There’s something about a pastry cream that no mousse or ganache can ever replicate. It’s smooth and custardy—the perfect texture. You can eat it on its own by the spoonful almost like pudding, but it’s terrific in tarts and on cakes. It’s sturdy enough not to collapse under the weight of fresh berries, and subtle in flavor, so it highlights even the most delicate fruits.
Smothered—or choked—chicken is made using the age-old technique of slow cooking. The latter name comes from the actual act of wringing a bird’s neck and the former from smothering the bird slowly in a heavy-bottomed pot with onions, celery, and bell pepper. You can add garlic, if you like, or if you want heat, add fresh or dried hot peppers. Add fresh or dried savory, marjoram, thyme, or any herbs you like to enhance the flavor, or try it with rosemary and potatoes. Throw in one or two tomatoes. The options are endless. Have patience with this meal—it will take nearly two hours to make, but it’s worth the wait.
Shrimp boulettes, or fried shrimp balls, might remind you of Thai fish cakes or Vietnamese shrimp on sugarcane. The shrimp is ground up and fried without any flour or cornmeal (shrimp is sticky enough to bind the vegetables together, so you don’t need to add any filler). Eat the boulettes as a snack with hot sauce, or put some on a roll with bitter greens, cocktail sauce, or spicy mayo to turn them into a sandwich. Either way, they are a great way to eat small fresh shrimp.
This is a classic roast chicken—herb-scented and bronze-skinned—that’s been vamped out with crispy mushrooms cooked in the same pan.
Mexico City chef Eduardo “Lalo” Garcia’s secret is to cook these beans very simply, for a very long time, until they’re super-soft, then to add his seasoning—a sofrito of onion, garlic, tomatoes, and dried chiles—and boil them for another half hour, simultaneously infusing them with flavor and concentrating their cooking liquid. These are some of the simplest and yet most complex beans I’ve ever tasted, let alone cooked. A straightforward pico de gallo adds a little freshness and crunch. Serve with tortillas.
While working at Food & Wine magazine in my early twenties, some of the editors were raving about Hatch green chillies as we chatted, and, not wanting to seem like a total idiot, I nodded enthusiastically and then immediately went to search what these things were. They are, in fact, pretty awesome, and come from a town called Hatch in New Mexico, USA. You can add them to soups, stews, salsas or use as toppings for burgers or pizzas for a great depth of flavour. They range in heat level (and also offer a subtle sweetness to them), so buy whichever are better for your palate.
Cheesy, tangy and oh-so-comforting, these stuffed potatoes are a lunch worth waiting for. I often bake the potatoes the evening before, when I already have the oven on for my evening meal, and allow them to cool overnight, ready to put together in no time for lunch. Alternatively, you could let your slow cooker do the first bake. Opt for vegan cream cheese rather than vegan hard cheese to get a creamier, more buttery texture.
If you’re looking for a healthy dessert recipe, I am giving you one right here. This bite is a cross between a nut bar and a praline. The maple syrup and honey caramelize and harden slightly giving you a crunchy, nutty bite with just a hint of sweetness. Perfect for your next hiking trip!
This dish is easy: marinate chicken thighs in a bit of olive oil, garlic, lemon, and red pepper flakes, then sauté and finish off in a mixture of clarified butter and hot sauce, which is a Magic Elixir of its own. The leftovers are amazing alone, or on a salad the next day.
Every Friday, the team at the LEON support office in London descends on a nearby street food stall, Ethiopian Flavours, where chefs cook up Ethiopian curries, vegetables and rice. The owner, Davide Ghetaceu, gave us his recipe for home-cooked doro alicha tibs, an Ethiopian chicken curry. Simple to make, it is incredibly tasty.