Cookery series. Nigel shows how versatile regular ingredients can be. Including duck and citrus salad, hot yoghurt steak and chocolate beetroot cake.
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I'm Nigel Slater.
I'm someone who cooks by instinct and impulse.
'I tend not to follow recipes I just make things up,
'depending on what I fancy,
'and whatever ingredients I have to hand.'
This so shouldn't work, but it does.
'Sometimes it's good to go shopping with a few traditional meals in mind,
'but, even then, adding a few new ingredients
'to your basket will encourage you to experiment when you get home.'
'It's often not so much about what you buy,
'but how prepared you are to take a few risks.'
I'm going to show you how I make the most of my weekly shop,
to give you ideas how not to waste a bit of yours.
'This week's cooking proves how versatile ingredients can be.
'It's all about trying something different.'
One of my Saturday morning rituals is clearing out the fridge.
It's often a time when I get to experiment.
I've got some pancetta and white bread, and not much else.
'But a new idea for a bacon sandwich comes to mind.'
But there's some dates.
'I'm going to try something new with these sweet
'and succulent little fruits.'
If I roll these little sticky dates in bacon, and fry them,
I have a feeling that the sweetness of the dates and the very
savoury quality of the pancetta are going to work beautifully together.
Now, I COULD grill these, but I want to fry them in a pan
because it gives me the chance of getting at some of the fat
that melts out into the pan.
'I know that sounds naughty, but there's tons of flavour
'in that fat and I'm not prepared to waste it.'
It's a very personal thing, the bacon sandwich...
and it's that smell - it is one of the great smells of all time...
is bacon frying in a pan in the morning.
And that, for me, is the ideal bacon sandwich bread.
It's a good old white bloomer.
Soft bread, with a little bit of a crust.
I'm not going to let that fat go to waste. That is good stuff.
Wonderful little morsels... sweet and savoury.
I do sometimes think a bacon sandwich
is the best thing in the world.
It's that lovely mixture of soft bread,
crisp pancetta and sweet dates - it's just wonderful.
'The sweetness of the dates cuts through my salty pancetta.
'It's a great alternative to tomato ketchup,
'and a truly different take on the classic bacon sarnie.'
This week, I'm on the lookout for ingredients that love
to be experimented with.
I get a real pleasure from trying something different,
and often, I can hunt them down in that little local corner shop.
There's over 20 years' worth of passion
and experience behind this family-run store...
and from the vegetables and spices in stock, it shows.
Now, when would I use a little aubergine like that?
We use those for stuffing with freshly-grated coconut,
spring onions, all the spices.
Wonderful. Can we go in?
'It's spices that I'm really here for.
'I just love the incredible variety,
'from the punchy hot chilli to the more subtle seeds and powders.
'Today, I'm after something understated.'
I'm actually going to make a marinade for a piece of steak,
and I want to put some of the turmeric in.
This is very mild, isn't it?
Very, very mild.
But it gives a lovely colour to the food, as well.
And it's a very earthy flavour?
It's the earthy flavour, definitely.
That's kind of what I want.
'This week's cooking is all about trying something different...
'and Sundays are when I'm at my most adventurous in the kitchen.'
I've got the most beautiful piece of steak.
It's a piece of rump, so it's not too expensive.
And I've also got some yogurt...
and I'm thinking that I can make a sort of spicy crust for the steak.
'Armed with my lovely new spices, I'm going to create a tangy
'yogurt marinade to flavour the meat, and eventually cook it in.
'Some fragrant garlic kicks things off...
'before I reach for some spice.'
I'm not going to use the usual black peppercorns, I'm using white.
They're the hot inside of the black peppercorn,
and, to be honest, they sit there on the shelf, and they're very
rarely used, but I think they'll work very well in this.
I'm also going to put a few cumin seeds in.
It's going to be a little bit spicy.
'Pile into a clean bowl, ready for the magic ingredient.'
So, two teaspoons of turmeric.
It's got a sort of earthy warmth to it,
which I think will work very well.
And then, the yogurt.
'I know this yogurt marinade will offer a wonderful collision
'of flavour, and create a delicious crust.'
Look at this amazing piece of meat.
I love it because it's got lots of fat running all the way through it
and it's really succulent.
And also, I think it's a very underrated cut.
'The meat will sit marinating for a good half an hour.'
So, cook the steak as you like it cooked.
I like mine quite rare.
'So three or four minutes on either side is all it'll need.'
And the trick is not to move the steak round the pan.
There's always this temptation to push things around the saucepan,
particularly when you're frying in a shallow pan.
Don't. Leave it be...
and let it form a lovely toasted, caramelised crust.
Look at that!
'With a few more minutes to relax,
'my steak will be much more succulent and tender.'
This is just what I wanted it to be.
Pink inside, and then with this very fine, spicy crust.
That is so good. It is so good.
It's juicy, a little bit spicy.
'I'm sure a straightforward rump steak
'would have been a treat in itself,
'but I'm glad I took the risk and tried something different.
'I'll definitely be cooking this again.'
When I'm feeling lazy,
I'll happily settle for some cheese and biscuits for supper.
But, even then, I can't help having ideas
on how I can make a few bits of cheese feel more of a treat.
To make some savoury snaps, I just need some sweet
and nutty spelt flour.
Throw in a mixture of seeds.
I'm going for pumpkin,
golden linseed, sunflower and some black sesame seeds,
to bring out the rich, nutty flavour.
Add some butter, and mix in.
Work a splash of water into the dough.
Roll the mix out between two sheets of greaseproof paper,
down to the thickness of a £1 coin.
Then simply cut into biscuit shapes,
and transfer to a greaseproof-lined baking sheet.
'Pop them in the oven for ten minutes, until crisp
'and lightly golden.'
You know, sometimes the trick is to make something new
to encourage us to use what we've already got.
'These little delicacies add a rustic,
'homemade quality to my supper.
'The perfect pairing for a platter of delicious cheese.'
Often, I go shopping with a dish in mind,
but by the time it comes to cook, I fancy something different.
'Thankfully, it's coming up with new ideas that I think
'makes cooking really fun.'
I've bought a duck,
with every intention of doing a roast duck dinner.
And I'm just not in the mood for that.
'Instead of roast potatoes and all the trimmings,
'I quite fancy a warm citrus salad.
'It will start out like a roast, but will end up much lighter.
'The real key to this dish is crisp skin.'
So, a nice sharp pronged fork. Prick the bird all over...
..and then pour boiling water over it.
Immediately, the skin tightens.
Now, wet meat doesn't roast well, and this is really crucial,
to dry it with kitchen paper.
And then I very generously dust
with salt, just a coarse sea salt, and it looks like too much salt,
but, in fact, it works very well at helping to crisp up the skin.
'The duck will sit happily at 200 degrees
'for about an hour-and-a-half.'
'A little preparation has paid off.'
Exactly as I'd hoped. I've got crisp skin.
'While the duck rests, I'm going to make the most of the juices
'in the pan by making a dressing to sit with my salad.'
If I was making gravy for roast duck, that would be
the basis of my gravy, but I'm not, I'm making a salad.
But it can still be the heart and soul of my salad dressing.
'Duck is a naturally fatty meat and I don't want to use all of that,
'so I pour off the excess.'
What I'm left with is all sorts of crusty things
that have cooked themselves onto the surface of the pan,
and there's so much flavour there.
'Some orange and lemon juice adds real vibrancy to the dressing,
'and red-wine vinegar brings all the flavours together.
'Now for the salad itself.
'Don't be nervous about putting fruit in a savoury salad.
'Trust me, it's worth trying.'
I can start to take some of the meat off the duck.
Of course, the meat's important...
but, for me, it's the skin that really makes this salad.
That's what I really love - when it's gone really golden and sticky.
Really quite almost mahogany-brown.
So I put the meat, while it's still hot, with the oranges.
I've got some pea shoots,
and because this dressing is slightly warm,
they'll wilt a little bit.
So then the dressing goes over.
and then onto a plate.
I've got to be honest,
this is so much easier than doing all the trimmings for a roast.
It's fresher, it's lighter, it's more modern.
And it's just as delicious.
'The sweetness of the meat
'and the sugary sharpness of the fruit is a marriage made in heaven.
'Sometimes, if you break with tradition,
'you reap the rewards.'
I've still got plenty of duck left over,
and I'm really keen to make the most of it, but I want a dish that
will taste completely different to last night's supper, so I'm going
to have a go at an impromptu
Chinese-inspired sweet-and-sour broth.
The backbone of any good broth is the stock.
For mine, I'm using ginger, some crushed garlic, bay leaves,
a few peppercorns and the remains of the roast duck.
And water will bring everything together.
For extra depth and flavour, toss in a handful of dried mushrooms.
Bring to the boil, and strip the remaining duck meat into a new pan.
Add some crisp spring onions...
a couple of spoons of sugar
and a splash of sherry vinegar.
Let the ingredients get to know each other for a few minutes,
bringing out that sweet-and-sour flavour that I'm after.
Then ladle in some flavoursome stock.
Pak-choi is a great addition to this dish.
'I want it to warm through, without losing any of its crispness.'
You know, I like that almost as much as the duck salad.
I think I like it a bit more.
This is a much more vibrant alternative to a leftover
roast-meat sandwich, a tentative experiment that really worked.
'During my weekly shop, spice vendor Rushmi
'gave me a quick education in some of the less familiar vegetables and spices.'
-You know, when you make preserved lemons...
..the salt, is that the one I want?
These are the ones you want.
For pickling, as well, these are the ones.
'Today, I'm going to repay her by cooking dinner.
'But it's really just an excuse
'to learn a thing or two more about Indian cuisine.'
Listen, thank you for letting me cook in your kitchen.
-Can I have a look in your fridge?
Other people's fridges are always far more interesting
than your own, I think.
'This mild and creamy cheese is just the inspiration I need.'
I don't cook enough with this. It just soaks up flavours, doesn't it?
-A bit like aubergines.
Now, I'd love to cook with your aubergines, if I may?
Certainly, we're always looking for new recipes with the aubergines.
I'll start with this.
-Have you got a chopping board?
Lovely, thank you.
The idea for me, with aubergines, is they're a bit of a blank canvas.
I mean, we could go anywhere with this.
We could do something really exciting and spicy, and hot and fiery,
or something more soothing and gentle.
Gentler would be nice.
What do you consider to be the most gentle ones?
Um, cumin seeds, cumin powder, coriander powder...
and then we have homemade mild curry powders, as well.
-Have you got them here?
-Can I have a look?
'I'd expect someone who runs a spice shop to have a great selection,
'and I'm not disappointed.'
Oh, you're so organised!
Now, obviously, crushed chillies, turmeric.
Garam masala, and then homemade curry powder.
Right. So what's in there?
The main ones are coriander seed, cumin seed, cinnamon, clove.
So it adds a lovely flavour, but it doesn't give you the heat.
I must say, that really smells wonderful.
Can I use that in some of my cooking?
Yeah, definitely. The top one?
Yeah, I'm liking that one.
'With Rushmi's very own blend of curry powder,
'we've got the makings of a mild and warming dish.'
I want to use some of the mustard seeds
and I should add it now, shouldn't I?
'Some black mustard seeds are
'a suitably gentle intro to this curry.'
Put the aubergines in.
Right, let these sizzle a bit.
And turn that heat down.
I'd like a little bit of moisture in there.
'I've never cooked this dish before, but I think the piquant
'sweetness of tomato will work wonderfully with what I'm planning.
'Now the tomato just needs a few minutes in the pan.'
Look at those colours. Oh!
'It's now I add the paneer.
'I suspect it will work really well with the aubergines.
'Rushmi's homemade curry powder is the final flourish.'
So this will have quite a gentle spice -
nothing really too hot.
Do you have a...your recipe book?
I mean, do you have a family recipe book?
Do you write things down ever?
-It's all in your head?
It's all in our heads.
'Seasoning with salt at this point will bring out
'the range of spices and flavours in the pan.'
This is smelling wonderful.
Now, I'd like something a little bit sharp in there.
'To offer a bright note to the dish, I'm going to use something special
'that I spotted in the fridge.'
I've never seen pomegranates this small.
OK, and then, I can't resist that mint I saw.
'The fresh, cool taste of mint will offset the perfumed fragrance
'of Rushmi's very aromatic curry powder.'
-Have you got any little bowls, or...?
'This is the first time I've ever tried this combination
'..and I suspect it won't be the last.'
What d'you think?
It's very nice - it's better than I expected.
Cos we've never cooked paneer with aubergines, actually.
I like it.
Well, thank you. I'm glad you do.
Very nice. I love the mint in there.
What makes this for me is your curry powder.
It's very mild and it's very gentle,
but there's masses of flavour going on.
There's all sorts of things happening.
I'd definitely try this again.
Oh, thank you.
HE LAUGHS Very nice.
And very nice of you to let me cook in your kitchen, thank you.
'I love it when taking a few risks here and there pays off.'
And I've even inspired Rushmi,
the spice queen herself, to experiment and be a bit bold.
By the time I get to the end of the week, I've worked up
the appetite for something sweet.
Even if, at first glance,
it might not look like I've got the ingredients to do that.
'This recipe proves just how versatile an ingredient can be,
'if you're willing to try something different.'
These beetroot, I could pickle them,
I could put them in a salad, but I fancy a cake.
'Before I get going with the cake, the beetroots need cooking.
'These little ones will need a good half hour.'
Most ingredients are incredibly versatile. It's just that we
don't always think of every way that we can use something.
If I'd have found some beetroot in my fridge a few years ago,
I'd have never dreamt of using them in a sweet recipe.
Now, the beetroot is going to provide the moisture in the cake,
and I'm going to reduce it to pretty much a puree.
And, in a way, this is, I suppose, inspired by the old carrot cake
and the fact that they're always so moist,
and I thought, "Beetroot will work in a cake, as well."
'I want this cake to be sumptuous and chocolatey,
'to make the beetroot really work in this recipe.'
I've got dark chocolate here.
Beetroots are quite sweet, so a milk chocolate wouldn't really work.
'While the chocolate melts over a pan of hot water, now is the time
'to prepare the rest of the mix.'
I need 135 grams of plain flour...
..a teaspoonful of baking powder,
and then about three tablespoons of very dark, good-quality cocoa.
This is one of those occasions you do have to be a little bit accurate.
Often, when I make cakes, I don't bother to sieve the flour.
But when there's three ingredients that need mixing together,
it's always worth doing.
'It'll remove the lumps and blend everything together beautifully.'
So, when the chocolate has completely melted,
I'm going to pour in four tablespoons of very strong coffee.
Espresso is ideal.
I'm going to add 200 grams of butter.
It's best to add it in small pieces.
'While the butter melts, separate five eggs.'
Lightly whisk the yolks...
and whisk the whites until they're stiff and frothy.
Add the caster sugar, and gently fold in.
Once the chocolate, butter and coffee has melted
into a gorgeous goo,
it's time to complete the marriage of ingredients.
'First, the yolks.'
And then the beetroot goes in.
Suddenly, the whole thing, daft as it sounds, starts to make sense.
You see the beetroot go into the dark chocolate,
and there's just something very right about it.
Then the egg whites and sugar.
This is the point to be thorough, but gentle.
You want all the egg white mixed into the cake mixture,
but you don't want to do it so hard that you beat all the air out of it.
And then, last of all,
the cocoa, flour and baking powder.
'Being gentle really is the key.'
If you over-mix it, you'll end up with a chocolate pancake,
and if you don't mix it enough,
you'll end up with lumps of flour in your cooked cake.
And then that goes in the oven at 180 for about 40, 45 minutes.
'Once it's cooked,
'let it stand for a minute or two, before turning it out.'
So just a little bit of cocoa on top.
'To serve, this needs something light and creamy.
'A hearty dollop of whipped double cream.'
It's everything I want a chocolate cake to be,
and it's certainly more than I ever expected a beetroot to be.
'It's a gorgeous alternative to the classic chocolate cake.
I dare you to try it.
This week, I've pushed myself to try something a little different.
For me, that's the whole point of cooking.
By taking a few risks, I can create new and exciting dishes.
'Next week, I'll be cooking some simple recipes that prove
'there is always a way with the weekly shop to cure your cravings.'
So, with just one ingredient, I've transformed yesterday's lunch
into today's dinner.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Nigel shows us how surprisingly versatile the ingredients in our weekly shop can be, proving that by trying something different in the kitchen it is possible to make our food suit our mood. Including duck and citrus salad, hot yoghurt steak and chocolate beetroot cake.