My Life In Food: Angela Hartnett
Friday 18 November 2011
Angela Hartnett trained under Gordon Ramsay and is chef-patron of the Michelin-starred Murano in London's Mayfair. She will guest chef at Canteen, Covent Garden, on 1 December.
What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?
My most used piece of kit is a microplane. I have them everywhere – in my kitchen at home and in the restaurants. They're absolutely perfect for grating parmesan, which I use a lot in my cooking. The least-used thing I have is my electric food mixer. I bought it about five years ago and never really used it. I prefer doing it by hand, to be honest.
If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?
I'd go to the nearest farmers' market and pick up a whole chicken and as many vegetables and potatoes as I could. It'd be a one-pot dish. I'd chop the potatoes and vegetables and layer them in the bottom of the pot. Then I'd season the chicken, add some herbs and put it on top of the vegetables. The juice of the chicken seeps down into the vegetables that way.
What do you eat for comfort?
Cheese. Gorgonzola is a favourite of mine. I love its soft consistency and its richness, it's the perfect comfort food. Vacherin comes a close second. If you put it with grilled potatoes it's really great. I'm definitely a savoury person. I've never liked sweet things nearly as much.
If you could eat only bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I'd probably choose bread. I'd miss that most, I think. I'd go to either the Flour Station or the Exeter Street Bakery. I particularly like sourdough, so if I had to choose specific bread I'd go for that. But, that said, I would miss ratte potatoes. They're have a flavour and texture which makes them perfect for making buttery mash, which I love.
What's your desert island recipe?
I wouldn't want to live without buttered pasta. First make (or buy) some fresh tagliatelle and cook it in a saucepan. When it's done, drain it off and add in some unsalted butter to the pan. I'd use Jersey butter, if I could get hold of it. Then grate some nicely crystallised two-year-old Par- mesan and mix that in. Add some black pepper and then you're done.
What's your favourite restaurant?
Brawn – it has a very savoury menu and has all the things I really like. The cheese and salami are particularly fantastic. Terroirs, its sister restaurant, is also worth popping into for a hearty lunch.
What's your favourite cookbook?
Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. My mother gave me a copy when I was in my teens and it's never left my side. It's full of very pure traditional Italian recipes and is not at all bastardised, like many modern Italian cookbooks. It's perfect for entertaining, too, as she suggests starters and desserts.
Who taught you to cook?
My mother and grandmother. They created an atmosphere where cooking was a matter of fact. They never said, "this is how you cook". I just absorbed it. My mum would have people for dinner and she'd cook everything from roast dinners to steak and pasta, and I'd be there helping. Professionally, though, Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay were the most important. They taught me to be consistent and never to serve an imperfect dish.
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