If the cold days and long nights have zapped all your enthusiasm for home-cooked meals, allow us to offer you some culinary inspiration. Don’t reach for your tried-and-trusted takeaway menus (you’ve ordered curry twice this week) or for another tasteless microwave meal. We’ve rounded up five recipes from London’s leading chefs and restaurants — and each one is easy to make any night of the week.
All you need is a can-do attitude — and a kitchen — to whip up soul-warming risotto or a spicy chicken surprise. Say bye-bye to so-so suppers and hello to five delicious dinners.
Want even more R29? Get the latest news, tips, and can't-resist stories delivered straight to your newsfeed, in real time.
Photo: Courtesy of Trinity.
Salad of Citrus-Cured Salmon with English Peas
The head chef at Trinity, Adam Byatt, offers up a refreshing salad, perfect for those of us not quite recovered from the festive period's culinary indulgences.
350g fillet skinless salmon
2 blood oranges or 1 small pink grapefruit
80g pea shoots
300g fresh English peas in the pod
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100ml crème fraîche
100ml olive oil
1. Wrap the salmon in clingfilm and place in the freezer for 30 minutes (this will firm it up and make it easier to slice).
2. Carefully remove the peel from each orange by first slicing off the top and bottom and then running the knife around the curve of the fruit. Now slice out the segments into a bowl (they will come away without the pith), and squeeze the juice from the membranes into another bowl.
3. Halve the pomegranate and tap the halves on a board to remove the seeds.
4. Pick over, wash, and dry the pea shoots.
5. Pod the peas and discard the pods. Cook the peas in boiling, salted water for three minutes. Drain and chill under cold, running water. Put half of the cooked peas into a blender, add the crème fraîche. Season well with salt and pepper, then blend to a smooth purée for two minutes.
6. Remove the salmon from the freezer. Using a sharp knife, slice the fish thinly through the flesh against the grain, then lay the slices flat on a tray.
7. Add the olive oil to the bowl with the orange juice. Season with some salt and pepper and mix thoroughly to make a vinaigrette.
8. Just five minutes before serving, brush some of the vinaigrette all over the salmon and toss the pea shoots quickly in the remainder.
Photo: Courtesy of J Sheekey.
Fillet of Red Mullet with Chervil-Buttered Sea Kale
Trust James Cornwall, head chef at legendary seafood restaurant J Sheekey, to provide a dish that, while a little time consuming, is as tasty as it comes.
Sunflower oil, for frying
2 shallots, finely sliced
100ml white-wine vinegar
100ml white wine
100ml fish stock
200g unsalted butter, cold and diced
30ml double cream
A squeeze of lemon
100g sea kale
4 200g red mullet fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A small bunch of chopped chervil
1. To make the butter sauce, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the shallots. Cook for two minutes without colour. Add white-wine vinegar, bring to a boil, and simmer until almost evaporated. Add wine, bring to a boil, and reduce again. Repeat the process with fish stock (a good quality cube is fine if you don’t have fresh).
2. Add the double cream, bring to a boil, and reduce by half. Whisk in the butter until you have a rich, glossy sauce.
3. Sieve into a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the lemon juice, and keep warm.
4. Cook the sea kale in boiling, salted water for about three minutes, until tender. Drain in a colander, put into cold water and then drain again. Cut in half lengthways, on the diagonal.
5. Heat the oil in a nonstick frying pan. Season the fillets and cook skin side down for around three minutes. Turn the fish over and take the pan off the heat, but leave the fillets in the pan (the heat of the pan will gently cook the other side).
6. In a small saucepan, heat the butter sauce. Add the sea kale and the chervil. Arrange the red mullet on a serving dish and finish with the sea kale and butter sauce.
Photo: Courtesy of Daphne's.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Looking for your new favourite comfort-food dish? You'll love this soul-soothing risotto by Michael Brown, the head chef at Daphne's.
For the vegetable stock (yields approximately 2 litres)
3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small head of celery, roughly chopped and washed
3 leeks, trimmed, roughly chopped, and washed
4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
Butternut squash trimmings, peelings, seeds
1 medium bunch of flat leaf parsley, stalks only (reserve the leaves for the risotto)
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs thyme
10 black peppercorns
3 tbsp tomato purée
2.4 litres cold water
For the risotto
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1cm dice (use trimmings for stock)
250g carnaroli rice
30ml olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
60g unsalted butter
50g pecorino cheese, grated (plus a little more to finish)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Add some oil to a large thick-bottomed saucepan, and add all the ingredients except water and tomato purée. Cook for five minutes until the vegetables are soft, but without colour.
2. Add the tomato purée, stir, and cook for another minute. Then, add the water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Strain through a sieve and season.
3. Place the diced butternut squash in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan of boiling, salted water. Cook until soft. Drain and set to one side. While this is cooking you can begin making the risotto.
4. Gently reheat the stock. In a thick-bottomed pan, add the oil, and shallots and cook until soft, being careful not to brown them. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon on a low heat for one minute.
5. Gradually add the hot stock, a little at a time, stirring constantly, and ensuring that each ladle has been fully absorbed by the rice before adding the next. When the rice is almost cooked, add the butter, cooked butternut squash, and pecorino. Lightly season with salt and pepper. The risotto should be a moist consistency, and not too stodgy.
6. Chop the parsley leaves and stir in just before serving.
Photo: Courtesy of Coya.
Sea Bass Ceviche
Put down that takeout burrito, and say hello to this divine sea bass ceviche recipe, courtesy of Sanjay Dwivedi, head chef at Coya.
½ white onion, peeled
½ head of celery
1 bulb of garlic
1 aji limo
½ bunch coriander (set 10 leaves aside)
125ml fish stock
Juice of 6 limes
125g sweet potato
1 star anise
100g Peruvian white corn (or sweetcorn, if unavailable)
6 fillets of sea bass, skinned
½ red chili, seeded and finely chopped
½ red onion, finely sliced
1. Blitz onion, celery, garlic, aji limo, coriander, ginger, and fish stock in a blender. Blend enough to break down the vegetables, but don't purée them. Pass through a sieve, add lime juice and salt, and put aside in the fridge.
2. Dice sweet potatoes into small cubes. In a pan, add one litre of water, the sweet potatoes, and star anise. Bring to gentle boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, refresh in iced cold water, and set aside.
3. Blanche the Peruvian white corn for 10 minutes in salted water. Drain, refresh in iced cold water, and set aside.
4. When ready to serve, dice sea bass into 2cm cubes and season with salt and lime juice. Add the blended mixture, lightly stir, and taste for seasoning. Finally, add sweet potatoes, Peruvian corn, chopped, reserved coriander, and red chilies. Mix well, and marinate for no longer than a minute. Finish with finely sliced red onions.
Photo: Courtesy of Chotto Matte.
Grilled Chicken Donbori with Coriander and Pomegranate
Make this chicken dish, from Jordan Sclare, the head chef at Chotto Matte, your new Friday night treat.
Coriander marinade (see ingredients and instructions below)
4 large chicken breasts
1 large courgette, cut lengthways into 4 pieces
Spicy miso (see ingredients and instructions below)
1 red onion, sliced
Handful of coriander sprigs
1. Marinate the chicken in the coriander marinade for up to six hours (we suggest doing this before you go to work in the morning).
2. Lightly oil the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and place onto a medium part of the grill. Cook skin side down until crispy all over, turning when needed. Once cooked through, allow to rest for two minutes. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.
3. Grill courgette and cut into bite size pieces, then dress with spicy miso. Garnish with the pomegranate, coriander, and red onion, and finish with freshly grated lemon zest. Serve with chicken on a bed of steamed rice.
For the coriander marinade
80g coriander with stalks
15g garlic, peeled
7g ginger, diced
110g onion, peeled and chopped
35ml rice vinegar
35ml grape seed oil
20ml soy sauce
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
For the spicy miso
100g miso paste
10g kim chee base
25g Korean miso hot pepper paste
Blend all ingredients together.