Category Archives: Meat

Pearl Barley and Puy Lentil Salad

I have recently started working at the gorgeous Anderson & Co in Peckham from Wednesday to Friday cooking breakfasts and lunches. The cafe opened nearly 2 years ago and have graced our local high street with excellent coffee and homemade food and cakes. The best thing about having a new job is all the new people to cook for. I have had a lovely freedom to experiment since starting and I hope to share a few of the recipes we have been serving up to our lovely customers.

This one had been brewing in my mind for a while as I absolutely adore pearl barley and its nubby, nutty little bite. I wanted to create a salad that was a substantial meal and contained enough variety in each bite to keep you interested. I find that a salad is often so samey, every bite the same combination. A great salad, awakens your tastebuds with texture, variety and flavour.

There are several elements to this salad to give it it’s zingy fresh mix of pimento, sweet squash and fresh mint but one of the main flavours comes from the marinaded peppers. These are equally good just on their own and keep excellently in the fridge. Make a big batch and serve them on pizza or as antipasti. Make these first, and roast the butternut squash for the salad at the same time.

Marinaded Peppers

6 Red cap peppers

1 tsp sherry vinegar

1/3 tsp paprika

1 tbsp olive oil

Brush a baking sheet with a little oil and turn the oven on high (Gas 6, 200 degrees)

While the oven is pre-heating, cut your peppers in half and remove the stalk and seeds.

Place the peppers face down, skin side up on the baking tray.

Put them in the hot oven until the skins are starting to blacken and the flesh shrink. About 30-40 minutes.

When they are ready take them out of the oven and move them from the baking tray to either a plastic bag or a bowl that you can cover with clingfilm. This makes the peppers sweat and after 15 minutes they will be cool enough to handle and the skins will peel off easily. Retain all the liquid they will have seeped out.

Once they are all peeled put the peppers and their lovely juices in a jar or bowl and add the vinegar, paprika and olive oil and mix.


Now your peppers are made we can get on with the salad…

Pearl Barley and Puy Lentil Salad

250g pearl barley

150g puy lentils

1/2 a butternut squash, cut into cubes about 2cm

A small handful of marinaded peppers torn into strips (and a few tablespoons of their juices if you can spare them)

1 large red onion, sliced into very thin rounds or strips

4 chorizo sausages

a large handful of parsley, chopped

a large handful of mint, chopped

A few spoons of yoghurt to serve, with extra mint stirred through if you fancy


First roast your butternut squash on a big tray with a slosh of olive oil and some salt and pepper for about 40 minutes at gas 6 or 200degrees

Cook the pearl barley and puy lentils in separate pans of deep salted water for the required amount of time (barley about 30-40 mins, lentils a little less). Both behave very well and need no pre-soaking or faffing.

Fry your chorizo in a pan until it’s sticky on the outside and has released it’s fiery red oil. Slice the chorizo into bite sized pieces.

When the lentils and barley are cooked, drain and while still warm, toss with the thinly sliced onions and a couple of tablespoons of the chorizo oil. When it has cooled add the butternut, chorizo, peppers and herbs and serve either slightly warm or at room temperature. It goes beautifully with a simple green salad on the side and a dollop of mint spiked yoghurt on top.






Filed under Lunch, Meat, Pulses, Quick, Recipes, Starter, Supper, vegetables, Vegetarian

Say Happy New Year with a Big Pork Pie!

I’m sorry I didn’t share enough recipes with you BEFORE Christmas day, I was so caught up with the supper club that I didn’t focus on the Christmas meal until the day itself! Luckily my wonderful mother had made a schedule after my own heart (I wonder where I get it from) and had planned every meal leading up to the big one. All were absolutely delicious with recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and of course, our family’s festive favourite, Elizabeth David.

Every Christmas morning when I was small we had Elizabeth David’s Chelsea Buns for breakfast. Such a treat, we re-ignited the tradition a couple of years ago and although I still leave the cooking of these to my mum, I thought this year I would watch and learn, then re-create the fun back home for all to enjoy! I’ll be making these within the next week so you can all enjoy some new year stodge….but for now, I thought I’d share with you the glories of the pork pie.

I made two of these bad boys for the Festive Feast and they were a) a challenge, and b) a lot of fun.

I borrowed from both the wonderful Nigel Slater and genius Rick Stein for this recipe. The main recipe is essentially Nigel’s but I flipped between the two for tips and alterations.

My Top Tips and Porky Pie Tricks:

1.  Make sure you work with your pastry when it is still hot. Once it cools (which happens quickly so don’t dither) it goes solid, unusable and quite disgusting.

2.  Make sure there are no cracks or thinner weak points in the pastry. It behaves really well and is malleable enough to avoid this if you are careful

3.  Jelly: I was very confused about this. Most recipes call for you to make a pork stock (not. much. fun.) using trotters (you see). These apparently guarantee a jelly but I did not have such easy success. In the end I skimmed and sieved my pork stock and added gelatine to guarantee a set. I did not want to end up with the dreaded ‘soggy bottom’ syndrome with an un-set jelly! This said, I did have a few ‘leaks’ in pie 1 (see point 1!) You must also add your jelly while the pies are still warm (not straight out of the oven hot) otherwise during cooling the pastry and the filling separate and the bottom weakens. Do this while the pies are still in the tin and then leave in the fridge to set completely before gently, carefully and respectfully removing them!

4.  Hand cut your meat, don’t buy mince. I know it sounds laborious but it makes for a much more textured bite and satisfying filling.

5.  As soon as the pies come out of the oven run a large pallette knife around the edges (CAREFULLY) as the fat from the meat will have surged out of the hole in the top and created an impossible layer of ‘fat glue’ which will stick to the tin. Lovely.

Festive Pork Pies

Enough for 12 very hungry people

You will need 1 x 20cm cake tin with a removable bottom (this is really important otherwise getting it out is going to be impossible!)


Pork bones (just ask your butcher for about 1kg)
2-4 pig’s trotters
1 onion
1 carrot
1 small bunch of parsley stalks
1 rib of celery
a smattering of black peppercorns

Pie Filling

1kg boned pork shoulder
250g pork belly
250g streaky bacon
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sage leaves
½ tsp ground mace
½ tsp ground white pepper
2 good pinches ground nutmeg


200g lard
220g water
575g flour
1 beaten egg

First make your stock (I suggest doing this the day or at least several hours before to test its jellification level… New word coined here at annascafe, a pretty fine one I think).

Put everything in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then turn heat down to a simmer. Keep an eye on this, pork stock generates an unsavoury amount of SCUM which you must religiously remove. Keep this simmering for 3 hours. Then strain the stock through a sieve and return to a clean pan. Now boil it vigorously until it has reduced to 1 pint.

Now to test it’s jellification capabilities. Put it in a clean jug and into the fridge. Keep an eye on it. It should set to jelly within about 3-4 hours (but for safety if you have time, leave it overnight). If it does, SUCCESS. You can reheat this to liquid again when you are ready to fill your cooked pie.  If not, never fear. When your pie is ready to fill (and ONLY then) use a leaf or a sachet of gellatine (according to pack instructions for quantity. 1 sachet normally = 1 pint)  Re-heat your reduced stock then follow pack instructions to make a jelly. You have to use this instantly so don’t do it until you are ready to fill the finished pies!

Now prepare your meaty filling.


Roughly chop all your meat into very small dice. It takes time but is worth it for the end result. (If you really can’t be bothered chop half and then roughly chop the rest into large chunks and whizz in a whizzer aka Magimix or similar).

Strip the leaves off the thyme and finely chop your sage.

Now get a really big big bowl and add all the herbs and spices then the meat and mix it all together using your hands until it is well combined. Shape it into a rough ball and set aside and make your pastry.


Pre-heat the oven to gas 3 (160 degrees)

Be prepared to move fast now because as soon as the pastry is ready you have to work with it.

Grease your tin with butter and then dust it all over with flour. To get a good even coverage put a tablespoon of flour into the tin once greased and then rotate the tin while tapping it to move the flour all over the surfaces. Discard any leftover flour.

Get a large board and rolling pin ready and dust both with flour. Keep a little bowl of flour to hand.

If you want to decorate your pie, get your pastry cutters out too.

Now for the main event:

Heat the lard and water in a pan (watch out, this is a bit smelly!)

Sift the flour into a large bowl and add a good pinch of salt.

When the the lard and water have come to the boil remove from the heat and pour into the flour.

Stir with a wooden spoon until combined (it will be a bit gravelly to start).

Once combined, the coolness of the bowl should have made the pastry cool enough to handle so now get your hands in and combine the pastry into a ball.

Pull off 1/4 of the pastry to make your lid. Leave it in the bowl in a ball so it retains its heat.

Put the rest of the pastry straight onto your floured board and roll out to a circle about 4-5cm bigger than your 20cm tin (try to keep this neat so you get an even thickness).

Now lift it very gently and drop into the tin. You can now push the pastry using your fists up the sides of the tin (if it slides down it is still too warm so wait a bit and try again). Don’t make any holes. It is a malleable pastry so it does not easily tear. DON’T PANIC!

Leave about 1-2cm overhanging (if there is more trim it and keep the trimmings) then add your meat and tuck it in (see pic below). It will fit SO neatly you will automatically feel that all is well. It is.

Now roll out your lid to roughly the same size of the top and trim it so it has a neater edge (keep your trimmings!) and cut a hole in the middle for steam to escape (I returned my cutter to the hole while it cooked so it kept its shape (you could use a metal piping nozzle or just make a slit with a knife if you don’t have mini pastry cutters, because let’s be honest, who does except me).

Lightly brush the top edges of the pastry with beaten egg and drape the lid over and crimp. I just went with it so sadly don’t have any useful pics of this stage… I used my left thumb against the edge of the pie and then pushed against it using my right thumb and forefinger to create a seal. (make sense?!) You just want to make sure that the two edges are together and not afar… they will happily meld because of the heat and the structure of this pastry. Just squish until closed, is the essential instruction.

Now you can relax. You’ve done it! Gather up and roll out your trimmings (it doesn’t matter now if it is cooled, it will be stiff but it’s just decor so no need for flexibility here) and cut out anything you fancy and stick on with a bit of egg wash (you’ll need the rest of it later).

Now put it in the oven for 90 minutes. Keep an eye on it and if it is browning too much put a foil hat on it.

When the 90 mins is up take the pie out and lightly and evenly brush it with the remaining egg wash and return to the oven to brown for a further 30 mins. Some of the pork fat (or a lot of it) will have escaped. Don’t worry, it just adds character and colour (cos I said so, and I have no idea how you might stop this happening!)

Run your pallette knife around the edges to make sure it isn’t sticking and leave the pie to cool for at least an hour.

A little truth: I did not follow my own instructions as they read below but am writing them here as I think they will work better, for good reason. I removed my first pie from the tin when it was cool and then left it a while before adding the jelly. This resulted in the pastry at the base losing it’s really crisp outer layer so suffered a soggy corner on this pie (shock, horror). The other pie, however, was perfect as I added the jelly as soon as it was cool and didn’t wait. The method below (adding jelly while the pie is still warm and leaving it in the tin while doing so) should alleviate any soggy problems because of the texture within the pie (imagine a hard outer crust and a softer inner with a natural fat barrier) should hold the jelly in whatever. However I’m afraid that I can attach no guarantee to my theory…

Now re-heat or add gelatine to your jelly, and pour into the hole in the top of the pie. Use a funnel for this or a really good pouring jug (depending on the size of the hole you made in the top)

Leave until completely cool then put in the fridge overnight.

In the morning very gently wiggle the pie out of the tin (it is a robust creature so don’t worry) and serve cold with pickles, (gherkins, chutneys, pickled walnuts) a strong cheddar cheese, a glass of ale and plenty of new year joy!

Post Script: If you DO suffer a soggy bottom, don’t despair it will taste amazing anyway and you will enjoy immensely (as I did) the chorus of ‘ooooooohhhhhhhhs’ and ‘aaaaaaahhhhhhs’ that people will emit when they see the pie. A crowd-pleaser and no mistake.


Filed under Baking, Meat, Recipes, Supper Club

Feasting, Scrooge, and a Christmas Party

It’s all over… I ache, and my hands are a sight to behold with burns, grate marks and beetroot stains…but it was all worth it!

I have been cooking since Friday.

I started with the pork pies as I knew they would give me a huge sense of pride right at the beginning of the marathon but I also knew they would be tricky, nerve wracking and time consuming. They didn’t disappoint on all fronts!

Next I tackled the sweets, late at night with a glass of wine I stuffed orange flower scented almond paste into sticky prunes and dipped them in dark 70% cocoa chocolate… my gosh they are delicious (if I do say so myself!)

I was on a roll that night and because we had decided that of course we could throw our traditional Christmas party for 30 people the next day, I made 2 batches of pastry, 1 for the sausage rolls and 1 for the mince pies.

On Saturday I made the next pork pie, the pork stock for jelly (more on that debacle later), wrapped the sweets in waxed paper squares, 50 wild boar and venison sausage rolls, 50 mince pies and the pickled beetroot slices. We had a party inbetween.
Sunday was the mega marathon. I did the Tudor mince pies, jellied the pork pies, made the pheasant main dish (to marinade overnight) and 2 almond milk  jellies. With a break in the midle to watch the 1951 Alistair Sim Scrooge with that memorable line: “Oh Peter Peter, come and hear the pudding singing in the copper!” (You thought I was going to say “Gawd bless us, everyone” didn’t you!?)

Monday was veg: I peeled and trimmed all the little carrots, scrubbed, chopped and pre-roasted the artichokes, made the pearl barley salad, de-seeded the pomegranates, poached pears in wine and spices and made a syrup, baked the vegggie main and got everything packed into a hundred and one boxes and and traveled on down to another, slightly less well equipped kitchen…to feast.

I want to say thank you to all my wonderful guests and incredible waiters. Your enthusiasm and clean plates were a joy. Thank you for making the first supper club such a magical memorable event. Watch this space for all the recipes so you can recreate the fun at home (!)


Now for the next one….


Filed under Baking, chocolate, Christmas, Crafts, Decorating, Kitchen Tips, Meat, Supper, Supper Club

A Festive Feast for 20 guests

So I have finally completed the Supper Club menu. It was a long and arduous task which involved waking up every morning with recipes stampeding through my head and worries about how to get enough serving dishes and a balanced yet crazy menu. All is now calm as the menu is set, the guests are booked and now all I have to do is cook, shop and plan (my 3 favourite things)

So here it is, the great unveiling of the Festive Feast Menu


Monday 19th December, 7:30pm

Peckham Hotel, 137-139 Copeland Road, SE15 3SN


Warm Spiced Cider with Cloves and Cinnamon

Rechewys Close and Fryez (Tudor Mince Pies)


Pork Pies

Pearl Barley and Beetroot Salads

Brandied Mushroom and Chestnut Pate


Pheasants Braised with Madeira

Glazed Carrots

Savoy Cabbage

Jerusalem Artichokes

Stuffed Pumpkins (for the vegetarians)


Almond Milk Jelly with Pomegranates and Grapefruit Syrup

Poached Pears

Almond Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Prunes



Cheshire Cheese

If THAT doesn’t give everyone gout I don’t know what will.

I can’t wait to see you all there!


Filed under Baking, Cheese, chocolate, Christmas, Drinks, Fruit, Meat, Pudding, Pulses, Recipes, Supper, vegetables, Vegetarian

Variations on a theme…

So you may have seen my earlier post for Baked Ham with Flagolet Beans and Celeriac Mash … Well the combination worked so well I decided on a variation…

There are so many of my favourite earthy vegetables around at the moment that I decided to try out another ham stew but this time with a fresher more vibrant set of flavours.

I was also desperate to try out a celeriac gratin, as the traditional potato version is as close to perfection as a recipe can get and, in my eyes, celeriac is as close to perfection as a vegetable can get… I decided I couldn’t go wrong.

We also had some red peppers in the fridge that were starting to get a little wrinkly (I kept putting off stuffing them with left over butternut risotto) but despite wrinkles usually being the compost calling card for most vegetables peppers can actually improve with a little age, so we roasted them with olive oil until their skins were blackened and stored them in a jar in the fridge to add to soups or stews.. Delicious.

This stew wasn’t as successful as the first (I really missed the beans and the silky creaminess they add to the sauce) but the addition of pumpkin really worked. You also really need the chorizo here (optional in the earlier recipe)  as the whole thing has a peppery, firey, smoky thing going on which is ever so different to the earlier version.

Remember to pre-soak your ham overnight and then bring it up to the boil in clean water before starting.

Ham with Pumpkin, Carrot and Roasted Peppers and a Celeriac Gratin

1.2 kg unsmoked gammon

1 onion, diced

olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, whole

1tsb smoked paprika

4 carrots, sliced into chunks

1 very small pumpkin peeled, de-seeded and cut into chunks

2-4 chorizo sausages sliced into chunks (the uncooked kind, not the pre-cooked slicing kind)

2 red bell peppers roasted in olive oil,  de-skinned and sliced

2 tins tomatoes

Serves 6

Remove the skin from the ham and discard it

Heat some olive oil in a large pan on a medium heat and put the ham in fat-side down and brown it lightly.

Now remove it from the pan and add your chopped onions, turn the heat down and sweat them with the lid on for around 5-10 minutes until soft

When the onions are soft, add the carrot, paprika, pumpkin and chorizo and sautee lightly for another 10 minutes

Make a gap in the vegetables to make room for the ham.

Put the ham in the pan so the fatty side is just poking out at the top and pour in the tomatoes around it.

Put it into the oven for around 45 minutes with the lid on, then another 35 with it off. (If you are making the gratin you’ll need to put this in when you have about 45-50 mins cooking time left)

Celeriac Gratin

2 medium potatoes peeled and sliced very thinly (aim for a 1p thickness)

1/2 a celeriac sliced to the same thickness

2 cloves of garlic also sliced thinly

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

A little butter

300ml double cream

Salt and Pepper


Serves 6 (you really don’t need a large portion, it’s pretty rich)

Butter an ovenproof dish around 20cm x 20cm (I used the circular one in the top picture)

Layer the potatoes, garlic, celeriac and chilli flakes until you have filled your dish or run out of ingredients

Now pour over the cream (you want it to be just underneath the top layer, you don’t want it boiling and bubling up over the edges when it’s in the oven),

Now grate over some parmesan and put in the oven with the stew for 45-50minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the top brown and bubbling

Serve the ham cut into slices with the gratin and stew on the side. I served the whole lot with some fresh spinach wilted in butter with a generous grating of nutmeg.


Filed under Baking, Meat, Recipes, Supper, vegetables

Baked Ham with Flagolet Beans and Celeriac Mash

Nothing says Autumn like a hearty stew. Ham is one of my favourite things to cook as it makes for an excellent frugal Sunday lunch dish. Celeriac is in season at the moment and very cheap. It is an excellent (if ugly) ingredient. It is the root of celery and has a lovely subtle celery flavour, it pairs well with potato and can be used to make soup or an amazing gratin with cream and nutmeg (recipe soon!)

Not only is this dish cheap, it is also totally delicious and will last for a lunch then a supper the next day or can stretch, with side dishes (curly kale or savoy cabbage would be good) to feed 6. Brilliant.

The following recipe was inspired by a recipe in one of my favourite cook books, Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries for Ham with Butter Beans.

I often substitute any bean in a recipe with flagolet as I love their silky texture, light green colour, nutty flavour and how they stand up well to slow cooking . The picture below is courtesy of Delicious Magazine, click here to see their excellent tips on storing, soaking and using beans.

If you do not fancy the mash with this, just double the quantity of beans.

Gammon is the hind-quarters of the pig that typically uses the term ‘ham’. Ham ‘hock’ or ‘hand’ is also referred to as ham but this is the front leg and is normally sold on the bone. This is good for a large carving ham, suitable for Christmas or a big party. Nigel Slater states to use ‘boiling bacon’ in his recipe but I have never known the difference, even my lovely local butcher looked confused and offered gammon. Does anybody know the difference? Do let me know… His boiling bacon recipe does not require pre-soaking whereas I would always suggest this with gammon to rid it of it’s excess salt.

Soak your gammon overnight in water, the next day, put it in fresh water and bring to the boil. Discard water.

If you are using dried beans, soak these overnight too then boil for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until tender…and begin…

Ham with Flagolet Beans and Celeriac Mash

1.5kg unsmoked gammon

olive oil

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic

1 tsp paprika

optional: 2-4 chorizo sausages sliced into chunks (the uncooked kind, not the pre-cooked slicing kind)

2 or 3 sprigs of thyme

a few carrots or 1/4 of a butternut squash

1 tin or 200g dried  flagolet beans

2 tins chopped tomatoes

Celeriac mash recipe below

Pre heat your oven to gas 4 or 180 degrees

Slice the skin off your gammon (don’t worry if it is uneven) now slice off the fat in one piece leaving a thin layer (you want this to crisp up in the final stage).

Heat oil in large oven-proof pan and add gammon fat, onions and chorizo if you are using it. The chorizo will seep it’s delicious paprika scented oil into the onions.

Peel and chop your carrots or squash into 1cm pieces

Once the onions are softened add thes carrots/squash to the pan with the thyme sprigs and all 4 garlic cloves whole. Stir to coat for a minute.

Remove the gammon fat from the pan and put to one side.

Add flagolet beans chopped tomatoes and 100ml water, stir to combine and bring to the boil.

Now push your gammon down into the bean sauce and tuck the fat in next to it. Put the lid on (or a double layer of foil) and bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

In the last 30 minutes:

Remove from the oven and turn the gammon so the thin layer of fat you retained it visible above the sauce, leave lid off and return to the oven so the sauce can thicken and fat can caramelise.

Make your mash!

Celeriac Mash

You want to make this as you would normal mashed potatoes just use 2/3 celeriac and 1/3 potatoes. I used 1/2 a small celeriac and 2 medium potatoes.

celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks

potatoes, peeled and cut to roughly the same size as your celeriac chunks


salt and pepper

Peel your celeriac . Celeriac has a tough outer layer and you need to remove at least 5mm of the outer flesh to get to the pure white underneath otherwise you will get lumps when you mash. Peel it once, then peel it again.

Put your potatoes in cold water and bring to the boil, then add the celeriac

When both are soft to the point of a knife, drain and mash with butter and salt and pepper.

Serve with thick slices of the ham, and spoonfuls of the bean sauce.


Filed under Baking, Kitchen Tips, Meat, Pulses, Recipes, Supper, vegetables