(Theguardian) – If you can whip an egg white, and know your Charlottes from your shallots, you’ll have no problem with Raymond Blanc’s fail-safe chocolate mousse, Jamie Oliver’s favourite pasta dish or Rick Stein’s guilty pleasure, jellied eels
This recipe is best prepared 1 day in advance and left covered in the fridge
180g dark chocolate, at least 66% cocoa solids, finely chopped (Raymond says, “Do use the best quality of chocolate. With 70% cocoa solids you can expect the best chocolate experience!”)
240g / 8 egg whites, free-range/organic
30g / 2 tbsp fructose sugarAdvertisement
Place the chocolate in a large bowl set over a pan of hot water and leave to melt over a low heat. Turn the heat off when liquid.
In an electric mixer, (not on full power) whisk the egg whites and fructose until they form soft peaks. (By whisking egg whites, you can ‘harvest’ the air by trapping tiny air bubbles inside a network of protein. However, if you over whisk the egg whites, they will become thick and grainy, lose volume and separate into a dry froth and a runny liquid.)
Whisk in 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the mixture and immediately fold in the remaining egg white with a large spatula. Do not over mix at this stage as you will knock all the tiny bubbles of air out and be left with a dense mousse.
Pour into a glass bowl or individual glasses and leave to set in the fridge for 2 hours or until required.
23. Elizabeth David’s chocolate and almond cake
Chosen by Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall
115g bitter chocolate
1 tbs rum or brandy
dash of black coffee
85g caster sugar
85g ground almonds
3 eggs, separatedAdvertisement
Break the chocolate into small pieces, and put them with the rum and the coffee to melt in a cool oven. Stir the mixture well, put it with the butter, sugar and ground almonds in a saucepan and stir over a low fire for a few minutes until all the ingredients are blended smoothly together. Off the fire, stir in the well-beaten egg yolks, and then fold in the stiffly whipped egg whites.
Turn into a lightly buttered shallow, 15cm-diameter sponge-cake tin or a tart tin with a removable base. Stand the tin on a baking sheet and cook in a very low oven, 145°C/gas 1, for about 45 minutes. This cake, owing to the total absence of flour, is rather fragile, so turn it out when it is cool with the utmost caution. It can either be served as it is or covered with lightly whipped cream. It is a cake which is equally good for dessert or teatime.
24. J Sheekey’s fis pie
250ml fish stock (a good-quality cube will do)
50ml white wine
125g boneless cod or haddock fillet, skinned and cut into rough
125g boneless salmon fillet, skinned and cut into rough 3cm chunks
1 tbs chopped parsley
for the sauce:
90ml double cream
1 tsp English mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp anchovy essence
salt and freshly ground black pepper
for the topping:
500g floury potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs milk
15g fresh white breadcrumbs
10g grated parmesan cheese
In a large pan, bring the fish stock and white wine to a simmer and poach the fish gently in the liquid for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander over a bowl and leave to cool.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan over a low heat, then stir in the flour. Gradually add the drained stock and wine mixture, stirring well until it has all been added. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Add the double cream and continue to simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the sauce has a thick-coating consistency. Stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and anchovy essence, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper if necessary. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes.Advertisement
Gently fold the cooked fish and the parsley into the sauce, and spoon into 2 individual pie dishes or one large one, to about 3cm from the top of the dish. Leave to set for about 30 minutes, so that the topping will sit on the sauce when piped over it.
Mix the butter into the mashed potato, season with a little salt and freshly ground white pepper, and add a little milk so that the mixture is soft enough to pipe. Using a piping bag, pipe the potato over the pies in whatever pattern you feel comfortable with. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4 and bake for 30 minutes, then scatter on the breadcrumbs and cheese, and bake for a further 15 minutes until golden.
25. Richard Corrigan’s Irish soda bread
Chosen by Mark Hix
Real soda bread is made with buttermilk. The kind of yellowy buttermilk I drank as a child, which is the liquid left over after cream has been churned into butter and still has buttery bits floating in it, is hard to find these days unless you live near a farm or dairy that can sell you some. Mostly they don’t think there is a market for it. Some specialist food shops sell real farm buttermilk, but what you tend to find in supermarkets is branded “cultured buttermilk”, which is made by adding a culture to pasteurised skimmed milk and/or skimmed milk powder to produce something which has that slightly sour flavour of traditional buttermilk but is thicker. Obviously the real thing is best, but if you can’t find it, use the cultured version, and if you can’t find that, use milk instead. The cakey nature of soda bread makes it prone to drying out, so putting a damp cloth over it after it has come out of the oven and while it is cooling down helps to keep as much moisture as possible inside. You can keep a damp cloth over it until it is finished, but in our house that was not for very long. It’s the kind of bread you put out on the table with a meal, and by the end of it the loaf is finished. Soda bread should be eaten the same day, or toasted the next. When we first made this at Lindsay House we added black treacle because it was meant to go with cheese, and the richness was terrific with some of the harder cheeses. This is a slightly lighter version which people really love.
Makes 1 large loaf
250g plain flour
15g bicarbonate of soda
250g wholemeal flour
150g jumbo oat flakes
1 tbs clear honey
1 tbs black treacle
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, then mix in the honey, treacle and buttermilk, working everything together lightly with your hands until you have a loose, wet dough. With floured hands, shape the dough into a round and lift on to the lined baking sheet. Using a knife, mark a cross in the top. Put into the oven and bake for around 45 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack, drape a damp cloth over the top and leave to cool.Advertisement
• From The Clatter of Forks and Spoons by Richard Corrigan
26. Potato pie with smoked bacon and cre ème fraîche
Chosen by Eric Chavot
A tasty recipe for these cold days and nights, passed down to me by my father’s mother.
for the sweet shortcrust pastry:
500g plain flour
20g egg yolk from 3 large eggs
30g caster sugar
15g fine salt
100ml whole milk
for the potato pie:
400g crème fraîche
150g double cream
1 sprig thyme
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper for seasoning
50g unsalted butter
1.5kg peeled and thinly sliced Charlotte potatoes
250g Alsace bacon, thinly sliced
250g peppered Ventrèche (smoked pork belly), thinly sliced
To make the pastry, place the flour in a bowl, cut the butter into pieces in the bowl and mix with your fingertips until all is combined. Mix with a paddle in an electric mixer, adding the egg yolks, sugar, salt and milk.
Continue until all is homogenous, without overworking the dough. Cover with clingfilm and store in the refrigerator, ideally overnight. When rested, roll out and line a 20x22x6cm deep baking tin.
To make the pie, bring the crème fraîche and double cream to a gentle simmer, infuse it with the thyme and garlic, and season to taste.
Whisk the butter into the cream mixture. Lightly season the sliced potato with salt, leave to rest in a colander for 5 minutes and remove the excess water.
Start to lay the pie on the pastry, cover the base with about 2 to 3 layers of potato, and then a cover with a layer of the bacon and Ventrèche. Continue until you reach the top of the tin – the top layer should be potatoes.
Sieve the cream mixture and pour over the potatoes. Cover the potatoes with a disc of shortcrust pastry, egg-washing the edge in order to help it stick to the pastry already in the tin. Pinch all the way around the edge of the pie to seal. Make a small X-shape with scissors in the middle of the pie to ensure the steam from the potatoes and cream can evaporate.Advertisement
Cook in your preheated fan-assisted oven at 175°C for an hour, then turn the oven down to 155°C and cook until the potatoes are soft and tender. Hint: When it is ready, the steam coming from the pie should smell slightly smoky from the bacon. You can also add some slices of reblochon cheese through the pie. Serve immediately with a crunchy green salad with a French dressing and shallots.
27. Jellied eels
Chosen by Rick Stein
I was thinking about all kinds of classic British dishes that I love while enjoying a glass of champagne in J Sheekey’s new Oyster Bar. I order jellied eels virtually every time I go there. I concede it’s not everybody’s cup of tea because of all the little bones, but once you’re used to them you become a complete fan. The best part of the dish is the proper malt vinegar, freshly ground white pepper and brown bread that you eat it with. And bitter.
900g eels, killed and skinned
pared zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
4 tsp salt
1 small bunch of curly parsley, chopped
Cut the spines out from the top and bottom edge of the eels, then cut the eels in 4cm (1½ in) pieces. Put the pieces into a large saucepan with the lemon zest, juice, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and salt. Add enough cold water just to cover, then bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer the eels and their cooking liquor to a bowl and leave to cool.
Stir in the parsley and divide the mixture between 4-6 small pots. Cover and chill until the jelly has set, then serve.
28. Caroline Conran’s fish and chips at home
Chosen by Tom Conran
3 tbs flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbs breadcrumbs
1 thick piece of fish per person (fillets of cod, coley, haddock or plaice)
salt and pepper
juice of 1 lemon
corn oil, for frying
1 potato per person
1 lemon, cut into wedges
To make the batter, mix the flour, salt and breadcrumbs. Beat the egg, add a little milk, stir into the flour mixture, beat until thick and let stand for half an hour. Skin the fish and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Dip the fish in flour, then batter and fry it in the corn oil to a nice golden colour when the fat is smoking blue. Don’t use a basket, as the batter will stick to it. Keep the fish warm on a dish with kitchen paper.
Peel the potatoes, cut into chips, wash them very well and dry them before frying with a basket in another lot of hot fat. Keep them warm and, as with the fish, sprinkle with salt. Serve with lemon wedges and parsley.
• From Family Cook by Susan Campbell and Caroline Conran
29. My father’s Turkish delight
Chosen by Sally Clarke
Makes 35 pieces
675g caster sugar
50g glucose syrup
2 tbs rose water
20g powdered gelatine
optional – a few pistachio nuts
25g icing sugar
Line a Swiss roll tin with clingfilm. Place the sugar, water, glucose syrup and rose water in a stainless-steel pan. Bring to the boil and continue boiling for 8-10 minutes. Add a very small amount of water to the cornflour and stir until smooth. Add a very small amount of boiling water to the gelatine and stir until dissolved. Remove boiling liquid from the heat and stir in the gelatine.
As soon as it has dissolved, add the cornflour and whisk over the heat for about 3 minutes. Pour immediately into the prepared tray and sprinkle with a few shelled (unsalted!) pistachio nuts, pressing them in gently. Cool for more than 4 hours and then cut into cubes. Mix the icing sugar and 25g cornflour and lightly dust the cubes, rolling them gently in the powder. Store in an airtight container for up to one month, or eat immediately!
30. Gennaro Contaldo’s linguine with olives, capers and tomatoes
Chosen by Jamie Oliver
350g linguine or spaghetti
140g tin of plum tomatoes, chopped
4 tbs Evo (Jordanian extra-virgin olive oil – you can use ordinary extra-virgin)
2 garlic cloves, left whole & crushed
1 tbsp capers
20 black olives, deboned and sliced in half or left whole
½ small red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
3 anchovy fillets
½ tsp dried oregano
handful of parsley, finely chopped
salt to tasteAdvertisement
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the garlic, chilli and anchovy fillets. Fry until the garlic is golden-brown, then discard with the chilli if you prefer. Dissolve the anchovies. Add the olives and capers and stir-fry a minute. Then add the tomatoes, oregano and parsley. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes. In the meantime, cook the pasta until al dente. When cooked, drain and add to the sauce. Stir well and continue to cook for a further minute, so that the pasta absorbs all the flavours. If you find it is too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of the hot pasta water. Serve immediately.
This recipe was handed down by Allegra McEvedy’s family and features in her Leon cookbook.
for the meatballs:
1½ wholemeal flatbreads, roughly 20cm in diameter, or pitta
120ml milk (you can use water if you’re dairy free)
1kg minced lamb
a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
a small handful of mint, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
for the sauce:
30ml olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 800g tins of chopped tomatoes
1½ tbs harissa
a handful of basil, leaves picked and chopped
a handful of parsley chopped
salt and pepper
Rip the flatbread into pieces and soak in the milk for 10 minutes. Then put the bread into a mixing bowl, add the mince and stir in the parsley, mint, oregano, garlic and some seasoning. Mix well, then roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls (about 20g each). Either on a griddle pan (best) or under a very hot grill, brown the balls quickly. It’s all about colouring them and not cooking them through – 5 minutes’ cooking time, with about 3 turns on the griddle.
To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and gently fry the garlic. Tip in the tomatoes and harissa and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the sauce has reduced. Put in the meatballs and continue to simmer for a further 20 minutes with a lid on until the sauce looks about right. Lastly, stir in the herbs and have a final seasoning check.
32. Anna del Conte’s lemon risotto
1 litre chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
55g unsalted butter
1 tbs olive oil
2 shallots, very finely chopped
1 celery stick, very finely chopped
285g arborio rice
grated zest and juice of ½ a lemon
5 fresh sage leaves, very finely chopped
a sprig of rosemary, leaves stripped and very finely chopped
4 tbs freshly grated parmesan
4 tbs double cream
salt and black pepper
Put the stock in a pan, bring to the boil and keep at a slow, steady simmer while you cook the risotto. Melt half the butter with the olive oil over a medium heat and cook the shallots and celery until soft but not coloured (about 5 minutes).
Add the rice and stir until each grain is thoroughly coated with the butter and oil. Pour in a cupful of hot stock and stir until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid. Ladle in another cupful of hot stock and continue in this manner for about 10 minutes, then stir in the lemon zest and herbs.
Carry on adding stock a cupful at a time until the rice is al dente or tender but still firm to the bite. This will take another 10 minutes. Never let the rice dry out; keep stirring. If you run out of stock, use hot water instead.
Beat the lemon juice with the parmesan and cream and a generous grinding of black pepper. Draw the risotto off the heat and stir in the lemony cream mixture with the rest of the butter.
Cover the risotto and let it settle for a minute. Adjust the seasoning, give it one last vigorous stir, and serve at once.
• From Secrets from an Italian Kitchen by Anna Del Conte
33. Claudia Roden’s baba ghanoush
This rich cream is a combination of two strong flavours: the smoky one of aubergines prepared as below, and the strong taste of tahina sharpened by lemon and garlic. It is exciting and vulgarly seductive. The ingredients are added almost entirely to taste, the harmony of flavours depending largely on the size and flavour of the aubergines used. The quantities below give a fairly large amount, enough to be served as a dip at a party.
3 large aubergines
2 cloves garlic, or to taste
¼ pot tahina paste or less
3 lemons, or more to taste
½ tsp ground cumin (optional)
2 tbs finely chopped parsley, a few black olives or a tomato, thinly sliced, to garnish
Cook the aubergines over charcoal or under a gas flame or electric grill until the skin blackens and blisters. Peel and wash the aubergines, and squeeze out as much of the bitter juice as possible. Crush the garlic cloves with salt. Mash the aubergines with a potato masher or a fork, then add the crushed garlic and little more salt, and pound to a smooth, creamy purée. Add the tahina paste and lemon juice alternately, beating well or blending for a few seconds between each addition. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice, garlic or tahina if you think it is necessary and, if you like, a little cumin. Pour the cream into a bowl or a few smaller serving dishes. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and black olives, or with Arab or other bread (pitta), as a salad or as a party dip.
• From Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
34. Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume’s coronation chicken
Chosen by Henry Harris
Created by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume for the Queen’s coronation in 1953.
2.3kg chicken, poached
1 small onion
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs curry paste
1 tbs tomato purée
100ml red wine
1 bay leaf
juice from ½ lemon
4 canned apricot halves
100ml whipping cream
salt and pepper
watercress to garnish
Remove the skin from the chicken and cut into small pieces. Place under the grill and cook until golden brown. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion. Heat up the vegetable oil in a small saucepan and add the onion. Cook on a medium heat for about 3 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add to this the curry paste, tomato purée, red wine, bay leaf and lemon juice. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes until reduced. Strain the contents and leave to sauce to cool.
Finely chop the apricot halves and purée them through a sieve or with a blender. Place into a bowl and mix in the mayonnaise. Add the cooled-down sauce and mix well. Whip the cream to stiff peaks and fold this also into the mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and if necessary add a little extra lemon juice. Finally, fold in the grilled chicken pieces, coating them with the mixture well. Garnish with watercress and serve.
35. Apple tatin
Chosen by Stuart Gillies
5 Braeburn apples
200g caster sugar
water for the caramel, as needed
400g puff pastry (shop-bought is fine)
Peel and cut the apples into quarters, removing the core. Leave them in the fridge overnight to dry out. Place the sugar into a large pan on medium heat. As the sugar starts to caramelise, continue until it becomes a dark, rich colour. Place the apples in the caramel and roast for 2-3 minutes. Then add the butter to the apples and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. The apples should be almost cooked without breaking down. Put the apples on a tray and cool in the fridge. Save all the extra caramel.
In small individual ovenproof frying pans (you can use one big one), place the apples in the pan with the presentation side down. Place 4-5 in the bottom, and one should go in the middle. Roll the puff pastry thin, then use a plate or saucer to cut out a circle and place over the apples in the pan. Drizzle the caramel around the edge of the pastry and tuck the pastry into the pan. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 15-16 minutes. The pastry should be crisp. Once it is ready, tip out on a plate to see the presentation side and drizzle with extra caramel if needed.
36. Moro’s broad bean and dill pilav
Chosen by Allegra McEvedy
This pilav also works well with peas. If your individual broad beans are longer than 1.5cm, we feel it is necessary to peel and blanch each one, otherwise they will be unpleasantly tough.
75g unsalted butter
6 spring onions thinly sliced (with all the green leaves)
a pinch of ground allspice
150g basmati rice, soaked as below
500g podded broad beans or 1.5kg in pods
1 medium bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
½ small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
sea salt and black pepper
200g homemade or Greek yoghurt, thinned with 2 tbs milk and seasoned with ½ crushed garlic clove or a pinch of allspice
To soak the basmati rice, put it in a bowl and cover with cold water. Rub the rice with your fingertips until the water becomes cloudy with starch. Strain off the cloudy water and repeat the process 3 times (or until the water runs clear). Finally, pour off the water, replace with warm water and stir in 1 tsp salt. The rice is then soaked in the fridge for at least 3 hours. The salt stops
the rice from breaking up, and the soaking reduces the cooking time by half.
Over a medium heat melt the butter in a saucepan and fry the spring onion and allspice for 10 minutes until sweet. Stir the drained rice into the saucepan and coat with the butter. Add the broad beans and two-thirds of the dill and parsley and stir in well. Cover the rice by 5mm water and season with salt and pepper. Lay some damp greaseproof paper on the water and bring to the boil over a medium to high heat. When it comes to the boil, put a lid on the pan and cook quite fast for 5 minutes. Now turn down the heat to medium to low for another 5 minutes before it is ready to serve. Sprinkle the rest of the dill and parsley on each serving. We serve this rice with seasoned yoghurt as here, but it is also good with lamb kibbeh cooked in yoghurt, or roasted or grilled fish.
• From Moro: The Cookbook by Samantha and Samuel Clark
37. Simon Hopkinson’s southern-style fried chicken thighs
The best thing of all about fried chicken is its crusted coating. Traditionally it is hog fat that is the preferred frying medium. Paul McIlhenny, of the Tabasco-making family, once told me that he deep-fries his Thanksgiving turkey whole, in hog fat, and he is very proud of the result. If you try this at home, you will need an old well-scrubbed oil drum, a very large Primus stove, a spacious back yard, strong arms…
8 large chicken thighs, skinned
seasoned flour (celery salt, cayenne pepper, paprika and white pepper)
2 small eggs, beaten
50ml pure olive oil
Roll the thighs in the flour and shake off any excess. Coat thoroughly with the egg and lay on a cooling rack for a minute or so. Dip again into the flour and once more into the beaten egg. Return to the rack and finally dip into the flour. Set aside on the rack until ready to cook. This seemingly excessive dipping and flouring does, I assure you, provide a good crust, however messy it sounds.
Using a shallow pan, melt together the butter and olive oil on a medium heat until the fat starts to fizzle somewhat – drop a small piece of bread into it, and if it sizzles nicely, the temperature should be about fine. Slide the chicken thighs into the fat and gently shallow-fry (the depth should be no more than 2-3cm) for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown and crusted all over. Remove from the pan and lay on a double fold of kitchen paper. Sprinkle with salt and serve without delay.
Note: You might like to strain the fat into a small bowl and keep in the fridge for further Southern-frying excursions.
• From Second Helpings of Roast Chicken by Simon Hopkinson
38. Michel Roux’s soufflé Suisesse
Served at Le Gavroche
45g plain flour
5 egg yolks
salt and freshly ground white pepper
6 egg whites
600ml double cream
200g gruyère or emmental, grated
Heat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6. Melt the butter in a thick-based saucepan, whisk in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and boil for 3 minutes, whisking all the time to prevent any lumps from forming. Beat in the yolks and remove from the heat, and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a piece of buttered greaseproof paper to prevent a skin from forming.
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form firm, not stiff, peaks. Add a third of the egg whites to the yolk mixture and beat with a whisk until evenly mixed, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon the mixture into four well-buttered 8cm-diameter tartlet moulds and place in the oven for 3 minutes, until the tops begin to turn golden.
Meanwhile, season the cream with a little salt, warm it gently and pour into a gratin dish. Turn the soufflés out into the cream, sprinkle the grated cheese over the soufflés, then return to the oven for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
39. Nigel Slater’s grilled chicken with fresh herb sauce
4 chicken legs
salt and black pepper
for the sauce:
2 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley
a large handful of mint
a large handful of basil
2 tsp smooth mustard
Remove the bones from the legs with a sharp knife. Lay the four pieces of chicken, one at a time, between two sheets of clingfilm and flatten them a little with a heavy object such as a rolling pin. You want them to be of a fairly level thickness. Season each with salt and black pepper and a little olive oil.
Get a grill or griddle pan hot. Grill the chicken on both sides until cooked right through and crustily golden on the outside.
For the sauce, put the parsley, mint, basil and mustard into the jug of a blender. Pour in enough oil to reduce to a thick but pourable sauce. Slush might be a more appropriate word. Season with salt and black pepper and sharpen to taste with lemon juice. Serve with the grilled chicken.
40. Pork with black bean sauce
Chosen by Ken Hom
450g lean pork
1 tbs Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1 tbs light soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornflour
1½ tbs peanut oil
1½ tbs black beans, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 tbs garlic, finely chopped
3 tbs spring onions, finely chopped
1 tbs chopped shallots
1½ tbs light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs chicken stock or water
1 tbs sesame oil
Cut the pork into thin slices 5cm long. Put the slices into a bowl and mix them well with the rice wine or sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornflour. Leave to marinate for about 20 minutes. Heat a wok or large frying pan until it is very hot. Add half the oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, lift the pork out of the marinade with a slotted spoon, put it in the wok and quickly stir-fry it for about 2-3 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl at once. Wipe the wok or pan clean, reheat it and add the rest of the oil. Quickly add the black beans, garlic, spring onions and shallots. A few seconds later add the rest of the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and then return the pork to the wok or pan. Stir-fry the entire mixture for another 5 minutes. Turn it on to a warm serving platter and serve at once.
41. Nigel Slater’s trifle
for the blackcurrant layer:
4 tbs water
2 tbs caster sugar
for the sponge and cream layer:
350g plain good-quality sponge cake
a large egg, separated
2 tbs caster sugar
a couple of drops of vanilla extract
250ml whipping or double cream
blackcurrants and a few sprigs crystallised violets, to decorate
Pull the blackcurrants from their stalks and put them in a stainless-steel pan with the water and caster sugar. Put them over a low to moderate heat and leave them to simmer for 7-10 minutes until they are starting to burst. Once there is plenty of purple juice, remove from the heat.
Break the sponge into small pieces and push it into the bottom of a large serving bowl. Spoon the hot blackcurrants and their juice over the sponge and leave to cool. During this time the sponge will soak up much of the juice.
Put the egg yolk and sugar in a bowl and mix it well, then stir in the mascarpone and vanilla. Whip the cream, then when it is thick enough to lie in soft folds (rather than stand in stiff peaks) fold it lightly into the mascarpone mixture.
In a separate bowl beat the egg white until it is almost stiff, then fold it into the mixture.
Spoon the mascarpone cream over the cool blackcurrants and sponge. You can smooth it flat or not. Refrigerate for a good hour or so before serving, so that the whole thing has time to come together.