Spring salad

We cooked for a wedding the other day with a really rustic feel; long wooden tables with freshly baked baguettes awaited the guests and they were served big pies to share along with a couple of spring salads.

One of the Australian guests commented that they were the best salads they’d had in London!

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Here’s the recipe for our favourite: Purple sprouting broccoli with radishes, peas, and toasted almonds

Serves 4

200g purple sprouting broccoli

50g rocket

100g toasted almonds

100g petit pois, defrosted

some radishes, here we used breakfast radish and a watermelon radish

For the dressing – all to be finely chopped or whizzed together in a Magimix.  Taste and add a little sugar if you think it needs it plus salt and pepper.

A handful of mint,  parsley, chives, coriander

3 cornichons,

A tablespoon of capers

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 squeezed lemon

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

Method

Blanch the purple sprouting broccoli by boiling it in salted water for a few minutes until just tender and then plunging it into cold water.  Drain and leave to dry.

Using a potato peeler, mandolin, or sharp knife, slice the radishes thinly.  Chop the almonds and then start to layer up the salad starting with a little rocket, broccoli, some radish, a drizzle of dressing, a scattering of almonds, and continue tossing it slightly to cover with the dressing.  Arrange the last layer prettily on top and serve.

This would be delicious as an accompaniment to some slow cooked lamb or a pie over the Easter weekend or served on its own with some goat’s cheese crumbled  over the top and some crusty bread.

Happy Easter!

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Spring canapes & cocktails

We were very pleased to supply canapés and cocktails for the opening of the extremely stylish Altfield showroom at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour.

The chosen cocktail was the English Garden Cocktail.  It’s a really refreshing and delicious drink and this is how you make one of them:

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1. Pour a measure of gin into a cocktail shaker, along with the same amount of Apple juice with elderflower.  We like to use the stuff from Cawston Press.

2. Add the juice of 1/2 a lime.

3. Add a goodly amount of ice and give it a shake.

4. Fill a glass with ice and nice wide strip of cucumber.  You can get plenty of these from a single cucumber using a decent potato peeler.

5. Strain the cocktail into the glass and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Once you’ve tasted that you’ll find yourself planning all sorts of sunny drinks parties (which, of course, we can help you with).

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Meat school

Giving up meat and alcohol for Lent suddenly becomes tremendously regrettable when one receives an invitation to the stall of a British charcuterie specialist in Borough Market.

Fortunately, if we’re going to be strict about this, the Sundays don’t count, and even though the event in question was on a Monday, it was decided that a day would be taken in lieu, and the Lenten abstinence carried forward to the following Sunday.

I hope what I am about to describe will justify this equivocation.

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Cannon & Cannon’s ‘Meat school’ at their place in Borough Market is a new enterprise by which you or I can learn how to turn a pig into all the bits of a pig which we know and love.  This is exactly the sort of thing we at Simpkin & Roses applaud and encourage.  Anything that helps people understand where their food comes from has to be a good thing, particularly where animals are involved.

Our visit involved the result, rather than the act, of the butchery.  We were treated to a selection of British charcuterie, with accompanying fine wines, and little introductory talks.

Interestingly, there is no reason for the Britons not to have delicious cured meats, rather the necessity was never there on account of our temperate climate.  Our Scandinavian and Mediterranean cousins all needed to preserve their meat for the winter, whereas we were lucky enough to be able to enjoy fresh meat all year round.

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Recently some enterprising chaps have been using the traditional pork breeds of the UK (and other meat too) in traditional curing processes, and the results are spectacular.  The first offering was Coppa, from the collar of the pig.  I had only recently been introduced to Coppa and it quickly became a favourite, but this was my first try of the English variety.  It was wonderful.

Others followed, and they too were wonderful.  Cannon & Cannon‘s stock includes some more daring forays into the world of cured meats; the use of exotic spices adds a whole dimension to what is already an arena of intense flavours.

We plan to incorporate some of Cannon & Cannon‘s finest British charcuterie into our future menus.

Please get in touch if you a planning an event of any kind, even just a little drinks party at home, and we look forward to helping you make it a night to remember.

American English party

We had a great time on Friday with an event to celebrate an American client’s 20 years in the UK.  The canapés were tailored to the event with English classics such as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and Scotch quail’s eggs alongside American favourites like miniature hot dogs and smoked salmon & cream cheese bagels!

It was quite a night with the Vince Dunn Orchestra taking up most of the room downstairs and keeping everyone entertained into the small hours.

Let us know if you have an idea for a party and would like us to help you put it together!

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Weekday supper idea from Bella

I make this, at home, at least once a week and add different things every time depending on what vegetables and other ingredients are lurking in the fridge.  However, one thing is critical for a really delicious result and that is a good bone stock.  My favourite stocks have been from a Sunday roast carcass but I do ask the butcher for bones too, then roast them and boil them with some onion, ginger, coriander stalks, carrot, a couple of kaffir lime leaves (if you have them handy) and lemongrass, skimming off any impurities as I go.

You can get excellent results from chicken bones, pheasant, guinea fowl, beef, pork ribs and chicken bones mixed and even crab shells.   Miso can be used too for a vegetarian version.

Alternatively poach a whole chicken in the same fragrant water, perhaps adding some star anise too, leave to cool, strip the chicken and add the bones back to the poaching liquid and simmer for another hour or two.

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Spicy chicken broth

Ingredients:

Leftover chicken from your roast or a chicken breast (sliced)

1/2 red pepper, sliced

4 mushrooms, sliced

1 courgette shredded with a spiralizer or julienne peeler

Pak Choi washed and separated

4 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 spring onions

Handful of baby spinach

Handful of broccoli

1 thumb of ginger, chopped

1 red chilli, chopped

1 lime, halved

Handful of coriander, basil, or mint

Dash of fish sauce

Dash of soy sauce

1.5 litres of good chicken stock

Method

Simmer the stock in a pan.  Add the ginger, chilli, mushrooms and the red peppers and simmer for 5 minutes. Next add the broccoli, pak choi, lime juice, fish sauce and soy. Taste it and adjust the flavour adding more fish sauce or lime juice. Now add all the rest of the ingredients and cook for 3 minutes until the chicken is just cooked. Serve it with coriander and other herbs on top.

Here are some variations and things you could add:

Some little dim sum

Rice or egg noodles

An egg, stirred through

Some coconut milk and a spoonful of curry paste to make it more of a Laksa

Prawns, steak, shredded slow cooked pork, tofu

Chopped peanuts

Crispy shallots

Welcome to our new website!

Hello!

Welcome to our brand new website.

We hope you like the look of all the food we’ve been cooking over the last few months.  You can also download our current menus which we hope will provide inspiration for any events you may have in mind.

Our new year’s resolution is to keep this blog updated regularly with pictures, the odd recipe, and news of our events.

Our Spring diary is beginning to fill up so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are planning a party, large or small, as we would love to help with some catering ideas.

With all our best wishes,

Simpkin & Roses