Clarissa Dickson Wright, remembered

IMG_0268AAs the title does sounds very tense, indeed I cooked this dish to honor and remembrance of a great food writer and television cook – Clarissa Dickson Wright has died in Edinburgh aged 66 on 15 March 2014. Today will be exactly one month of remembrance of her.

I adored her writing, she is the most eccentric, classic British lady. Her book named A History of English Food is one of the magnificent guide of British cuisine, a book that content from the medieval feast to a modern-day farmers’ market, revisiting the Tudor working man’s table and a Georgian kitchen along the way. How could any person writing this historical topic of food back to Medieval? A lot of research and study will needed for her great work. Now we understand how our modern cookery evolved, thanks to our ancestor that recorded the detail for the new generation. I enjoyed reading her book because she have great sense of humour in her writing. I almost can hear she speak to me while reading it. I remembered there is a TV journalist asking her a question about being a “chef”. She nearly bite his head off, informing him that she was a Cook, and most definitely not a chef. Very humble person too!

Obviously I can’t paid tribute to her, as my honor and tribute I made one dish from her recipe that she wrote in one of her joined publishing Great British Food Revival. She named it as Medieval chicken because she used garlic as a revival ingredient. BBC was responded that garlic wasn’t British, then she pointed out the word of Anglo-Saxon origin and meant spear-leek. The Roman introduced garlic to Britain and now other types grow in Britain very successfully as illustrated by Colin Boswell’s work on The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight. She also promised that one of her recipe would be medieval and this is taken from The Forme of Cury (Cookerya book complied by the cooks to the Court of King Richard II in the late fourteen century. Saffron was popular in the Middle Ages, a time when colour in food was a culinary obsession.

When you think again, indeed British is good with their roasting skill; have you ever wonder how the medieval kitchen works, and the ingredient they used for their daily consumption. Cooking in modern day can be very stress-free and relaxing, but definitely not the Medieval.

  • small packet saffron threads
  • 400ml white wine
  • 1 roasting chicken
  • 1 tsp each pepper and cinnamon
  • 5 smallish bulbs of garlic
  • 5cm piece of root ginger, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 230ºC/ 450ºF/ Gas 8. Soak the saffron in a little wine to soften.
  2. Rub the chicken all over with the pepper and cinnamon and place the chicken in an ovenproof dish.
  3. Cut the top off the garlic bulbs until you can see the cloves and arrange the bulbs and chopped ginger around the chicken.
  4. Pour the oil into the garlic bulbs and pour the saffron and wine around the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and then place in the oven.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 170ºC/ 325ºF/ Gas 3 and cook for another 40 minutes, or until the juice run clear when you insert a skewer and the chicken is cooked. Regularly baste whist cooking, paying special attention to basting the garlic.

Clarissa will be remembered by all of us of her great book, recipe, the great ingredient was your humour, laughter and great attitude. R.I.P.


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Egg in sunset

IMG_0003AInspired from Nigella‘s recipe of Eggs in Purgatory, I should probably have to rename it. I think is a bit sad to say the sun is in hell. The egg in the middle is burning from the fiery red of the tomatoes.

It reminds me about the sun set at home when I was on holiday. The scene has the velvet red with golden yellow sun that smear out to the redness. Wonderful sunset I had seen. Just like this dish exactly the same colour obviously in different approach. My sun in this dish was not show is simply because it had dive into the gorgeously red tomato.

The key ingredient is egg and tomato, first, heat up some garlic oil in small pan (or you could use olive oil and grating a clove of garlic into it) then add a bit of chili flakes if you like some heat as I do; or you could just add some herbs such as a spring rosemary anything you like. Don’t let the garlic and herbs burn, what you need is to infused the flavour into the oil.

Now here is the sunset you about going to create it on your own. Open a can of chopped tomato and pour it in then let it cook and reduce the liquid a bit (you don’t want it too runny) about 2-3 minutes. I added some freshly grated Parmesan about 2 tablespoon, What the Parmesan did is simply replacing the salt and adding more flavour to the tomato. Here comes the sun crack one egg in the middle of the pan, don’t let the egg yolk sunk into the sauce (that is the reason you need to reduce the liquid), clam on the lid and let the egg pouch until the egg white is just cooked, yolk is still bit runny. Then remove it from the heat. Et voilà!

The moment of truth, you can choose to diving in with bread, it will helps you to wipe and clean the pan, definitely good choice to save up your elbow grease later for the washing up. There are something about this dish, it is truly satisfied, rewarding when you feeling like hell!


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Classic Lamb Shank Pot Roast

photo(1)AThis is a very quickly prepared, and easy dish to make for a special occasion, the only drawback is it does require a long time in the oven, but it’s well worth the wait. The Lamb will be incredibly succulent and tender, and full of rich deep flavour. The recipe is for one portion suitable for a main course, and you’ll need a heavy roasting pot with a lid. That is what I call it minimum of fuss and maximum of eating pleasure. It required no work, the oven does it all for you. By the time you had your bath the dinner is ready.

  • 1 Lamb Shank
  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped into small 1cm pieces
  •  ¾ bottle of red wine
  • 200ml water
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 10cm sprigs of fresh Rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsps of vegetable oil
  • Freshly milled black pepper and salt to taste.
  • 1 knob of butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 140°C
  2. Heat your pot with the oil, then add the Lamb shank and let it brown a little on all sides by turning it in the pot.
  3. While the lamb is browning, add the Bacon, then the Onion and the black pepper.
  4. When the bacon starts to brown, add the Garlic and Rosemary.
  5. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes to let the flavours develop.
  6. Add the ¾ bottle of red wine, and stir. (keep the ¼ bottle to enjoy with your meal.
  7. Let the wine boil for 5 minutes to remove the alcohol. Then add water after that the salt; and Bringing back to the boil.
  8. Cover with the lid and put into the oven for a total of at least 2 to 2½  hours depending on the size of your piece of lamb.
  9. When the lamb is cooked, remove the meat to a warm plate and cover with a piece of foil to keep warm and rest.
  10. While the Lamb rests, add the butter to the sauce then reduce the sauce by boiling, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick enough and glossy.
  11. Serve with any fresh steamed vegetables and some roasted sliced potatoes, or crusty bread which is delicious dipped into the sauce.


Garlic infused oil

P1160368ANo fuss garlic oil, one of my favourite cooking oil the reason is sometime I can be a bit lazy to chop garlic or mince the garlic with garlic press. I rather have this on my kitchen table and can use it at when I feel like to have some garlic flavour in meals.

I am making this 500ml of ordinary garlic oil with 1 whole garlic bulb separated into cloves, no need to peel the skin, just rub off any loose pieces of the skin. Make sure the bottle of olive oil got some room for the garlic cloves, give it a shake every now and then; leave it to infuse for at least one month before using them.

Italian Red Penne

P1150319ABeen a while, I posted the last post; simply because I looking for new inspiration for my meal. Obviously this is not a new idea but along the line I cooked for my pleasure, and satisfied my hunger. Is easy to cook.

  1. Heat up a pan with pancetta and bacon, when the fat of the meat is release adding the crushed garlic and stir fry until golden brown and set aside.
  2. Empty the can of tomato into deep pot with medium heeat. Fill the can with a quater of water and pour into the pot, then you can mash it with potato masher until the plum tomato had completely mashed, add in the wine, and give it a stir, then tip in the cooked bacon and pancetta, tomato puree, salt, blackpapper, leek and cheese. Keep stirring the sauce otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pot. Once is done set aside
  3. In another pot of boiling water, add salt into the boiling water then tip in the penne and cook until al denta. Drain and return the pasta in the hot pot with some olive oil and stir the pasta until is coated with olive oil.
  4. Scoop the pasta onto serving dish, and dollop the red sauce on pasta and garnish with basil. You done!