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Forgot rushed recipes, the weekend is all about settling in to the kitchen and making something special.
Though we’re forever searching for quick recipes that can be made in the blink of an eye on a weeknight, there’s a certain kind of pleasure that comes from spending an afternoon lovingly preparing a meal. In our ever-busy lives, we too often save longer, slower cooks for special occasions, but we well and truly believe that the weekend is occasion enough to roll up your sleeves and spend a little time in the kitchen. And while we love trying new restaurants and bars – even more so now that we’re allowed out again – with the nights drawing in, the coming months are the ideal time to slow down and settle in for making something special. Glass in hand, of course.
Helping us achieve just that is chef and Saturday Kitchen host, Matt Tebbutt. His new book, Weekend: Eating At Home: From Long Lazy Lunches To Fast Family Fixes is filled with recipes that put the joy back into cooking. And while the dishes may take a little longer to prepare than your go-to pesto pasta, the chef promises that cooking them should be relaxing, enjoyable and not at all stressful.
While often reserved for eating in a rush in front of our laptops or on the hoof as we commute, the humble sandwich can be a thing of beauty. Forget sad supermarket options, we’ve selected three elevated takes on the humble sarnie from Weekend for you to take your time over.
First up, is Matt’s take on the Vietnamese classic: banh mi. Featuring spiced pork burgers in the place of traditional slices of pork and pate, the crunchy and tart carrot pickle and spicy sriracha and herb mayo ensure that the elements of a typical banh mi are all there. Bundled generously into a crisp baguette, it makes for the perfect weekend meal served with a cold beer.
Reinterpreting the sandwich’s two key ingredients – bread and filling – Matt’s recipe for Alpine-style stuffed bread will most definitely sate any carb cravings. Sausages, potatoes and cheese all piled inside of freshly baked bread? The recipe holds the promise of being the ultimate winter warmer for long, lazy weekend lunches.
Finally, Matt shares his recipe for Durban bunny chow with prawns. Another reinterpretation of the sandwich, this dish comprises a traditional South African curry served inside a hollowed-out loaf of bread. Suddenly, your weekend sandwich just got a whole lot tastier…
Pork banh mi with crispy bits and carrot pickle
Matt says: “I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but these Vietnamese-inspired burgers are simply delicious, and well worth the effort. All the herby, sweet, spicy, sour and savoury elements make it a real taste sensation.”
For the crispy bits:
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 banana shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 red chillies, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 100g cornflour
- Sea salt and freshly ground
- black pepper
For the carrot pickle:
- 2 carrots, very thinly peeled
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 lemongrass stick, soft inner part only, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp palm sugar
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
For the sriracha and herb mayonnaise:
- 1 tsp sriracha chilli sauce
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp chopped Thai basil
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander
- 1 tbsp chopped mint
For the burgers:
- 400g pork mince
- 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2cm piece root ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small baguette, halved straight down the middle
- ½ baby gem lettuce, leaves separated
- 4 cucumber slices
Start by making the crispy bits: heat a 2cm layer of vegetable oil in a heavy-based pan over a high heat. Mix the shallot, chilli and garlic in a bowl and sprinkle them with the cornflour, shaking off the excess.
When the oil is hot enough to brown a small cube of bread in 40–50 seconds, add the shallot, chilli and garlic to the hot oil and cook for three to five minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper straight away.
To make the carrot pickle, mix the carrots, vinegar, lemongrass, palm sugar, lime zest and juice together in a bowl and set aside. Mix the sriracha, mayonnaise and all the herbs together in a separate bowl and set aside.
For the pork burgers, throw together the pork, chilli, garlic, ginger, coriander and fish sauce in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Form into golf ball-sized balls then flatten slightly. Heat the oil in a frying pan. When hot, gently fry the pork balls all over for three to four minutes until cooked through (cut one open to check there is no remaining pink in the meat).
To serve, pile up the sliced baguettes with the pork balls, all the toppings, the carrot pickle, mayo and crispy bits. Dive in!
Alpine-style stuffed bread
Matt says: “I love skiing and try to get to the mountains every year, mainly because it’s the greatest feeling to come in out of the snow and eat delicious mountain cheese, fantastic local salami and homemade bread around a chalet fire. I was served this bread in the most beautiful surroundings of the French Alps. The sun was shining over the mountains and I had in front of me the biggest stuffed-cheese, meaty treat you’ve ever seen. It was a moment to savour.”
For the bread dough:
- 250g strong white flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling out
- 7g sachet fast-action yeast
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 150–200ml warm water
For the filling:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ savoy cabbage, cored, sliced, blanched and refreshed under cold water
- 2 x 140g herb sausages, cooked and each sliced into 8 pieces
- 130g smoked sausage, cooked and cut into 8 pieces
- 200g new potatoes, boiled and thinly sliced
- 100ml crème fraîche
- 150g Gruyère or Reblochon cheese, grated
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the bread dough, put the flour in a large mixing bowl, add the yeast and salt and mix by hand (or you can mix it in the bowl of a stand mixer, if you have one). Gradually add the water a bit at a time and mix until it just comes together as a dough (you may not need all the water). Flour a work surface, then knead the dough by hand (or knead in the mixer using the dough hook attachment) for about five minutes until you have a smooth dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured bowl, cover and leave to rise until it has doubled in size, about one hour.
Preheat the oven 240°C/220°C fan/475°F/gas mark 8. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
To make the filling, heat a medium frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the blanched cabbage and fry for two to three minutes, or until wilted. Transfer the cabbage to a bowl, add the sliced sausages and new potatoes, then gently mix in the crème fraîche and cheese. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine.
Once the dough has doubled in size, knead it gently to knock out any large pockets of air. Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a 30cm circle. Place the filling on one half of the rolled-out dough circle then fold the other half over to make a semicircle, a bit like a calzone pizza. Seal and crimp the edges and transfer to the lined baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. When you tap the bottom and it sounds hollow, it is cooked.
Transfer the bread onto a wooden board for serving, then slice and share.
Durban bunny chow with prawns
Matt says: “Don’t let the name fool you, this is a fantastic dish, and possibly the best way to eat a curry. Bunny chow is a traditional South African curry that is served in a hollowed out loaf of bread. It’s a speciality of the east coast city of Durban, which is home to a large Indian population and, with it, a big emphasis on curries and spices. There’s a lot of speculation about why this curry is served in a loaf of bread but, whatever reason, the result is genius. I’ve used king prawns here, but a more traditional filling would use lamb or mutton.”
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 heaped tbsp grated root ginger
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 16 fresh curry leaves (or 20 dried)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp tomato purée
- 4 plum tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
- 100g tamarind paste
- 20 raw king prawns (jumbo shrimp), peeled and deveined
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 small unsliced whole white loaves, lids cut off and with the middle removed (save for breadcrumbs)
- 2 tbsp coconut flakes, toasted in a dry pan
- 2 tbsp curry leaves (fresh or dried), fried in a small pan of hot oil
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop for a minute or two. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and fry, stirring, until soft.
Add the curry leaves and other spices and cook, stirring, for two minutes more. Add the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, tamarind paste and the prawns, then pour in enough water to cover.
Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the prawns are pink and cooked through. Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper. Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick before serving.
Spoon the curry into the hollowed-out loaves and garnish with the toasted coconut flakes and fried curry leaves before serving.
Weekend: Eating At Home: From Long Lazy Lunches to Fast Family Fixes by Matt Tebbutt (Quadrille, £22) is out now
Photography: Chris Terry