Lightly griddled broccoli wedges with a delicious Romesco sauce is the perfect side dish for your springtime banquet. The combination of sweet and slightly acidic with the smoky red pepper Romesco sauce pairs beautifully with the charred broccoli, a flavour profile that will certainly impress your dinner guests.
Broccoli contains compounds that some people may consider bitter. However, gently griddling your broccoli will allow a delicious earthy, almost sweet taste to rise. It also brings out many nutrients, including a wide array of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
What is Romesco sauce?
Romesco sauce is a rich Spanish sauce comprising of roasted red peppers, which are pureed and thickened with toasted almonds and sometimes pieces of bread.
The origin of the sauce dates back to the 18th century, where fishermen were believed to have made the sauce to eat with their rather bland meals, whilst catching their fish off the coast of Catalonia, Northwest Spain.
The taste of Romesco sauce is lightly sweet and tangy in flavour, with a delicious hint of garlic and smoky flavours and a touch of spice. As the sauce is a classic Mediterranean condiment, it’s the perfect accompaniment to fish, grilled vegetables and roasted chicken.
Is Romesco sauce served hot or cold?
Romesco sauce is very adaptable and can be served either hot or cold depending on the dish that you’re making.
Romesco sauce can freeze and last for up to 3 months in the freezer. We do not recommend storing the sauce longer than 3 months as the flavour can start to degrade and the colour becomes dull.
You can freeze Romesco sauce easily by using an ice cub tray:
Portion the sauce into the ice cube tray. You can use spoons to make it easier to pour into each ice cube square.
Wrap the ice cub tray with a layer of clingfilm to prevent spillages and also limit the chance of any odours in your freezer.
Put the tray in the freeze carefully, keeping it as flat as possible.
Once frozen solid, you can pop the cubes out of the ice cube tray into a freezer bag, making sure it is sealed up.
Label the bag with the contents and the date it was made, before placing it back in the freezer.
The best way to defrost Romesco sauce is by taking a cube out of the freezer and popping it into the dish, allowing it to thaw whilst the dish continues to cook.
How to make Romesco sauce?
Start by making the romesco sauce.
In a large frying pan, add the blanched almonds and toast them until they turn colour and start to char in places, turning them over so they evenly toast. Then tip them out the pan and allow to cool slightly.
In a food processor add the roasted red peppers, toasted almonds, handful of parsley and the garlic cloves. Pulse this until everything has broken down to a chunky paste. Then add the sherry vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil and pulse again to your desired texture – you don’t want it to be completely smooth.
Tip the mixture from the food processor to a bowl and stir through the paprika and Aleppo pepper. Taste the sauce and then add some Maldon Sea Salt flakes and cracked black pepper.
How to make griddled broccoli?
Prepare the broccoli. Heat a griddle pan onto a high heat. Slice the broccoli heads into wedges by cutting each one in half lengthways through the stalk, then cut each half again into quarters.
Rub each wedge with olive oil, and then place onto the griddle pan. Let each side cook for 5 minutes until prominently char lines appear on the stalk before turning and doing the other side. This can be done in batches; the broccoli will char but also steam as it cooks.
Do you have to boil broccoli before frying?
You do not need to boil broccoli before frying in the pan if you implement a steaming method to it. This is where you trap hot air in the pan to help soften the broccoli. This allows the broccoli to be a little softer in texture when you bite into it, but still irresistibly crunchy.
You can blanch the florets before stir-frying to help soften the stems and stop the enzyme that leads to browning. We recommend adding a good pinch of Maldon Sea Salt flakes and a dash of olive oil to your blanching water to help the broccoli retain it’s crunchy texture and vibrant green colour.
How to serve griddled broccoli with Romesco sauce:
When you are ready to serve, spoon the romesco sauce across the base of a large serving platter.
Then arrange the charred broccoli wedges on top.
Finally scatter with some chopped smoked almonds, a drizzle of olive oil and a final sprinkle of Maldon Sea Salt flakes and Aleppo pepper.
How long does it take to cook raw broccoli?
Broccoli can be easy to overcook, it should always retain it’s vivid bright green colour when cooked and should have a little ‘crunch‘ to it.
When you are boiling broccoli in a pan of boiling water, we recommend cooking the florets for 6-8 minutes.
If you aresteaming your broccoli, make sure to place a steamer over boiling water and cook for the same time, around 6-8 minutes.
You can stir-fry your broccoli for a delicious, crunchy texture. You need to separate into bite-sized florets, adding 1 tbsp of olive oil into the frying plan and adding the broccoli, cooking for around 4-5 minutes or until nice and tender.
When roasting broccoli, we recommend preheating your oven to 400 degrees F for 20 minutes to allow the vegetable to be perfectly roasted.
How long does broccoli keep in the fridge?
Fresh broccoli can last up to 3-5 days in the fridge when properly stored in an air-tight container. If it is cut-up broccoli, we recommend no more than 4 days stored in the fridge, otherwise the vegetable will start to decay in colour and texture and have a unpleasant odour.
If you are storing cooked broccoli in the fridge, make sure to store in a shallow, air-tight container or wrapped in foil. It can be stored for up to 3-5 days.
This recipe was created by Nomadic Dinners, who run immersive woodland feasts as an alternative way of dining. Nomadic welcome you all to dine amongst ancient oak trees, starlit skies and a roaming wildfire in a hidden woodland setting unlike any other. It’s an opportunity to explore a connection with the world around us; where new friendships are foraged around a shared table.
Their ethos remains the same: using food and nature as a catalyst to bring people close together.
You can book a seat for one of their many Woodland Feasts today! Join in to experience a restaurant without walls and no boundaries, where food is a universal language and the story of their Woodland is shown through the dishes that they serve you.
Smoky Cedar Planked Trout Recipe
Cedar planked trout is one of Nomadic’s favourite springtime recipes to grill outdoors at Nomadic Dinners and is a real showstopper if you are looking to up your barbeque game to the next level.
This particular version has a springtime twist using bright green fresh nettle tips to layer over the cedar that combined with Maldon Smoked Sea Salt create a deep earthy flavour and the unmistakable aroma of the great outdoors.
Soak your cedar plank overnight ensuring it is fully immersed. If you can’t be bothered or forget, give it a good soak an hour before. This stops it catching fire and creates more smoke for the fish when it cooks
Blanch nettles in water to get rid of the stingers and layer on top of the board. Layer your trout over the top. Add sliced lemon. Nail in down end to end so it doesn’t flop over. Massage with olive oil, add Maldon Smoked Sea Salt flakes.
Place the cedar plank on the BBQ at a 45 degree angle set far back from the flame so it cooks slowly and wait for the translucent skin to gradually change colour to a beautiful rose colour. Remember to cook to temperature not to time. It will become apparent when the trout is ready (don’t worry about burnt ends, these are delicious).
Nomadic serves this trout dish with a simple foragers salad of hairy bittercress, sorrel, chicory and young spinach leaves, freshly grated horseradish and bonfire potatoes in wild garlic but this fish is so versatile it can pair with almost anything.
What is a picnic pie?
As we head into Spring, many people turn to the outdoors to have a picnic. This is where you pack a meal to be enjoyed in the open air, usually in the countryside, beach or garden. It’s a brilliant way to enjoy the sunshine, socialise with friends and family, and tuck into some delicious tasting foods.
Classic picnic foods include great British bakes of sandwiches, scotch eggs, and sausage rolls, but one of the main centrepieces for a picnic is a ‘picnic pie’. The name is self explanatory, this is a decadent pie that is to be enjoyed at a picnic. It’s a classic pie dish, usually having a shortcrust pasty base due to it’s solid structure, avoiding any crumbling/wreckage whilst travelling to your desired picnic location!
The construction of layers requires the most attention when making your picnic pie. We recommend having all the layers ready and cool enough to assemble inside the pastry case. Try using a loose-bottomed spring form cake tin, as the pastry won’t stick to the tin and you can easily lift of the pie to serve without wrecking the pastry!
Your first layer should be the strongest of the layers, preferably one that has a low water content, such as potatoes, beef and peppers. You can then start adding your ‘lighter’ ingredients, such as spinach, cheese or mushroom. You can then repeat the process until you have nice, visible layers. Try using colourful ingredients to make the layers really stand out and impress your guests!
How to make a layered vegetable picnic pie
We made a showstopping layered vegetable pie, perfect for a picnic! The layers consist of butternut squash, aubergine, onions, red peppers, spinach and crumbly feta. Once compressed and assembled together, the layers are incredibly vivid – representing the beautiful colours of Springtime.
Making shortcrust pastry:
You can either do this by hand or with a food processor.
By hand, simply measure out the plain flour into a large bowl and add a generous pinch of salt. Then add the cold, cubed butter and use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour. Keep doing this until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add 1 beaten egg to the mix and use a metal knife to cut this through, then use your hands to gently bind the pastry together.
When it has come together as a ball simply tip onto your surface and knead very briefly so the pastry is smooth.
Flatten the ball into a disc shape and then cover in clingfilm and rest in the fridge (for at least 30 minutes) while you make the fillings.
Making the fillings for your pie:
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Peel the butternut squash and then cut into small cubes. Arrange them on a single layer in a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, cumin seeds and a good pinch of Maldon Sea Salt flakes and some cracked black pepper. Place the butternut squash into the oven and roast for 20 – 30 minutes until the squash is soft and starting to caramelize. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
While the butternut squash is cooking you can also prepare the aubergine. Thinly slice both aubergine and lay them across a couple of baking trays in single layers. Drizzle with olive oil, Maldon Sea Salt flakes and then place into the oven for roughly 10 minutes on each side until they are collapsed and slightly charred on each side. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
For the caramelised red onions, finely slice all three onions. Heat a large frying pan on a medium low heat and drizzle in a generous amount of olive oil. Add the sliced red onions and fry gently for 10 minutes until softened. Add the crushed garlic and continue to fry for 5 minutes until everything has become soft, jammy, and caramelised. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the onions to cool.
This would be a good stage to line the cake tin with your pastry.
Lining a cake tin for your pastry crust:
Take out the chilled pastry and cut it into 2 pieces, one 2/3 and the other 1/3.
Lightly flour your work surface and then roll out the bigger piece of the pastry first, into a large circle approximately 1cm thick.
Take a 23cm cake tin and carefully lift the large pastry circle and drape into the cake tin. Then press into the base and up the sides, leaving an overhang of pastry over the edges of the cake tin. If your pastry tears or rips at any stage don’t worry, just use your fingers to carefully press the pastry hole together again. Set this in the fridge.
Next roll out the smaller 1/3 of pastry to a circle that is the same 23cm diameter as this will form the top of the pie. Place this onto a lined baking tray and pop into the fridge to chill also.
Making the layers for your pie:
Now you start preparing the fillings. We started with spinach. Place a large pan of water onto boil. Add the spinach to the water and allow it to wilt for a minute only, before immediately draining in a large colander. Run some cold water over the spinach to cool it down quickly and then use your hands to press as much liquid out as possible. Once all the liquid has been removed, tip the wilted spinach into a large bowl and crumble in the feta, the lemon zest and some Maldon Sea Salt flakes and cracked black pepper. Mix to combine and set aside.
Now let’s make the roasted red pepper layer. Simply remove four roasted red peppers from the jar and drain on some kitchen paper to remove the excess oil. Slice them open and set aside.
Remove the lined pastry tin from the fridge and start adding your vegetable layers.
We started with the roasted aubergine at the bottom of the pie.
Then added a layer of the roasted red peppers, followed by the spinach and feta mix. Next add the roasted butternut squash (pressing down gently on each layer so it is well compacted and even) and finished with a layer of the caramelised red onion.
Concealing with a pie lid:
Now take the pastry pie lid from the fridge and cut it to the correct size. Place this on top of the pie to enclose the fillings.
Use the second beaten egg as the egg wash and then fold the pastry overhang to tuck into the lid – use your fingers to create a crimping pattern around the edges to ensure that everything is tightly sealed.
Any extra pastry can be cut off and used to make patterns such as leaves for the top. Use the remaining egg wash to brush all over the pie top.
Cooking the layered picnic pie:
Place it into the oven in the middle shelf for 40 – 45 minutes until golden brown all over.
Remove from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before removing from the cake tin.
This can be cooled completely or served warm alongside fresh green salad.
Can you freeze picnic pie?
Once cooked, you can freeze the pie whole or pre-portioned up to 3 months. Make sure that the pie, or individually slices are wrapped well to avoid freezer burn.
What is freeze burn?
Freeze burn is when foods are exposed to cold air, dehydrating the outer layer as moisture is lost. This can make your foods have dry spots once defrosted. You can tell if your frozen foods have freeze burn as ice crystals will appear.
Why do we celebrate Pancake Day?
Did you know Pancake Day is also referred to as Shrove Tuesday? It’s a traditional Christian festival that is celebrated all around the world! Every year, Shrove Tuesday falls on a Tuesday before the beginning of Lent (on Ash Wednesday). Across the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada, many people will say ‘Pancake Day’ as traditionally during Lent, Christians would give up rich, tasting foods that included: butter, eggs, sugar and fat. As a result, Shrove Tuesday was an opportunity for families to use up all of these delicacies before their Lenten fast…and pancakes are the perfect way to use up all of these ingredients in one!
What is a pancake?
A traditional English pancake is a thin, flat cake made up of batter and fried in a frying pan. The simple batter mixture contains the following ingredients: all-purpose flour, milk, egg and sugar. In contrast, North American pancakes contain a raising agent, typically baking powder or whipped egg white. This creates their pancakes to be very thick and fluffy in texture.
Many people top their pancakes with lemon juice and sugar for a burst of citrus and sweetness. However, over the years people have got creative with their toppings, from a generous spread of Nutella, fruit or ice cream, to savoury picks of bacon, cheese and even poached eggs! Try our delicious blueberry pancakes recipe, where we add juicy blueberries to the pancake mixture for a pop of sweetness.
What’s the difference between a pancake and a crepe?
Crepes are also thin pancakes which have become a breakfast staple, tracing back to 13th-century France! The main difference between a pancake and a crepe is that a pancake tends to be smaller and slightly thicker in texture, whereas a crepe is much wider and ultra thin. It’s much thinner than a pancake due to having a higher volume of milk or water to it’s batter mix.
How to make American style pancakes
Start by mixing the batter for the pancakes.
In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder and caster sugar and give it a whisk so it is well incorporated.
In a jug mix together the eggs, whole milk and vanilla extract. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and then slowly pour in the milk mixture whisk as you go, until you have a smooth batter.
Heat a knob of butter in a non-stick frying pan and then when foaming, begin to ladle in your pancake batter to the size you want. Allow them to cook for a couple of minutes, until you see small holes and bubbles appear in the batter, then flip them and cook on the other side until golden and cooked through. You will need to do this in batches, but you can keep the cooked ones on a tray in a low oven to stay warm.
While you are making the pancakes, get a second pan on a low heat and add another knob of butter. Allow this to melt and then add the apple slices. Cook them on each side for roughly 4 minutes until they are caramelized and softened. Keep turning them in the pan until they have cooked through, are starting to collapse but still holding their shape. Then remove them from the pan and set aside while you make salted caramel sauce.
How to make salted caramel sauce
In a saucepan add the 100g butter, soft brown sugar, and double cream.
Turn the heat on low and allow the mixture to slowly melt, using a wooden spoon to gently encourage it.
Once all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth, take off the heat and stir through a generous pinch of Maldon sea salt.
Set aside to cool slightly.
How to serve your pancakes:
When all your pancakes are ready, take the cooked apple slices and stir them through the salted caramel sauce.
Serve a stack of the pancakes with a generous spoonful of the apples and salted caramel sauce.
How to flip a pancake:
Although the pancake has been around for over 5,000 years, people still find it hard to flip them without making a mess and leaving splatters!
Here is how to flip a pancake perfectly:
Wait until the edges of the pancake will begin to brown and the top begins to bubble.
Carefully lift the edge of the pancake to see if the underside is turning golden brown.
Once golden brown underneath, slide the spatula under the pancake until it is in the centre.
Flick 180 degrees to one side so that the pancake flips over.
Can you cook pancakes in an air fryer?
You can absolutely make pancakes in an air fryer! We recommend using American-style pancakes as you need to make sure sure your pancake mix is relatively thick to avoid sticking or tearing from the baking paper.
All you need to do it pull out your air fryer’s draw and line up with baking paper.
After that, carefully add a dollop of your pancake mixture on top, and then place another piece of baking paper on top, repeating the process until you have a nice stack of pancakes!
Turn on your air fryer to 165 degrees for roughly 7-8 minutes.
Take out once golden and crispy round the edges.
Currys released a fantastic tutorial on how to air fry your pancakes on TikTok, you can watch the viral video here!
Can you freeze pancake batter?
You can freeze raw pancake batter. This is because eggs are whisked and mixed into the batter, making it safe to freeze. Once stored in the freezer, it can last up to 3 months!
How to freeze pancake batter:
Once the pancake batter is mixed, pour carefully into freeze-safe zip bags.
Lay a baking sheet inside the freezer draw and place the zip bag containing the mixture on it.
How to defrost pancake batter using water:
Fill up the sink with cold water and place the zip-bag of frozen pancake batter into the water.
Wait 30 minutes until the mixture has become liquefied in the bag.
How to defrost pancake batter using the fridge:
Remove the zip-bag of frozen pancake better from your freezer.
Lay a tea towel on one of the shelves of your fridge.
Place the zip-bag containing the batter on top of the towel.
Wait overnight until the mixture has completely thawed.
What is the Lunar New Year?
The Lunar New Year is one of the most celebrated holidays in Chinese culture. It marks the first day of the year in the Lunar Calendar, where celebrations generally run for 15 days. With each day comes a special meaning and traditions to honour, but this can vary between regions and cultures.
It’s important to note that the date of the Lunar New Year changes every year. For 2024, this will occur from 10th February until the 15th Day.
On the first day, many families will visit other family members, starting with the most senior members first. Firecrackers, dragon and lion dances occur to chase away the evil monsters, named Nian.
The remaining days are filled to the brim with festivities; families will visit relatives, friends and temples, whilst eating certain types of dishes in the hopes of a prosperous and hopeful new year. On the final fifteenth day, we end with the Lantern Festival, where people hang glowing lanterns in temples or carry them during a night time parade , marking the first full moon after the Lunar New Year, completing the celebrations.
The Chinese Zodiac Calendar
For many cultures, each year is associated with an animal from the Chinese Zodiac calendar. There are 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac calendar, which are the following:
Here is the below list for the animals associated with the upcoming years:
10th February, 2024 – Year of the Dragon
29th January, 2025 – Year of the Snake
17th February, 2026 – Year of the Horse
The Year of the Dragon is associated with bravery, strength and luck. As a result, this Lunar New Year will be a time to celebrate Chinese traditions, eating rich cuisine and making wishes for a joyous new year.
Lunar New Year and Dumplings
Dumplings symbolise longevity and wealthy. This is because dumplings look like money pouches, which represent fortune and prosperity for the coming year. More so, dumplings are a great way to spend time with your family, as they are mixed by hand for a certain amount of time to ensure the meat is succulent and juicy. As a result, you can enjoy getting creative in the kitchen with relatives, sharing your appreciation for delectable foods and festivities to come.
In this recipe, we take on the classic Chinese dumplings with a ‘fiery‘ twist to represent the Year of the Dragon. We do this by using Maldon Chilli Sea Salt flakes, which provide a deliciously spicy, aromatic taste that works perfect with the pork meat.
If you like the ‘spicy‘ things in life, we recommend cooking up a few Chicken momos, paired with a beautiful tomato chilli chutney. However, if you are not too keen on the heat, why not whip up our pulled pork bao buns – they buns are so soft and fluffy.
Mix all sauce ingredients (except oil) in a bowl. Heat neutral oil to its smoking point – watch closely, it smokes quickly! – then drizzle sizzling oil over the sauce for a fiery kick.
For the dumpling filling, place the pork, egg, chicken stock, cornflour, Maldon Chilli Sea Salt, sesame oil, shiitake mushrooms, birds-eye chilli and Chinese garlic chives in a large bowl. Mix vigorously for 2-3 minutes.
Place a small teaspoon of filling into the centre of a dumpling wrapper, dab the edges with water and fold the wrapper over the filling. Pinch in the sides and squeeze to create pleats for a classic dumpling look.
Then it’s up to you if you’d like to steam some or pan fry some but we’re doing both!
Place your dumplings in a steamer. On high heat, add 2 cups of boiling water to a wok. Place your dumplings in the steamer, ensure they’re not overcrowded and steam for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat until they look glossy and cooked through.
For that irresistible crispy bottom, heat a teaspoon of neutral oil in a non-stick pan, place your dumplings in the sizzling oil. Ensure not to overcrowd the pan. Once the bottoms are browned (takes 3-4 minutes), add the cornstarch slurry, cover with a lid (10-15 minutes) and cook until they’re cooked through.
Once done, serve up your gorgeous spicy dumplings. Add a final pinch of Maldon Chilli Sea Salt and pair them with your spicy sizzling dumpling sauce!
Happy Lunar New Year!
Recipe created by: https://www.instagram.com/ugcwithnav/
What to serve with Chinese dumplings
A great dish to serve with Chinese dumplings is a hearty chicken noodle soup. The soup is full of a rich, flavourful both and soft noodles that compliments the succulent dumplings perfectly. It’s the perfect way to turn your dumplings from an appetizer to a full meal!
Pairing your dumplings with a refreshing cucumber salad is a match made in heaven! The crispness from the cucumbers provides a wonderful contrast to the soft, warm dumplings.
Why not try using a delicious Chinese Curry sauce to drizzle on top of your dumplings. This sauce is very rich with a bundle of aromatic spices which offer a warm, slightly spicy flavour. You can find most pre-mixed brands in the best retailers, including Goldfish Chinese Curry Sauce.
Can I cook dumplings in an air fryer?
You can air-fry frozen dumplings very easily. Make sure to add an oil spray on top of the frozen dumplings so that they cook crispy and not come out dry. You want to make sure the outside stays nice and golden and cooked perfectly on the inside.
All air fryers cook differently, but we recommend a base time of 6-8 minutes on 380°F/193°C. Flip the dumplings over and continue to cook for another 2-6 minutes until crispy.
If you are wanting to cook Chinese dumplings in the air fryer from scratch, you will need to make sure that the dumpling’s filling is cooked first, especially if you are using meats like pork, chicken or beef. After you have cooked the filling, you can then proceed to making the dumplings following the above recipe, but instead of frying them, pop them in the air fryer for 6-8 minutes, turning them over and cooking for an additional 2-6 minutes until nice and golden.
Can you freeze Chinese dumplings?
According to Expondo, you can freeze dumplings depending on how you prepared them.
Raw dumplings can be stored in the freeze for up to 3 months, whereas cooked dumplings can only be stored in the freeze for 4 weeks. It’s important to note that the dumplings, raw or cooked, should not be touching each other. If they are touching, the dumplings will stick together into a large clump, and once thawed, will rip the dough – ruining the perfect parcel you have created.
Jon Kung grew up as a ‘third-culture’ child, born in Los Angeles, raised in Hong Kong and Toronto, and now living in Detroit. After pivoting his career from a law school graduate, Jon learned to embrace his diasporic identity through cooking and eventually became a self-taught cook.
Jon begun working at supper clubs and pop-ups around the city of Detroit, assisting chefs before setting up his very own pop-up. When the pandemic struck, he turned to social media – not just as a means of creative expression, but as a way to teach and inspire!
Through his videos, Jon was able to share his third-culture identity through cooking. Delicious creations including pasta dishes seasoned with authentic Chinese condiments (Curry Mac and Cheese) to beloved Italian classics with an Asian twist (Dan Dan Lasagne).
Stir-Fries (Szechuan Paneer with Mexican Chillies, Motor City Orange Chicken)
Kung Foo Means ‘with Effort’ (Hong Kong Chicken and Waffles)
Through beautiful, playful and high-energy photos and Jon’s wit and humility, he brings forward recipes that blended cultural traditions, ingredients and flavours with his ultimate goal of redefining what Chinese food can be!
In Conversation with Jon Kung
We were lucky enough to step into Jon’s kitchen and grab a few minutes to understand the talented chef a little bit more. From getting a sneak peek into what his day-to-day looks like, to his personal favourite recipe from the cookbook!
Jon, huge congratulations on the launch of your cookbook ‘Kung Food’! Tell us, what is it about your creative combinations and complexity in dishes that you want readers to learn from?
I’d like people to see how fun and familiar dishes from other cultures can be. Being able to fuse together two different cuisines requires some kind of common ground or a love of a taste, a sensation, an aroma can is the bases for the combination. It’s about finding the things we love in common that makes these dishes work and it celebrates one of the greatest benefits of a live open to diversity.
In the book, we see a collection of seriously delicious recipes. Come on, you must have a favourite!
I’m so partial to the sauce and condiments in the book because – while the dishes are truly great – condiments are things that will last you up to a month in the fridge and they are things that can make a meal. Throw some noodles on ginger scallion oil or chili crisp and its delicious but you can put that chili crisp on the pizza, fried chicken, or mac and cheese that you have later that week. Or you can fry an egg in that ginger scallion oil for you BLT or work it in as the fat for your flour tortilla.
We love your ‘Curry Mac and Cheese’; we see it all the time on TikTok! Do you think social media plays a part in blending cultural traditions/cuisines together?
It absolutely does. Social media not only gave us the opportunity to reclaim our narratives and food stories but it also provided a platform that allows us to talk to each other.
What does a normal day in the life look like for you, Jon?
I wake up really early, around 5 am and I find a burst of productivity then so I’ll make myself a coffee and maybe edit a video before going doing my workout at 7. By 9 the rest of the world is a awake and it’s sometimes calls or meetings, or responding to email. If not then I’ll be filming content. By noon I’ll try to fix up a quick lunch for my partner and I who also works from home. And then it’s more filming (or writing, grocery shopping… all the production parts of content) and by 6 I try to be wrapped up for early dinner and tv time before bed.
Embedded in the day is plenty of time to walk, play, cuddle, and procrastinate with my two pitbulls Mochi and Boba.
Your ultimate comfort-food dish?
Something saucy full of carbs that someone else makes.
Name three things in the kitchen you can’t live without!
I immediately thought of boring basics like a knife a cutting board and a pot for water but more fun are things that are unique in my home kitchen that I thing people should consider:
A speed rack. A wheeled rack that holds large sheet pans. I use mine for pan storage, and some tiers are open shelving and a couple of tiers are actually dedicated to cooking food. It’s the most versatile storage space in my kitchen.
A huge hood: I designed my over-range ventilation to go over the countertop so if I have any countertop appliances like an electric grill, deep fryer, or extra induction stove it still goes under a hood.
Electric everything:I don’t have any gas in my kitchen. It’s not energy efficient, its uncomfortable and it’s extremely bad for your health. I went full induction only over a decade ago at my underground private kitchen and I made sure my home kitchen would follow suit. I have my heath to over a decade next to a gas stove and I feel like I’m trying to make up for it now.
Do you have a current favourite cookbook that you’re reading?
Frist Generation by Frankie Gaw people need to know more about the artistry of Taiwanese cuisine and his third culture interpretations are stunning.
Cold Chilli Oil Noodles
Jon doesn’t remember when he first started eating cold noodles regularly, but before he got air-conditioning, they were on of his favourite ways to keep cool in the kitchen. Chilling the noodles after cooking also gives them a delightfully bouncy bite. Jon prefers Shanxi planed noodles, which are not as broad as those he used in the Ginger Spring Onion Noodles (recipes on page 125), but they are still thick and provide a satisfying chew. You can also use spaghetti-like Shanghai-style noodles for this.
Serves: 2 people
2 tablespoons Fragrant Chilli
Oil (page 45) or Chorizo Chilli Oil (page 47)
1 teaspoon Zhenjiang black vinegar
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
25g spring onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon toasted hulled sesame seeds
Pinch of Maldon Sea Salt flakes
Optional toppings: pickled vegetables, chopped roasted peanuts, poached egg, gan lan cai (Chinese preserved olive vegetable), slivered cucumber, kohlrabi, pak choi.
Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions and drain well. Fill a large bowl with ice and water and place the noodles in the ice bath to fully cool, then drain well again.
Transfer the noodles to a large bowl and add the chilli oil, vinegar and soy sauce. Add the spring onions and sesame seeds and use two spoons to toss and distribute the ingredients evenly. Serve with additional toppings alongside.
Buy ‘Kung Food’ and Create a Recipe!
You can find where to purchase Jon’s ’ NEW cookbook here and start being creative with food and flavours in the comfort of your kitchen.
Make sure you have your Maldon Salt ready for these recipes! If you are running out, please feel free to browse on our Where to Buy Page to find your nearest store in which stocks our beloved Maldon Salt.
Lastly, we LOVE seeing your creations – please tag us on Instagram using the #maldonsalt so we can share your own take on Jon’s recipes!
As we celebrate ‘Healthy January’, we are delighted to team up with renowned Chef Richard Buckley and share one of our favourite vegetarian-based recipes from his cookbook.
Richard Buckley is an award-winning chef and owner of The Oak in Bath (UK), a Michelin Green Star recipient.
Buckley was raised a vegetarian and, after graduating with a degree in English Literature, he set about studying vegetable cookery whilst working in a series of top vegetarian restaurants. This culminated in his five-year role as head chef for Demuth’s Restaurant where he developed and refined his plant-centric cooking style. He has a passion for sharing the knowledge and techniques that he has learnt and developed in order to increase the general standard of vegan cookery across the country.
With over 15 years spent studying plants and working at top vegetarian restaurants, Richard released his cookbook: ‘Plants Taste Better’.
Plants Taste Better is a plant-based recipe book, where plants take centre stage on the dinner plate. With over 70 mouth-watering recipes, ranging from the simple to the stand-out, Plants Taste Better will guide and inspire you to get creative with vegan cookery.
This book balances the traditional with modernity to show readers how to make even the simplest ingredients shine. With delicious, thoughtful recipes and stunning images, you will be amazed what you can accomplish in your kitchen when you combine vegetables alongside a deeper understanding of the techniques requested.
Recipes include flavoursome snacks of Fritters and Squash & Hazelnut Pate, to showstopping mains of Carrot, Pea & Cardamom Tagine and Beetroot and Mushroom Casserole. If you have a sweet tooth, try getting your hands stuck into a decadent Chocolate Salted Caramel Taste, or Burnt Peaches.
On the topic of food, let’s share one of our favourite recipes from the cookbook!
Aubergine (Eggplant) Ragu with Pangrattato and Maltagliati
This dish is a great way of making use of a couple of leftovers: the pangrattato is fried breadcrumbs from a stale loaf – a fantastic thing to have on hand to sprinkle on almost everything that needs a bit of texture – and the maltagliati is essentially pasta offcuts. When you are making a lot of pasta you get left with lots of bits that weren’t quite the right fit; let them dry out and keep them in a pile and you have a quick, easy, free lunch. Obviously, if you aren’t making a lot of pasta then you can just roll out a batch of your favourite pasta and cut it into raggedy shape or alternatively just use your favourite store-bought dried pasta or break up some dried lasagne sheets.
Serves: 4 people
FOR THE PANGRATTATO:
250g (9oz) stale bread
4 cloves of garlic
extra virgin olive oil
FOR THE SEMOLINA PASTA:
400g (14oz/21/3 cups) fine semolina
235g (81/3oz) warm water
FOR THE RAGU:
75ml (2¾fl oz/1/3 cup) extra virgin
olive oil, plus a little extra if needed
2 aubergines (eggplants), cut into 1cm (1/2-inch) dice
500g (2¼lb) plum tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
½ red chilli
2g marjoram leaves
Maldon Sea Salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
To make the pangrattato, blitz your stale bread in a food processor or blender to make breadcrumbs – the bigger the crumb the more crunch you get, just remember there is a line somewhere between breadcrumb and crouton. Purée the garlic, add it to the breadcrumbs and rub it in until all the crumbs are coated. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan (skillet), add the breadcrumbs and fry gently until golden and crispy. Turn onto a baking tray (sheet) to cool and store in an airtight container until needed.
To make the pasta, put the semolina in a pile on a clean work surface. Make a well in the middle and carefully pour in the water, being sure not to let any spill out. Using a fork, whisk the water around, allowing the semolina to fall into the middle slowly. When it reaches the thickness of pancake batter, swap the fork for a dough scraper and chop in the remaining semolina to form a rough dough. Using your hand, bring it together into a rough ball and knead it a couple of times until homogenous but still dimpled and not smooth. Cover with a bowl and leave for 30 minutes to rest.
Knead again; it should become very smooth and silky very quickly. Form it back into a ball, wrap in cling film (plastic wrap), and leave to rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours before using. You can keep it in the fridge overnight, but it will become sticky and harder to work.
When ready to use, either roll the dough by hand using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, until it is just a little thinner than a credit card, or roll through a pasta machine following the instructions on page 124. Cut it into rough pieces and leave scattered on the work surface to dry until you need them.
To make the ragu, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the aubergine (eggplant) and cook for up to around 45 minutes until it is broken down to a mush, catching on the pan, browning and existing in the space between dice and purée: be patient, it’s the key to the flavour of this sauce. Remove the aubergine (eggplant) from the pan and set to one side in a bowl. Put the tomatoes in a food processor or blender and blitz to a rough paste. Cook the onion in the same pan as the aubergine until soft, adding a little oil if needed.
Mince the garlic and chilli together, add to the onion in the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook gently for about 15 minutes until the mixture is thickened and rich. Add the aubergine back in, along with the marjoram, and cook for 5 minutes to bring the flavours together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and season as for pasta water (see page 125). Heat the ragu gently in a pan next to it. Add the maltagliati to the boiling water and stir to prevent them sticking. As soon as they float to the surface, lift one out and check its doneness – we are looking for a crisp, al dente texture. If your pasta is freshly rolled this could be as fast as 20 seconds. Using a spider, quickly lift the pasta out into the ragu and stir it through. Using a ladle, add a little of the pasta cooking water to the ragu to create a glossy, creamy texture.
Lay out 4 warmed, rimmed plates or pasta bowls and split the ragu and maltagliati among them. Sprinkle generously with the pangrattato and any leftover herbs.
Purchase ‘Plants Taste Better’ Today
Move aside meat, it’s time to give plants the spotlight in the kitchen! You can purchase your very own copy through Quarto Books today. The perfect gift for your fellow veggie friend…or yourself!
Make sure you have your Maldon Salt ready for these recipes! If you are running out, please feel free to browse on our Where to Buy Page to find your nearest store in which stocks our beloved Maldon Salt.
Lastly, we LOVE seeing your creations – please tag us on Instagram using the #maldonsalt so we can share your own take on Richard’s recipes!
Elevate your mornings with a slice of homemade breakfast loaf!
This high-fibre breakfast loaf is loaded with succulent figs, sweet dates and a hint of black tea to give a delicious malty flavour. We sprinkle in a few warming spices and a pinch of Maldon Sea Salt flakes to complete the symphony of flavours and textures before baking it in the oven.
Pair the loaf with a good dollop of Greek yogurt for extra protein and a few crisp apple slices – because breakfast should be a celebration of delicious nourishment!
Mix together flour, oats, baking powder, nuts and seeds. Add soaked fruit and tea
Bake in the oven for an hour 20 minutes. At 30 minutes, cover with baking parchment or tin foil so it doesn’t brown too quickly.
Leave to cool for a couple of hours (or overnight).
Slice and serve with Greek yoghurt, apple and cinnamon. Sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt.
The only get ahead gravy recipe you’ll need this Christmas! Prep this the day before using chicken wings and then there is no faffing with gravy making on the big day. Fennel and sherry add delicious sweetness and Unami. Make double if you have a big group! You can also freeze this in advance if you want to be really well prepped.
Preheat the oven to 200c.
Place some oil in a large roasting tray and add the 3 shallots, garlic bulb, fennel, and celery. Next add the chicken wings, bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Roast in the oven for 1 hour until everything is caramelized and golden and the vegetables are tender.
In a dry frying pan, brown the flour until it is lightly brown and smelling toasty.
When the chicken wings and vegetables are cooked, transfer the roasting tray from the oven onto the hob. Press and squeeze the chicken wings so all the juices come out, then add the browned flour and place on a low heat. Whisk in the flour to the pan juices and allow it to bubble and thicken. Then add the sherry and allow this to bubble and thicken. Then slowly add the hot chicken stock, again allowing it to bubble and thicken between each addition. Finally add some Dijon mustard, a teaspoon of apple jelly and some Maldon Salt and cracked black pepper.
Strain the gravy and then check the seasoning. Reheat when required and serve alongside your Christmas dinner and rosemary roast potatoes.
Looking for something to cook this Christmas that doesn’t involve a turkey? We’ve made a delicious slow cooked beef brisket, paired with pomegranates to add delicious sweetness to the dish.
This flavour pairing of pomegranates with meat is very common in Persian cuisine, and has been for thousands of years, where the Persian culture tends to use pomegranates for both sauces and marinades for different meats. The tartness of the pomegranate fruit and molasses gives a delightful brightness to the rich brisket, adding depth as your take your first bite.
Pomegranate molasses can be hard to find at your local grocery, however Odysea has a beautifully sweet & tart Pomegranate Molasses, made from 100% concentrated pomegranate juice.
Why this recipe is perfect for Christmas
Our slow cooked pomegranate beef brisket is perfect for the festive season. This time of the year calls for rich, hearty dishes which is everything that the beef brisket holds. The juices of pomegranate molasses seeps throughout the dish, given a delightful, festive feel. Not only this, the slow cooking of the meat produces rich and beautifully tender results, making your guests want to go in for seconds.
Most importantly, this recipe is simple and effective for Christmas. Once you have you list, prepped and assembled everything into the casserole dish/pot, you simple let it cook away for 5 hours while you go about your business. This makes it IDEAL for such a busy time of the year. Once the time is done, you are greeted with a dish that delivers both in complex flavour, achieved with simplicity.
Here is how to make festive slow cooked pomegranate brisket
Take the meat out the fridge 30 mins before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 120C.
Place a large heavy bottomed casserole pan on the hob and add the olive oil. When it has heated up, add the brisket, and sear it on all sides for approximately 10 minutes – you want the meat well browned as this adds lots of flavour.
Once the meat is nicely browned, remove from the pan and set aside on a plate. Add the onions into the pan with all the meat juices, and fry them until they are soft and starting to caramelize. Then add the garlic cloves, Maldon sea salt flakes and the spices and fry for another few minutes until smelling fragrant.
Next add the apple cider vinegar and allow it to bubble and cook off before adding the soft brown sugar and the stock. Bring the liquid up to a simmer and then add the brisket back to the pot. Place a lid on the casserole and put it into the oven for 5 hours.
Check how tender the meat is by pricking with a fork, it should pull apart and shred very easily. If it doesn’t, then return it to the oven for another 30 minutes. Baste the meat in the juices, and if it’s looking a little dry the splash in some water.
After the meat has cooked, remove from the oven, and rest it under some foil for 10 minutes.
Then shred the meat with two forks and mix into all the juices and sauce. Drizzle in the pomegranate molasses and toss through to make it sticky and unctuous. Transfer to a large platter and scatter with the pomegranate seeds and coriander leaves.
Serve this with some sides, we chose fluffy wild rice, seasonal greens, and warm flatbreads.
What sides go well with beef brisket?
Our Hasselback potatoes are a match-made-in-heaven when paired with beef brisket. The deliciously crispy outer provides an irresistible crunch that compliments the tender meat perfectly. Additionally, the fluffy centres of the potato soak up the remaining juices on the plate, leaving no waste!
If you are wanting a green vegetable, try our roasted Brussels Sprouts, peppered with bacon for a deliciously smoky taste. The earthy and smoky tones of the vegetables balances out the gentle sweetness from the beef brisket that paired with pomegranate.