Cooking with Tim Anderson

Yes. The one. Last year Masterchef’s champion. The youngest one in the series to win it. What seduced the public apart from his elegant way of preparing food and his passion? His world influence, his American and Asian touches which transform any dish into a culinary travel. Remember his Tokyo Slider of Monkfish Liver, Matcha Mayonnaise and The London Slider of Curried Lamb Cheeseburger with Apple and Ale Chutney? He can also give a fabulous twist to British classic – Sticky Toffee Crème Brulee with Blackcurrant Stout Sauce,  Cheddar Cheesecake with Whiskey Jelly…

And still, he is the humblest person, sharing his cooking tips, his favourite products, his techniques. You will find yourself discussing Hawaian cuisine or the best way to boil an egg (which is way more technical than you thought!) in the most natural way. You could listen to him all night.

The evening, organised by Oral B and Handpicked, took place at The Cookery School (I have my eyes on their Valrhona masterclass). What is on the menu? Sea bass sashimi with seaweed salad and passion fruit foam. Filet, soak, mix, serve, enjoy: it is ever so easy to prepare, you just cannot get it wrong. Beautiful ocean flavours, very refreshing, very light foam which notes linger on the palate. Just add a little dill – perfection. And so very healthy too!

Still on the world fusion side, the second dish brings Asia and India together – hen’s nest of tea-stained egg, leek bhaji and chana masala purée. Nothing less. The title was a bit daunting and I wondered whether I could manage that. Yet, as long as you have all the ingredient at hand, it is quite easy to prepare.

First boil your eggs ( a very precise 4mn and 45 seconds for the yoll to be slightly runny), let them cool without shelling them. Then infuse them for 24 hours in a mix of soy sauce, chai tea and saffron -  hence this dark, a little marbled effect on the picture.

Then prepare your chana masala purée. Fry onions and garlic with a little oil and comin, coriander, chilli powder. Add tomoatoes, saffron, coriander, cumin, chickpeas, tamarin, paprika, garam masala and let it to simmer. An exotic, warm aroma fills the room and will make your mouth water. You sincerely wish you could just stop right there and grab a spoon. But it is not finished yet – put all this in a blender with some butter and whisky until you get an unctuous texture.

The wow effect in that recipe? The twig effect…

Then once rinsed, put them in a mix of flour and garam masala and finally plunge them in hot oil (180 d°C)  until slightly brown.

Time to put everything together: a bed of chana masala puree, a next of leeks, cress (or why not edible flowers?), a little lime juice, an egg. A beautiful alliance of crunchiness, tenderness, pepper, aniseed flavours. Very filling (and it does count a good portion of your 5 a day), the spices are so fragrant they satisfy the tastebuds wonderfully too. And what a prettier spring starter? The perfect way to wow your guests, especially as a nmber of steps can be prepared the previous day. This could also work as a luxurious brunch option.

Tim Anderson is teaming up with Oral B to make the public more aware of the effect of food on teeth. The problem with the latter, you see, is that its acidity can attack the enamel (you do not want to know what fruit juice, cola and pickles do to them). Its content stain it (spices, tea, coffee). Not to mention cavities.

I learnt, horrified, that those services offering to whiten your teeth usually do so by taking a slight layer of enamel off. Sounds logical when you think of it but of course, your teeth will be more sensitive than before.

Good news? Well, drinking water after a meal of even juice/fizzy drinks will wash some of this away. Or you can drink with a straw as it will mean less liquid touches the teeth. Adding milk to your tea will limit the staining effect too. But on the whole? You need a good toothpaste.

This is where Oral B comes in – their new pro-expert product combines, for the first time on the market, stannous fluoride and polyphosphate. It iss a little more expensive than the others on the shelf (but easily affordable at £3.49)  simply because it costs more to produce. Why you should want it? It promises 58% less enamel erosion than a normal fluoride toothpaste (and if you have sensitive teeth and gums, you will want to try it). And rather than attacking the teeth to whiten them, it uses natural ingredients to remove the stains then protects them with a film. 96% of surface stains disappear within 2 weeks. Oh, and there will also be 56% less tartar than with the usual all in one products. Quite an innovation.

Second serving anyone?

Try those other recipes by Tim Anderson:
- Bloody Mary popcorn
- Cola-braised pork-belly, Miso mustard, various vegetables and dashi
- British cheeses with shiitake oatcakes, lager and onion marmelade,  “Asazuke” pickled onions
- Spiced mocha “aero” mousse, plum sorbet, macerated plums and shiso candy

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