Nadine Levy Redzepi: What do you cook dinner for the world’s finest chef? | Life and elegance


What to feed the perfect chef on the earth? For 19-year-old Nadine Levy, on an evening off from her job entrance of home and cooking for her new boss and boyfriend, it was hen livers with tomatoes and chilli. She wasn’t to understand it was René Redzepi’s favorite meal as a baby. It was 2005, they have been breaking the strict Noma rule in opposition to courting different employees however Redzepi had thrown a chunk of bread at her head and made her his “seal-the-deal” pasta. The cheffy spaghetti labored and she or he was gained over.

Love of meals performed a serious half in Levy Redzepi’s adolescence. “It starts really, really early for me,” she says. “My good memories are all connected to food.” Her mother and father have been buskers with 2 younger youngsters dwelling on a Portuguese smallholding. Money was tight however whereas her beloved older brother went to highschool (he was eight when she was born and bought to call her after the Chuck Berry music), Nadine performed within the fields, picked fruit and herbs and olives along with her mum. Her clearest recollection from Portugal is of consuming pomegranates from the tree, nonetheless heat from the solar. A very good neighbour would frequently pop by with buckets of ripe tomatoes. It was nearly Arcadian. But her father drank and when life went mistaken her brother would cowl her eyes and sing to her. Not all recollections are pleased.

Food carried Nadine by way of the following years when her mom returned to Denmark with the kids. Her father was out of the image, her mom working lengthy shifts. She realized early to cook dinner and to like it. Standing on a chair to stir porridge. Graduating to roasting a hen, nonetheless her favorite factor: “When René comes back from a long trip, it’s the first thing I make, every time. It is the perfect meal, the best.”

Aged seven she was making her personal French dressing. By 10, she was cooking herself three- and four-course meals whereas her brother was out along with his mates. More improbably, it was Ainsley Harriott who modified her life. As an adolescent in Denmark, she was hooked on the UK’s Ready, Steady, Cook. “A three-course meal in 20 minutes! I would take notes,” she says.

Next on her radar got here Antonio Carluccio: “He made a pasta sauce with mussels. I watched it and tried to recreate it: cook down the wine, the amazing colours, all orange and reds. The smells. I cannot believe I made that. It was so good. It hit me hard.”

She nonetheless cooks Carluccio’s mussel pasta each summer season along with her mom, brother and 3 daughters on vacation, although by no means wrote it out as her recipe till she was pregnant with Arwen, her first little one. “I wanted to be the best mum,” she says. “I believed it will be cool if I had recipes from my grandmother. There are so many dishes from my childhood, she at all times cooked. I purchased a black e-book and began writing down my favorite recipes to
be handed down.”

Nine years later, the pocket book is now a cookbook, named Downtime, and I’m anxiously cycling through Copenhagen with Levy Redzepi curled in a field on the entrance of a Christiania-style bike. It had appeared fairer than her pedalling me round like a rickshaw driver. What I hadn’t factored in was the heavy weight of the cycle, the turns all sluggish like a ship. Plus, the Danish capital seems to have nearly as many bikes as Beijing. We are on our approach to purchase meals for our dinner from Torvehallerne market, a part of the brand new Nordic meals scene her husband’s affect helped style. She buys fats asparagus and containers of strawberries from the stalls outdoors. I cease shaking from stress.

The Levy Redzepi household reside in a quiet Hans Christian Andersen-style home on a sq. close to Noma (a three-minute bike trip for René to seize time with the ladies earlier than mattress). It’s Danish idyllic: mustard partitions with timber frames, lichened apple bushes and previous roses, younger kids operating by way of open doorways.

Declaration: I like this lady, her mum and her household. I just like the e-book and the way she has sidestepped the plain celebrity-chef-wife traps. She is conscious her husband’s fame bought her by way of the brokers’ doorways, however there aren’t any gratuitous glamour couple images, she fought to maintain them out. The recipes are engaging. Her voice is certain.

While Levy Redzepi makes old-school Danish macaroons and prepares supper we’re joined by her mom Bente, who lives with them and in addition works for Noma. The youngsters run round. The solar shines. This is a contented household. At its coronary heart is a lady who likes to cook dinner for them.

Downtime isn’t a cheffy e-book to maintain on a espresso desk. “I wrote all the recipes as though trying to explain them to my cousin,” she says. “She loves to eat but is not a good cook.”

When Redzepi joins us, we eat sensible asparagus and marbled pork chops bathed in skilled quantities of butter. Pudding is caramel panna cotta, his favorite dessert, with the armagnac prunes his spouse makes yearly for his birthday. After we clear the desk and dry the pans, I stroll again contented to my lodge within the soothing summer season rain clutching a field of coconut macaroons.

So to reply the query: the key of cooking at residence for the perfect chef on the earth (or anybody else)? Serve up scrumptious easy meals with a facet order of recollections. New for previous.

Six scrumptious household recipes from Nadine Levy Redzepi

Globe artichokes with herb dip

Globe artichokes with herb dip.

Globe artichokes with herb dip. Photograph: Ditte Isager

Most of the time globe artichokes are served 1 per visitor, however I feel it’s way more enjoyable to place them within the centre and let everybody share. There is one thing very satisfying about bringing every leaf to your mouth and scraping off the flesh together with your enamel. Eating 1 leaf at a time retains your visitors occupied when you are busy, and whoever reaches the center first can trim off any bits of choke, minimize it up and cross it round.

In the French countryside, the place I spent my summers as a lady, we ate these with melted butter or basic French dressing, however this tremendous herb-packed mayo makes them even higher, and provides them an nearly meaty high quality. All 3 of my kids love this dish, for the flavour and the leisure.

Serves 4-6
massive globe artichokes 3

For the herb dip
massive egg yolk 1, at room temperature
recent lemon juice 1 tsp
dijon mustard ½ tsp
grainy dijon mustard ½ tsp
rapeseed oil 180ml
shallot 1 small
cornichons 50g, drained
capers 2 tbsp, drained
recent chives 20
recent sage leaves 20
recent tarragon leaves 20
recent coriander leaves 20
recent dill sprigs 20
recent flat-leaf parsley sprigs 20
soured cream 120ml
fantastic sea salt

To cook dinner the artichokes, place them, stem finally ends up, in a big pot of water. Cover and convey to a boil over excessive warmth. Reduce the warmth to medium and boil for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Do not overcook.

The boiling time will rely on the scale of the artichoke, so cook dinner them till an outer leaf comes off with just a bit resistance.

Drain the artichokes in a big colander and switch them the wrong way up so that every one the remaining water can run out. Let cool.

Whisk the egg yolk, lemon juice, dijon mustard and grainy mustard in a medium bowl till mixed. Drizzle within the oil about 1 teaspoon at a time, whisking till you could have a pleasant thick mayo. This ought to take a few minutes, so don’t rush it. The flavour of the dip is not going to be pretty much as good with shop-bought mayonnaise!

Finely chop the shallot, cornichons, capers, chives, sage and tarragon and add to the mayonnaise. Finely chop the coriander leaves, dill and parsley sprigs (you possibly can embrace a little bit of the skinny stems) and stir them in. Add the soured cream and fold the combination collectively. Season to style with the salt. Taste the dip with a chunk of flatbread to test for seasoning.

If the dip wants extra acidity, add extra lemon juice, cornichons or capers. Add extra herbs when you like, too.

Cut every artichoke vertically in 1/2. Use a dessertspoon to scoop out and discard the bushy choke. Arrange the artichokes on a big platter with the bowl of dip, and set out a bowl for the used leaves. Let the visitors peel off leaves and dunk them into the herb dip.

You are more likely to have leftover dip from this starter. It will be coated and refrigerated for about 5 days.

Baked salmon with thyme and skinny potatoes

Baked salmon with thyme and thin potatoes.

Baked salmon with thyme and skinny potatoes. Photograph: Ditte Isager

Cooking salmon on a mattress of paper-thin potato slices is each environment friendly and scrumptious: because the fish cooks it infuses the potatoes with flavour. Make positive to purchase the fish in a single massive piece, like a roast with the pores and skin on; pre-portioned items of fish will cook dinner too rapidly and be carried out earlier than the potatoes are tender. All you have to make this a meal is a inexperienced vegetable. Wild-caught salmon is at all times most well-liked to farmed fish, however in a easy preparation like this it actually makes a distinction.

Serves 4
child potatoes 570g
garlic cloves 4
extra-virgin olive oil 3 tbsp
fantastic sea salt
skin-on salmon fillet 680g, in 1 piece, ideally wild
recent thyme sprigs 4

Preheat the oven to 190C/fuel mark 5.

Scrub the potatoes nicely beneath chilly operating water, however don’t peel them. Using a mandolin or plastic V-slicer, minimize the potatoes into paper-thin rounds.

If you could have good knife expertise, you possibly can slice the potatoes by hand, however utilizing a slicer is a greater strategy to get the skinny, constant slices you need right here.

Cut the unpeeled garlic in 1/2 lengthwise. Put the potato slices and garlic on a big, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/2 of the extra-virgin olive oil, toss nicely together with your fingers, and unfold out on the sheet as thinly as potential. Drizzle with the remaining oil and season with the fantastic sea salt.

Pat the salmon dry with kitchen towels. Run your fingers over the flesh facet to detect the protruding ends of any skinny white pin bones. Use your fingers or heavy tweezers to tug out and discard the bones. Season the flesh facet with salt. Place the salmon pores and skin facet up on prime of the potatoes. Scatter the thyme over the salmon and potatoes.

Be positive to place the fish with the pores and skin facet up – the pores and skin will enable you to decide when the fish is prepared.

Roast the salmon till the pores and skin comes off simply when pulled with kitchen tongs, about 20 minutes. Start checking for doneness after about 15 minutes, however accomplish that on the thicker finish of the fish as a result of the thinner tail finish shall be carried out first.

If the pores and skin doesn’t come off simply, simply preserve checking each jiffy till it does.

To serve, take away and discard the pores and skin and minimize the salmon into serving parts. Season with salt and serve with the potatoes.

Portuguese pork chops and rice

Portuguese pork chops and rice.

Portuguese pork chops and rice. Photograph: Ditte Isager

As a baby in Portugal, I at all times got here operating when my mom made this, and the odor of the pork, garlic and lemon cooking collectively nonetheless makes me instantly hungry. Cooking the garlic cloves within the pores and skin protects them from burning. And don’t skip the rice; it’s simply too good with a drizzle of the pan sauce.

Serves 2
centre-cut loin pork chops 2 x 340g, minimize 4cm thick
basmati or sticky rice 100g
fantastic sea salt
lemon 1
rapeseed oil 1 tbsp
garlic cloves 6 small
salted butter 45g

Take the pork chops out of the fridge 1 hour earlier than you cook dinner them.

About 30 minutes earlier than you propose to eat, begin the rice. Bring 240ml of water and the rice to a boil over medium-high warmth in a medium saucepan. Stir as soon as, however don’t stir once more. Reduce the warmth to low and canopy tightly. Cook till the water is absorbed and little air pockets seem on the highest of the rice, about 15 minutes. Remove from the warmth and let it stand, coated, for 10 minutes.

Don’t stir the rice as soon as it’s simmering, as that may make it sticky and lumpy.

Once the rice is simmering, warmth a big frying pan over medium-high warmth. Pat the pork chops on either side with kitchen towels to get them as dry as potential. Season the pork with fantastic sea salt.

Cut the lemon into 8 to 10 wedges and set them apart. When the pan may be very sizzling, add the oil and warmth till shimmering however not smoking. Add the pork chops and cook dinner with out shifting them till browned on the underside, about 3 minutes. Turn the chops and scatter the lemon wedges and the unpeeled garlic within the pan. Cook the chops till browned on the 2d facet, about 3 minutes extra.

Don’t flip the chops till there’s a combination of darkish caramel and golden-brown colors on the underside. This step is the place the flavour develops.

Now, add the butter to the frying pan and let it soften. Tilting the frying pan to pool the melted butter, use a long-handled spoon to baste the chops nearly constantly for about 2 minutes. Turn the chops 1 final time and baste 1 minute longer.

Basting the chops with butter will give them flavour, nevertheless it additionally helps make them juicier by including moisture to the frying pan.

Transfer the chops and lemon wedges to a platter and let the chops relaxation for 3 to five minutes. Season the chops with salt. While they relaxation, add about 120ml water to the garlic cloves and pan juices within the frying pan and stir over medium warmth, scraping up any browned bits from the underside of the pan with a picket spatula. Cook the sauce till barely lowered, about 1 minute. Remove from the warmth.

When the chops have rested, slice the meat off the bone in a single massive piece. Slice the meat crosswise and serve with the rice, pouring the pan sauce over all.

Mussels with chorizo

Mussels with chorizo.

Mussels with chorizo. Photograph: Ditte Isager

Mussels are fairly assertively flavoured and might go face to face with different daring elements like chorizo and garlic. The creamy broth is the star right here, so be certain that to serve this with spoons in addition to loads of bread to mop up each drop. When I’ve a bottle of white pineau des charentes, a French fortified wine served as an aperitif, I substitute it for the vermouth, which actually places this excessive. I at all times eat the mussels with my fingers, sipping a little bit sauce from the shell earlier than scraping out the meat with my enamel. If that’s a little bit too messy for you, use one of many empty shells like tweezers, pinching it between your thumb and forefinger to pluck the meat from the shells.

Serves 6
mussels 1.8kg
rapeseed oil 2 tbsp
onion 1 massive
smoked Spanish chorizo 200g
pancetta 200g
garlic cloves 6
plum (roma) tomatoes 6 massive
recent thyme sprigs 4
bay leaves 2
dry white vermouth 240ml
dry white wine 240ml
creme fraiche 225g
recent flat-leaf parsley 5 or 6 sprigs
crusty bread for serving

Rinse the mussels beneath chilly operating water and drain them. If any are open, frivolously faucet them in opposition to the sink. If they shut up, they are often cooked. If not, throw them away. Never attempt to drive a closed mussel – uncooked or cooked – open.

Heat the oil in a big pan over medium warmth. Chop the onion and add it to the pan. Cook with out stirring till it begins to brown on the underside, about 3 minutes. While the onion is cooking, minimize the chorizo and pancetta into 12mm cube. Crush the garlic cloves with the flat facet of your knife, discard the papery skins and chop.

Add the garlic to the pan and stir simply till aromatic. Move the onion and garlic to at least one facet of the pan and add the chorizo and pancetta to the opposite facet. Cook, stirring the chorizo and pancetta often, till they’re frivolously browned and the fats has rendered, about 8 minutes.

To core the tomatoes simply, slice every downwards subsequent to however not by way of the stem. Make 2 angled cuts into the bigger 1/2 to launch the core and discard. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and add to the pot with the thyme and bay leaves. Cook till the tomatoes soften, about 2 minutes. Stir within the vermouth and wine and convey to a boil. Simmer, stirring usually, till the liquid has lowered by a few quarter and the tomatoes have damaged down, about 10 minutes.

Raise the warmth to excessive. Stir within the creme fraiche and convey to a simmer. Add the mussels, give them a very good stir and canopy the pan. Cook for five to six minutes, giving the pan a vigorous shake from time to time. After 5 minutes, test to see if the mussels have opened. If not, cowl and cook dinner for one more minute or so till nearly all are open. Remove from the warmth.

Mussels are sensible as a result of they let you already know they’re carried out after they pop open.

Coarsely chop the parsley (you possibly can embrace a little bit of the tender stems if you would like) and stir it in. Using tongs and a ladle, divide the mussels and broth between 6 shallow bowls. Serve with the bread to mop up the incredible broth.

Danish apple dessert

Danish apple dessert.

Danish apple dessert. Photograph: Ditte Isager

In Denmark that is known as a cake, nevertheless it’s actually extra like a trifle, with layers of whipped cream and crushed cookies on a base of caramelised apple puree. Whatever you name it, it’s gentle and scrumptious and straightforward to make. You can even double the recipe and make it in a big bowl, trifle-style, however don’t assemble it till simply earlier than serving, because the cookies will lose their crunch. This recipe makes about 20 massive cookies and also you gained’t want all of them for the topping, so that you’ll have some left over for snacking and lunch containers. If you could have been saving your scraped vanilla bean pods that is the proper approach to make use of them up. Otherwise, simply use an entire recent 1, slitting it and scraping the seeds over the apples.

Serves 6
For the apple sauce
dessert apples 1.8kg, agency and never too candy
vanilla pods 2, scraped

For the almond cookies
marzipan 200g
sugar 400g
massive egg whites 3
plain flour 12g
baking powder ½ tsp
double cream 360ml

The filling wants to relax, so make it first. Peel, quarter and core the apples. Put the apples in a big, heavy pan. Place the vanilla pods on prime. Cover the pan and cook dinner over medium-high warmth, with out stirring, till the apples are frivolously browned on the underside, about 3 minutes. Caramelising the apples brings out their sweetness with none added sugar. It’s OK if a few of them scorch a tiny bit.

Stir the apples, scraping the browned surfaces from the underside of the pan. Reduce the warmth to very low, cowl the pan and cook dinner, stirring often, till the apples have softened right into a chunky purée, 45 to 60 minutes. If the apples begin to stick or scorch, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan and stir to loosen them. Let the apples cool a bit, then cowl and refrigerate till chilled, a minimum of 2 hours or as much as 1 day.

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 180C/fuel mark 4 with the racks within the prime 3rd and centre of the oven. Line 2 massive, rimmed baking sheets with baking paper.

Crumble the marzipan right into a meals processor. Add the sugar and course of till nicely mixed. Transfer to a medium bowl. Using an electrical mixer on medium pace, beat within the egg whites one by one, ensuring every white is integrated earlier than including one other. Beat till easy. With the mixer on low pace, combine within the flour and baking powder simply till mixed.

If you don’t have a meals processor, grate the marzipan right into a medium bowl utilizing the massive holes of a field grater and stir within the sugar.

Scrape the cookie batter right into a pastry bag fitted with a plain 12mm tip or a big zip-top plastic bag with the nook snipped off. Pipe out 5cm mounds of the batter, leaving about 7½cm between them. The cookies will unfold within the oven. Bake till golden brown and crackly, about 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool utterly on the baking sheets. They will fall and crack, however that’s OK, as they are going to be crumbled later.

Don’t attempt to take away the cookies from the baking paper till they’ve cooled utterly or they’ll stick and break.

Whip the cream in a big bowl with an electrical mixer on excessive pace simply till it thickens and begins to kind smooth peaks. It needs to be barely fluid, not stiff and fluffy.

Divide the apple sauce between 6 serving bowls and prime with the whipped cream on the other facet. Coarsely crumble 1 or 2 cookies over every serving. Serve instantly.

Leftover cookies will be saved in an hermetic container at room temperature for as much as 5 days.

Giant macaron cake

Giant macaron cake.

Giant macaron cake. Photograph: Ditte Isager

This could be essentially the most uncommon approach I’ve put my all-purpose cake batter to make use of: because the filling relatively than the muse of a multi-tiered layer cake. We at all times let our daughters select what they need for his or her birthday dessert. When it’s Genta’s flip, she inevitably chooses one thing fairly and girly.

The 12 months she requested macarons, I believed making 1 massive macaron then turning it right into a layer cake by including cream, cake and extra cream can be enjoyable, and I used to be proper. As it seems, an enormous macaron is quicker to make than a bunch of small ones, and it appears to be like actually spectacular. It’s a little bit messy to serve, nevertheless it’s nonetheless scrumptious.

Serves 10-12
For the macaron layers
almond flour or floor almonds 300g
icing sugar 300g
baking powder 1 tsp
egg whites 8 massive, about 220g complete
pink meals colouring paste 3 drops, as wanted
granulated sugar 300g

For the cake layer
plain flour 130g, plus extra for tin
baking powder ¾ tsp
flaky sea salt ⅛ tsp, plus extra for sprinkling
granulated sugar 150g
salted butter 70g, at room temperature, plus extra for tin
massive egg 1, at room temperature
vanilla pod 1
double cream 100ml

For the fruit layer
double cream 475ml
strawberries 450g
raspberries 170g

To make the macaron layers, place a sieve over a big bowl and add the almond flour, icing sugar and baking powder. Sift the dry elements into the bowl, utilizing your fingers to rub the almond flour by way of the mesh whether it is cussed. Whisk 4 of the egg whites (110g) with the meals colouring in a medium bowl simply till the combination is evenly colored. Set it apart.

Don’t be timid with the meals colouring. You need the macaron to be a brilliant, daring pink.

Combine the granulated sugar with 75ml water in a small saucepan.

Bring to a boil over excessive warmth, stirring to assist dissolve the sugar. Attach a sugar thermometer to the pan and cook dinner till the syrup reaches 118C, 3 to five minutes.

While the syrup is cooking, use an electrical mixer set on excessive pace to whip the remaining 4 egg whites (110g) in a big bowl simply till they kind smooth peaks. Still beating on excessive, slowly pour a stream of the new syrup into the bowl – don’t pour instantly into the beaters, or the syrup will splash. Keep beating on a excessive pace till the egg whites kind stiff, shiny peaks.

Let the meringue cool till it’s heat however not sizzling (about 48C), which may take about 20 minutes. Add the colored egg whites to the almond flour combination and use a giant rubber spatula to stir them collectively till blended:

Scrape the meringue into the bowl and fold all of it collectively, reaching right down to the underside of the combination with the spatula and bringing it up and over the remainder of the combination. Turn the bowl 1 quarter flip and repeat till the combination is evenly colored however nonetheless gentle and fluffy.

Cut 2 sheets of baking paper. Using a 23cm spherical cake tin as a template, draw a circle on every baking paper sheet with a darkish pencil. Turn the paper over so you possibly can see the circle from the other facet. Spoon 1/2 of the meringue combination into the centre of every circle and use the spatula to unfold it evenly in direction of the sides with a slight dome within the centre. Let the shells stand, uncovered, at room temperature for about 1 hour when you make the cake layer.

Letting the macaron shells stand earlier than you bake them is necessary. The pores and skin that develops on the floor will preserve them from spreading as they bake.

While the macaron layers are standing, make the cake layer. Preheat the oven to 180C/fuel mark 4, with the oven racks within the prime 3rd and centre of the oven. Lightly butter a 23cm spherical cake tin, and line the underside with a baking paper spherical.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt collectively right into a medium bowl. Beat the sugar and butter in one other medium bowl with an electrical mixer till it’s pale, about 3 minutes on excessive pace. Beat within the egg, till gentle. With the tip of a small knife, cut up the vanilla pod lengthwise, then scrape the vanilla seeds into the bowl, saving the pod for one more use.

With the mixer on low pace, add the flour combination in thirds, alternating with 2 equal additions of the cream, and beat till easy. Spread the batter evenly within the tin and sprinkle with flaky salt.

Bake on the centre rack till the highest of the cake is golden brown and is derived again when pressed with a fingertip, about 20 minutes. Leave the oven on. Let the cake cool within the tin on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Run a knife across the within the tin to loosen. Invert and unmould the tin onto the rack and discard the paper. Turn the cake proper facet up and let cool utterly.

Now, again to the macaron layers. By this time a skinny crust ought to have shaped on the floor. Bake the shells till they really feel principally set beneath the crust, about 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, prop the door open barely with a picket spoon, and allow them to slowly cool and crisp, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and funky utterly.

The macarons could kind browned ‘feet’ across the edges as they bake. You can trim these off when you desire after they cool.

To make the fruit layer, whip the cream in a big bowl with an electrical mixer on medium pace till the cream simply begins to carry its form – don’t overwhip. Hull the strawberries, minimize them in 1/2 lengthwise and put them in a bowl.

No greater than 30 minutes earlier than you propose to serve the cake, assemble the parts. Carefully peel the paper from one of many macaron shells and place the shell on a cake plate flat facet up. Spread it with 1/2 of the whipped cream and scatter the strawberries evenly on prime. Gently set the cake layer on prime. Cover with the remaining cream and the raspberries. Carefully take away the paper from the 2d macaron, and place it on prime of the raspberries, domed facet up.

Use the less-perfect of the 2 macaron shells for the bottom layer, saving the prettier 1 for the highest. Don’t fear if there are cracks, it can nonetheless style nice.

Let the cake stand for 15 to 20 minutes to barely soften the meringue. Use a skinny, sharp knife to chop into wedges.

Downtime by Nadine Levy Redzepi (Ebury, £27). To order a replica for £22.95, go to or name 0330 333 6846

Interview by Allan Jenkins, recipes by Nadine Levy Redzepi from

Leave a Reply