Portrait Twelve - Daniel Cooper - Food lover and Chef

Meet Daniel! A freelance chef and food lover specialising in outdoor wood fired cooking. 

 

Tell us a bit about you – Do you remember the beginning of your love of food. Where did you train?

I’ve always been interested in food and I starting by cooking at my local pub The Woolpack in Slad, Gloucestershire. I went to The Grange Cookery School in Somerset and worked in Australia, Spain and France, picking up inspiration wherever I went.

Can you tell us three of the most important places you’ve lived, worked or travelled that have led to you being where you are today.

My travels have taken me to remote beaches in far West of Ireland, to experiencing the Middle Eastern Mangal style of eating in Turkey and the bustling street food markets in Thailand.

What is your process for creating new recipes, is it a flavour or colour that inspires you?

I think they both play a part, ultimately a recipe the combines both will make you want to go back to it again and again.

If you could cook for anyone who would it be?

My family and friends, they're the people who will stick by you in good or bad times.

I’d say you were an expert on alfresco dining! What do you cook for your family? Whats your go to!?

We love eating fish and treat ourselves to buying it on a Friday at our local market. One of our favourite dishes is Lemon Sole Fillets, coated in polenta and griddled on the barbecue until golden and crispy. Served with a lemon and herb dressing.

You are excitingly sharing a couple of recipes with us that our readers can enjoy – tell us more!

Yes! I am sharing with you a couple of recipes I wrote for an outdoor cookery class the River Cottage food festival last year. These are: Spiced brick chicken and blackened chilli harissa recipe.


BRICK CHICKEN - Serves 16

Direct BBQ cook time: 20 minutes Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
16 bone in chicken thighs

Rub
½ tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp black peppercorns

8 tbsp rapeseed oil

1. Prepare the barbecue for direct heat, approx 200 °C. Pre-heat 3 bricks wrapped in aluminium foil on the grill for around 10 minutes.
2. Bone out the chicken thighs. Trim the skin and remove any sinue from the meat.
3. Finley grind the dry rub ingredients. Brush a little oil onto the chicken before applying the dry rub.
4. Place the chicken on the preheated grill skin side down first. Place a brick on top of the thighs (one brick for two thighs) allowing it to press the meat into the hot cooking grate. Cook the chicken for around 10-12 minutes on each side.
5. Once the chicken has reached a core temperature of 75C and the skin is well coloured and crispy, remove and rest before serving.

BURNT CHILLI HARISSA serves 4
Prep time: 5 mins Direct BBQ cook time: 10mins
Ingredients:
2 San Marzano tomatoes (or similar)
1 red chilli
1 red bell pepper
1 tsp fresh garlic, pureed
½ tsp ground cumin
2 tsp of cider vinegar
salt and pepper

Method:
1. Preheat the barbecue for high direct heat.
2. Blacken the tomatoes, red pepper and chilli on the grill for about 10 minutes. This can also be done directly on the charcoal. However, take care as the vegetables will blacken and blister much quicker when placed directly on the coals.
3. Remove from the barbecue and allow to cool and steam in a covered container. This will help to them soften, improving the texture of the sauce.
4. Chop the tomatoes, peppers and chilli by hand or puree using a food processor. Leave the burnt skin on to enhance the smoky flavour.
5. Next add the pureed garlic, ground cumin, cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

 

In light of the current climate can you give us a few key ingredients you think everyone should have in their cupboards.

Tamari or Soy Sauce, garlic, local honey and fresh herbs (although they aren’t strictly store cupboard ingredients.)

I know the current pandemic has paused things but have you any exciting projects on the horizon you can share?

We were due to do some local outdoor cookery courses at Thistledown, near Nailsworth this year which we were extremely excited about. We hope to pick this up again next year. Also we hope to do some of our own courses, more of cookery experience at home rather than at school.

What do you like about H&B clothing?

I like the print, colour, fabric, pretty much everything. I sometimes find men’s shirts rather dull so its very refreshing to be able to wear colourful garments.

Can you describe your dream item of clothing?

I suppose it would be some sort of suit, lightweight, wool blend, exquisite cut, maybe a hint of tartan. When will you bring out some well-fitted men’s trousers? Also can we request some H&B socks?!

If people want to follow you and discover more about you where can they go?

www.danielcooperfood.com and follow us on insta or fb @danielcooperfood.com

Favourite track to work to at the moment.

We have been listening to a lot of Perry Como’s Mandolins in the Moonlight during lockdown as it’s a particular favourite of my 2 year olds!

 

daniel-cooper-chef-river-cottage

 

Daniel wears our Bombay Dash shirt, and our NEW spot and Dot shirt from our SS20 range, available here! 


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