Hi, Matt. Thank you for finding some time to meet the readers of ‘Nowy Czas’. You are a man of many talents and cooking is not the only one.
– Along with cooking I am a musician. I started playing the drums at the age of 10. My father played guitar and encouraged me to learn an instrument.
And I remember that if you are free, you can do a job of a carpenter or a plasterer for a day or two. So when did you start to cook?
– I suppose I really started cooking a lot when I left home for the first time aged 19. I went to university and realized that if I wanted to eat good food I had at home I had to learn to cook myself.
Where do you find inspirations for recipes and music?
– My inspiration for cooking came from my mother and both Grandmothers. I find inspiration for recipes from markets and shops. I live in Deptford in South London which has many fruit and veg stalls, as well butchers and fishmongers. I find that recipes come to me as I browse the market and see what looks good and what is in season.
Music comes from listening and playing, the inspiration comes from many different styles and genres. I love everything, from jazz to dance music.
And your band name is?
– I am in two main bands called Crazy P and Lucho.
Have music and cooking come together in your life or they are totally two different areas?
– I would say they are different in some ways but similar in others. When I play and create music I need others around me, but with cooking I can experiment and create by myself which I really enjoy. But they are similar in performance and timing, a gig is quite similar to a service. You have to concentrate to work fast and accurately.
You travel a lot. What was your most exciting journey?
– I think my favourite journey was driving around Andalusia in Spain. The food, the wine, the beaches, the cities! It has everything.
Which cuisine do you prefer?
– I can’t answer this because it can change from day to day. When the weather is hot I want light, spicy food: Thai salads, southern Spanish tapas or Turkish meze for example. When the weather is cold I want English stews, French cassoulet, slow braised dishes and hearty North European stuff.
So what is your favorite dish?
– I think roast lamb.
Your favourite chef? Have you got one?
– Not really, I am inspired by so many.
Can you recommend a recipe for readers of ‘Nowy Czas’?
– Sure. It is getting cold, so there is something to keep us warm.
Matt’s spiced butternut squash soup
To serve 4 people we need:
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large squash peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 small lump of ginger, crushed
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp of honey
- 2 cloves
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- around 1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock (you might not need all this depending on the size of your squash).
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Put the butternut squash into a roasting tray with some of the oil, turn over. Season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of all the ground spices. Roast in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or until soft.
Sweat the onion in the remaining oil until soft. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute. Then add the mustard seed and the cloves. After another minute add the rest of the spices and the honey. Cook gently for a couple of minutes to release the flavours of the spices. Add the stock and cook for 10 minutes (do not add too much stock at this point, you can always make the soup thinner when blended).
Add the cooked butternut squash and cook to warm through
Remove the cloves then blend until smooth and adjust seasoning and consistency if needed.
Serve with some yogurt and warm pitta bread