For many, being stuck at home for months on end triggered a new-found love for food. As our country faced adversity in the form of the coronavirus pandemic, we sought comfort in our kitchens and took pleasure in exploring new flavours.
Hide’s former head chef Luke Selby, who recently took the helm at Evelyn’s Table, was among those who was inspired to experiment with fresh culinary approaches during the first lockdown, documenting each dish he created on Instagram. Through engaging stories and easy recipes, his platform grew and he now has more than 23,000 followers.
Now, Selby has compiled some of those creations into a tasteful cookbook, Luke’s Lockdown Dinners, in which each chapter charts a week in lockdown. Drawing on his Filipino heritage and experience working with culinary experts including Clare Smyth, Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones, the book features restaurant-style dishes such as steam buns with tofu, slow-cooked beef ragu and berry clafoutis. Meanwhile, home cooks will enjoy recipes such as those for crispy chilli lamb, a clever way to use up leftover roast lamb, and chicken ramen, which utilises a whole chicken carcass.
Offering ideal gastronomic inspiration for those of us who are struggling with the second wave of restaurant and pub closures, the e-cookbook is also designed to support a good cause: a percentage of sales from each copy will go towards First Love Foundation, a charity and food bank in Tower Hamlets that offers advice, support and emergency food to vulnerable people.
Here, we share one of our favourite recipes from the collection – Selby’s twist on a classic French dessert…
375ml whole milk
250ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
2 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
180g caster sugar
125g plain flour
125g ground almonds
20g demerara sugar
25g flaked almonds
20g icing sugar
150g crème fraîche
Bring the milk, butter, double cream and vanilla pod to the boil and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together lightly, then pour over the warm milk. Mix. Whisk in the flour and ground almonds to make a smooth batter.
Line a dish with the butter and demerara sugar. Place the blueberries evenly on the bottom of the dish and pour over the batter mixture.
Cook for about 35 minutes at 180°C.
Scatter the flaked almonds on top and finish cooking for a further five minutes.
Dust with icing sugar to finish and serve with crème fraîche.
‘Luke’s Lockdown Dinners’ by Luke Selby (£9, www.selbys.co) is available now.
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