What’s On My Table – With Alexandra Dudley

Alexandra Dudley is a food columnist, cookbook author and host of the Come For Supper podcast. In this monthly column, she takes us inside her east London kitchen to show us what she’s cooking and the tools she’s loving. This time, it’s a January-busting Bloody Mary – plus, three of her favourite kitchen accessories…
By Alexandra Dudley /

I am all about easing into a new year – no throwing myself into unattainable goals, no rushing back to the gym and no Dry January. That said, I do enjoy the slower pace that January brings and tend to opt for a ‘damp’ month. A Bloody Mary is the perfect drink at this time of year, not least to soothe the hangover of the month before but also because it is one that is just as delicious booze free. I often make two jugs, one virgin and one bloody. 

I like to mix my Bloody Mary a few hours before serving and allow the flavours to marry while it chills in the fridge. Adding the ice to the jug too early will make for a watery Bloody Mary, which nobody wants, so I prefer to pour over ice rather than add ice to the jug. For best results, keep your vodka and tomato juice chilled ahead of making. The best Bloody Mary has a good kick in my opinion. I like a good slosh of good-quality vodka and a generous dose of pepperiness in the form of both Tabasco and horseradish. Horseradish might seem like an odd addition to a cocktail, but it takes it to the next level. I am a self-confessed heat fiend, so I usually add a splash of hot sauce as well, but this isn’t essential. 

I like to serve my Bloody Marys alongside a salty snack. Banderillas (which translates as little flags) take their name from the pointed darts traditionally used during bullfights and are a popular snack in Spain. I was first introduced to them at one of my favourite London restaurants, Barrafina. As a general rule, anything goes on a banderilla as long as it can be skewered onto a cocktail stick, but you’ll usually find an olive of some sort, a spicy pickled pepper or chilli and oily fish such as tuna or anchovy. I like to use quail’s eggs in mine and finish them with fresh chives as they do at Barrafina. Pearl onions and gherkins are also good contenders for a banderilla. 

Bloody Mary

Serves
4
Total Time
10 Minutes
Ingredients
750ml of tomato juice chilled in the fridge, I like Big Tom
200ml of vodka from the fridge or freezer, I like Grey Goose
About 8 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp of horseradish
Juice of ½ lemon
8-10 dashes of Tabasco
1-2 tsp of hot sauce for an extra kick (optional)
Lots of freshly cracked black pepper
Pinch of salt
To Garnish
Ice
Celery (look for leafy stalks if you can)
Method
Step 1
Combine the Bloody Mary ingredients in a large jug. Omit the vodka if you are making a virgin Mary and add more vodka, Tabasco or hot sauce if you’re in need of an extra kick.
Step 2
Allow the Bloody Mary to chill for at least an hour (ideally two) in the fridge.
Step 3
Fill glasses with ice, pour the Bloody Mary over and garnish with a leafy celery stick.

Banderillas

Serves
4
Total Time
15 Minutes
Ingredients
12 quail’s eggs
12 pitted green Spanish olives
12 pickled green chilli peppers
1 tin of anchovies
1 small handful of fresh chives
Freshly cracked black pepper
Cocktail sticks (toothpicks)
Method
Step 1
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and boil the quails eggs for two and a half minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water. Leave for a few minutes then carefully peel.
Step 2
Carefully wrap an anchovy around each quail’s egg before skewering onto the cocktail sticks. Follow with a piece of pickled chilli and then an olive. Use scissors to snip the chives into fine pieces. Sprinkle the chives over the banderillas and finish with freshly cracked black pepper.

THE THREE THINGS ALEXANDRA'S LOVING THIS MONTH

Enamel Bake Set, £85 | Falcon Enamelware

January is all about comfort bakes for me. Crumbles, gratins and one-tray dishes that I can easily throw into the oven. These enamel dishes are my go-to for cosy cooking. I love that they are stackable and space saving too.

Visit FalconEnamelware.com

Tea Towels, £25 | Polkra x Julianna Byrne

I recently did a much-needed refresh of my tea towels and love this set from Polkra in collaboration with the artist Julianna Byrne. Inspired by her time in Brazil and India, the bold and playful designs look fabulous in any kitchen.

Visit Polkra.com

Cane Candle Holders, £78 | Salvesen Graham

I am quite fanatic about lighting candles in January. They bring a comforting glow to even the simplest of weeknight suppers. I’ve got my eye on these green candle holders from Salvesen Graham and love the cane design. 

Visit SalvesenGraham.com

For more from Alexandra, follow @AlexandraDudley or visit AlexandraDudley.com.

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