Sup­per he­roes I

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

N her new cook­book, The Art Of The Larder, Zim­bab­we­born, and now Bris­tol-based chef Claire Thomson shares her thoughts and ideas for build­ing up a store cup­board of in­gre­di­ents – so never again will you be able to look in your cup­boards with dis­may and say, ‘There’s noth­ing to eat’.

“It’s about un­der­stand­ing in­gre­di­ents and hav­ing ev­ery­thing in your store cup­board, then you’re able to cook with greater ease and con­fi­dence,” the chef be­hind @5oclock­apron ex­plains.

“That doesn’t have to equate to ex­pen­sive or es­o­teric in­gre­di­ents, it just needs to be your ev­ery­day pulses, pasta, noo­dles, rice, jarred goods. Your larder needs to en­com­pass all those things that mean, when you get back from work at half five, six o’clock in the evening, you can cook some­thing from any­thing.

“Pasta and noo­dles are bril­liant, they’re the quick thrifty food that can be made into a meal in min­utes. My thing with pasta is often that I should be able to make the sauce in the time it takes for the pasta to cook.

“Pulses are a bril­liant thing, re­ally cheap – you can go sal­ads, soups, stews... end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties.

“With rice, lentils and flours, I’m all about di­ver­sity, buy lit­tle and often. You don’t have to buy these great big sacks of flour, just buy a flour, un­der­stand its prop­er­ties and then move on.

“Lots and lots and lots of in­gre­di­ents isn’t good cook­ing hus­bandry. “As a chef, you’re en­cour­aged to cook and use stuff with zero waste and use in­gre­di­ents well and wisely. If you have loads of stuff on your shelves, sell-by dates on pack­ets do work; for in­stance, pasta should be used within three months of open­ing be­cause it can be­come brit­tle and cook un­evenly.

“Frozen spinach is a won­der­ful thing, it’s like frozen peas, it re­tains its nu­tri­ents. (With) frozen spinach you get quite a high yield for quite a small amount of money – chuck that in cur­ries with co­conut milk and you’ve got a re­ally great sup­per.

“I don’t eat a lot of fish, but the fish I do eat tends to be sar­dines and mack­erel, be­cause they’re more sus­tain­able.

Claire also in­cludes some sweet stuff: “Mo­lasses, maple syrup, golden syrup and honey! I’m OK with us­ing a bit of su­gar from time to time be­cause when I do bake, it’s a treat.

“I don’t have a huge pre­ten­tious, Down­ton Abbeystyle larder,” Claire ex­plains. “I have one shelf for grains, one for pasta and noo­dles etc, and I keep my in­gre­di­ents in plas­tic boxes with lids and la­bels – all chefs love a sharpie and a roll of mask­ing tape!”

Fi­nally Claire says she couldn’t live with­out: “Olive oil, lentils, tinned toma­toes, lemons and gar­lic.”

Here are three of Claire’s sim­ple recipes to try us­ing stock from your newly ar­ranged larder... heat un­til ten­der, about six to 10 min­utes. Sea­son with salt and pep­per and keep warm. 4. Grill the chops on one side for four to six min­utes, then turn over and grill on the other side for four to six min­utes, un­til caramelised and cooked through. Re­move from the grill and rest for five min­utes. 5. To serve, sit the meat on a pud­dle of warm rhubarb, along with the meat rest­ing juices, and scat­ter with hazel­nuts. 50g but­ter 1 small onion, finely chopped 1/2 a radic­chio, finely shred­ded 100g pro­sciutto, sliced into 5mm-1cm rib­bons 75ml dou­ble cream Salt and freshly ground black pep­per Nut­meg, freshly grated to taste, about 1/6tsp is ideal 300g pap­pardelle, fet­tuc­cine or tagli­atelle 50-75g Parme­san cheese, freshly grated 1. Bring a large pot of salted wa­ter to the boil. 2. Heat the but­ter in a large pan over a moder­ate heat and cook the onion un­til it is soft and translu­cent, about eight to 10 min­utes. 3. Stir in the radic­chio and the pro­sciutto and cook for one to two min­utes, enough for the radic­chio to wilt. 4. Add the cream and sea­son with salt, pep­per and nut­meg to taste. 5. Cook the pasta as per packet in­struc­tions, and drain. 6. Toss the cooked pasta in the cream sauce for a minute over the heat for the flavours to meld. Serve im­me­di­ately, with the grated cheese.

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