Alan Rosenthal, chef, teacher and author of the new ‘Ultimate One-Pot Dishes’ talks food with me…
If you’re not familiar with Alan Rosenthal, you may be more so of Stewed! – his homemade hearty stews stocked in Budgens, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. The recipes for these stews are based around regional cuisines including Moroccan chicken stew with olives and preserved lemons, chorizo chickpea & pork stew, flavoured with smoked paprika.
As well as being the founder of Stewed! pots, Alan works as a private chef and teaches one pot cooking courses at Leiths School of Food and Wine where he initially trained himself.
Here’s what he had to say when I interviewed him for my monthly Chef Q&A series:
1. What one recipe would you recommend in your new book and why?
Go for the Ghanaian chicken with ginger chilli and peanuts. It’s a simple recipe to cook, packs a delicious spicy punch and nods to the international nature of the whole book. And it’s always very popular at my cookery classes.
2. You’re stranded on a desert island. What three ingredients do you take with you and what would you make with them?
That’s a tricky one as I’m guessing the island doesn’t have any refrigeration! However, I’m hopeful that it would have a plentiful supply of fish that I could catch. I’d choose a lemon, some bay leaves and a bottle of olive oil, they all would last well in the shade so I could keep a stash ready for future use. I’d manage to catch myself a nice fish, gut it with a handy knife that was lying around, and BBQ it in a banana leaf stuffed with bay leaves and lemon and rubbed with olive oil.
3. What’s your top tip for cooking homemade bread?
Don’t rush things. Give it time and get to know your ingredients; different flours actually respond in different ways so try to be consistent so you know what to expect. If you’re making sourdough, expect to spend quite a few months, if not years, mastering the technique; I’ve still got a long way to go.
4. What’s your guilty food pleasure? Do you like any weird but wonderful fusions?
I love marmite and I tried a marmite hollandaise the other week on melted cheese crumpets and a poached egg… it was good! I’m not a huge one for weird and wonderful creations though.
5. What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant in London and where was it?
I love going out to all restaurants for all kinds of different reasons. I like unpretentious restaurants that focus on changing daily dishes using seasonal ingredients like Duck Soup and 11 Greek Street in Soho, London. But then I also like a more formal dining experience such as Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House and Pollen Street Social where the food is exceptionally delicious and beautifully presented. I’m skirting around the question here but I always find ‘favourite’ questions hard to answer.
Need to know
Alan kindly sent me a copy of Ultimate One-Pot Dishes, so I’ll be giving some of his recipes a whirl and sharing my creations on the blog, later in the month. If you’d like to purchase Ultimate One-Pot Dishes yourself, it’s now available to buy from his website www.alanrosenthal.co.uk.
Photography by: Jonathan Gregson