If you ever wanted to know what happens behind the closed doors of a professional kitchen, take a dip into the first book from Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell.
In 'Cracking Yolks & Pig Tales,' Glynn shares his secrets and recreates his trademark witty, elegant dishes using affordable and accessible ingredients.
Glynn has been praised as one of the trailblazers and standard bearers for a new generation of chefs.
Brought up on a council estate in Birmingham, he learned a love of food in a large family where his dinner lady mum made all the meals during the week - using lots of fresh veg and offal and never a frozen chip in sight. His dad, who loved chefs like Keith Floyd, Ken Hom and Madhur Jaffery, took over at the weekends, and Glynn's taste buds quickly developed an appreciation for both pig's trotters and spices.
The signs were there from early on when Glynn would try out dishes on his siblings, adding curry powder and onions to beans on toast, adding cheese on top for good measure.
While head chef at Jessica's, he was awarded Birmingham's first ever Michelin star and he is now the proud owner of three restaurants in his native city including Purnell's which won a Michelin star in 2009.
Glynn regularly pops up on TV shows like Saturday Kitchen with James Martin and The Greta British Food Revival. His easy to follow methods in the book make the dishes realistic and achievable.
"This is not a restaurant cookbook or a home cookbook; it's just a cookbook. If you want to cook a challenging dish from the restaurant such as haddock, eggs and cornflakes, you'll find it here. If you want to flick through it and use it to prop up a wonky table, it's good for that too, Enjoy the book, there's some swearing, some true stories and recipes that all work, promise."
WATERCRESS AND WASABI PEA SOUP
Peppery, smooth and with a little heat. What me? Ha ha! No, although a great description. These ingredients — fresh green watercress and spinach, fiery wasabi peas and juicy water chestnuts — make a great team. Watercress is one of my favourite ingredients; a little retro, but it's making a great comeback. It's the George Foreman of lettuce and, wow, what a soup it makes.
YOU WILL NEED
For the soup
Splash of vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
100g potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
400g picked spinach
400g picked watercress
Grating of nutmeg
Pinch of ground ginger
Heat a saucepan with a little vegetable oil and sweat the onion and garlic over a gentle heat until soft. Add the potatoes, cover with half the stock and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Add the spinach and watercress and simmer until wilted, then add the remainder of the stock, the nutmeg and the ginger. Simmer for a further 5 minutes, then whizz in a blender until smooth and pass through a sieve.
For the garnish
2 tbsp wasabi peas
10 black peppercorns
150g soured cream
150g drained canned water chestnuts,
Simple white loaf, to serve
Using a pestle and mortar, crush the peas and peppercorns, then add to the soured cream in a bowl and mix together. Place the soured cream mixture in serving bowls and evenly sprinkle with the water chestnut slices. Pour the soup over the top. Serve with bread.
TURBOT WITH SCORCHED LETTUCE, FONDUE OF ONION AND CREME FRAICHE
This could be a dish for a dinner party or a BBQ. The turbot kept on the bone on the barbecue would be amazing, and the crisp Cos lettuce thrown over the hot grill is class too.
Onion cooked down in butter and then mixed with creme fraiche sounds rich, and it is, but it has a warm acidity to it that marries well with the fish and scorched lettuce. All you need is a massive glass of chilled white wine, about the size of a bottle. Serves 4
YOU WILL NEED
For the turbot
4 x 150g turbot fillets
50g plain flour, for dusting
1 tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
Dust the turbot fillets with the flour, shaking off the excess, then rub with the olive oil.
Heat an ovenproof frying pan until hot and fry the turbot fillets on each
side for about 3 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for a further 4-5 minutes until the fish is just cooked through.
For the onion fondue
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
300g creme fraiche
4 medium spring onions, shredded
Freshly ground black pepper
½ bunch of chives, finely chopped
Heat a frying pan until medium hot, add the butter and sliced onions and cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes until soft.
Add the creme fraiche and spring onions and stir through. Season to taste with black pepper and then add the chives. Remove from the heat and set aside until needed.
For the scorched lettuce
8 whole baby leeks
8 Cos lettuce leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Bunch of watercress
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Juice of ½ lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
Blanch the leeks in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in iced water, then drain well.
Scorch the lettuce leaves with a kitchen blowtorch or in a hot frying pan or under a hot grill and then season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Mix with the watercress and blanched baby leeks.
Whisk the vinegar, half the lemon juice and the olive oil together in a bowl to make a vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Remove the turbot from the oven. Add the knob of butter and the remaining lemon juice from the lettuce to the pan and then baste the fish with the juices. Spoon some of the onion fondue onto each serving plate and then top with a turbot fillet. Dress the lettuce, watercress and leeks with the vinaigrette and arrange around the turbot.
MARJORAM-SCENTED CREME CARAMEL
his is a French classic and sometimes it's best to leave the classics alone, so I don't really mess around with it too much. I've done more in the way of a gentle twist by infusing the milk with marjoram, which imparts a subtle flavour and gives the dish another angle. With the blackberries it's a class act, but pear makes an interesting alternative. You could also experiment by infusing the milk with different herbs.
YOU WILL NEED
275ml full-fat milk
2 sprigs of marjoram, plus extra leaves to decorate
1 vanilla pod, split
2 large free-range eggs
200g caster sugar
2 tbsp water
A handful of blackberries, lightly crushed (optional)
Icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1.
Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the marjoram sprigs and the seeds scraped from the vanilla pod along with the pod. Bring to the boil, then remove the pan from the heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.
Stir the eggs and 100g of the sugar together in a bowl until combined. Pass the infused milk through a sieve into a jug and then gradually whisk the warm milk into the egg mixture. Set aside.
Heat the water and the rest of the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat slightly and bring to the boil. Every now and then, carefully swirl the pan to even out the heat and brush the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water to prevent sugar crystals forming. Boil for about 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture turns to a dark golden-brown caramel.
Immediately pour the hot caramel into four 8cm diameter, 3cm deep ramekins, carefully swirling each one so that the caramel coats the base. Leave to cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes until the caramel has set.
Stand the ramekins in a small roasting tin, then pour the custard into each one. Carefully add hot water to the roasting tin so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins (take care not to get any water in the custard). Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until just set (there should be a slight wobble in the very centre of the custard). Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then chill in the fridge, preferably overnight.
Run a blunt-ended knife around the edges of each ramekin and turn out onto serving plates, giving them a firm shake if necessary. Scatter the crushed blackberries around the edges, decorate with a few marjoram leaves and dust with icing sugar.