Ça va, mon chou?

IMG_5867Savoy cabbage, quickly cooked, with butter and pepper is pretty good as it is. But if you want to pep it up to serve as a side dish with south-east Asian food it may not quite cut the mustard.The trick with cabbage is to not cook it for a whole school term. A flash in the pan to soften it is enough, so be careful and be quick. This is fiery and comforting at the same time and goes really well with some steamed fish with lemongrass and lime leaves.Ingredients1/2 Savoy cabbage, shreddedCoconut oil for frying2 hot red birdseye chillies, sliced1tbsp red Thai curry paste1tbsp dessicated coconut1tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce1tbsp lime juice100ml coconut creamSalt to seasonMethodSauté the cabbage in some coconut oil, letting some of the shreds almost burn. Add as much chilli as you like, my chillies were surprisingly hot, so be careful.Add the curry paste to the pan (home made if you can be bothered) and add a little more coconut oil. Cook for a few minutes, stirring well so it doesn't burn.Pour in the coconut cream and heat through. Tip into a bowl and blowtorch the top of the cabbage if you have one to give it a little bit of a dramatic char. Add a little more sliced red chilli and some hazelnuts sprinkled on top if you fancy, and serve.

Infused oils: getting more flavour into your meals

chilli oilHere’s a quick and easy way to add a little more flavour to your cooking. Depending on what you’re making, using infused oils to cook with can make the difference between a good dish and a great one.I like to use this garlic, rosemary, chilli and tomato vine oil to make tomato sauces for pasta, such as arrabiata or beef ragú.IngredientsThe vine stems from four packs of tomatoes1 sprig of rosemary5/6 cloves of garlic2 chillies (serrano are good for this)400ml olive oil100ml rapeseed oilA splash of cider vinegarMethod

  1. Gently heat the oil and add all the ingredients to the pan.
  2. Cook on a medium heat for five minutes, until things start to sizzle and change colour.
  3. Turn the heat off and leave to cool and infuse for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the vinegar and store in sterilised airtight glass jars or bottles.

Other oilsOils are good to experiment with; here are some other ideas for oils that can add in-depth flavour to your cooking:Curry oil: a mix of cumin, coriander and cardamom seeds with peppercorns, cloves, garlic and ginger powder in a 50/50 mix of olive oil and rapeseed oil.Chilli oil: add chilli flakes, a selection of fresh chillies, some garlic and a dash of vinegar.Lobster oil: roast lobster shells in a little oil, then smash them up and add more oil before storing in a jar.Lemon oil: this one is great for South East Asian cooking. Blend lemon grass, lemon zest and lemon juice with some kaffir lime leaves and, if possible, verbena in a 50/50 mix of olive oil and rapeseed oil.