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FishHead Magazine shoot: Charley Noble recipes. Photographed at the White House Restaurant Monday 16 September 2013. Photo by Mark Tantrum | www.marktantrum.comSomeone once told me that cook­ing would take me all over the world. I didn’t real­ise at the time how true this would be. I star­ted work­ing for Paul Hoath­er at the White House in 1999 when the res­taur­ant moved to Ori­ent­al Parade from Wil­lis Street.

In 2003, I trav­elled to the UK, where I worked at the Blue­bird on King’s Road in Chelsea. There I was intro­duced to the own­er of Eat to the Beat, a music-tour cater­ing com­pany, and then toured through Europe and Amer­ica cook­ing back­stage for bands such as Lady Gaga, Cold­play, Norah Jones and Dur­an Dur­an. I was also with Cirque du Soleil’s Allegría show at the Roy­al Albert Hall, and worked briefly as per­son­al chef to Bry­an Ferry and Chris Martin.

On my return to Wel­ling­ton, I was lucky enough to join the Bil­lion­aires Cater­ing team while The Hob­bit was film­ing, cook­ing for the inter­na­tion­al cast and crew, includ­ing Sir Peter Jack­son. I par­tic­u­larly enjoyed the time spent on loc­a­tion: hav­ing been away, I was reminded of just how beau­ti­ful our coun­try is.

Com­ing full circle, I am now look­ing for­ward to work­ing with Paul Hoath­er again at Char­ley Noble. We are going out of the pan and into the fire! His long-held desire to expand into cas­u­al din­ing and wood-fire cook­ing is an excit­ing pro­spect. 

Portuguese fish stew


  • 100g of cho­ri­zo (prefer­ably Ibérico), sliced
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp good-qual­ity smoked paprika
  • 2 gar­lic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 red chil­lies, seeded and finely sliced
  • 1 red cap­sic­um, finely sliced
  • 200ml good-qual­ity olive oil
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 small fen­nel bulb, cut in half and finely sliced
  • 400g tin of chick­peas, drained and rinsed
  • 400g tin of diced tomatoes
  • 300ml fish or chick­en stock
  • 1 small egg­plant, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 400g white fish (e.g. monk­fish), cut into 2cm cubes
  • 200g peeled prawns
  • 2 squid tubes, sliced into 1cm rings
  • 400g green­shell mus­sels, washed and debearded
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small hand­ful of flat-leaf pars­ley, roughly chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon


  1. In a large, heavy-based sauce­pan, slowly cook the cho­ri­zo, saf­fron, paprika, gar­lic, onion, chilli and cap­sic­um in 150ml of the olive oil until the onions are soft. Increase the heat, pour in the white wine and cook until the wine has reduced by half.
  2. Add the fen­nel and cook for five minutes or until softened. Stir in the chick­peas, toma­toes and stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and sim­mer for 10 minutes.
  3. While the stew is sim­mer­ing, brown the egg­plant in the rest of the olive oil in a large sauté pan, and then add to the stew.
  4. Add the fish, prawns, squid and mus­sels to the stew in lay­ers, then cov­er and sim­mer without stir­ring, as you want the fish to cook in the broth. Cook until the mus­sels are open, dis­card­ing any that remain closed.
  5. Sea­son the stew with sea salt and black pep­per. Fin­ish with the pars­ley and the lem­on zest and juice.
  6. Ladle the stew into bowls and serve imme­di­ately with grilled sour­dough bread and, if you like, a spoon­ful of aioli.

Serves 4 

New season asparagus with ancient grains polonaise

This is great as a side dish but is also deli­cious with sliced Ibérico ham, smoked sal­mon or good-qual­ity Parmes­an cheese as an entrée or light lunch.


  • 24 spears of fresh asparagus
  • 50g bul­gur wheat
  • 50g buck­wheat groats
  • 50g quinoa
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 50g but­ter or olive oil
  • 2 cloves of gar­lic, finely sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Hand­ful of pars­ley, chopped


  1. Peel and trim the asparagus.
  2. Cook each of the grains sep­ar­ately in salted boil­ing water for approx­im­ately 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Drop the eggs into boil­ing salted water and sim­mer for 6 minutes, then plunge into cold water and leave until cooled.
  4. In a sauté pan, melt the but­ter over a medi­um heat and add the gar­lic. Sauté for 30 seconds, then add the grains and cook until toasted. Sea­son with sea salt and black pep­per, then remove from the heat and add the lem­on zest.
  5. Chop the egg roughly and stir into the grains along with the parsley.
  6. Cook the asparagus in salted boil­ing water until tender, being care­ful not to over­cook. Drain on a paper tow­el and place on a serving dish. Spoon over the grains and serve.

Serves 4

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