Family-style recipes from Rowley Leigh’s new restaurant

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After a fairly long lay-off — nearly 10 years — I am going to be cooking in London again, albeit part time, in an achingly fashionable club on the outer fringes of Notting Hill, my old territory before I departed for the wilds of West Somerset. I may look a little out of place in such a milieu, but I think my food will pass muster. It will be a mixture of old favorites and new dishes with an emphasis on sharing, family-style dining. It will, I hope, be somewhat informal.

One never knows which of the old chestnuts will find favor. Some look a little dated these days. I won’t cook foie gras with a sweetcorn pancake because that delicacy makes me a little queasy, both literally and morally, these days. The chicken and goat’s cheese mousse with olives, besides being ridiculously complicated to make, failed miserably when I resumed it in Hong Kong a few years ago.

However, the Antiboise chicken — overleaf — was greeted with rapture when I presented it to the resident tasting panel. While I don’t remember putting it on a restaurant menu, the dish has been with me a long time — as photographer Andy Sewell will attest after we did it in these pages more than a decade ago.

But most of the food will be new. I boasted recently that my wife had never had the same dish twice — I do cook dinner every night I am at home — and, while there might be a germ of hyperbole there, it is true that the creative juices are still flowing. Time will tell.

Bavette, gribiche sauce and cep toast

Serves 4

Bavette, one of the two cuts loosely referred to as skirt steak, can be chewy and tough when ill prepared. Cut thin and across the grain, it is more than palatable and full of flavor.

For the sauce gribiche

For the vine toast

  1. Make sure the bavette is cleaned completely of any sinew or membrane. Wrap in film and place in the freezer for half an hour to stiffen up.

  2. To prepare the sauce gribiche, whisk the egg yolk, mustard and vinegar with the salt and plenty of ground black pepper. Whisk in the oil in a thin stream and then add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Let stand for as long as you like.

  3. For the toast, wash the ceps carefully in cold water. Peel off the dirty bases and remove any other imperfections. Dry on kitchen paper and then slice thinly. Heat a frying pan with a good film of olive oil and then sauté the ceps on a lively flame with a large pinch of salt and the chilli. Once wilted, remove from the heat and let stand. Toast the bread, butter sparingly and pile the ceps on top, flashing the toasts under a hot grill before serving.

  4. Identify the grain of the meat (clearly visible in long strands) and cut as thinly as possible across it. Sandwiching the meat between film or greaseproof paper, bat it out until really thin and then lay it on to four cold plates. Sprinkle over a few flakes of sea salt and dribble the sauce gribiche sparingly over and around the meat. Serve immediately with the toasts on the side.

Antiboise Chicken

Serves 4

Antiboise Chicken

©Andy Sewell

This dish is simple to prepare and to do ahead of time. The quality of the chicken is paramount.

  1. Peel and slice the onions and put them into a deep casserole with the olive oil, a little salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper. On top of the onions place a cleaned chicken seasoned with salt and pepper. Cover the casserole and cook very gently in the oven (170C) for about an hour and a half. The onions must not brown, but melt gradually almost to a puree, as in pissaladière. Add more oil during cooking if necessary.

  2. When the chicken is tender, lift it out of the onion mix and carve into pieces. Return them to the onions and turn them into the mix. Scatter the olives (stoned or not) and serve.

Raw sea bass, oyster emulsion and anchovy bits

Serves 4

Raw sea bass, oyster emulsion and anchovy bits

©Andy Sewell

The anchovy population of the Mediterranean and the Cantabrian seas will be trembling at the prospect of my return. The “bits” — inspired by the bits of fried batter that used to be sold to the impoverished in chip shops — are too good not to be deployed.

  1. Shuck the oysters (or ask your fishmonger to lift their hinges) and scoop them and their juice into a small pan. Bring to a simmer and as soon as the oysters stiffen, tip them into a blender. Add the cream and the lemon juice and blitz until very smooth before adding the oil in a steady trickle. Pass through a fine sieve, add some milled black pepper and taste for seasoning.

  2. Heat a small but deep pan of frying oil. Chop the anchovy fillets into six small pieces each. Whisk the water into the flour to make a smooth batter. Add the anchovy pieces to the batter. Once the oil is hot, lift out the battered bits with a fork and trail them through the oil. Turn once and, when golden brown, lift them out on to kitchen paper to dry and cool.

  3. Slice the sea bass on a slight diagonal and at a 45 degree angle and arrange on cold plates. Dribble the oyster emulsion around the fish and sprinkle the anchovy bits and oyster leaves over the dish.

Grilled pineapple with chilli syrup and coconut ice cream

Serves 4

Grilled pineapple with chilli syrup and coconut ice cream

© Andy Sewell

Another oldie but goody, this dish can be prepared well ahead. Serve the pineapple warm but not hot.

For the pineapple

  1. Combine the spices and sugar with 75ml of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook on a very gentle heat for 15 minutes. Leave to cool.

  2. With a sharp serrated knife, cut the pineapple across the base and below the stalk. Standing it on its base, cut down through the center of the pineapple, cleaving it in two. Cut again lengthways to produce four equal long segments. Place each skin-side down on the board and carefully cut between skin and flesh, attacking the pineapple first from one side and then the other until you can lift the flesh away from the skin. Also cut away the hard central stalk before cutting each segment into four long slices.

  3. Heat a cast-iron ridged griddle pan and grill the pineapple slices, turning them through 90 degrees to create a nice criss-cross pattern. Turn again and repeat the process. Place on a serving dish and baste generously with the fiery syrup.

For the ice cream

  1. Combine the milk and the coconut milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar and then for the (almost) boiling milk in a thin stream into this mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to a gentle heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula until the custard mixture starts to thicken very slightly. For it immediately into a clean bowl and allow to cool completely.

  2. Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks and then fold in the coconut custard mixture. Churn the mixture in an ice-cream machine until it thickens to an ice-cream consistency. Stand in the freezer for a further 30 minutes before use.

Chez Rowley opens at Laylow, 10 Golborne Road, London W10 5PE, on September 13

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I'm William from America, I'm a food lover, often discovering and making new recipes. I started my blog to share my love for food with others. My blog is filled with delicious recipes, cooking tips, and reviews about restaurants and products. I'm also an advocate for healthy eating and strive to create recipes that are easy to make and use fresh ingredients. Many of my recipes contain vegetables or grains as the main ingredients, with a few indulgences thrown in for good measure. I often experiment with new ingredients, adding international flavors and finding ways to make dishes healthier without compromising on flavour. I'm passionate about creating simple yet delicious recipes that are fun to make and can easily be replicated at home. I also love sharing my experiences eating out with others so they can get the best out of their dining experiences. In addition to cooking and writing, I'm also an avid traveler, often visiting new places to discover local delicacies and explore different flavors. I'm always looking for a new challenge – whether it's trying an exotic food or creating a new recipe using unusual ingredients. My blog is a reflection of my passion for food and I'm always looking for new ways to share it with the world. Join me on my culinary journey and let's explore delicious foods together!

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