Friday, August 6, 2010

It’s the weekend baby! Weekends mean quality time with the family, cooking and in my case, sport on the box. I just love my Saturday afternoon rugby matches. So, here are some little snacky ideas to enjoy while watching the rugger – whether its with a six pack with a mate or a quiet cup of coffee, you are going to love what I have for you…

Rosemary Straw Potatoes with Lemon Salt

for the lemon salt:

zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons sea salt

For the fries:

sunflower oil
800g potatoes, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked

By cutting the potatoes in this recipe nice and fine – around 0.5cm thick – you can cook them until golden and crisp first time round in a large pan of frying oil. For the last 30 seconds I like to put a nice big handful of rosemary in with them – this will flavour the oil and the potatoes in the most incredible way.

To make your lemon salt, bash and mix together the lemon zest with the salt in a pestle and mortar until the salt is flavoured, coloured and fine. Place in a dish. Use whatever you need straight away or allow it to dry out for a couple of hours before storing it. It might go hard, so just crush it up a bit before putting it into a jam jar.

Heat 6–8cm of sunflower oil in a sturdy pan and bring to deep-frying temperature. You can do this by using a thermometer, or by placing a small chunk of potato into the cold oil before you begin to heat it. When the potato is floating and a dark golden brown the temperature will have reached 180ºC and you’re ready to begin frying (remember to remove the piece of potato before you begin).

Pat the julienne strips dry with some kitchen paper to remove any excess starch. Making sure you’ve got a slotted spoon or spider and a big pile of kitchen paper to one side, carefully place some of your potatoes into the pan of oil (don’t overcrowd it) for a couple of minutes until golden brown and crisp. Cook the potatoes like this in batches until they are all used up. Add the rosemary for the last 30 seconds. Remove the chips and rosemary to the kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil, and then dust with your lemon salt. Serve straight away with a cold beer.

Best Sandwich EVER

The origin of the Reuben Sandwich is hotly disputed, but many New Yorkers say it began in Reuben’s Deli on East 58th Street. Try it with nice smoked ham if you can’t find pastrami.


3 big 1cm slices of rye bread
4 heaped tablespoons sauerkraut
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
4–5 slices of pastrami
a few gherkins, sliced
100g Swiss Ementhal cheese
a handful of watercress leaves

Grill the slices of bread on a griddle pan until lightly toasted on both sides then spread one side of each with mayonnaise. Put some of the sauerkraut and some of the chili on 2 of the slices, and top with a couple of slices of pastrami. Top with the remaining sauerkraut and chili and the sliced gherkins, then grate the Swiss cheese over the top.

Preheat a hot grill. Place the slices with toppings under the grill until the cheese is melted and dribbling.

Stack the sandwich together, adding a few watercress leaves and finishing with the final slice of toast. Press down lightly and use wooden skewers to hold together. Tuck in!

Lemon Butter Biscuits

Sometimes, especially when the weather is cold or there is an early morning game (All Blacks vs Springboks), I prefer a nice big cup of fresh coffee with my game. Now, there is nothing like biscuits and coffee! These biscuits are simple to make…


125g butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
1 egg, preferably free-range or organic
200g plain flour
juice and zest of 2 lemons
¼ teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of sea salt
Plain flour, for dusting
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in the egg until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the flour, lemon, baking powder and salt and mix until you have a ball of dough. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours, or until firm.

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until ½cm thick. Cut out shapes and place on a grease proofed tray. Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are light brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

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