When Nothing Else Will Do Nigel Slater's Dish of the Day


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When Nothing Else Will Do

Cookery series. Nigel cooks some clever comfort food. Recipes include slow roast leg of lamb with parmesan mash, almond and lentil stew and tumbler trifle.


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I'm Nigel Slater.

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I'm an instinctive And impulsive cook.

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Good food needn't take much planning. Sometimes you can get

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incredible results by just making things up as you go along.

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This so shouldn't work... but it does.

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'It's the same when it comes to the weekly shop.

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'It can be an adventure buying whatever catches your eye

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'and leaps out at you from the shelves.

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'Using great ingredients should always be a pleasure

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'and with a bit of creative thinking, you really can cook delicious food

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'every day of the week.'

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I'm going to show you how I make the most of my weekly shop,

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to give you ideas how not to waste a bit of yours.

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'We all have days where we simply have to give in to those

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'cravings, and let comforting convenient foods dictate the day.'

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This week, I'll be doing just that, transforming

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my weekly shop into irresistible dishes, when nothing else will do.

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I often like to kick off the weekend with a quick sandwich

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that helps me clear out the fridge, but I'm going to have plenty

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of opportunity for one of those later in the week, and today somehow

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isn't feeling like a sandwich day.

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'I fancy something more... indulgent.'

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I've got a great trick for cooking a big breakfast all in one pan.

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And I say "breakfast," but I actually have it at any time of day.

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It's a really good way of using up little bits from the fridge.

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'Freeing these sausages from their skins will help them

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'blend well into this hash of comfort food.'

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But it's not something you really need a recipe for.

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It's something that just evolves,

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to be honest, depending on what I've got in the fridge. What needs using up.

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As long as there's some sort of meat in there, some sausages, some bacon.

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Now, I want lots of flavour in there.

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So I'm going to put an onion in.

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Finely-sliced.

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I'm liking the look of this already,

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and I've only got two ingredients in there.

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Just turn the sausages over...

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so they cook on both sides.

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And it doesn't matter if they break up.

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In fact, it's actually a good thing.

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And then, this is quite a big meal.

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I want some potato in there, as well,

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so I'm going to grate that potato, with the skin on.

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Quite a course side of the grater.

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About half a really big one will do.

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Now, there's lots of moisture in there, which I don't want.

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So just wring that out, and then into the pan...

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with the sausages and the onions,

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and then I'm just going to press this down... a bit.

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At this point, you could put anything you like in.

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You could put a few mushrooms in there,

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maybe a little bit of black pudding, if there's some around.

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'When you're happy with your concoction,

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'finish by adding two or three eggs, broken straight into the pan.'

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What they do, is they bring all the other ingredients together.

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The eggs will have taken very little time to cook.

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'This kind of cooking needn't be a work of art.

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'It's about celebrating those occasions when you have

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'a load of ingredients left that you don't know what to do with.'

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So I've got a great, big pan of breakfast

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and I've cleared the decks, ready for my next shop.

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'It's a hugely satisfying Saturday delight that tastes even better

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'straight from the pan, and it's a dish that today I just had to have.'

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There are certain ingredients I always put in my shopping basket

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cos I know there will come a day when I crave them.

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For me, there's nothing more tempting

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than the smell of fresh, crusty bread wafting from the bakery.

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'I always like to make sure I have a couple of loaves in,

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'perfect to satisfy a craving any day of the week.'

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-Hi-ya.

-Morning.

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-Can I help myself?

-Yes, yeah. Why not?

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And there's a few tasters out, if you fancy a little sample, as well.

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Oh, I always like a little taste of something.

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Red bread?

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Yeah, that's our beetroot bread - whole raw beetroots, juiced-up,

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and we put the juice in the recipes.

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It's great fun, but otherwise, quite a subtle flavour,

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so it can go with...

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-Goat's cheese.

-..Pretty much anything.

-Beetroot toast.

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'Good bread always tastes most satisfying at its freshest,

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'but there are lots of ways you can use it after those first few

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'magical days, to ensure it doesn't go to waste.'

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People always say, "Can you freeze bread?"

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I'm a big advocate of freezing.

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Our attitude is, actually, a lot of work has been put into this bread

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over a reasonably long process.

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We're talking 12, 14 hours for some of them, at least, if not more.

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Freezing it, breadcrumb-ing it, doing all of those things, so it

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doesn't end up in your compost caddy is absolutely vital,

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and that's why we're here -

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to give people little tips and tricks, really.

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Lovely. Right. I'm there.

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-There we go.

-Thank you very much. Nice to see you.

-Thank you very much. Cheers.

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'There is nothing wrong with having a few favourites -

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'comforting foods that will always be there when you need them.

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'In fact, this week, my shopping bag is full of them,

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'and I'm looking forward to cooking the kind of dishes that just

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'hit the spot, when nothing else will do.

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'For me, there is no dish better suited to the slow,

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'slumbering mood of a Sunday than a great, big roasting joint of meat.'

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I've done something slightly extravagant.

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I've bought a leg of lamb.

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It's not the cheapest cut... but the wonderful thing about it

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is that I'm going to get more than one meal out of it.

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Something for today and something for tomorrow.

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I'm going to do it very slowly, with a sort of herb paste over it,

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and you'll end up with a very gently-garlicky leg of lamb.

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So I'm using a whole head of garlic here.

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I'm going to make it easy by crushing it with some sea salt.

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It just helps the pestle grip the garlic.

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And, yes, you can do it in a food processor in seconds,

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but you miss the pleasure of the smell of the garlic

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wafting up as you're crushing it.

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To that, I'm going to add some olive oil,

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so it becomes a very loose and sloppy paste.

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Olive oil and garlic were made for one another.

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Now I'm going to add some herbs.

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'Rosemary, thyme and lamb is a marriage made in heaven.'

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For me, they're the herbs that are meant to be with garlic

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and olive oil.

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The smells that are coming up from this pestle and mortar

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are like every holiday I've ever had.

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They smell of sunshine and they smell of the sea.

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Now, I could spread this on with a knife,

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but this is just... something I like doing.

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Just massaging the garlic, the oil and the herbs

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into the lamb, all over.

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Both on the skin side and on the cut side, too, right down into the meat.

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None of this will burn.

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It won't caramelise, it will just go very softly to flavour the lamb.

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'A good covering of water in the bottom of the roasting tin

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'will gradually become the most flavoursome gravy,

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'as the herbs and juices from the meat work their way into it.'

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And, because this is a very slow roast,

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I'm going to be covering it with foil.

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I'm going to cook this very slowly, on about 160...

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for several hours.

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'This kind of cooking makes my Sunday. It's really simple,

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'and the smell fills the kitchen getting you

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'hungrier by the second, as the meat slowly roasts in the oven.'

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See, I've got the roast lamb,

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but I've also got these glorious juices in the bottom of the pan.

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'A good Sunday supper often brings crispy roast potatoes to the table,

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'but to make this a truly comforting meal,

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'I fancy a creamy mash to soak up the gravy.'

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So these are ready, just drain them.

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Just leave the potatoes for a few seconds,

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just for some of the steam to escape, so you get a mash

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that's fluffy, rather than wet. In with the masher.

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And, you know, people add olive oil to mash, they add cream,

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they add creme fraiche.

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I simply like butter.

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I'm going to grate some Parmesan in here.

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It sits comfortably.

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And then, if you need to keep this warm for a while,

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a little bit of butter and a little bit of tin foil or paper,

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and that will sit there quietly, keeping warm

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while you carve the lamb.

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The lamb's been resting under the foil.

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I like to think of it sort of gathering its thoughts.

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Now, I could slice this very thinly.

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But somehow...

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I think I want quite juicy chunks of meat,

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rather than thin slices.

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Good lamb, this way, could never be dry.

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And then, I'm going to spoon over just a little of the roasting juices

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from the pan, with all their garlic and rosemary.

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And then the Parmesan mash.

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'This is such a soothing, easy indulgence, with a clever gravy

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'that made itself. But, better still, I know there's even more

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'adventure to be had from these two delicious ingredients.'

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Even a back-to-work Monday doesn't feel quite so bad when you know

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you have something delicious in the fridge to look forward to.

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I've been craving the lamb and Parmesan mash all day.

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But I have a great plan to use it for something completely different.

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Tear the lamb into little pieces...

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and mix it in well with the Parmesan mash.

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Then simply shape the mixture into little barrels.

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Coating my croquettes is a brilliant use for breadcrumbs.

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Give each one a good coating of beaten egg.

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And then roll them in the breadcrumbs for an even covering.

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A splash of oil in a pan is all it takes to transform these

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little croquettes into delicious bite-size snacks,

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turning every so often to give an even, golden crust.

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I was looking forward to this meal long before I'd bought the lamb,

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and it's almost as much of a treat as the roast itself.

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'Combined with yesterday's left-over herby gravy,

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'it's just what I'd wanted.'

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You know, there's a touch of luxury about this,

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and yet it's almost a freebie.

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It's made almost entirely from the remains of yesterday's roast.

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When I've eaten meat for a couple of days,

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I often get a craving for something vegetarian.

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'Today, I want something wholesome, warm and soothing,

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'and, preferably, not too expensive.'

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These are the veggies that I always have in the house.

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They're kind of the backbone of so much of my cooking.

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They're cheap, they're cheerful, they're colourful. I love using them.

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What they do...

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is they form a base on which to build all the other flavours.

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I'm not going to cut these vegetables up too finely.

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I want this to have quite a rustic quality.

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I genuinely enjoy trying to make a meal as cheaply as possible.

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It's almost like a little bit of a challenge.

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I'm just putting a stick of celery in.

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I could, at this point, put in some bacon, some spicy sausage,

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little bit of pancetta, but I'm not going to.

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I don't want to put any meat in my supper this time.

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And it needs a few herbs, as well.

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'I want a deep, earthy flavour running through this dish.'

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I've got woody-stemmed herbs. I've got a couple of bay leaves.

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Couple of sprigs of rosemary and a handful of little thyme sprigs.

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Now, I want these vegetables to brown quite a little bit.

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So I'm cooking them at quite a high temperature.

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Now, there's some mushrooms in the fridge.

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I've been meaning to use these.

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And what these will do...

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they will almost give it a bit of a meaty quality, actually.

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'As soon as I get a golden colouring on my veg,

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'I'm going to add some lentils, followed by some stock.'

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This is vegetable stock. And then some black pepper.

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No salt yet, cos it can actually make the lentils a little bit tough.

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I'm going to bring it up to the boil,

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and then, as soon as it starts boiling,

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I'll turn it down to a simmer and pop the lid on.

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So this has had about 35, 40 minutes.

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The lentils aren't soft, but they're tender.

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It needs a generous grinding of salt.

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And that's fine.

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But... I think it can be more exciting. I've got some almonds.

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Whole almonds.

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'It's easy to forget all the ingredients

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'we have in our cupboards, but I'm a great believer in using

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'things up and trying things out. You never know until you have a go.'

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These will give it a real crunch.

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You have to watch them.

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Cos they WILL burn.

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I love the idea of tomatoes.

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Quite sharp ones - these aren't particularly sweet.

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It adds a crispness and a freshness and a little bit of a zing.

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In with those almonds...

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with a little dusting of ground cinnamon.

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It's like a very generous pinch...or two.

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Cinnamon and nuts is an amazing smell.

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As the cinnamon starts to toast, pop these little tomatoes in.

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I'm also going to put in a tiny bit of black pepper.

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Just keep tossing them round the pan.

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This is one of those great big dishes that you

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put on the table with a ladle and let everybody tuck in.

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It's a very warming, generous dish, but it's very cheap.

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'This is a classic way to cheer up a meal,

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'making it feel vibrant and exotic.'

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And... I've got some left for tomorrow, as well.

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'This dish has everything I want - amazing flavours and textures.

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'A lovely, warm, comforting feel, and all the more satisfying,

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'because I know it hasn't cost the earth.

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'When I met Duncan the baker, I discovered

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'he shares my passion for freshly-baked bread.'

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-It's just a thing of beauty.

-Yeah.

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'In return for his expertise, I've promised to make him a quick lunch.

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'It's an opportunity to use his quality produce

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'for one of my culinary specialities - the sandwich.

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'Everything hinges on what he has in the kitchen.'

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-I can use this, can't I?

-Of course you can, yeah.

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That is a very, very nice-looking baguette.

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When we're selling our bread to our customers and everything,

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we always talk about making bread the king of the table, and all

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of the other sort of ingredients being the court that surrounds it,

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and it's that lovely sort of image that we try and portray.

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-Can I use that?

-Yeah, it's a local chorizo.

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Great ingredient to work with, you know, a nice bit of bread, maybe.

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-Ooh, it's nice and crumbly.

-Beautiful product.

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The thing I love about the Spanish ones,

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and the these ones, is that, when you cook them slowly,

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in a frying pan,

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you get this wonderful chilli and paprika-scented oil

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that is so delicious, and I'm just thinking that that,

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with your wonderful bread, is going to make very nice eating.

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'It's a pleasure to come and cook in the kitchen of someone

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'who finds bread to be as delicious as I do. And, like me,

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'Duncan hates the idea of letting something so versatile go to waste.'

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That is a bag of dead bread.

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Well, yeah, it's just literally a cotton shopper bag.

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I mean, this is a trick I picked up from my mum,

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-but the purpose is, you allow the bread to breathe...

-Yes?

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..as it's staling.

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It means it doesn't mould and it's there basically when you want it.

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I don't think I even want to tell you

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how old some of the bread in the bottom is.

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-But it'll make good breadcrumbs.

-But it'll make great breadcrumbs.

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And it's there on tap when you need it.

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'Not something I'll be needing today,

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'but what I do need is something creamy to balance my spicy chorizo.'

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It's a bit of an Aladdin's cave, but...

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-Can I nick your mozzarella?

-Of course you can.

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What's that? Spinach.

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Spinach. Brilliant.

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'Mozzarella is the perfect find.'

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So you've got all of the...?

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Yeah, all of the juices coming out.

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I think that's looking good. It smells good.

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And then, let it soften on top of the sausage.

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I love that moment when the cheese and the oil sort of meet,

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and all the spices in the oil,

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you can have slightly weird things with it.

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Look at the colour of that!

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It's all the chilli and the paprika. Amazing colour.

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'Duncan strikes me as somebody who appreciates a good, honest butty,

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'but this is going to take things to a more sophisticated level.'

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That's sort of looking

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kind of like a sort of a pizza in a pan, at the moment.

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It's looking exactly like a pizza in a pan.

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I'm liking that. HE LAUGHS

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Just look at that. Isn't that just beautiful?

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And I know that that is going to soak up these juices

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and isn't going to go soggy.

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This is screaming, "Ultimate comfort food."

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Kind of makes you feel that all is right with the world.

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And I'm going to be very good, I'm going to put some greens on there.

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-These tiny, little spinach leaves, put those on there.

-Lovely.

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What will happen, when we squidge it together, the warmth of the cheese

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and the sausage is going to make these wilt,

0:20:140:20:17

but nothing more than that.

0:20:170:20:19

I can't imagine a day without bread. Look. You see what I mean?

0:20:210:20:24

When it's really good bread, it just soaks it all up.

0:20:240:20:26

That's for you.

0:20:260:20:27

You're going to tell me you're vegetarian now, aren't you?

0:20:270:20:30

No chance.

0:20:300:20:32

What do you think?

0:20:350:20:37

The interesting thing I saw is you didn't actually put

0:20:370:20:40

any butter with it, and I love the fact that you've used

0:20:400:20:43

the juices the chorizo has given us.

0:20:430:20:47

It's still perfectly moist and it's, yeah, it's beautiful.

0:20:470:20:52

Thank you for letting me use your kitchen.

0:20:520:20:54

Thank you very much for making me lunch!

0:20:540:20:57

This is fantastic. It's given me a lot of ideas, as well.

0:20:570:21:00

The bread is still the star of that.

0:21:000:21:02

'There isn't a week that goes by when I don't take pleasure

0:21:050:21:08

'in creating the perfect sandwich.

0:21:080:21:10

'Sometimes it's the humblest of dishes that turns out to be

0:21:110:21:15

'the most satisfying.'

0:21:150:21:16

I find that my appetite is often affected by the seasons

0:21:270:21:31

and when things outside turn that little bit cooler,

0:21:310:21:34

I start to introduce a few of those instantly-warming dishes.

0:21:340:21:38

From a bowl of leftovers hanging around, just a few sweet

0:21:420:21:45

potatoes will transform my lentil stew into an exciting new dish.

0:21:450:21:49

Get them boiling in a pan of salted water, until they're really soft.

0:21:520:21:57

Meanwhile, I can reheat my leftover lentil stew

0:21:580:22:02

from earlier in the week,

0:22:020:22:03

adding a little olive oil to help keep things moist.

0:22:030:22:07

When the sweet potatoes are really tender, drain and mash them,

0:22:070:22:11

along with a generous seasoning and a little more olive oil.

0:22:110:22:15

Then, spoon the stew into an ovenproof dish,

0:22:210:22:24

covering with the sweet potato mash.

0:22:240:22:27

And bake in a pre-heated oven for a good half hour.

0:22:320:22:36

Sometimes a dish really sums a day up.

0:22:470:22:49

I've still got all the goodness of my stew,

0:22:550:22:58

but with the addition of one humble, hearty ingredient,

0:22:580:23:01

I've transformed it.

0:23:010:23:03

It's like a splash of winter sunshine on the plate.

0:23:050:23:09

There's always a bit of a celebratory feel to Fridays.

0:23:250:23:28

It's that joy of having made it through a busy week.

0:23:280:23:31

'I usually have an appetite for something sweet

0:23:340:23:37

'and when the cupboards are looking a bit bare,

0:23:370:23:39

'it inspires me to have a go

0:23:390:23:41

'at one of the most comforting, nostalgic treats I know.'

0:23:410:23:45

There's not a lot left from this week's shop.

0:23:450:23:48

A few biscuits.

0:23:480:23:50

A banana.

0:23:510:23:53

And I've got a fancy for a trifle.

0:23:530:23:56

I love warm bananas.

0:23:560:23:57

I like to put them in the oven, in their skins.

0:23:570:24:00

Skins go black, and then I get a teaspoon

0:24:000:24:03

and I scrape out all the velvety flesh.

0:24:030:24:06

Sometimes, I'll put a squeeze of passion fruit in there, as well.

0:24:060:24:11

I want warm bananas in my trifle.

0:24:110:24:13

Crazy though it sounds.

0:24:160:24:19

I'm going to poach it in coconut milk.

0:24:190:24:23

The two flavours work spectacularly together.

0:24:240:24:27

Just break that up a little bit.

0:24:270:24:30

Pop the banana in...

0:24:300:24:33

and just leave them to poach.

0:24:330:24:35

They've got to have cream on.

0:24:350:24:37

Always got to be cream on any trifle I make.

0:24:380:24:42

And it's got to be whipped double cream.

0:24:430:24:47

Going to put a little bit of vanilla extract in the cream...

0:24:470:24:50

because it works beautifully with bananas.

0:24:500:24:54

Now, I've honestly never made this before.

0:24:540:24:56

I'm sort of thinking on my feet.

0:24:580:25:01

Trifle should be fun.

0:25:010:25:03

It should be a joy to put on the table,

0:25:050:25:07

and some of the things we put on trifles that are, frankly,

0:25:070:25:11

a little bit naff, I love them!

0:25:110:25:14

So, I whip the cream, until it will just about stand in soft folds.

0:25:190:25:24

No further.

0:25:250:25:27

Now, with all those soft layers of cream

0:25:270:25:30

and coconut milk, I want something crisp.

0:25:300:25:32

You need the crunch.

0:25:340:25:36

And I'm using ginger biscuits, but it's only because

0:25:420:25:44

it's what I've got.

0:25:440:25:46

And, in the bottom...

0:25:480:25:51

go in these warm...

0:25:510:25:53

coconut bananas.

0:25:550:25:58

Oh, they smell great.

0:25:580:26:00

Very soft... quite sweet.

0:26:000:26:03

It's actually only one banana,

0:26:030:26:06

but it's going to be enough, I think.

0:26:060:26:09

One of the things that's crucial to me in a trifle are the layers.

0:26:090:26:14

It's almost the point of it.

0:26:140:26:15

It's digging down through the crisp nuts, through the cream,

0:26:150:26:19

through the custard, through the fruit, down to the sponge.

0:26:190:26:22

Layers are essential, so I need another layer.

0:26:220:26:24

And I've got, which I'm dying to use up, a tin of peaches.

0:26:240:26:28

I've then got a extra layer of fruit.

0:26:300:26:32

I've got the whipped cream.

0:26:350:26:39

And then, crumbs.

0:26:390:26:41

Something faintly daft about this, but I love it.

0:26:410:26:44

The thing I haven't quite mentioned is that, not only have

0:26:470:26:50

we got fruit and cream and biscuits in layers,

0:26:500:26:53

we've also got that wonderful thing of cold cream,

0:26:530:26:57

cold fruit, and then warm bananas.

0:26:570:27:00

Yes, I know it's a bit kitsch.

0:27:000:27:03

I quite like that.

0:27:040:27:06

Oh, it's warm!

0:27:060:27:09

This so shouldn't work.

0:27:090:27:12

But it does. It's just everything a trifle should be.

0:27:130:27:17

When you get to those warm...

0:27:190:27:21

coconut bananas...

0:27:210:27:23

it's just heaven.

0:27:230:27:25

'This is probably the finest example of how to have fun in the kitchen,

0:27:270:27:30

'and how to use up those final goodies from the weekly shop.

0:27:300:27:34

'When you need that flurry of inspiration

0:27:340:27:36

'to make a good dish wonderful,

0:27:360:27:38

'the answer can nearly always be found in the cupboards.'

0:27:380:27:42

'This series, I've experimented.'

0:27:500:27:52

I'd no idea how that was going to turn out.

0:27:520:27:54

You know, I'm really quite pleased with that.

0:27:540:27:57

'I've taken a few chances.'

0:27:570:27:58

There's something very satisfying about an idea that works.

0:27:580:28:02

'And had fun with my cooking.'

0:28:020:28:04

It's everything I want food to be...

0:28:040:28:05

and I was just cleaning out the fridge.

0:28:050:28:08

'But, most importantly,

0:28:080:28:10

'I made everything in my weekly shop count,

0:28:100:28:12

'letting nothing go to waste.'

0:28:120:28:13

How good is that?

0:28:130:28:16

'I've shown that a little creative thinking is all it takes

0:28:160:28:20

'to make sure that, whatever ingredients we buy,

0:28:200:28:24

'there's always a dish for every day.'

0:28:240:28:26

It's seriously wonderful.

0:28:280:28:31

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:570:29:00

Nigel uses his weekly shop to cook some clever recipes designed to cure cravings and offer comfort. Including slow roast leg of lamb with herb rub and parmesan mash, almond and lentil stew and tumbler trifle.