Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Union Jax - Back to Blighty - Tastes & Travels around the UK

Jax Hamilton
Food photography Stephen Goodenough
David Bateman - RRP:$39.95 - Publication date: 8th November 2013
Following her successful first book, Jax Cooks (2012), the irrepressible Jax Hamilton serves up over 60 delicious, easy-to-prepare dishes with travel tales on the side in her new book
It’s no secret Jax is a Londoner. And not just any old Londoner, a ‘cor blimey’, ‘how’s your father’, ‘doing the Lambeth walk – oi!’ Cockney type! Born and bred in East London, she was keen to see what had changed (and what had not) in the 12 years since she’d left. With the Olympics about to start, she packed her bags and went home, not only to revisit old haunts but to do something she had never done in her 36 years living in the UK – go ‘up North’ to experience the culinary and cultural heritage beyond the Watford Gap. 

Food is Jax’s passion of course, and it’s never far from her finger tips, or her lips! 
In Union Jax her fascinating foodie trip takes in all the old British favourites – the Cornish pasty, Yorkshire pudding, Bakewell Tarts, Irish stew and the classic Victoria sponge (Jax’d up of course!) – as well as the fab new foods of Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay, the huge range of world cuisines found in London’s fantastic markets and what the Brits are eating at garden parties, barbecues and beside the seaside.

While the food and traditions around food are at the core of the book, it’s a wonderful look into what makes Britain such a fascinating and diverse place.
This is a great entertaining, fun read with the bonus of some marvellous recipes. I have chosen the first one I plan to make and the publishers have kindly agreed to let me post it below.By the way Jax ate this dish at Jamie's Italian.
Good to see Camden Market featured too, I was there only a couple of weeks back.

About the author:
Jax Hamilton needs little introduction to New Zealanders with her much-loved style and flair.  Since appearing on our screens on MasterChef in 2011, Jax has set herself a hectic pace with guest appearances at numerous events, appearing on regular radio spots and TV where she features on Countdown supermarket advertisements and in-store promotions.  Her first book, Jax Cooks, was published in 2012.  She lives in Christchurch.

David Bateman - RRP:$39.95 - Publication date: 8th November 2013

Pork & Fennel Ragù with Spaghetti

Yep, I think I was born to be Italian! There isn’t a dish in the whole of Italy I wouldn’t try, eat and ask for seconds. This is another winner. Heidi ordered this main and I had big-time food envy. It is so rich and delicious, you’d think it’d be a struggle to eat a whole bowl . . . well, she did!

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Serves: 4

4 tbsp olive oil
350 g or 8 pork sausages*
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp fennel seeds
pinch of dried chilli flakes
½ cup red wine
410 g tin crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
500 g spaghetti
freshly grated Parmesan for garnish
handful flat-leaf parsley

Pour the oil into a large non-stick frying pan. Take your sausages and slowly squeeze the meat out of the skins in bite-sized pieces. Drop these into the hot oil and using a fork, gently flatten them. Fry until crispy, brown and golden. Reduce the heat and add the garlic, fennel seeds and chilli and sauté for a further 2–3 minutes. Turn up the heat, pour in the wine, cook for another couple of minutes then pour in the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper, then simmer for 20 minutes, until thick and syrupy.

Cook the pasta as per the packet directions. Remember that a good Italian cooks pasta in water that tastes like the Mediterranean, so don’t forget the salt. Retain a cup of the cooking water, then drain. Toss the pasta through the sauce with the cooking water.

TO SERVE: Sprinkle the Parmesan and parsley over the top and let’s eat! Buon appetito! If you invite me around for dinner, I’ll bring the wine!

*There's nothing wrong with a good old pork banger, but if you're making a dish like this one, step it up a notch by using gourmet sausages with a delicious blend of meat and herbs. If you like it hot, try a spicy chorizo or pork and chilli. If you love beef, Angus and peppercorns or even gluten-free sausages work well. When you remove the meat from the skins, you're able to render all that delicious depth of flavour into your sauce.

Recipe from Union Jax reproduced with permission from 
publishers David Bateman - RRP:$39.95

1 comment:

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