Kooky Cooking: Chef-Approved Recipes to Carry You Through Autumn

Chef-Approved Recipes

Wacky and irresistible chef-approved recipes: delicious takes on British classics from Parlour’s Head Chef

Words Jesse Dunford Wood



This book is all about flavour marriages and contrasting textures. Soft with crunchy, acidic with rich and soothing, raw with cooked. Here we have a lovely bit of steamed fish with some silken olive oil mashed potatoes and citrus fruits to cut through the richness. One of our favourite chef-approved recipes…


Olive Oil Mash

• 500g potatoes, peeled and chopped – Maris Pipers and King Edwards work well

• 100ml hot milk

• 100g butter, melted, plus an extra 50g for reheating

• 75ml olive oil (extra virgin, if you are feeling flush)

• salt and freshly ground black pepper


• 6 x 120g+ halibut portions (you could also use brill, turbot, plaice, cod or even salmon), skin removed


• 500g spinach leaves

• grated zest and segments of 1 orange, 1 lime, 1 pink grapefruit and 1 white grapefruit; and the juice from the carcass of the fruits

• olive oil

• lime wedges, to serve rock salt, to serve


  Preparing the olive oil mash

• Boil the potatoes in pan of salted water, strain them and mash them, incorporating the hot milk and melted butter, and season well.

  Preparing the halibut

• Season the fish on both sides. In a steamer, or over a pan of simmering water (with some lengthways-cut carrots acting as a trivet), steam the fish gently for 3–4 minutes, covered with a lid, until opaque.

  Assembling the dish

Pan-fry the spinach briefly, adding salt and pepper, until starting to wilt down, then strain through a sieve.

• Chop the fruit segments and add to the juice and zest with a little seasoning.

• Place spinach on each plate, put your fish carefully to one side and add mash on the other side. Drizzle a little of the chopped citrus fruit vinaigrette over the fish and spinach, and pour a little olive oil over the mashed potatoes. Serve with a wedge of lime.

CHICKEN KYIV – serves 4



6 whole garlic heads

200g butter, softened

60g parsley, chopped

• 4 skinless chicken breasts

salt and freshly ground black pepper


• 70g(ish) plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper

• 2 eggs, beaten

• 150g breadcrumbs


  Preparing the kyiv

• Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Roast garlic whole on a baking tray for 30 minutes. Leave to cool, then squeeze out the garlic, chopping it finely into a purée. Add to softened butter and parsley in a bowl and mix until smooth. Place in a tub and chill for 30 minutes, then ball out portions (about 70g or so) with a warm ice-cream scoops.

• Top and tail the chicken breasts, removing the fillet from underneath, until you are left with a square chunk, about 7.5 x 7.5cm.

• Stretch out a double layer of cling film, put the trimmed chicken on one side and fold over the cling film so it is well covered. With a rolling pin, smash the breast into a flat shape. It needs to be about 12.5cm round. Peel back one side of the cling film and place the butter in the centre of the chicken. Close the chicken around it by bringing the cling film together and twisting it, making a round, stuffed garlic chicken breast ball. Repeat with the remaining chicken and butter balls. Pop the balls into the freezer before being breaded.

  Preparing the panne

• Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls. Once Kyivs are frozen, unwrap from the cling film and roll in the seasoned flour, then in the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Repeat for a second time. The breaded chicken can then be left to defrost in the fridge for a few hours, or even for a day or so, and it will be ready for cooking.

  Assembling the dish

• Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Fry Kyvis in a deep-fat fryer set to 180°C until golden, transfer to oven for 15 minutes, then serve.



• 1 large beetroot

• 1 large golden beetroot 1 kohlrabi

• 1 swede

• 250ml white wine vinegar

• 2 pinches of salt

  300g goats’ cheese

Sweet and Sour Dressing

• 50g dried cranberries or sultanas, chopped

• 50g dried raisins or apricots, chopped

• 50g tiny capers, chopped

• 50g shallots, finely chopped

• 10g chopped parsley


  Preparing the raw vegetables

• Peel and slice the vegetables thinly.

• Place each different veg in their own bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, water and salt and pour over the vegetables. Marinate in the fridge for an hour or so.

  Preparing the whipped goats’ cheese

• Chop the cheese and whizz it in a food processor with a little milk until it becomes smooth. Place it in a bowl or piping bag for easier application.

  Preparing the dressing

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and loosen with your favourite dressing.

  Assembling the dish

Drain the coloured vegetable, pipe a little whipped goats’ cheese on top. Add more vegetables, then some of the dressing. Sprinkle with alfalfa sprouts, hazelnut and edible flowers.

Chef-approved recipes taken from Modern British Food: Recipes from Parlour by Jesse Dunford Wood, published by Absolute Press, £20. 

Photography © Lauren McLean

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