Sex & Drugs & Sausage Rolls - hits the bookshelves next week. Jennifer Sharp reviews the autobiographical cookbook and Garrett shares some of his favourite recipes
This is unlike any cookbook you've ever read. Graham Garrett's life story is about becoming a successful chef, but it's also about the crazy world of rock music, a rough childhood in London's East End, the food that's inspired his cooking, and the characters who've peopled his life.
There's his mother who started it all, cookbooks by Jimmy Young and Robert Carrier, and the enduring presence of his partner Jackie. From the rock and roll years with the Dumb Blondes there's Paul Weller, Fleetwood Mac and impresario Harvey Goldsmith, Brian May and Freddie Mercury, topping the charts in Japan and weirdly, having tea with the Archbishop of Canterbury in Russia.
The story is studded with chefs like Richard Corrigan, Nico Ladenis, Gordon Ramsay and Phil Howard. There are customers like the Queen kicking off her shoes under the table, Harrison Ford discussing pork belly and rave reviews from AA Gill.
It's a rollicking story crossing continents, told at a gallop in Garrett's own distinct style, full of humour and tough language. There's hard work and lots of food, with recipes tracing his earliest influences to his subtle, inventive cooking that's won a Michelin star, TV success and a busy restaurant, the West House in Biddenden in the heart of Kent.
Garrett is a perfectionist, bringing the same energy to reinventing dripping on toast or sausage rolls as he does with delicious, complex dishes such as roast duck, mushroom tortellini and lapsang souchong tea.
This is a book to be used and not kept on a shelf, despite the priceless early photographs and distinctive typefaces. There are recipes for the home cook and the ambitious professional; all intriguing and mouth-watering.
Garrett has seamlessly woven his travels into his cooking. He gives us miso-glazed mackerel with spiced cucumber and yuzu mayonnaise (Japan), John Dory with cauliflower onion bhaji and curry oil (India), Iberico pork presa with razor clams and wild garlic (Spain), his take on the Reuben sandwich (New York) and a steamed hare bun with chocolate sauce (Mexico).
Today at the West House, Garrett's food is as inventive as ever. He never stops improving a dish - even with favourites that can't be taken off the menu, such as warm smoked haddock with bacon dressing and pea shoots, or cured foie gras with duck confit, pickled rhubarb and gingerbread.
Let him have the last word: "I grew up eating and liking food and reading cookbooks. It stayed an interest through my whole life and I ended up doing it professionally to a high standard, to star level that a lot of people can't reach. I don't just do that and then go home and do something else, I live and breathe it 24 hours a day."
**Sex & Drugs & Sausage Rolls by Graham Garrett & Cat Black. Face Publications, £35Poached oysters, chorizo cream, cucumber granita
I used to do a chorizo cream soup at Christoph's, and put an oyster beignet on top in a little nest of fresh cucumber 'spaghetti' to keep it crisp. This is a variation of that, as it uses the same flavours, but with a refreshing cucumber granita.
For the cucumber granita
- 3g fine sea salt
- A pinch of sugar
- Â½ cucumber, juiced
- 5ml Chardonnay vinegar
For the chorizo cream
- 250g raw cooking chorizo
- Â½ small onion, peeled and finely chopped
- Â½ carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 125ml dry white wine
- 300ml white chicken stock
- 100ml whipping cream
- 12 rock oysters
To make the cucumber granita, dissolve the salt and sugar in the cucumber juice and vinegar. Freeze it in a shallow container, beating with a fork each time ice crystals start to form.
To make the chorizo cream, remove the skin from the chorizo and cut into smallish pieces. Fry the chorizo in a small saucepan until it starts to release its oil. Add the vegetables, thyme and garlic and continue to sweat them until soft. Add the wine and reduce until almost completely gone. Add the stock and continue to reduce by about two-thirds. Add the cream and simmer for five minutes or until it reaches a coating consistency. Pass through a fine sieve.
To serve, shuck the oysters and put them in a small saucepan along with their juices. Wash the bottom shells and place them on a serving plate. Gently warm the oysters until they just start to firm up, this should take no more than one minute. Be careful not to overcook them.
Place an oyster in each shell, spoon the chorizo cream over each one and top with the granita.
Roast duck breast, mushroom tortellini, lapsang souchong
I wanted to do a duck dish, thinking of Chinese tea. I thought lapsang would go, with its smoky, peaty quality, reminiscent of whisky barrels. Maple has some of those qualities, and mushrooms echo the earthiness.
- 6 duck breasts, roughly 200g each
- Maple syrup
- Fine sea salt and white pepper
- A small handful of radish cress
For the tortellini
- 5 free-range egg yolks
- 1 whole free-range egg
- 300g flour
- 100g wild mushrooms
- A knob of butter
- 1 clove of garlic
- Sea salt and white pepper
- 100g chicken breast
- 4 leaves of tarragon
- 100g whipping cream
For the pickled turnips
- 2 large white turnips
- 100ml Moscatel vinegar
- 50ml dry white wine
- 50ml water
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 5g fine sea salt
For the duck tea
- Trim and fillets from the duck breasts
- Mushroom trimmings
- 2 banana shallots, peeled and finely diced
- 500ml water
- 20g soy sauce
- 1tsp lapsang souchong tea leaves
To prepare the duck breasts, remove the small fillets from each breast along with any sinews and all silver skin, reserve. Score the fat side into a diamond pattern.
To make the tortellini, make the pasta dough by adding the yolks and whole egg to the flour in a food processor. Pulse until it starts to look like coarse breadcrumbs. Turn onto a work surface and bring together with your hands. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.
Clean and trim the mushrooms, reserving any trimmings for the duck tea. Sauté the mushrooms in a knob of butter, grate in the garlic and season with fine sea salt and white pepper. Transfer to a tray to cool.
Put the chicken in a blender with a teaspoon of salt and blitz to a purée. Put the blender jug and chicken in the freezer for a few minutes to chill down. Add the tarragon and half the cream and continue to blitz until smooth. Be careful not to split the mix. Chill it again, and then rub the mousse through a sieve. Put the mousse into a cold bowl. Chill it again, then beat in the remaining cold cream by hand. Fold in the cooled mushrooms.
Cut your pasta dough in half (freeze the rest for another dish). Using a pasta machine, put the dough through the widest setting a few times, folding it back on itself each time. Carry on passing it through the machine adjusting the settings after each time, passing it through the finest setting twice.
Using a pastry cutter (approximately 10cm), cut discs from the pasta. Spoon some mushroom filling onto each disc. Spray or brush each disc with a little water then fold in half, making sure there are no air bubbles, and seal the edges. Wrap each parcel around your finger and pinch the ends together.
Blanch the tortellini in boiling salted water for one minute then refresh in iced water. Drain and put on a covered tray in the fridge.
To make the pickled turnips, peel and cut each turnip into three round discs. Blanch in salted water until just tender and remove to a bowl. Bring all of the pickle ingredients to boil and cool for a few minutes before pouring over the turnips.
To make the duck tea, put all of the ingredients except the lapsang into a pressure cooker. Cook at full pressure for an hour. Pass through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Add the tea and bring back to a boil. Taste to see if the lapsang is strong enough and to check the seasoning before straining into a small teapot.
Season the duck breasts and place skin-side down into a dry frying pan. Cook gently to render the fat and crisp the skin for about 10 minutes before turning and cooking for another five minutes. Add a good squirt of maple syrup and turn the breasts to glaze. Rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
To serve, add the tea to the duck broth and bring back to a boil.
Put the tortellini into boiling salted water for two minutes, drain.
Warm the turnips and place one in the centre of each warm bowl.
Carve each breast and place next to the turnips. Put the tortellini on top, garnish with radish cress, and pour the tea over at the table.
Steamed hare bun, chocolate sauce
We were looking at steamed Chinese pork buns and decided to do something similar. Instead of going the obvious route we tried brioche dough, which came out light and perfect. With the rich jus it made sense to me to do the Mexican thing and finish it with a bit of dark chocolate.
For the bun filling
- 1 hare, loin fillets removed, separated into pieces, or 4 hare legs
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
- 250ml red wine
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 large sprig of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 100ml port
- 1 litre game or brown chicken stock
For the brioche
- 15g fresh yeast
- 15g water
- 25g caster sugar
- 250g flour
- 5g fine sea salt
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 150g soft butter, cut into cubes
- 2 squares of 100% dark chocolate
- Fresh horseradish
To make the filling, brown the hare in a little vegetable oil. Remove from the pan, then brown the vegetables. Deglaze the pan with the wine, add the garlic, herbs and port. Put the hare back in and cover with the stock. Season and cover with a circle of parchment paper and a tight-fitting lid. Braise in a low oven or on top of the stove for about an hour-and-a-half, or pressure cook for 30 minutes.
Leave to cool before passing through a fine sieve. Pick all the meat from the bones and flake into a bowl. Finely chop the cooked vegetables and add them to the meat. Reduce the stock to a sauce consistency. Reserve enough to coat each bun and add the rest to the meat.
Using cling film, make eight round faggots of the hare mixture, weighing roughly 50g each, wrapping them tightly into round balls. Chill them in the fridge to set.
To make the brioche, dissolve the yeast in the water with sugar. Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer and using the paddle attachment beat in the yeast mixture, followed by the eggs. Once a smooth batter consistency is achieved, start adding the butter one piece at a time until it's incorporated. Shape into a ball and place in a floured bowl. Cover with cling film and chill it in the fridge overnight.
Working with the dough straight from the fridge, take large golf ball-sized pieces and flatten them with your hands. Unwrap the hare balls and mould the brioche dough around them. This is best done one at a time to prevent the butter in the dough from melting and becoming sticky. Place on a bun or muffin tray and leave to prove for 15 minutes. Steam the buns for 20 minutes. Once steamed, they can be stored in the fridge and reheated if you don't want to eat them the same day.
To serve, place a warm bun in each bowl, warm the remaining sauce then, off the heat, whisk in one or two squares of chocolate until glossy and just detectable. Check the seasoning then spoon over each bun to just coat. Top each bun with a sprig of watercress and a grating of horseradish.