Cool Summer Recipes From London's Hottest Restaurant

Since opening their doors in Exmouth Market seven years ago, Caravan has become a byword for delicious small plates, cracking coffee and cool yet unpretentious presentation. Now with three sites across London, Caravan has finally brought its mouthwatering dishes into our own kitchens. The restaurant's first recipe book, Caravan: Dining All Day, has everything you need to transform your typical Tuesday night into something really impressive. With an emphasis on grains, fresh veggies and intense flavours, this is food that not only looks good but makes you feel good, too.
If the thought of hours in the kitchen in the summer heat has you ready to melt, don't despair. We've chosen Caravan's coolest recipes for you to try – and if cornbread, Burmese chicken salad and a coffee Negroni can't tempt you towards your chopping board, we don't know what will.
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Caravan’s debut cookbook, Caravan: Dining All Day, by Miles Kirby, Laura Harper-Hinton & Chris Ammermann (published by Vintage Books), is out now.
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Cornbread

This southern American classic, which Caravan has been dishing up since day one, is delicious fried and served with chipotle butter, lime and fresh coriander. We can't get enough of it. However, if you can't face standing over a hot pan in this weather (and we don't blame you), it's equally delicious served warm from the oven, and will last in the fridge for up to three days.

Makes 1 loaf

60g butter, melted
3 eggs
400ml whole milk
170g instant polenta
80g strong white bread flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
150g tinned sweetcorn kernels (use fresh when in season)

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin with baking paper.
2. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and add the eggs, whisking to combine, then whisk in the milk.
3. Sift the polenta, bread flour, caster sugar, baking powder and salt into a separate large bowl and mix to combine. Add the wet ingredients and mix carefully until there are no dry bits, being careful not to overwork the batter. Mix in the spring onions and sweetcorn kernels and stir to combine.
4. Pour into the prepared loaf tin and leave to rest for 10 minutes, then place in the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 200°C and bake for a further 20–25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
5. When the cornbread is ready, remove it from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
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Burmese Chicken Salad, Turmeric, Chilli, Lime, Peanuts

This salad originates from Burma via New Zealand – countries which know how to handle the heat – so is perfect for a summer dinner. Enjoy al fresco then pack up any leftovers to enjoy al desko for the rest of the week. If you have trouble finding green papaya or kohlrabi, you can replace these ingredients with cucumber, celery, thinly sliced cabbage or unripe or green mango.

Serves 4-6

4 skinless chicken breasts, ideally free-range
1 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
40g fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
4 coriander stalks
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
60g spinach leaves, sliced
1⁄2 green papaya, julienned
150g kohlrabi, julienned
1 red chilli, sliced
Handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
100g toasted peanuts, crushed

For the dressing
200ml vegetable oil or neutral flavoured oil
1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
20g fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
Zest of 3 limes
150ml lime juice
80ml nam pla (fish sauce)

1. First poach the chicken. Place the chicken breasts in a single layer into a pan – ideally the breasts should fit quite snugly on the bottom of the pan. Pour over 750ml water, or enough to just cover the breasts. Add the fish sauce, ginger and coriander stalks.
2. Place over a high heat to bring the contents of the pan to the boil quickly, then reduce the heat to as gentle a simmer as your stove allows. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer gently for 8 minutes.
3. Turn the heat off and set aside with the lid on for a further 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the liquid and set aside to cool. Once cool, shred the chicken making sure to tear the breasts lengthways to ensure long strips of meat. Set aside.
4. To make the dressing, heat a little of the vegetable oil in a pan over a medium heat and gently sweat the onions, garlic and ginger for 5–10 minutes until everything has completely softened but not browned.
5. Add the remainder of the oil to the pan with the turmeric and paprika and simmer for a few minutes so that the spices lose their ‘raw’ taste. Transfer the contents of the pan to a bowl and allow to cool completely. When completely cooled, add the lime zest and juice and fish sauce to the bowl and mix to combine. Taste and adjust with more lime juice or fish sauce as you see fit. Store the dressing in the fridge until ready to use – it will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
6. To assemble the salad, mix the shredded chicken in a large bowl with the carrot, spinach, green papaya and kohlrabi. Add the dressing, chilli and herbs and mix well. Transfer the salad to a serving dish and sprinkle crushed peanuts over the top to serve.

Note
Caravan use a mandolin to prepare our julienned vegetables so that they get super-long spaghetti-style strips. If you don’t have a mandolin, use a vegetable peeler to create long strips, which you can fold in half, end on end, and then finely slice with a sharp knife.
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Spiced Roasted Cauliflower, Harissa, Pomegranate Yoghurt

If your idea of cauliflower is a soggy white mass your mum would make you eat before you could have dessert, then you're in for a surprise. A great option for a veggie main or filling side dish, cauliflower is also a brilliant vehicle for flavour – here, the spiced oil infiltrates every nook and cranny, packing a wonderful juicy punch when you bite into it. The harissa and pomegranate yoghurt give the dish that extra hit of flavour and make for lovely presentation, too.

Serves 4

1 large cauliflower
4 tbsp rapeseed oil or neutral flavoured oil
1 tbsp olive oil
25g garam masala
75g Greek yoghurt
15g pomegranate molasses
100g harissa
1 tbsp nigella seeds
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
Sea salt
Coriander cress, to garnish (or use picked coriander leaves)

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Cut the cauliflower into quarters and then cut each quarter in half, so you have 8 wedges of cauliflower.
3. Heat the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan and fry 4 pieces of cauliflower on each side until golden brown. Remove from pan and repeat with the remaining 4 pieces. Place the cauliflower into a large bowl, pour in the olive oil and garam masala and toss to ensure a good coating on all sides, then tip the cauliflower onto a large roasting tray and place in the oven for 8–10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile combine the Greek yoghurt with the pomegranate molasses in a small bowl and season with salt; set aside.
5. Spread a tablespoon of harissa over the base of each serving plate, then place a couple of wedges of cauliflower on top of that. Dollop on spoonfuls of pomegranate molasses yoghurt and sprinkle with nigella seeds and pomegranate seeds. Finally, garnish with coriander cress or leaves and serve.
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Coffee Negroni

Caravan is justly famous for its coffee, but this summer's unexpected heatwave is enough to put even the most dedicated caffeine addict off their latte. Luckily, this coffee Negroni cocktail is the perfect way to cool off, unwind and get your coffee hit, all at the same time. Caravan created this for the London Coffee Festival a few years back and it went down a treat; it's been a staple ever since. The key is to source a good-quality, specialty coffee from a local roaster to use for your single-origin filter. You want a clean, full-flavoured coffee without any bitterness – leave that to the Campari!

Makes 1

25ml London dry-style gin
25ml Campari
25ml single-origin coffee syrup, chilled
Ice
Twist of orange peel

For the coffee syrup
250ml single-origin filter coffee
50g unrefined golden caster sugar

1. First make the coffee syrup. Make 250ml single-origin filter coffee using a Chemex, V60, Aeropress or your favourite home filter coffee. Add the unrefined caster sugar and stir to dissolve. Allow the syrup to cool fully before using and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days (you will have enough for about 10 cocktails).
2. In a chilled tumbler, combine the gin, Campari and coffee syrup. Fill the glass with ice and stir for 5–10 seconds to combine the ingredients. Garnish with a thick twist of orange peel, squeezing to release the oils all over the glass.
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