Lamb & Coconut Kofta Curry

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screenshot_2016-09-29-19-56-54-11 30/09/2016

A fragrant lamb kofta curry recipe that won’t need hours on the stove. Make it as mild or spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of chillies in the recipe. Sadly, my lack of photography and presentation skills does not do this justice but the taste is beautifully fragrant, aromatic and deep.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • A few sprigs fresh mint, finel chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 400g lamb mince

For the curry sauce:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 400g tin cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsps natural coconut yogurt
  • Fresh coriander, to serve
  • Lime wedges to serve

Method:

  1. Toast the fennel seeds and coriander seeds in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind in a pestle and mortar then add to a bowl with all the other meatball ingredients. Mix all the meatball ingredients together with your hands. Season and roll into balls then chill until needed.
  2. In a little oil, fry the onion, fresh ginger, garlic, garam masala and ground turmeric for 5 minutes. Stir in the tin of tomatoes and a splash of water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the meatballs, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir through the natural coconut yogurt and serve with coriander, lime wedges, steamed rice and extra yogurt.

 

Cheese & Onion Pasties

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screenshot_2016-09-23-21-24-02-11 26/09/2016

Pasties! As the weather begins to turn, nothing hits the spot more than a comforting pasty with crisp, golden pastry with an oozing cheesy filling. Mmmmm

Different fats produce different characteristics in baked or fried foods and hard fat will produce a crisper texture than any other. I have tried using beef dripping with this pastry and lard. Both have given extremely crisp results with their own savoury character.

The use of some strong flour in the pastry also makes the dough a little more resilient to make shaping easier without sacrificing tenderness.

The mix of different mustards is purely my preference so if you have any favourites then feel free to experiment.

Either way, the mix of fresh spring onions with hearty potato, autumnal swede and melting strong cheddar is an absolute winner encased in a crisp, buttery house of loveliness.

screenshot_2016-09-23-17-50-48-11 screenshot_2016-09-23-21-20-09-11

Makes 6

Ingredients:

For the rough puff dripping crust:

  • 300g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 100g strong white flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g beef dripping or lard, at room temperature
  • 150ml lukewarm water

For the filling:

  • 150g Extra mature cheddar (I used Barber’s Cruncher)
  • 100g peeled and diced swede
  • 100g peeled and diced potato
  • 3-4 large spring onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon each of wholegrain mustard, Dijon mustard and English mustard powder
  • A few sprigs of thyme – optional
  • 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

Method:

  1. For the rough puff dripping crust:
  2. Place the flours and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into little pieces and rub into the flour then cut the dripping or lard into 1cm pieces and toss it through. Do not rub it in. Stir the water in without kneading until the dough just combines then leave for 10 minutes.
  3. Generously flour the work surface to stop the dough sticking then roll out the dough to 50cm x 20cm. Fold the dough in by thirds then roll out again towards the unfolded ends and fold in by thirds once more. Cover the dough or place in a bag and let it rest somewhere cool (but not as cold as the fridge) for 30 minutes.
  4. Repeat the rolling, folding and resting twice more. The pastry is then ready to be used. You can also freeze it at this point in a sealed ziplock bag then just allow to thaw completely before using.

For the filling:

  1. Place the grated cheese and spring onions in a bowl with the swede and potato, add the salt, pepper, flour and thyme, if using, and toss this together and chill.
  2. Roll the pastry out to about ½cm thick and cut out circles using a side plate as a guide.
  3. Mix the mustards and mustard powder together in a small bowl. Lightly coat the centre of each pastry circle with the mustard and brush the edges with water. Place a generous spoonful of filling on one half of the pastry leaving a clean ½cm border.
  4. Fold the pastry over the filling and press the edges together gently to seal. Crimp as you like. Repeat with the remaining pasties then place on a greaseproof lined baking tray.
  5. Chill the pasties in the fridge while you heat the oven to 200C then brush them with egg wash and bake them for 45 minutes until the pastry is rich and golden and the filling is piping hot.

Special Fried Rice

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screenshot_2016-09-23-17-55-52-11  25/09/2016

A super speedy, cheap and tasty meal…

I’ve left some of the quantities undisclosed here as it is really up to you on your preferences and what you have to hand. I love the salty savoury note of soy sauce so tend to be quite liberal with it. Sometimes, I add a little oyster sauce to the mix too.

It is important to use cold rice as just boiled rice will turn mushy in the wok and will not be very pleasant to eat.

Add leftover meats, bacon, crunchy veg, beansprouts, sweetcorn, mushrooms… whatever you like. Duck and five spice is a fantastic addition or you could even keep it really simple and add a separate stir fried dish to it. Go crazy!

Ingredients:

  • Cold leftover rice (I used brown rice)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 250g pack raw king prawns
  • 1 large egg
  • Tenderstem broccoli
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • 2-3 spring onions, sliced
  • Soy sauce
  • Ground white pepper
  • Fresh coriander, to serve

Method:

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a wok over medium-high heat and fry the onions until soft and golden. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the tenderstem broccoli and peas to the pan and stir fry for a minute to begin softening the broccoli.
  3. Add the prawns and stir fry until just pink.
  4. Add the cold rice and stir to combine everything. Crack the egg into the wok and gently fold into the rice mix as it cooks. You should be left with some clumps of egg while binding the rice at the same time. Season with soy sauce and pepper generously and stir in the peas. Cook for a couple of minutes and serve topped with coriander and another drizzle of soy sauce.

Coconut Chilli Prawns

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screenshot_2016-09-21-19-57-16-11 23/09/2016

I absolutely love rolling my sleeves up in the kitchen to undertake a big Indian feast. Nothing pleases me more than mixing the fresh spices, toasting and grinding them to create beautiful aromas and tastes. But sometimes, there isn’t always time in the day to get so hands on as less important tasks such as the day job get in the way. That doesn’t mean that a wonderful Indian meal is out of bounds though. With the help of a jar of curry paste, you can whip up a delicious curry in about 15 minutes.

I’d like to urge that this recipe uses a curry PASTE and not a curry SAUCE. Ready made curry sauces are full of sugar and additives and don’t taste anywhere near as good as a freshly prepared curry. Paste, on the other hand, is a perfectly selected blend of freshly ground spices with the addition of ginger and garlic which are immediately preserved in vegetable oil so that the air does not get to them and alter their flavour profile.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 inch cube of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Rogan Josh curry paste (or your choice)
  • 450g raw peeled prawns
  • 50g creamed coconut, roughly chopped
  • 150ml hot water
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly chopped coriander
  • 2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the curry paste and fry for a further 2 minutes until it looks like it is splitting from the oil.
  2. Add the prawns to the pan and stir fry over a high heat for 3 minutes until pink. Add the creamed coconut and hot water and stir every now and then until the coconut had melted. Simmer for 1 minute.
  3. Mix the coriander with the red chillies and spring onions. Stir into the prawns and serve immediately.

This is great served with rice and chapatis and even more fresh coriander.

Fresh Tomato, Cucumber & Red Onion Chutney

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screenshot_2016-09-16-18-36-15-11 22/09/2016

This isn’t really a recipe but is really lovely served as a fresh and vibrant side for any curry. It’s great slathered on poppadoms as a starter or a snack and provides a welcome break from the rich heaviness of many curries.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tomato, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 3 thick slices of cucumber, diced
  • Small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • A few mint leaves, chopped
  • A pinch of cumin and chilli powder
  • A squeeze of lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste.

Tip: Season with salt when ready to serve as the salt will draw the moisture from the chopped veggies.

Saag Paneer

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screenshot_2016-09-16-18-35-12-11 17/09/2016

Saag paneer is a classic Indian dish of cooked spinach studded with cubes of fried paneer cheese. Thickened with cream, yoghurt or coconut milk, it’s a hearty and filling vegetarian meal.

Serves 2 as a main -4 as a side

Ingredients:

  • 8oz fresh spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 inch piece ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • 7fl oz water
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp methi (fenugreek) seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 3 Tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 200g paneer, cut into cubes

Method:

  1. Cook the wet spinach leaves in a tightly covered pan for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and roughly chop the spinach. Add the chopped spinach, ginger, garlic and chilli with a little of the measured water into a bowl and mix. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan, add the bay leaves and pepper and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the onion and fry for 6-8 minutes or until the onion has browned.
  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the curry powder, methi seeds, salt and chilli powder. Cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat, stirring a couple of times. Add the Spinach mix and the remaining water. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the yoghurt a tablespoon at a time and simmer for 5 minutes more.
  5. Add the paneer to a frying pan over medium heat and cook until beginning to brown then turn the cheese cubes and repeat on all or most sides. Add the browned paneer to the sauce and stir to coat. Serve with chapatti or paratha to dunk into the lovely sauce.

To skin the tomatoes, score a cross in the tops, place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave this for about 5 minutes, drain and the skins will be easy to peel away. You can leave them on but the sauce will have hard chewy strands in it and this step is definitely worthwhile for a velvet smooth sauce.

Pancakes

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screenshot_2016-09-13-09-09-51-11 13/09/2016

Super easy, versatile and flippin’ tasty (pun intended)!

Serves 2-4 (depending on appetite and will power)

Ingredients:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2eggs
  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • pinch salt

Method:

  1. Put the flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the egg into the middle then pour in about 50ml milk. Start whisking from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the egg and milk. Once all the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it is too stiff to beat.
  2. Add a good splash of milk and whisk to loosen the thick batter. While still whisking, pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk. Continue pouring and whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream. Traditionally, people would say to now leave the batter for 30 mins, to allow the starch in the flour to swell, but there’s no need.
  3. Heat the pan over a moderate heat then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper. Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin and even layer then leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 60 seconds. If the pan is the right temperature, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 60 seconds and will be ready to turn.
  4. Hold the pan handle, ease a fish slice under the pancake then quickly lift and flip it over. Make sure the pancake is lying flat against base of the pan with no folds and cook for another 30-60 seconds before turning out onto a warm plate. Continue with the rest of the batter, serving them as you cook or stack onto a plate. You can freeze the pancakes for 1 month, wrapped in cling film or make them up to a day ahead.
  5. Sprinkle, squeeze and pour your favourite toppings and fillings over and tuck in.

 

To oven reheat, stack the pancakes on a heatproof plate; cover with foil. Warm at 180C/fan 160C for 10-15 mins from cold or 5-10 mins from room temperature. To microwave, stack, cover with cling film, pierce the film. Reheat on High for 1 min.

Flavour ideas:

Classic citrus and sugar: sprinkle each cooked pancake with sugar, roll up, sprinkle a little more sugar and squeeze over fresh lemon or orange juice.

Nutella and banana: Roll pancakes, spread with Nutella and top with chopped banana and chopped, toasted hazelnuts.

Spinach and ricotta: Wilt spinach, strain well, stir through ricotta and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stuff and roll pancakes.

Creamy mushroom: Fry chopped mushrooms and stir through some garlic roule. Add some wilted spinach or kale if desired. Stuff and roll pancakes.

Onion, cheese & bacon: Fry a chopped onion, then add chopped streaky bacon and cook until golden. Tip onto pancakes, grate over cheddar, fold up and eat hot.

Tropical fruit & ginger: Fresh tropical fruits, stem ginger syrup and Greek yogurt.