Recipes-from-Brixton_village-square-avatarThis roast pork recipe from Fish, Wings & Tings makes a fantastic Sunday lunch or centrepiece for a family party. Very simple but packed with flavour, it’ll become a firm favourite in no time. 

Serves 4–6

  • 1kg fresh boneless pork belly, skin left on and scored
  • 8cm piece of ginger
  • 25 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 scotch bonnet peppers, finely chopped
  • 375ml dark rum
  • 10–15 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 tablespoons annatto oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ask your butcher to score the skin on the pork or use a super sharp knife to do this yourself. Place the pork in a dish and season well.

Finely grate the ginger and then squeeze the pulp over a small bowl to extract the juice. Discard the pulp. Add all the remaining ingredients to the juice and mix; then pour the marinade over the meat. Massage it into the pork (it is best to wear gloves for this if you are sensitive to chilli) and leave it to marinate overnight in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 250℃ and take the pork out of the fridge to come up to room temperature. Line a roasting tin with foil and place the pork in it, scraping off any excess marinade.

Roast the pork for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cut the pork into cubes and serve with hot pepper sauce on the side. The skin will be crisp and the meat very tender.

Pre-order Recipes from Brixton Village by Miss South and the traders of Brixton Village here.

senzala-tweakedThis pancake day, why not try these delicious recipe for gluten-free buckwheat pancakes or galettes from Senzala Creperie at Brixton Village? Featured in our extremely exciting upcoming title, Recipes from Brixton Village, due out in May 2014.

Makes 8–10 large crêpes

Senzala serve two types of crêpes. This one is made from buckwheat flour and is known in French as a galette. Buckwheat is not related to wheat and is completely gluten free: it has a slightly nutty flavour and is delicious and very easy to use. This recipe is also completely vegan.

Galettes freeze really well: just put sheets of greaseproof paper between them before you put them in the freezer. It’s worth doing a big batch and having some spare this way as they are so versatile, suiting both sweet and savoury fillings and toppings. You are only limited by your imagination!

  • 250g buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 500ml water
  • vegetable oil

Simply mix the flour and salt with the water until the batter is the consistency of double cream. Chill the batter for at least 30 minutes or overnight, allowing it to come to room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking. Whisk well before using as the flour can sink slightly.

These are crêpes rather than pancakes so you want them to be very thin and easy to roll or fold. You’ll need the biggest pan or skillet you have so you can spread the batter out. This will approximate the finish of using a hotplate in a crêperie. Heat the pan on a medium heat and then brush it lightly with oil. It should sizzle slightly.

 You are now ready to make your galettes. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and swirl it round to spread it out thinly. Allow it to cook for about a minute and then lift the edges up with a spatula. It should be golden brown and slightly bubbled and lacy around the edges.

 Flip the galette over and cook for another minute on the other side. You may need to sacrifice the first one to the pancake gods as it usually takes a while to get the heat and rhythm of crêpes just right. When the galette is cooked, either fill and eat it immediately or keep it warm in the oven for a few minutes until needed. They’re delicious filled with goat’s cheese and caramelised onions, or with caramelised apples and butterscotch sauce.

Pre-order Recipes from Brixton Village by Miss South with contributions from the Traders of Brixton Village here


Mardi Gras means very different things to Louisianians depending on which part of the state they were raised in. To me, Mardi Gras is multi-coloured homemade costumes, wire masks, horses, rides through the country on a trailer with live music, and a big gumbo at night. The New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, on the other hand, is extravagant floats, feathered or glittery masks, brass bands, beads and doubloons, and kings and queens. It’s a similar affair throughout northern Louisiana and, sadly, much of the prairie heart of Louisiana has picked up the beads, beauty pageants, and purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power) colours in place of our own traditional celebrations.

In 2006 my brother Joel started a traditional Mardi Gras from his house (which used to be Pops’ and is still called that). He and our childhood friends, Linzay Young and Lucious Fontenot, focus on keeping the Courir de Mardi Gras as traditional as possible: people are asked to make their costumes themselves and to wear wire masks and the traditional capuchons, then they ride around the area asking families to donate a live chicken, some sausage or some rice in exchange for dances and songs from the costumed participants. After the run, which is usually 5 or 6 miles, everyone returns to Pops’ to slaughter and clean the chickens, make a big gumbo, and dance to live bands playing on the porch all night long.

The King Cake is actually a New Orleans tradition that came over from France and has been picked up by all of Louisiana. While Cajuns do not generally hold the same significance over the cake, we do love sweet things, and this one is really very good. The recipe here is for the traditional King Cake, but it is often filled with Bavarian cream or even chocolate.

In France, the King Cake will have different trinkets inserted into it after baking: a four-leaf clover for luck, a star for fame, or even a coin for fortune. Bakeries in New Orleans often have a special coin with their logo inserted into their cakes, but the most common prize to be found in Louisiana King Cakes is a tiny plastic baby used to symbolise Jesus. You can insert different charms to represent whatever you want to offer your family and friends, or, for a more rural cake, simple insert a whole pecan or almond into the bottom of the cake. Whoever gets the charm in their slice has either luck for the year or has to supply next year’s King Cake, depending on how you want to do it. There are so many variations in this tradition that you can easily make it your own.

For the cake:

  • 60g (4 tbsp) butter
  • 90ml (generous 1/3 cup) milk
  • 7g (1 package) dried yeast
  • 450g (3 cups) plain flour
  • 110g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white

For the filling:

  • 115g (½ cup) white granulated sugar
  • 45g (¼ cup) soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 75g (½ cup) pecans, finely chopped
  • 100g (½ cup) raisins
  • 30g (2 tbsp) butter, melted

For the glaze:

  • 250g (2 cups) icing sugar
  • ¼tsp almond extract
  • ½tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tbsp cinnamon
  • small pinch of salt

In a small pan, melt the butter in the milk and then leave it to cool to room temperature. Mix the yeast into 60ml (¼ cup) of warm water.

Put the flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt into a large bowl. When the yeast mixture has started to froth, pour it in, along with the milk/butter mixture and the egg. Mix well with your hands until you’ve got a rough dough, then tip it onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough, adding more flour if it’s too sticky, until it becomes smooth and elastic (10 minutes or so). Butter a large bowl and put the dough in it to prove, covered with a clean tea towel.

Mix all of the filling ingredients apart from the melted butter together in a bowl. When the dough has doubled in size (30–40 minutes), punch it down and roll it out on a floured work surface to a large rectangle about 5mm thick. Brush the surface with melted butter and sprinkle the top half of the rectangle with a thinnish layer of the filling mixture.

To make the traditional plaited ring, pick up the bottom edge of the dough and fold it over the filling. Roll it lightly, then cut it lengthwise into 3 strips. Pinch the edges of the strips if you need to stop the filling from falling out. Using a bit of water, join the 3 strips at the top and braid them loosely, pulling with your hands to stretch the strips. Use water to join the strips at the other end, then form the braid into a loop and stick both ends together. Put the cake on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray and leave it to rise, covered with a clean teatowel, until it has doubled in size (about an hour).

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Whisk the egg white with a tablespoon of water, and brush this over the risen cake. Bake the cake for 25 minutes or until it’s golden brown, then let it cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Now make the icing: put the icing sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and, using a hand mixer at low speed, slowly pour in 50ml (3½ tbsp) water. Add the almond and vanilla extracts and the cinnamon and keep mixing until the glaze is smooth and creamy. Drizzle this over the cake, leave it to set, and then sprinkle with coloured sugar –this is very easy to make at home by mixing a small bit of food colouring with white granulated sugar. Traditionally, purple, green, and gold sugar is used in sections on the cake(as a child I always wanted only the purple pieces).

If you’re using charms or a plastic baby, gently lift the cake and make a small incision with a sharp knife halfway into the cake from the bottom. Insert the charm and coerce the cake back around it to close.

Serves 10

Notes:   While cinnamon, sugar, and raisins make up the most traditional filling, there are many options. Feel free to experiment according to your owns tastes. Some other fillings I’ve used and enjoyed were Nutella (I just piped a thick cord of it across each strip of dough before folding them closed and braiding) and a mix of cream cheese, egg, rum, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Alternatively, you can make a very simple royal icing using one egg white and about 125g (1 cup) of icing sugar, with a bit of lemon juice or vanilla mixed in. Glaze the cake with the white royal icing, then decorate it with coloured sugar, or you could make purple, green and gold icing and use that. Just a note if you want to do it this way—let the white icing dry before adding a colour, then let each colour dry before you add another. Otherwise they all run together and ruin the effect.

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

navy-beansThis has been one of my favourites since I was a kid. Mom makes it fairly often and we normally eat it just as a soup, although many people also like it over rice. As kids we put ketchup in it.

Serves 4

  • 450g dry white navy beans soaked overnight in enough cold water to cover
  • 225g smoked sausage, finely chopped
  • 1 large, meaty ham bone sawed into 5cm lengths (your butcher will do this if you ask)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions, green parts only, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf, broken in half
  • Salt, black pepper & cayenne (I like to use both ground and flaked cayenne)

Drain the beans and put them in a large heavy pot with all the other ingredients. Cover with 2 litres of cold water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours. The beans should be very soft and the soup thick. Remove the ham bones from the soup with a slotted spoon.

Remove about 3 cupfuls of whole beans (don’t worry if you pick up a few bits of sausage etc as well) and mash them roughly in a bowl with a potato masher before returning to the pot.

Stir the soup well before serving (with ketchup or not).

navy bean soup

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


Here’s a Thanksgiving gift for y’all from the Queen of White Trash Cajun herself: it’s Sarah Savoy’s Sweet Potato Cheesecake!

For the crust:

  • 200g (2 cups) Speculoos or graham crackers
  • 90g butter, melted

Put the crackers in a food processor and blitz until you have crumbs. Stir in the butter, and press this mix into the bottom of a 23cm springform pan. Put it in the fridge to chill.

 For the cheesecake:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 900g cream cheese, softened
  • 335g (1½ cups) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 120ml (½ cup) crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F). Put the sweet potatoes on a baking tray, and bake for 45-60 minutes until very tender and soft. Peel the sweet potatoes and mash thoroughly.

Increase the oven temperature to 230°C (450°F).

Beat the cream cheese until soft with a hand mixer (ouch) or a stand mixer. Add the sugar and salt and mix well, then stir in the eggs one by one. Add the crème fraîche (or sour cream), flour, vanilla seeds, spices and mashed sweet potato and mix until just combined (don’t overmix or you’ll have a sloppy, gloppy mess).

Pour the batter over a wooden spoon over the crumb crust (so as not to disturb the crumbs), and put the cheesecake in the oven. You might want to put it on a foil-lined baking sheet just in case. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 120°C (250°F) and cook for an hour more.

Now for the most important part. Turn off the oven but do NOT open it. Leave the cake in the oven for 2 hours and put a note on the oven warning people not to open it.

Once the 2 hours are up, chill the cake in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Check out more of Sarah’s recipes in The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food.

baked sweet potatoes

This is Italian cooking at its best. It’s basically pasta with cheese (ideally made from sheep’s milk) and black pepper. It’s a deceptively simple-sounding Roman dish, but the secret is all in the technique; you can search Youtube to see an expert doing it. 

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 160g Pecorino Romano, grated
  • freshly ground black pepper 

Serves 4

Add the spaghetti to a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta over a bowl so you keep the cooking water.

Return the spaghetti to the pan and mix in the olive oil and some black pepper. Add two ladlefuls of cooking water and sprinkle on the Pecorino. Toss it into the spaghetti using two forks; if
it’s too dry, add a bit more pasta water, and if there is too much water, add more Pecorino. Give it a really good grind of pepper, and keep tossing. What you are trying to achieve is a creamy soft sauce: to start with there will be lumps of melted cheese and the water will separate out, but if you keep on tossing it will come together. Give it yet more black pepper, toss again, and serve immediately.

Buy Cookie Cooks by Melanie McCallum & Domenico Del Priore here

Crazy water, or ‘acqua pazza’, is a way of poaching fish. It has its origins on the west coast of Italy and has become well-known in holiday destinations such as Capri and Ponza. This is poached fish with flavour. It is an incredibly easy and healthy way to cook, and perfect for people on diets.

  • 1 whole bream or bass
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 1/2 garlic cloves, crushed on the back of your knife
  • olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 dried red chilli (optional)
  • 150ml white wine
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Serves 2

Preheat your oven to 200°C.

Clean, gut and descale the fish (or get your fishmonger to do it for you). Put a little salt, a parsley stalk and half of a crushed garlic clove in the cavity. Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Put the fish in, and scatter around the chopped tomatoes, the crushed garlic cloves (broken up into pieces), and some chopped parsley. Season it and crumble in a little chilli pepper if you like.

Now pour in the white wine, and add enough water to come up just below the middle line of the fish. Bake it for around 20 to 25 minutes. To check it is cooked, pull on a fin – if it comes away easily, it is ready.

Use a slotted spoon to move the fish on to a plate, and then peel off the skin and take the flesh from the bones. Put the flesh back into the sauce in the oven dish and serve it hot or cold.

Buy Cookie Cooks by Melanie McCallum & Domenico Del Priore here

Limoncello, the delicious after-dinner digestif, is really easy to make. In Italy we can buy 95% alcohol specifically to make liqueurs, but this isn’t an option in the UK so just use the strongest vodka you can find. We use our own, unwaxed lemons. As always, sterilise your clean jars and bottles by putting them in the dishwasher for a cycle or by giving them 10 minutes in the oven at 180°C. This makes a lovely Christmas present. 

  • 5 unwaxed lemons
  • 1l 50% ABV vodka
  • 1kg caster sugar (use white sugar, not unrefined)
  • 1l water
  • a large 1l airtight jar to store the steeping alcohol 

Makes 2 litres

Firstly, remove the zest from the lemons with a sharp knife, taking care not to include the bitter white pith. Drop the zest into the sterilised storage jar, then pour over the alcohol, seal and place in a cupboard. If you remember, you can shake it gently every few days. I never do. It will be ready in about three weeks, but longer is fine.

Once your lemon zest has steeped, make the syrup. Put the sugar and water in a pan over a medium heat and bring just to the boil, but don’t let it brown at all. It will thicken up to syrup with a few minutes of simmering. Once thickened, leave the syrup to cool.

Strain the alcohol using a sieve, and add it to the syrup. Decant the mixture into sterilised bottles and it’s ready. Once you have made your own, you’ll never buy it again.

Buy Cookie Cooks by Melanie McCallum & Domenico Del Priore here

With their wonderful, almost meaty flavour, walnuts are my favourite nut. I truly think they go well with everything. We have some really productive trees in Italy, and if Domenico hasn’t stripped them to make his walnut liqueur, then I get the kids to collect them all. 

  • 180g walnuts
  • 100g Parmesan, grated
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 60ml good olive oil
  • 250g ricotta (only use if you’re eating the pesto immediately) 

Serves 6–8

In a food processor, grind the walnuts, Parmesan and garlic to a paste. Add the olive oil and put the mixture into a jar, with a thin layer of oil over the top if you’re keeping the pesto for later.

If you’re eating it there and then, mix the ricotta into the pesto until it’s evenly distributed. This is great with gnocchi, or stirred into a plain risotto.

Buy Cookie Cooks by Melanie McCallum & Domenico Del Priore here

Amazing with our meringues, also good added to granola and yoghurt, spread on a warm scone or simply eaten on its own with a spoon…


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 100ml lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (use unwaxed lemons)

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until completely combined and foamy, then add the butter, lemon juice and zest. Set the bowl over a pan with about an inch of simmering water in it and stir continuously until the mixture thickens. This takes a bit of time, but don’t try to rush it and turn the temperature up too high or your curd will end up scrambling – not a good look.

Once it’s good and thick, pour into a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge.

Buy The Parlour Cafe Cookbook by Gillian Veal here.