FOOD AND DRINK

Cook with Homestead

MasterChef champ and restaurateur Sven-Hanson Britt shares an exclusive recipe with The Islander and talks about making London City Island home

When Homestead launched at the tail end of 2020, it was a runaway success. Then, just three days later, lockdown forced the team to close their doors. Unperturbed, founder Sven-Hanson Britt pivoted, offering customers a takeaway option instead, delivering hearty mains, wine, craft beer and innovative ‘make at home’ kits as well as sending fresh grocery boxes to his neighbours at London City Island.

When Homestead positioned itself as an ‘all-day dining hub for the community’, it wasn’t an empty pledge. Britt moved to London City Island to launch the Cartografie chocolate shop with his partner and fellow chef Kae Shibata and jumped at the chance of another culinary project. The chef, who trained at The Ritz but came to wider prominence after reaching the finals of Masterchef The Professionals in 2014 – later winning the 2019 Rematch edition – is nothing if not resilient and ambitious. With two businesses on their doorstep, Britt and his young family have made London City Island home. ‘I never thought I wanted to live in east London but it’s a really cool place,’ he says. ‘Everyone is so lovely. There’s an amazing community feel, people will do anything to help each other out and it’s really creative.’

“There’s an amazing community feel at London City Island. People will do anything to help each other out and it’s really creative”

SVEN-HANSON BRITT

As well as serving as a hub for the community, Homestead encapsulates Britt’s cooking ethos — where the menus are very much dictated by quality, local suppliers and fresh seasonal produce. ‘Homestead is all about bringing the best suppliers to our customers. Ingredients come in every day straight from amazing farmers, fishermen, veg growers, and the menu changes daily. We grill a lot of the food and serve it very simply and just celebrate the produce.’ Britt’s elevated recipe of grilled Cornish squid may be a little different to your usual barbecue fare, but it showcases the talented chef’s philosophy and culinary inspirations perfectly.

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‘The beauty of this dish is its simplicity,’ Britt says. ‘It may seem a little complex in some areas, but essentially it is based around two really fresh, really beautiful ingredients that are actually quite similar in physical structure: the squid and the romano pepper. These are cooked quite simply and served immediately for best effect. The few frivolities with garnishing just add nuance and texture but the real celebration is the humble yet perfect pairing of grilled saline squid and grilled smoky peppers. Eat this quickly with good bread for dipping.’

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“Homestead is all about bringing the best suppliers to our customers”

SVEN-HANSON BRITT

Cornish squid with smoked red peppers, Arbequina olive oil, yuzu kosho and grilled squid and pigs trotter sauce

Serves 4 as a starter or light lunch

NB: Prep the squid stock after prepping the grilled and raw squid but ahead of beginning the rest of the recipe. If making the squid crackers, these will need to be prepped 24 hours in advance.

For the squid stock*
  1. Grill plenty of squid trimmings until they’re golden and deeply caramelised. Add them to a pot with 1 litre of fresh cold water.
  2. Into that water add a handful of bonito flakes, one large piece of kombu that has been soaked for 1 hour, and a dessert spoon of small dried anchovies.
  3. Simmer this for 20 minutes skimming regularly, and then once all the foam has been removed, simmer gently for a further 40 minutes until well infused but not reduced.
  4. Allow to sit until cool, pass with a fine sieve, then it’s ready to use.

*If you don’t have time to make the squid stock, a plain dashi made with dashi powder can be substituted

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For the grilled squid

Ingredients

  • Tentacles from 1 large day-boat squid caught in UK waters (buy here)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 50ml olive oil (use Arbequina olive oil for best results)
  • Sea salt
  • Pinch of urfa pepper (buy here)
  • Zest and juice from one lemon

Method

  1. Trim and wash the tentacles well. Dry and set aside in a bowl.
  2. Pour the olive oil on top, add the salt, chilli and lemon. Finely chop or grate the garlic and mix that into the squid. Allow to marinade for at least an hour.
  3. When coming to serving up, grill the squid over hot coals or fry in a hot pan with a little olive oil for a few minutes until cooked and charred nicely. Serve hot straight from the grill so make sure everything else is ready first.
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For the raw squid

Ingredients

  • 100g squid
  • 25ml red pepper juice ( juice 2 peppers through any juicer or grate finely and let sit in a sieve before squeezing the remaining juice out)
  • 1 tsp Arbequina olive oil
  • 1 tsp yuzu kosho (available from Asian supermarkets)
  • A few basil leaves, diced finely
  • 1 shiso leaf, finely diced (this can be found in most great Asian supermarkets. Alternatively, use Thai or green basil, coriander, or mint)
  • Sea salt
  • Small amount of lemon zest and juice

Method

  1. Clean the squid well and remove any sinew.
  2. Using a very sharp knife make many slices in the squid that don’t fully cut through the flesh. This will tenderise the squid.
  3. Dice the squid into small cubes and set aside in the cold bowl.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients into the bowl and allow it to marinate. Drain before serving on the puffed squid cracker.
For the squid cracker*

Ingredients

  • 250g roasted squid stock
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 20g Kuzu (buy here)

Method

  1. Dissolve the kuzu into the squid stock with the sugar and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook for 30 seconds until it starts to thicken and then remove from the heat. Place into a piping bag and allow to cook for a few minutes. Pipe the mix onto non-stick mats and place into a dehydrator, dry at 50°C for 24 hours until crunchy. Once dried fully and cooled, heat some oil to 180°C and fry the discs. They should puff up instantly into a light crisp, like a prawn cracker.

*If you don’t have a dehydrator, replace with shop-bought prawn crackers and fry at home.

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For the grilled peppers

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet and ripe romano peppers
  • 1 lemon

Method

  1. Grill the peppers over charcoal slowly until they are blackened all over and collapse under their own weight. This is a sign that they’re cooked.
  2. Place in a bowl for 5-10 minutes and cover with a tight-fitting lid so that they steam themselves, this way the skin will come off easily.
  3. Remove from the container, the blackened skin will easily be rubbed off. Place these aside until ready to use.
  4. Slice them into long strips that mimic the shape and size of the squid tentacles and season with a little more fresh olive oil, some lemon juice and sea salt.

 

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For the sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 litre of roasted squid stock
  • 1 pigs trotter cooked in the squid stock until soft
  • 150ml fresh red pepper juice
  • 1 tsp yuzu kosho

Method

  1. Cook a pig’s trotter in the dashi (broth) for four hours by simmering it gently in a pan in the stock. This will tenderise the trotter and also add some much-needed gelatine to the sauce.
  2. Remove the trotter and pass the stock through a fine sieve. Take some pieces of the trotter meat and dice it finely and add it back to the sauce (the leftover trotter meat can be used in a ragu, curry or soup).
  3. Freshen the sauce with some red pepper juice, the yuzu kosho and seasoning as desired.
To garnish

Ingredients

  • A few fresh basil leaves
  • A few sprigs of rosemary or chive flowers (available at local garden centre or online see here)
  • Tsp of fresh olive oil

Method

  1. To finish the dish, place the hot grilled squid and red peppers onto a pre-warmed plate.
  2. Heat the sauce, ensure it is quite thick, and finish with plenty of fresh red pepper juice.
  3. Pour the hot sauce over the squid and peppers. Add a few basil leaves to the plate and finish with a few spoons of fresh olive oil.
  4. Finally, assemble the raw squid cracker, place the mix onto the puffed cracker, top with the flowers and serve on the side.

 

Photography and film: Buster Grey-Jung

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