Browsing Tag



5 easy ways to eat wild garlic

8th March 2018

You know spring has sprung when the waft of garlic takes over parks and woodland pathways across the country. Wild garlic has a fresh, chive-like taste with that heady hum of mellow garlic and a mustardy twang.

A bunch of Wild Garlic

A tasty alternative bouquet perhaps…?

You can find it in wooded areas (they are a sign of Ancient woodland) from mid-March onwards, and usually you’ll smell it before you see it – so let your nose guide you. Its soft pointed leaves are at its sweetest in early spring. But if you don’t have the time to go out foraging, the green fingered folk at Chegworth Valley forage under the cover of the woods at their 100 acre Kent farm so you don’t have to. Wild garlic is, by nature, organic, so is grown with no harmful chemicals so it’s as natural as can be (and tastes all the better for it).

Once you’ve gathered your bunch and get it back to your kitchen, what to do? Well now’s the real fun part. Its leaves have a much more mellow taste than regular cultivated garlic, meaning it can be enjoyed raw or cooked. You can use both the leaves and the pale root – put your root to tip cooking into practice with our top 5 wild garlic recipes:

1. Wild Garlic Tear & Share Bread

Wild Garlic Tear and Share Bread

Everyone’s favourite Italian side gets a spring makeover. The mellow twang of wild garlic atop freshly baked soft bread is a thing of seasonal eating dreams. Get your friends around and dive into this easy-bake pull apart loaf whilst these leaves are still in season.

2. Asparagus, Mint & Wild Garlic Risotto

Asparagus, Mint & Wild Garlic Risotto

What grows together, goes together. That’s why springtime treasures wild garlic and asparagus are a match made in heaven in this creamy risotto.

3. Wild Garlic Chicken Kiev

Homemade chicken kievs are the ultimate spring comfort dish, made super simple with a few chef tips.

4. Rolled Lamb Breast with Wild Garlic Oil

Treat this slow-cooked, juicy breast of lamb with a fresh and punchy garlicky drizzle.

5. Wild Garlic Pesto 

Wild Garlic Pesto

This foolproof homemade pesto will complete all manner of dishes – stir through your favourite pasta or dot on top of torn bread, local tomatoes and mozzarella for a light and zingy panzanella salad.

1 bunch wild garlic • 2 packs basil • 50g of parmesan • 60g pine nuts • 1 lemon, zest & juice • 60ml rapeseed oil • 20ml olive oil • salt & pepper

In a blender, blitz most of the wild garlic and basil (if eating with pasta leave a handful for later to fold through the pasta at the end) with the grated Parmesan and pine nuts • Add the zest and juice of the lemon, then gradually add the two oils while the blender is on • Taste, adding salt and pepper.

Quick tip: I’d recommend always using two oils when making a pesto as using only olive oil can give it a bitter taste.

How do you use it? Share your tips below!

This article was originally published in May 2017 and has been updated.

Learn how to make a stunning apple cider vinegar, an easy mayonnaise, gut-friendly kombuchacreamy yoghurt and tahini at home in our DIY Pantry series.


5 time-saving tips to ace slow cooker recipes

28th February 2018

Invaluable tips for getting slow cooker recipes right to help you slow-cook like a pro and slice hours off your working week.

Pork and bean stew, slow cooked to perfection. Photo: Natale Towell.

Slow-cooked meals are a dream to eat and a breeze to cook. With the weather not up to much, now’s the perfect time to be whipping up wintery warmers. Think you don’t have enough time for slow-cooking? Think again. You’ll actually save time, money and win major nutrition points by making the most out of seasonal ingredients with little effort and a lot of tasty reward. Here are our top hints and tips to help you become a slow-cook pro and save hours in the kitchen.

1. Embrace cheaper cuts (and save money)

Ward off ills with homemade Chicken Noodle Broth. Photo: Natale Towell.

It’s an old chestnut, but cheaper cuts of meat really do bring tons of flavour to the pot. Cuts such as brisket, shoulder, shin, skirt, chuck and belly demand slow cooking because they’re from a part of the animal has had to work harder. The result? Deep, layered, incredible flavours that just can’t be replicated in a quick-cook scenario.

Have a go at a classic meaty stew by throwing chuck or shin in a pot with root veg and red wine. Or try using beef bones or chicken carcasses that would otherwise go to waste to get your broth on. Slow-cooking performs the same magic on vegetables too, amping up flavours to reveal layers of luscious depths as well as keeping all of their goodness in.

2. A little prep goes a long way

Try slow-cooking dahl in advance and enjoy with pan fried hake for warming midweek supper. Photo: Natale Towell.

Browning meat or vegetables at the beginning imparts a caramelised flavour that’s essential to the magic slow cooking and is a step that shouldn’t be skipped. Recognise the gnarly brown bits at the bottom of the pan when you fry something? These bits are where the flavour building begins and is a step well worth doing if you’re after some glorious umami.

Try browning meat cuts lightly dusted in flour to ramp up the caramelisation and keep the flavour locked in. The same goes for vegetables. Pan fry onions on the lowest heat until meltingly soft (at least 15 minutes) to knock your soups, stews and curries into next Sunday.

3. Batch it up (and save time)

Always prepare for seconds when it comes to pulled pork. Photo: Natale Towell.

The beauty of slow-cooked meals is that they do the hard work so you don’t have to. This is where the time-saving part really kicks in. Taking some time to get your slow-cook on means it’s effortlessly easy to make every dinner day like a Sunday. The flavour of a cooked stew or pie-like dish intensifies over time as the ingredients have had longer to intermingle and get cosy – making that weekend bolognese all the better come Monday.

To make the most of your slow cooked meals, make double the original amount and freeze in tupperware. Batch cooking slow-suppers in advance will give your midweek meals unbeatable flavour and you’ll also save yourself a lot of time during the week. Double win.

4. Go slow, go low

Go low and slow for Phở. Photo: Natale Towell.

The great thing about dishes cooked slowly is that in their nature they ooze flavour, without all the legwork you’d usually need to put in to impart a big flavour punch in quick dish. Take things up a notch and slow-cook your dish for longer on the lowest heat and you’ll find most dishes benefit from gentle heat over a longer period of time.

Going low and slow means flavours have more time to develop with the added benefit of your kitchen smelling scrumptious. Go from 4 hours to 8 hours and you’re destined for a spot on the slow-cook hall of fame. Throw fresh herbs in the end for a clean kick and voilà – supper’s sorted.

5. No touching

If you like it then you better put a lid on it: slow-cook Spag Bol for flavour like no other. Photo: Natale Towell.

One phrase to bear in mind is ‘set it and forget it’. As tempting as it may be, don’t lift the lid for a peek. Each time you open the lid heat and moisture are released, lowering the temperature of what’s inside and letting that luscious liquid go up in vapour. Opening the lid over a period of eight hours will make also make a dent in your timings.

The joy of not peeping means you keep all the nutritious liquid in one place. If you’d like to thicken it up, add some cornflour right at the end, or reduce in another pan on the hob before devouring your sticky stash.

This article was originally published in November 2016 and has since been updated.

Feel good food: discover why British farmers receive double the pay the get from supermarkets at Farmdrop.

Need a wine with that? Here’s your seasonal food and wine guide to get you through a lingering winter.

Discover six utterly soothing slow cooker recipes from London’s top chefs.


Pullet eggs: what are they, why they’re hard to find and how to cook them

19th February 2018

There’s a mini egg scandal happening in Britain. Farmers are forced to throw away millions of smaller pullet eggs each year because they don’t make the size-grade. Thankfully, there is a way to pick up pullet eggs direct from the farm and save them from their food-waste fate.

Ordinary eggs vs. small pullet eggs

Ordinary eggs vs. smaller pullet eggs. Photo: Natale Towell.

One of the greatest pleasures of local food is the increased likelihood of running into unusual ingredients that you won’t find elsewhere. So familiar are we with what industrially produced eggs have to offer, you won’t find small pullet eggs in a supermarket and instead medium, large and even extra-large are the order of the day.

Pullet eggs are not found in the supermarkets because they are too small to conform to the rules set by regulators. This shortsighted approach to selling fresh eggs has meant that millions of pullet eggs are not reaching tables but are destined for liquid eggs, or even worse, the bin. Which is a real shame, because they’re a delight.

What are pullet eggs?

A pullet is a hen that is under one year old and has only been laying eggs for only a few months. Pullet eggs are the first eggs laid by hens at about 18 weeks old. These young hens are just getting into their egg-laying groove, meaning these eggs will be noticeably smaller than the usual eggs you come across. And that’s where the beauty in them lies – quite simply, they are delicious.

Chefs can’t get enough of them because of their brightly coloured yolks and a unique richness that eggs from an older hen simply don’t have. Pullet eggs also hold together beautifully (like little mountains) in the pan, so are incredible for poaching and frying. The smaller size of pullet eggs only last about 4 weeks before they get bigger. They’re not around for long and that’s why they’re not available all year round.

Rowie with her free-ranging hens

Rowie with her free-ranging hens. Photo: Nigel Akehurst.


Why is it so hard to find pullet eggs?

Outside of their incredible richness (we’ve definitely heard the words ‘avian caviar’), pullet eggs highlight economic and sustainability issues too. Up to 10% of every egg farmer’s stock is thrown away because the eggs are too small. By not selling these eggs, farmers are losing out. You may have seen us talking to Jamie Oliver about them on Jamie And Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast.

Jamie says: “They may be little but farmers say they’re the tastiest you can get. The great British public are missing out on a premium seasonal product and worse, farmers’ livelihoods are on the line.”

Third-generation poultry farmers Danny and Susie Macmillan of Mac’s Farm who featured on the show say they lose around £60,000 a year due to few people eating pullet eggs. The supermarkets may not want them, but the rise in public interest in our pullet eggs after the show aired showed us that you do. Which is fantastic news for our farmers Rowie at Purton House Organics and Andrew at Haresfield farm, who now have a home for pullets hens’ eggs.

Pullet egg on the bottom, ordinary egg on top

Pullet egg on the bottom, ordinary egg on top. Photo: Natale Towell.

How to cook a pullet egg

Our recipe developer and MasterChef semi-finalist Beth shares her tips for the perfect pullet:

You can cook a pullet egg in the same way you would a normal egg. However, using pullet eggs for poaching is much easier as they have a brilliant ability hold together more so than normal eggs. For soft boiled pullet eggs, cook for 3 to 4 minutes from a rolling boil and make sure you use eggs that are at room temperature.

To easily remove its shell, put the egg straight into iced water and leave to cool (for about 5 minutes). Gently roll the egg along a surface to get an even layer of cracks in its shell and you’ll feel it come away. Find a weak spot to get under the shell and gently pull it off.

Just how small is a pullet egg?

Got pullet eggs and can’t wait to get cracking? To help you use them in baking, here’s a quick size comparison guide based on EU weights:

Standard EU Egg Sizes

Extra-large (XL) 73g+

Large (L) 63g – 73g

Medium (M) 53g – 63g

Small (S) less than 53g

Average Pullet 35g – 40g

How do you use yours? Let us know in the comments below.

This article was originally published in May 2017.

Pick up your pullet eggs now available from organic farmer Andrew at Haresfield Farm. 

Keep your eyes peeled for availability from Rowie at Purton House Organics.

Here’s why we pay farmers double compared to supermarkets.


Cook once, eat all week: 4 slow cooked beef recipes

28th December 2017

We’ve teamed up with one of Bristol’s best chefs, Freddy Bird of the Bristol Lido, to bring you a soothing slow cooked beef recipe (plus three leftover ideas) to warm up the wintry weeks ahead.

slow cooked beef batch cooking recipe

Cooking in the wild with critically acclaimed Bristol based chef, Freddy Bird.

Few people set out to eat badly. But during the week, after a busy day at work, it can be hard to muster up the energy to buy ingredients and cook yourself a nice dinner. As a result, takeaways and ready meals become the default option.

Which is why we’ve chosen batch cooking as the theme for our new recipe series, Cook Once, Eat All Week. Each instalment will feature a signature recipe from a guest contributor, plus three resourceful ideas for using up leftovers. The idea being that you can prepare the main dish over a languid Sunday afternoon and then freeze or refrigerate the leftovers to whip up save-the-day dishes throughout the week.

Our first recipe comes from Bristol-born chef Freddy Bird, who is Executive Head Chef at the city’s award-winning Lido restaurant as well as nearby sister eateries, The Glassboat and Three Brothers Burgers.

Having appeared on Saturday Kitchen, The Hairy Bikers and Michel Roux Jr’s Hidden Restaurants as a co-presenter, Freddy is well-known for his relaxed, outdoorsy style of cooking that brings together British, Mediterranean and Moorish influences, as befits a chef that grew up on a farm and worked a formative stint at London’s Moro restaurant.

But for a true indication of his style, look no further than this tempting beef shin recipe, which slow-cooks the meat in an unusual Pedro Ximenez sherry sauce and serves with mash and greens of your choosing. Hearty, unctuous and deeply satisfying, it’s a glorious dish that you will be happy to enjoy more than once.

slow cooked beef batch cooking recipe

Slow cooked beef shin in Pedro Ximenez by Freddy Bird

Serves 4 | 1 hour, plus slow-cooking time


1.2kg beef shin (gnarly, fatty bits of shin)

2 litres fresh chicken stock (ideally homemade with a pig’s trotter or two)

300ml Pedro Ximenez sherry

2 carrots, roughly diced

1 stick celery, roughly diced

1 large onion, roughly diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 sprig rosemary

handful of chives



Maris Piper potatoes, roughly 4-5, peeled and chopped




1. Place a large ovenproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom. Once hot, lightly season the beef shin, add to the pan and fry until evenly coloured. Set aside.

2. Using the same pan, add a little more oil, turn down the heat slightly and add the carrots, celery and onion. Cook until caramelised and softened slightly.

3. Add the garlic and rosemary, cook for a further 2-3 minutes and then add all the Pedro Ximenez. Do not add any salt at this point as you will be reducing the stock later. Make sure nothing is caught on the bottom of the pan, if so you will need to change the dish.

4. Reduce the Pedro Ximenez (or PX for short) by about three quarters and then add the stock and allow to reduce over a medium heat until it is about a third of its original quantity. Check the seasoning and remove from the heat.

5. Pass through a sieve, discarding the vegetables but reserving the liquor. Return the shin to the pan and cover with the sauce. Slow-cook in the oven (or in a slow-cooker) set to 150-160C for 2 1/2-3 hours.

6. Depending on the dice of the shin, in 100-120 minutes the shin should be tender and starting to fall apart and the sauce beautifully glossy. If it isn’t, very carefully remove the shin, reduce the sauce to a glossy consistency on the hob and then return the shin to the pan.

7. For the mash, boil Maris Piper potatoes until soft, strain and allow to steam dry. Pass through a potato ricer (the only way to make mash by the way!) and finish with butter and cream to taste.

8. Serve the shin on top of the mash with some greens (spinach or kale would work) and a giant pool of sauce. Sprinkle with finely chopped chives to finish.

Freddys Three Leftover Ideas

The juicy snack: Pedro Ximenez soaked raisin Argentinian empanadas

Soak some raisins in the PX to make them more juicy, then add to the leftover beef shin. Use the mix as a stuffing for empanadas, an Argentinian pastry snack that resembles a small Cornish pasty, and serve with a salad.

The hearty lunch: Shin stuffed bubble and squeak potato cakes

Mix any leftover mash with chopped kale to form bubble and squeak-style patties, stuff with leftover shin and the sticky sauce. Fry the potato cakes and add a fried egg on top for added decadence.

The warming supper: Slow cooked beef shin pie

Using the same mix, divide the shin and sauce into pie dishes and top with shortcrust pastry, you can either use pre-bought pastry or make it yourself. Freddy often creates a mustard and bone marrow crust which would work really nicely with the PX and shin mix.

Craving more winter warmers? Discover 6 slow cooker-perfect recipes by some of Britain’s top chefs.


10 food and farming heroes to watch in 2018

20th December 2017

Meet the farmers, chefs and all-round superstars safeguarding the future of our food and making the planet a better, healthier place you need to watch in 2018.

There’s plenty of doom and gloom in the media these days, what with chicken scandals and plastic-filled oceans and warming climates. But with every year that passes, more producers and farmers, more chefs and foodies, more brewers and growers are working harder to make our planet a better, healthier place to be.

They’re the guys helping to safe-guard the future of our food system, bringing our attention to what’s on our plate and where it comes from, and promoting better ways to grow, buy, cook, eat and enjoy it.

Here’s our super-select pick of the ones to watch; the inspiring, passionate and positive game-changers who are leading the way in the world of radical food and farming.

Massimo Bottura

future of our food

It’s hard not to love Massimo. Owner of three-star Michelin restaurant, Osteria Francescana in Modena, voted the Best Restaurant in the World in 2016, Massimo is one of the most influential chefs in modern Italian gastronomy. Now he spends his time heading up his non-profit association, Food for Soul – a series of community kitchens from Brazil to London that intercept otherwise wasted food to feed those in need. He’s also recently released a new cookbook – Bread is Gold is packed with recipes that show how to turn humble, often wasted, ingredients into delicious meals: “these dishes could change the way we feed the world, because they can be cooked by anyone, anywhere, on any budget. To feed the planet, first you have to fight waste.” Enter our competition to win a signed copy.

IG: @massimobottura

​Old Tree Brewery

future of our food

‘Living drinks for living soil’ is the tagline for this ecological brewery in Brighton investing in regenerating the land through their naturally fermented, seasonal, probiotic drinks. Suppliers of zero-waste restaurant SILO, Old Tree are equally serious about minimising their negative impact on the planet. They gather ingredients they’ve grown in their food forest or by foraging for abundant wild edibles and return any waste as compost to the land. Find them setting up their new nano-brewery of live, botanical drinks in 2018.

IG: @oldtreebrewery

The Sioux Chef

future of our food

What with all Trump’s handiwork this year, the rights of North America’s indigenous communities seem on shakier ground than ever. So it’s good timing that the Sioux Chef, AKA Sean Sherman, is reviving an ignored slice of North American history. And he’s doing it… through food. Forget tacos and fry-breads, wheat and beef, dairy and sugar. The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen cookbook (soon to be restaurant and a string of Indigenous Food Hubs) dispels modern misconceptions of native American food, with a celebration of ingredients from venison to rabbit, lake trout to wild turkey, sage to sumac, plums to purslane. Of native American origin, the Sioux Chef draws from a long forgotten culinary culture that uses wild plants and animals, native crops and methods to inform a new take on what north American food really should, and could, become known for.

IG: @siouxchef

Kate Collyns at Grown Green

future of our food

Magazine editor-turned-veggie grower, Kate Collyns ditched her office career for a life on the land, and now runs a successful, award-winning, sustainable market garden near Bath. After years of learning on the job – with challenges from chiselling swede out of the ground in sub-zero temperatures to picking kale in hail storms to educating customers on seasonal eating (and why they can’t have tomatoes in January) – she’s also written a book, aptly named Gardening for Profit, and shares her knowledge in farming groups and organisations to promote the merits of efficient small-scale farming. These days Kate’s two-acre garden is flourishing, and we’re big fans. Even with an eight-month-old in tow, she still manages to supply Farmdrop with quality greens grown with organic methods. She’ll be back on the site in spring.

T: @katecollyns

Neil Rankin

future of our food

Offal lovers unite! The rise of nose-to-tail eating is showing no signs of abating, with more chefs and home-cooks seeking to swap prime cuts for under-loved and often-wasted parts of the animal. One such person is Neil Rankin, chef and owner of Temper Soho, whose focus on using well-reared whole animals, butchering them on site and barbecuing every morsel over open fire pits won him Best Newcomer at the 2017 Observer Food Monthly awards. “I buy a great cow, and then work out how to sell the whole thing. People come in and say they want a sirloin. There are maybe six kilos of sirloin on a carcass of 600 kilos. Every single part of the cow is delicious to eat, it’s just knowing how to cook it.” He knows what he’s talking about.

T: @frontlinechef


future of our food

The revolutionary pop-up restaurant and catering company that ​connects refugee and migrant women with London diners has taken the capital by storm in recent years. Serving up ‘soulful, authentic’ meals, the social enterprise seeks to give women a means to work by putting their cooking skills to good use. After sold-out supper clubs and a Guardian Cook residency, Mazimas has now launched its first online shop, selling jams, spice blends and teas with interesting twists and quality ingredients.

IG: @eatmazimas

Locavore Magazine

future of our food

Photo: @salutateporcum via Facebook

A new publication promising ‘slow, seasonal and sustainable food’ was always going to pique our interest, and this one’s a goodie. Launched in November 2017, the quarterly journal looks at how food is found, grown, prepared and served. Expect intelligent stories from chefs and farmers, foragers and scientists that explore anything from seed-saving projects and fermenting to heritage grains, asking the question; what does a sustainable food system look like?

IG: @locavoremagazine

Mr Lyan – Ryan Chetiyawardana

future of our food

Xavier D. Buendia / XDB Photography

It should come as no surprise that we’re big fans of Mr Lyan. Award-winning bartender and owner of Dandelyan, Ryan went on to open White Lyan – the world’s first bar without any perishables in a bid to reduce waste – and later Super Lyan (which we wrote about here) and adjoining bar-restaurant Cub (we wrote about that here too). Both work to empower their farmers, chefs, bartenders and consumers to produce, cook, eat and drink in a more sustainable and informed way: “we want to nurture a dialogue between producers and us, and between us and the public. By empowering each stage, we can treat our food systems more appropriately and find ways of championing positive change in a way that feels realistic and exciting” says Ryan. Cheers to that.

IG: @mrlyan

​Nordic Food Lab​

future of our food

Eating insects is a concept we’re waking up to, albeit slowly, in the west. And it’s a trend on the up, with more scientists and chefs researching the benefits of eating bugs as a viable source of edible protein. Will it take off? It seems so. The Nordic Food Lab – the non-profit organisation founded by Noma’s Rene Redzepi and food entrepreneur Claus Meyer – are taking it seriously, with a new book, On Eating Insects, that explores most importantly, how they taste. Insects are just one of their many experiments, with a lab full of local roots, mushrooms and herbs, fermented fish, preserved deer meat and barrels of ageing quince ‘balsamic’ vinegar to name a few, in their pursuit of delicious foods that can feed a sustainable future planet.

IG: @nordicfoodlab

Delphis Eco

future of our food

Delphis Eco CEO Mark Janovich and team at Damer’s First School in Dorset during Recycling Week.

This kickass manufacturer and innovator of eco cleaning products is taking their mission one step further. They’ve developed the UK’s first 100% post-consumer plastic bottle. Meaning? They collect recycled plastic milk bottles, refine it, re-blow it and re-use it to package their products, lengthening the life-span of single-use plastic. Providing a small – but significant – solution to the world’s 300 million tonnes of virgin plastic that gets binned every year. All of their products will use their ‘closed loop’ packaging, and will be sold via Farmdrop soon.

T: @DelphisEco

Don’t miss the food trends set to shape 2018.


An alternative Christmas dinner menu by Heirloom

19th December 2017

Want to impress with effortless seasonal stunners? Look no further than these alternative Christmas dinner ideas by Ian Macintosh, Chef Owner of Heirloom – a thoroughly modern British restaurant in Crouch End.

alternative Christmas recipes

Take a seat at the bar at Heirloom.

Talk to most chefs and restaurateurs and they’ll tell you that Christmas is something they get to enjoy between the menu planning, chaotic services, and never-ending kitchen prep. Rarely, in other words.

But despite the seasonal stresses, Ian Macintosh, Chef Owner of Crouch End’s much-loved Heirloom restaurant, retains a childlike enthusiasm for the festive period. He looks forward to putting together his Christmas menus and starts planning dishes as soon as summer departs, favouring those that blend tradition with modernity; British flavours with Continental touches.

alternative Christmas recipes

Ian Macintosh, Chef Owner of Heirloom.

This year, for the first time in a few, Ian, who has run Heirloom with his brother, David, since 2014, is opening the restaurant on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and for lunch on the last two Fridays before the big day; as well as the usual Tuesday to Sunday opening hours.

It promises to be quite a spread. But if you can’t make the jaunt to North London, then don’t despair as the Yorkshire-born has devised a special alternative Christmas menu just for Farmdrop, comprising some of his favourite recipes from Heirloom’s 2017 vintage.

Ian’s alternative Christmas menu showcases British cooking as it is today; seasonal, forward-thinking and delicious. Starters are provided in the form of tandoori trout rillettes and a sprightly kohlrabi, clementine and fennel salad. For mains, Ian flips the bird to turkey in favour of pheasant, which he pot-roasts on a bed of barley, and a vegetarian-friendly salt-baked carrots with labneh dish. Brussels with chestnut and pancetta makes a lovely versatile side, while treacle loaf rounds things off with some much-needed decadence.

Cook any or all of these on the 25th and your guests are sure to go to bed happy. (As for Ian, well he’ll still probably be working.)

To start:

Kohlrabi, clementine and fennel salad

Serves 6 | 50 minutes

Slightly smoky, citrusy and aniseed-y, this simple salad packs a real punch. A lovely light starter to precede the traditional festive gluttony.

1 kohlrabi
4 clementines, 1 saved for dressing
1 fennel bulb
Lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
80ml rapeseed oil
A handful of chives
150g flaked almonds, lightly toasted

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roast the kohlrabi for 30 minutes or until slightly blackened on the outside.

2. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool, remove the skin with a paring knife, chop the flesh into neat chunks or slices and set aside.

3. For the clementines, cut each in half and sprinkle with sugar. Place a pan over a medium heat and, once hot, add the clementines flesh-side down. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown and caramelised. Allow to cool and then remove the skin.

4. For the fennel, slice on a mandolin or use a sharp knife to cut into thin slices. Store in water with the lemon juice to avoid it oxidising.

5. For the dressing, mix together in a bowl the juice from the remaining clementine, Dijon mustard and chives. Slowly whisk in the rapeseed oil until combined.

6. Combine the kohlrabi, clementine and fennel and toss in the dressing. Scatter with the flaked almonds and serve in bowls or on one big sharing platter.

Tandoori trout rillettes

Serves 6 | 25 minutes plus pickling time

We tend to serve this on blinis over the festive season, but it is equally good on toast or flatbreads. The tandoori spices add a warming twist, while the tartness of the cucumber cuts through the fattiness of the trout belly.


Pickled cucumber

1 cucumber
50ml cider vinegar
50g caster sugar
50ml water
5g mustard seeds
5g cumin seeds


1 trout belly
Tandoori powder
100ml duck fat
50g chervil, chopped


1. First, prepare the pickled cucumber. Add the vinegar, sugar, water and spices to a pot and place over a medium heat. Heat for 15 minutes, then pass the liquid through a strainer or sieve and allow to cool slightly

2. Cut the cucumber into rounds and place into the pickling liquor for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 220°C

3. Leaving the belly whole, cover it in salt and roast in the oven for 6 minutes. Then, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

4. Place a plan over a low heat. Once hot, add the tandoori powder and heat to release the oils in the spices. After 5 minutes, add the duck fat and cook until combined.

5. Meanwhile, pick the meat from the belly, discarding any bones or skin, and add to a large bowl. Add the mixture from the pan in stages, using a spoon to bring the rillettes together. Allow to cool.

6. Once cool, add the chopped chervil to the mix, check the seasoning and serve on toast, flatbreads or blinis with the cucumber.

For the main event:

Roast pheasant with barley and cranberry sauce

Serves 6 | 1 hour

Pheasant are abundant at this time of year and not as costly as some other birds. Here we pot-roast the legs on a bed of barley and serve with the pan-roasted breasts and a side-serving of cranberry sauce to produce a tasty festive main.



3 pheasants, legs removed
1 carrot
1 stick celery
1 brown onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 a leek
300g pearl barley
Splash of white wine
300g pearl barley
250ml chicken stock

Cranberry Sauce

300g frozen cranberries
250ml water
bunch of thyme


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. To make the mirepoix, a traditional base for many winter dishes, finely chop carrot, celery, onion, garlic and leek and add to a large ovenproof casserole dish with a little oil. Place over a low-medium heat for 10 minutes.

3. Add the barley, a splash of wine and 200ml of chicken stock. Place the pheasant legs on top of the barley, leave the lid off and cook in the oven for 40 minutes, topping up the stock as necessary.

4. Towards the end of the cooking time, place a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat and add a few drops of oil. Once hot, add the pheasant crowns and pan-roast until nicely coloured.

5. Turn the oven up to 185°C and place the crowns in there to cook through for 8 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, prepare the cranberry sauce. Add the cranberries to a pan along with chopped thyme, water and sugar to taste. Heat until the cranberries start to lose their shape, roughly 5 minutes.

7. Remove the casserole dish from the oven along with the crowns. Using a sharp knife, fillet the breasts from the crowns and place on top of the legs. Serve up a sharing dish with the cranberry sauce on the side.

Salt-baked carrots with labneh, hazelnut and chard

alternative Christmas recipes

Serves 6 | 50 minutes, plus resting time

Salt-baking draws out moisture and concentrates flavour, and we find the method works particularly well with carrots. At the restaurant we use Sandy carrots, which have been grown on loam soil in Brittany and have a high sugar content to counter the salt, but good-quality medium-sized carrots will work nicely, too. If you’re feeling extra generous, add some pan-roasted cauliflower to the plate.


1kg sandy carrots, or 6 medium carrots
1kg white flour
350g salt
50g ground cinnamon
700ml of water

500g natural yogurt
500g brown onions, thinly sliced
50g ras el hanout
knob of butter

500g swiss chard
150g hazelnut


1. Mix the flour, salt and cinnamon in a food mixer with the bread attachment and add roughly 700ml of water to form a dough. Use your hand to finish the dough, then wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 1 hour.

2. Remove the dough from the fridge, roll out and place the carrots on top. Wrap back up to conceal the carrots inside. Place on a tray and bake in an oven set to 180°C for 30 minutes, then set aside.

3. To make the labneh, line a sieve with a J-cloth, then tip in the yoghurt and allow the whey to drip through until you are left with a thick set yoghurt.

4. Meanwhile, add the sliced onions to a pan over a low-medium heat with a knob of butter. Cook until slightly brown, then add the ras el hanout seasoning and cook for a further 15 minutes. You can add some water if the mixture looks too dry. Allow to cool then mix with the thick yoghurt.

5. Boil a pan of salted water and blanch the chard for 2 minutes.

6. In a separate pan, toast the hazelnuts then crush up using the side of a knife.

7. Remove the carrots from salt-bake and divide onto plates with the labneh, chard and hazelnuts.

A festive side:

Brussels sprouts with pancetta and chestnuts

Serves 6 | 15 mins

Say no to boiled-into-submission sprouts! They do nothing for the reputation of this deliciously versatile vegetable. Instead, do as we do at Heirloom and pan-fry them with salty pancetta and sweet, earthy chestnuts.


1kg sprouts, scored and halved
250g pancetta, diced
250g vacuum-packed chestnuts, grated or chopped into small chunks
50ml white wine vinegar, Cabernet Sauvignon if possible

rapeseed oil


Place a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the halved sprouts, diced pancetta and a splash of water to the pan along with a few knobs of butter and rapeseed oil

Once the water has evaporated, add the vinegar to the pan and cook for a further minute, or until the sprouts are nice and tender.

Add the chestnuts, stir to combine and serve as a festive side.

To finish:

Treacle loaf

alternative Christmas recipes

Serves 6 | 45 minutes

A great way to use up brown bread, we serve this treacle loaf at the restaurant throughout autumn and winter. Sticky, sweet and comforting, it’s a real crowdpleaser and makes a wonderful winter pud.


1 small brown bread loaf, chopped and crusts removed
250g unsalted butter
65g caster sugar
210g golden syrup
150g black treacle
3 eggs


1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Melt the butter, sugar and syrups in a pan over a low heat, then add the bread and coat in the mixture. Set aside to cool.

2. Once cool, add the eggs and transfer to a food mixer. Blend until smooth.

3. Line a terrine or loaf tin with baking parchment and pour in the mix. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

4. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Slice and serve with a dollop of clotted cream or ice cream.

Heirloom, 35 Park Road, N8, 020 8348 3565

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