Sunday, June 12, 2011


Anna Hansen
Ebury Press - NZ$69.99

Author/chef/restaurateur Anna Hansen was born in Canada but grew up in New Zealand. Ultimately she became a pastry chef at the Sugar Club in London before becoming a founder member, with Peter Gordon, of the award winning Providores. After several successful years there she  set up her own restaurant, The Modern Pantry, in 2008. This then is her book filled with recipes for her trademark quirky, original flavour combinations. 
As she says in her introduction, " My larder is global.There are no culinary boundaries in my kitchen." 
The recipes in the book reflect that philosophy - they are fresh, reasonably simple and full of marvellous flavours.
Annie and I will be in London next month and we will be going along to The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell where I am planning to have the cafe's signature dish, sugar-cured prawn omelette.

Meantime here is a dish from the book which I have made at home and which the publishers have kindly allowed me to reproduce on the blog:

Lemongrass-Braised Cherry Tomatoes

These are absolutely delicious and go with just about anything.
Make sure you use any leftover juices as a salad dressing, or add
them to a stew, curry or soup.

Serves 4
500g cherry tomatoes,
preferably vine-ripened
and still on the stalks
1 lemongrass stalk
a small knob of fresh
ginger, sliced
2 garlic cloves, fi nely sliced
1 red chilli, split lengthways
100ml verjus
1 tsp soy sauce
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp demerara sugar

Gently wash the cherry tomatoes, being careful not to break
them off the stalks. Using a pair of scissors, cut them into
lengths of four or fi ve tomatoes.

Trim the top and bottom of the lemongrass stalk and remove
the outer layer. Place the stalk on a chopping board and crush
with a rolling pin or other suitable implement. This technique
will yield far more fl avour than simply chopping it up, as it
bursts open all the juice sacs. 
Split the lemongrass stalk down the middle and place in a roasting tin just big enough to hold
the tomatoes. Scatter the ginger, garlic and chilli into the tin
also, then lay the cherry tomatoes on top and sprinkle the
verjus, soy sauce, olive oil and demerara over them. Place
in an oven preheated to 140°C/Gas Mark 1 and cook for
approximately 20 minutes, until the tomatoes just begin to
yield to the heat and their skins split.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray. These
are best made a few hours before you plan to serve them,
allowing time for the fragrant juices to mingle and be
absorbed by the tomatoes.

Yummy !

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