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RECIPES: Let TV star chef John Torode spice up your life

John Torode
John Torode

Before his visit to the Taste of Grampian Food and Drink Festival on June 1, TV star chef John Torode shares some of his favourite recipes.

Bloody Mary

For me, brunch always starts with a Bloody Mary – it’s a meal in itself and works because it gets the heart beating.

It must be well seasoned and really cold, so you need plenty of ice, and the little bit of vodka floating on top makes it extra special.

This is quite a spicy one; but you can spice it up even more if you like.

It’s not for the faint-hearted!

The ingredients

Makes two

  • Lots of ice
  • 120ml vodka, plus a little extra to float
  • Half a tsp grated fresh horseradish
  • 2 big shakes of celery salt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 600ml tomato juice
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 10 drops of Tabasco sauce
  • Loads of black pepper

The method

  • Put loads of ice into a jug, then add the vodka, horseradish, celery salt and lemon juice.
  • Now add the tomato juice then the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and pepper – in that order.
  • Stir well.
  • Fill tall glasses with ice and pour over the Bloody Mary.
  • Float a little extra vodka on top if you’re really cheeky.

Indonesian fish curry with clams, mussels and beansprouts

The ingredients

SERVES…A big family!

  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 3tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk, left in the fridge overnight
  • 200ml water
  • 10 fresh kaffir lime leaves
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 200g clams, cleaned
  • 200g mussels, cleaned
  • 1kg fish, cut into 5cm chunks
  • 12 large prawns
  • 1½tsp salt
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2½tbsp lime juice

To serve:

  • 150g beansprouts
  • A handful of mint leaves

The method

  • Heat the oil in a wok, add the red curry paste and paprika, stir and cook for a couple of minutes over a high heat.
  • Add 100ml of coconut milk, stir and cook on a lower heat for five minutes.
  • Add the remaining coconut milk, water, lime leaves and curry leaves and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened and creamy, then remove from the heat.
  • Cook the clams and the mussels separately.
  • Put about 100ml of the sauce into a large pan, add the clams and bring to the boil, then cover with the lid and cook for about four to five minutes over a high heat until all the shells have opened (throw away any shells that are broken or do not open – these are bad for you). Repeat with the mussels. Bring the wok with the remaining sauce to the boil, then drop in the fish and prawns along with the salt and the tomatoes.
  • When it comes back to a simmer, take it off the heat, give it a good stir and add the lime juice.
  • Put the beansprouts and mint leaves into the bottom of individual bowls and pour over the curry.
  • The beansprouts will cook and all the flavour in the mint will be released.
  • Keep the clams and mussels separate for everyone to help themselves.
  • It’s not cheap, I know, but it really is a worthwhile big bowl of fun and flavour.
  • It will feed a big family and as many friends that you can get around the table.
  • Let people serve themselves with as much or as little of the shells as they like.

Double-cut T-bone steak

There’s a hunk of bone to chew on, a tender fillet, some crispy fat and a lovely slab of tasty sirloin all for the taking.

It is an expensive cut, but cooked my way it can feed four people easily.

I serve it with chard – my nod to Italy, where I first ate these steaks, but chard is also one of my favourite greens.

It can be served hot or cold; it’s up to you.

The ingredients


  • 2 large T-bone steaks, about 700g each, at room temperature
  • 30ml vegetable oil
  • 1tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the chard:
  • 500g Swiss chard
  • 60g butter, diced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 20g capers
  • 60g anchovies in oil, drained and chopped
  • 20ml olive oil

The method

  • Light the barbecue or griddle.
  • Use a sharp knife to score the fat all the way to the flesh – this will allow the fat and sinew to shrink as it cooks but won’t make the meat shrink.
  • Rub the steaks all over with oil and then season liberally with salt and pepper.
  • To prepare the chard, strip the leaves, wash and set to one side.
  • Trim the stalks of any bruised bits and then cut into batons.
  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, throw in the stalks and return to the boil.
  • Drop the leaves into the boiling water, pushing them under the surface, and cook for a minute, then drain.

To cook the steaks:

  • Put the T-bones, fat-side down, on the barbecue or griddle so that the fat starts to melt. Once the fat begins to melt and char, let the steaks fall naturally to one side and leave to cook for four minutes (don’t be tempted to move the steak while it is cooking).
  • Turn the steaks over and cook for a further four minutes.
  • Now turn the steaks again, rotating them by 180 degrees, and grill for two minutes then flip the steaks and cook for another two minutes.
  • Take the steaks off the heat and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

For the chard:

  • Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then drop in the hot and watery chard and cook for a minute or so. Season the chard, add the lemon juice, capers and anchovies, toss well and then add the olive oil and toss again.
  • Transfer to a bowl.
  • And relax…
  • When you are ready to serve, sit one steak on its bone, and cut the big hunks of meat off each side of the bone, then slice the meat.
  • Serve the steak with the chard and anchovies.
  • Yum.
  • Season the steak after it has been oiled so the salt does not suck the moisture out of the meat.
  • Let the meat rest after it has been cooked so that it can relax before you carve and serve.


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