Smoky pulled pork with black bean chilli anyone?



Tomorrow, after almost two years of work, sees the birth of my second book, Perfect Host: 162 easy recipes for feeding people and having fun, published by Fig Tree, which, as the name suggests, will ensure that you’re never at a loss to what to feed people for brunch (Mexican baked eggs? breakfast cranachan?), lunch (devilled crab? green potato salad? kedgeree scotch eggs) or even dinner, parties, picnics, Christmas, Easter, Halloween… the list goes on.

I’m really, really happy with it: when my advance copy arrived a couple of months ago, I flicked through it, and found myself bookmarking recipes to make again – “ooh, those chestnut and chocolate brownies look nice! And the pink grapefruit and campari granita… and the prune and armagnac stuffed rabbit…”which is always heartening with your own work. Absence really does make the heart go fonder. And the pictures, well. Beautiful (I can say that, because I just did the cooking for them. All credit to Joe Woodhouse.)

Anyway, this isn’t just an extended plug (although obviously, I’d be overjoyed if a few people did buy it; I don’t think you’ll regret it) – it’s just to let you know that next Thursday evening I’ll be cooking a special dinner for Peyton & Byrne’s food club at their smart restaurant at the National Gallery, mostly with recipes taken from the book. The theme is Americana, for no particular reason except that I was desperate to show off my smoky pulled pork with black bean chilli (above), and I’ve been watching a lot of Mad Men recently and fancied an Old Fashioned. Here’s the menu:

Old Fashioned cocktails and nibbles…

– martini-marinated olives

– spicy candied pecans

– Southern blue cheese thins


Chips and dips

– Homemade tortilla chips with fresh salsa, spinach and parmesan dip and guacamole


Main course

– Pulled pork with black bean chilli (vegetarian option, a drunken beans with crumbled queso)

– Blackened Catfish

– Cheese and jalapeno cornbread

– Tex mex slaw



– Fudgy chocolate brownies with malted whipped cream

I think it sounds pretty damn tasty anyway. I’ve never cooked in a professional kitchen before, but I’ve watched a lot of Masterchef, so I’m pretty confident I know how to shout “oui chef!” with the best of em, and if it gets too hectic, I can always duck out and come and chat to you lot instead. For tickets, click here

Peyton & Byrne Thursday night social: 9th May at 7pm, National Cafe, Trafalgar Square, £35


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