Let’s face it, we’re all tired of cooking the same old things at home. What we wouldn’t do to get out to a restaurant, to have something cooked professionally – and, if we’re honest, properly, for us. Unfortunately, that’s still not quite possible, but with the recipes in Chefs at Home, we can at least try to cook like some of the biggest names in the business.
It’s been a tough and uncertain year for those working in the hospitality industry with many struggling to make ends meet. The charity Hospitality Action, which has been helping to support those people, has now brought together some of the best chefs in the country to share what they’ve been cooking at home during the pandemic.
“This is home cooking with heart,” writes Mark Lewis, chief executive of Hospitality Action, in the foreword. And “by buying this book, you’re helping put the lights back on, and food on the table” of those in the industry who have suffered the worst.
From Gordon Ramsay to Angela Hartnett, Michel Roux Jr, Tom Kerridge and Selin Kiazim, there are recipes to suit everyone and every meal.
We’ve chosen three from the many wonderful recipes to inspire you to get back in the kitchen and try something new, something that the professionals themselves cook, and hopefully, they’ll taste just as good as if they’d cooked for you themselves.
Nieves Barragán Mohacho – torrijas with orange sauce
Usually you’d use old bread to make torrijas – it’s what people used to eat when their bread went stale – but I like to use brioche, as it’s more buttery, and naughtier. You can make the orange sauce in advance and keep it in the fridge for up to a week. The dessert can be served hot or cold.
250ml whole milk
250ml double cream
1 cinnamon stick
175g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
juice of 1 lemon
250g brioche (about ½ a loaf)
knob of unsalted butter, to caramelise (25g)
For the orange sauce
1 orange (preferably Seville)
40g caster sugar
50g Ponche Caballero or Cointreau
1 cinnamon stick
First, make the orange sauce. Peel the orange without including any of the pith, then cut the peel into shreds. Divide the orange into segments and remove the membrane and any remaining pith.
Put the orange peel and segments into a pan on a low–medium heat with the rest of the orange-sauce ingredients and 20ml of water. Stir together gently. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring all the time – the mixture will start to break down and become almost like marmalade. Add a splash more water if it looks like it needs it – it should be thick, not too runny. Set aside while you make the torrijas.
Put the milk and cream in a pan with the cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and infuse the milk, then leave to cool.
Meanwhile, cut the crusts off the brioche (discard the crusts), then cut the brioche into thick (3cm) slices. Cut the slices in half to give 3 x 3cm chunks. Put the bread into a container in a single layer and pour over the infused milk. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.
The next day, the brioche should have soaked up all the milk. Put the butter into a frying pan on a medium heat. When it’s melted, sprinkle over a little sugar, then add the brioche pieces to the pan. Caramelise the brioche pieces, turning until golden brown on all sides and sprinkling with more sugar as you turn – they should be crispy on the outside but milky within.
Spoon the orange sauce on to a plate and put the torrijas on top – serve just as it is, or with vanilla ice cream.
Selin Kiazim – halloumi loaf
This is such an easy loaf to make and it’s great to have in hunks for breakfast or as a snack with a cup of tea. It proved a firm favourite for us at home during lockdown. You could use a mixture of olives and halloumi, or just straight olives, if you prefer – just pit them and roughly chop before adding to the mixture.
500g plain flour
7g sachet of fast-action dried yeast
½ tsp fine salt
½ tsp caster sugar
125ml extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 x 225g blocks of halloumi, cut into 1cm cubes
1 tbsp dried mint
In a large bowl mix together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add 400ml of water and half the olive oil to form a thick batter.
Add the onion, halloumi and dried mint and mix well.
Use the remaining olive oil to heavily grease a 900g loaf tin. Place the mixture into the tin and spread it out evenly. Cover with a damp cloth and leave it to rise in a warm place for about 2–3 hours, until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 210C/190C fan/Gas mark 6-7.
Place the risen loaf, in the tin, in the oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a lovely crust has formed. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely, before cutting into portions.
Vivek Singh – lentil & basmati kichri with burnt aubergine relish
In Ballia, where my father’s ancestral village is, kichri with aubergine relish (or chokha as the relish is called) is a permanent fixture for lunch every Saturday. It can’t be anything else. Sometimes, they serve a rich, spicy mutton curry with it, but otherwise it’s just this. Comforting and restorative, it’s particularly good on a rainy day. This is in memory of my father, who loved it.
For the burnt aubergine relish:
4 large aubergines
12 garlic cloves, peeled
60ml mustard oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsps chopped coriander
For the kichri:
120g basmati rice
240g red lentils (or a mixture of red, toor and yellow moong lentils)
1 tsp turmeric
4 tsps salt
4 tbsps vegetable oil or ghee
1½ tsp cumin seeds
1 dried red chilli
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
100g cauliflower, cut into 1cm florets
1 carrot, diced into 1cm cubes
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
100g petit pois or frozen garden peas
4 tbsps ghee (optional)
First make the aubergine relish. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut gashes in the aubergine skin and stuff 3 cloves of garlic into each aubergine. Smear with a little mustard oil, then burn the aubergines over an open flame on the hob for 20-30 minutes, turning frequently to char each one evenly on all sides. (If you have an electric hob, place the aubergines in a roasting tin, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast in the oven at 200C/180C fan/Gas mark 6 for 30 minutes.) Once cooked, the aubergines should be soft, with the flesh yielding easily to the touch. When the aubergines are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skins. Chop the flesh and combine it with the onion, chillies, salt and coriander, and the remaining mustard oil. Mix well and set aside.
Prepare the kichri. Wash the rice and lentils in several changes of water, then leave to soak for 10–15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large pan, with 2l of water. Add the turmeric, bring to the boil, then remove any scum from the surface and add 2 tsps of salt. Cook for 25 minutes, until the lentils are completely cooked and collapsed, adding more boiling water from time to time, if the pan looks dry. (The rice will be thoroughly cooked by the time the lentils are done.)
Meanwhile, in a large wok, heat the oil, add the cumin seeds and dried chilli and fry for 1 minute, until the chilli changes colour and the cumin seeds darken and crisp up. Add the chopped garlic, let it colour until golden, then add the onion. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the onion is lightly golden, then add the cauliflower, carrots and remaining 2 tsps of salt. Cook for 6-8 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for a further 6-8 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Add the cooked rice and lentils to the vegetable pan and mix well. Add more boiling water if it seems too thick, then add the peas and simmer for a couple of minutes, until the rice and lentils are heated through. Remove from the heat and divide the kichri among 4 serving bowls. In a frying pan, heat the ghee to smoking point and pour it over the kichri to scald the top (you can skip this bit if you like). Serve immediately with the relish.