Thursday, 5 June 2014


Farm to table; the classics will forever remain relevant. My nephew had a rough day, I saw his anguish. It is true that the rough days of a child can sometimes meander along, unappreciated by adults. “I lost my toy”, “I broke the glass”, “I didn't do well in my test”, “I bruised my knee” and so on and so forth, to an adult, does not distract focus from the seemingly more important bills that need to be paid. In the haste of daily life my nephew's rough day seems to blow away for those around. I watched as he walked through his home, minute after minute, hour after hour, his face sullen, worrying about what would perhaps be a distant memory in a few days. Still though, there is poetry in resilience. What does this have to do with jam? Well, everything. He hadn't been talking much that day, but he mustered up the words to request some blueberry jam on toast. A simple request, on the surface, but really it was self-medication, if one were to pay attention. He bit into his sandwich, the color returned to his cheeks, he smiled, he sat back, relieved, onward to fight another day. Resilience is poetic. Jam saved the day. Living proof, the classics will forever remain relevant. 

·         1 cup blackberries and ½ cup pichuberries (or ¾ cup raspberries and blueberries each)
·         ½ chilli 1 clove garlic (or 1 handful basil)
·         ½ cup sugar
·         1 tbsp olive oil
·         Few splashes water

-          In a blender combine berries with a little water and puree
-          Place over a medium pan for 15 minutes with the chopped chili and garlic added if doing blueberry and pichuberry jam or chopped basil for raspberry and blueberry jam
-          Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 20 minutes until the mixture has jam like consistency
-          Add another splash of water and olive oil
-          Mix through and store in jars

Wednesday, 4 June 2014


The sentimentality of the past, nostalgia, this is where the red snapper finds me. I have vivid recollections of the Stabroek market in Georgetown, Guyana, as a child. Cities revolve around markets, little did I know at my tender age. Entirely aggressive, sometimes unbearably loud, an education in local dictions, and an olfactory assault, this great place was responsible many of my early mental food associations. Tucked at the back of the market after going through the jewelry, fashion, spice, vegetable, and hardware maze was where one would come across the most amazing fish, not a hundred feet away from the wharf along the Demerara river. Colloquially known as the land of many waters, to say such of Guyana is not an exaggeration.
Far too often today, the connection between the bounty of the waters and the final product on the plate is lost. The idea that fish does not come out of the oceans scaled, gutted and filleted might be jarring to some. I was fortunate enough to have known better. Don’t get me wrong, no child prefers to spend their Saturday morning wafting the smell of fresh fish and clinging on to their mother’s skirt as opposed to soaking up cartoons; but I believe I’m a better man today for having been forced into market bag carrying action.
We had red snapper often, and in fact still do whenever I am home. To have learned that this marvelous fish is facing threats of extinction on the back of overfishing is indeed a terrible thought. I can’t imagine my childhood without red snapper, usually in a tomato stew or baked dish that was served with buttery, herby rice. I hated fish, generally, but I loved snapper. I begin to think about it and I can still see my mother in the kitchen, unknowingly holding the bonds of family together through mealtime. Its twenty years later and those shared experiences tie us to one place at one time. This is what defines family. If I dig a little deeper, the herbal note makes my mind wander to my grandmother’s kitchen, an avid lover of fresh fish it would seem if the repeated features of her menu were any indication. My herbs come from a small garden on my balcony, hers came from her yard. I wish I had asked more questions of her. I wish I knew her better. This fish though, this fish, in a small way allows me to share a footstep she took. Nostalgia, this is where the red snapper finds me.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4):
·         4 2lb red snappers, cleaned
·         3 lemon
·         1½ orange
·         Few thyme sprigs
·         Few rosemary stems
·         Handful parsley
·         Salt and black pepper
·         1 bulb fennel

-          Preheat oven to 170 °C
-          Cut the fennel into large chunks, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, and place the fennel on a lightly greased baking tray
-          Roast the fennel for 20 minutes or until the edges are browned then set aside
-          Slice the orange and lemon into thin slices, reserving a few pieces for the final plating
-          Pat dry and generously season the fish, inside and out, with salt and pepper
-          Stuff the fish with a few of the lemon slices and a few of the herbs
-          Secure the stuffing with some lemon and orange slices
-          Tie the fish with string, securing a few lemon with a few herbs secured to each side
-          Generously cover fish with olive oil
-          Place the fish onto a baking tray and into the preheated oven and cook through for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of your fish
-          Assemble fish and fennel onto a serving dish with the reserved citrus slices on the side

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


I remember seeing an interview with René Redzepi, a man that has influenced the culinary landscape in a more meaningful way than most people realize. The interviewer asked of him, “Where am I meant to find reindeer tongue?”, as appears as an ingredient of one dish in his NOMA cookbook. I myself a while back might have asked some similar question had I been in her shoes, seeing recipes as a rigid and not to be messed with guides to some sort of culinary perfection. Not the case. We should in fact, be moved by what we see, regardless of how we choose to express it. As someone who enjoys a relationship with food, this extends well beyond using recipes as inspiration. Creativity starts with an open mind and relies heavily on flexibility. This dish is meant to be a nod to Redzepi's hen and the egg dish, simply to exemplify the fact that while I might not have wild ramson (I did find some amazing ramp leaves though!), hay oil, many wild plants, or even duck eggs at the ready; I can still be moved by something I see. Aside from that, believe me when I tell you that it was really really good

INGREDIENTS (serves 4):
·         4 large eggs
·         200 g spinach
·         Few ramp leaves
·         1 tsp red wine vinegar
·         2 tbsp herb oil
·         80 g thyme butter
·         Handful chives
·         20 g butter
·         Splash of water
·         Salt and pepper
·         Few micro salad leaves

-          Make a chive sauce by combining the chives, butter, and water in a blender and purée
-          Pass sauce through a sieve and season to taste
-          Spoon half a tbsp of the herb oil onto one side of a nonstick pan at low medium heat
-          Carefully break one egg onto the oil
-          Place the thyme butter on the other side of the pan and stack some spinach and ramp leaves to fill the half of the pan without the egg
-          Season spinach with salt and pepper
-          Allow everything to cook for about 2 to 2 and a half minutes total, until egg whites are cooked and spinach is wilted
-          Spoon over some the chive sauce over the egg and finish the dish with a few micro leaves


I might be a little crazy. Full steam ahead I had it all planned out. The dish was fully formed in my head. I had only read of burrata. I anticipated something creamy and refreshing. Those wonderful Italians always know best. Macadamia nuts were almost like candy. No wonder they work so well with white chocolate. Beets were everywhere; the market had gone mad with sweet, robust beets. Summer salad leaves also popped up everywhere. This dish created itself; it was a no-brainer. I put myself through the paces, sketched, imagined, refined, prepared and executed my dish. I sat down to taste and I paused, what the hell was I doing? Can I really say I “cooked” here? Is this really a recipe? No stove, no oven except to toast a few nuts. More than that, it was cheese, a beet, a few nuts, and some leaves. Had I gone mad? I’ve come this far. I had to try it at the very least. I burst into the burrata with my trusty spoon; the cream oozed out and seductively began jostling for position with the rich beet marinade. I had a spoonful, cheese and beets and summer leaves and citrus vinaigrette and wonderful macadamia nut. I wasn’t crazy at all; it was as satisfying a mouthful as I could hope for. I realized, five years ago, there was no chance in hell I’d have the confidence to think this would work.  I suppose that’s my point here really; trust yourselves, and even if you might be a little bit crazy, who isn’t?

INGREDIENTS (serves 4):
·         2 medium beets, peeled and sliced with a mandolin
·         4 tbsp olive oil
·         1 tsp red wine vinegar
·         2 tbsp honey
·         4 burrata parcels
·         20 macadamia nuts
·         salt
·         black pepper
·         1 tsp lemon juice
·         Salad leaves including beet leaves, swiss chard, and

-          Combine 3 tbsp olive oil,  vinegar, and honey in a bowl
-          Layer in the sliced beets and allow to marinate for 2 hours
-          Toast macadamia nuts in a preheated oven at 350°F 
-          Place one burrata parcel in the center of each plate
-          Sprinkle over some freshly ground black pepper and season the cheese with salt
-          Scatter a few nuts around the burrata and layer the beets on each nut, generously spoon some marinade over
-          Surround the burrata with the salad

-          Mix the final tbsp of olive oil with the lemon juice, season lightly, and drizzle over the cheese and salad