From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
2 leeks, trimmed and finely chopped
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm (½in) dice
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, cut into 1cm (½in) dice
1 garlic bulb, sliced in half crossways
100ml (3½ fl oz) dry white wine
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
1 tsp pink peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
Pinch of salt
Place all the ingredients in a large pan and cover with 1.75 litres (3 pints) cold water. Cover with a lid and bring to a simmer, then remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
-Either set aside to marinate for 2 days in a cool place, or if you’re short of time, strain through a sieve. Taste – if you find the flavour isn’t full enough, return to the pan and reduce until you are happy with it. Leave to cool completely and transfer to a plastic jug with a lid and store in the fridge until needed. Use as required.
Cook Ahead: This will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze in 600ml (1 pint) cartons and defrost when you need it.