If you've been following here for a while then you will most likely know that I am a regular participant and co-host at I Heart Cooking Clubs, where each six months our members elect a new chef with whom we will spend the ensuing six months cooking according to a variety of weekly themes. You will also know that for the last six months we have been cooking with British cook, Nigel Slater, and this week is time to say our goodbyes.
This is always a bittersweet moment - a little hint of sadness as one journey comes to an end, tinged with the excitement and anticipation of welcoming in a new chef. You'll find out more about that next week, but for now I wanted to share with you a round-up of my favourite Nigel Slater dishes of the last six months.
Warm Lentil, Leek & Lemon Salad with Prawns & Roasted Tomatoes
This dish was actually inspired by Nigel's "Lentil soup, with lemon, pancetta and mint". It turned out to be one of those dishes which, in its entirety, was so much greater than the sum of its parts, and was not just every bit as good as I expected it to be, but in actual fact exceeded all my expectations.
Roasted Potato Salad with Black Olive & Roasted Garlic Gremolata
This was a dish which not only drew inspiration from Nigel, but also from my friend Toby at Plate Fodder. Potatoes are par-boiled, then smashed and oven roasted with rosemary and garlic. That in itself is a pretty good thing, but then the crispy roasted potatoes are drizzled straight from the oven with a mustardy vinaigrette, and then topped with a gremolata of black olives, rosemary, garlic and lemon zest. A taste sensation, and the perfect accompaniment to the Sunday night roast chook.
Curried Carrot, Lentil & Roasted Tomato Soup
In many ways carrots are one of my least favourite vegetables, so I'd always been a bit dubious about carrot soup. This stunning soup, loaded with red lentils, spicy curry powder, fragrant coconut milk and slow roasted tomatoes helped me overcome all my carrot soup fears!
Pumpkin, Date & Chocolate Scones
I turned Nigel's slightly savoury warm pumpkin scones into an ever so slightly sweeter treat with the addition of dates, date syrup and chocolate - just perfect for a leisurely Sunday brunch, or to accompany an afternoon cuppa.
Roasted Pumpkin Laksa
This laksa is perfect for a cold winter evening. The sweet, soft, nutty pumpkin, silky rice noodles, crispy bok choy and bean sprouts, all bathed in a gorgeously fragrant, coconut-rich broth, makes for a symphony of flavours and textures.
Gnocchi with Chorizo, Gorgonzola & Spinach
This is the ultimate one-pan wonder. A dish for those occasions when only a big helping of carbs, smothered in cream and cheese, and topped off with a bit of fried sausage, will satisfy, and just enough spinach to assuage the guilt - slightly!
Pumpkin Pangrattato with Merguez Sausage & Black Olives
This was easily my favourite Nigel Slater dish, and in fact one of my favourite dishes I've ever posted. Chunks of steamed butternut pumpkin, spicy nuggets of merguez sausage, and black olives, are baked under a topping of cheesy, garlicky breadcrumbs. Seriously, if you only ever try one dish from my blog, this would be a good place to start.
With that, it's time to say "Cheerio" to Nigel, and don't forget to come back next week to see who we'll be welcoming as our next IHCC chef.
If you would like to get to know Nigel Slater a little better, and to see what everyone else has cooked up this week, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and check out the links ...
... or check out Tender, Vol. 1 and Nigel's many other great titles available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, or Fishpond NZ.