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
2tbs roasted cashews
1tbs coconut milk
dry bay leaf
Season the lamb with salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the massaman paste and cook briefly until fragrant. Add the coconut milk, cardamom, and cinnamon, stirring constantly. Once absorbed stir in the fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind juice and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Check and adjust the seasoning: massaman curry should be slightly sweet with a very subtle sour note from the tamarind.
Carve the potatoes into flowers and leaves and boil for around 15 minutes until cooked.
Grilled the lamb racks on both sides, then leave to rest on the grill.
Spread the curry over serving plates, arrange the lamb cutlets and potatoes and decorate with cashew nuts, bayleaf, coconut milk and coriander.
5. Greek Black Pork Chop with veal jus, rainbow carrots, confit lemon and purple mashed potatoes
From Armyra restaurant at Eagles Palace, Halkidiki, Greece
Chef: Stefanos Chatziantoniou
Ingredients (per serving)
1 400g black pork chop
1 clove garlic, sliced
fresh thyme & rosemary
4 baby rainbow carrots
250g purple potatoes
1 fresh lemon
Greek fleur de sel
50ml veal jus
Marinate the chop in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary for 12 hours. Peel the baby carrots, marinate with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Peel and cube the potatoes, then boil in salty water until soft and mash with butter.
Slice and blanch the lemon in a small saucepan of boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain twice. Mix salt and sugar in a large bowl, dredge the lemon slices in the mix and spread the slices over a paper-lined baking tray. Dry in a low oven.
Grill the pork chop and the carrots, for best results in a ceramic ‘Monolith’ barbecue. Heat and reduce the veal jus and serve with the mashed potato and confit lemon.
6. Polenta and Mushrooms
From: Nove at Villa della Pergola, Alassio, Italy
Chef: Giorgio Servetto
100g all purpose flour
100g buckwheat flour
150g unsalted melted butter
20g dried porcini mushrooms
5g dried black trompette
5 champignon mushrooms
1 bay leaf
1/2 stalk celery
2 spring onion
velvet pioppini mushrooms
truffle cut raw porcini mushrooms
saffron petals (or edible flowers)
Soak the dried mushrooms in cold water until they are edible and soft. Roughly chop and brown all the ingredients in a medium pan, and once they are browning pour in a litre of water. Bring to the boil and cook at a simmer for 20 minutes, then strain and set aside.
Wash and boil the potatoes for about 30 minutes in unsalted water.
Once cooked, drain, peel and mash them in the same (non-stick, preferably) pan. Add the sifted flours and stir the mixture with a spatula. Put the pan on a low heat and remember to stir the mixture every once in a while so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Let it cook for one hour, then adjust with salt and pour out the mixture in a 5mm layer on baking paper in a baking tray. Let it cool down.
Cut out discs of the cooled mixture with a 2cm cookie cutter.
Spread the polenta on a baking tray, drizzle with the melted butter and sprinkle generously with parmigiano reggiano. Bake in the oven at 180°C (350F) until the tops are golden and crispy.
Grill the leeks and brown the pioppini mushrooms for the garnish in butter. Heat the broth. All is now ready for plating. Place the leeks at the base of the plate with polenta on top, and complete with the truffle cut raw porcini mushrooms, velvet pioppini mushrooms, and saffron pistils and petals. Pour the broth over the plate at the table.
7. Crispy Little Lasagnette with smoked Provolone cheese, aubergines, tomatoes and light rocket pesto
From: The View Fine Dining at The View, Lugano, Switzerland
Chef: Mauro Grandi
Makes 10 servings.
Fresh egg pasta
40 g spinach
400 g all purpose flour
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
15 g tomato concentrate
100 ml olive oil
Light rocket pesto
250 g rocket
50 g basil
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
5g pine nuts
Cherry tomato sauce
400 g cherry tomatoes
30 ml olive oil
10 g shallots, sliced
400 g smoked provolone cheese
400 g stem tomatoes
400 g aubergines
5 baby aubergines
100 g grated Parmesan cheese
100 ml olive oil
Cherry Tomato Sauce: Wash the cherry tomatoes, remove the stalk and cut in half. Leave 10 whole with the stalk for garnishing. Sweat the shallots, add the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 15 minutes. Blend smooth in the processor and pass through a fine sieve.
Lasagna Filling: Slice the smoked provolone for the filling, you should end up with around 30 slices. Wash the tomatoes, remove the stems and cut into 1cm slices (about 20 slices). Wash the aubergines and cut across the width into 1cm thick slices (about 20 slices). Halve the baby aubergines lengthwise. Spread the aubergine slices out on a dry cloth and sprinkle with salt. Leave in the fridge for about 20 minutes, then dry and brown them in a non-stick pan with oil. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and bake at 70 ̊C (150F) for about 30 minutes.
Light Rocket Pesto: Wash the rocket and basil for the pesto and pick off the leaves. Saving 10 good leaves of basil for garnishing, blend the rocket and basil in the blender with extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to taste.
Fresh Egg Pasta: Beat the eggs for the pasta separately. Cook the spinach, squeeze out any excess water and chop very finely in a processor. Whip the eggs separately, one with extra virgin olive oil, one with spinach, and the third with the tomato concentrate. Divide the flour lasagna filling into three equal parts. Form a mound with each, add a whipped egg to the centre and knead each one separately to a smooth and homogeneous dough: add more flour if needed. Rest the dough for about an hour, then roll to the desired thickness and cut into 8cm square sheets. There should be a total of 10 each.
In a deep pan boil plenty of salted water, dip the pasta sheets in (3 or 4 at a time) for two or three minutes, remove them from the water with the help of a skimmer and place on a plate with baking paper greased with olive oil. On another lightly greased baking sheet assemble the lasagnette: a green pasta sheet, a slice of tomato, a slice of aubergine, a slice of smoked provolone; top with a red pasta sheet and repeat, then finish with a white pasta sheet, a slice of smoked provolone, and a dusting of grated parmesan.
Bake the lasagnette with half a baby aubergine on top, at 160 ̊C (325 F) for about 20 minutes. Five minutes before removing the lasagnette, place the whole tomatoes in the oven, seasoned with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.
Serve in single dishes with the rocket pesto and the hot tomato sauce. Garnish with tomatoes and basil leaves.