To Boldly Go: Nisha Katona’s Latest Triumph

To Boldly Go: Nisha Katona’s Latest Triumph

To Boldly Go: Nisha Katona’s Latest Triumph – Nisha Katona is one of my favourite Asian chefs.  Her recipes are simple and delicious, and with her latest cookbook – BOLD – she takes you on a new journey of culinary boldness. Armed with this book, friends and family will be wowed by some of the incredibly good dishes that you can create without spending hours in the kitchen, or a fortune at the supermarket.  This latest collection of her recipes has one thing in common: they have an element that takes them beyond the usual and familiar.  From surprising ingredient combinations to incredible flavour twists, Nisha draws on her heritage and Lancashire upbringing, where she learnt both Indian and traditional Northern dishes. Marrying a Hungarian and discovering the delights of Eastern European cooking have encouraged Nisha to expand her flavour horizons further still.

To Boldly Go: Nisha Katona’s Latest TriumphNisha is CEO, executive and development chef of Mowgli Street Food restaurants and founder of the Mowgli Trust charity, which donates over £500k each year. In 2014, she gave up the security of a 20-year career as a Child Protection Barrister, using her savings to open the first Mowgli Street Food restaurant in Liverpool. She has grown Mowgli Street Food to over 20 restaurants. Nisha was awarded an MBE in 2019 for services in the food industry. She’s written five cookbooks including Mowgli Street Food, 30 Minute Mowgli and Meat Free Mowgli. She’s featured extensively as a business and food expert on the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and Radio 4,  is a regular chef on ITV’s This Morning and a judge on the BBC’s Great British Menu and MasterChef.

A chicken burger is given a makeover with crunchy nut flakes; an oxtail pie is pepped up with coffee; and delicious doughnuts are topped with a miso and parmesan cheese glaze. There are tantalising sweets: a sweet fruity pavlova is accompanied by a savoury herb drizzle; a traditional Liverpool Tart from Nisha’s hometown is transformed with oranges and cardamon; and a Bourbon ice-cream is pimped up with salty and sweet candied bacon. The book is broken down into chapters entitled Small Plates; Big Plates; Sweet Plates and Drinks.  According to Katona, “Bold is all about being brave in the kitchen. It is about creating delicious, surprising, head-turning dishes. I want to show you that a little thinking outside the box in the way ingredients are combined, can change the way you cook forever!” BOLD is published by Nourish Books at £30 (hardback)

Here are a couple of recipes to show you how exciting and different the dishes are:

To Boldly Go: Nisha Katona’s Latest Triumph

Greek Island Tarte Tatin (serves 4)

Dark, sticky and gorgeous, here I’ve taken the classic French tarte tatin on holiday to Greece, with unctuous figs and tangy goats’ cheese (you could even swap in feta if you wanted). Tarte tatin isn’t just a dessert dish, this savoury version makes a delicious light lunch with a lightly dressed tangle of fresh salad leaves/greens.’

1 tsp coriander seeds, cracked75g/21⁄2oz butter
1 tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar
75g/21⁄2oz/1⁄3 cup caster/superfine sugar
a good pinch of salt
12 figs, halved lengthways
chopped fresh coriander/cilantro, to serve.

For the pastry:
75g/21⁄2oz butter, softened
100g/31⁄2oz goats’ cheese, crumbled
150g/5oz/11⁄4 cups plain/all-purpose flour
1⁄4 tsp salt

To make the pastry, beat together the butter and 70g/21⁄2oz of the goats’ cheese until well mixed and soft. Sift in the flour and salt, and stir until it all begins to come together, adding the water as you go (you may not need it all). Using your hands, gather the pastry up into a ball and knead briefly on a work surface until smooth. Wrap in cling film/ plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Toward the end of the chilling time, preheat the oven to 210°C/190°C fan/375°F/Gas 6.

Set a heavy 22cm/81⁄2in ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Add the coriander seeds to the pan and fry until they become darker in colour and fragrant. Add the butter and let it melt, then stir in the vinegar, sugar, and a good pinch of salt, and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then cook to a light caramel.

Arrange the halved figs in the pan, cut sides down. Let them cook gently over the heat for about
1 minute until softened and beginning to lightly caramelise. While the figs cook, remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll it out to a circle just larger than the pan. Slide it onto a board and return it to the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Working quickly, remove the pastry from the refrigerator and place it over the contents of the pan, tucking the edges down the sides. Transfer the pan to the hot oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden.

Let the tart rest in the pan for a few minutes, then slide a knife around the outside of the pan. Invert a plate on top of the pan and, carefully holding the plate and pan together, quickly turn it over to flip the tart out. Sprinkle the remaining goats’ cheese over the top and let it melt over the tart and scatter over the fresh coriander. Serve warm.

Avo, Basil and Coconut Lassi (SERVES 2)

To Boldly Go: Nisha Katona’s Latest Triumph

‘This unusual combination of flavours makes a refreshing lassi for hot weather. It particularly makes a great breakfast smoothie, as it is substantial enough to set you up for the day. It’s optional, but you could top with a little desiccated/dried shredded coconut too, for an attractive effect if serving to guests. It’s very rich, so serve in small glasses. ‘

1⁄2 large avocado, peeled and pitted
150ml/5fl oz/2⁄3 cup whole milk
100g/31⁄2oz/generous 1⁄3 cup coconut yogurt
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
a small handful of fresh basil.

Put the avocado, milk, yogurt, lime juice and honey into a blender and blitz until smooth. Add a splash of cold water to loosen if it is too thick.  Set aside a couple of the small basil sprigs for garnish and add the rest of the basil to the blender.

Blitz into the lassi, leaving a few flecks unblended for a bit of visual interest, if you like. Pour the mixture evenly between two glasses, top each with a basil sprig and serve.

The Seasoned Gastronome

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