Chef Brain: Episode One Recipes

November 17, 2017
by Rebecca Down Eat

    Five mystery ingredients. Two chefs. 30 minutes. What could go wrong?

    Introducing Chef Brain, our brand new show where we discover how the mind of a chef works by putting it to the test in the ultimate cook-off. This week, Head Chef Patrick Drake invites Nicola Stransky to the HelloFresh HQ to turn five mystery ingredients into a tasty 30-minute dish.

    To put both Patrick and Nicola through their paces, we chose five seasonal ingredients that might not usually go together: sausages, pumpkin, sage, honey and whiskey.

    There were points where we thought Patrick might crumble under the pressure and moments when Nicola looked as if she might want to drink the whisky rather than cook it, but what they were able to create in 30 minutes will amaze you. Trust us, our taste panel nearly fell off their chairs.

    If you’ve ever wondered why sausages are called ‘bangers’, puzzled over pumpkin seeds or gone stir-crazy over a risotto, watch on and jump inside the mind of these two very different chefs…

    Patrick’s Sausage, Sage & Pumpkin Risotto


    • 1 small pumpkin
    • 4 Cumberland Sausages
    • Sage Leaves, small bunch, chopped
    • 2 Tbsp Scotch Whiskey
    • 1 Tbsp Honey
    • 1 Onion
    • 180g Risotto Rice


    1. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees. Peel and chop your pumpkin into quarters.
    2. Scrape out the seeds and put them into a lined roasting tin. Season with a little squeeze of honey, a drizzle of whiskey and a little salt and pepper. Pop in the top shelf of the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
    3. Chop half of your pumpkin into little pieces.
    4. Add your chicken stock to a boiling pan of water and add your chopped pumpkin once dissolved.
    5. Chop the rest of your pumpkin into thin slices, place in a baking tray and drizzle it with olive oil and salt and pepper.
    6. Finely chop your onion and fry in a frying pan with the chopped sage until soft and golden.Add a ladel of the chicken stock to the pan.
    7. Remove the skins from your sausages and add them to the frying pan. After five minutes, add the risotto rice.
    8. Gradually add the stock, and stir every now and then until it has all disappeared into the rice. Carry on adding and stirring in a large splash of stock at a time, this will take about 20 mins.
    9. Add the boiled pumpkin, and any remaining stock, into a blender for your pumpkin puree.
    10. Once the rice is soft enough to eat plate up and top with the roasted pumpkin, seeds and sage leaves

    Nicola’s Sage Sausage Rolls with Spiced Pumpkin Ketchup


    [columns_row width=”half”] [column] Ingredients:

    1 Egg

    1 Onion

    Pre-cooked Puff pastry

    2 pumpkins

    A bunch of sage, chopped

    1 Tbsp Honey

    1 Tbsp Whiskey

    Olive oil

    Salt and pepper to season

    [/column] [column]


    1. Chop your pumpkin in half and whack in the oven, 180 degrees. Discard the seeds or roast them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper for a snack! Roast pumpkin for about 20 minutes until soft.
    2. Finely chop your onion and add to a hot frying pan with a little bit of oil. Once soft, add half he chopped sage and a splash of whiskey. Cook until golden.
    3. Squeeze the contents of your sausages out with your hands into a bowl. Season with the rest of the sage and salt and pepper.
    4. Roll out your puff pastry and spoon the sausage mix along one side. Roll and chop into smaller pieces.
    5. Whisk your egg and glaze the sausage rolls for a golden gloss. Put your sausage rolls in the oven, 180 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.
    6. Once your pumpkin is soft, remove from the oven and scrape the flesh away from the skins. Put the pumpkin flesh in a blender with 1 tbsp honey, a good glug of olive oil and a splash of water. Blend until smooth, season to taste and plate up!
    [/column] [/columns_row]



    • Tear into sausages to use the contents as a perfectly spiced ground meat. You can even turn the mince into meatballs.
    • Sausages should always be cooked at slower, medium heat, to keep them from bursting or leaking. Especially for sausage rolls, it’s important that the puff pastry doesn’t get too wet for the cooking process – it should be light and flaky.
    • Why are sausages called “bangers”? It’s because of the ‘BANG!’ sound they make when they are cooked at too high a heat. Sausages need to be heated slowly to keep from bursting. They got this name during WWII because there was an increase in the amount of water in them, causing them to explode due to steam pressure.


    • Honey is a great ingredient for thickening and sweetening sauces, like maple syrup and other naturally-occurring sweet liquids. Adding refined sugar, you risk it not dissolving — plus, refined sugars are worse for you, and harder to digest.
    • The flavour of honey is changed by what kind of pollen is used — so, if bees make the honey from a lavender field, it will taste like lavender.


    • Alcohol bonds with fat and water, so use it in marinades and when cooking with meats. But make sure to cook it slowly so it doesn’t flame, and long enough for the booze to burn off. The darker the booze, the darker the meat – so, whisky pairs best with red meats and pork.


    • Sage has been a British staple for generations, especially dried (unlike in France, where it’s rarely seen in traditional dishes)

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