Since graduating a month ago (!) I’ve not stopped. Moving from stage to trial to private job, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind and, though I’m exhausted, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not the kind of person who can do nothing for long periods of time, instead choosing to fill my diary as full as I can, as many dinner dates, coffee dates, lunch dates, private jobs, stages as is physically possible. Of course the downside to this is that when I get sick I get really sick, a classic case of burning the candle at both ends, and recently this is exactly what’s happened to me.
L-R: practising rochers at home, aka. my obsession; potato baguettes at Viajante.
But c’est la vie, I’m not one to sit around, keep moving and blast the virus out of my system, catching a bit of sleep here and there where I can (“where I can” being the key part of that sentence). So last week I found myself jumping from the baking school where I intern to a private job at the weekend helping out my good friend Cindy with her stall at Tim Anderson’s Matsuri in London on Dalston Roof Park (incidentally, Cindy made the Japanese chiffon cheesecake pictured below for me, she is a wonderful baker and private caterer, check out her company Petit Gateau), to a restaurant trial in East London, then straight into another private job, this time in a penthouse apartment overlooking the Thames Water Barrier.
Lucky for me, my lovely friend Jeanne, aka. Cook Sister, was an attendee at said private job, which means that I actually have beautiful photos of the food we cooked! Finally, right?! All photographs are courtesy of Jeanne and she’s writing up her thoughts on the food, so check back for that soon – how great is it to have beautiful supportive friends?
All photographs courtesy of Jeanne Horak-Druiff.
I must also mention my wonderful, amazing friend and best Sous Chef, Jenni (pictured at the top of the post). Jenni and I went to Leiths together and much of the year was spent with us sitting across from one another in the dem room, mostly giggling hysterically over stupid things, eating everything and anything we could get our hands on, and occasionally/frequently yelling at her (whilst sat next to her): “JENNAAAAAY!” And her responding by yelling back, “JACKAAAAAY!” Jen is truly a wonderful, wonderful chef and she has been my absolute life saver on my past two jobs. I have no idea why she puts up with me because I am, I fully admit, a very controlling and bossy soul to work with, not to mention the fact that on the past two jobs I ended up pulling all-nighters and she survived on a couple of hour’s sleep at best, but put up with me she does and she does an absolutely stellar job every time. So massive thanks to Jen for being so patient, reliable and, frankly, just damn good at what she does – I’ve never seen anybody gut a fish faster!
But anyway, enough rambling, you want a recipe right? This wild rice salad, adapted from Ina Garten, was a runaway hit at my private job and it is ridiculously good. You kind of need it in your life, especially now when hot weather calls for something fresh – personally I think the camargue red rice and the pecans makes it. Make it and eat it – I promise you, you won’t be able to stop once you start: it’s awesome.
Photo courtesy of Jeanne Horak-Druiff.
WILD RICE SALAD
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s How Easy Is That?; serves 4 – 6.
170 g mixed red camargue red rice and wild rice
2 navel oranges
2 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsps good quality red wine vinegar
Handful seedless green grapes, cut in half
Large handful pecans, toasted
60 g dried cranberries
3 – 4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Place the rice in a medium pot, covered with about 900 ml cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 50 – 60 mins or until rice is very tender, season with 2 tsps salt, drain well and put back in pot. Cover and allow to steam for 10 mins.
2. Whilst the rice is steaming, prep the oranges: using a sharp knife, cut away the peel (including the pith), then cut in-between the membrane to remove the orange segments. Set aside and squeeze the juice from the membranes, reserving.
3. Place the warm rice in a mixing bowl and add the grapes, pecans, cranberries and spring onion. Toss to combine.
4. Half an hour before you’re ready to serve the salad, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar and orange juice in a small bowl, season to taste and cover the salad, tossing well to make sure it’s well coated. Allow to sit for 30 mins, then arrange the prepared orange segments on top and serve at room temperature. Dig in and enjoy!
Until next time, enjoy your summer! I know I am, even if I am running all over the shop – but then I wouldn’t have it any other way, would I?
Peace and love,