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You are in: South Yorkshire > SY People > Your stories > John Janiszewski: SY Chef

John Janiszewski

John Janiszewski

John Janiszewski: SY Chef

JJ was born on Manor in 1953 and he grew up in Sheffield. He leads the Hospitality and Catering team at Sheffield College and is the resident chef on Gareth Evans' programme. John tells us about his life, cooking, and gives us some of his recipes!

:: Check out some of John's recipes  - including some Christmassy ones!

1: Sticky Turkey Kebabs for Boxing Day
2: JJ's Christmas Gluhwein
3: Blanquette of Lamb (Blanquette d'Agneau)
4: Chicken soup
5: Bigos (Polish Hunter's Stew)

1. Sticky Turkey Kebabs for Boxing Day (Dec 08)

These are great because they're a complete change to traditional Christmas Fayre! (Serves four).

Preparation Time: 10 minutes (plus marinating)
Cooking time: 6-8 minutes

500g/1lb 2oz Diced British turkey thighs (or any left over from Christmas lunch)
2tbsp tomato ketchup
1tbsp American or Dijon mustard
2tsp black treacle
1tbsp white wine vinegar
2tbsp sunflower oil
2 green peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 red onion, peeled, cut into chunks and layers separated

Mix the ketchup, mustard, treacle, vinegar and oil in a bowl until smooth.

Turkey

Turkey

Thread the turkey meat on to eight skewers alternately with chunks of pepper and onion. Lay the kebabs side by side in a shallow dish.

Spoon or brush the marinade over the turkey, turning the kebabs over so both sides of the meat are coated.

Cover the dish with cling film and leave in a cool place for three to four, hours or until you're ready to cook.

Grill the kebabs for 6-8 minutes or until the turkey is cooked and the vegetables scorched at the edges. Brush any remaining marinade over the turkey as the kebabs cook.

Serve hot with relishes and a selection of salads – a potato salad goes particularly well with the kebabs.

Tip: If using wooden skewers, soak them for 30 minutes in cold water first to prevent them catching fire on the barbecue/grill. Although the kebabs won't be cooked for several hours, covering the dish with cling film will prevent the skewers drying out.

Check out some more cold turkey recipes by clicking on the link below.

2: JJ's Christmas Gluhwein (Dec 08)

1 bottle red wine (six standard 125ml glasses full)
1x125ml glass of brandy or rum (for a deeper flavour)
6 tsp soft brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
12 cloves
2 oranges or clementines squeezed and dropped into the liquid

Combine all ingredients, except brandy/rum, into a saucepan. Heat slowly. Allow to barely simmer for about an hour then add the brandy and continue for another thirty minutes.

Strain through a fine sieve to remove the cloves (nasty!)

German mulled wine mugs

German mulled wine mugs

Serve in warmed cups to your guests on arrival to break the ice, or on leaving to guard against the winter chill. Cheers!

3: Blanquette of Lamb (Blanquette d'Agneau) (Nov 08)

1.5 kg shoulder or middle neck of lamb
2 litres white stock
1 whole carrot
1 studded onion with a bay leaf and clove
1 bouquet garni
75g butter
50g flour
200ml cream
1/4 juice of lemon
seasoning
chopped parsley

Cut the meat into 2.5cm cubes, place in a saucepan and blanch by covering it with cold water, bringing to the boil for 5 minutes, then running hot water on to it to remove scum and grease. Refresh under cold water and drain in a colander.

Place the meat into a saucepan, add the stock, bring to the boil and skim.

Add the onion, carrot, bouquet garni and seasoning. Allow to simmer gently for an hour and a half until cooked, then remove the onion, carrot and bouquet garni.

Make a blond roux with the butter and flour and allow to cool.

Strain most of the cooking liquid, keeping the meat moist in the remainder. Slowly add to the roux, a little at a time and stirring constantly, to make a veloute sauce, cook for 20 minutes and add the cream and lemon juice.

Strain over the drained meat and simmer or a few minutes, then serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.

4: Chicken soup (Oct 08)

My lot absolutely love my homemade soup. I usually make this on a Monday evening after we've had a roast chicken on the Sunday. 

On the Sunday evening I make stock using the chicken carcass, onion, carrots
broken in half and some mixed dried herbs or fresh out of the garden (slugs permitting!)

Stock:
  chicken carcass left over from roast dinner
  1 large onion
  2 or 3 carrots
  mixed dried herbs
Add enough water to cover the chicken and boil everything for anything from half to one hour then strain. The longer it's boiled, the more concentrated the flavour.

Soup
  Chicken stock (home-made as above, bought or made with a stock cube)
  Left over cooked chicken
  Leeks
  Carrots
  Potatoes
  Garlic
To make a healthy warming soup just fry off two or three chopped leeks in olive oil
and a little crushed garlic until it starts to soften, then add two or three grated
carrots. Again allow this to cook for three to five minutes, add in any left over bits of chicken and veg from the Sunday roast, as much chicken stock as required and bring to the boil. 

Throw in three peeled and chopped potatoes and boil for about 15 minutes. 
Blend and serve warm with chunky bread.

5: Bigos (Polish Hunter’s Stew) (Oct 08)

This is practically the national dish of Poland. It looks complicated but really the hard part is getting all the ingredients together and then having to wait for three hours before it's ready! It is the ultimate in comfort food.

Preparation time: ½ hour; cooking time: two to three hours
Ingredients (Serves eight)

1kg jar of Sauerkraut
1kg mix of beef, veal, pork or lamb, diced into roughly 2cm cubes
250g Boczek (Polish bacon), sliced
600g mixed Polish sausage, such as Wieska
20g whole mushrooms
10 prunes (stoned)
10 juniper berries
10 peppercorns
10 whole Allspice
4 bay leaves
2 onions
1 small can of tomato paste (optional)
2 tbsp honey
1 litre vegetable or beef stock (made with good quality stock cubes or bouillon powder and boiling water)
             
Instructions:
Rinse the sauerkraut and place in a very large pot with a little of the stock.  Set over a low heat and stir from time to time. 
Whilst the sauerkraut is beginning to cook through, chop the onions and cut the bacon slices into pieces. Heat a frying pan and slowly cook half the bacon pieces. Then add the chopped onions to the pan and gently fry in the melted bacon fat until the onions are soft. Add this mixture of onion and bacon to the sauerkraut. 

In the same frying pan, cook the remainder of the bacon until the fat is rendered and then add the beef and lamb (or whichever uncooked meat you have chosen), turning it so that it browns on all sides – you may have to do this in batches. Then add the browned meat to the pan and stir until mixed. 

Add the prunes, spices, tomato paste and honey (if using), the bay leaves and the stock to the sauerkraut mixture. Stir well and bring just to the boil, then lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for an hour and a half, stirring well from time to time. 

Finally, cut the Polish sausages into bite-size pieces and add to the pot. Raise heat slightly to bring it back to boiling point, then reduce the temperature and leave to simmer for at least a further half an hour – though the longer it simmers, the better it gets!

More on JJ... from teeth to taste

I was studying as a dentist at university, but after a few part-time jobs in catering I gave up the dentistry and studied hospitality instead - and then I went to work in hotel management.

Eventually I left hotel management and took on a bar and restaurant of my own... before 'drifting' into teaching. I now lead the Hospitality and Catering Team at Sheffield College.

John Janiszewski takes a look at berries close to the studios

John Janiszewski takes a look at berries

Growing up in Sheffield in a working class background (my dad was a shot blaster for English Steel), the food was good and home-cooked. It also seemed to follow a weekly routine which ensured that everything was used up!

Ha'penny ducks were a treat for me from a butcher's at the bottom of Duke Street. Modern day faggots and gravy just taste too chemical.

It was only at university that I realised making money out of catering was fun, and the instant feedback from happy customers was the best reward you can get.

I've often said that I never trained or worked as a chef formally, but a lifetime of working in catering has allowed me to pick up a few tips. I've worked in many parts of Britain - including London, Glasgow and Stratford on Avon. More recently, college life [Sheffield College] has taken me to work in Poland, France and Germany.

John's favourite food

I enjoy cooking all types of food, especially discovering new recipes or those from different eras.

My favourite weekend food has to be desserts and baking fresh bread. Anybody can cook - like everything, a little practice is very helpful!

What did I last cook? Actually it was an experiment taken from the original Ministry of Food books which were re-published a few years ago... Carrot and Black Pudding Bake! Very tasty.

More recently, we've started to use more in the way of finger food and canapés at home rather than formal meals. You can get so much done in advance so you get to spend more time with your pals.

For the quickest lunch I can cook a poached egg on toast in 18 seconds.

Sunday might still mean traditional if all the family is around, but for a quick supper dish I always go back to a dish that the chefs at Stratford sometimes prepared after service. We called it Cheesy, Hammy, Eggy. Guess what's in it!

Tips for beginner chefs

Begin by following recipes from books that others can recommend as being accurate. It's ok to get alternative ingredients if those in the recipe are unavailable or unknown.

Try and buy just what you need at first or you end up with lots of half opened pack that just go out of date!

Having said that, it's never been a better time to be able to get ingredients. Sheffield is fantastic for its range of shops and in Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley we have wonderful food markets. Supermarkets can give us a massive choice as well as keen prices.

Out of the kitchen

Since I eat too much, getting out for a walk is essential. I enjoy urban walks which take in many sights. The walk from Lady's Bridge to Oughtibridge is a wonderful mix of old industry and beautiful river walks. Unfortunately there was a lot of damage to that area from the June 2007 floods.

My favourite place in South Yorkshire? My back garden with a glass of Pinot Grigio!

last updated: 15/12/2008 at 11:15
created: 09/10/2008

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