Recipe: Slow Roasted Vegetarian Baguette


When I was just checking back through my posts the other day I noticed that I had, for months, made one glaring omission. I had included no vegetarian food.  None, nil, nada.  So I thought I had better make amends and come up with something that will rock your world. For this you will need:

  • Half a Ciabatta, exactly like the one we used in the steak sandwich.
  • Two large portobello mushrooms.
  • Onion chutney
  • Stilton cheese - enough to cover the mushrooms
  • Dijon mustard mayonnaise
  • Two halves of pepper.  Any colour you like.  I mix and match for visual impact.

Set your oven at 180 degrees centigrade.  Remove the cores of your mushrooms and place them in a baking tin with a little oil and black pepper for seasoning. Roughly slice the peppers and add them to the baking tin.  Now bake the whole tray for twenty minutes. When the time is up, take out the tray.  Add a teaspoon of onion chutney to each mushroom, and cover with Stilton.  Place it back in the oven. Now switch on your grill. Cut the ciabatta in half and split it into top and bottom halves, using a bread knife carefully. Toast the inside of the ciabatta under the grill then switch it off. Take a small dish and make a 50-50 mix of Dijon mustard and Mayonnaise and spread it over the toasted side of the bread. Remove the baking tin from the oven. Using a green board, cut the mushrooms into two semi-circles and place them on the bread.  Over and around these, add the peppers. Place the lid on the bread and serve. Quick and easy for a change, eh? Enjoy! And that concludes American month.  Next month, we are doing burgers.  Real, proper home-made burgers.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.


Recipe: Philadelphia Cheese Steak

Chef Nick Gilmartin continues this month's American cooking series.

Hola Amigos!

Fancy something quick, meaty and satisfying that you can eat on the go?  Step this way.

American sandwiches are not like the little triangles we get over here. They are big, half-loaf things stuffed full of meat and vegetables.  And boy, do they hit the spot.  The one mainstay of every street corner food cart is the Philadelphia Cheese Steak. 

We're making two of them, right?  Introduce a friend.  Hell, introduce a Vegetarian. You need the following:

  • Two rump steaks, as thin as you can find.  Then mallet them so thin you can fit them under the door.
  •  One ciabatta loaf
  •  One onion, pick any colour
  •  Two handfuls of mushrooms
  •  Mayonnaise
  •  Dijon Mustard
  •  Worcestershire sauce

Oh, and cheese, mustn't forget that.  Grated cheddar on this occasion.  But why not try Stilton?

As for the kit, you will need one very thick based frying pan, one small frying pan, tongs, one red board and one green board.  And one very big, dangerous mallet.

Right, to kick off, wash your hands!

Place a damp cloth on a worktop.  Now place the red chopping board on that.  Take your pieces of steak and spread them out over the red board.  Take a mallet and CAREFULLY beat them to a pulp, minding your fingers. [box type="alert" style="rounded"]Important safety tip.  Wear shoes for this.  If you drop a mallet on your toe, it will hurt.  A lot [/box]Move the steak on to a plate and liberally coat it in Worcestershire sauce.  Now leave it aside.

Peel and thinly slice the onion.  Thinly, being the operative word. Slice the mushrooms to the same thinness and sweat them off in the small frying pan.

Heat the thick frying pan with a little oil.  We need a thick one to stop the steak from burning.  Using your tongs, place the steak in the pan and fry it off for about a minute either side.  This is why it is sometimes called minute steak by the French. Once it is cooked, move it on to a yellow chopping board, or a wooden one.  Slice it into strips.  Take the onions and mushrooms off the heat and leave aside.

Fire up your grill. Take your ciabatta, and cut it into two halves then slice it carefully into two sides, top and bottom.  Place it under the grill and allow it to toast - that's as opposed to burn - please keep an eye on it!  Now take it off the heat. 

Take a small dish and make a 50-50 mix of Dijon mustard and Mayonnaise.  Add a little cracked black pepper and lemon if you like.

Spread the mustard mayo over the base of the bread.  And over the top, if you like.  Over this, you spread the onions and mushrooms and place the steak on top of that. Finally cover the whole thing with lots and lots of grated cheese.

Place it back under the grill until the cheese starts to bubble and melt.  Now place the lid over the top, and serve up, on its own or with chips or French fries (the difference being the thickness) and a dip pot of mustard mayo.  Because it's awesome.

And that is really it.  Simple, tasty and quick.  Enjoy

Have a nice day!

More American recipes here.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.


Recipe: Chicken & Ribs

So today we are moving on to something a bit more elaborate.  It also takes a few hours to bake the ribs, so set you can leave them to let them do their thing.  So, first and foremost, you need the following:

[Note: This recipe takes most of the day.  Either do the prep work before you leave for work, or do I the night before]

  • One full rack of ribs.
  • Two chicken breasts.
  • Two large baking potatoes.
  • Two tomatoes.
  • Two large Portobello mushrooms.
  • Stilton
  • Onion chutney.
  • Flour, one egg and breadcrumbs with seasonings.
  • Lemon juice

For the dry rub you will need:

Two tablespoons of brown sugar, one teaspoon of chilli flakes, one teaspoon of paprika, one of oregano, one of salt, one of pepper and one of garlic powder.

For the marinade, on this occasion, I am using Paul Newman's sticky barbecue sauce, because I am a huge advocate of his products. You can make your own, but I don't want this recipe to take any longer - you will be starving!

Start by washing your hands, and then take a damp cloth and place it on the work top.  Place a red meat chopping board over that.

The morning before dinner, you need to take the ribs  out of their packaging.  Give them a good rinse under the cold tap and place them on the red board.  Take a sharp knife and cut off any excess skin and sinew off the bottom.  Place your ribs in a baking tin or on to a plate.  Start by pouring the juice of a lemon over the ribs.  Now take all the dry rub ingredients and mix them well in a dish.  Sprinkle them carefully and evenly over the ribs and rub them in with your fingers.  Make sure you spread it out well over the ridges in the ribs. 

Cover it with cling film and leave it in the fridge for a minimum of four hours and nd get on with your day.

About two hours before dinner, take out the ribs.  Remove the cling film and replace with metal foil.  Set your oven to 160 C and place the ribs on the middle shelf.  Now leave them there to cook for a minimum of two hours.

Take two baking potatoes, prick them carefully with a knife, and wrap them individually in metal foil.  Place them in the oven on the shelf above the ribs.  Now you have a couple of hours to fill.

About two hours later, switch on your deep fat fryer and your grill.  Take your red chopping board and place in on the worktop, over a damp cloth.  Take your chicken breasts and split them through the side, to butterfly them, like we have before.  Just cut far enough to leave the two halves attached. Place the chicken under the grill and leave until it is cooked on both sides.  It should be all white, with no traces of pink when your cut into it. 

Take three bowls.  Into the first, place two tea cups of flour.  Into the second, break an egg and whisk it up with a little water.  Into the third, add a fifty-fifty mix of bread crumbs and southern fried chicken seasoning.  Mix them up well.  

Using tongs, place your butterfly chicken into the flour first.  Pack it around well, and then dip it into the egg mix, again, making sure it is well coated. Finally, dip it into the breadcrumbs and seasoning.  Make sure it is well covered.  Now place the chicken in the fryer for a minute until the coating turns a nice golden brown.  Take the chicken out of the oil and drain off the fat and leave them somewhere warm until the ribs are ready.

Next, the mushrooms and tomatoes.  For this you need a thick, flat oven pan.  Boil a kettle and place the boiling water into a deep dish or container.  Using  a small knife, cut an X shape into the top of each tomato.  Place them in the boiling water, carefully and leave them for a minute.  Remove them with tongs.  Notice how the skin has stretched back from the cut you made?  So, now you just peel the skin straight off.  Place it in the oven pan.  

Take your large mushrooms and give them a quick rinse under the tap.  Pull out the core of the mushroom.  It will pop out fairly easily.  Place one teaspoon of onion chutney in the middle of each mushroom, and cover it with some crumbled stilton.  Place the mushrooms into the oven pan with the tomatoes and place in the oven.  They take about fifteen minutes to cook at most.

Now, you need large plates for all of this, so warm a couple.  We're nearly there.

Take out the ribs, and coat them in the marinade.  God bless Paul Newman.

Place them back in the oven for a further two minutes, under the foil.  Finally remove the ribs and cut the rack into two halves.  For each person, you get one half rack or ribs, one piece of southern fried chicken, one nice big jacket potato, one tomato and one mushroom.

Trust me, you won't need dessert.


Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.


Also in the series: Meatloaf

Recipe: Meatloaf

Hello one and all,

After a well-earned break on the coast, I am back in the kitchen. This month we are taking a brief look at American cuisine.  Now there is simply too much of it to cover in a single month, even region by region it would take several months. So we are starting with the North East coast kicking things off with a traditional American Meatloaf.  Now to get the definitive recipe is impossible, every household does it different.  But I had a look through about ten recipes and came up with something workable.

For two people you need:

  • One and a half kilogram of pork and beef mince, mixed.
  • Half a pepper
  • One onion
  • A handful of mushrooms
  • Streaky bacon
  • Oregano and Seasonings
  • Four egg whites
  • Breadcrumbs.
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tomato and garlic puree
  • Four large sweet potatoes
  • Butter
  • Beef stock
  • Flour
  • Jack Daniels marinade or whatever you prefer
  • Right, this is a messy one.  You have been warned.  
  1. Start with a mixing bowl, and crack open the eggs.  Using the egg-shell halves, separate the egg whites from the yolks, and place the whites into the mixing bowl.  
  2. Add two tea cups of breadcrumbs and then the two fist sized balls of minced meat, one of pork and one of beef.  
  3. Now peel and dice one onion very, very finely and add it to the bowl. Dice the handful of mushrooms and half a pepper, add two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, one tablespoon of tomato puree and a teaspoonful of garlic puree.
  4. Set your oven to pre-heat at 180c.
  5. Take one large double-handed pan, like the one we used for paella and spread a little oil over the base, just to prevent stickiness.  Next wet a cloth and spread it out on a work top and place a red chopping board over the top of that.  Open the streaky bacon pack, lay out the bacon strips in a star formation, four pieces for each meatloaf. Then, using a pastry brush, spread the Jack Daniels marinade over the meatloaf.  
  6. Next, wash your hands thoroughly, with soap and warm water and dry them well.
  7. Go back to the mixing bowl and mix the hell out of the ingredients, right to the bottom.  Make sure all the breadcrumbs and egg white combines thoroughly and that everything is evenly mixed.  Take a good few minutes to bind it all together.  If the mixture seems too wet, add more breadcrumbs. If it is too dry, add a little water.
  8. Now form two fist sized balls of meat out of the mix.  Place each one in the middle of a bacon 'star'.  Now fold up the edges of the bacon right to the top and carefully turn them over and place them onto the pan.
  9. Wash your hands again to get all the mix off and you can add the mixing bowl to the washing up.
  10.  Add a third of a cup of water to the base of the pan and cover the whole thing with foil.  Place in the oven and cook for an hour at 180 degrees..
  11. Right, boil a full kettle of water.  Put the red chopping board in the sink and replace it with a green chopping board.  Peel and chop the sweet potatoes, put them into a pan and add the boiling water.  Heat them on a hob until they are soft.  Now is a good time to take care of your washing up so far.
  12. Add 200 ml of beef stock into the smallest sauce pan you have and heat it slowly, stirring in plain flour until it thickens.  Whisk it well to avoid lumpiness - be brisk with the whisk!  Add some Worcestershire sauce to give it a kick, and some Jack Daniels marinade.
By now the sweet potatoes should be soft.  Drain off the water and place them into the (clean) mixing bowl.  Mash them down with a potato masher, add salt, pepper and two tablespoons of butter.  Mix it all well, then set aside.

I think you have time to pour a drink now.

Once the hour is up, take three plates and warm them in the oven for a few seconds.  Using a thick, clean oven cloth, place them on a work top.  Add a good ladle of mashed potato to the middle of each place.

Carefully take the pan of meatloaf out of the oven and place it on a pan stand or wooden chopping board. Using an oven cloth and great care, peel back the foil.  Be very wary of the steam, if it burns, it hurts like hell. Use a pallet knife and oven tongs to place the meatloaf on top of the mashed potato, very carefully.  Pour the gravy around the edges of the plate, and serve.

And enjoy!

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.