As a chef, I tend to make 99% of my recipes up. I usually hate following recipes as I find them so restricting and never have the amount of flavour I look for. I love big, punchy flavours. The sort of meals that has layers of textures and keep you guessing on what ingredients have been used. Most recipes turn out to taste average and I get bored of eating them after a couple of mouthfuls. I can’t stand dry food either – I have to have a sauce!
This weekend, my mum came for lunch on Sunday and I wanted to cook her something different and tasty. She is quite fussy and doesn’t eat a lot of meat and I hate cooking fish as I do it so often at work. I did think of beef wellington, but she said she wouldn’t eat that. I got the Marcus Wareing book ‘New Classics’ for Christmas last year and it is such a great book! I cannot recommend it enough; whether you’re a beginner, or pro. The recipes are so easy to follow, have few ingredients and are quiet cheap to make. Often, with cook books, you need 100 ingredients to make it, none of which are store cupboard staples. With Marcus’s book, this is not the case.
I’ve made a few things from the book now and I have tagged all the ones that are next on the list! I just wanted to note down my favourite ones here just in case anyone wanted to see what the recipes look like before they buy the book – which I strongly recommend you do.
The first recipe I HAD to try from the book was the ‘Crispy chicken thighs with peanut and coconut sauce and pickled lettuce’. The only thing to say about this dish is that it’s bloody delicious. I can’t put into words how punchy the sauce is for the chicken and how easy it is to do. It is such an easy midweek meal to cook and I have since used the sauce numerous times for some prawn dishes we have done at festivals and everyone comments on how nice it is. The thing I love most about it is that it is so easy and cheap to do, but the pickled lettuce really ties it all together as the sauce is very rich and cuts through that. I want to try doing the sauce in a stir fry, or doing something like singapore noodles with it.
Another favourite of Tom and I is the warm lamb neck baguette. It is a cut of meat I hadn’t had before this as lamb isn’t one of my favourite meats. I find many people overcook it and the texture is just vile. I was so surprised at how tasty this was and the neck didn’t have a super rich flavour as there isn’t much fat running through it. We add a bit of chilli to ours to give it some kick and I love a little spice!
Saturday night was going to be steak night, but after flicking through the book to find the wellington recipe, we came across the pork and chroizo burgers and just had to try them. I’m not a burger lover, a lot of places have huge lumps of congealed meat that make me gag and I can’t stand them. Would genuinely rather have a big mac than pay a tenner for some crappy burger that’s made of cheap ingredients and full of additives. But these were sensational. They are so simple, have everyday ingredients and it’s like a taste explosion in your mouth. The best burgers either of us have ever eaten and we will definitely be doing them again!
The final one is the chicken wellington with mustard sauce. We have made beef wellington a few times and always adore it, but as my mum wouldn’t eat the beef, I thought I would give the chicken a go. The mustard sauce was a perfect accompaniment to the wellington, I made a few changes to the sauce though, I added more mustard and worcestershire sauce. It really was an impressive dish, particularly because you make them as individual portions. The best thing about the whole recipe is that Marcus recommends shop bought pastry so it means you don’t feel guilty about not faffing about and making it yourself!