackles, grind with the garlic, adding the yogurt and some black pepper. Mix the couscous with the yogurt and coriander, check the seasoning and serve with a little more olive oil.
Aubergines, Walnuts, Mint and Yogurt
“This is my favourite dish in our local Persian restaurant. It’s great as a dip. I generally eat it all, much to the dismay of my wife Nicky.”
serves 4 as part of a spread
2 large aubergines
1 spring garlic clove
a few mint leaves
15 walnuts, shelled
100ml (3½fl oz) olive oil
50g (2oz) white Arabic cheese or feta
Roast the aubergines whole under the grill or on the barbecue until the skin is black and the aubergine has almost collapsed. This will take about 20 minutes. Put in a colander to cool. Crush the garlic; add the mint, then the nuts. Crush to a paste, and then add the oil and cheese. Mash everything up until smooth. When the aubergines are cool, remove the skin and put the flesh in a bowl, then pour over the walnut mixture. Squeeze over the lemon juice and mix, squashing the aubergines to a smooth mush. Taste for balance and salt. Eat at room temperature.
Cashew Nut Curry
“One of the best and simplest Sri Lankan dishes I have found. Use a salted anchovy fillet if Maldive fish flakes or dried sprats prove elusive.”
serves 6 as part of a big selection
300g (10 ½ oz) raw cashew nuts
300ml (10fl oz) coconut milk
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp chilli powder
2cm (3/4 in) cinnamon stick
½ tsp/2 fish Maldive fish or dried sprats
or 1 rinsed and salted anchovy fillet
¼ tsp anise seeds,
1 tbsp sunflower oil
20 curry leaves
Put all the ingredients except the oil and curry leaves in a saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes, then season with salt. Pour the oil into a frying pan and, when hot, throw in the curry leaves until they crackle. Mix the leaves through the curry and serve.
Lamb, Okra and Tomato Tashreeb
Tashreeb is a common Iraqi dish; though it is unusual to us. The word comes from sharaab, ‘to drink’, referring to the way the pitta bread under the stew drinks up the liquid.
1 tbsp allspice berries, ground
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp unsmoked paprika or mild chilli powder
1 small lamb shoulder on the bone
6 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
15 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 dried lime, left whole
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (if you have some)
500g (18oz) small fingers of okra
6 pitta breads
Rub the spices on to the lamb and season well with salt and pepper. Heat a wide pan that will accommodate the whole shoulder with a bit of space to move.
Fry the lamb gently in olive oil until well browned. Be careful not to burn the spices. Throw in the garlic, then the tomatoes and dried lime.
Add water to almost cover the lamb and pour in the pomegranate molasses, if using. Cover and cook gently until the lamb is tender. It might take two hours, depending on the age of the animal and the speed of cooking. Gently is better; just about bubbling.
When the lamb is soft, add the okra and put the pitta bread in a medium oven until it is hard. When the okra is tender, tear the lamb from the bone and put it in a large, shallow bowl with the pitta bread, then pour over the tomato, okra and cooking liquid.
serves 2 very hungry people
2 large tsp cumin seeds
2 large tsp coriander seeds
2cm cinnamon stick
1 tsp peppercorns
½ tsp turmeric
2 large tsp Kashmiri (mild) chilli powder
1 slim wedge small red onion
4 garlic cloves, green sprout removed
2 large mild red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
200ml rich yogurt,
1 chicken, spatchcocked
Toast the cumin in a dry pan over low heat until it smells slightly smoky and starts to crackle, then chuck it in a large pestle and mortar (you could use a blender but it’s not as good, or as rewarding). Add the coriander, cinnamon and peppercorns and grind to a fine powder. Add the turmeric, chilli powder, onion and garlic and a good amount of salt. Grind to a fine paste. Add the chillies and yogurt. Rub the chicken well with the paste. Leave at room temperature to marinate for a few hours.
When you are ready, get your barbecue going, but spread the coals well so it is not too hot. Lay the chicken as flat as you can and barbecue on both sides until cooked through. Pay particular attention to the legs. Eat with Naan bread, lime pickle and a cold beer.
Chocolate, Hazelnut, Brandy and Espresso Cake
“I love having so many of my favourite things in one recipe. This is a great cake I could eat at any time of day.”
300g (10 ½ oz) really good butter, plus more for the tin
250g (9oz) caster sugar
400g (14oz) really good dark chocolate,
300g (10 ½ oz) whole, skinned, roasted hazelnuts
1 big tbsp bitter cocoa
6 espressos or 150ml (5fl oz) very strong cafetiere coffee
100ml (3½fl oz) brandy
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Butter a 20cm springform tin, then line with greaseproof paper. In an electric mixer, mix the eggs with the sugar very fast for about 10 minutes; it should triple in volume. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water). Grind the hazelnuts and cocoa together medium-fine; don’t carry on for too long or they will turn oily. Add the coffee and brandy to the chocolate, then mix this concoction into the eggs. Gently mix in the hazelnuts and pour into the tin.
Bake for 40 minutes until dry on the top and not too wobbly beneath.
Madelines St John-style
Based on the excellent recipe from Fergus Henderson. He browns the butter and doesn’t add orange flower water. (They are great that way, too.) I cannot work out what the variable is that gives them a proper Madeleine dimple on the top; sometimes you get it and sometimes you don’t. You will need a Madeleine tray.
makes about 24
135g unsalted butter, plus more for the tray
2 tbsp good floral honey
1 tbsp orange flower water
3 large eggs
15g soft brown sugar
110g caster sugar
135g self-raising flour, sifted, plus more for the tray,
Melt the butter with the honey, then pour in the orange flower water and set aside to cool. Whisk the eggs and sugars in an electric mixer for 10 minutes or so, until they are really fluffy. Fold in the flour, then the butter and honey mixture. Pour into a container and leave the batter to rest for at least three hours in the refrigerator (sometimes I leave it overnight and it seems fine). Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Butter a Madeleine tray, then dust with flour and tap off the excess. Fill the moulds two-thirds full, and then bake for 10 minutes or so until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Gourmet Greystones Event
email@example.com or phone Denise Bevan on 086 8916715
It rare nowadays to see a traditional 3 or 4 tier wedding cake, it’s more likely to be a pyramid of cupcakes or a killer chocolate confection. But it’s funny how fashion goes around in food as in everything else. My daughter recently had the ‘retro’ wedding cake of her dreams complete with happy bride and groom on top and exquisitely iced with delicate royal icing, by Mary Cahill from Gourmet Gateaux and More! 021 496686 or 087 2396758
www.tastekildare.ie or by calling David Russell at The K Club on (01) 6017200.
Lee Tiernan, head chef at St John Bread and Wine, London
Tel: 087 287 8215
www.stjohnrestaurant.co.uk will be giving another demonstration at Donnybrook Fair Cookery School – a simple, delicious no nonsense approach to cooking with pigs’ ears, tails, trotters and heads! Friday 20th August 2010 at 7:30 to 9:30pm €35.00. Contact Carmel McWilliams starts on Monday 16th August and is set in the Victorian walled garden of the K Club – join in the week long celebration of local flavours. Food & Craft Festival is on Sunday 22nd of August from 12 noon until 5pm. More details on the day are available through the Taste Kildare website on Sunday 5th September 2010 celebrates the restaurants, cafes and gourmet food shops in the award winning coastal town of Greystones, Co Wicklow. For more information contact