Cook your own three-course Benedicts-style dinner at home

Richard Bainbridge's lemon tart Picture: Katja Bainbridge

Richard Bainbridge's lemon tart Picture: Katja Bainbridge - Credit: Archant

Chef patron of the award-winning Norwich restaurant Richard Bainbridge shares how to make a starter, main course and dessert with a Benedicts twist.

Richard Bainbridge's asparagus with apple and wild garlic mayonnaise Picture: Katja Bainbridge

Richard Bainbridge's asparagus with apple and wild garlic mayonnaise Picture: Katja Bainbridge - Credit: Archant

Richard and Katja Bainbridge’s award-winning restaurant Benedicts in Norwich is a much-loved part of the East Anglian dining scene, heralded by many as one of the best independent eateries in the UK.

This week you can bring the Benedicts experience into your own kitchen, recreating some of Richard and the team’s favourite dishes. Many elements (such as the garnishes for the starter and the entire dessert) can be prepared at least a day in advance.

If you’re not so keen on cooking (but love to eat), the restaurant is currently selling gourmet oven-ready meals, which you can order online, with menus priced at either £24 or £27 for three courses per person. Dishes include the delectable cheese soup with onion crumb and chives, Norfolk lamb saddle with braised turnips and sugar snap peas, and egg custard tart with poached plums.

But, without further ado, here’s Richard’s cook at home menu.

Richard Bainbridge's pot roasted chicken with pilaf rice, watercress, broad beans and confit lemon

Richard Bainbridge's pot roasted chicken with pilaf rice, watercress, broad beans and confit lemon Picture: Katja Bainbridge - Credit: Archant


Starter: Asparagus with wild garlic and apple

Main course: Pot roasted chicken with garden herb pilaf, broad beans and lemon

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Dessert: Richard’s ‘famous’ lemon tart

Starter: Asparagus with wild garlic and apple


Per person:

5 spears asparagus

2 sprigs mint

½ lemon

Knob butter

Salt and pepper

For the wild garlic mayonnaise:

100g wild garlic (or two fat cloves garlic)

2 egg yolks

1tbsp cider vinegar

1tsp Dijon mustard

200ml olive oil

200ml sunflower oil

Salt and pepper

For the apple juice reduction:

500ml clear apple juice

To serve:

1 Granny Smith apple, frozen for 24 hours


To make the mayonnaise put the egg yolks, vinegar and mustard in a blender and pulse to a puree. Start adding the oil, a little at a time until completely blended. If it becomes too thick add a touch of boiling water. Now add the wild garlic or garlic cloves and pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside in the fridge until needed.

For the apple reduction place the juice in a pan over a high heat and reduce by three quarters. Place in a bowl until needed.

When you’re ready to eat bring a large pot of water to the boil with the mint, lemon and a good pinch of salt. Once boiling add the asparagus and boil for two minutes, or until just cooked. Remove from the water and toss with butter and seasoning.

To plate up place a dollop of the mayonnaise on each plate and add about 1tbsp of apple reduction. Arrange five spears of asparagus over the top and at the table finish with a grating of frozen Granny Smith apple.

Main course: Pot roasted chicken with garden herb pilaf, broad beans and lemon


1 medium-sized good quality chicken (1.4kg to 1.6kg)

1 bunch fresh thyme

1 lemon

10ml rapeseed oil

50g salted butter

1 finely chopped shallot

1 clove garlic, grated

300g basmati rice, washed

600ml boiling water


10g fresh parsley, roughly chppped

For the beans:

250g podded broad beans

1tsp rapeseed oil

Juice 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

For the watercress:

200g watercress

1-2tbsps rapeseed oil

Salt, pepper, caster sugar to season

Juice of ½ lime

For the confit lemon:

2 unwaxed lemons

200g caster sugar

200ml cold water


Start with the confit lemon. Prick the lemons all over with a knife and place in a pot. Cover with water and boil. Drain. Add more fresh water and boil again. Repeat one more time. Place the sugar and 200ml water in a pan and boil. Add the lemons and simmer for 10 minutes until soft and glistening. At this point your lemons will be sweet and full of flavour without bitterness. Allow to cool and you can store in a preserving jar, ensuring the lemons are covered in syrup, for three months.

For the chicken put the oven on 210C. Cut the lemon in quarters and rip up the thyme. Season the bird all over and place the lemon and thyme inside. Place a heavy pot or casserole which will cover a whole chicken, on the hob at a high heat with 10ml rapeseed oil. Once hot seal the chicken on all sides until golden – set aside. Add the butter and sweat the garlic and shallots until just cooked. Add the rice and stir for one minute. Place your chicken on top of the rice and add 600ml boiling water. Keep the pot on the heat at all times, making sure the water is boiling. Then place a lid on and pop in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and return to the oven for five minutes to allow the chicken to crisp. Remove from the oven and let rest for five minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside. Season the rice to taste and stir in the parsley just before serving.

While the chicken rests fry the broad beans with the oil, lemon juice and seasoning for two to three minutes until tender and lightly coloured, and dress the watercress with seasoning, oil and lime.

To serve heat up a griddle pan and scorch your lemons, rolling them across the griddles caramelise. I like to serve this in one big pot in the middle of the table with the broad beans over the chicken, watercress on the side and confit lemons on top.

Dessert: Lemon tart


For the tart base:

250g plain flour

100g unsalted butter

100g icing sugar

2 eggs

Pinch salt

For the filling

7 eggs

275g caster sugar

225g double cream

Juice 4 lemons and zest 2 lemons

Make the filling the day before. Mix all the ingredients together, cover and place in the fridge to rest.

For the pastry combine all the ingredients in a food processor until combined, wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out to line a 23cm tart tin, line with greaseproof paper or foil and place in baking beans. Bake at 190C for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for another 10 minutes. Now turn the oven down to 110C. Place your tart base in its tin on a flat tray. Warm the filling in a pan on a very very low heat – to about 40c to 42c if you have a cooking thermometer. Transfer the mix to a jug and very slowly pour into the tart case. Pop in the oven and cook for 12 minutes. You want it to be just-cooked, like a wobbly jelly. The tart may need a couple of extra minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for an hour before slicing. To serve portion into slices and sprinkle with caster sugar. Using a blowtorch caramelise the sugar until golden. Serve on its own or with ice cream or sorbet.