Tuck in - Issue 134 - Magazine | Monocle

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Morning glory

Fluffy pancakes

Chef Ralph Schelling’s puffy pancakes will delight on an indulgent Sunday morning.

200g flour
1.5 tsps baking powder
1 vanilla pod, seeds removed
200ml milk
3 eggs, separated
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
3 tbsps sugar
2 tbsps butter

To top it off
icing sugar, a sprinkle
compote or fresh berries
maple syrup

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, vanilla, milk, egg yolks and lemon juice into a smooth batter. Beat the egg whites with salt until they’re half stiff, gradually add sugar and continue beating until the mixture is glossy and starts to shine. Fold the egg whites carefully into the batter.

2. Heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan. Add about 2 tbsps of the batter, cover and bake over a low heat for about 5 mins until the underside of the pancake is stable and golden brown, then turn it over and cook for a further 5 mins.

3. Add butter, compote or fresh berries and a sprinkle of icing sugar – and don’t forget to put the maple syrup on the table.



Nosh at noon


London-based food stylist and recipe writer Aya Nishimura shares her method for making a breakfast staple of eggs served with a Middle Eastern twist.

3 tbsps olive oil, plus 2 tbsps to garnish
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ red pepper, sliced thinly
1 tsp pul biber (Aleppo pepper) or ordinary chilli flakes, plus extra to garnish
1 tsp cumin powder
¾ tsp smoked paprika
400g good-quality chopped tomatoes (from a can is fine)
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp sea salt
4 medium eggs
20g coriander (including stems), finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
150g Greek yoghurt
sourdough bread or Turkish flatbread, to serve

1. Pour olive oil into a frying pan over medium heat and add the garlic. When it starts to sizzle, add onion and cook for 2 mins. Add red pepper and cook until the onion is  translucent but not yet brown.

2. Add the spices and cook for a further minute, then add the tomato along with the tomato paste and cook for 15 mins or until the sauce thickens, and all the flavours come together. Season with sea salt.

3. Make four shallow dents in the tomato sauce and crack an egg into each space. Cook for 2 mins on medium heat. Cover with a lid. Turn the heat to low and cook for a further 4 mins, until the egg white sets but the yolks are still runny.

4. Season with a sprinkle of the pul biber, black pepper and coriander and drizzle with olive oil.

5. Serve with bread and a dollop of Greek yoghurt on the side.



Simple supper

Rigatoni with pistachio pesto and sun-dried tomatoes

The world is complicated enough without needing to fuss over dinner. With this in mind Ralph Schelling has prepared an irresistibly simple pasta dish.

50g pecorino cheese
1 garlic clove
25g basil
70g roasted pistachios
6 tbsps olive oil
500g rigatoni
150g sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp peperoncini (chilli) flakes
salt and black pepper

1. For the pesto, grate the pecorino and dice the garlic finely. Pluck the basil leaves. Purée everything with the addition of the pistachios, a pinch of salt, a good grind of pepper and the olive oil.

2. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente (a minute or two less than the packet advises if it’s dried pasta). Drain. Keep 150ml of the cooking water.

3. Mix the pasta with the pesto and the water, season and arrange on plates. Serve topped with sun-dried tomatoes and peperoncini flakes.



All in hand

Fish tacos with smokey salsa

Aya Nishimura has this cultivated comfort food wrapped up nicely and
topped with a smokey tomato salsa and red-onion pickles.

For the red-onion pickles
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
100ml white wine vinegar
50ml water
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp sugar

For the tomato salsa
3 medium tomatoes
1 red chilli
1 small onion, finely chopped
juice of a lime
¼ tsp sea salt
large pinch of pepper

For the fish
200g haddock or any other firm white-fish fillet (prawns work too) cut into small finger-sized chunks
10g plain flour
1 medium egg, whisked
40g bread crumbs, Japanese panko are best
4 tbsps sunflower oil

To assemble the tacos
8 to 10 flour or corn tortillas, ideally small, say 15cm
in diameter
1 head of gem lettuce, finely sliced
10g coriander, roughly chopped
1 avocado, sliced into wedges
lime, cut into wedges
some sour cream or mayonnaise
hot sauce

To make the onion pickle
1. Slice the red onion and pack into a small glass jar.

2. Heat the rest of the ingredients in a small pan, bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour the warm liquid into the jar and set it aside for 30 minutes.

To make the tomato salsa
1. Heat griddle pan over high heat, until it smokes. Add tomatoes and chilli and grill until lightly charred. Turn over to repeat.

2. Turn off heat and remove the tomatoes and the chilli. When they are cool enough to handle, chop them finely, no need to remove the seeds from the chilli and mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

3. Make sure all the toppings, condiments and pickles are ready on the table before starting the fish prep.

4. Heat oven to 100C.

For the fish
1. Season the chunks with salt and pepper. Place the flour, egg and bread crumbs in individual plates. Dust the fish pieces in flour, then dip into egg, flour and coat with breadcrumbs.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, fry the fish until golden. 

3. Remove from the pan and keep in a warm oven.

For the tortillas
1. Set a frying pan over a medium heat, warm the tortillas, until they puff up slightly, about 1-2 mins on each side.

2. Bring the fish and tortillas to the table and build your tacos to your taste with sour cream or mayonnaise as you please.

That’s a wrap
If you’re keen for more Monocle recipes then sign up to The Monocle Weekend Edition for free and you’ll get a new inspiration each week. You can also seek out The Monocle Guide to Drinking & Dining for food scoops, culinary curiosities and plenty to sink your teeth into. If you’re hungry for more then there’s The Menu on Monocle 24. Service!




Spice is nice

Dan dan noodles

Aya Nishimura shares her red-hot recipe for a comforting take on a Sichuan speciality. You can add steamed vegetables on the side and any leftover chilli oil works wonders in stir fries or on eggs, grilled meat or fish.

For the garlic chilli oil
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
100ml vegetable oil
1.5 tbsps chilli flakes
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 whole star anise

For the pork topping
2 tbsps of vegetable oil
1 tbsp of grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic, minced
250g minced pork
1 tbsp of Chinese rice wine, Shaoxing wine, dry sherry or saké (optional)
¼ tsp salt
2 pinches of white pepper

For the sauce
4 tbsps tahini
1 tbsp peanut butter (unsweetened)
3 tbsps light soy sauce
3 tbsps rice vinegar (Chinese chinkiang vinegar is the best option)
2 tbsps brown sugar
2 tbsps Sichuan pepper
200g wheat noodles (or egg noodles), medium thickness
2 spring onions, finely sliced

1. To make the chilli oil, mix the chilli flakes, sesame seeds and the star anise in a small bowl. Heat the oil in a small pan over a low heat, add the sliced garlic and cook for 9-10 mins, until the garlic slices turn golden. (Watch out though: garlic can burn quickly.) As soon as it turns, turn off the heat and tip in the other mixture. Set aside to cool.

2. To make the sauce, toast the Sichuan pepper in a small pan for 1 min (grind finely if it’s an actual pepper, stir around if it’s flakes). Mix half of the ground pepper with the rest of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and combine.

3. To make the pork topping, heat 2 tbsps of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 2 mins, then add the minced pork. Stir fry until browned, then add the Chinese rice wine (or whichever substitute you are using) and season with salt and pepper. Cook the noodles following the instructions on the packet. While they’re cooking, divide the sauce into two bowls. When the noodles are cooked, drain and divide the noodles into two bowls, top with the minced pork, spring onions and chilli oil and sprinkle the rest of the Sichuan pepper on top. Mix well before serving.

Book ahead
Aya Nishimura’s cookbook Cuisiner Japonais is published by French firm Marabout. Nishimura learnt much of what she knows from her father, a restaurateur in Kyoto, but studied in London before working as a food stylist for newspapers, chefs and brands (Monocle included). The upshot? Scrummy and easy-to-make Japanese dishes.



On-point pudding

Baked plums with orange and mascarpone ginger crunch

Ralph Schelling shares a plum recipe for those looking for a bit of indulgence. You can keep the dish seasonal by replacing the plums with half the amount of apples or pears.

8 plums
juice of 3 oranges
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1 vanilla pod (seeds removed)
¼ tsp cardamom powder
100g ginger biscuits
180g mascarpone

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Halve the plums (and remove pits). Put them in a pan with orange juice, cinnamon, star anise, vanilla and cardamom. Cover and bake in the oven for about 25 mins. Turn the plums in the liquid and bake for another 25 mins until the pulp is soft and the skin shrivels.

2. Crumble the biscuits until they form large, uneven crumbs. Mix biscuit with the mascarpone.

3. Arrange plums on a plate and serve with the spiced orange juice and the ginger mascarpone crunch.

The Monocle Weekend Edition
Our email newsletters deliver news and a swathe of recommendations from our editors, correspondents and bureaux. Our Saturday newsletter has a fresh take on travel, culture, media and the way we live, while the Sunday edition serves the best in food, entertaining and hotels.

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