CHEF Jeremy Pang is on perky form when we pay a visit to his Southfields home — he’s just taken delivery of some of his stir-fry kits that will soon go on sale in supermarkets. The exciting new venture is a spin off from his successful recipe books and cookery school: School Of Wok, which opened in Covent Garden in 2012.
Jeremy, 34, who holds a degree in biochemical engineering, started his gastronomical career by teaching Chinese cookery lessons.
Jeremy and his wife Dee began house hunting in south-west London while his business was expanding — but found the overheated market exasperating.
‘It was 2014 and we’d make an offer on a property — but so would 18 other people,’ he recalls.
The couple saw more than 100 properties and placed offers on five of them. They also paid for two surveys and were gazumped twice. Their current home was the final place they looked at.
‘I said I couldn’t be bothered to look that morning,’ says Jeremy, ‘but I’m glad I did as this is a gem.’
The three-bedroom house was built in the late 1950s and is typical of a Span style — incorporating modernist design, open-plan interiors and communal gardens. The garden at the front of Jeremy’s house is shared by all the residents and has created a sociable environment.
‘It’s completely different to other streets we’ve lived on, where you don’t really talk to your neighbours,’ he says.
Jeremy, who also appears on TV shows including Sunday Brunch, added an extension for the new lounge and turned the living room into a large open-plan kitchen.
‘My mum says it’s a three-bedroom kitchen,’ laughs Jeremy. ‘It’s certainly full of professional cooking equipment.’
Symphony Group and AEG — who sponsor Jeremy — supplied all the kitchen essentials, and he says having both a conventional and a steam oven has slashed cooking times.
‘I can put some salmon fillets in the steam oven, a bit of ginger, make a teriyaki sauce and dinner’s ready in seven minutes,’ says Jeremy.
The steam oven is so efficient at making speedy batches of baby food for the couple’s one-year-old son Theo that Jeremy’s ditched his microwave.
The kitchen also features an induction wok burner that can heat a wok up to 240 degrees in ten seconds.
‘It’s a really useful thing to have for my work and we use them at the school.’
The centre of the kitchen is occupied by a massive oak table — crafted by a Cornish carpenter from an old door. Meanwhile, a shelving unit houses a collection of hand-turned wooden mushrooms the couple have picked up on their travels.
‘Apparently, wood turners often make mushrooms to show their skill,’ he says.
Another special touch is the wine fridge, which is accessed via the living room so Jeremy can open a bottle from the comfort of his Barker and Stonehouse sofa.
The living room also provides a pleasant view of the back garden, where the couple grow carrots, peas, beans, raspberries and herbs in raised beds made from reclaimed timber.
Indoors, a Balinese lime, which sits on their wood/brushed concrete side unit, has also come in handy.
‘It grows a lot of fruit and is amazing for making juices.’
However, despite having invested so much time finding their dream home, they may be forced to move soon.
‘If we have another child we’ll have to move within a couple of years,’ Jeremy says.
‘It’s a great house, but it might be too small with two children running around.’
Dee sums it up perfectly: ‘It’ll be hard to leave. Of all the places we’ve lived in, we’ve never had a tight-knit community like this.’
■ Jeremy’s latest book Hong Kong Diner, published by Quadrille, £15, is out now. schoolofwok.co.uk
Black pepper beef and potatoes, Hong Kong style
■ 300g (10½oz) rib-eye steak
■ 1 large Maris Piper or King Edward potato
■ 1 white sweet potato
■ 1 small red onion
■ 1 spring onion
■ 1 large fresh green chilli
■ 1 large fresh red chilli
■ 1 stick of fresh green peppercorns (optional)
■ Vegetable oil for frying 5-6 sprigs of fresh coriander
The steak marinade
■ ¼ of a thumb-size piece of ginger
■ 1 garlic clove
■ ¼ teaspoon white pepper
■ ½ teaspoon sugar
■ A pinch of salt
■ ½ teaspoon pure sesame oil
■ ½ tablespoon cornflour
■ ¼ teaspoon salt
■ ½ teaspoon sugar
■ ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
■ 1 tablespoon Lee Kum Kee black pepper sauce
■ 50ml (2fl oz) fresh chicken stock
■ 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Slice the meat into thick rectangles. Tenderise by bashing with a cleaver. Finely chop the ginger and garlic and add the remaining marinade ingredients. Massage the marinade into the meat, then tip into a food bag, seal tightly and leave in the fridge overnight.
Peel the potato and sweet potato and cut into cubes. Bring to the boil on a high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, then drain. Roughly dice the onion and cut the spring onion into chunks. Roughly chop the red and green chillies. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Place the marinated meat in the wok, followed by the diced onion, spring onion, chillies and sauce.
If you have a deep-fat fryer, set the temperature of the oil to 180°C (350°F). Otherwise you can use a wok or large saucepan. Deep-fry the potatoes for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown, then remove from the fryer or wok and drain on a plate covered with kitchen paper. Heat five tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok, then lay the meat in the hot oil, separating each piece as you add it. Using a slotted spoon or a wok ‘spider’, fry the meat in the oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove on to a layer of kitchen paper to soak up excess oil. Pour remaining oil from the wok into a heatproof bowl and bring to a high heat again. Once smoking hot, add the onion and spring onion and stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the chillies and fry for 10 seconds.
Maintaining a high heat, pour in your sauce, return the meat to the wok and continue to stir-fry for an additional 30 seconds. Add the crispy potatoes, toss through 3 or 4 times to wrap the sauce around them, then tip into a large bowl, ready to serve. Garnish with a few sprigs of coriander.