You’ll need a food processor to make these firm, juicy, fragrant little bites. Simply blitz all the ingredients together and cook for less than two minutes to make a delicious starter / snack / party food.
Continue reading Thai-style prawn cakes
This classic Portuguese dish traditionally uses salt cod, which is pretty hard to get hold of in the UK. Generic ‘salt fish’ makes an acceptable substitute, and I’ve added a coating of panko breadcrumbs for maximum crispiness. You can make these any size you like – bigger for a main meal or smaller for tapas-style snacks. Either way, they’ll be light and fluffy inside.
Continue reading Pastéis de bacalhau (salt fish croquettes)
A seasonal treat for fans of spicy, tangy, crunchy pickles. You could use small pickling onions for this recipe, although shallots have a better flavour and look nicer in the jar. Peeling them is an awful chore but it’s worth the effort, as you can’t buy anything remotely as good as this in a supermarket.
Continue reading Pickled shallots with chilli
I got the idea for this from the Wheatsheaf in Combe Hay, which is one of the last remaining country pubs within walking distance of my house. It probably isn’t in any danger of closing, as it’s the only pub I’ve ever been to where customers arrive via helicopter and brag shamelessly about what a down-to-earth chap Eric is (“Clapton, yah, lovely fellow”). The food is tremendously posh, the beer surprisingly cheap, and although it’s packed with restaurant tables inside, you can sit outside and enjoy the view from their lovely garden while getting buffeted by some rich bugger’s chopper.
A couple of weeks ago they had a bowl of peanuts like these on the bar and I was most impressed.
Continue reading Five spice peanuts
Pickled eggs are a British institution. You’ll find them behind the bar of every decent pub, but how many people do you know who actually buy them? I imagine those catering-size jars must sit around for decades, their rusty lids prised off once in a blue moon as the landlord’s gnarled yellow fingers fish out an ancient rubbery orb for the amusement of drunkards on a dare.
I used to be a little bit afraid of them. The name alone is a deeply unappetising, and in the gloom of their natural habitat they bring to mind the formaldehyde-floating horrors of the biology lab.
Such thoughts, however, are entirely unwarranted. Served in the traditional manner – shaken vigorously inside a bag of cheese and onion crisps – pickled eggs are the perfect accompaniment to a pint. British tapas. Here’s how you can make some that will surpass even the finest vintage specimens from your local hostelry.
Continue reading Spicy pickled eggs in cider vinegar
Smarter than the average burger, this is a big orange mouthful of fruitiness. I made these ones with breadcrumbs and egg, so they can be scaled up to whopper size without falling to bits when they get flipped in the pan, but you could easily leave out those ingredients and make them slightly smaller.
Continue reading Spicy carrot and coriander burgers
In the style of the Bell’s marvellous pizzas and this sausage-toting breakfast beast I made a while back, here’s another lovely thing to put on pitta or whatever other kind of flatbread you can lay your hands on. It’s quick, it’s easy, and because halloumi cheese is the world’s densest edible substance, these little snacks are deceptively satisfying.
Continue reading Halloumi and broad bean pitta pizza
A rich mushroomy sauce, studded with chunks of sweet butternut squash and smothered in a creamy celeriac mash, make this the equal of any meaty shepherd’s pie. The mash would be excellent on its own, if you don’t fancy making the whole pie, and proper vegetarians probably won’t need me to tell them to replace the parmesan cheese with something else.
Continue reading Vegetarian shepherd’s pie with butternut squash and celeriac mash
If the Bell can do it with nachos, what else could make an unexpectedly excellent pizza topping? This is Sarah’s suggestion, which I cooked up last night and, well… it’s actually pretty good.
It has all the major food groups – sausages, beans, cheese, eggs and bread – so I can assure you that despite appearances to the contrary it’s totally healthy and nutritious. What more could you want?
Continue reading All Day Breakfast pizza
Having had a bit of a moan about poor pub food, it’s only right I should mention what is, as far as I’m concerned, the best pub food in Bath.
The Bell on Walcot Street serves four different flatbread pizzas. Two of them are pretty much what you’d expect – the Spanish one has artichoke hearts, the Italian one has olives, and while they’re both very good, you’ve probably had similar elsewhere.
The other two are out of this world. The Turkish one is a cheeseless concoction of tapenade and houmous, served warm, and the Mexican is topped with refried beans and guacamole. Pizza meets nachos. I love it!
Continue reading The Bell’s unconventional pizzas