Broccolini - Add Some Spice!

I've always said that the Gourmet Female is an incredible cook. In fact, she's the reason I stepped out of my "pasta in a packet and sauce in a jar" phase and really grew to love fresh and locally produced food. And I certainly don't envy that she's the one who cooks the mid-week meals while I get to cook for show on the weekend. But lately I've been asking if she could do something different with the greens than just steam in the microwave. So this Sunday she asked me to step up and do something different!

To start, I'm a fan of pan frying eye fillet steaks with a little bit of olive oil and smoked salt and that's it. So tonight I decided to throw the broccolini in the pan while the steaks were resting and give them a little fry. Here's what you need:

  • pinch garlic salt
  • pinch smoked paprika
  • pinch dried saltbush
  • pinch dukkah
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

This is incredibly simple. Once the steaks are out of the pan toss in the broccolini and drizzle with the olive oil. Squeeze on the lime juice and then add the spices. Toss each minute for five minutes and then serve. That's it! Simple. And it's much tastier than just steaming or boiling the veggies. Give it a go!

Joe Bean - A Passion For Coffee

I pass many of them every day. I visit one or two on most days. Since I moved to Australia almost thirteen years ago I have developed a love of coffee and our café culture. And I’ve always known that friends of ours own a café in Erskineville, NSW but we’ve never spent much time talking about it. Lately, I dropped by for brunch and the conversation quickly turned to coffee - their love of it and the passion and history behind their homegrown brand, Joe Bean.

Meet Antoun and Joel. Friends of ours for many years and the owners of Bakerman café in Erskineville and proprietors of Joe Bean.

Antoun’s parents owned a small shop in their village in the north of Lebanon where they used to make their own cakes and sweets, roast their own coffee. The locals would hang out, play cards, drink booze and enjoy copious amounts of fresh coffee. After a couple years Antoun’s father purchased a gas operated espresso machine, which was a first in the area. It transformed the little shop and soon coffee was flowing in the family’s blood. It’s obvious now where the passion for coffee and food came from. 

The boys always wanted to roast their own coffee and to move on from the big name coffees they used in the past, but Joel was sure that the punters wanted the “name” and weren’t that interested in having variety and freshly roasted coffee. So to make his point Antoun started roasting on the stove in a pot. He purchased 5kg of green beans online and got roasting. That is, in the middle of summer with the kitchen hitting temperatures above 40C regularly and beans shaking in a heavy pot every fifteen minutes, waiting to crack. Imagine a lather of sweat, bean dust, and more than a few times, “Shit, it’s hot!”

The logical next step was to host a cupping evening with some of Bakerman’s best customers. It was a hit and Joe Bean was off and running. In the heat of the moment the boys rushed off and bought a 1kg coffee roaster – you can still see it sitting, unused, on the counter today…

To roast coffee you need a well-ventilated space with a proper exhaust system attached to the roaster. Well, that’s the normal set up. Let’s just say that the initial system was “makeshift”. It was quite a creation, utilising plumbing pipes, expanded hose and metres of temporary hose running through the false ceiling. While the coffee was showing promise it was a bit disconcerting that customers were  “walking into a wall of smoke” (one bit of customer feedback). So they purchased a larger roaster and took on a space in western Sydney that was in an industrial estate with the correct ventilation. They now have two of these operating.

This took a while to arrive from overseas, so they continued to roast on the stove and use the branded coffee they were using, as it was too much work to hand roast 40kg per week. When the new roaster arrived they stopped using the branded coffee and started using their own roast. There were social occasions where Antoun would speak to friends and dream a fresh roast coffee company. The boys were interested in the wholesale side, selling to cafes and they had a friend who was into the retail customers buying for home use. Roast to order was their mantra, ensuring the customer always gets the freshest product.

The original plan was to allow customers to design their own bespoke blends, so they ensured that the system was designed for this – which will be reality when have a higher volume. This is to give the customer control of the beans and the roast, so they can create their own flavour.  

The boys have four blends and ten single origin beans. Some are sourced locally, but most are imported as the selection in Australia is very limited, plus the cost is prohibitive. This gives them a great variety of flavours and bean profiles. The importance of freshly roasted coffee, like any other food product is the quality and flavour. Coffee needs to rest for up to seven days after roasting to allow the coffee to degas, but it should always be used within twenty-one days to get the best flavour and crema. Their objective is to have more cafes serving freshly roasted coffee, rather than beans that have been warehoused for months.

They don’t want Joe Bean to become a massive company, as this is where companies lose the ability to roast to order. They will stop taking on more customers if they are not able to roast to order and give the best service. They dream of having Joe Bean coffee in cafes that have well trained staff, who understand the delicate nature of making coffee, not just every cafe. They are not into selling equipment and supplies, even though this is where many large coffee companies make much of their profits. Their ultimate goal? Keep our prices reasonable and keep people drinking great coffee.

Running a café seven days per week is hard enough, let alone trying to grow a coffee brand at the same time. The boys bake their own cakes and pastries, which makes for an all night operation. Time is at a premium. But in the end, coffee is their love. It’s their passion. And Joe Bean is the fruit of their labour. So here’s to you, gents! And we are all looking forward to a warm cup of tasty Joe Bean coffee in our near future.

 

Chef Mark Hix - Roast Chicken With New Season Garlic Sauce

Here at Gourmet Male we are always on the lookout for guest chefs who can share their incredible recipes with us. We've had some crackers over the years but today's guest chef, Mark Hix, is definitely one of the best we've had. If you don't know Chef Hix, educate yourself! He is the Chef/Owner of Hix Oyster and Chop House, Hix Oyster & Fish House, and Hix Soho. And we're lucky enough to feature his recipe at the time when he's just launched Hixter Bankside in July (details here)! 

As I've found so many times, if you just ask you'll be surprised at how gracious people can be. So, thanks to Chef Hix for his "Roast Chicken with New Garlic Sauce". Enjoy!

This dish was inspired by several visits to L’Ami Louis in Paris, where the food is simple and honest, respecting the quality ingredients used.  We buy Swainson House Farm chickens, which have an amazing gamey flavour.


  • 1 free-range chicken, about 1.5kg, with livers
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a few sprigs each of thyme and rosemary
  • a few generous knobs of butter

FOR THE STUFFING

  • 60g butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g chicken livers, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 80-100g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve

TO SERVE

Baked new season garlic sauce (see below)

Straw potatoes (see below)

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.  Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.  Put the herbs into the cavity.  Rub butter all over the breast and legs. 

For the stuffing, melt the butter in a pan.  Add the onion, livers and thyme, season and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Off the heat, mix in the breadcrumbs, parsley and seasoning.  Either use to stuff your bird or cook separately in an ovenproof dish wrapped in foil for the last 30-40 minutes. 

Put the chicken into a large roasting tin and roast in the oven, basting regularly and adding the livers to the roasting tin for the last 6 minutes or so.  Test the chicken after 1 ¼ hours by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh.  The juices should run clear; if not roast for a little longer.

Lift the chicken onto a warmed platter and rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with some more chopped parsley and serve with the roasted livers, stuffing, garlic sauce and straw potatoes.

Baked new season garlic sauce

  • 4 heads of new season garlic
  • a few sprigs of curly parsley
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard, or more to taste
  • 70g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 tbsp duck fat, warmed, or the pan juices from the roast chicken
  • a little milk, to mix
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Makes enough for 4

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.  Wrap the garlic bulbs in foil and bake them in the oven for 1 hour.  Unwrap and leave until cool enough to handle, then peel away any tough outer skin.

Put the garlic into a blender with the parsley, mustard, breadcrumbs and warm duck fat or chicken juices and blend until smooth.  Add enough milk to give the sauce a thick pouring consistency and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with roast chicken.

Straw potatoes

  • 4 large chipping potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, Spunta or Maris Piper, peeled
  • vegetable or corn oil, for deep-frying
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • sea salt

Serves 4

Using a mandolin with a shredding attachment or a sharp knife, cut the potatoes into long matchsticks, about 3mm thick.  Wash them well in a couple of changes of cold water to remove the excess starch, then drain and pat dry on some kitchen paper.

Heat an 8cm depth of oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 120-140C.  Deep-fry the potatoes in manageable batches (a couple of handfuls at a time) for 2-3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander.

Increase the temperature of the oil to 160-180C and re-fry the potatoes with the garlic slices in batches, moving them around in the pan, until golden and crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.  Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately.

Alternatively, you can keep the straw potatoes warm, uncovered, on a baking tray in a low oven until ready to serve.  They should stay crisp but if not you can briefly re-fry them in hot oil to crisp them up again.

 The best way to cook a quality chicken is simply, and on the bone.  Try varying the vegetables

Hixter Bankside - New Launch!

Here at Gourmet Male we're always keen to help get the word out for great new restaurants. And as part of an upcoming guest post, Chef Mark Hix sent through the details of his new venture, Hixter Bankside. Damn, I wish a trip to the UK was in my near future! But if you're anywhere near London I'd say give this a go. Nothing like amazing chicken and steaks!

Background

On 30 July 2014, Mark Hix opened his first restaurant south of the river – Hixter Bankside. Ideally situated across from the Tate Modern, and just a short walk from Borough Market, and with its great design and unique commissions, Hixter Bankside is set to become a distinctive addition to the neighbourhood, and ideal for those hungry for art. Hixter Bankside builds on Mark’s already well-liked concept of serving a whole roast chicken or steaks of 250g and 500g to share. This simple approach means that 2-3 people can share a whole roast chicken, with chips and salad for £25 and steaks from £20. Quality and value for money with a backdrop of great design and thought-provoking art from leading British artists is at home here.

Mark's Bar, a second outpost of Mark Hix's award-winning Soho cocktail bar is located in the basement, with stunning 'New York' style design and a cocktail menu championing British drinks.

Typical Dishes

  • Six Porthilly rock oysters with spicy Sillfield Farm sausages
  • Cock 'n' Bull croquettes
  • De Beauvoir ‘Hix cure’ smoked salmon with shaved fennel
  • Portland crab with Isle of Wight ox heart tomatoes and chives
  • Roast barn-reared Indian Rock chicken with stuffing and chips for 2-3 to share Griddled piri piri spring chicken
  • Glenarm mighty marbled sirloin steak with chips and béarnaise Herb-roasted Chateaubriand for 2 to share
  • Hixter Chateau steak with watercress and shallot salad
  • Ronnie’s Bramley apple pie
  • Salted caramel fondue with marshmallows and doughnuts

Wine/Drinks

International wine list starting at £18.75 per bottle, with 20 available by the glass, from £5. Champagne from £39.75 (£8 glass). A selection of artisanal cocktails available, including The Avenue £9 (Four Roses Yellow bourbon with Somerset Royal 3 year old cider brandy, passion fruit nectar, Mark’s grenadine and orange blossom), and the famous Hix Fix £13.50 (Morello cherry in Somerset apple eau de view topped with Nyetimber Brut Reserve), and an extensive rum and whisky collection.

Price Range

Snax: £1.50-£16.95; Starters £8.25- £14.50
Swainson House Farm chicken: £13.50-£25; Glenarm Mighty Marbled Steak: £13.50-£75 Puddings: £6.50-£14.50
Kids under 10 eat for free every day from 4 to 6pm.

Opening Hours

Hixter Bankside: Monday-Saturday 11.30am-Midnight; Sunday 11.30am-11pm Mark’s Bar: until 1.30am

Design

The beautifully designed 140-seat restaurant, located in a Victorian metal factory, comprises of over 7000 sq ft and is divided between two striking dining rooms and a cocktail bar - Mark’s, in the basement. The restaurant features a vast glass fronted kitchen, neon signage by Tracey Emin, and show-stopping work by leading British artists Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Henry Hudson, Pauline Amos, Gary Webb and Mat Collishaw. The Cock ‘n’ Bull dining room, which overlooks the open plan kitchen, is available for private hire for up to 10 guests. The Parlour is also available for up to 50 people seated or 70 standing, while Mark’s Bar in the basement can host private dinners and parties for up to 100.

Miscellaneous

Full address: 16 Great Guildford Street, Southwark, London, SE1 0HS
Reservations: 020-7921 9508 Website: www.hixterbankside.co.uk Twitter: @HixterBankside Nearest station: London Bridge/Southwark