Author Archives: Jonny Kaldor

About Jonny Kaldor

three kids, two days, one dad. no reason to eat rubbish.


I’ve done cabbage. Now it’s the carrot’s turn. It is of course an easier sell than the poor old cabbage, but I still believe that our pointy little orange friend is more often than not underused and overcooked.

I once spent a summer drinking carrot juice every morning before work – not only did it taste great, but my skin took on a rather fetching orange hue – maybe I should be sharing this information with some of our less intelligent minor celebrities – would save them a fortune on fake tan. The only slightly annoying thing about it is that in order to make enough juice to fill a glass, you end up with a mountain of unusable dry matter that you have to scrape from each element of your juicer, thus requiring you to disassemble, rinse and reassemble everything every time you fancy a glug. So it can be a pain in the arse. That said, if you can be bothered you should try it for a sustained period – I’m also led to believe that it’s good at cancer too…

Carrot and coriander salad

This salad has a clean, sharp taste and goes really well with fish, chicken and lamb. It’s so easy: grate the carrot, chop some coriander, add a little red onion if you like, season generously, squeeze over the juice of a lime, sprinkle over a handful of pumpkin and sunflower seeds then add either olive oil or sesame oil depending on which you prefer.

How to cook carrots 

I think this is important. It’s so easy to cook carrots in a way that keeps them beautifully sweet and crunchy – there is no excuse to boil the life out of the poor things. This is how I nearly always do them:

Firstly, you don’t need to peel them. You also don’t need to cut them lengthways into little batons – the 90’s are long gone – get with it people. Simply chop the carrots into discs slightly thinner than a pound coin and drop them into a pan of cold water until you need them. 10 minutes before you want to eat, drain all the water apart from about a cm in the bottom of the pan, season with salt and pepper, add a large knob of butter (and maybe even a teaspoon of caster sugar) and put it on the heat with the lid on for about 5 minutes, Then remove the lid and let the liquid reduce for a couple more minutes. Keep trying them and as soon as they are the almost right for you, take them off the heat. Nothing lost – just sweet, tasty and perfectly cooked…

I think I’ve cracked it…

The shorts are back in London and we’re stuck at home through a mixture of extreme cold and complete laziness. Netflix is being hit hard (still 15 days left on the free trial) and we’re slowly cycling through the first 5 seasons of The Office USA. It’s pretty much the only thing we’ve found on there that isn’t already available in the HMV remainders bin. Incidentally, if you have a spare minute or two and you really have nothing else to do, check out their “New Releases” – I think it’s fair to say that if their interpretation of the phrase were any looser, it would be turning tricks for five quid a pop down a Norwich back street.

So it’s back to bread making and we pretty much have it down now. Rather than churning through the whole process (already covered last week), I thought it would be a good idea to pick out a few things that might mean the difference between mediocre and really great bread.

The basic recipe for the bread this time was a basic bread dough, green and red olives, jalapenos and finely grated gruyere and parmesan – the jalapenos really worked well.

dad at the weekend’s top bread-making tips:

  1. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes – don’t be lazy…
  2. Get the salt quantity right – too little and it has no taste, too much and it will affect the rising process
  3. Add a little honey to your warm water to help the yeast and give the bread depth
  4. Allow the bread to rise twice – once for at least an 90 minutes, in a very low oven (less than 40 c) and with a damp tea towel covering the bowl. The second time again for at least half an hour. Don’t cut corners here…
  5. Sprinkle a little flour over the bread before you put it in the oven
  6. Make sure the oven is at least 220c and put a tray of water in there to create a good steamy atmosphere


And another loaf we made today with strong white flour and poppy seeds…


It should be easier than this…

What was it that made me believe that baking bread was easy? Maybe it is easy and I am just incapable? Is it like being green fingered in that you either have it or you don’t? (For someone who likes to think that he’s quite good at stuff, it frustrates me to the core that I am utterly useless at keeping plants alive: herbs, chillies, carrots, spuds, flowers, trees – I’ve killed them all) Maybe that’s what it is – I’m really good at killing plants and making rather ordinary bread.

I think I am getting better, but it still doesn’t come naturally to me at all – I really have to try hard, and even when I do, I only just about manage to produce a loaf that is kind of edible, eatable, whatever – I mean, you wouldn’t single it out if it were offered to you in a bread basket at your local Italian restaurant, but you’d probably just about force it down if I served it to you when you came over for lunch. That’s how good my bread is. It’s about as good as I was at rugby when I was in the third form (that reminds me – does anyone who was at school with me remember Mr Mullineux and the way he had to strap it to his leg when he wore shorts in rugby training? – my god that was revolting…)

Anyway – I tried particularly hard today, and, with Immie’s help, I think we may have pulled off a minor coup – we made a loaf of bread that is not only edible, but you can just about take a photo of it and post it on a blog – result. And here it is…

Gruyere and olive bread

So I start with 500g of this really good “organic oak smoked stoneground strong malted blend flour” (I know – what a bloody mouthful – but it’s pretty good). To it, add a 7g sachet of yeast, a good pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of honey dissolved in about 300ml of warm water. Mix the whole lot together and knead for about 10 minutes then leave in your mixing bowl in a warm place with covered with a wet tea towel for at least an hour.

In the meantime chop a couple of handfuls of olives and grate a decent sized chunk of gruyere (really as much of each as you like).

When the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and fold in the cheese and olives with your hands, divide and shape into whatever forms take your fancy and then put it onto a floured baking tray back in a warm place, covered with the damp tea towel for at least another half hour.

Heat your oven to 225 degrees and into it put a tray, half full of water. When you’re ready, put the bread in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes or until it’s golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom. That’s it.

Now cue the comments that are going to tell me what I did wrong and why I keep screwing up my bread. Bring it on people…

Fish pie

It’s cold. It’s too cold to get on the bike without three layers of lycra and wool. Guilt is setting in, along with the fear that in less than six months a bunch of us will spend a week in the Alps then Pyrenees attempting to follow in the (very expensive) wheels of the big boys from the Tour. So what do I do? I make a fish pie. Obviously.

This is a recipe that my sister Nic shared with me many years ago and it’s a cracker, even if it did have a crap name:  “Luxury fish pie” (you have to say luxury in that Marks & Spencer’s ad voice but with the addition of a slight northern twang, otherwise it doesn’t work). Funnily enough, I think the luxury thing was a sign of the times – back in the early 90’s scallops and monkfish were still considered a little exotic – now (thankfully) they are commonplace, as they should be.. It just shows how much better we are at food than we were…

The other great thing about this pie is that it’s a chance to give your local fishmonger a little business – mine in Enfield is the real deal – an old boy who’s been there for decades and who is a pleasure to buy from – worlds apart from these Kensington & Chelsea boutique fish sellers who think it’s ok to charge the earth for an ammonious skate wing. It’s a great thing to support your local businesses, but I only really like to do it to when they’re not taking the piss..

Fish Pie

You can put pretty much anything in this pie – there are just three elements to it: Fishy stuff, a great sauce and a top. This time I used monkfish, skate cheeks (I was looking for cod cheeks, but this is what he had, and it worked really well), scallops, prawns and some salmon for colour. You simply skin and cut up the fish into bite sized chunks and put them in your dish. Like this:

For the topping, par-boil new potatoes for about 6 minutes and then plunge them into cold water. When they are cool enough to handle, grate them into a bowl (don’t worry about peeling them) and add a huge knob of butter, a generous handful of finely chopped capers and plenty of salt and pepper.

Now for the sauce – start with a simple roux – lots of melted butter and a couple of tablespoons of flour, then incorporating milk and mixing vigorously until you have a very thick sauce. Now add a glass of vermouth and double cream and let it cook and reduce. The sauce should be pretty thick as the liquid from the fish will thin it a little during cooking. Season the sauce and add a handful each of chopped parsley and dill along with a spoonful of dijon mustard. While you’re doing this, fry a very finely chopped onion (or leek) along with a little red chilli and once softened (don’t let it colour) add it to the sauce. Now pour the sauce over the fish and wiggle the bits about so that it’s well mixed together.

Place the potatoes in spoonfuls on the top of the pie, starting at the edges and working in. Pile it high and make sure there are plenty of edgy bits that will go crispy in the oven. Now just pop it in the oven at 180 degrees for 35 minutes. It’s really good with wilted spinach or just a hunk of really good bread. And a bottle of Picpoul de Pinet…

Vegas and Huevos

So, another trip to Vegas – and if you want the details, read last year’s report, because if there’s one thing you can rely on with that place, it’s that nothing (apart from the skyline) ever changes. It lures you to into a metronomic journey from meetings to drinks to more drinks to breakfast to sleep to brunch, back to meetings and on and on…It carelessly does away with the traditions of morning and night, workdays and weekends – they simply blend into a shiny plastic amorphous blob, punctuated only by manhattans and eggs, cooked any style – so much so in fact, that in four days we somehow managed to consume breakfast eight times, lunch once and dinner twice – my body is confused. The only thing that brought me back to normality were the huevos rancheros and a little ride in the desert.

Huevos Rancheros

So as a mark of respect to the most exciting thing that was placed in front of me throughout my stay, I have to include this – and thanks to the Lucky 7 diner for introducing me to it – you have to try it.

The photo is taken from Inside NanaBread’s Head, so it’s only right that you go to her site to get the recipe – here it is… Huevos Rancheros, NanaBread style

What’s bad for the goose…

…is good for our Christmas lunch

It’s six fifteen and it’s all over bar the shouting, the arguments over monopoly (my nephew is a slippery little bugger), doctor who, indigestion and falling asleep during It’s a Wonderful Life (I don’t know what it is about that film, but I’ve tried three times to watch it and I’ve failed every time).

I’m not feeling at all inspired creatively at this moment, so I fear that all I’m going to be able to manage is to document the cooking events of the day that have taken this family on a journey from hunger to light inebriation, food ecstasy and utter fulfilment, where we stayed for a brief moment, before plummeting into overindulgence, fatigue and mild sickness (all, as ever, with no regrets).

Roast goose

This may take a while, but I want to get it down for the record (even if only to refer back to next year).

We’ll start by concentrating on the goose. Remove the giblets and any excess fat and set aside. Now prick the skin of the goose all over, rub with olive oil and season really well with salt and pepper (and five spice if you wish). Put it in a large roasting tin on top of a selection of roughly chopped carrots, onions, celery and a garlic bulb cut in half. You’re going to cook it for 30 mins per kg and then let it rest for 30 mins, so time it accordingly.

Take the giblets (not the fat) and put them into a pan with an onion chopped in half, a bay leaf, some peppercorns, a carrot and water. Heat the water and boil for 30 mins then set aside to cool – this is your stock.

For the stuffing, finely chop a large onion and two cloves of garlic, add to four large handfuls of breadcrumbs, a small handful of chopped sage, seasoning, a beaten egg, olive oil and 300g of sausage meat. Mix it all together and put a few balls of it into the goose. put the rest into a shallow wide ovenproof dish (you want the maximum surface area exposed) and rough it up a little so there are plenty of rough edges to get nice and crispy.

Preheat the oven to 220c and when it’s ready put in the goose for 30 minutes, then take it out, turn the heat down to 180c, remove the excess fat in the bottom of the pan, cover the legs in foil and then put it back into the oven for the remaining cooking time.

When your time is up, take the beautifully cooked goose out of the oven, cover it in foil and a few tablecloths and leave it to rest. After about 10 mins, drain all the juices from inside the carcas into the roasting tin and transfer it to a large warm plate, keeping the foil and tablecloths over it to keep the residual heat it. It can now sit for another 20 mins before you carve and serve it.

Now, everything else you do needs to work around this timing. What I have done for years is start with when you want to eat and work backwards with each step above along with the appropriate timing, then slot in all the other things you have to do and when you have to do them. Then you have your plan for the morning – here’s one I made earlier, complete with goose fat…(don’t worry about the upside-down bits)…

Now for everything else. We had the following – naturally I’d recommend them all:

Roast potatoes and parsnips, peas, carrots and leeks, shredded sprouts with bacon, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, sausages wrapped in bacon, red cabbage, stuffing and gravy. So here we go:

The red cabbage is best done the night before – chop a whole red cabbage, an onion and a few cloves of garlic very finely and put them in a large saucepan with a large block of butter and a couple of peeled and chopped apples. Add a few large tablespoons of berry jam, a glass of port and season well. Let it cook on a low heat for a couple of hours stirring from time to time. Now all it needs is reheating when you need it.

Now prepare all your veg – peel and chop the spuds, parsnips and carrots and leave them in cold water until you need them, also finely shred the sprouts and blanche them for just a few minutes and refresh in cold water before setting aside.
Next you can kick off the bread sauce: Chop an onion into four and put it in a saucepan with 6 cloves, 6 peppercorns , a bay leaf and a 500ml of milk. Bring it to just below simmering point for ten minutes and then set it aside for later.
Then, take a load of cocktail sausages, wrap them in streaky bacon rashers cut in half and pop them in a roasting tin.

For the cranberry sauce, take an onion and chop it finely along with a quarter of a chilli (no seeds) and a clove of garlic. Fry in plenty of butter and then add a bag of cranberries and a glass of port. season well, add two tablespoons of sugar and cook it gently on the hob until the berries pop, creating a semi smooth sauce, while maintaining a decent level of texture. Now taste for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and set aside in a serving dish – it’s done.

About an hour before you’re going to eat, drain as much fat from under the goose as you can without throwing it around the kitchen and save for later use (putting the goose straight back into the oven and turning it up again to 220c). Take some of the fat, pour it into a roasting tin and place in the oven to heat. Par boil the spuds in boiling salty water for about 8 minutes, then drain off the water (into the saucepan with the parsnips), rough the spuds up in the saucepan with the lid on and then put them into the roasting tin with the hot fat, roll them around, season them well with salt and pepper and straight into the top of the oven. Put the dish with the stuffing in now too.

Now par boil the parsnips for about 5 minutes, drain them (keeping the water again) and set them aside.

By this time, the goose will be ready to take out of the oven, so take it out and replace it with the parsnips in a roasting tin with boiling hot goose fat (not too much by the way) and seasoned as with the spuds. Now’s probably a good time to put in the sausages too…

Right. So the goose is out of the oven wrapped in foil and tea towels, the spuds and parsnips are cooking nicely, the stuffing is in the oven and the cranberry sauce is sitting on the table ready – you’re nearly there…

Bread sauce – drain the infused milk into a fresh saucepan and add 4-5 handfuls of white breadcrumbs, and a very large knob of butter grate in a quarter of a nutmeg and pour in 200ml of double cream. Season and then heat it gently, adding more cream if necessary until you get the consistency you like (I know how personal the desired consistency of bread sauce can be so I’m not going try to tell you how it should be) bearing in mind that it will thicken up when it cools.

Nearly there…

Gravy – remove most of the fat from the bottom of the goose’s roasting tin, take all the vegetables that were roasting under the goose and put them into a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of flour. deglaze the roasting tin with a large glass of red wine or port making sure you get as much of the juices from it as you can and into the saucepan. Mix in the flour well and put in the hob along with the goose stock. Bring it to the boil and reduce and season if necessary. This will give you the most beautiful gravy.

Finely chop a leek and fry in a saucepan in butter for a few minutes before adding the carrots, then a little of the water from the spuds to steam the carrots. Season with pepper (no salt as it was already in the water). After five minutes add the peas (which you defrosted by putting them straight from the freezer into a bowl of hot water).

Sprouts – finely chop 6 streaky rashers of bacon and two cloves of garlic and fry in lots of butter until the bacon starts to crisp a little. drop in the shredded sprouts and some of the buttery water from the carrots and heat for a few minutes…

Phew – I think that’s it. Serve. Enjoy. Receive praise. Eat too much. Feel sick. Fall asleep on the sofa. (oh and Happy Christmas)


(this one has the bread sauce and gravy added…)

Oyster time…

It seems that I’m writing, yet again, about something people either crave or despise. But love them or hate them, you can’t deny that Oysters bring with them a certain magic, and despite the fact that the British food standards agency has recently found that three-quarters of British grown oysters contain the noro-virus (otherwise sensitively known as the winter vomiting bug), they are always an exciting prospect. Don’t worry by the way –  this is not a new phenomenon – they always have contained the virus and apparently most strains are non-infectious (saying that, if you do this and you get sick, don’t come running to me. In fact it was with interest that I noted the BBC food website has no recipes with raw oysters. Lily livered chickens).

I don’t know what it is about these little rocky molluscs, but they seem to give you license to go properly mad – they’re sexy, edgy and just a little bit dangerous – what other food can boast the same? They also demand that you have a drink in your hand when you eat them – champagne, martini or bloody mary – all work beautifully. I’m sure this is why people mistakenly consider oysters to be an aphrodisiac – it’s got nothing to do with the oyster itself, it’s to do with the fact that after a dozen oysters, you’re 10 units down and your beer goggles are well and truly strapped to your head.

Many years ago, when we lived in Antibes, we used to go to the supermarket a few days before Christmas and there would be a huge mountain of boxes filled with oysters with masses of people queuing up to gets theirs in, ready for Christmas eve. It’s an absolute must for the last dinner before Christmas day for many French families – and I think we should be doing the same over here (followed by a beautiful pan fried sea bass – maybe I’ll do that one later on in the week…)

Oysters for Christmas eve

This is so simple. You need a big platter with lots of crushed ice and enough oysters for 4-5 for each person. Open them and serve with the following three sauces, which your guests simply dribble over the top of their oyster before slipping them gently into their mouths…

  1. Red wine vinegar, very finely chopped shallot, salt and papper and a little finely chopped parsley (and a little chilli if you like)
  2. Lime juice, very finely chopped garlic and fresh red chilli, caster sugar, rice wine vinegar and finely chopped fresh coriander (oh my god this one is good)
  3. Lemon juice and a few drops of tabasco, straight onto the little fella

And don’t forget the martini, bloody mary, champagne – it doesn’t work without…

I’m going to do this one today if I can find some oysters in town, so pictures will come later.

Not for lily-livered chickens

I’ve done this before, but it was a long time ago and in the spirit of keeping up this Christmas food thing, I think it’s worth including again –

Sadly though, it seems to be another one of those foods that divides people – mention chicken liver pate in passing conversation and you can bet that someone will pull the same sort of face that you would expect them to reserve for bee stings and treading in particularly squidgy dog turds. I understand that we all have different tastes, I really do, but I will never understand how people can have such a violent reaction to foods that millions of other people are perfectly happy to put in their mouths and enjoy? You’re just a bunch of chickens – give it a try and see. It won’t poison you. You won’t spend a week on the loo. And you may just find that you like it. As long as you open your mind and give it a chance.

For those that don’t need convincing, do give this a go – it’s very quick, it freezes well and it’s another great thing to have on the table at Christmas.

Chicken liver pate

Roughly chop an onion, a few cloves of garlic and a little chopped red chilli and fry in a pan with butter. After a few minutes add about 250g of chicken livers to the pan and continue to fry on a moderate heat. Next add half a glass of white wine and a good splash of brandy, plenty of seasoning and cook for about five minutes allowing the wine to reduce and the livers to cook through.

In a blender, add a handful of chopped parsley and few tablespoons of cream cheese then add the liver mixture and blend to a smooth paste.
Turn in out into a bowl and top with  a large nob of butter which will melt and form a seal over the pate.

Leave it in the fridge – if you can bear to wait then give it a day before cracking it open…