Welcome to my recipe blog. I aim to share recipes for you to try. From the simple and tasty to the somewhat weird! I may not own all the pictures of the food but they are all in the public domain.
We were given some plums and it happened to coincide with this recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi in the GuardianThis one-tray bake celebrates plums in all their red glory, as they slowly break down into a sweet-sour sauce for sausages and potatoes. Use any kind of sausage you like here: duck or chicken would work well, as would vegetarian ones. Venison might be good also.
Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 35 min
- 5 red onions, peeled and cut into 6 wedges each (750g net weight)
- 2 heads garlic, cut in half widthways
- 3 baking potatoes (750g), skin-on, cut into quarters lengthways
- 120ml olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 750g plums (ie, about 10), halved and stoned (600g net weight)
- 3 rosemary stalks, leaves picked and stems discarded
- 8 pork sausages
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 90g pomegranate molasses
- 50g soft brown sugar
- 2 tbsp sumac
- 2½ tbsp (10g) parsley, picked leaves with soft stalks attached
- Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6.
- Put the onions, garlic, potatoes, five tablespoons of oil, 100ml water, a teaspoon and a half of salt and a good grind of pepper in a large roasting tin (roughly 40cm x 30cm).
- Toss together, then bake for 35 minutes, stirring once halfway, until the vegetables have softened and started to take on some colour and the water has evaporated.
- Lay the plums cut side up in the tray, add the rosemary leaves, then nestle in the sausages. In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar, molasses, sugar, two tablespoons of water, a tablespoon and a half of sumac, two tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, pour this all over the contents of the tray, then return to the oven for 40 minutes, turning the sausages once halfway, so they cook and colour evenly.
- Turn up the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7 and roast for 10 minutes more, until everything is nicely browned, the plums have broken down and the sauce is bubbling and sticky.
- Toss the parsley with the remaining teaspoon and a half of sumac and remaining tablespoon of oil, dot all over the sausage mixture, then serve warm straight from the tray.
This is a creamy, dairy-free, gluten-free sauce that is perfect for pasta.
1 tsp coconut oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
1 cup water
1/2 tsp fine Himalayan salt (I used Cypriot smoked salt instead for a smokey flavour)
black pepper to taste
Saute the garlic in the coconut oil over a low heat in a saucepan until the garlic is tender and fragrant but not browned.
Add the cauliflower and water into the pan and bring to the boil (the water will not cover the cauliflower). Once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer and cover until the cauliflower is fork-tender and very soft.
Transfer the entire contents of the pan to a blender or food processor, season and blend until very smooth and creamy (release steam pressure regularly). Season again if required. serve hot with pasta.
I served this recently with sprinkled with toasted pine nuts, once you’ve made the sauce you can do all sorts!
I had sampled gingerbread vodka at a tasting event and so decided to try and make gingerbread gin. It is best to make the gingerbread gin 1-2 months in advance. If you leave the gin to infuse for longer, the spice flavours will become stronger.
75g finely chopped fresh ginger – not peeled
75g crystallised ginger, chopped with a knife
2 x 7cm cinnamon sticks
1/2 a vanilla pod, split lengthways
100g light muscavado sugar
1 tsp black treacle
1 litre gin
Put all the ingredients into a large airtight jar. Give it a stir and leave it to infuse in a cool, dark place for a week, giving it a shake twice daily.
Strain the gin into a bowl through a sieve lined with a double layer of muslin (discard the flavourings).
Pour the finished gin into bottles or decanters, seal, then store in a cool, dark place until needed.
Goan food has many similarities with Portuguese food and this is mainly because of Portuguese inhabitants who lived there for almost 450 years. Goans didn’t take after their prominent use of garlic in every dish, but definitely latched on to their flair for bread-making. You’ll see that Goans often swap their regular bowl of steamed rice with soft and warm bread. Spices, fish and coconut have dominated Goan food for centuries and it’s only in the last few years it has started to be featured with new, more innovative ingredients like fenni and vinegar. I found this recipe and discovered it was surprisingly tasty, it freezes also freeze well.
Ingredients – serves 4
- 150g red lentils
- 1 small bunch of fresh basil
- 1 smal bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves separated
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 cm piece of ginger, peeled
- zest of 1 lime
- 1/2 to 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 star anise
- 1 onion peeled and diced (I used a red onion)
- 700ml fish stock
- 400g coley, cut into large 4cm chunks
Soak the lentils in a bowl of water for 45 minutes, then drain totally.
Place the basil, coriander stalks, garlic, ginger, lime zest and chilli powder in a blender and blitz until smooth, add a little water to get it going if needed.
Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over a medium to high heat. When
hot add the onion and star anise and fry for 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook for 4 minutes, stirring continuously.
Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.
Add the soaked lentils and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are just cooked through.
Add the fish pieces, pouring in a little water if needed. Bring back up to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Roughly chop the coriander leaves and stir through the curry before serving.
Having just come back from Wuhan, China my tastebuds have feasted well! Traditional Wuhan breakfast dishes are dou pi 豆皮and reganmian 热干面. Dou pi recipes are virtually impossible to find in English, but this is a reganmian recipe I have tried.
- Black pepper
- Crushed chilli flakes
- Sichuan peppercorns
- Vegetable oil
- Dark soy sauce
- Tahini (sesame sauce)
Mix one tablespoon of crushed red chilli flakes and a half teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns in a small bowl that can withstand the heat of hot oil. Then use a small pan to heat a quarter cup of vegetable oil at high heat until the oil is very hot. You should be able to see a little smoke coming off of the surface of the oil. Be very careful not to touch the oil at this point, as it will be very hot!
Turn off the heat and carefully pour the hot oil into the bowl containing the red chilli flakes and Sichuan peppercorns. Let the bowl sit for about 10 minutes before touching it.
Boil the spaghetti as normal.
The Sesame Sauce is extremely thick. It needs to be diluted a little bit. For two servings, mix one and a half tablespoons of tahini with two tablespoons of water and one teaspoon of vegetable oil. Use a spoon to mix them together until there are no longer any clumps in the sauce. This step can be performed while boiling the spaghetti.
The last step is to mix all the ingredients together to make the sauce and pour it over the spaghetti. It is best to mix the sauce for each serving individually.
Find a bowl that is slightly larger than one serving to mix the ingredients in. It is much easier to mix the sauce in a bowl than on a plate. Put one serving of spaghetti in the mixing bowl. First put on about a teaspoon of spicy oil. Then add black pepper to taste (just a small pinch will do). Add about a teaspoon of dark soy sauce, this gives the noodles their colour. Finally add the tahini sauce. Divide it equally between each portion. Mix all the ingredients together in the bowl with a pair of chopsticks, then transfer the Hot and Dry Noodles to a plate to serve with a pair of chopsticks and/or a fork.
Add some rice vinegar or some chopped chives for a more authentic taste!
Red-braised pork is a classic pork dish from Hunan, China. Pork belly is cooked until the fat and skin are gelatinous and melt easily in the mouth, while the sauce is usually thick, sweet and fairly sticky. It is said to have been Mao Zedong’s favourite dish and he had his Beijing chefs make it for him on a regular basis. After seeing this cooked on TV by a chef in Shanghai, I have combined and adapted several recipes to come up with this quick and tasty method.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 300-400g of lean pork belly (cut into 2cm thick pieces)
- 2 tablespoons of groundnut oil
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (Chinese rock sugar is best but brown sugar is an easy alternative)
- 3 tablespoons Chinese shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 2 cups water
- 2 spring onions
Bring a pan of water to a boil. Blanch the pork for a couple minutes then take the pork out of the pan and set aside.
Over low heat, add oil and sugar to a wok or frying pan. Melt the sugar slightly and add the pork. Increase the heat and cook until the pork is lightly browned.
Turn the heat back down to low and add cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and water. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until pork is tender. Every 5-10 minutes, stir to prevent burning and add more water if it gets too dry. Once the pork is tender, if there is still a lot of visible liquid, uncover, turn up the heat, and stir continuously the sauce has reduced to a glistening and sticky coating. Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve with plain boiled rice.
I always fancied trying to cure salmon; this is very easy and tasty.
- 800g salmon fillet, skin on, pin bones removed, washed and patted dry
- 150g sea salt
- 100g caster sugar
- 200ml whisky
- 100g black treacle
Place 4 pieces of clingfilm, slightly overlapping, on a clean work surface, then place the salmon fillet on top, skin-side down. Mix the salt and sugar together in a bowl, then cover the salmon with it, packing it down firmly.
Wrap the salmon up tightly with the clingfilm, then place it on a tray. Place a couple of packs of butter or another light weight on top to gently press down on the salmon, then put it in the fridge and leave for about 8 hours or overnight.
Remove the salmon from the clingfilm, brush off the salt mixture and rinse it thoroughly under cold water, then pat dry. Line the same tray with more clingfilm and place the salmon in the centre. Pour over the whisky and wrap in clingfilm again, then return to the fridge for at least a further 3 hours. After this time, unwrap the clingfilm, lift the salmon out of the whisky and place it on a board.
Warm the black treacle in a small pan until just runny, then brush it over the top of the fillet to cover it evenly. Wrap it one last time in clingfilm and return to the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Carve into thin slices to serve. It’s good with a salad of Little Gem leaves and some brown bread.
This recipe for banana bread seems to avoid the soapy flavour I have often ended up with. The recipe uses soured cream but works just as well with crème fraiche and I expect it would also work with natural yoghurt.
- 3 medium to large ripe bananas
- 110g margarine or butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 285g plain flour
- 5ml tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 5ml tsp salt
- 5ml tsp vanilla extract (or essence)
- 60ml soured cream
- 55 – 110g chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan oven) and grease and base line a 1kg loaf tin.
- Mash the bananas.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs.
- Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt and stir into the wet mixture.
- Add the vanilla extract, soured cream and walnuts.
- Spoon evenly into the loaf tin.
- Cook for 60 minutes.
I threw the wet ingredients into a food processor and processed until mixed. Then added the dry, adding the chopped walnuts right at the end so as not to completely obliterate them!
Having picked a pile of gooseberries and blackcurrants I then had to decide what to do with them. We don’t really like gooseberries on their own and there are only so many blackcurrant tarts you can make. I found this recipe online for a jam using both. The blackcurrants give the jam a bold colour whilst the gooseberries make the jam fragrant.
- 700g (1.54 lbs) blackcurants
- 1300g (2.86 lbs) gooseberries
- 2kg (2.2 lbs) sugar
- 1 pint of water
- a knob of butter or margarine to stop the jam from frothing when boiling
Top and tail the gooseberries and make sure the blackcurrants are destalked. Wash thoroughly. Put half of the fruit into a preserving pan. Cover with half the sugar. Add the rest of the fruit and remaining sugar plus the pint of water. Leave for an hour and allow the sugar to dissolve.
Come back and bring to the boil stirring continuously. Then turn down the heat and simmer for at least 45 minutes. If you have a jam thermometer test the mixture to make sure it has reached an appropriate heat to set. If you do not, place a teaspoon of jam on a cold plate from the freezer and leave for a few minutes. The jam will set if it is ready.
I tried a version of this the other day and decided I had to try and make it. This is a recipe I made up with a little help from the person who introduced it to me . The nearest ‘official’ version is Khowse, a chicken and coconut and noodle soup.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 500g diced chicken breast
- 1 clove of garlic
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2cm ginger finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- Half a block of creamed coconut dissolved in about 150ml of boiling water
- About 2 tbspn chopped fresh coriander leaf
- 200g spaghetti for 4 servings
Put the spaghetti on to cook and while it is cooking, in a large pan, saute the onion in a little olive oil. Add the chicken and garlic and continue to cook. When the chicken is nearly cooked add the chilli, ginger and seasoning and continue to stir occasionally. Add the coconut cream. When the chicken is cooked through add the coriander, stir through the cooked spaghetti and serve.
I added chopped asparagus spears as they are in season.
Sprinkle with grated coconut before serving.
As this is like a version of Khowse, the perfect accompaniments would be onions, sambals and fried samosa pastry.