Culinary Anthropologist


  1. Ethiopian affogato

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    On trips to Ethiopia one of my favourite things by far has been Ethiopian coffee, made in homes and cafes from freshly roasted and ground beans and served quite strong in small cups with sugar, and if you’re lucky, a sprig of rue.  Sometimes spices such as clove, cinnamon and cardamom are thrown in with the roasting beans for a delicately spiced version. 

    smbunalalibela0001.jpgEspresso drinks are also very popular in cities, especially macchiato (with incredible ‘macchiato art’ of which any London barista would be envious).  Italian influence in some areas of Ethiopia is also visible in the food and architecture.  

    smmacchiatolalibela0001.jpgI put all these things together to come up with this recipe for an Ethiopian themed Secret Kitchen dinner.  Remember to freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker in advance if you have that sort!

  2. Minchet abish

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    This is one of my favourite Ethiopian dishes, which I learnt about in Ethiopia during a couple of visits.  It is a very rich dish for a special occasion, typically eaten with injera (Ethiopia’s staple flat ‘bread’) and ayib be gomen (cottage cheese with spinach).

    smdorominchetayib0001.jpgMinchet abish is to the left in the photo.  It looks deceptively simple – minced beef – but is exquisitely flavoured with fenugreek (abish) and a range of other hot and warm spices.

    Injera, berbere, nit’ir qibe (spiced butter) and shiro powder are available in London’s Ethiopian shops and restaurants.

  3. Doro wat

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    This is Ethiopia’s most famous and prestigious dish, translating literally as ‘chicken stew’.  Chickens are very expensive to buy in Ethiopia and therefore a luxury food for a special occasion.  One chicken can go a long way, especially when combined with 4kg of onions!  The key to the success of this dish is the slow cooking of the onions – around four hours.

    smdorowatetal0001.jpgDoro wat should be served with injera, Ethiopia’s staple flat ‘bread’, which can be bought in London from Ethiopian shops and restaurants, either home-made or imported from Ethiopia where it is made with the indigenous tef flour (gluten free and high in iron).  Berbere powder and nit’ir qibe (spiced butter) can also be found.

    smdoroaddis0001.jpgThis recipe is only slightly adapted from the one kindly taught to me by Egigayeu Abebe in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia, 2011).  Egigayeu is my friend Nebiat’s mother, a formidable cook and patient teacher.


  4. Roast almonds

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    These are incredibly more-ish.  Serve with a chilled aperitif, such as sherry.  The ingredients and quantities here are a guide.  Feel free to mix it up…



  5. Slow-cooked lamb shoulder

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    This is my favourite way to cook lamb shoulder.  Your lamb will be meltingly tender, juicy and full of flavour.  You can keep the shoulder whole and present it at the table.  You won’t need a carving knife – just spoons and forks to pull off pieces of soft meat.  Or you can remove the meat from the bones after it has cooked (as described below) and serve it individually plated.  You could pair it with mashed or roast potatoes, a root vegetable gratin, or rice.  I think it’s particularly delicious with barley or spelt ‘risotto’, with a dose of salsa verde on top.

    smlambshoulder0001.jpgThe recipe takes some time, but is far from difficult.  It’s based on the method I used at Chez Panisse, where we cut the shoulders from the lamb carcasses, trimmed and seasoned them the day before.  For best results I recommend starting two days in advance.  On the first day, trim and season the meat.  On the second, cook it, remove the bones and strain the sauce.  On the third, skim off the remaining fat and reheat gently. 


  6. Malt cookies

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    Crispy cookies with a beautiful dark color and a great malty, almost coffee or chocolate-like flavour.  For Christmas you could add flavorings such as 1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spices and ½ tsp grated orange zest – not New Nordic, but very tasty!

    For a dessert, try layering crumbled cookies with toasted chopped nuts, whipped cream or yoghurt and fruit compote to make a trifle.  Malt cookies go well with cherries, hazelnuts and a small sprinkling of licorice powder.

    smNordicXmas2012Anna0027.jpgRecipe from Mia Kristensen of CPH Good Food.


  7. Brioche pudding

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    An indulgent version of regular bread and butter pudding.  Instead of brioche you could use stollen, panettone or any other enriched bread.

    This can be made ahead, even the day before, and then baked in time to serve.  Cold leftovers can be sliced thickly, fried in butter on each side and served with poached fruits and cream.  Yum.

    This recipe is adapted from that used at the fantastic Tartine bakery in San Francisco, where I used to live.


  8. Chocolate espresso pots

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    This dessert is really easy, yet really impressive, and what’s more can be made the day before.  If you can’t get espresso flavoured dark chocolate, replace 50ml of the cream with strong espresso.  In either case you may want to sweeten the mix slightly by adding a spoonful of sugar to the cream as it heats, but this will depend on how sweet your chocolate is.  For an alternative, try using another flavour of chocolate, such as orange or chilli…  (Adapted from a recipe by Nick Nairn.)