Nduja Cooking Club at The London Foodie

A perfect recipe for a leisurely Sunday is a warm kitchen, lots of friends around a table laden with fabulous home cooking. Recently, The London Foodie hosted another London Cooking Club and theme was not around a cuisine but an ingredient, Nduja. This year seems to be the year of the nduja. It seems to be everywhere now and it’s even recently been featured on BBC’s Something For the Weekend where they made Nduja Hash.

Nduja London Cooking Club

Nduja is a spicy sausage from Calabria and is traditonally made with fat, offal and lots of chilli. Due to it’s s high fat content, it melts when heated so it works best when used in recipes to spice up a sauce of just to spread on a piece of toast. It’s an incredibly versatile ingredient.

Nduja London Cooking Club

Unearthed, a company that sources interesting products from Europe and beyond to introduce to the British public has added Nduja to their list of offerings. The inspiration for this cooking club came about after the recent nduja recipe challenge. The menu for the cooking club includes some of the recipes that were submitted to the competition and some extras to round off the menu.

Canapés

Spicy Nduja Palmier
(Prepared by May – Slow Food Kitchen)

Unearthed Mezze Platter
(Prepared by Unearthed)

Nduja London Cooking Club

Starter

Linguine with Nduja, Cherry Tomatoes & Basil
(Prepared by Fede – Pasta Bites)

Nduja London Cooking Club

Mains

Pan-Fried Cod on Butter Beans and Nduja with a Lemon and Sage Dressing
(Prepared by Luiz & Rosana – The London Foodie & Hot and Chilli)

Nduja London Cooking Club

Pimp My Piri Piri Poussin
(Prepared by Qin & Nic – In Pursuit of Food and Cherrapeno)

Nduja London Cooking Club

Accompaniments

Buttered Samphire & Crispy Roast Potatoes
(Prepared by Luiz & Rosana – The London Foodie & Hot and Chilli)

Greek Salad
(Prepared by Sian – Domestic Sluttery)

Dessert

Lemon Posset
(Prepared by Cassey – A Girl Has to Eat)

My favourite dish from this menu was the” Pan-Fried Cod on Butter Beans and Nduja with a Lemon and Sage Dressing” which was served with the very moreish bean stew what went with the fish.

As per the usual London Cooking Club tradition, there was way too much food. As some of these dishes were really substantial and it was like having 3 full meals in one seating. Do try some of these nduja recipes or make up your own recipe with Nduja which is available from major supermarkets or check out their website for more outlets. http://www.discoverunearthed.com/

The Best of British at the London Cooking Club

Recently, we had the pleasure of private chef David Gillot jointly hosting this edition of the London Cooking Club with a Best of British Menu. Being early Summer, he created a fab menu using the most of seasonal produce.

It is not usual that the chef or cook book author turns up for one of our cooking clubs, so this was a real treat. David was on hand to help us finish our dishes and offered his professional experience in putting everything together.

The evening began with lots of bubbly and copious amounts of canapés, namely mini yorkshire puddings with roast beef made by Gina and rillette of salmon with melba toast made by Liz and Hugh.

Best of British

Best of British

We then sat down to the traditional potted shrimps that I made (see recipe below) and delicious Watercress Soup. This dish was the easiest I have ever made for any of the cooking clubs. It took about 10 minutes to put the dish together, just long enough to melt a lot of butter and warm the shrimps through. One tip, if you do try to do this, brown shrimps are not easy to find. I managed to get some at a local fishmongers and had to supplement the recipe with some small frozen prawns, defrosted of course. I will definitely make this again.

Potted Shrimps

 

Rosemary and Libbie put together the decadent Dressed Crab. Though simple, this was a stunning dish and we were truly spoilt.

Dressed Crab

Liz and Hugh then served seasonal asparagus with a very impressive home made hollandaise sauce.

The mains kicked off with a very impressive Beef Wellington made by Luiz and Gerald. It looked sensational, was perfectly cooked and so delicious.

Beef Wellington

Su Lin contributed her English Garden Salad which was a glorious concoction of summer vegetables and was a great accompaniment to other dishes.

The next course was a Jerusalem Artichoke Pithivier (a sort of tart) which Hana had cooked with much precision. It was unanimously agreed that this was a great way to cook Jerusalem arthichokes.

Pithivier

The last savoury dish of the evening was a Smoked Haddock Kedgeree which Libbie made. Rich and unctuous and totally moreish.

After a reasonable break, we had Jo’s Baked Egg and Vanilla Custard.

To end the evening with a sophisticated flourish, David showcased his stunning take on molecular gastronomy, a rhubarb fool with lemongrass and white chocolate.

Custard Tartrhubarb fool with lemongrass and white chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David is a private chef and is opening his own cooking school in Surrey and you can contact him via http://www.davidprivatechef.co.uk/

David Gillot

The Fabulous London Cooking Club – Ottolenghi Night

You can find the Masterchef Ottolenghi Recipes here.

The fabulous Luiz Hara of www.TheLondonFoodie.com hosts these dinner parties under the banner of The London Cooking Club where he invites friends and readers of his blog to participate in these really International foodie fests.   Each cooking club evening is themed to either a cookbook or a type of cuisine like Syrian and Japanese. This particular evening, the theme was Ottolenghi and all the dishes are from the 2 Ottolenghi cook books, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Plenty.

London Cooking Club

Most of the guests at the cooking club don’t know each other so it’s a nice surprise element to the evening as you never know who you might meet there. A menu is suggested for the evening and everyone has to cook one of the dishes for the dinner party. On this particular evening, we also had Alistair who was the AP photographer taking some photos for an article featuring Luiz on London Supper Clubs which got syndicated all over the web.

You would have thought that so many cooks in one kitchen would be tricky but as most dishes were prepared off site and finished here, together with Luiz’s meticulous organisation, the evening ran like a well oiled machine. This was the menu that Luiz put together for the evening :

Canapes

1. The very moreish Sweet Potato Galettes (Ottolenghi 181), made by Patrice, a Mauritian prop trader. This was really delicious and was accompanied by a demi sec Cava.

Ottolenghi - Sweet Potato Galettes

Soup

2. Green Gazpacho (Plenty 180) with Pear Crostini (Plenty 278) which was meticulously prepared by Kelly, newly arrived from Sydney where she used to run the Food Safari. The griddled pears with melting goats cheese with crusty crostini went really well with the herby Gazpacho, accompanied by the chilled bottle of Manzanilla sherry.


Green Gazpacho with Pear Crostini

Starters

3. Dr G made this Caramelised Garlic Tart (Plenty 38), made with 4 heads of caramelised garlic, thyme, balsamic, 2 types of goats cheese and cream. This was so delicious and is definitely one that I am going to try again at home.

Caramelised Garlic Tart,

4. Chargrilled Asparagus, courgettes Manouri (Ottolenghi 33) was made by Cara (@Gourmetchick) who carried this beautiful bowl all across London. This dish was the perfect accompaniment to the garlic tart.

Char-grilled Asparagus, courgettes & Manouri Salad
5. “Char-grilled Seafood, Fennel & Lime Salad” was another dish that Dr G prepared. Loved the zingy flavours of the seafood with lime juice. I could have had lots more of this but had to pace myself for the main courses to come.

Char-grilled Seafood, Fennel & Lime Salad

Char-grilled Seafood, Fennel & Lime Salad

Mains

6. Harissa Marinated Chicken with Red Grapefruit Salad (Ottolenghi 119c) which was chicken marinated with spicy harissa, prepared by Gerald, an interior designer from Austria. He was a trained chef and he brought along a Rose to go with his dish.

Harissa Marinated Chicken with Red Grapefruit Salad"

7.We could smell the heady aroma of Roast Pork Belly with Spiced Red Plum, Ginger Rhubarb Relish (Ottolenghi 114/115) all through the earlier courses and the experience certainly matched the anticipation. This was the first cooking club experience for Hugh O’Leare’s and his pork dish and the relish was a big hit.

Roast Pork Belly with Spiced Red Plum, Ginger & Rhubarb Relish

8. Marinated Aubergines with Tahini Oregano (Ottolenghi 26) was lovingly made by banker, Linda. She painstakingly made her own tahini to go into the sauce for this dish and has to be applauded as the flavours were amazing and had to be tasted to be appreciated.

Marinated Aubergines with Tahini & Oregano

9. French Beans Mangetout with Hazelnut Orange (Ottolenghi 37) and Etti’s Herb Salad (Ottolenghi 23) is regularly on Luiz’s menu. It might look deceptively simple but the combination of ingredients makes it more than a side dish. Hazelnut oil, orange blossom water, chives, dry roasted hazelnuts, thinly sliced orange peel turns a simple vegetable dish into a real winner.

French Beans & Mange-tout with Hazelnut & Orange

10. I made this dish to go with the main courses -Kosheri (mix of couscous, vermicelli noodles lentils – Ottolenghi 85) or Green Couscous (Plenty 225). It looks deceptively simple but used up about 4 pots and pans and took a bit longer than anticipated as there were several stages to this dish. I did improvise with some of the ingredients like I used Chinese rice vermicelli, canned tomatoes ( but had to guess the quantities) and made lots more fried onions to go with it. It turned out to be quite a rich rice dish with the butter playing a starring role to the mixture of textures of rice and lentils. See the Kosheri recipe below.

Kosheri

Dessert

11. The end of this marathon meal was topped by this unctious Orange Polenta Cake (Ottolenghi 195) which Elizabeth Truss made. We were totally ignorant as when she said she did something in politics, little did we know that she meant she was  a Tory MP in Norfolk. I had brought along a Veneto Dessert Wine made by Pieropan (1999) which I thought would be an nice match for the pudding.

Orange Polenta Cake

If you like to cook, love to eat, are adventurous without too many foodie hangups, you should sign up for one of the future cooking clubs that Luiz is hosting. It was a truly memorable and International food and social evening, as always Luiz and Dr G were the perfect hosts.

Kosheri recipe from the Ottolenghi The Cookbook

According to the book, this lentil and rice dish is one of the most popular in Egypt and is sold by street vendors and specialist restaurants. It is quite similar to the Indian Kitchari or the kedgeree which is also a derivation of kitchari in the first place. This is usually served with a spicy tomato sauce and sometimes a cucumber, tomato and yoghurt salad.

The list of ingredients might look daunting but it is actually quite easy to make. Just know that it takes up quite a few pans but the finished product is well worth the effort.

Ingredients

300g green lentils

200g basmati rice
40g unsalted butter
50g vermicelli noodles, broken into 4cm pieces ( I used chinese rice vermicelli and it puffed up nicely.)
400ml chicken stock or water
½ tsp grated nutmeg
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
4tbsp olive oil
2 white onions, halved and thinly sliced

For the sauce
4tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 hot red chilies, seeded and finely diced
8 ripe tomatoes, chopped (tinned are fine)  - I used one tin of tomatoes instead
370ml water – Add the water to taste as this much made it really watery
4tbsp cider vinegar – I might reduce the vinegar too as it seemed too strong
3tsp salt
2tsp ground cumin
20g coriander leaves, chopped

Start with the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and chillies and fry for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, vinegar, salt and cumin. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 min, until slightly thickened. Remove the sauce from the heat, stir in the coriander and then taste. See if you want to add any salt, pepper or extra coriander. Keep hot, or leave to cool; both ways will work with the hot kosheri. Just remember to adjust the seasoning again when cold.

To make the kosheri, place the lentils in a large sieve and wash them under a cold running tap. Transfer to a large saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 min. The lentils should be tender, but far from mushy. Drain in a colander and leave to one side.

In a large bowl, cover the rice with cold water, wash and then drain well. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the raw vermicelli, stir and continue frying and stirring until the vermicelli turns golden brown. Add the drained rice and mix well until it is coated in the butter. Now add the stock or water, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper Bring to the boil, cover and then reduce the heat to a minimum and simmer for 12 min. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, cover the pan with a clean tea towel and put the lid back on. Leave like that for about 5 min; this helps to make the rice light and fluffy.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and sauté over a medium heat for about 20 min, until dark brown. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain.

To serve, lightly break up the rice with a fork, and then add the lentils, and most of the onions, reserving a few for garnish. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Pile the rice high on a serving platter and top with the remaining onions. Serve hot, with the tomato sauce.