Illustration of graffiti in brick lane east london by Want Some Studio

Brick Lane graffiti artwork

We have many favourite things about the Brick Lane Cookbook. But high on the list is Wantsome Studio‘s awesome original artwork so we are delighted to announce that you can now buy a super-limited edition print of his Brick Lane graffiti illustration.

  • Archival digital Giclée prints.
  • Available in A2 and A3 size.
  • Signed and stamped by the artist.
  • Limited edition of 10 in each size.
  • Printed on fine art 350gsm Hahnemuhle Museum Etching Matt Textured paper (a heavyweight paper used for gallery and museum quality prints).

The prints really are a thing of beauty so go go go and get them before they’re gone! Exclusively available through the Wantsome website, you’ll have to move fast to get your hands on one: http://wantsome.studio/Buy

 

 

Chanachur in a Lady Di cone

Chanachur

 

 

Chanachur

(Bombay Mix with Onions, Chillies and Lemon)

by Dina Begum

Serves 6

V

Boishaki Mela is a festival which welcomes the Bengali New Year, and it weaves through Brick Lane every year with elaborate processions, music and dance. There’s something magical about public celebrations where everyone is welcome to join in. Street food stalls are an essential part of Boishaki and there’s always a long line of festival-goers queuing up for Chanachur – one of my favourite snacks growing up. It’s very moreish – the crispy Bombay mix pastry softens a little in lemon juice, while sharp, thinly sliced onions and finely chopped green chillies add freshness and crunch. An occasional burst of pomegranate sweetness is one of my favourite additions. This is especially good during hot summer days, served with a cold drink.

  • 275g regular Bombay mix (make sure it’s not an extra hot kind)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds

Simply pour the Bombay mix into a container with a lid and add the onion, chillies, coriander and lemon juice. Place the lid back on the container and shake vigorously for several seconds. Open the lid and stir through the pomegranate seeds just before serving.

Cooks Tip:

Make sure to mix everything together just before serving; otherwise your Bombay mix will become soggy.

Brick Lane Cookbook cover 

Order Brick Lane Cookbook here.

making pancakes

pancakes

From The Mountain Cafe Cookbook by Kirsten Gilmour

Serves 4

This recipe for pancakes is a cafe classic and was originally my nana’s pikelet recipe, which I think she adapted from a copy of her mother’s Edmonds Cookery Book. I loved making these with her. She would stand and supervise while I stood on a chair flipping away. My granddad and I would then sit at the kitchen table stuffing in hot pikelets with lashings of whipped cream and raspberry jam. Poor Nana would never sit with us – she was too busy cleaning up my mess! I guess that’s where I get my clean-freakishness from now.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 145g caster sugar
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 400g plain flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 10g salted butter

Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar. Using a whisk, beat the absolute hell out of them (Nana’s words would be, ‘give them billio Kj!’). You want to beat until the mix is pale, light and fluffy – you could use an electric mixer if you have one. Now add the milk, flour and baking powder and whisk vigorously until you have a smooth batter.

Heat a heavy-bottomed non-stick frying pan till hot over a medium heat. Carefully drop half the butter into the pan and rub it around using a little kitchen paper, being careful not to burn yourself. Now the pan is greased and at temperature, drop in a small spoon of batter to make a test pancake. The first pancake is usually not great, but as the pan gets to an even heat they will cook to a lovely golden brown.

If the pan is hot enough, pour large spoonfuls of batter into the pan and cook until the underside is golden and you start to see bubbles forming on the top of the pancake. Then it’s time to flip them and cook for another minute or so on the other side. If the pancakes start to stick, re-grease the pan with the remaining butter using the method above.

Serve hot straight from the pan and maybe give them a try with our cardamom oranges.

book cover

 

 

The Mountain Cafe Cookbook is available here.

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butternut chorizo sage soup

From The Mountain Cafe Cookbook by Kirsten Gilmour

Dairy free

Serves 4-6

An autumnal butt-kicking, tummy-warming, filling soup for the colder months. If you want to make this veggie-friendly or don’t want to use chorizo then some chopped red peppers make a good alternative. Chorizo quite often has gluten in it – check the ingredients if you are making this for gluten-free people.

  • 550g butternut squash peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 150g chorizo, roughly diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 12 sage leaves
  • 
1600ml chicken/vegetable stock  (or 3 stock cubes in 1600ml hot water)
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan).

Put the butternut squash in a roasting tin and drizzle with the runny honey and two tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the paprika and some salt and pepper, stir to mix and roast for 20 minutes until the butternut starts to soften. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot, then add the onions, chorizo, garlic, chilli and sage, and sauté until the onions start to soften and the chorizo has released its oil. Add the roasted butternut squash and the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer on a gentle heat till the butternut squash is very soft – about 40 minutes. Blitz the soup, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper – if it’s too thick for you, add a bit more water. If you have any chorizo left over, cut it into thin slices and crisp them up in a hot pan. Spoon a few slices on top of each serving of soup as a garnish, then I love to drizzle over a little of the hot chorizo oil from the pan for extra flavour.

Mountain Cafe Cookbook Cover

 

 

 

 

 

The Mountain Cafe Cookbook is available to buy here.

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Thanks to the Evening Standard for this nice little Greenwich Market Cookbook video:

You can buy it right here, priced £15.99 + free p&p in the UK.

colour bowls small

It being pancake day and all, let us introduce you to the glory that is Vietnamese Pancakes. Tran from the Bánh Mì NêN stall at Greenwich Market gave us this recipe for The Greenwich Market Cookbook, and it is not only absolutely delicious but also happens to be gluten-free.

It is a great starter or light lunch – a thin, crispy coconut pancake stuffed with chicken, prawns and beansprouts and served with fresh coriander, mint and a salty-sour dipping sauce. It’s a very straightforward batter but you really do need a non-stick frying pan to cook it. The key is to let the pan get really hot, then turn the heat down to low when you start frying the pancake.

Ingredients

for the batter:

  • 150g rice flour
  • 270ml coconut milk
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt

for the dipping sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1–2 chillies, finely chopped

for the stuffing:

  • 100g chicken fillets, thinly sliced
  • 100g raw prawns, shelled
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 100g beansprouts
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1⁄2 iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • small handful of mint
  • small handful of coriander
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

First make the batter. Mix the rice flour, coconut milk, turmeric and salt together in a big bowl and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. If it looks too thick, add another 30ml coconut milk or water so you have the consistency of double cream.

Make the dipping sauce: add the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic and chillies to 250ml water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Put the chicken in one bowl and the prawns in another and season both with salt and pepper.

When you’re ready to eat, put a teaspoon of olive oil in small non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once it’s good and hot, add about a quarter of the onion and fry for a minute. Next, add a quarter of the chicken and prawns and fry briefly until the chicken is pale and the prawns have turned pink. Turn the heat down to low. Ladle over enough batter to thinly cover the base of the pan – tip the pan around so it spreads evenly and is as thin as possible. Scatter a handful each of beansprouts, mushrooms and spring onions over one half of the pancake, then cover and leave to cook for 3 minutes. When the batter is cooked through and crispy on the bottom and edges, fold over the side with no filling on it to form a half moon. Cut into four pieces and serve hot on a bed of iceberg lettuce, coriander and mint with the dipping sauce on the side. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make three more pancakes. Each diner can then roll up bits of pancake with the cool crisp shreds of lettuce and herbs inside, and dip it into the sauce before eating.

Serves 4

Buy The Greenwich Market Cookbook here.

Bowl illustration by Kath Van Uytrecht

banh mi nen 2

 

Greenwich Market Cookbook - blackboardWe’ve been, happily, spending a lot of time at Greenwich Market over the last 18 months, working on The Greenwich Market Cookbook. For a market with such a huge footfall (around 8 million people last year), Greenwich still feels like a bit of a hidden gem. Since the 1830s, the market has been located in ‘the island’ – a purpose-built, covered area surrounded by wide streets and fringed with shops. When you first walk through the arch to the cobbled space inside, you’re immediately in another world. What makes it so special? Each day sees a changing roster of independent traders selling everything from jewellery  to jam,  military memorabilia to comics – and it’s a bargain, too. It has an authentically bohemian and friendly feel: some of the traders have been there for years, but there are also plenty who have given up day jobs to start up market businesses and they bring with them a freshness and enthusiasm that keeps the place brimming over with energy and ideas. Julia Johnson has been part of the market for forty years, ever since her parents established Pickwick Papers and Fabrics, their shop on the southern edge of the market which she now runs. “We are all creative here,” she says. Relations between the traders are friendly and supportive, and Julia still exchanges her own hens eggs for goods from other businesses.  “You can’t come here and be superior,” she says. “You won’t fit in and you won’t last – this is a place for quirky, welcoming people.” She adds: “Apart from fabrics and colour, my other passion is food – I love being able to pop out and get freshly made sushi, or a beautiful box of halloumi and salad. I use the food market far, far too much!” Ah yes, the food…

2014-08-14 13.25.57

Half of the market is given over to street food traders, selling food from all over the globe. The smells! The sights! The foods you’ve never even heard of and really had better try out! There is Madagascan coconut chicken. There is Ethiopian injera. There are wonderful, silky but robust La-mian (noodles) in amber broth. There are cakes galore: vegan cakes, gluten-free cakes, sugar-free cakes, full fat and full dairy cakes. It’s been a real pleasure to work with the traders on the book – and a real learning experience too. It’s such a global community that the recipes cover food from all over the world – from ramen burgers to ravioli, bánh mì to burritos. Now I know what they do with pounded cassava leaf in Madagascar – and very soon, so will you.

DSC_9886 Mini Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Banana Bread

The market is owned and run by Greenwich Hospital, an ancient Crown charity providing charitable support including annuities, sheltered housing and education to serving and retired personnel of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and their dependents. Greenwich Hospital have great vision for the market, and 2015 saw a raft of major improvements being implemented – a new glass roof, relaid cobblestones and a brand new pavilion that will host the all the street food traders. The market has remained open throughout, but traders and punters alike will be delighted when the works are completely finished in March this year.

Next time you have a spare day in London, I can wholeheartedly recommend getting the river boat up the Thames and having a wander around the parks of Greenwich, leaving plenty of time for a market lunch.

The Greenwich Market Cookbook comes out in March 2016. Pre-order here!

 

 

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato PieA week or so ago, I was reminded about this glorious Sweet Potato Pie recipe when the designer who worked on the Savoy Kitchen book posted some pictures on Facebook of his annual crayfish boil. He finished it off with a perfect looking pie, which made me hungry just looking at it. Sarah describes this as a ‘cool-weather pie’ – which I think pretty much covers December in the UK. This is just the sort of thing you should be eating when the wind is howling outside and the rain is splattering on your kitchen windows – a taste memory of warmer times.

Sweet Potato Pie

I can’t imagine how Mom ever got me to try a pie made from a potato, sweet or not. I probably thought it was pumpkin because I’m sure I wouldn’t have tried this as a kid if I knew what it was. I now prefer it to pumpkin. It’s another one of those cool-weather pies, spicy and creamy and absolutely comforting.

sweet_potato_pie-1

  • 450g (1lb) sweet potatoes
  • 110g (½ cup) butter, softened
  • 225g (1 cup) white sugar
  • 125ml (½ cup) milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of allspice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g pastry

 

Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F).

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into chunks, then boil them until tender. Drain, and leave to cool a moment.

In a large bowl, mash the sweet potato with a fork or potato masher. Using a hand mixer, add the butter and process until it’s fully incorporated. Stir in the sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla extract and mix until you have a smooth batter.

Roll out the pastry and line a 23cm pie dish. Trim and crimp the edges, and make some holes in the base with a fork. Pour in the filling.

Bake the pie for 50–60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. The pie will rise as it bakes, but it will settle again as it cools.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 8

sweet_potato_pie-6

All photographs © Joby Catto

Buy The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food here

DSC_1039

Lamian dough – heftier to work than it looks.

It’s been incredibly exciting seeing the recipes coming in from traders for the Greenwich Market Cookbook, everything from Arapina‘s wonderful Greek biscuits and pastries, delicate & fragrant & redolent with her family’s history in Asia Minor, to Pig Dogs & Brisket’s deep and dirty southern-style mac & cheese. But as well as being an inspiration, the global nature of the market has also brought along some difficulties.The La-Mian and Dim Sum stall is a quiet legend in street food circles – they used to work from Brick Lane but are now permanent fixtures in Greenwich – and from the moment the project started, I knew we had to get them on board.  Lui Zhongyi and his wife Kelly make a wonderful array of food, but they are most famous for the hand-pulled noodles which Zhongyi pulls and stretches with a theatrical zeal quite at odds with his serious persona. Of course, he’s not really dour at all – he just isn’t so comfortable with the English language and as it was his culinary secrets we were after for the book, this was a problem. Enter the amazing Jessie Levene! Jessie is a polyglot, and a greedy one at that (I mean that as a compliment). Having spent 3 years in China, writing a column on regional foods and blogging about her experiences, she not only speaks great Mandarin but also has a real wealth of knowledge about the context of different Chinese dishes. So, thanks to Jessie we will have some of Zhongyi & Kelly’s domestic recipes in the book, but in the meantime she has also very generously given us some background about la-mian in general and some of her wonderful photos of noodle pullers in action in China. Here they is, because the second best thing to eating la-mian is reading about them:

DSC_1042

La-mian (literally translated into English as ‘Pulled Noodles’) are a truly visual eating experience – fresh wheat dough pulled by hand into long, even strands, served in a plain beef broth. Perhaps this doesn’t sound all that special, but it must be seen to be believed, and in China, La-mian are usually made within eyesight of the diners. Through a magical and mind-boggling process of twisting, folding, pulling and loud slapping of the dough onto the work-board, the chef creates perfect noodles from raw dough in mere minutes. He or she also makes it look ridiculously easy, which it certainly is not.

La-mian comes from the city of Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province, in China’s north west region. Lanzhou is on the borderlands of Han China, meaning that it’s population is a lot more ethnically diverse than in the major cities on the east coast. One of the largest ethnic groups here is the Hui Muslim minority, and it is most often Hui chefs who one can find making La-mian across China. La-mian restaurants in China are usually pretty basic affairs, but are often open later than many other eating places, making them particularly convenient for a midnight snack. They’re also amongst the few restaurants in China where pork is not on the menu – Hui Muslims keep halal, and choice of meat at La-mian joints is usually only beef, chicken or lamb.

La-mian itself is a cheap, filling and delicious meal. The finished dish itself isn’t that much of a looker – just plain white noodles in a clear soup, topped with sliced cooked beef and fresh coriander. But it’s the visual spectacle of the making of the noodles, right in front of you, which makes La-mian so special.

Man pulls noodles!

Man pulls noodles!

Check out Jessie’s blog recounting her adventures around the world at http://jessielevene.com/.

soupPlease excuse the recent radio silence, but we’ve been very busy. Some great new projects are bubbling under, our mailbox is full of recipes from Greenwich Market (in English, Mandarin and Italian), and we’ve been working away on our first eBook – a digital edition of Fraser’s Seasonal Soups.

We’ve grappled with digitising our books before but have always shied away from it for two reasons – firstly, from an old-fashioned love of having print cookbooks to get dirty in the kitchen, and secondly (and more importantly) because of the design limitations of epub formats – especially for hand illustrated projects. We needed to get our heads around it though, and the publication of Fraser’s Seasonal Soups last year was a good opportunity to start thinking how we’d like an eBook to look and feel. Thanks to the talents of Stuart Cockburn at I Love Grids, we now have a version that captures the hand-drawn feel of the print book while having the convenience and functionality of an eBook.

Fraser’s Seasonal Soups by Fraser Reid is available for kindle on Amazon right here, and will be on sale in our own shop and on other platforms very soon. Please do take a look and let us know what you think, and what you prefer to cook from – print or digital? Print cookbooks, more than any other genre of books, have held their own in the digital revolution, but as more and more people use the internet to find things to cook, the notion of using your kindle or iPad or laptop in the kitchen is becoming the norm. And anything that gets people cooking is ok by us.

To whet your appetite and in recognition of the fact that soup is not just for the winter months, here’s a seasonal March recipe for you from the soup genius himself.

Smoky Sweet Potato & Butter Bean

Serves 4

Hands down this is one of my favourite soup recipes and it always goes down well with customers. The creamy butter beans are the perfect balance for the smoky paprika and sweetness of the potatoes.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 or 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin butter beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 stock cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat a pot on a medium heat and add the oil or butter. Fry the onion and garlic for 5–10 minutes until they soften slightly.

Add the sweet potato, carrots, drained butter beans and smoked paprika to the pot, mixing everything together.

Pour in 1.2 litres of boiling water, crumble in the stock cubes, and then bring it all to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend the soup and season to taste.

Buy Fraser’s Seasonal Soups by Fraser Reid print edition here or as a kindle book here.