Three favorite family dishes for taking refuge
I can’t imagine having a partner who didn’t care about food. It just wouldn’t have happened. I immediately spotted my wife’s potential, but to be sure, I took her to my favorite restaurant at the time, Kensington Place. Rowley Leigh was the head chef, a highly regarded cook and food writer. I loved the place. It was loud, constantly packed and super cool. The food was modern British with Italian influences. There was none of the calm of French haute cuisine, with its whispering dining rooms.
A lunch there with friends was deliciously hedonistic, the hours flew by, all laughter, gossip and clinking glasses. We have all worked in the industry. KP, as we affectionately called him, made us feel like we achieved something just by being there.
The New Irish pulled together, but this time not at Kilburn or Cricklewood. All of London was ours. We were ambitious and we weren’t afraid of hard work. Máire, my young wife-to-be, embraced food and our profession and moved to London to be with me soon after. I will always be grateful.
Many years later, food is still our refuge. After a hard week at the restaurant, nothing will soothe us more than a good dinner at home, and these dishes are among my favorites.
The most technical here is the onion tarte tatin, but it’s not very complicated once you get started. The upside down steak is a revelation. It was the first time I cooked it this way. It’s unconventional; the trick is to cook it upside down. It is first cooked slowly in a very low oven. This ensures minimum shrinkage and maximum tenderness. Then it is quickly fried to obtain a deep caramelization. You’ll need a meat thermometer to get it right. If you do, it will melt in your mouth like fine beef butter.
Recipe: Pan-fried prime rib, red onion tarte tatin, horseradish butter
Recipe: Chicken with cider cream
Recipe: Baked cod with white beans, olives and smoked paprika