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5 Recipes That Show London's Food Scene is Changing (Bye for Now, Fish & Chips)

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Finishing a book is bittersweet. I gathered over 300 recipes in my research for The London Cookbook and had to narrow down, after much testing and retesting, to 120.

Getting down from 300 to 200 was easy—some recipes simply don’t translate to the home kitchen or to American ingredients (note the difference between their cornstarch and ours or their bramley apples and our cooking apples). Others are too fussy or cheffy with too many components. But then there are the 80 recipes it was really hard to cut. Here are five recipes too good not to share in some form.

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Rogan Josh Shepherd's Pie

Rogan Josh Shepherd's Pie by Aleksandra Crapanzano

Arrocina Beans with Chorizo, Morcilla, and Pork Belly

Arrocina Beans with Chorizo, Morcilla, and Pork Belly by Aleksandra Crapanzano

The Rogan Josh Shepherd’s Pie from Vivek Singh, the chef-proprietor of London’s Cinnamon Kitchen and Cinnamon Club; the Arrocina Beans with Chorizo, Morcilla, and Pork Belly, from Barrafina; and the Amalfi Eton Mess, based on a version from Locanda Locatelli, are wonderful examples of the changes in food in London and the incorporation of global spices and ingredients.

The Zuppa con Sarde is found at the beloved River Cafe. Sardines might have a bad rap, but, if ever there was a soup to redeem them—this is that soup. And the Vanilla Saffron Gelato is a funny story; it was supposed to go into the final manuscript but somehow was lost when we separated desserts into two sections: desserts and chilled desserts. 

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Zuppa con Sarde (Borlotti and Sardine Soup)

Aae3c60a 3ca9 4c74 96c3 1289ccc0d624  crapanzano aleksandra credit melissa forman Aleksandra Crapanzano
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Serves 6
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 salted anchovy fillets
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon sultanas, soaked in hot water
  • 2 garlic cloves: 1 whole, 1 finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 12 whole sardines, filleted
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 11 ounces borlotti beans, cooked
  • 6 ciabatta bread
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • extra virgin olive oil
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36c05712 77b0 41e6 bf2b 0b5bb62d1f40  2016 0817 arrocina beans chorizo pork belly stew linda xiao 327

Arrocina Beans with Chorizo, Morcilla, and Pork Belly

Aae3c60a 3ca9 4c74 96c3 1289ccc0d624  crapanzano aleksandra credit melissa forman Aleksandra Crapanzano
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Serves 6
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Maldon salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/3 pounds pork belly
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 fennel bulbs, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large leek, the white part diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 ounces morcilla curada
  • 3 dried choricero peppers, soaked in warm water for 2 hours
  • 3 dried guindilla chillies, cut in half lengthways
  • 5 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 pound Arrocina (white haricot) beans, soaked in cold water overnight
  • 2 quarts homemade chicken stock
  • 1 3/4 pounds cooking chorizo, sliced
  • 6 ounces morcilla de Burgos, skin removed, sliced
  • 1 Savoy cabbage, finely sliced with a mandolin and lightly braised in butter and a touch of water
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3e145b04 af15 4854 8c36 4dcd59d04cdd  2016 0822 rogan josh shepherd pie recipe london cookbook mark weinberg 475

Rogan Josh Shepherd's Pie

Aae3c60a 3ca9 4c74 96c3 1289ccc0d624  crapanzano aleksandra credit melissa forman Aleksandra Crapanzano
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Serves 6

Pie Ingredients

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  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 onions, 2 finely chopped and 1 sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boned leg of lamb, diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 cups stock or water
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean lamb minced/ground
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 1/2 sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 celeriac, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 turnip, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh coriander leaves and stalks
  • For the spice mix:
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cm piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

for the potato topping:

  • 1/2 pound floury potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon cheddar, grated
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34583f9a b7ae 48ab 98e1 2260f2161505  2016 0826 vanilla saffron gelato james ransom 043

Vanilla Saffron Gelato

Aae3c60a 3ca9 4c74 96c3 1289ccc0d624  crapanzano aleksandra credit melissa forman Aleksandra Crapanzano
15 Save Recipe
Serves 4
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split open lengthways
  • 2 teaspoons glucose syrup or a mild, light runny honey
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup skimmed milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons saffron threads
  • 1 large leaf of gelatin or 4 teaspoons agar-agar
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6aca6c3e 6954 4c1d a77f 0b63571f15c5  2016 0823 amalfi eton mess recipe london cookbook mark weinberg 124

Amalfi Eton Mess

Aae3c60a 3ca9 4c74 96c3 1289ccc0d624  crapanzano aleksandra credit melissa forman Aleksandra Crapanzano
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Serves 4, with leftovers

For the meringue and Chantilly cream:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, preferably not ultra-pasteurized
  • 1 tablespoon limoncello

For the lemon curd and assembly:

  • 4 lemons zested and juiced, Meyer if possible
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Lemon sorbet, optional
  • Lemon zest, optional
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For more recipes from today's London food scene, Aleksandra's book is The London Cookbook.