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We've travelled the world and eaten everywhere from roadside bars to
restaurants with Michelin stars,
but there really is nothing like a bit of home cooking.
Coming into a warm kitchen filled with the aroma of a tasty meal
bubbling away, it's one of life's great pleasures.
Lovingly prepared dishes with flavours that pack a punch.
It's the perfect way to put smiles on the faces of your nearest and dearest.
We'll also reveal the fascinating stories behind iconic dishes.
Who makes the best spaghetti?
Discover the secrets to producing quality ingredients and...
Find out what chefs like to cook on their days off.
That is amazing. This is much easier and much quicker.
There's nothing quite as comforting as simple home cooking.
Today, dishes to feed a multitude.
Whether you're impressing your guests,
or filling up the family...
..we're talking brilliant crowd pleasers.
This dish, it's a crowd pleaser that can just expand to fit the amount of
people that you wish to expand it to fit to.
When we say crowd pleaser, we mean in a completely different language,
It's food for guests, really, isn't it?
-First off, we've got two wonderful trimmed salmon fillets.
I'm going to poach these down because we're making a salmon,
spinach and hollandaise sauce pie.
The hollandaise has tarragon and lemon in, and it's just really tasty.
-And it's a pie.
So, we just float that into the milk.
Got some tarragon, peppercorns and lemon and a bay,
little bit of flavour.
We poach that until it just, just flakes.
Now, a top tip and the key to hollandaise is the temperature of the butter.
So, we're going to melt it.
Once we've melted it we're going to take it off the heat and then we're
going to let it cool.
While that is happening I'm going to infuse about 50ml
of white wine vinegar.
And then a few peppercorns.
A couple of blades of mace.
A bay leaf. Now, to get the oil out of the bay leaf,
scrunch it a bit.
And we need one shallot, finely, finely chopped.
We're going to reduce this until there's about two tablespoons
of liquid left and that's it. So we'll boil it quite hard.
I love this, it's an event.
Oh, it is, and salmon, you know, to me there's still a little hint of luxury.
Definitely, man. Now, you can see how all of those great flavours,
the bay, the mace, the shallot,
the peppercorns are all infusing that white wine vinegar.
My next job is to wilt down the spinach.
There's enough moisture in the spinach to cook itself,
so we'll start by putting it in here.
So, what we're going to do, two tablespoons, don't forget,
that's what we want out of this.
Now, look, that big pan of spinach
has become this little pan of spinach.
But that little pan of spinach really is quite moist.
-We don't want that.
Else we'll get a soggy bottom.
So we put that in a sieve, let it strain,
and I'll do my second batch of spinach.
Three egg yolks, whisk.
And whisk them until they change colour.
Now, because the process is gentle,
and the heat we need has to be indirect, use a bain-marie.
I'm going to add a little bit of fine salt.
Just add a little bit of our vinegar.
Just keep tinkling it, lovely, and give it another whisk.
What we're going to do is add this cooled butter,
just a little at a time, literally just add the butter.
Give it a good whisk again.
Right, so, I'm going to take this off the heat.
Do you see how it is, kind of, starting to thicken?
Now we just start to
add the butter...
..just a little at a time.
I'll tell you what, it's making me tired just watching him.
It's worth all that effort.
You are putting love into the dish,
which our guests will receive by the plateful.
Look at that, that's beautiful.
It is beautiful.
Right, now, to this, all we've got
to do is add some tarragon and whisk.
No, just stir.
And some lemon zest.
You can just have a sit down whilst I make the pie.
Thank you, I think I might.
And you know, if you are short on time,
the bought hollandaise sauce in a jar is perfectly good for this dish.
He's such a cheeky devil, isn't he?
Right, bought puff pastry, a wonderful product,
easy to handle, beautiful.
Let us begin with Mr Fish.
Take half the fish, hands are fine for this...
..and spread down one side.
-Now, half the spinach.
-As you can see what Dave's doing,
he's squeezing every bit of moisture out.
All of that flavour's still going to be in the leaves,
but we don't want the moisture.
I'll just spread that over the salmon.
Now, that wonderful hollandaise sauce.
Top with more salmon.
And more hollandaise sauce.
-Oh, you are a one.
-Oh, I know.
Eggy wash around the edges.
And let's put you to sleep, son.
We want it well sealed.
And just, kind of, start a nice rolling crimp on the side, like so.
This is like pick it up turn it over.
See? Nice, isn't it?
I'm just going to try and do some scales.
I want to score, but not through.
Oh, you're getting arty.
I love it when you get arty, it's brilliant.
I think that's enough, do you?
-Brush very gently with egg so we get a nice golden top.
We put that into a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 30
minutes or so, until it's risen, bold, and golden.
That is beautiful.
Oh, well done, Mr Myers.
We've created quite a crowd pleaser.
Oh, look at that.
So full of flavour.
The hollandaise, that tarragon, the lemon zest, salmon, spinach,
it all goes together.
That texture, it's lovely, as well.
-Yeah, it's lush.
-What a crisp pastry.
What a lovely centrepiece.
Britain has an army of creative chefs, who day after day send out
sensational dishes to customers in their restaurants.
They work long hours, toiling over their stoves.
But at home, what's their idea of comfort food?
Romy Gill MBE from Thornbury in Gloucestershire
tells us about her home-cooked favourite.
I'm a head chef, restaurant owner of Romy's Kitchen in Thornbury.
We've been running for nearly three years now and the cuisine is Indian
but it's very modern Indian cuisine.
I grew up in India in West Bengal.
I came to the UK when I was 22 years old and I said
to my husband, "I want to open a restaurant."
'He just looked at me and didn't say anything.
'And 22 years later, I have my restaurant.'
I need a nice plate, please!
If you're passionate, if you have a dream, you've got to follow it.
For me, the love affair of food started way back in India,
because my parents enjoyed cooking.
And I want to use the best produce we have in this country
and apply what my mum and dad used. The spices - why can't we use it?
You know, the fish and chips. I do fish and chips in an Indian style.
It works really well.
With one spice, you can just completely change
the look and taste of the dish.
A lot of people call me "The Mistress of Spices",
but I love playing with the spices.
And I've learnt all of that from my parents.
My home cooking is very different,
because I have hardly any time with my daughters,
so I don't want to be cooking really complicated dishes.
I like making simple, easy, quick things.
So, I'm going to be making sweet and sour chicken wings,
with an Indian twist guacamole. It's simple, it's quick,
my daughters love it. It's the messiness of eating
with the fingers. I love it!
I'm going to take my chicken wings, I'm going to marinate them first,
with a little bit of ginger and garlic and some soy sauce.
Teensy little bit of chilli flakes. Some honey, pomegranate molasses.
A little bit of ketchup. Not too much, with the sweetness of it.
And the key ingredient in this is the smoked paprika.
Once they cook in the oven, they go really crispy.
That smoky flavour of the paprika is just delicious.
I'm going to keep it in the fridge for half an hour.
Not longer than that. Doesn't really need it.
With that, I will be serving some guacamole, in an Indian style.
It's got apple in it. Avocados. It's got red onion, mint,
which is the freshness, that works so well with avocado,
and a little bit of fresh coriander. It's got a little bit of kick to it,
with just a little chilli.
Whizz it up. Make it like a, kind of, paste, kind of thing.
And it works so well with the chicken wings.
It's really yummy. It's not too spicy. It's really good.
-What about you, you're digging into it!
-Yeah, it's really nice.
-Do you like the guacamole?
-Yeah. It's the best.
It's a simple, delicious meal for my children.
When your palate is after this, only this will do.
And what is it, Mr Myers?
Well, this is a crowd pleaser. Individually, together,
we've been doing it for years. And it's a tandoori mixed grill.
SI GIGGLES EXCITEDLY
It's great in your kitchen in the winter or a barbecue in the summer.
It's just so yummy.
Meat number one...
Meat number two...
Meat number three...
Thank you. Only on a Tuesday.
-And plate number four - salmon.
Now, the marinade that we're using is the same for
the chicken, the prawns and the lamb. And we've got a little quirky,
-kind of, marinade for the salmon.
-We've got a little twist,
-haven't we? A little... A little hoo-hoo.
Now, I'm going to start out by making the marinade for the prawn,
the lamb and the chicken.
So, I've got a big lump of ginger into a bowl of yoghurt.
And about six cloves of garlic, I'm going to grate that into this.
While Dave's doing that, I'm going to show you
what we're going to do with the prawns.
So, you know how to de-vein a prawn?
Take the prawn's bonce off, that's its head.
Legs off. Now, you can keep the tail on, it's a good thing.
You can, kind of, just pick your prawn up with it.
Anyway, with a sharp knife, just very gently draw around the back...
..and just run your finger nail through the middle, like that.
One clean prawn.
So, I've got the garlic, the ginger,
the yoghurt. Some scrapings of nutmeg now.
And the juice of an lemon. And the beauty
of making your own marinade like this is
there's a freshness to the spices. It takes everything up a notch.
To start with, I want two teaspoons of ground cardamom.
I want two teaspoons... of ground coriander.
Two teaspoons...of ground cumin.
Two teaspoons...of ground turmeric.
-It's like a Mensa test, dude, isn't it, you know?
-It's a spicy one!
I want half a teaspoon of cinnamon.
A pinch of ground cloves.
Half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
And two BIG spoons
of Kashmiri chilli powder.
Ooh, now you're talking.
For the salmon, what we're going to do -
going to put a little bit of oil, little bit of lemon juice,
some dill and some capers.
So, oil it first.
Now, the reason that we're oiling it first is so all this sticks.
And then the juice of about half a lemon.
One, two, three.
-You split, I'll massage.
One, two, three.
I mean, this marinade, it's porky, it's dead great.
If you can afford the time,
leave it to marinate overnight and most of the next day.
I would say the minimum you could get away with marinating it
is about two hours.
-Right, I'm going to wash my hands, mate.
Now, I don't know why, but it just feels right
to cook the chicken last, so that's what I'm going to do.
Heat the griddle to a medium to high heat.
The lamb chops will take about two minutes
to two and a half minutes per side.
If your griddle's hot enough,
you should get minimal marinade smearing your grill.
It should all stay on that beautiful cutlet.
Just be patient, let them sit,
let them crisp off and then turn them.
-What do you reckon, Dave?
-I think they're perfect.
-Looking great, aren't they?
-Yeah, I just can't wait to eat them.
The same process for the prawns.
-Wow, look at those prawns.
-They're working, dude, aren't they?
This is very much a crowd-pleaser.
And the salmon.
The chicken needs about three minutes per side.
-And that should be juicy, succulent, and perfectly cooked.
-The thing is, there's plenty of food here for eight people.
-But there's a great feast for two.
-Isn't there just?
How can we keep this feast to ourselves?
That is a crowd-pleaser.
The secret to creating delicious comfort food
is using the right ingredients.
The cooking is the easy bit.
The real work is done by the producers
who put all their passion and expertise
into getting their ingredients just right.
We raise Mangalitza and Saddleback pigs
on our farm here in Pembrokeshire
to produce meat exclusively for our two food vans.
I love the pigs. They're very intelligent creatures.
They're very loyal. They've got definite personalities.
Some of them are grumpy.
Some are very friendly.
You always get one or two that love having their bellies scratched.
We keep primarily Mangalitza pigs. They're from Hungary.
They're a very unusual-looking pig.
In the winter, they have a thick, curly, wiry coat,
and in the summer, they tend to lose that.
We have two varieties - the swallow-belly -
they're black with a white underbelly - and blonde.
They look probably more like a sheep than a pig.
They get called a sheep-pig.
They get likened to Wombles, as well.
When we started farming pigs, it was really important to us
to stick to the principles of the slow food movement.
The pigs would always be free-range.
They can roam in the fields during the day.
They've got access to a barn.
And in our food business, we would only ever use our own meat.
The way we rear them really makes a difference.
A commercial pig is fed, it doesn't have much exercise,
so it grows really, really quickly
and can be slaughtered at maybe five months,
whereas our pigs,
you're talking sort of 16 to 18 months at the least.
They grow as nature intended - outdoors,
and their diet's supplemented by bugs and grass
and produces a far better quality end product.
The breed of pigs, we chose them not only for their temperament
and their hardiness outdoors, but also the flavour,
the characteristics of the meat.
The Mangalitza, for example, they lay on fat quite easily.
People call them a lardy pig,
but they produce the most amazing salami chorizo.
So, this one looks amazing, doesn't it? It's huge.
-It's turned out really well.
-Yes, it has, actually.
-On the size and everything.
-So, as a charcutier,
how did you find working with the Mangalitza in particular?
With the Mangalitza, I felt that it was
a much redder meat.
The marbling of the fat going through it was fantastic,
which is what you can see on some of the pancetta here -
the marbling and the fat content.
And it's so soft, you could whip it, the back fat on a Mangalitza.
It is just soft and white and beautiful.
When you're making an andouille and you want it to keep spreadable,
that is fantastic to be able to make one of these out of it.
Yeah, the texture is great. It's almost like a pate, isn't it?
-Yes, it is.
-That's kind of the way I describe it to customers.
It's like chorizo, but a pate texture.
But both the andouille and the chorizo,
they're so versatile.
Chorizo, when you cook with that,
the flavours and the fat and the oils will just come through
when you're cooking.
And the andouille is just fantastic in cooking in any dish -
scrambled egg, paella, pasta dish, so many dishes.
But it looks amazing
and I think the customers would love that with you, Michelle.
They do. When I do an event, they love seeing it hanging up.
They get their phones out, they're taking photographs of it,
posting it on social media.
You know, they can't believe what they're seeing.
People seem to love what we're doing.
They like the story behind it, seeing the pictures of the pigs,
seeing the way they live. People really appreciate that.
Now, look. Look at this.
This is a beautiful, beautiful pork product, this.
Proper Pembrokeshire pork shoulder,
and we're going to do a crowd-pleasing pie.
-It's a pork and apple pie. WEST COUNTRY ACCENT:
I'll get these onions on and start to sweat them down.
And I, David, am going to season
this beautiful pork from Pembrokeshire.
And don't be scared. Give that loads of pepper.
Lovely. Toss it in.
And then what we're going to do is just going to fry it off in batches,
just so it gets some colour on that beautiful, beautiful pork.
I'm going to do the pastry in a food processor.
And, to be honest, it's so simple.
I've got my flour.
And because it's a savoury pie,
I'm going to put a teaspoon of salt in this.
Cubes of butter...
..cos it is a rich, shortcrust pastry,
and an equal quantity of cubes of lard.
Lard does really work in savoury pastry.
It gives it a...
-Like a fructile, it kind of breaks in flakes.
It's a really good texture.
Right, I'm just going to whisk this till it goes into crumbs.
You know when we talk about colour on the meat?
That's what we mean - just a little bit of caramelisation.
That batch is nearly ready,
so I'm just going to put it on top of those onions
that are sweating down in the casserole dish.
Now, first off, I'm going to put one whole egg in and see how we get on.
If it's still a little stiff, I'll add water teaspoon by teaspoon
till we get a perfect ball of pastry.
I do believe we have pastry.
Now, I want to chill this right down.
It's going to make it easier to handle and roll out.
So, we'll put this in the fridge,
well, for a couple of hours to rest, really.
So, what we're going to do now, I'm going to deglaze the pan
to make sure that we get all that flavour off,
with half of the cider.
And then, while that cider's coming to a boil,
we're going to take a pork stock cube.
And all we're going to do...
..is dissolve that into the cider.
Just taking every bit of flavour off there.
We'll pour that into there.
We add a bay leaf.
We add six whole sage leaves.
-And then we'll just stir that in.
-And then add the rest of the cider.
Put a lid on it, pop it in the oven -
160 degrees for an hour and a half to two hours.
OK, we've let it cool,
and now what we need to do is separate the gravy from the solids.
I am going to make my pastry crust.
Go on, Dave. Why don't you?
So, what we do...
This, we reserve, cos this is going to be our gravy.
So, with two thirds of the pastry, we roll out
and make the bottom and the sides.
Now, I'm going to go a bit thicker than normal for this
cos we want the pie to stand on its own two feet.
Oh, these are beautiful.
And I'm going to show you a little trick
so you don't get a soggy bottom.
Now, what you want to do
is just paint the bottom of your pastry with an egg white.
When this dries, it'll create a bit of a seal
and it's going to help your pie stand up.
Finely shred the remaining sage leaves.
Then add the sage and apples to the pork.
And then there's two tablespoons of flour.
Just normal, plain flour. Just fold it over.
Add the Pembrokeshire pork and apple mixture to the tin,
spreading it evenly.
Now, the lid.
Just lay that on and make a seal.
Now, all the years Si and I have been cooking together,
we have a kind of a tradition.
The tradition is that he crimps the pie.
I love a crimp. What I'm going to do -
just with this finger and your thumb and forefinger, just...
You just crimp like that.
See, look at that. He could be a machine.
-I'm over the moon. That's beautiful.
Now, I'll try and do a few leaves. Bit of egg.
Oh, Mr Myers!
-Oh, just a little bit of...
-That looks great, that.
It's going to be a crowd-pleasing pie.
You know, it's like, "I don't care what's in it. I'm having it."
Bit of eggy wash, and this is going to be a proper crowd-pleasing pie.
And we just pop this into a preheated oven, 180 Celsius,
for between 50 and 60 minutes.
While the pie is cooking, make the gravy.
Mix two tablespoons of cornflour
with two tablespoons of the cooking liquor in a small bowl.
Give it a whisk.
Pour the rest into a saucepan and place over a medium heat.
Bring to the boil, then stir in the cornflour mixture.
Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for a couple of minutes
to cook the flour out.
Well, we'll do it like this. That goes on there.
I expect you'll be wanting a nice, big slice of that.
Oh-oh! See, look at that.
-And it's full. It's packed.
There's the apple. And that's what you want.
Now, what every pie needs is a bit of that gravy.
-That was so worth keeping, wasn't it?
-Oh, mate, it's brilliant.
Simple Simon was a pieman Right down to his roots
Said Simple Simon to the pie
"Come here, hinny Let me fill me boots."
Every dish tells a story.
It may be about the ingredients that define it,
the memories it evokes or the people who created it.
This is the story of Father Theo's moussaka.
My name is Father Theodoros.
Family and friends call me Father Theo.
I'm originally from Cyprus,
and I am a Greek Orthodox priest in the Orthodox church in Walsall.
I'm newly ordained, actually.
I've only been ordained for three years now.
But my life has been always about church and food.
I remember me having to lie to my mum
to tell her that, "My friends are not out to play today,
"so, unfortunately, I'm going to have to stay here with you,"
so I could sit at the end of the table and watch her cook.
One of my favourite dishes that I love to cook is moussaka.
It's a dish that has got a very special place in my heart.
One of the reasons is it takes me right back
where I started - in my mum's kitchen again -
cooking the dish.
And you hear moussaka, you think of Greece.
It's the national dish.
You can't say Greece and don't say moussaka.
It's something that you can't separate.
The first thing that we do is to prepare our vegetables.
Usually, it's just aubergine,
but I like to use potato and courgettes.
I think it adds more flavour to the dish.
Of course, Mum taught me everything I know,
and the recipe, it's hers.
However, you know what cooks are like, and chefs -
they like to put their own spin on things,
and I have done the same.
And I always say that, you know, my recipe, it's one of the best.
Well, I'll let the people judge that.
Second step - prepare the lamb mince.
Add tomatoes, the fresh herbs, the allspice, the cinnamon.
Now my secret ingredient.
It's a dessert sweet Greek wine,
and it gives the lamb mince a beautiful taste.
The last part of the dish is the bechamel sauce.
A little bit of fresh cream makes the whole thing more velvety.
And I add Cypriot cheese to it, which is called Anari.
And I add nutmeg.
Moussaka originates from the Ottoman times,
so you will find moussaka in every country
that was under the Ottoman occupation.
Different versions of it.
For example, in Turkey,
the vegetables are served as a casserole,
usually with rice.
In Lebanon and some other Arab countries,
the dish could be served room temperature
and sometimes chilled.
And that's where it got its name from -
moussaka, which means chilled.
The Greek version that we all know and love today
came in the early 1920s from a chef called Tselementes.
He's the one that finalised the dish the way we eat it today.
HE PRAYS IN GREEK
Right, OK, who's going to have the first piece? Ooh.
Wow, look at that. Wow.
Moussaka is one of my family's favourites,
but there's never one dish on that table.
Not on a Greek table. You have two or three.
The dark one is the halloumi.
Every warm and loving memory that I have from back home,
it's round food.
It's never an occasion without it.
So, I kept that and that's what I try
to pass on to my own family here in the UK.
You see, the crowd-pleasing element of this dish
-is it's a tear and share, isn't it?
-It is, and that's the nice thing.
That's the whole thing about the crowd-pleaser -
people sat round a big table tucking in.
Yeah, but it doesn't have to be savoury. This is sweet.
It's a sweet tea-time treat. It's our chocolate cherry buns.
Oh, I love chocolate cherry buns!
It's like a Chelsea bun gone mad.
First off, I start with flour and brown sugar.
I'm on drys. He's on wets.
So, I'm bringing the milk to just below boiling point.
And then all you do is add some butter to it.
It's a rich dough. It's a sweet tea bread.
And you leave that to melt.
Don't touch it. Don't do anything with it. Just leave it alone.
Too hot and you'll kill the yeast, which I'm going to put in now.
And it's a spiced bun, so I want a teaspoon of allspice.
It's a bit of a kind of hot cross bun vibe,
but in the middle, you've got all manner of good stuff
like maple syrup and cherries and it's lovely.
So, mix your powders.
While Dave's doing that, I'm just going to beat an egg.
Do you know what I'm going to do now?
I'm going to oil my hands and oil the board
cos it's a very soft, sticky dough.
And this is a way I'm not going to get into an unholy mess.
The butter has now melted completely.
Two eggs go in, nicely beaten.
And all of this liquid goes in.
Und now it's the messy bit!
And there really is that old adage
that the softer the dough, the better the product.
Do you know, there's always that fear
when you're doing these sticky doughs
that you're going to be like that forever.
Then it's such a satisfying moment when it begins to become dough.
Look at that.
-I think I'm there, Si.
-You there, mate?
Now, this dough will now sit in the bowl and prove.
Now, ordinarily, as you know,
we'd use clingfilm, but we're not on this occasion.
What we're going to do - we're going to use a damp tea towel,
put that over the top
because the dough rises over the top of the bowl.
So, we'll put that away somewhere nice and warm.
-Look at that one!
It's like the creature from the Black Lagoon.
What I'm going to do is I'm going to make a filling.
It's butter, some demerara sugar,
and cream those together until light and fluffy.
There's about 100ml of maple syrup goes in.
We need to spread this out.
I'm not worried about knocking the air out of it
cos it is going to have a second rising.
Two teaspoons of allspice and two teaspoons of cinnamon.
I believe I have made the biggest naan bread ever created.
But, you know, this is a crowd-pleaser.
-In the middle?
-Oh, no! Just spread it over.
That's it, but leave me an edge, probably.
Look at that. Now...
Now, we're using dark chocolate because, really,
we want to keep the sweetness down a little bit.
There's not that much sugar...
Well, yeah, glace cherries, fair dos.
Now, the cherries go on to the dark chocolate.
And I suppose, it's a bit of a Black Forest thing going on.
Look at this. They're like rubies.
-Look at that, hey?
-Oh, it's lovely.
And that's what you want. It's a crowd-pleaser.
I've buttered this baking dish.
-I think this could be a two-hander.
-Right, an end each.
And just curl it over.
Cos we're going for a swirl, like a cinnamon swirl.
-Yeah, got you.
-Have you got it?
Nice. And just keep it even, keep speed with each other.
-Look at this. Great one to do with the kids.
And if you find that you've got more than you anticipated,
you can always freeze them.
-That's a big lad.
-Right, just brush with egg.
Cover these with a tea towel
and leave them for about half an hour
for their second rising.
More eggy wash and a coating of demerara sugar.
Now, these need to go into a preheated oven -
about 180 Celsius - for about 35 minutes
until baked through, golden and fabulous.
-Hey! Nice buns, dude.
-All right, aren't they?
-They are superb, aren't they?
Now, that's a centrepiece, isn't it?
Well, and that's the thing - you put down loads of cups of tea,
big cafetieres of coffee,
everybody sat round the table having a chat
of a Saturday afternoon.
Brilliant. You can say, "Look what I've got on the table -
"Hairy Bikers' chocolate and cherry buns."
-Shall we do a bit of icing on the top?
Ooh, look at that. By the way, this is just icing sugar and water.
Nicely done, sir.
Can we eat them now? It's tear...
-I'll tear, you share.
It's so light in a kind of unctuous, sticky,
Man, that is epic.
Now, that is a tea-time crowd-pleaser.