Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many

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Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many

Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many

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The sliced potatoes require clarified butter, which is easy enough to make. Melt some butter in a saucepan over a moderate heat and spoon away any foam or whey that rises. Carefully ladle the butter through muslin into a bowl, leaving behind the white solids. Cover the dish and bake in the hot oven until done, say 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep warm. Any residual juices left in the dish can be added to the sauce. In 2012, after eighteen years at the Blueprint Café, Jeremy was offered a new head chef role at the iconic Quo Vadis hotel in Soho. It had just been bought by Sam and Eddie Hart, the restaurateurs behind Barrafina. ‘Eddie and Sam wanted to turn Quo Vadis into a celebration of British produce, and when they approached me to become head chef I realised that you only get one chance to work in a building so grand and iconic,’ says Jeremy. ‘I couldn’t say no. Slice the leeks and wash well. Plunge them into a pan of boiling salted water and cook for a few minutes until tender. Drain the leeks and spread on a tray to cool. Your book is a love song to simple dishes crafted with the finest ingredients – where does this approach to food come from?

Turn the pork chop and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the contents of the mortar on to the chop. Discard any excess fat from the pan, pour the red wine vinegar on to the chop, and turn it a few times to make sure it’s evenly coated. Cover and set aside to rest in the pan for at least 3-4 minutes. I want to encourage someone that they can go into the kitchen and not be punished with an arduous process, but think they can go in and in half an hour make something absolutely delicious— scrambled eggs on toast, even better if you have anchovies and capers. Langoustine mayonnaise, grouse and everything, followed by a sheep’s cheese then a great bowl of freshly churned vanilla ice cream with a great pile of Scottish raspberries. Arbroath smokies, sea purslane, green beans and potatoes Extract from “Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many” by Jeremy Lee In a bowl whisk the cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons of caster sugar until the sugar dissolves, then add the mustard and whisk until smooth. Add the cream, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Jeremy turned Quo Vadis into a must-visit restaurant, with everyone from foodies to celebrities wanting to experience the clean, simple, flavourful food that celebrated the seasons. Over the years he has developed close relationships with suppliers, meaning he has access to the very best produce. ‘Keeping an eye on your supply chain is a full-time job, so we tend to look to a very good greengrocer who knows where to get things like the best lemons from Sicily,’ he explains. ‘But closer to home it’s easier to talk to people – we know we want crabs from Dorset, smoked herring from the east coast and razor clams from Orkney. The fishermen are great and a focus on vegetables is the next huge revolution in cooking. Foraging is great but oh boy do you need to know your stuff, and I think if you’re going to charge a spectacular amount of money for a leaf on the plate you better make sure it’s brilliant.’Your restaurant, Quo Vadis, is situated in a member’s club – how has this shaped the food you cook or your approach to feeding people / hospitality? I am a devoted fan of Artusi’s masterful book, “ Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well”. This title of a favourite book by an estimable epicure sums it all up for me. It seems almost redundant to point it out, so obvious is it, but I’ll say it anyway: Cooking by Jeremy Lee is the cookbook of the year. If you know anyone at all who loves spending time in the kitchen, buy them this book. So, in us, the likes of David had a following, but they didn’t get the wider attention they deserved until, perhaps, the 80s. At this point, great changes began in food, produce and restaurants; books began to appear with more frequency on every kind of cooking imaginable. As walls were being pulled down and boundaries blurred and as the classics lost their grip, restaurateurs started speaking of menus inspired by Elizabeth David. She, Jane Grigson and Julia Child were uttered by the lips of even staunch French chefs. A whole new generation of restaurants was opening, run and staffed by folk who devoured cookery books like thrillers. These books, written decades before, suddenly became, quite literally, the plat du jour. A striking dish with the pale green sauce pooled in the plate, contrasting with the delicate silvered skin of the hake.

Lightly oil and season the skin side of the sardines, then lay them in the onion pan, skin side down, and cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, until the flesh turns pale. Flip and cook for no more than 1 minute on the other side. radishes 100g, washed and sliced as thinly as you can (this is my innovation; please don’t tell Ruth) Something changed in the nation’s appetites after the second world war, both for food and what was written about it. Elizabeth David’s first book, Mediterranean Food, published in 1950, switched the nation on to simple, good cooking from warmer climates. War and rationing were grim memories; writers in this period wanted sunshine and cheer, not the clipped tones of Mrs Beeton or Constance Spry. And what revelations! They opened eyes to the French and Italian regions, beyond capital cities, where markets reflected the seasons and good ingredients cooked simply were the greatest prize. If you grew up in a remote part of the country, as I did, outside Dundee, those books were almighty. A whole new generation of restaurants was opening, run and staffed by folk who devoured cookery books like thrillers Heat a griddle or frying pan over a high heat. Lay the spring onions on the hot pan to blister, turning after 3-4 minutes to blister the other side. Jeremy Lee is an absolutely brilliant British chef . . . This cookbook is extraordinary, don't hesitate to buy it' Stanley TucciThe huge rise in interest in food in recent years has books appearing with such speed that keeping up with the new is in itself a great occupation. Photography changed the production of books dramatically. Now a book illustrated with a couple of ink drawings and the occasional frontispiece may well seem challenging beside a lavishly photographed volume. It is worth pausing to consider whether reading a recipe alongside a glorious colour photograph depicting the dish might diminish the imagination slightly? Subsequently possibly the writing is diminished too.

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