15 brilliant Nigel Slater recipes from 2001 to today

To celebrate Observer Food Monthlys 15 th birthday, Nigel Slater shares his favourite dishes from 1,000 created for the magazine and others never seen before

Recipes have always been at the heart of OFM. They spring from the simple idea of enthusiastic cooks sharing notions, passing on a recipe they have constructed in the hope that others too might find it delicious. Over the years many of our recipes have come from professional chefs, others from cookery writers, home cooks, producers, growers, the occasional celebrity. Some of them have been mine. Virtually hundreds of thousands of if my maths is correct.

For this special birthday issue, I have brought together a collection of new recipes but among them you will find a few old favourites I have rethought. I have always enjoyed tweaking my own recipes, rethinking an earlier idea. Bringing a suggestion up to date, get a new view, introducing a different ingredient, dispensing with the unnecessary.

Our feeing doesnt stand still, so why should our recipes? Yes, there is always that trusty coffee and walnut cake we bring out at every opportunity( and so we should ), and a time-honoured classic is always worth repeating, but I celebrate that there is always a new take over a recipe waiting in the wings. The chance to revise, freshen and rethink can often be deliciously rewarding.

The recipes that follow, one for each of the magazines 15 years, have been huge fun to make. I hope there is something for everyone. The lamb roasted over flatbread has become a favourite at home, especially if you use quite thick flatbread, so the outside crisp and the inside soaks up the sweet, herby fat from the roasting meat. The lemon creme fraiche ice cream with warm crumble maintained me dipping into the freezer with my teaspoon for days. The artichoke bruschetta has become a new place to turning for lunch-at-my-desk.

So here are 15 recipes its a pleasure for me to share with you. Because sharing is what recipes are all about.

Porcini herb broth

OFM
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

I have long been a fan of using dried mushrooms to make a deep and beefy broth. Porcini are expensive, but you only need a very few to make a glowing, umami-fuelled stock. Cream of mushroom soup has never quite hit the spot for me, altogether too bland and often curiously sweet. To a clear soup of dried porcini I have added sliced, grilled mushrooms( you could use pretty much any variety from portobello to penny bun ). The mushrooms dry out unnervingly on the griddle but their flavor concentrates and they take on wonderful smoky notes. Thrown into the soup they plump up and fulfil their promise.

Serves 4-6
dried flageolet 150 g
dried porcini 20 g
portobello mushroom 1 large
chestnut mushrooms 100 g
penny bun or other major mushrooms 150 g
lemon thyme 12 sprigs( about 2 tsp of leaves)
dill fronds a small handful
pea shoots or watercress 12 stems

Soak the flageolet overnight in cold water. The next day, drainage then bringing the beans up to the boil in deep, unsalted water. Lower the hot to a simmer then cook the beans for 40 -5 0 minutes until they are tender and as soft as you like them.( I like mine with a little bite left in them .)

Put the dried porcini in a large, deep saucepan and add two litres of water. Bring the water to the boil, then lower the hot and leave to simmer for a good 40 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, tasting as you go. You will need to be quite generous with the seasoning.

Slice the fresh mushrooms( about the thickness of two pound coins on top of each other ). Warm a grill or griddle and cook the mushrooms on both sides. Use no petroleum unless your pan is unseasoned. Alternatively, you could fry them in a frying pan, brushed with a cinema of olive oil. Remove the mushrooms and add to the broth.

Tear the leaves from the lemon thyme and add most of them to the broth( save a few for the end ), then continue to simmer, letting the liquid reduce until you have a deep mushroom flavor. Add the cooked, drained beans and hot thoroughly, then, just before ladling the soup into deep bowls, add the dill fronds and pea shoots or watercress.

Grilled asparagus with pea and mint puree

OFM
OFM May 2016 Nigel Griddled Asparagus Buttery Pea Mint Puree Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

I am old enough to remember when asparagus was considered a luxury, a catch-it-while-you-can, seasonal crop sold at a premium cost. Nowadays a bunch of long, British-grown spears costs little more than a bag of frozen peas. Butter remains a popular accompaniment, as is hollandaise sauce, but I favor something a little brighter tasting to dip my spears in, such as the pea and mint puree here.

Serves 2-4
asparagus 600 g
olive oil a little
peas 300 g( frozen or podded weight)
butter 70 g
mint leaves 10

Warm a griddle pan over a moderate hot. Trim the asparagus spears, removing the dry objectives of the stems, then toss in a little oil.

Put the peas on to cook in boiling, softly salted water. Let them cook for 4-5 minutes. Melt the butter with 70 ml of water in a small pan over a high hot then set aside.

Place the oiled asparagus on the griddle and turning as the underside browns. They should be tender but retain more crispness than if you boiled them.

Drain the peas and tip-off into the jug of an electric blender or the bowl of a food processor. Pour in the butter and water concoction, add the mint leaves and process to a smooth puree. Serve the puree with the hot, griddled asparagus.

Crab and tomato soup

OFM
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

Crab soups vary from the heavy, cream-laden bisques of French classical cookery to the clear, light Japanese broths with their shipment of pure white snow crab. The soup that follows lies somewhere between the two. There is substance, but also lightness. In high summer, this thick puree of tomatoes and peppers with its crown of white crab meat can be served as a salad. On other occasions, file under first course.

Serves 4
garlic 1 small clove
cherry tomatoes 300 g
cucumber 1
romano peppers 2
birds-eye chilli 1
sherry vinegar 2 tbsp
white crab meat 300 g
mustard and cress or watercress to finish

Peel the garlic and place in the jug of an electric blender or food processor. Tip in the cherry tomatoes. Peel the cucumber, then halve and cut one half into two or three pieces and add to the tomatoes and garlic. Finely dice the second half of the cucumber and set aside.

Roughly chop the romano peppers and add to the vegetables in the blender. Process the vegetables until you have a brilliant red puree, then season with the sherry vinegar and a little salt and black pepper. Fold the reserved diced cucumber into the white crab meat, taking care not to crush the snowflakes of crab.

Pour the soup into four bowls. Spoon the crab on top of the soup, add a pinch of mustard and cress and serve.

Prawns with lime and ginger marinade

Prawns
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

Regular readers will know I dont have much time for starters. They dont actually fit into the informal route I eat. There is, however, the odd occasion I need to serve something before the main dish. This recipe, of sharp, fresh flavors and light textures, fits the bill sensitively enough. When this recipe first appeared( in July 2002) I employed red mullet, but prawns are easier to detect and substantially cheaper, so I often use those instead.

Serves 2
rice wine vinegar 3 tbsp
lime juice of 1
lemon juice of 1
banana shallot 1 small
red birds-eye chilli 1
lime leaves 3
superstar anise 2
palm sugar 1 tsp
coriander seeds 1 tsp
black peppercorns 8
carrot 1 medium
olive oil 4 tbsp, plus a little extra for frying
big prawns 10, raw, shell on
fresh ginger a 10 g piece
fresh coriander a handful

Put the rice wine vinegar and lime and lemon juices into a stainless steel saucepan. Peel and finely slice the shallot and add to the pan. Halve, deseed and finely chop the chilli, then add together with the lime leaves, whole but softly crushed to release their fragrance, and the superstar anise. Stir in the palm sugar, then the coriander seeds and peppercorns and let the concoction simmer for a minute or two over a moderate hot. Peel the carrot and slice it very finely and add to the pan together with the olive oil and continue cooking for minute or two.

Shell the prawns and split them down the back with a large knife. Remove the black thread that runs merely under the skin it should just pull away and open the prawns out almost flat. Warm a griddle or frying pan over a high hot, then petroleum the prawns softly and place them, cut side down on the hot griddle. Leave them for a couple of minutes to softly colour then turning and cook the other side for a further minute or until the flesh becomes opaque.

Grate the ginger finely into the dressing. Set the prawns in a shallow dish and pour the hot dressing over them. Leave to cool then encompasses with clingfilm and refrigerate for 4 hours. Serve cool with a sprinkling of coriander leaves.

Roast pork, black pudding and apple stuffing, cabbage salad

Roast
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

The family roasteds, of which there here have been many over the last 15 years, are among some of the most popular of OFMs recipes. For this one, a majestic, crackling-framed roasted stuffed with black pudding and apples, you will need a pork shoulder, skin on, bones removed. Ask the butcher to score the skin for crackling. A friend will demonstrate invaluable for helping you procure the stuffed roasted with kitchen string.

Serves 6
boned pork shoulder 2-2. 5kg

For the stuffing
onions 2
olive oil 3 tbsp
black pudding 200 g
sausage meat 450 g
dessert apple 1
sage leaves 3

For the cabbage salad
brussels sprouts 300 g
red cabbage 250 g
radishes 50 g
white wine vinegar 3 tbsp
water 2 tbsp
caster sugar 1 tsp
salt tsp

Set the oven at 220 C/ gas mark 7. Peel the onions and roughly chop them, then warm the petroleum over a moderate hot and let the onions cook for 10 minutes till soft and translucent.

Remove the onions from the hot and crumble in the black pudding and the sausage meat. Coarsely grate or finely cube the apple and fold into the sausage meat concoction together with a spice of salt and pepper and the whole sage leaves.

Place the pork skin side down on a chopping board and, if necessary, remove any string the butcher may have tied it with. Spread the stuffing thickly over the meat then pull the leading edge up together and tie at 3cm intervals with string.( I always find a helping hand very useful at this point .) Season the pork with salt, rubbing it down into the score marks in the skin.

Place the joint of pork in a roast tin, roasted in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then lower the hot to 160 C/ gas mark 3 and continue cooking for a further 70 -9 0 minutes until the pork is done to your liking.( Cover the pork with foil if it appears to be browning too much .) Remove from the oven and leave to rest, covered loosely with foil, for 20 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, to build the cabbage salad, trim and finely shred the brussels sprouts, then shred the red cabbage. Cut the radishes into quarters. Bring the wine vinegar, water, caster sugar and salt to the boil. As soon as the salt and sugar have dissolved, tip-off the dressing over the vegetables, cover with a lid or clingfilm and define side for 30 -4 0 minutes. Toss the ingredients from time to time.

Guindilla and mozzarella toasts

OFM
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

I introduced this chilled, marinated mozzarella( in 2004) as a salad, utilizing the diminutive bocconcini rather than cutting the larger and more usual sizing of Italian buffalo milk cheese into slices. Mercifully, this useful, hens egg sizing variation is now easier to locate. I liked the pinch and punch of the pickled guindilla chillies against the mild, milky cheese of the original recipe. Stimulating the salad again for lunch last winter it traversed my mind how good the cheese might be melted under the grill with the pepper-spiced petroleum being used to soak a few rounds of accompanying rough-edged toast.

Makes 4 rounds( enough for 2)
mozzarella 250 g
olive petroleum 120 ml
black peppercorns 8
guindillas in brine or water 4
capers 12
caperberries 4
sourdough bread 4 slices for toast
marinated artichokes 4
coriander or parsley to finish

In a large, shallow china dish, place the mozzarella, halved if small, thickly sliced if big, in a single layer. Pour the olive oil over the mozzarella then tuck the black peppercorns, whole guindilla chillies, capers and caperberries in between the pieces of cheese. Cover the dish with clingfilm then refrigerate overnight.

The next day toast the bread softly then divide the mozzarella between the toasts, tucking in the halved artichokes as you go. Add the chillies, capers and caperberries from the marinade then percolates a little of the petroleum over each. Cook under the oven-grill for 3-4 minutes until the cheese begin to melting. A little chopped coriander or parsley at the end would be good.

Lamb belly flatbread

Lamb
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

Lamb belly is still hugely underrated and mercifully inexpensive. As it roasts, the fat and juices from the meat fall onto the flatbreads in the roast tin below. Build sure your belly has a nice layer of fat.

Serves 6
lamb belly 1kg, skinned and boned
ras el hanout 2 tbsp
olive oil
flatbread 500 g( 6 slices)

For the sauce
dill 10 g
mint leaves 10 g
yogurt 500 ml
white wine vinegar a splash

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 4. Place the lamb belly skin side up on a chopping board, then cut into two pieces that will fit your roasting tin. Score deep lines into the surface with a very sharp knife, about 2cm apart, running approximately half way through the meat. Then slash in the opposite direction, to dedicate a lattice effect.

Scatter the ras el hanout over the surface, then scratches evenly over the meat, pushing the ground spice concoction down into the cuts. Season evenly with salt. Place the meat on a wire rack that will fit neatly on top of your roasting tin.

Pour a cinema of petroleum on the base of the roasting tin then snugly fit the pieces of flatbread into the tin, in a single layer. Place the rack over the top and then put in the oven to roast. Leave for 1 hour and 10 minutes, watching carefully, letting the juices and melting fat from the lamb drip onto the flatbread. The bread will turn crisp and golden in places and be saturated with the hot fat in others.

Roughly chop the dill and the leaves from the mint then stir into the yogurt with a splashing of white wine vinegar.

Remove the lamb from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Lift the lamb onto a chopping board and cut into thick slices. Serve the bread in a heap together with the bowl of herb yogurt and the slices of hot lamb.

Chicken wings with orange and green olive relish

Chicken
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

An updated information about my 2001 recipe for chicken cooked with olives and oranges. I have swapped the thighs for wings and the olives are now green rather than black, served as a coarse-textured enjoy with gherkins and parsley. The recipe is cheaper, the skin more crisp and savoury, research results now something to pick up and eat with your thumbs altogether more fun to eat.

Serves 2( with some relish left over use it on toast)
big chicken wings 12
orange 1 small
olive petroleum 3 tbsp
thyme 8 sprigs

For the relish
cucumber 100 g
green olive s 100 g, stoned
gherkins 80 g
finely chopped parsley 3 tbsp
olive oil 3 tbsp
lemon juice optional

Set the oven at 200 C/ gas mark 6.

Put the chicken wings in a roast tin. The tin should be large enough that the wings can sit on a single layer. Halve the orange and squeezing over the chicken. Add the olive oil, a generous grind of both salt and black pepper, then pull the leaves from the thyme and add to the pan. Toss the wings in the petroleum and orange then roast for about 35 -4 0 minutes till the wings are golden-brown and sticky. Prize them away from the pan if they have stuck here and there.

Meanwhile, build the olive enjoy. Peel and very finely dice the cucumber, dice the olives and the gherkins then mix them, in a small bowl, with the chopped parsley and the olive oil. You may like to add a little lemon juice too. Serve the chicken wings, sizzling hot from the oven, together with the olive relish.

Grilled lamb, parmesan, buttermilk polenta

Grilled
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

I am less fond of the coarse grained variety of polenta, the cornmeal that needs a good 45 minutes attention from your stirring limb. The fine version is another matter, especially when we up the liquid levels so that the concoction is altogether creamier. Gild the lily a little further, with butter or cream, and you have one of my favourite starchy accompaniments. I stirred cream, butter and parmesan cheese into a fine-meal polenta to accompany a fist of lamb cutlets, grilled till the bones charred. I shall probably get told off for the amount of butter and cheese, but who cares when the effect is a luxurious, silky paste in which to dip your lamb bones?

Serves 4
chicken stock 500 ml
buttermilk 500 ml
fine polenta 150 g
butter 80 g
double cream 250 ml
parmesan 80 g, finely grated
lamb cutlets 8P TAGEND

Pour the chicken stock and buttermilk into a large, deep pan and place over a moderate hot. Bring the concoction to the boil, then salt generously. Rain the polenta into the liquid in a steady creek, stirring continuously. Take great care that the concoction doesnt bubble and spitting at you( it can be like a volcano ). Lower the hot as necessary. Keep stirring over the hot for a good 20 -3 0 minutes until the concoction is smooth and starts to leave the sides of the pan.

Beat the butter into the polenta. Warm the cream in a small saucepan, then stir into the polenta with the grated parmesan. Check the seasoning, adding black pepper to taste.

Place the lamb cutlets on a hot griddle pan and cook for a couple of minutes on each side( alternatively cook under a hot oven-grill) till the fat is crisp and golden and the inside is still deep pink. Serve with the polenta, letting everyone dip their cutlets into the creamy cornmeal.

Lettuce, herb mayonnaise and smoked salted almonds

Lettuce,
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

Occasionally a lettuce is so beautiful it feels almost sacrilegious to garment it. On such an occasion recently I presented the lettuce cut into quarters to present the beauty of its leaves, then served the dressing a mustard-spiked mayonnaise thinned with a little cream and seasoned with springtime herbs on the side. Each of us employed the leaves to wipe the dressing from our plates.

For 2 as a side dish
lettuce 1, perfect and crisp
mayonnaise 4 heaped tbsp
smooth dijon mustard 1 tsp
double cream 150 ml
mixed, chopped fresh herbs 4 tbsp( dill, parsley, cress)

For the nuts
olive oil 1 tbsp
whole skinned almonds 30 g
smoked salt snowflakes 2 tsp

Wash the lettuce, whole, building sure to rinse carefully between the layers of leaves. Dry the lettuce in a salad spinner.

For the nuts, warm the petroleum in a shallow pan over a low to moderate hot then add the almonds. Let the nuts cook gently, tossing them occasionally, for five minutes or until they are fragrant and golden brown. Tip the smoked salt snowflakes onto a plate and crush softly with a spoonful. Remove the nuts from the pan with a draining spoonful and toss in the smoked salt.

Put the mayonnaise in a bowl and stir in the mustard. Very softly whip the cream till it merely starts to thicken then fold into the mayonnaise and check for spice. You may want to add a little more mustard.

Stir the chopped dill, parsley and cress through the dressing. Cut the lettuce into quarters through the stem and place on a serving dish. Dress the lettuce with the herb mayonnaise, then scatter the smoked salted almonds over the top.

Baked shallots with cream and parmesan

Baked
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

The recipe for onions cooked in cream first appeared in February 2004. It appealed not only because of its simplicity but because the richness of the cheese sauce was flattering to the humble onion. What worked especially well for me was the contrast between the over-the-top creaminess of the sauce and the sweet, juicy simplicity of the large Spanish onion. Its a good dish to accompany roasted beef but it is equally satisfying served with boiled, softly spiced brown rice( cinnamon stick, cleaves, garlic ). I have got into the habit of seasoning the cream with the occasional herb or spice. Thyme works well if the dish is to accompany roasted lamb; garam masala if Im feeing it with a rice pilau. The loveliest has been the addition of the aniseed notes of chopped fresh tarragon. I know of no other herb that the project works so perfectly with a creamy recipe such as this.

Serves 4 as a side dish
banana shallots 4 large
olive oil 3 tbsp
double cream 250 ml
creme fraiche 100 ml
tarragon 10 g
parmesan 40 g, grated

Set the oven at 180 C/ gas mark 4. Peel the shallots and cut them in half lengthways. Warm the petroleum in a shallow non-stick pan over a moderate hot. Place the onions, cut side down, in the hot petroleum and leave to colours softly on the underside.

Transfer the onions to a baking dish, cut side up. Mix the cream and creme fraiche in a bowl. Pull the tarragon leaves from their stems and roughly chop, then add them to the cream together with most of the grated parmesan and a spice of black pepper.

Pour the cream and herb concoction over the shallots then scatter the remaining parmesan over the surface. Bake for 25 minutes till the top is nicely browned.

Hot summer dessert with sloe gin

Hot
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

I am a long-time believer in the pleasures of seasonal eating. But, like any open-minded eater, I am happy to make exceptions. To my mind, summertime dessert is far too good to keep for the dog days of July and August.( I feel much the same about the short window tradition forces-out upon my Christmas dessert .)

I build summertime pudding all year, utilizing frozen berries and currants without apology. My knee-jerk reservation that the quintessential dessert of late summertime doesnt feeling quite right when frost is on the ground is blown to pieces when the mess of bread, berries and juice is transformed into a hot dessert.( The juice is particularly glorious when warm. A tot of sloe gin adds a heady fragrance .) A term of caution though, dont try to turn it out in traditional style. The steaming, juice-saturated bread is far too fragile to stand up.

Serves 6
mixed berries 650 g( blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
caster sugar 75 g
water 200 ml
sloe gin 75 -1 00 ml
white bread 400 g
double cream a jug, to serve

You will need a baking dish approximately 26 -2 8cm in diameter.

Set the oven at 200 C/ gas mark 6. Pick over the fruit, removing any stems and stems. Set the berries into a large stainless steel pan with the sugar and the water, then bring to the boil. Lower the hot and simmer for five minutes or so till the berries have popped and their juices are flowing. Stir in the sloe gin.

Cut the bread into 1cm thick slices then use a 7cm cookie cutter to cut out small disc of bread. Set the bread trimmings into the base of the dish then cover with the fruit and half of the syrup. Place the disc of bread in a single layer over the surface, each piece slightly overlapping the previous one. Spoon the remaining fruit syrup over the top and cook in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until piping hot. Serve hot, with cream.

Coffee meringue with chocolate and ginger cream

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