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Essential Cuisine

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Don’t Takeaway the Fakeaway – Team Essential's Mark Wickens

24th March 2021

'Without doubt lockdown has drawn my attention towards food more than ever. Whether it be deciding what’s for dinner, reminiscing childhood favourites and re-creating the classic 70’s bacon suet roll, shopping locally, conversations about food has never seemed so relevant.

I’ve been part of the Essential Cuisine family of chefs for over 13 years and served the longest “apprenticeship” in catering history and am proud to part of the team.  Away from my usual day to day chef visits, working from home has taught many of us new skills. From de-boning chicken, broth making, slow cooking, to pie making and of course sourdough! For me, the use of You Tube tutorials, Chef colleagues “Wikipedia” insights, coupled with a splendid book on the science of cooking has also provided many forms of culinary entertainment.

We’re blessed with plenty of locally caught, sustainable fish here in Hastings and I have also found a great local butcher in Queens Arcade on my walks. Like many foodies at home, perhaps we have come to appreciate the independent local suppliers nestled around our local communities and hope we may continue to support them as we ease outside once more.

The past months has also given many of us the opportunity to learn more about the art of cooking too, (whilst simultaneously appreciating endless series of Masterchef or Hell’s Kitchen to see how it’s done properly)! Whilst I am no Gordon Ramsay, mealtimes at ours do include quick favourites. After all, you can’t beat the occasional fish finger butty in a farmhouse doorstep, either with or without salad cream.

Winter months has given way Moroccan fish tagine, or Spanish fish stew with a twist, with recipes taken from one of my little Hastings Fish cookbooks…. and having dug out and dusted off the slow cooker, a hearty pie has been welcome. Our latest favourite is a Chinese “fakeaway”. There’s something really satisfying about the aroma of freshly chopped, ginger, garlic, chilli, and coriander, coupled with the bonus of it only taking minutes to wok up when you’re more pressed for time! Of course, taking inspiration from the Essential Cuisine website, some of our favourites have been:

Satay King Prawn Chow Mein - view the full recipe here

Satay King Prawn Chow Mein

Veggie Satay Miso Ramen - view the full recipe here

Veggie Satay Miso Ramen

Authentic Katsu Sauce - view the full recipe here

Authentic Katsu Sauce

Roasted Butter Prawns - view the full recipe here

Roasted Butter Prawns

Whilst we look forward to eating out and returning to a more normal life, they’ll always be room for a fakeaway in home kitchens across the nation…. whatever tickles your fancy!'

For more inspiring recipe inspiration for your home creations, head over to our recipe page here. Follow Mark on his culinary journey on Twitter @Essential_Mark

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