Essentially Marco

Three classic recipes to impress friends with, from Mr Pierre White’s latest cook book

Appetiser: Prawn cocktail, 1950s-style

A dish of sheer indulgence and we all love it! The prawns must be fresh, the lettuce must be iceberg and the Marie Rose sauce must be just right – with a little kick from the tabasco. It should also be presented in a glass bowl, of course. 



200g prawns, cooked and peeled

¼ iceberg lettuce

Herbs of your choice

Marie Rose sauce


1. First, get two glass bowls. Finely slice the lettuce and arrange it in the bottom of each dish. 

2. Spoon in the prawns. Sprinkle half a pinch of sea salt over the prawns.

3. Add a good dollop of Marie Rose sauce, garnish with the herbs and serve.

Main Course: Lamb Chops with Black Olives and Roast Tomatoes

This is a wonderful way of making lamb chops a lot more interesting than the usual grilled chops with mash. Do serve these with mash if you like, although creamy dauphinoise potatoes are also lovely with lamb. Preparing the olives and anchovies takes just a couple of minutes. There’s no need to season the lamb, as the anchovies are salty enough.



6 lamb chops

3 anchovy fillets

10 to 12 cherry tomatoes on vine

16 black olives

1½ tbsp extra virgin Olive oil

Clarified butter (or ghee)


1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.

2. Finely slice the olives and using the back of a knife, turn them into a purée.

3. Place the anchovy fillets on a chopping board and using the side of a kitchen knife, push down on them with a little force to turn them into a purée. Mix this purée with the olive oil and the olive purée.

4. Place the cherry tomatoes into an ovenproof dish, splash with olive oil and pop them into the oven. As they cook you can cook the lamb chops.

5. Heat a sauté pan or large frying pan and melt clarified butter (or you can use olive oil). Place the lamb chops into the hot, foaming butter and fry the chops for about three minutes on each side, turning once. While the chops cook, check to see how the tomatoes are doing.

6. Remove the chops from the heat, but keep them in the pan and the meat juices. Spread the anchovy-olive purée onto the top of each chop. The tomatoes should now be ready.

7. Place the tomatoes in the pan with the chops and serve.

Dessert: Custard Tart

I’m a custard lover. In my childhood it came in a powder made by Bird’s, and milk or water was added. Mr Bird invented his eggless custard powder for his wife – she loved the taste but couldn’t eat eggs. Anyway, we’re making real custard for this divine tart. Nutmeg is a must.



500g sweet pastry

800ml whipping cream

1tbsp cornflour

400ml double cream

120g sugar

12 egg yolks



1. Roll out the pastry to 3mm thickness and line a tart ring, 26cm wide and 3½ cm deep. Place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

2. Preheat the oven to 175°c.

3. Remove the pastry from the fridge, cover with tinfoil and line with baking beans. You can also use lentils or any dry pulses if you don’t have baking beans.

4. Blind bake the pastry for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Remove baking beans and tinfoil and put to one side.

5. Mix a little of the cream with the cornflour to make a paste. Mix the sugar with the egg yolks and whisk. Add the paste to the sugar and yolk mix, and then add the whipping cream. Mix well.

6. Reduce the oven temperature to 140°C.

7. Pass the custard mixture through a sieve into the pastry. Grate nutmeg over the top of the custard and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until it is set in the middle.


Essentially Marco is published by Motivate. It is available in all major bookstores in the UAE.