Tag Archives: Ian Leatt

Barbecue pizza isn’t just a flavour

Do you ever, on one of these warm, wondrous summer days, catch yourself thinking about barbecue – but you’re not inspired by the usual foods that sit on the grill? Want something a little different? Somewhat off the beaten track?
Recently, I had friends over for a Mexican fiesta. I had never cooked that style before, so it was a treat even for me. Daring to be brave, I jumped over a threshold of typical barbecues and set myself a new challenge. It’s called pick a style or country – and this month’s style is Italian.
                                                         Pizza on the rack
It was relatively easy to come up with a plan for barbecued pizza after a little research. All you need is fresh, homemade pizza dough, tomato base seasoned with oregano and thyme, Roma tomatoes, pepperoni, home made mozzarella, a sprinkle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then place it on the barbecue.
Once cooked, dress it with some fresh basil from the garden. Easy – and so good.
Another thought. Hot Italian sausage with a rich Tuscany tomato sauce. Making this was hard: all thoughts of devouring the richly seasoned dish before the guests arrived had to be dealt with. I pushed the thoughts away. The sausages were cooked and sliced, and served as an appetizer. Smaller portions were carved and poked with cocktail sticks, to be dipped into the sauce.
You can’t have an Italian barbecue without pasta. First on the list, barbecued chicken pasta salad. I cooked some angel hair pasta and laid out sliced barbecued chicken on top, adding mayonnaise, a little barbecue sauce, oregano, thyme, a pinch of cilantro and green and red peppers. These were mixed together and served, light and flavourful, with a little lime juice squeezed overtop to give it that Mediterranean feel.
How can you have an Italian barbecue without meatballs? Answer: you can’t. Make the raw meatballs the usual way, but when they are ready to cook, place them first on the barbecue and cook them. Be careful though; keeping meatballs intact can be tricky. Once cooked, scoop the meatballs into the sauce. I served this on a bed of fettuccine, my favourite.
Of course, we all need vegetables and the Italians never let us down. Fagiolini al pomodoro – slow-cooked beans with tomatoes, garlic, carrots and onions – bravo! You can cook this vegetable feast in your slow-cooker and put it out when your guests arrive, garnished with a little crushed basil.
Finally, you can’t tackle this Italian feast without bringing on a little salad: tomatoes, mozzarella, red onion, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Mix together and dress with some fresh basil.
                                                           Wine included
Remember when serving foods from different cultures, you’ll enjoy them even more if you complement them with wines or beers from the same country. It makes for a fun, immersive evening.
After everyone was finished living la dolce vita, no one had room for dessert, but I’ll leave you to figure out an appropriate ending to this delicious scene.
Ian Leatt, a former chef in Jersey, the Channel Islands, is general manager at Pegasus Publications Inc.

A sushi recipe for when you’ve got a lot of free time on your hands

By Ian Leatt

“Let’s make rice cool.” The slogan on the little box caught my attention. Hmm, what was this? I was meandering around d.a.Niels, my favourite cooking accessory store in the Peg. I’ve spent many hours in that store looking over this gadget or that whisk. I could spend thousands of dollars in there!
The day had started off well. I had been doing some errands and, driving down Berry Street on the way home, realized I hadn’t been in the store for a while. Tempting fate, I pulled into a vacant parking spot. I realized walking into the store, “this could be a mistake,” since I would eventually spend money. The minutes turned into an hour and more, and I came out of the store with a great find. A rice cube maker!
What’s that? Well, I’ll tell you. It is used to make rice cool, just as the slogan on the package announced. All I can say is, whoever thought up this idea rocks.
If you’ve got a free evening, here’s how I used my cube:

1 cucumber
1 carrot
1 packet of Japanese rice
1 jar pickled ginger
1 jar of kelp roe
2 packets fresh seaweed salad
1 jar mixed sesame seeds
1 tube wasabi
1 can peaches
1 cup fresh crab meat
20 or so fresh king shrimp
1 packet smoked salmon
A bunch of fresh dill
A bunch of fresh parsley
1 packet yaki nori (dehydrated seaweed)
1 avocado
small bottle of Kikkoman soy sauce
The trick I came up with as I was making this sushi was to call my staff into the kitchen to help put the various pieces together. “Time consuming” is probably the first phrase that springs to mind when I think about making this dish.
Firstly, cook the sticky (Japanese) rice as you would normal rice, for 10 minutes or so. (I cooked it the night before as it needs to be cold for the sushi.)
Clear a space on your counter large enough for all your ingredients. Then, slice your carrot and cucumber to slim, matchstick size, peel your avocado, and slice it, too.
Now the fun part… Using a rice cube maker, place some sticky rice inside the empty cube. Be careful not to fill the cube completely, as you will next choose some ingredients to place on the rice. Finally, top off the combination by adding more sticky rice.
Squeeze your cube into the desired shape and loosen the sides to release the cube. Violà: sushi!
Decorating your cube is a matter of taste. I used some sesame seeds on some, simply rolling the rice cube over the seeds; I left other cubes blank and attached the yaki nori to a few others.
Place the cubes on a platter and resume decorating, as your taste prompts you and your fellow sushi-makers. Some will put crab with roe atop the cube; some will top a few cubes with cucumber and shrimp. All in all, a lot of fun was had by all as we put the sushi together.
The staff felt like royalty over lunch as we dug our chopsticks into the rice. It was a meal we will most definitely do again.
Stop by and check out d.a.Niels yourself one day. You too may find that special little gadget that rocks your world.
Ian Leatt, a former chef in Jersey, the Channel Islands, is general manager at Pegasus Publications Inc.

Kedgeree is good for me and you

Kedgeree has its roots in East Indian cuisine, but the English are strong proponents of the dish.
Kedgeree has its roots in East Indian cuisine, but the English are strong proponents of the dish.
Foodies - Ian Leatt
Foodies – Ian Leatt

Staying with my grandmother was always exciting when I was a young lad. I never knew what I would get for a meal, but it was always a treat.
“Oh my, what on earth is this?” was my initial reaction to kedgeree when she first presented it to me. Smells good, looks stunning – but what, really, is it?
Kedgeree is thought to have originated with an Indian rice-and-bean or rice-and-lentil dish, khichri, which traces back to 1340 or earlier. It is widely believed that the dish was brought to the United Kingdom by returning British colonials.
Most Brits know the dish very well. A popular meal at breakfast time or brunch, kedgeree, like bubble and squeak, is usually produced from leftovers.
Kedgeree, made with smoked fish, is a must for all enthusiasts of East Indian cuisine. Turmeric enhances the true flavour of the fish; coriander adds a certain kick; a squeeze of lemon adds its own fresh, sharp taste – and voilà, a feast for any food-loving person.

2 fillets dyed smoked haddock
2 cups regular milk
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cardamom pods, split
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1 cup of cooked peas
1½ cups basmati rice
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon butter
3 eggs
A handful of coriander leaves
Lemon wedges, to serve

Wash the haddock under clean, cold water. Pour the milk into a nonstick pan and add the fish. Cook on medium heat for 6 minutes or so, or until the fish flesh turns white. Lift the cooked fish from the milk with a slotted spoon, discard the skin and any bones, cover to keep warm and set aside.
Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a deep frying or sauté pan (with a lid). Add the onion, cardamom and cinnamon, and fry until the onion is soft and golden (about 7 to 8 minutes), stirring often.
Using the milk left from the cooked fish, add sufficient water to bring the combined volume to one pint. Rinse the rice in warm water in a colander, drain, then stir into the onion mixture. Keep stirring for 1 minute so the rice is coated. Pour in the diluted milk and stir in the turmeric. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 10 minutes, lowering the heat if the mixture starts to stick on the bottom.
When the rice is tender, remove from the heat, drop the butter on top and allow it to melt in. Lay the pieces of whole fish on the rice. Cover and leave for the flavours to mingle.
Meanwhile, put the intact eggs in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 6 minutes (to be lightly cooked), remove them from the heat and plunge them into cold water, cracking the shells against the side of the pan. Peel off the shells and quarter the eggs.
To serve, break the fish into big pieces with a fork, sprinkle the coriander over it and stir gently to mix without breaking up the fish, adding the eggs at the end.
For this meal, I added a little dill hollandaise sauce. To season, serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over the fish and rice.
Ian Leatt is general manager of Pegasus Publications Inc.