The World’s Best Ribeye Rub. Guaranteed.

The crust…ugggghhh so good!

One of nature’s most perfect foods is a beautifully marbled and fatty rib-eye steak, and in such instances, when the actual produce is so good, it’s difficult to improve on nature, so whatever you end up doing to it, it has to be subtle and all additions should be with the express purpose of helping the steak amplify its flavour. Here the coffee and the smoked paprika add bitterness and smokiness to amplify the charred flavour, the pomegranate molasses caramelizes and aids the crunchy crust in forming while adding a touch of tart sweetness that makes the fatty bits in the steak really sing. Give it a go, I guarantee you’ll be smitten.

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Potato Gnocchi with a Lobster Hollandaise and Butter Seared Slipper Lobster Tail

A creamy, rich, fluffy, decadent bowl of exquisite goodness

This here is definitely one of my most accomplished dishes. I’ve had an ill-formed vision of this dish since I came upon the magic seafood reduction way back here. Although not yet complete, it’s a very strong foundation on which to build on. Everything on this plate screams decadence, from the fluffy soft gnocchi to the creamy rich seafood sauce and topped with the soft buttery pieces of the lobster tail. It might be missing another note, some freshness and some texture maybe. Recipe after the jump.

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Smoked Paprika and Coffee Slow Cooked Short-Ribs

The definition of ugly-delicious…

My current favorite cut of beef that’s not a rib-eye. Short ribs are insanely flavorful, super-juicy, and are excellent when slow cooked to be used in all sorts of applications, be it empanada fillings, wonton fillings, pasta filling, taco or bun filling…. Well, you get the idea. There’s a distinct pleasure in eating slow-cooked meat, it’s decadent, rich, unctuous and I feel it’s enjoyment factor is very different from that when eating a pan-fried or grilled steak. The spice rub on this short-rib is something I’ve developed over time, earthiness and smokiness of the paprika and the coffee accentuate the ribs’ meatiness while the pomegranate molasses adds sharpness and sweetness. All in all beef doesn’t get much better than this.

Makes enough for about 24 empanada fillings or 12 big tacos

2 short ribs, bone in

2 tbsp olive oil per rib

2 tbsp of pomegranate molasses per rib

1 tsp of smoked paprika per rib

1 tsp of finely ground coffee per rib

½ tsp of cumin powder per rib

Plenty of salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 120 degrees Celsius, place the ribs in a deep baking tray and coat the ribs with the oil and molasses, then rub all the spices and coat the ribs evenly. Season the ribs generously with salt and pepper , cover the tray with aluminium foil and then stick in the oven for about 5 hours. Uncover after 5 hours, take the meat off the bone, shred and cook uncovered for about 20mins. All done!

Killer Mushroom Risotto. No Doubt.

Plenty of pine-nuts, plenty of Parmesan and it’s on!

There are two quintessential risotti, mushroom risotto and saffron risotto. I feel nothing can combine and wrap up all the best qualities of a good risotto like a mushroom risotto. The earthiness of the mushrooms, the sharpness of the Parmesan, the soulfulness of the stock and the creamy starchiness of the actual rice; a complete and wholesome meal in a single dish. Risottos(i) are quite easy to execute, the main keys to success are ensuring that the stock used is of super quality, and when to take the rice off the heat. The rice needs to be nice and cooked, not chalky at all, while having some but to it, not a mushy mess. A good thing to remember is to use hot stock, if the stock is cold, the actual rice grains won’t be cooked properly, the outside of the grain will be overcooked and the center of the grain would be hard and chalky. Keep those few tips in mind and you’ll be sure to make a home-run risotto.

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3 Hour Braised Beef Short Rib with a Killer Sauce

That sauce was the best thing ever

It’s not usual to find a dish that packs a punch in terms of flavor and general bad-ass-ness as well as being refined, delicate and refined. I am proud to say that this here is one such dish. I’ve recently become enamored with beef short ribs as a choice cut for long-term braises; all of sweet, juicy, fatty and tasty the meat comes out super-decadent. These tortellini were braised with some beef speck for smokiness, and some vegetables aromatics and a whole bunch of wine, stock and cognac. That braising liquid was then reduced for about 45 minutes skimmed for fat, creamed up, and brightened up with verjuice, mamma mia! Recipe below.

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Hot, Thick, Rich South Indian Chicken Coconut Curry

Bright, creamy, spicy and a whole lotta soothing!

Curries are generally a thing of beauty, halfway between a stew and a soup, they can easily be eaten with some Basmati rice, some nice butter naan bread or just by themselves. While most people will be familiar with the spicy curries from central and north India, and generally well versed in the nuances of their more herbal and coconutty Thai and Malay counterparts, south Indian curries can get lost somewhere in  the middle. South Indian curries possess all the spice of there compatriot dishes, but have coconut cream or milk added to make them more fragrant, richer, creamier and more loose. This is a pretty standard and easy recipe to make, and the result is a more than satisfying explosion of flavour you would expect of an Indian curry but with the soothing coconut creaminess associated with a Thai curry.

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Harira Soup. The Heartiest Soup of All

With a dollop of Greek Yogurt to add some creaminess. Amazing

This is the big bad daddy of soups. It is hearty, meaty, full of goodness and has just the right amount of spice to get your attention without blowing a fuse. I also believe that it’s the perfect *ahem* hangover cure; the next day after a rough night, around 4-5 in the afternoon right when the appetite starts to return, a bowl of this big bad boy will totally set everything back in order.

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Risotto Caccio e Peppe. Eat your heart out Massimo Bottura

Creamy, smooth, guilty, sharp and peppery all at once. A triumph.

So you might’ve gathered from the number of risotto recipes here that I’m a bit fond of the dish… and while it’s difficult not to really enjoy a well made risotto, this one here was a particularly enjoyable experience. It was everything that one would expect of a classic Roman Caccio e Peppe pasta i.e. cheesy, decadent, funky and simple but with the added wholesomeness you get with a risotto owing to the addition of amazing golden home-made chicken stock. I can’t stress enough on the importance of a good stock to the final outcome of a risotto, and no more so than here.

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Asian Chicken Ball, Pesto and Masterstock Shot

Light, sophisticated and packed full of flavour

I recently cooked this dish as a starter during a four course Asian inspired pop-up dinner. I wanted to begin the meal with something that was small, full of flavor and visually appealing. The idea was to make it look like an espresso shot with the very brown and shiny chicken ball a play on a sweet accompaniment to the coffee. The idea then evolved to put the stock in a shot glass and add the Asian “pesto” to give the dish something fresh, bright and relief texturally. It’s fairly easy to do, and guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Recipe after the jump.

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Spaghetti alla Bottarga, the Dream Comes True

A pile of fishy funky heaven on a plate

There’s been no dish in recent memory that’s captured my imagination like Spaghetti alla Bottarga. Bottarga is a not so common ingredient that’s basically a super funky, salty and sweet cured Mediterranean mullet roe. Varieties of Bottarga are found across all the Mediterranean, but the general consensus is that it originated in Egypt (thus the name being taken from the Arabic word Batarekh which apparently has roots in the Coptic language). Bottarga is very potent and it’s definitely a love it or hate it thing. It’s usually eaten as thinly sliced carpaccio with drizzled lemon and olive oil, but when combined with a delicious spaghetti, I feel is when it truly comes to life. Spaghetti alla Bottarga in a strictly Sicillian sense is just dry spaghetti, cooked, drizzled with lots of great olive oil and then with just some grated bottarga added on top. I wanted to next-level it a bit, so I made this crazy shrimp stock that was reduced down for hours, until it was this pungent thick nectar of the sea gods. The spaghetti was tossed in this sauce before getting the Bottarga treatment and drizzled with some excellent extra virgin olive oil. Incredible, recipe after the jump.

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