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I've been cooking for quite a few years now.
So many recipes have come and gone,
but there are wonderful classics that are as popular as ever.
In this series, I'll show you how to cook some of the best of them
in my very special way.
I'm just saving on the washing up.
From timeless ideas perfect for entertaining...
I can't wait to see my artichoke candles on your dining table.
..to delicious, light recipes that take no time at all...
Welcome to our secret garden, Mary.
I'm going to be helping with your school.
..and tempting dishes inspired by our green and pleasant land.
TRAIN HORN BLASTS
I enjoyed that!
These dishes can often seem daunting,
but I'm going to show you some tips and techniques
that make them quick, easy, and simply delicious.
And, most importantly, with almost no fuss.
In this programme...
Oh, you've done that before!
..classic home comforts that will put a smile on your face.
-Well, of course I will, yes!
I love it when the evenings draw in,
and there's a hint of wood smoke in the air.
That's the time for comfort food.
I want to show you some of the hearty and comforting recipes
that I always turn to.
A traditional way to cook lamb to perfection.
A time-honoured idea for delicious wild mushrooms.
A wickedly divine pudding, made with the ultimate comfort food.
But first, my version of a classic breakfast dish
that's a dream to wake up to.
This is a combination
of two great classics.
One has bacon in, and one has spinach.
Why have one when you can have both together?
Start with some delicious dry cured bacon.
You don't need oil, but make sure the pan is nice and hot.
There's nothing like the smell of bacon to wake up to.
You could never say no.
And this is thin cut bacon.
Whether you choose smoked or unsmoked bacon is really up to you.
Now, I'm going to have a peek at this,
and it's taking on a lovely colour.
Once the bacon is beautifully crisp,
put it to the side so you can get on with the sauce.
Many people say that Hollandaise is difficult.
Do it my way, and it's not.
Right, first of all, two egg yolks in the bowl.
Lovely fresh eggs.
Add a dash of white wine vinegar.
Whisk that together.
That's it. Then put that bowl over hot water.
As soon as it's sort of lukewarm,
you add butter.
And that goes in very, very slowly.
And the idea is to cook the egg yolks very slowly,
or you'll end up with scrambled egg.
Don't rush it.
You can see that it's actually thickening up.
Little salt and pepper in there.
That's absolutely perfect.
Look at it, just the right consistency.
I'm quite pleased with that. Finally, the eggs.
So the secret to a poached egg.
Boiling water with a dash of vinegar in it.
Swirl it around with a whisk, and in the very centre,
drop it in the middle while it's still swirling,
and it'll be a lovely shape.
Let them simmer for three or four minutes until the white is just set.
There we are.
They look perfect.
Now's the time to plate it all up.
For the Florentine layer I've wilted some fresh spinach in the butter,
so there's no need for more on your toasted muffins.
I think that is the perfect breakfast.
Just to die for.
There's one man I know
who's a devotee of comforting and moreish food.
In fact, Swedish chef Niklas Ekstedt
is more at home cooking over an open fire
than he is with a fancy stove.
In your restaurant, you have no electricity, no gas.
-No, I just use wood.
Open flame cooking is a very traditional Swedish technique.
And Niklas's wonderful food has earned him a Michelin star.
-Is it a barbecue, that? What is it?
-No, no, no, it's not a barbecue.
Barbecue is completely different from Swedish cooking.
Swedish open fire cooking is all about heat, flames and smoke.
So it's hot and fast, not slow and low.
But how do you not catch the food on fire?
I'll show you. That's why we're here, right? We're going to cook!
So, I'm going to chop some wood, and you're going to build the fire.
-Oh, I love...
-Is that OK?
-I'm pretty good. I was a Girl Guide, you see, I know how to do it.
You've done that before!
There's nothing I like more than building a fire and cooking outside.
-That looks great.
-It's just like a little bonfire for Bonfire Night.
It smells good, too, doesn't it?
It reminds me of Girl Guide camp, we used to cook over fires.
-What did you cook?
-Stews, and fry eggs and bacon.
And we used to dig trenches for our loos.
-Were there any songs?
# Ging gang goolie goolie goolie goolie watcha
# Ging gang goo, ging gang goo
# Ging gang goolie goolie goolie goolie watcha
# Ging gang goo, ging gang goo... #
-Is that English?
-I've no idea what it was,
but it's stuck back in my head!
Every Girl Guide will remember that, and Scouts.
It sounds like Swedish!
# Ging gang goolie... #
-I won't teach it to you.
-It's like Swedish Chef on Muppet Show!
Thank you for that!
OK, so now we're going to start off with the celeriac.
I love celeriac, it's one of my favourite vegetables.
We're going to cook it over the flames.
-Straight into the fire.
-What, the whole, complete...?
Yeah, and we want it black.
There you go. Fire and vegetable.
-I quite like cooking with a caveman.
Although caveman cooking is not always fast.
These celeriac will take a couple of hours before they're ready.
But we can relax now for a little while.
Well, we've got two hours. We can talk about the Girl Scouts.
Whilst we wait, I turn to the woods for my next dish,
using an ingredient at the heart of many comforting classics.
This is definitely one of my favourites.
There's nothing nicer than a crisp pastry case,
and a gorgeous sauce full of all different kinds of mushrooms
that have that hint of garlic, and a sharpness of lemon.
Life is too short to make your own puff pastry,
so I'm using 500g of shop-bought.
If you look very carefully here,
you can see the air bubbles.
Now, the air bubbles in the pastry
mean that, when it's cooking,
those will expand and make the pastry rise up beautifully,
and it's going to be lovely and crispy.
So I'm not rolling the air bubbles out, I'm trying to keep them in.
Lightly score the pastry in a crisscross pattern.
This is purely for decoration,
and it just makes it look a little bit professional.
It doesn't take a second to do.
That's it. Sticking...
Cut into six discs, and leave them to chill in the fridge.
I've got total weight of mushrooms 750g,
and 250g are these beautiful wild mushrooms.
It doesn't really matter what kind.
What I adore about this recipe is its simplicity.
Everything's done in the oven.
And that is sizzling hot.
Put your chestnut and field mushrooms in first.
A drizzle of oil over the top.
Some crushed garlic.
Season, and pop them back in the oven.
Now glaze the chilled pastry discs with a beaten egg.
I really like hardware shops,
and very often I will go and buy a paint brush,
rather than a posh brush like this,
because they're a little bit cheaper.
Both the mushrooms and the pastry need about 18-20 minutes at 180 fan.
Those have risen beautifully,
and look at the professional look with that scoring on top,
makes all the difference.
To make it especially crisp, cut each pastry in half,
then mix the last of those mushrooms
with some delicious creme fraiche.
So back in the oven at 180 for about 8-10 minutes for both of them.
That looks good, doesn't it?
For a final cheeky flourish,
add a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese,
and a squeeze of lemon.
Right, now to assemble it.
And let it fall over generously.
And a little bit of bright green always gives it a lift.
Then, on goes the lid.
Wild mushroom galette, and doesn't it look tempting?
Good enough to eat right now.
I think the celeriac is almost done.
Well, I think it looks burned to a frazzle! Come on.
It's burned, but not inside hopefully.
Despite Niklas's cheery confidence, I'm not so sure.
And, while that celeriac cools, he's keen to show me another favourite.
His unique take on comforting Swedish meatballs.
This is a game version, so I use venison and pork.
And you always add breadcrumbs and onions.
And the onions, you fry a little bit before.
We usually soak breadcrumbs with a little bit of cream
before you add it.
That's certainly enriching them.
Yeah, it does.
And then some salt.
-No pepper, no.
-Interesting. Is that not popular in Sweden?
It is kind of popular, but I don't like pepper.
OK, fair enough! They're your meatballs, after all.
And then these are juniper berries.
-Ground juniper berries.
They smell a little bit like gin, right?
Yes. We'll have plenty of that, then!
It's all very evenly mixed now.
So, we're ready to roll them.
So, rolling a meatball in Sweden is like very debated,
the size of the meatball.
Well, I... I'll copy you.
OK. In my house we prefer them small.
And small is about...
-The size of a chocolate truffle.
With meatballs, do you make any form of sauce with them or anything?
Yes, I will make a sauce for you.
Don't worry, you will have sauce, Mary.
I like a little bit of sauce.
I'll fix that.
So while these are just to be done,
I'm going to show you how to do the sauce.
Is it a different sauce?
Yes. So I have cream in this pan.
What are you doing?!
You've just put...
a live, hot charcoal into cream?
-Well, this is something absolutely new to me!
But you're an open-minded woman, no?
I am, I am, but it is totally new.
And then we will add a little bit of vinegar.
This is Attika, it's a Swedish vinegar that's really strong.
-Can I smell?
Did you say strong? It really does knock you back.
So, it's a much, much...
It's all right for you, but it does...
It's like when you're cleaning out your kettle.
That sort of smell, it knocks you out.
Come on, get on.
How much is going in there?
OK, so just a little.
I do trust him, but how will it taste?
-So see now?
-Now that's making it thick?
-Look at that!
That is amazing. You put a few drops, and look at it.
Holding on to the spoon.
-That is amazing.
-It's like magic.
It is magic.
I'm quite nervous of eating burnt wood.
It's absolutely delicious!
Wow. I might be changing my ways of doing things!
Now, the celeriac.
These burnt little offerings here.
-No-one's keener to see inside there than me.
I'm a little nervous as well.
Gosh, that looks amazing.
-Here goes, absolutely.
It is a total new flavour for me, and it's so good.
I'm very happy that you liked it,
because you looked a little sceptical at first.
-But wouldn't you?
I was amazed how much flavour Niklas got into his food
by cooking it over an open fire.
Sometimes, the old methods are best.
It's made me think of a wonderful dish that is always a huge hit
at our kitchen table.
For me, comfort food is all about slow, slow cooking.
And that's exactly what I'm going to do right now.
I've got six beautiful lamb shanks here.
And the lamb shank comes from the end of a leg of lamb,
if you imagine the legs, just like our legs,
and it's cooked on the bone until it just gently comes off.
And it's beautifully tender.
Start by browning the lamb shanks in a really hot pan
until they're a gorgeous golden colour.
Then set aside.
So, I'm going to add a little more oil to the pan.
In go the vegetables.
In go some onions, carrots and celery.
Cook until soft.
Then add some crushed garlic.
And that's it.
We're going to tip that in.
My secret for a really smooth sauce is to not add it to the vegetables,
but to put the flour in the bowl, my 50g, then add 300ml of wine,
just like you'd be making custard.
And it goes in very, very easily,
because the liquid is cold.
Then I'm going to add the rest of the wine there.
I've brought 300ml of beef stock,
tomato puree and redcurrant jelly up to the boil.
And I've got all those nice bits off the bottom of the pan.
That's it. In goes the wine and flour.
Give it a good stir.
You can see it becoming just a bit thicker.
Next, a favourite with lamb...
a sprinkling of fresh rosemary.
Then add a couple of bay leaves.
A little bit of pepper and salt.
And bring this mouthwatering mix all together.
I'm going to bring that to the boil, and then get it on the lowest heat,
and I would think it would take about two and a half hours.
Just until the meat is gently falling off the bone,
but yet holding together.
You can't get it better than that.
That's just as I wanted it to look.
Beautifully smooth, just the right consistency,
especially when you've got some mash on the side.
One final touch.
I can't get enough of wonderfully buttery mushrooms.
Give it a good stir.
And that is all ready to serve.
Now for the ultimate in comfort food.
The perfect mash.
First of all, choose the right potato.
You want a floury potato,
something like a Maris Piper or a King Edward.
Make sure you boil the potatoes in salted water.
And my secret tip is mashing the potatoes into some hot butter,
not the other way round.
Now, I have to confess when I'm doing this for my husband,
I think his mother made lumpy mashed potato,
and he likes it with the odd lump in.
I don't, so I'm going to mash it all the way round.
That's it. Now, that's beautifully floury and smooth.
Then I'm going to get a whisk and whisk it.
Put some hot milk in.
Now, I'm pretty short, and it's difficult for me to beat over there,
so what I do is I lift it back, and actually I very often
put it in the sink here, and give it a good beating.
My favourite is a mustard mash.
A couple of spoons of grainy mustard, and one of Dijon,
give the mash a real kick.
That will absorb all that wonderful sauce.
I always make plenty of sauce with a casserole
because I'm married to a gravy man.
And there you have it.
My slow-cooked lamb shanks with that tempting mustard mash.
It is so warm and welcoming on a chilly day.
With all this savoury deliciousness,
I think I'm ready for something sweet.
And Niklas has promised to make me one of his favourites.
-This is Swedish Munkki.
-Munkki! There you go.
-OK, well, what are Munkki when they're out?
Yeah, it, it's like a...
It's like a doughnut.
-It's a long time since I've had a man on his knees
right in front of me. Come on!
Well, you know!
So, what's that going in there?
It's a batter. Like a pancake batter.
Flour and egg and a little bit cream,
but with a little bit of baking powder.
So your restaurant, you have open fires.
-And how did you come into doing all this?
Whenever I travel, I like the original cooking technique,
like if I go to Italy I like wood oven baked pizza,
or if I go to India, I like the tandoori.
So I thought, like, what's our tradition?
What are our techniques? So that's how, I started researching that.
Surely people must have thought you were a little bit mad?
They did, yeah.
So you're just gently rolling these round?
-Gathering any surplus batter.
-And I can see there are absolutely no calories
-in here whatsoever.
Isn't it amazing, they were overflowing,
looking as though you'd put too much mixture in,
you end up with perfect little doughnuts.
-I keep on surprising you.
You do, you do!
-The most important part is the tasting.
For that final Swedish touch,
Niklas serves them with a burst of cloudberry jam.
I wasn't expecting that to be so beautifully crisp on the outside.
And it's so delicate and spongy in the middle.
Again, something totally new to me.
-Well, of course I will, yes.
I mean, don't let's be weak.
With all that delicious crispy sweetness,
I think we could both do with a walk.
Well, here's actually a birch. This is what I use when I cook.
And also this, these branches like this, these leaves,
these are what we use in the sauna.
To get, you know, to whip each other.
-Oh, that sounds exciting.
-So, how do you do it, then?
Well, you, you pick these and you'd stick that into the water,
cold water, and then you're in the warm sauna and then you...
-Go on. You can...
-In the water and then...
-And you're in together?
-Oh, this is quite good fun.
-It's a lot of fun!
I think I'm coming to Sweden.
You will love it!
Well, Niklas certainly knows how to have a good time.
I think it's time for me to make him something comforting.
And I have the perfect dish.
And there's nothing more classic than chocolate pots.
Something I can remember from the very first day that I was married,
I was making these chocolate pots.
They're so simple.
All ingredients that you're likely to have to hand.
First of all, I'm going to chop up chocolate very finely.
I'm going to use a processor.
And, by the way, it is very noisy!
Next, make sugar syrup by adding 50g of caster sugar
to six tablespoons of water.
I'm just going to stir that until the sugar's dissolved.
Turn up the heat until it boils.
Leaving you with a thin, clear syrup.
Pour this into the chocolate mix, along with two egg yolks.
And then, just a dash of Irish Cream.
That's about it. I'll put the lid firmly on.
No tasting at this stage.
Perhaps after all this is over.
Whip 300ml of double cream until you see those wonderful soft peaks.
Now, fold in the velvety chocolate mixture.
Isn't it gorgeously rich and shiny?
And there's a hint of booze in there.
I get awfully teased that I enjoy a little bit of alcohol
in my puds, but it does make all the difference.
And then I'm gently going to stir that in.
Pour the rich mixture into your pots to set for six hours.
Or leave them overnight if that's easier.
But keep back three tablespoons for one final touch of decadence.
Because I'm making chocolate truffle pots,
the secret is the truffle on top.
Start by adding the crushed biscuit to the chocolate mix you saved.
And it should be a lovely, sticky mixture.
These need to firm up in the fridge for around ten minutes,
which gives you time to melt some white chocolate.
Make sure you melt it on a low heat.
This will allow the chocolate to form a lovely,
crisp coating around the truffle.
When I was trying all these out,
there was a little row of these in my fridge.
And, surprise surprise,
when I went in a few hours' time, there were only four.
So I did find the culprit.
And I made quite sure, when they had a little pot,
they were without their truffle.
Pop in the fridge until everything is set.
There's our little chocolate pot.
They've been in the fridge overnight and they're absolutely firm.
Perfect. Now to finish them off.
Then a gentle pull.
In the centre of each one.
Like that. And then, a dusting of cocoa.
That really disguises where you had the cocktail stick stuck in there.
I think those looked very impressive.
I'll see whether my Swedish friend will enjoy them, too.
You've shown me such wonderful treats,
and all sorts of things that I didn't know about.
I've brought a little something special for you.
-Here you go.
I will dig in!
It's so smooth.
Amazing. I've got to take this recipe with me back home.
It goes particularly well with a glass of this.
Gorgeous ideas for light and easy meals.
I'm going to be helping with your school dinner.
Soothing and much-loved home comfort delights, from the very simple to the extremely decadent. Mary indulges her love of comfort food with homely recipes to warm the heart, including Eggs benedict florentine, fall-off-the-bone slow-cooked lamb shanks and deliciously rich chocolate truffle pots. She invites Swedish fire-chef Niklas Esktedt to share the joys of caveman cooking with her, and finds herself outside by an open fire enjoying his inventive venison meatballs with blackened celeriac and mouthwatering Swedish donuts.