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10 years of The Modern Pantry: Anna Hansen’s best recipes

10 years of The Modern Pantry: Anna Hansen’s best recipes

by Great British Chefs 06 August 2018

As the lauded chef gets ready to celebrate a decade of cooking at her Modern Pantry restaurant, Marcus Price takes a look at ten recipes that encapsulate what her fusion-forward cooking is all about.

With a mother of Danish origins and a father with routes in Belgium and Switzerland, it is of little wonder that Canadian-born Kiwi Anna Hansen found her calling in the art of fusion cooking. Inspired by her family, who were strong advocates for culinary creativity, and her experience working with the renowned fusion chef Peter Gordon, she states that her philosophy is ‘driven by the desire to please and excite the palate. My larder is global. There are no cultural or culinary boundaries in my kitchen.’

Anna’s restaurant The Modern Pantry truly embodies this philosophy, with a discernible plethora of influences from across the world, none more so than her signature dish: a sugar-cured New Caledonian prawn omelette with green chilli, spring onion, coriander and smoked chilli sambal that incorporates an incredible array of cuisines and flavours.

Set in one of Clerkenwell’s Georgian townhouses, the restaurant marries elements of its traditional heritage with a sleek, modern interior to create a calm and unassuming environment. As the restaurant prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary, it is clear that Anna and her team have found a winning formula.

To mark this fantastic achievement, we’ve chosen ten recipes that Anna has shared with us over the years that we believe best represents her inimitable style of cooking. Take a look below for some inspiration for the next time you really want to impress in the kitchen.

As part of The Modern Pantry's ten-year celebrations, throughout August diners can choose from a selection of limited-edition dishes created by her fellow chefs, opt for a special anniversary afternoon tea and browse through a range of limited-edition products in her adjoining shop.

1. Beetroot and liquorice cured salmon

Anna’s distinctive style is exemplified in her stunning beetroot salmon gravlax recipe. The dish features an abundance of flavours; the salmon is cured with a mix of liquorice, beetroot juice and soy, while the slaw combines kohlrabi, beetroot and fennel and is layered with a sharp yuzu dressing. Serve on crispbreads for the perfect dinner party starter.

2. Lamb shank with soft polenta and Persian lime pesto

Continue the dinner party with this sumptuous lamb shank with soft polenta and Persian lime pesto. The sumptuous lamb combines perfectly with the lime and parsley pesto, coming together in a cacophony of diverse flavours. Serve with a handful of chopped parsley and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.

3. Venison tartare, umeboshi mayo, gherkin, shallot, quail egg yolk

This venison tartare recipe includes an incredible array of distinct flavours, with the venison being paired with umeboshi (pickled Japanese plums), baby capers, anchovy fillets, Worcestershire sauce, Urfa chilli flakes and yuzu juice (among others). Taking fusion cooking to new extremes, this starter is finished off beautifully with a quail’s egg yolk balanced in the centre.

4. Pumpkin seed and nori crisp scroggin with sour cherries and dark chocolate

Here, Anna showcases her unique twist on scroggin, New Zealand’s take on trail mix. Made by creating a toasted pumpkin seed and nori seaweed butter, it is then dehydrated into a crisp before being combined with a number of delicious ingredients, including crystallised ginger, sour cherries, buckwheat and dark chocolate.

5. Black garlic, liquorice and macadamia crusted salmon with tomatillo salsa

Texture must always be taken into consideration when preparing technical and creative dishes, and this main has plenty of contrasting sensory elements. The crunchy mixture of macadamia nuts, black garlic and liquorice is scattered on top of the salmon, while the refreshing tomatillo salsa surrounding it adds a cool, fresh flavour.

6. Lamb neck with fennel kimchi

Lamb neck is an underrated cut that can stand up to other bold flavours. Anna pairs it with a homemade fennel kimchi, as well as a carrot and ginger purée. Marinating the lamb for twenty-four hours is a great way of getting bags of flavour into the meat before you even cook it.

7. Singapore-style wokked crab

This intricate dish includes a recipe for smoked chilli sambal and tomato relish that will likely make their way into many of your other recipes in the future. Anna states that ‘the wonderful aromas transport me back to happy memories of eating glorious Singaporean food. At the restaurant, we serve it with coconut rice and pickled lotus root. Be sure to supply plenty of bibs and finger bowls when serving!’

8. Roast baharat and lemon marinated lamb

For yet another take on lamb, this recipe makes the most of fragrant bahārāt, a Middle Eastern spice blend. The lamb is rubbed with the spice mix before being seared in a hot griddle pan to create a charred, smoky flavour and then roasted until tender. Serve with sweet potatoes and a striking black sesame sauce for the perfect summer alternative to a Sunday roast.

9. Chocolate and caraway tart

Anna doesn’t just focus on starters and main courses; her desserts are equally innovative and delicious. Her indulgent chocolate and caraway tart is inspired by her family’s Danish origins: ‘My Great Auntie grew up on a large farm in Gram, Denmark,’ she says. ‘It was a large country house where all the ladies of the family were well-versed in cooking with local ingredients. They used to pickle rhubarb, using caraway as one of the aromatics. So the inspiration for using rhubarb with chocolate and caraway came from this.’

10. Coconut and pandan sorbet

While elegantly simple, this coconut sorbet recipe clearly exhibits Anna’s discerning approach to flavour combinations. Although pandan essence can prove difficult to find, its fragrant aromatic flavour complements the coconut perfectly. Serve on its own or with a sprinkling of praline on top to round off any meal.

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