About stevemyalleats

Ace feature writer and amateur gourmand, growing and cooking from SE19.

Crystal Palace Food Market: hanging in for a WIN…

I love Crystal Palace market but work Saturdays so can’t get there very often. This reminds me what I am missing. #yummers

Toast & Butter


Credit: Chareon Tapaneyasastr

Kids in Market

Credit: Laura Marchant-Short

My Saturdays are never truly complete without a morning visit to Crystal Palace Food Market. Even though trying to leave the house with two small kids and all the crap that they need is a heart-attack-inducing experience, we are always glad to have made the short trek up the hill. Even though at times it feels like climbing Everest with two midget drunkards flopping about demonstrating wildly fluctuating moodswings. I can feel my pulse rate begin to slow down to near-normal the moment I have some of Chas & Momo’s excellent baked goods in my shopping bag, and then I can heave a sigh of relief: the weekend will be ok, we have wonderful bread!!! Which, as some of  you might know, is precisely what I live for.

The market boasts a whole heap of stalls selling delicious things, from shellfish to Russian…

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Murgh makhani with pheasant

Pheasant curry….

Occasionally if I’m lucky a friend who shoots game in the autumn will land me a couple of pheasants.
It’s a doubled edged sword in that I love the idea of wild sustainable meat but dread the plucking and drawing it takes to get them oven ready.
I remember as a boy my mother bringing some home and my father being confined to a garden room to pluck them.
He couldn’t bring himself to eat them with any appetite and so I also feel so the prepared birds often end up in the freezer.
As more birds are likely on the horizon I decided to make space in my freezer and looked for a recipe which might offer something other than delicious but traditional game chips and bread sauce.
This curry is great because by roasting on the bone you pick up extra flavour and is similar in style to traditional Indian food.
Rich and spice filled.
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall writing in the garden offered a version of this recipe, I’ve simply reduced the quantities.
It’s delicious and warming but worth noting you need to marinade overnight for best flavours.

2 pheasants, jointed (breasts off, legs and wings separated, discard carcass)

For the tikka marinade
One tsp salt
Two tbsp thick yoghurt
Juice of one lime
One tbsp garam masala
Two tsp chilli powder
Two tsp ground coriander
Two tsp ground mixed spice
Two tsp ground fenugreek
One golf ball-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Four large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped, or more if they are small
Two tbsp of oil for roasting, left over frying oil fine or sunflower or groundnut
Three or four green chillies (depending on size and heat), finely chopped
For the tomato sauce
400g tin chopped tomatoes
small nugget fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
One small green chillies, depending on heat, finely chopped
Five cloves
One tsp salt
100ml water

To finish
60g butter
One tsp ground cumin
One tsp tomato purée
Two tsp honey
100ml double cream
One tbsp fenugreek
One tbsp lime juice
Half tsp freshly ground black pepper
Coriander leaves, to garnish (optional)


1)In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients, add the pheasant joints, with your hands ensure they’re well coated, and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.

2)Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a large pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until nicely thickened. Rub through a sieve or liquidise and set to one side.

3)Heat the oven to 230C. Transfer the pheasant legs to a roasting tin, along with some of the marinade, cover with a piece of buttered foil and roast for 15 minutes. Add the breasts to the tin, give everything a good stir, lower the heat to 200C and cook for 20 minutes.

4)To complete the sauce, melt the butter in a large pan, add the ground cumin and sizzle gently for a minute. Add the tomato sauce, bring back to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Add the tomato purée, honey, cream, fenugreek, lime juice and black pepper, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until the sauce is thick, rich and creamy. Finally, add the pheasant, mix well and warm through, simmering gently for five minutes. Serve with basmati rice and scatter with coriander leaves, if using.





Most British food lovers of a certain age will recall the tag line “don’t say vinegar say Sarsons” and I am among them.
Dripped over fish and chips still in their paper there is surely no better use for the brown malt liquor.
And as any allotment holder will tell you it is a vital preservative in making chutney and pickling onions, beetroot and other root vegetables.
Generations have used it to store fresh produce over the winter months – including eggs (many will have seen the giant jar of other worldly looking hard boiled eggs swimming in vinegar perched on a fish and chip shop counter).
But as with everything food it often falls to fashion to dictate the contents of our larder and after a few years as a preserve (pun intended) of the older generation pickles have become cool again.
In attempt to latch on to the trend Sarsons invited a group of journalists and bloggers to Rita’s for a brief lesson in pickling.
With a pickled ginger cocktail in hand it was soon clear how easy it is to get yourself if not into then in possession of a pickle.

The expert in charge was archaeological expert and food enthusiast Peter Ginn, last seen on the BBC series Victorian Farm, and he explained the word vinegar comes from the French vinaigre meaning soured wine and that is exactly what it is.
Originally a way of storing a glut of fresh produce over winter in the same way salting, smoking, potting, canning and drying does it was the refrigerator which saw it fall out of fashion.
It’s coming back now though and places like Rita’s do their own sauerkraut and kimchi and it’s a nice way to express a love of home cooking craft.
Pickling is actually shocking simple, you need your vinegar, which must have a minimum of 5% acidity, your vegetables or fruit and a sterilised container like a kilner jar or old jam jar and lid.
You can sterilise by boiling in water or in a hot oven.
Then it’s easy, grab some of favourite herbs and spices add to the jar.
In our lesson there was red, black and white peppercorns, a variety of dried chillies, coriander, cumin and fennel seeds, dill, rosemary, tarragon and sage.
Next you fill with what you want to pickle (you’ll need to blanch onions or shallots and hard boil eggs) before pouring over enough vinegar to cover them trying not to let any poke above the liquid line.
You can try carrots, onions, eggs, mooli (japanese radish), cucumber, lemons, plums or anything your imagination allows.
Seal your jar and leave for three or four weeks and enjoy on their own or with cold meat and cheeses.
I’m very excited to see how mine turn out and am interested to try a more exotic pickle.
One Peter said he wants to try is so-called English bamboo – alder!
Apparently there is a recipe in the 200 year old cookbook A New System of Domestic Cookery – one for a dedicated pickle fan.


Roasted peppers


I recently visited (Coppa a rooftop bar near London Fields in East London, where I had a rather disappointing roasted pepper bruschetta among other much more delicious dishes.
It got me thinking about how to improve on the flavourless peppers and I found a Nigel Slater recipe which I’ve tinkered with and I have to say was delicious.
The quantities are pretty vague so please have a play around, I tossed some freshly cooked pasta through my finished dish but it would work equally well on toasted ciabatta or as a side dish for BBQ chicken.

Mixed peppers, long ones and round ones and different colours (whatever is cheap)
1x onion
Garlic – I would suggest a clove for every three peppers but add more if you like
2x table spoons creme fraiche
Parmigiano Reggiano, two handfuls finely grated
Salt and cracked pepper
Small bunch of parsley, leaves picked and stalks finely chopped and reserved.
Two red chillies with or without seeds
Olive oil, as good as you can afford

1)Preheat oven to 180C
2)Deseed peppers and place in casserole dish and add some glugs of olive oil and a decent pinch of salt
3)Roast in middle of oven for 30 minutes
4)Meanwhile in a food mixer chop onion, garlic and chilli.
5)Add to peppers and toss to coat with juices in dish and return to oven for 25minutes.
6)Add parsley stalks and handful of cheese and return to oven for five minutes
7)Remove from oven, stir in creme fraiche and remaining cheese, check seasoning and serve. It is here that you can stir in your cooked pasta with a couple of table spoons of cooking water to keep the mixture loose.


Oven fried chicken

I love quality fried chicken. Not the sweaty 99p for six spicy wings of questionable provenance but karaage chicken – chicken marinated in loveliness & twice-fried so it’s deliciously crispy – that my pals at Foul Mouths supper club in Forest Hill, South London specialise in.
The problem with friend chicken though is it’s fried and that in any quantity is going to leave you with a family bucket sized tummy.
That in mind I decided to have a go making my own crispy coated chick chick in an oven.
I used a buttermilk soak to make the chicken extra moist and help the coating stick.
You can also leave the skin on but as we are being healthy I took mine off.
It turned out well I think so please give it a try and if you’ve got any tips on improving it please leave a note.

Ingredients (for two people)

Two chicken leg portions, separated into drumstick and thigh – you’ll have four pieces.
Buttermilk, about 250ml
100grams Plain flour
One tsp Chilli powder
One tsp Paprika
Half a tsp Salt
One tsp Ground black pepper
Knob of butter and splash of veg oil.


1) Remove the chicken skin and put in a bowl with buttermilk for an hour or better overnight.
2) Preheat oven to 180c and add butter and oil to shallow baking tray
3) Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl
4) Remove the chicken one piece at a time from the buttermilk, shaking of excess, then dunk in seasoned flour and add to baking tray.
5) Cook for 20 minutes, turn, cook for 20 minutes more. Careful not to move chicken too much as the coating is fragile.
5) Serve with a iceberg lettuce wedge and blue cheese dressing and bacon crumbs.



Riddle and Finns – a Brighton fish restaurant


Fish is best eaten within sight of the sea in my view and perfectly placed in the arches next to Brighton the restaurant Riddle and Finns gets a huge tick.
If you are booking ask for a table in the window.
The menu offers a large selection of seafood dishes including fish pie at £14.50 to wok fried crab at £17.50 up to Lobster fruit der mer platter at £40.
There are a couple of vegetarian dishes but my advice is if you don’t like fish then don’t go.
We had started with a half dozen plump Rossmore Rock oysters at £13 washed down with some “foaming tankards of black velvet” – champagne and Guinness, delicious.
For main we had two crab fruit der mer platters at £35 each, not cheap but oh my what a size.
Piled high came a whole crab, shell and claws helpfully cracked, and stacked around mountains of delicious shellfish.
Prawns, shrimps, langoustines, crayfish, winkles, cockles, mussels, more oysters, razor clams and whelks.
There were finger bowls and various implements to extract the food from their assorted shells.
I’m no stranger to shellfish so tackled the pile with abandon although I imagine the sight might be a little daunting for the uninitiated.
The platter certainly turned a few heads.
Take your time but beware the melting crushed ice it’s all piled on, not quite as appetising to pluck a drowned mussel from iced water and have to drain before eating.
We washed the meal down with a bottle of something cold and french which had a hint of apricots but whose name escapes me.
The staff were attentive but just slightly off what you expect for these prices, a little slow to clear our waste shells and a little unsure of table laying.
We couldn’t manage all the food so took some crab and prawns home, although to be honest in a London kitchen two hours later it wasn’t nearly as appetising.
My advice still is eat fish by the sea and Riddle and Finns is a good place to do it.

Riddle & Finns The Beach
139 Kings Road Arches
01273 821218

Cavolo Nero pasta


I am in the process of sorting out my allotment for this year and had some rather leggy cavolo nero.
Usually I serve it on the side of a roast with a light anchovy butter sauce stirred through it.

I decided to dig it out and put some new seed in but it left me with a bag of the winter cabbage so I decided to try something different.
In this recipe it replaces the basil usually used in pesto to make a rich dark green glossy sauce.
It’s delicious and a lovely alternative to pesto.
I’m looking forward to a new crop.

Ingredients (for two portions)

150g of cavolo nero (stalks removed)
2x garlic clove peeled
2x handfuls of grated Parmesan
A few decent glugs of your best olive oil
2x tbsp of toasted pine nuts

200g of pasta – flat like parpadelle is best


1) Add the cavolo nero and garlic to large pan of boiling salted water for 5-10mins until tender
2) Meanwhile cook pasta until pack instructions reserving half a cup of cooking water
3) Add cooked cavolo nero and garlic to food processor with pine nuts and blend until smooth
4) Add cheese, oil and water and blend again until glossy, add more oil if you need.
5) Stir sauce through pasta and finish with a grating of cheese.


Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen

Nathan Outlaw is the God of cooking fish.


Just look at this Smoked Haddock Scotch Egg with Curry Sauce. Delicious. Taking all the the ingredients of the breakfast favourite Kedgeree an turning it into something infinitely more moreish – we had two of these at £8.50 a pop.

Nathan’s cooking isn’t budget but as, in my view, he is the perfect person to serve you fish on a Cornish holiday I don’t mind paying because that is about my favourite way in the whole world to spend my time.

This is the latest restaurant in his mini empire and offers a fish based tapas style in a converted fisherman’s cottage in Port Isaac – where the TV series Doc Martin is filmed.

The new venture is overseen by chef Paul Ripley, like Nathan an alumni of Rick Stein’s famous Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, and whose food I once ate at the now defunct Ripley’s restaurant in the same area.

Nathan meanwhile is based St Endoc Hotel (www.enodoc-hotel.co.uk) in Rock, Cornwall, where he has his renowned  Restaurant Nathan Outlaw which was awarded 2 Michelin Stars in 2011 and has been named as the Best Seafood Restaurant in the UK by The Good Food Guide, and his more relaxed Outlaw’s Restaurant.

I’ve eaten at both and the tasting menu at the former is one of the best meals I have had.

I’ve yet to try his London venture – Outlaw’s at The Capital Hotel, London – and I’m worried eating fish miles from the ozone of the sea won’t be the same but it’s on my list.

Back to the Fish Kitchen.

I visited in February with two friends and their little girl and we were able to get a table straight away. However it is worth noting that the restaurant is small and does not take bookings at lunchtime and the waitress told us that there were huge queues when it opened last summer.

We were recommended to take three dishes each but we started off with two and then added to them as our hunger was sated and our tastebuds called for repeat courses and more variety.

The highlight for us all was the Scotch Egg. It’s worth going just for this and I expect it to become a classic, warm, crispy, soft, runny, smokey, creamy and mildly spiced.

The windows of the restaurant look out onto the harbour where some of the fish served in the restaurant is landed and the menu alters depending on what fish is best and available.

Then came a special of smoked mackerel pate – I expect this was extra item added because of a problem with fish supply caused by terrible weather.

I have strong childhood memories of pulling a string of mackerel from the cool water of the coast and so think of the fish as the emblem of the county of Cornwall and the pate did the fish the justice it deserved.


We each had a plump Raw Porthilly Oyster at £3 which brought the ultimate taste of the sea.


Next was the Wild Black Bream, Roasted Red Pepper and Thyme Marmalade, £10, which brought a nice contrast of robust flaky fish flesh and sticky sweetness.


Next came a Seafood Stew: Salt Cod, Octopus, Mussels and Lomo Ham, £13, which was a perfect salty mouthful of tomato loveliness. I’d like to see this on another menu as a main course, perhaps with a some fresh bread and butter.


Another special on the menu was a plate of tiny bay scallops served on the half shell which had been grilled with a buttery and herby  sauce. I guess there were about 10 of these for the £15 and they reminded me, if only in sight not flavour of a plate of escargots.


At this stage of the meal we were on our second bottle of Outlaw’s Grolleau Gris, 2011, and my photography took a backseat to the business of eating and drinking.

I know we ate Crispy Ling, Pickled Carrot and Green Chilli, Roast Garlic Mayonnaise, £8, and a plate of dainty Shoestring Potatoes, £3, which were both delicious – the Ling being a fish with a consistency similar to Monkfish.

There was another Scotch Egg, and in hindsight I am surprised there weren’t more.

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As well as the wine we also drank a bottle of Sharp’s Cornish Pilsner, £5, which was perfect with the scallops and was voted World’s Best Lager at World Beer Awards 2013, Gold, which as far as selling points go is about as good as it gets.

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To finish the meal we shared Baked Rice Pudding, Gingerbread, Rhubarb and Ginger Sorbet, £7, and a Dark Chocolate and Salted Peanut Brownie, Vanilla Cream, Butterscotch Sauce, £7.

The puddings were washed down with a glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes, £6.50, and all too soon the meal was over.

If you like fish this is wonderful restaurant with a relaxed ambience and some great cooking.

Another hit for Nathan and his team. I’ve fallen for Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen hook, line and sinker.