Little black book

On this page, we have collected a bunch of those quick preparations that sometimes require une aide à la mémoire, but do not warrant a standalone recipe. We keep these at home in a ‘little black book’, but we are putting them online, not only to share with you, but also to remind ourselves. 

Anchovy essence
Flavour enhancer for meat. Simmer equal (volumetric) quantities of minced anchovies, red wine vinegar, water, lemon juice, plus a big pinch (quarter tsp) of cayenne pepper in a Mauviel Mini for about 15 mins. Cool and strain.

Japanese fresh pickles. Rub thinly sliced vegetables and chillis with 3% w/w salt. Bag and leave for a day.

Barbecue sauce/glaze
See ‘Sauce, barbecue.’

Baking powder
1 tsp will leaven 125g (1 cup) of flour).

Choux pastry with tsp baking powder in it, deep-fried to orange colour. Oven 180˚C 6 mins. Dust with icing sugar or cinnamon-laced caster.

Beurre blanc
2 shallots, chopped; 2 tbsp white wine vinegar; 100ml white wine; 200g butter. Reduce liquids with shallots until almost gone. Whisk in butter, season.

Bread, revive stale
Run under tap to wet outside. Oven 150˚C, 6–10 mins.

0.5 cup sugar, 0.25 cup golden syrup, melted in pan per caramel. Stir in 0.5 cup nuts and 0.25 tsp baking soda (add pinch salt if nuts not salted). Pour into parchment-lined baking tin, spread thin with oiled spatula as needed. Cool and break into bits. Syrup adds smoothness; soda adds bubble for crunch. Basic recipes are all-sugar with no soda.

Broccoli, roasted with Parmesan
Break up veg, add olive oil, garlic and seasoning. Roast 180˚C for 25 skins. Dress with Parmesan, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Brodo di caponne
Italian chicken broth. Chicken, carrots onion, celery, tomato, cloves, juniper, bay, seasoning.

Butter, hazelnut
AKA beurre d’Aveline or beurre noisette. Blend 100g blanched and toasted (or roasted and peeled) hazelnuts with 2.5ml water until paste. Combine with 250g unsalted butter and pass through a fine sieve.

Burger dressing
4 tbsp mayonnaise, 2 tbsp tomato ketchup, 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, season.

Cabbage, braised
Quarter cabbage, sear to brown in oil. Add stock to one third depth, whole garlic cloves, rosemary and thyme. Simmer with cartouche for 20–30 mins. From Marcus Wareing MasterChef Pro skills test.

Caramel, salted
175g brown sugar, 300ml double cream, 50g butter, half tsp salt. Heat the whole lot over low until sugar dissolves. Up the heat and bubble until syrup. Cool to store. Serve warm, but not hot. 

Chutney anything
Tart fruit, sugar, vinegar (1:2) and lemon. Cook and cool. Can add ginger, tamarind, garlic, onion, salt, fenugreek, coriander etc.

Cabbage with vinegarette or mayo. All else is casual. Derived from 17th C. Dutch ‘koolsla.’

Cous cous
Pyrex bowl. Boiling water. Put cous cous into bowl. Cover with boiling water 15mm above the surface of the cous cous and stir a couple of times. Leave for five minutes and break up with a fork. John Gale via Twitter.

Crème Chantilly
600ml whipping cream (chilled), 30g caster, vanilla to taste.

Crème patisserie
25g plain flour, 80g caster sugar, pinch salt, 7g unsalted butter, 2 eggs, 1 vanilla pod, 250ml milk. Flour, sugar, salt, butter and eggs in a heavy saucepan; work with whisk until combined. Heat milk in a saucepan with vanilla pod until it boils. Add milk to the dough, stir well and boil moderately for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the crème to an earthenware dish to cool, stirring occasionally.

Crêpes, Escoffier A (with less sugar)
Blender will over-activate gluten. Use a hand whisk.

Flour, g500250125
SaltPinchPinchSml pinch
Milk, ml1500740375
Caster, tbsp842

Crêpes, de famille
100g plain flour, 300ml milk, 2 eggs. Combine half the flour, then the rest. Do not overwork.

Crêpes, Calum Franklin
150g plain flour, 1 large egg, 325ml semi-skimmed milk, 30g unsalted butter, melted

Crumble, dessert
170g flour, pinch salt, 110g butter, 55g sugar, rub (do not process as it will be too fine). 
Fruit base: 400g tart fruit, 75g caster, 2tbsp cornflour. 45mins @ 200˚C.

Crumpets, sourdough trash
By James Hillery and Hobbs House Bakery. Mix 270g sourdough feed discard with 1 tbsp clear honey or maple syrup, half a tsp of salt and half a tsp of bicarb. Griddle in oiled crumpet rings in an oiled pan until the edges brown. Remove ring and flip to finish.

Curd, lemon
Zest and juice of 2 lemons, 85g butter, 225g granulated sugar, 3 whole beaten eggs. Heat gently until thickened. Strain into jars. Chill.

Curry powder
In equivalents (all ground): 4x coriander, 2x tumeric, 2x cumin, 2x ginger, 2x mustard, 1x cloves. 1x fenugreek, 1x cayenne, 1x cardamom. From Spice Mountain.

Curry sequence, Atul Kochhar
Whole spices -> onions and salt -> ginger-garlic paste -> powdered spices -> tomatoes.

Custard (crème Anglaise)
3 egg yolks, 30g (2 tbsp) caster sugar, whisk until pale. 150ml double cream, 150ml milk, dash of vanilla extract, scald, cool a bit and strain into eggs. Whisk again, transfer back to clean pan and heat to 80˚C.

Dressing, French
Add Dijon mustard to vinaigrette (3:1 oil:vinegar) to taste. Season.

Dressing, Greek
Add tsp Dijon mustard to 200ml vinaigrette (3:1 oil:vinegar) to taste. Add dried oregano (plenty) and minced garlic. Season. Add optional Greek yoghurt.

Dressing, ranch
From the Hidden Valley Ranch, Santa Barbara, CA. 50:50 mayonnaise and buttermilk, seasoned with chives, parsley, dill, garlic, onion powder, seasoning, and mustard. Original was dried for reconstitution.

Eggs, poached Berner’s Tavern
62˚C 50 mins in the shell. Cool rapidly in iced water. Boil water and crack coddled eggs into simmering water and heat for 1 minute. 

Egg yolk, confit
Immerse an egg yolk devoid of white in olive oil (possibly flavoured, e.g garlic, herbs, chilli, truffle) for 1h at 65˚C. A bain marie in a water bath is the most accurate method.

Five spice
Star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper (like coriander) and fennel seeds.

Flatbreads, Ian Haste ‘naan’ style
260g self-raising flour, 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, big pinch of salt, mix. Combine 250ml (1 USA cup) yoghurt into a dough, adding tiny bit of milk if needed. Knead in the bowl until the sides clean. Knead on surface to spring; wrap, chill, rest. Quarter, roll out, press in flavourings (e.g. garlic slices, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, coriander) with rolling pin. Griddle until ‘giraffed.’ Brush with melted butter and sprinkle a bit of sea salt.

Frangipane, basic
150g each of softened unsalted butter, caster and ground almonds, 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in nuts and flavourings. Add a half a tsp of baking powder to lighten for e.g. Bakewell. Add squeeze of lemon if liked (also for Bakewell).

Frangipane, Larousse
200g crème patisserie, 100g softened butter, 100g caster sugar, 100g ground almonds, few drops of vanilla extract, 1 tbsp Navy rum. Mix the softened butter, sugar almonds vanilla and rum. Mix in the crème pâtisserie until smooth.

French fries, Heston Blumenthal triple-cooked
Parboil. Fry 130˚C 6 mins. Fry 190˚C 2 mins. Chill or freeze between steps.

French fries, shoestring
Julienne with mandoline, wash off starch in a couple of bowls of cold water and dry thoroughly with paper. Fry 190˚C 2 mins. Caution is needed because the fat volume will expand a lot.

Game seasons, UK

Rabbit, muntjac, pigeon, hareNo closed season
Pheasant1 Oct – 1 Feb
Grouse12 Aug – 10 Dec
Snipe12 – 31 January
Partridge1 Sep – 1 Feb
Woodcock1 Oct – 31 Jan
Duck, goose, teal, wigeon1 Sep – 31 Jan
DeerVaries between England and Scotland by location, breed and sex

Garlic, roasted
Break up a head of garlic into cloves, unpeeled. Wrap in foil with oil, and roast in an oven at 180˚C for 20 mins. Peel to serve.

1 tbsp of gelatine (1 Dr Oetker sachet) will gel 500ml water. 4 leaves of gelatin = 1 tbsp gelatin, and will also set 500ml. 1 leaf will set 125ml. Bloom before use and always add to hot liquid to prevent ‘roping.’

Heat unsalted butter in a pan; allow it to bubble to cook the solids; skim off the whey proteins that float to the surface; cool a little to solidify the solids a bit more; filter through a coffee filter to obtain the clear, yellow ghee.

500g floury potatoes, peeled, steamed and riced. Add 1 egg yolk, a good pinch of salt, and gradually add pasta flour a spoon at a time, kneading in a bowl until dough no longer sticks to hands. Divide into 8, roll on floured surface to finger thickness, cut into 2cm sections, ball and draw over gnocci board with thumb. Keep on floured towel. Cook in small batches in unsalted water until float. Fish out with spider spoon.

Gnocchi verde
500g floury potatoes, peeled, steamed and riced. Prepare egg by wilting 100g spinach or basil, squeeze dry in a cloth, blend with 1 egg yolk and pass. Add a good pinch of salt, and gradually add pasta flour a spoon at a time, kneading in a bowl until dough no longer sticks to hands. Divide into 8, roll on floured surface to finger thickness, cut into 2cm sections, ball and draw over gnocci board with thumb. Keep on floured towel. Cook in small batches in unsalted water until float. Fish out with spider spoon. Note that reduced liquid volume means this does not blend as easily as the colouring for pasta verde.

Goose, cooking times
Gressingham guide.

Hazelnuts, roasted
Single layer. 180˚C for 15 mins, Rub with towel to remove skins.

Jambon beurre
Classic French lunch sandwich. Baguette split and spread with butter. Fill with slices of good quality ham. Pickles often added.

Leeks, crispy
Juilienne the white part of leeks as fine as possible. Deep fry 180˚C until crispy. Dry on a paper towel. Season with salt immediately before serving.

1 egg yolk, 200ml oil, 2 tbsp vinegar, season.

Mayonnaise, Japanese (Kewpie style)
1 egg yolk, 200ml oil, 2 tbsp vinegar, season, sugar, MSG.

Meat internal temperatures to just done, degC

Beef54 rare
56 medium

Meringue, French
1:60g egg whites:caster sugar. Set oven to 150˚C. Whisk eggs and sugar to soft peaks. Bake on parchment 140˚C (reduce oven temp) 1 hour, and then switch off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven.

Mint sauce
Bunch of mint chopped with salt to break down. Pour over 4 tbsp boiling water. Add 4 tbsp white wine vinegar and 1tbsp caster sugar. Steep.

Flavour enhancer. Add about half a teaspoon for every 4–6 person main dish portion. For one or two people, a large pinch is sufficient.

Nuoc cham
Vietnamese dipping sauce. 50g fish sauce, 75g sugar, 75g water, 50g lime juice, 3 garlic cloves (crushed), chopped red chilli to taste. Heat to dissolve sugar. Cool. Add a dash of soy sauce to colour it, and chuck in a load of chopped coriander.

Onions, glazed
Peeled pearl onions/shallots, 100ml water/stock, sugar, butter. Cook with cartouche until almost dry.

Onion rings
Add 1 tsp baking powder to a single-egg recipe of volumetric Yorkshire pudding batter. Dip rings in batter and then crumbs. Fry 2 mins.

Parmesan crisp
Grated parmesan on a silicone-lined baking tray (pack a cookie cutter to control shape). Bake 200˚C 3–5 mins. Shape while warm. Cool. Do not try to cut the cooled cheese – the crisps will shatter.

Pasta, basic
100g Petra 7220 granpasta flour and 1 egg per person (or 100g flour per 61.5g wet ingredients if increasing yolk proportion or using wet flavouring). No salt, but cook pasta in ‘mild seawater.’ Full instructions here.

Pasta di ortica (nettles)
100g Petra 7220 granpasta flour and 1 egg per person. No salt, but cook pasta in ‘mild seawater. Prepare egg by boiling nettles 25 mins, squeeze dry in a cloth, blend with the egg and pass. See Pasta, basic for link to full instructions for the base product.

Pasta verde
100g Petra 7220 granpasta flour and 1 egg per person. No salt, but cook pasta in ‘mild seawater. Prepare egg by wilting spinach or basil, squeeze dry in a cloth, blend with the egg and pass. See Pasta, basic for link to full instructions for the base product.

Pastry, choux
2:1 ratio flour:fat + 3x water and 2 eggs. 150ml water, 75g plain flour, 50g butter, pinch salt, 2 lightly beaten eggs. Gently heat water and butter to melt. Rapidly boil. Remove from the heat and quickly stirring the flour and salt until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan clean. Allow to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs a little at a time until smooth and glossy.

Pastry, shortcrust
2:1 ratio flour:fat. Pinch of salt and minimal liquid (egg and/or water). Flour is self-raising if using suet as the fat. 200g flour, 100g butter, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, pinch salt, minimal water to bring together. Process. No chill. Roll, drop in to oil-sprayed, paper-lined tin with pull tab, fold over top, press in with scrap pastry, prick base, blind bake with triple layer of cling wrap and beans on a pizza stone 190˚C 25 mins, remove beans, make 2 holes, bake 6 mins, patch holes with scrap (can egg wash and dry 2 mins in oven if needed). Shave edge off with blade. Brush edge with egg, fill, bake per recipe. Masterclass here.

Pastry, sucre
2:1:0.75 ratio flour:fat:sugar. Pinch of salt and minimal liquid (egg and/or water). 200g flour, 100g butter, 75g sifted icing sugar, pinch salt, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk (zest of a lemon can be added). Process. Roll flat, wrap and chill 1h. Roll quickly, pick up over rolling pin, drop in to oil-sprayed, paper-lined tin with pull tab, press in with scrap pastry, fold over top, prick base, line with triple layer of cling wrap and beans. Freeze 30 mins. Bake on a pizza stone 190˚C 10 mins and trim. Remove beans and bake 20 mins. Egg brush and bake 10 mins. Thanks to chef Robert Thompson for the chill steps.

Pastry, suet
300g self-raising flour, 150g shredded suet, 200ml water, pinch of salt. Combine flour and salt in a mixer (dough hook), crumble in the suet. Add water gradually until it comes together. Makes one large pudding or 6 individual.

Pâté, fish
200g cooked or cured fish blitzed with same weight in creamy dairy and/or mayo. Flavour with herbs and citrus. For chunky pate, blitz half the fish and then flake in the rest.

Peppers, roasted
Whole pepper in oven at 200˚C, 25 mins. Cool, peel and seed.

Peppers, sweet and sour Gordon Ramsay
Sliced red peppers, red onion and olive oil in a hot pan. Season. Add 1 tbsp sugar to caramelise a bit. Add red wine vinegar to glaze. Reduce heat, add more oil and stew for a few mins. Add basil chiffonade, cook 30 seconds and serve.

Mix chopped garlic and parsley and add to a dish at the end of cooking.

100g strong flour, 50ml water, pinch salt and a quarter tbsp olive oil per person. Cook pasta in ‘mild seawater.’

Pickles, fridge
Thinly slice or shave veg. Dilute vinegar 2:1 with water, add 1 tbsp salt per 750ml liquid and heat. Add sugar if liked to taste. Cover veg with liquid and cool. Add chilli, peppercorns, whole spices and herbs as fit. Chill.

Pommes de terre boulangère
Greased dish. Layer mandoline-sliced onion and potato with light seasoning and attractive potato top. Submerge (critical to prevent burning) in stock. Bake 1.5h, 170˚C.

Pomme purée
Boil potatoes and rice them. Add melted butter taste. Season. Add milk or cream to desired consistency. Pass through a fine sieve.

50g oats per person, 350ml milk, pinch of salt. Add half the milk to the oats, heat. Add more milk by degrees until done and consistency as desired. Typically add fruit and honey.

Potatoes, baked
Prick with fork. Oil and salt. Directly on wire shelf at 220˚C for 1h.

Pound cake
3 eggs, weighed, plus equivalent weights of butter, sieved self-raising flour and caster sugar. 1.5tsp of baking powder (sieve with the flour for even finish) will additionally raise a 3-egg recipe for lighter cakes. Halve this recipe for a loaf tin.
Add zest of 1 lemon for lemon cake (half for loaf tin).

Roasting times
Beef: 200˚C, 20mins, then 160˚C for 20 mins/500g (medium) or 15 mins/450g (rare).
Lamb, leg: 200˚C, 15 mins/500g and 20 mins extra.
Pork: 220˚C 30 mins, then 190˚C 25 mins/500g. Skin will crackle if scored, covered in oil and heavily salted.

Rice, steamed Ann Marie
Wash rice x3 in water, tickling the grains with your fingers each time. Rice in pan and fill water to first knuckle with fingertip touching rice. Bring to boil, and simmer low with lid half on for 15 mins. Lid with heat off for another 10 mins.

Rice, pilau Atul Kochhar
1:1 w/w rice:water. Sauté cardamom, cloves and chopped onion in butter and add a dollop of yoghurt. Sauté the rice in the mixture for 1 min. Add the water and boil. When you can see the top of the rice emerging from the water, cover the rice with a wet towel and lid. Put the covered pan in an oven for 10 minutes, or leave on a very low heat on the hob. Then, leave covered for 15 minutes off the heat.

Rice, saffron
Bloom a large pinch of saffron with 2 tbsp boiling water. Melt butter, salt and toast rice, cook as normal in chicken stock and saffron water.

350g rice = 1L stock. Serves 4. Have extra stock handy.

Salsa, tomato
Chopped tomato, red onion, green chilli, coriander, lime juice, season, rest 30 mins. Blitz if used as a dip.

Sauce, apple
Chopped apples, dash of water and sugar (amount depends on apple variety). Stew until pureed. Balance sugar. Pass through a sieve (optional). Cool.

Sauce, barbecue
Tomato ketchup base with brown sugar (from 4:1 to 1:1) and Worcestershire sauce, seasoned. Popular additional flavourings: chilli, paprika, soy sauce, cider vinegar (offset sugar). Heat briefly to dissolve sugar. 

Sauce, Christmas white brandy
Béchamel sauce with sugar, brandy and vanilla added.

Sauce, bread
Warm 300ml milk with 4-clove-studded peeled onion and 1 bay leaf to simmer, switch off heat and infuse for 1 hour. Blitz 50g sourdough with crusts in food processor and add crumbs to the milk. Add a knob of butter, 2 tbsp double cream, some freshly grated nutmeg and season to taste.

Sauce, chocolate
Heat cream to just off boiling (infuse with a herb if liked); add chocolate beads off the heat to melt.

Sauce, classique à la Française
Heat onions, add 3 tbsp of the white wine to deglaze. Reduce until almost gone. Add the demi glace, stir smooth, bubble until thick. melt butter in and dash more wine. Pass into a jug or small pan.

Sauce, Marie Rose
The Nosey Chef: 4:1 mayo:ketchup, cayenne, brandy, lemon juice.
Robert Carrigan: Mayo, ketchup, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, fine shallot, brandy. Occasional whipped cream.
Simon Hopkinson: 4:1 mayo:ketchup, Tabasco, brandy, lemon juice.

Sauce, Robert
Auguste Escoffier: Fry chopped onions in butter (no colour); add white wine, reduce; add demi, simmer 30 mins; strain and pass; add 2 tsp English mustard powder let down in little water. Do not boil post-mustard.
Marcus Wareing: Fry chopped onions, garlic, thyme and rosemary (whole) in oil. Add wholegrain and English mustard, white wine; cook. Add demi, chopped herbs, lemon juice. MasterChef Pro skills test 2019.

Sauce, sweet and sour
Pineapple juice, rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, ketchup. 

Filipino condiment. Balance soy sauce, Datu Puti sukang maasim vinegar, chopped chilli, ginger, tomatoes, red onion and coriander. Season with black pepper and a pinch of brown sugar.

Shallots, fried Tim Lovejoy
Roast unpeeled banana shallots for 40 mins in foil. Cool, split and fry in fryer until crisp.

Sorbet, lemon
500ml water, 250g caster sugar, juice of 6 lemons, large piece of lemon peel. Heat to dissolve sugar, discard peel, cool, churn, box and freeze.

Sorbet, mulled wine
Chill a bottle of shop-bought mulled wine and pour it into an ice cream maker. Churn to sorbet, box and freeze. 

Speculaaskruiden (Dutch spice mix)
8 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground cloves, 2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 tsp ground coriander seed, 1 tsp ground aniseed, 1 tsp ginger powder, 0.75 tsp ground cardamom (Rutger Bakt).

Stock, basic
Carcass/giblets (no liver), split carrots and celery, halved onion, peppercorns, thyme, bay, parsley stalks. 7l water. Simmer until stops getting tastier. Cool overnight, skim, bag and freeze.

Syrup, fruit
1:1:1 w:w:w fruit, caster sugar and water. Dissolve sugar over heat. Add fruit, mash up and steep 1h. Strain with jelly bag (squeeze), bottle and refrigerate.

Syrup, herb
1:1:1 v:v:v herbs, caster sugar and water. Boil 1 min, cool and strain.

Syrup, simple
1:1 v:v caster sugar and water. Heat until the sugar dissolves, cool.

Syrup, vanilla
250ml sugar, 250ml water, 1 vanilla pod, split. Heat until the sugar dissolves, cool.

Teriyaki glaze
4, 4, 3, 2, 1 tbsps of soy, mirin, demerara sugar, rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil; 2cm ginger, grated. Heat to dissolve sugar and reduce by half.

Turkey, cooking times
Gressingham guide.

3:1 oil:vinegar.

Vinegar, herb
1 USA cup of chopped herb in 2 USA cups of vinegar and steep for a fortnight. Strain and store. Stuff in a sprig of the original herb so you have a fighting chance of knowing what you have made.

Water, rose
1:1 v:v rose petals and water. Boil 1 min, cool and strain.

Yorkshire puddings, volumetric method
Equal volumes flour, eggs and milk. Pinch of salt. Mix and cook in mad hot beef or goose dripping at 200˚C until done (about 15–20 mins). Each egg makes 2 yorkies.