Many of us fancy ourselves as good cooks. And, in many cases, that may be very true. But, as far as we’re concerned, it doesn’t hurt to tap into a top chef’s expertise in the kitchen when it comes to feeding a crowd, feeding different taste buds and still allowing for a bit of creative flair.
One of our favourite ways to get these tips is to ask our friends at Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the company that features some of the most gorgeous boutique properties on Earth (including Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa, on the island of St. Barth’s in the Caribbean), and also gorgeous annual cookbooks, where they’ve featured recipes from the top chefs that cook for their guests across the globe.
Daniel Luddington, SLH Vice President of Development says: “The beauty of the Small Luxury Cookbook can be likened to our hotels, as it offers something for every independently minded traveller and self-professed ‘foodie.’ Whether you may be an occasional, aspiring or proficient chef, these SLH recipes have been created with passion in mind and we are excited to give the world a taste of our hotels.”
To coincide with the release of the new cookbook, SLH identified some of the biggest culinary insights to note for this year.
- Butterfly Pea Flower Tea (blue tea) has been around for centuries but is only now getting global attention thanks to its high antioxidant content and incredible health properties including enhancing memory and decreasing stress.
- Appetite for hyper-local cuisine has been driven by travellers wanting to taste food straight from the source and rediscover ancient and forgotten ingredients.
- Wellness-led food options are inspired by guests wanting to focus on self-care and restoring balance on holiday.
- Unique dining experiences show that guests are increasingly seeking out-of-this-world dining options and ambience.
- Unusual food pairings such as green tea with French cuisine.
- Asian Hotpot is becoming increasingly popular all over the world, due in part to the rising interest in convivial dining and bold, spicy flavours.
All recipes in the book are accompanied by step-by-step instructions, as well as alternative suggestions for any hard to source ingredients allowing for a chance to recreate not only the dishes, but holiday memories at home.
The Small Luxury Cookbook is available for purchase at www.slh.com/food and participating SLH hotels with an MSRP of $52.
1. Spaghetti alla Carbonara
From: Paseo 206 Boutique Hotel, Havana, Cuba
Chef: Vincenzo Frassanito
200 g pasta (spaghetti or rigatoni)
60 g guanciale (pork jowl) bacon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 egg yolks
60 g pecorino cheese
Add the pasta to a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, in a separate large pan, fry the chopped guanciale bacon over a low heat until slightly crisp in the oil alone (don’t add garlic or onion or other seasoning). Reserve two tablespoons of the bacon fat, which has been released during cooking in the pan.
Beat the egg yolks with a large fork until barely set, then add the pecorino cheese and the reserved two tbsp of bacon fat and toss again. Drain the pasta and put it in a bowl with the yolks, the guanciale and the pecorino emulsion, stirring quickly.
Add bacon and pecorino cheese on top to adjust the density and serve immediately.
2. Braised Venison Osso Buco with celery root, bacon lardon & pearl barley, pomegranate seeds, parsley gremulata, black pepper jus
From: The Reluctant Panther Inn & Restaurant, Manchester Village, Vermont, USA
Executive Chef: Sigal Rocklin
6 venison osso buco
1 carrot, chopped
1 spanish onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbs black peppercorn
500 ml merlot wine
2.25 litres beef stock
2tbs shallot, finely diced
100g bacon lardons (or chopped bacon)
1 medium celery root, peeled & chopped
4 sprigs thyme
500 ml heavy cream
4 tbs parsley, chopped
zest & juice of 1 lemon
2 tbs garlic, finely diced
1 tbs butter
2 tbs pomegranate seeds
Heat the oven to 160˚C (325F). Bind each osso buco with twine and season heavily with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large oven proof pan and sear the venison on both sides then set aside: you’ll probably need to do this in batches. When all the meat is seared add the chopped carrots, onion and celery to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peppercorns and deglaze the pan with the merlot, then add the beef stock and replace the venison. Make sure that the venison is covered by stock; add water if needed. Cover the pan with a lid, bring to a simmer, then transfer to the oven for 4-5 hours until the meat is tender.
An hour before the osso buco is ready, start the accompaniments. Heat ½ a tablespoon of butter in a medium pan, add a tablespoon of the shallot, the bacon lardons and barley, and cook for 2 minutes until coated with butter. Add 700ml of water and bring to a simmer; cook, covered, for 40 to 50 minutes, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
In another medium pan, heat another ½ a tablespoon of butter, add the remaining shallots and cook until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the chopped celery root, 2 sprigs of thyme, and the cream. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes. When the celery root is soft, purée the mixture in a blender until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
To make the parsley gremulata, mix together the chopped parsley, lemon zest and juice, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
When the venison is ready, carefully remove from the braising liquid, cut off the twine, and rest on a warm plate. Strain the liquid and reduce by half.
To serve, spread celery root purée on the plate. Add the barley, and top with the venison. Spoon braising sauce over the venison and garnish with parsley gremulata and pomegranate seeds.
3. Breaded Snapper with golden beets, slow-cooked egg yolk and vanilla sauce
From: Pescatore at The George, Christchurch, New Zealand
Chef de Cuisine: Ryan Henley
2 x 150g fillets line caught snapper (skin off)
1 loaf dense white bread (frozen)
10g Dîjon mustard
4 free range organic eggs
200ml canola oil
beet & vanilla sauce
1kg golden beets, peeled & juiced
75ml chardonnay vinegar
50ml koji water
100ml vanilla oil
200g skimmed milk
50g grapeseed oil
roast golden beets
200g golden beets
50ml canola oil
50ml chardonnay vinegar
50ml beet juice
golden beet crudité
100g small golden beets
Thinly slice the frozen bread and lay flat on a board. Brush a very thin layer of Dîjon mustard on what was the skin side of the fillets of snapper. Gently place the fillets mustard side down on the bread, and apply a small amount of pressure to ensure the bread sticks to the fish. Trim the bread around the fish, cover, and store in the fridge ready for cooking.
Combine and reduce the beet juice and glucose for the sauce to a glaze in a saucepan over a medium heat, skimming off impurities while cooking. Keep warm, and immediately prior to serving mix in the vinegar, koji water and vanilla oil: don’t worry, it’s meant to be split.
Peel and dice the parsnips and cook in the milk with a little sea salt in a small pan, on a low heat. Once the parsnip is tender, purée with a hand blender, slowly adding the grapeseed oil to emulsify. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste.
Heat the oven to 180˚C (350F). Place the golden beets for roasting in a roasting dish with the canola oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook for around 30 minutes or until tender, then peel, cut into 1cm slices, and cut out small rounds with a ring cutter. Reheat and glaze in small pan with reduced beet juice and vinegar before serving.
For the slow cooked egg yolk heat a water bath to 63˚C (150F). Cook the eggs whole for 60 minutes maintaining a constant temperature. Once cooked peel the whites off the yolk – you have two extra eggs as back up! – and serve straight away.
Slice the raw beets for the crudités, as thinly as possible, and cut rounds with a ring cutter. Immerse in iced water for 5 minutes to prevent discolouring, then dry and reserve for serving.
Heat oil in a non-stick pan on medium/low and gently place the snapper bread side down. Cook until the bread is crisp and golden, then add the butter and cook out the moisture from the butter. Turn the fish and cook for another 30 seconds, then remove from the pan and rest on paper towel. Plate the dish as per the photo, making sure not to sauce the bread to keep it crisp.
4. Massaman Curried Lamb
From: Pimalai Resort & Spa, Koh Lanta, Thailand
1 lamb rack
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs massaman paste
250ml coconut milk
6 cardamom seeds, cracked & roasted
1 cinnamon stick, dry roasted
2 tbs Thai fish sauce
1 tsp palm sugar
2 tbs tamarind juice