Sunday, December 17, 2006

Baked Sea Bass with Potatoes

olive oil
1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced, blanched and patted dry
1 1/2 lbs sea bass, halibut, swordfish or tuna cut into 4 steaks 1 1/2" thick
2 tomatoes, halved
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs parsley, minced
2 scallions, white part only, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
1 spring fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried)
lemon juice
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the bottom of a casserole or baking dish with oil, then layer it with potato slices, overlapping them to cover the bottom completely. Arrange the fish on top of the potatoes, and arrange the tomato halves, cut side up, alongside the fish. Brush the tops of the fish and tomatoes plus any exposed potato slices, lightly with oil. Mix the garlic, parsley, green onions, rosemary, and thyme together well, then sprinkle over the fish. Lightly drizzle lemon juice over the garlic mixture, then salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the fish and potatoes are done.

Friday, November 10, 2006

No Kneading Bread

The New York Times - Mark Bittman

I’m not counting sliced bread as a positive step, but Jim Lahey’s method may be the greatest thing since.

This story began in late September when Mr. Lahey sent an e-mail message inviting me to attend a session of a class he was giving at Sullivan Street Bakery, which he owns, at 533 West 47th Street in Manhattan. His wording was irresistible: “I’ll be teaching a truly minimalist breadmaking technique that allows people to make excellent bread at home with very little effort. The method is surprisingly simple — I think a 4-year-old could master it — and the results are fantastic.”

I set up a time to visit Mr. Lahey, and we baked together, and the only bad news is that you cannot put your 4-year-old to work producing bread for you. The method is complicated enough that you would need a very ambitious 8-year-old. But the results are indeed fantastic.

Mr. Lahey’s method is striking on several levels. It requires no kneading. (Repeat: none.) It uses no special ingredients, equipment or techniques. It takes very little effort.

It accomplishes all of this by combining a number of unusual though not unheard of features. Most notable is that you’ll need about 24 hours to create a loaf; time does almost all the work. Mr. Lahey’s dough uses very little yeast, a quarter teaspoon (you almost never see a recipe with less than a teaspoon), and he compensates for this tiny amount by fermenting the dough very slowly. He mixes a very wet dough, about 42 percent water, which is at the extreme high end of the range that professional bakers use to create crisp crust and large, well-structured crumb, both of which are evident in this loaf.

The dough is so sticky that you couldn’t knead it if you wanted to. It is mixed in less than a minute, then sits in a covered bowl, undisturbed, for about 18 hours. It is then turned out onto a board for 15 minutes, quickly shaped (I mean in 30 seconds), and allowed to rise again, for a couple of hours. Then it’s baked. That’s it.

I asked Harold McGee, who is an amateur breadmaker and best known as the author of “On Food and Cooking” (Scribner, 2004), what he thought of this method. His response: “It makes sense. The long, slow rise does over hours what intensive kneading does in minutes: it brings the gluten molecules into side-by-side alignment to maximize their opportunity to bind to each other and produce a strong, elastic network. The wetness of the dough is an important piece of this because the gluten molecules are more mobile in a high proportion of water, and so can move into alignment easier and faster than if the dough were stiff.”

That’s as technical an explanation as I care to have, enough to validate what I already knew: Mr. Lahey’s method is creative and smart.

But until this point, it’s not revolutionary. Mr. McGee said he had been kneading less and less as the years have gone by, relying on time to do the work for him. Charles Van Over, author of the authoritative book on food-processor dough making, “The Best Bread Ever” (Broadway, 1997), long ago taught me to make a very wet dough (the food processor is great at this) and let it rise slowly. And, as Mr. Lahey himself notes, “The Egyptians mixed their batches of dough with a hoe.”

What makes Mr. Lahey’s process revolutionary is the resulting combination of great crumb, lightness, incredible flavor — long fermentation gives you that — and an enviable, crackling crust, the feature of bread that most frequently separates the amateurs from the pros. My bread has often had thick, hard crusts, not at all bad, but not the kind that shatter when you bite into them. Producing those has been a bane of the amateur for years, because it requires getting moisture onto the bread as the crust develops.
To get that kind of a crust, professionals use steam-injected ovens. At home I have tried brushing the dough with water (a hassle and ineffective); spraying it (almost as ineffective and requiring frequent attention); throwing ice cubes on the floor of the oven (not good for the oven, and not far from ineffective); and filling a pot with stones and preheating it, then pouring boiling water over the stones to create a wet sauna (quite effective but dangerous, physically challenging and space-consuming). I was discouraged from using La Cloche, a covered stoneware dish, by my long-standing disinclination to crowd my kitchen with inessential items that accomplish only one chore. I was discouraged from buying a $5,000 steam-injected oven by its price.

It turns out there’s no need for any of this. Mr. Lahey solves the problem by putting the dough in a preheated covered pot — a common one, a heavy one, but nothing fancy. For one loaf he used an old Le Creuset enameled cast iron pot; for another, a heavy ceramic pot. (I have used cast iron with great success.) By starting this very wet dough in a hot, covered pot, Mr. Lahey lets the crust develop in a moist, enclosed environment. The pot is in effect the oven, and that oven has plenty of steam in it. Once uncovered, a half-hour later, the crust has time to harden and brown, still in the pot, and the bread is done. (Fear not. The dough does not stick to the pot any more than it would to a preheated bread stone.)

The entire process is incredibly simple, and, in the three weeks I’ve been using it, absolutely reliable. Though professional bakers work with consistent flour, water, yeast and temperatures, and measure by weight, we amateurs have mostly inconsistent ingredients and measure by volume, which can make things unpredictable. Mr. Lahey thinks imprecision isn’t much of a handicap and, indeed, his method seems to iron out the wrinkles: “I encourage a somewhat careless approach,” he says, “and figure this may even be a disappointment to those who expect something more difficult. The proof is in the loaf.”

The loaf is incredible, a fine-bakery quality, European-style boule that is produced more easily than by any other technique I’ve used, and will blow your mind. (It may yet change the industry. Mr. Lahey is experimenting with using it on a large scale, but although it requires far less electricity than conventional baking, it takes a lot of space and time.) It is best made with bread flour, but all-purpose flour works fine. (I’ve played with whole-wheat and rye flours, too; the results are fantastic.)

You or your 8-year-old may hit this perfectly on the first try, or you may not. Judgment is involved; with practice you’ll get it right every time.

The baking itself is virtually foolproof, so the most important aspect is patience. Long, slow fermentation is critical. Mr. Lahey puts the time at 12 to 18 hours, but I have had much greater success at the longer time. If you are in a hurry, more yeast (three-eighths of a teaspoon) or a warmer room temperature may move things along, but really, once you’re waiting 12 hours why not wait 18? Similarly, Mr. Lahey’s second rising can take as little as an hour, but two hours, or even a little longer, works better.

Although even my “failed” loaves were as good as those from most bakeries, to make the loaf really sensational requires a bit of a commitment. But with just a little patience, you will be rewarded with the best no-work bread you have ever made. And that’s no small thing.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Chicken Hot and Sour Soup with Three Kinds of Mushrooms

Serves 4 to 6 as a first course

A traditional hot and sour soup that includes enoki, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms. Firm tofu is available in Chinese markets.

8 cups chicken broth
1 single chicken breast, skinned, boned, and minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped bamboo shoots
1/2 pound Chinese-style tofu, cut into cubes
6 to 8 large fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms
1 handful oyster mushrooms, cut into strips
1/4 pound enoki mushrooms
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

If using dried shiitakes, soak them in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain. In a large pot, bring the broth to a simmer and add the chicken, ginger, and bamboo shoots. Stir the tofu into the soup. Slice the shiitakes and add with the oyster mushrooms to the broth. Add half the enokis, and the chopped green onions.

Dissolve the cornstarch in water and stir slowly into the simmering soup. Remove from the heat, adding the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil, and adjust the seasoning. Top with the remaining enokis.

--Terri Woodring

Friday, September 22, 2006

Chicken Korma (Marinated)

8 Servings

2 (2 1/2-3lb) chickens; cut in serving pieces
2 c yogurt
2 Cloves garlic; minced
2 md Onions; chopped
1 ts Ground paprika
2 ts Finely chopped gingerroot
2 tb Chicken stock
2 ts Ground coriander
1/2 ts Ground chile
1 ts Ground cumin
ds Peeled cardamom pods
1 ts Poppy seeds
1 ts Ground turmeric
1 Bay leaf
2 tb Chopped cilantro

Marinate chicken in a mixture of yogurt, 1 clove
of the garlic, 1/2 onion, paprika, gingerroot and
pepper, covered, a few hours.

Sauté remaining garlic and onions in 2 tablespoons
stock until soft. Add coriander, chile, cumin,
cardamom, poppy seeds and turmeric and sauté 2-3
minutes. Add chicken, remaining marinade and cover
with water. Add bay leaf and simmer about 45
minutes or until chicken is tender. Sprinkle with

Chicken Korma

4 servings.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes

1/4 cup cashew halves
1/4 cup boiling water
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 (1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 large onion, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - diced
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with equal parts water

1. Place cashews in a small bowl, and pour the boiling water over nuts. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes. Place garlic and ginger in food processor and blend until smooth; set aside.
2. Heat oil in wok over medium heat. Cook the bay leaves in hot oil for 30 seconds. Stir in onion, and cook until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in garlic/ginger paste, and season with coriander, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and chili powder. Stir in chicken, and cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce and chicken broth. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, place the cashews, along with the water in which they were soaked, and the cream and yogurt into food processor. Process until smooth.
4. Stir the cashew mixture into the chicken and onions. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Herb crusted Haddock

Paul Rankin

Serves 1

1/3 loaf of white bread, crusts removed and torn
handful of fresh herbs, including parsley, coriander
freshly ground black pepper
110g/4oz haddock fillet
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
To serve
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large field mushroom, sliced
2 large handfuls of spinach
For the vinaigrette
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
2. Place the bread in a food processor with the herbs and whiz together to form breadcrumbs.
3. Season the haddock fillet and then spread the mustard over.
4. Scatter the herb breadcrumbs over one side of the haddock and gently press down.
5. Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan and fry the haddock, crust side down for 1-2 minutes.
6. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes.
7. Heat the oil in a pan and gently sauté the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach, cooking to wilt for 1-2 minutes.
8. Season to taste.
9. To make the vinaigrette, place the wholegrain mustard, seasoning, vinegar, olive oil and soy sauce into a small bowl and whisk together.
10. To serve, remove the herb crusted haddock from the oven and transfer to a serving plate.
11. Serve the wilted spinach and mushrooms alongside and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Coconut Prawn Curry

750 g Raw prawns (shrimps)
1 teaspoon Ground turmeric
1 cup Roughly chopped onion
4 cloves Crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Red chili, seeded and finely chopped
Pinch Ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon Ground cardamom
1 teaspoon Finely chopped fresh ginger
3 tablespoons Cooking oil
2 Tomatoes, diced
1 cup Coconut cream
2 tablespoons Fresh coriander leaves

1] Peel and devein the prawns, leaving the tails intact. Toss the prawns with the turmeric.
2] Place the onion, garlic in a food processor and process until a paste is formed.
3] Heat the oil in a deep-sided frying pan; carefully add the spicy paste, stir it into the oil and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
4] If the mixture starts to burn, add a little water.
5] When the paste is cooked, it should be a golden brown color and will have oil around the edges.
6] Stir the prawn, tomatoes and coconut cream, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the prawns are cooked.
7] Stir in the coriander, season with salt and serve with rice.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Colombaccio in salmì (Pigeon)

Break the pigeon in four parts, keeping the giblets.

Chop finely onion, celery, sage, a leaf of laurel, olive oil, salt and pepper; then fry lightly the giblets and the pieces of pigeon.

Add some dry white wine and peeled tomatoes.

When the stuff is cooking, take away from the pan the sauce with giblets, sieve it or mince it. Then put it again in the pan with the pieces of pigeon, add some broth and black olives.

Serve it on roasted canapés.

Braised pigeon with olives

Pluck and draw the pigeons (two for four people) and remove the legs and breasts in sides of one piece.

Then make a stock from the remainder of the carcass and giblets (but not the livers). To make this stock, place the carcasses and giblets in about half a pint of water, add one or two carrots and half an onion. Allow two hours for cooking in an ordinary pan, though a pressure cooker would reduce this time to half an hour.

Other ingredients required are: 2 oz. Of fat, 4 rashers of bacon, 2 dessert spoons of flour, a dozen stoned olives, half teaspoonful mixed herbs, a large onion, half lb. of carrots.

Melt the fat into a casserole and fry up the bacon, which should have been chopped into small pieces. Add chopped up onion and carrots and fry until brown, and then add the herbs and slowly stir in the flour.

Gradually work in the half-pint of stock and stir it well. Finally add the olives and pieces of pigeon and cook them in a low oven for at least two hours.

To serve- fry some rounds of thick bread (or make a similar quantity of toast) lay a pigeon leg and breast on each, arrange the olives and pour the hot sauce over the lot.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Beef Burger

Makes 4 burgers

1 Onion, peeled and finely chopped (slowly fry them to soften before you add them)
2 Garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Beef steaks, chopped (approx. 100-120g per burger)
1 Lime, juice only
Roasted Cumin seeds - ground
Fresh Coriander leaves
1 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Egg
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

1. Place all the ingredients for the burger into a food processor and whizz together until blended. Don't over whizz, you want some texture there.
2. Using wet hands, divide the mixture into four even sized portions and shape into burgers.
3. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the burgers for about 5-6 minutes on each side or until thoroughly cooked through.
4. Serve immediately.

If you are starting with mince beef, mix it in with the other ingredients by hand.

Hint: Make these a day ahead, that way they "solidify" which means they don't fall apart on the barbeque.

Mexican Chicken

by Paul Rankin
from Ready Steady Cook

Serves 1

1 chicken breast
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for cooking
¼ red pepper, sliced
¼ red onion, sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
85g/3oz spinach

1. Preheat a medium frying pan and a griddle pan.
2. Combine the spices and seasoning in a small bowl.
3. Cover the chicken breast in the spices.
4. Heat the olive oil in the frying pan.
5. Add the chicken and sauté for at least 10 minutes or until the breast is well cooked and the juices run clear.
6. While the chicken is cooking place a little olive oil in the griddle pan.
7. Add the pepper and onion and griddle for 4 minutes.
8. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the pepper and onion and remove from the heat.
9. Place the spinach on a serving plate.
10. Place the chicken on the spinach. Serve the griddled vegetables on the side.

Refried Beans

Onion - finely chopped
White Pinto Beans (canned, drained, but keep the liquid)
Lard or Vegetable Oil

1] Heat the Lard or Oil in a big pan and gently fry the Onion until they start to soften.
2] Add in the beens and start to mash them up with a fork or the back of a spoon.
3] If it looks like it is too dry, add in some of the liquid from the tin.
4] Stir around and cook for a while until they are cooked through.

Mexican Descriptions

Albondigas: meatballs.
Atole: a thick, hot gruel made from corn.
Biscochitos: an anise-flavored cookie.
Burrito: a white flour tortilla, filled with meats, beans, cheese, or a combination of these, and rolled. Often served smothered with chile sauce and melted cheese.
Capirotada: a raisin and walnut pudding.
Carne Adovada: cubes of pork that have been marinated and cooked in red chile, garlic and oregano.
Chalupas: (little boats) corn tortillas fried into a bowl shape and filled with shredded chicken, and/or beans, and topped with guacamole and salsa.
Chicharron: pork skin, fried crisp.
Chile con queso: chile and melted cheese mixed together into a dip.
Chiles Rellenos: roasted, peeled and stuffed (often with cheese) chiles, usually dipped in a batter and fried.
Chimichanga: a burrito that's deep fried, and smothered with chile and cheese.
Chorizo: a spicy pork sausage, seasoned with garlic and red chile.
Cilantro: a pungent green herb used in salsas, etc; the seeds are coriander.
Empanada: a turnover, filled usually with a sweetened meat mixture or fruit.
Enchiladas: corn tortillas filled with meat, beans or cheese, and either rolled, or stacked, and covered with chile sauce and cheese.
Fajita: strips of grilled steak or chicken that come with tortillas, sauteed peppers and onions, and other side dishes to make do-it-yourself burritos.
Flan: caramel custard dessert.
Flautas: tightly rolled, fried to a crunch, enchiladas.
Frijoles: beans.
Guacamole: mashed avacado, usually with chopped onion, tomatoes, garlic, lime and chile. Horno: outdoor, beehive-shaped ovens.
Huevos Rancheros: corn tortillas, topped with eggs, usually fried, smothered with chile and cheese.
Jalapenos: small, fat chiles, very hot, frequently used in salsa.
Menudo: a soup made with tripe and chiles (known as "breakfast of champions").
Nachos: tostados topped with beans, melted cheese, sliced jalapenos, sometimes served "Grande" with ground beef, or shredded chicken, guacamole and sour cream.
Natilla: soft custard dessert.
Pico de Gallo: salsa with chopped fresh chiles, tomatoes, onions and cilantro.
Posole: a thick stew made with hominy corn simmered for hours with red chile and pork.
Quesadilla: a turnover made of a flour tortilla, filled with cheese or other ingredients, then toasted, fried or baked.
Refritos: beans that have been mashed and fried, most often in lard.
Salsa: generally an uncooked mixture of chile, tomatoes, onions.
Sopaipilla: a puffed, fried yeast bread, that's eaten split and filled with honey-butter.
Taco: a corn tortilla either fried crisp, or just softened, and filled with meats, cheese, or beans, and fresh chopped lettuce, onions and tomatoes.
Tostados: corn tortilla chips, also, a open face corn tortilla covered with refried beans, salsa, cheese, and chopped lettuce and tomato.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Fried Red Cabbage

This is really flavoursome. Goes well with game, pork or beef.
This would serve 6-8 as a side dish.
10 minutes prep, 30-40 minutes cooking.

Bacon, finely chopped (or use Lardons)
1 Onion, chopped
500g Red Cabbage, diced
1 Green Pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh Black Pepper

1] Gently fry the Bacon until crispy and well browned.
2] Take the Bacon out, leaving the oil in the pan, and set aside.
3] Add the Onion to the bacon pan and stir until it starts to go translucent.
4] Add the Cabbage, Pepper, Salt/Pepper and stir until all the cabbage is coated.
5] Cover and cook over a low heat, shaking the pan now and then, until the Cabbage is cooked, about 30 minutes.
6] Add the Bacon back in to warm through and serve in a warmed dish.

You can try spicing this up with some red chilli and/or garlic for a more powerful dish.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Lemon-peppered Roast Leg of Lamb

Serves 8

6 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 teaspoon oil from the anchovies
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2·7 kg leg of lamb
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Half a tablespoon mixed peppercorns, coarsely crushed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
For the gravy
2 tablespoons plain flour
200 ml red wine
400 ml stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5 (190°C, 375°F).

Mix the anchovies, oil and garlic together in a small bowl.

Use a small, sharp knife to make incisions into the lamb and push in the mixture. Place the lamb in a roasting tin and squeeze over half the lemon juice. Mix the lemon zest, peppercorns and rosemary together and press all over the meat.

Roast the lamb for 2-21/2 hours (depending on how pink you like the meat), basting every 30 minutes.

Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, melt the redcurrant jelly in a small pan. Pour away the excess fat from the tin and brush the jelly on to the lamb. Return to the oven for 10 minutes until glossy and caramelised. Transfer to a carving dish and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

For the gravy, place the roasting tin over a low heat on the hob and stir the flour into the juices until smooth. Gradually blend in the wine and stock, followed by the remaining lemon juice. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then adjust the seasoning and serve in a warmed jug.

Carve the lamb in thin slices starting from the shank (bone) end.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chinese Ginger Beef

From Rhonda Parkinson,
Your Guide to Chinese Cuisine.

The staple dish of Chinese take-out restaurants.

Serves 4

1 pound flank steak

2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ginger juice (storebought or homemade)

1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 Tbsp white or rice vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 teaspoon hot chili oil or crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 stalk celery
1 red bell pepper
1 carrot
4 to 5 cups oil for deep-frying
2 Tbsp oil for stir-frying, or as needed
3 red chili peppers, seeds left in
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Tbsp hot chili oil (optional)
1/3 cup water, or as needed

Partially freeze the beef to make it easier to cut.

If making homemade ginger juce, grate the ginger and squeeze out the juice until you have 2 tablespoons. Cut the partially frozen beef along the grain into thin strips the approximately length and width of matchsticks.

Add the marinade ingredients and marinate the beef for 25 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, vinegar, sugar, water and hot chili oil. Set aside.

While the beef is marinating, prepare the vegetables and sauce. Cut the celery, red bell pepper, and carrot into thin strips.

To prepare the batter, combine the flour and cornstarch. Stir in the vegetable oil, and the hot chili oil if using. Add a much water as is needed to make a smooth batter. It should not be too dry or too runny, but should lightly drop off the back of a wooden spoon.

Heat the oil for deep-frying to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Dip the marinated beef pieces into the batter. When the oil is hot, add the beef and deep-fry until it is golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Increase the heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Deep-fry the beef a second time, to make it extra cripsy. Remove and drain. Clean out the wok.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the wok. When the oil is hot, add the chilies, minced garlic and ginger. Stir-fry until the chilies begin to blister. Add the carrot. Stir-fry briefly, then add the celery, and then the red pepper.

Push the vegetables up to the sides of the wok. Add the sauce in the middle. Heat to boiling, then add the deep-fried beef back into the pan. Mix all the ingredients together. Remove from the heat. Stir in the sesame oil. Serve hot.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Lemon-Dill Pollack

Servings: 4
Prep Time:: 15 to 30 minutes
Cook Time: Less than 15 minutes

1/3 cup minced fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove - minced
4 (6-ounce) pollack or other firm white fish fillets
Cooking spray

Combine all ingredients except cooking spray in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 20 minutes. Remove fish from bag; discard marinade.

Prepare grill or broiler.

Place fish on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Pesto Crusted Pollack

Serves two

2 x 170g (6oz) thick pollack or coley fillet, fresh or defrosted, skinned
2 x 15ml spoon (2 tablespoons) pesto sauce
3 x 15ml spoon (3 tablespoons) fresh breadcrumbs
1 x 15ml spoon (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
30g (1oz) cheese, grated
salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F, Gas Mark 6. In a small bowl mix the pesto, breadcrumbs, lemon juice and cheese together. Season the fish and spread with the pesto mixture. Spread any remaining mixture around the fish. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Serve with new potatoes and baby vegetables.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Honey Butter Baked Carrots

1 1/2 lbs. carrots, peeled & quartered
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper

Place carrot strips in a buttered 1 quart casserole with cover; dot with butter. Pour honey over top. Combine orange peel, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over carrots. Cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Roast Lemon Chicken with Garlic & Herbs

If you don't have an open bottle of white wine to use for deglazing the pan, just use some of the lemon juice that gets squeezed over the chicken.

Serves four.

3- to 5-lb. roasting chicken
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
Finely chopped zest of 1 lemon (reserve the lemon itself)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (or a mix of parsley and basil)
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 whole lemon (in addition to the zested lemon, above)
2 heads garlic, cut in half crosswise
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

For the sauce
1/4 cup dry white wine
About 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbs. heavy cream (optional)

Heat the oven to 450°F. Remove the packet of giblets from the cavity of the chicken (and save for use in a stock if you like -- but don't include the liver, which will make the stock bitter). Pull any loose fat from around the opening. Rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the outside of the chicken with about 1 Tbs. of the softened butter. Mix the remaining 2 Tbs. butter with the chopped lemon zest and herbs. Rub the butter on the inside of the cavity and under the breast skin (see Three steps to great roast chicken). Sprinkle the inside and outside of the bird with the salt and pepper. Pierce the whole lemon with a sharp knife and put it in the cavity of the chicken. Brush the garlic halves liberally with the olive oil and reserve.

Put the chicken, breast side up, on a V-shaped rack (or a flat rack) and set the rack in a roasting pan just larger than the rack. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze both halves over the chicken. Roast for 15 to 20 min., reduce the heat to 375°F, set the garlic halves in the pan near the chicken, and continue roasting for about 45 min. more for a total of about 1 hour for a 3-lb. chicken. For larger birds, add another 10 min. for each additional pound. The chicken is done when the leg wiggles freely in its joint and when the juices run clear from the thigh when you prick it and from the cavity when you tilt the bird. A thermometer inserted into the lower meaty part of the thigh should register 170°F. Set the chicken on a warm platter, propping up the hindquarters with an inverted saucer, and tent with foil to keep it warm while you make the sauce. Remove the rack from the pan.

Make the sauce from the pan drippings (see A double reduction intensifies the sauce). Carve the chicken and serve the meat drizzled with some sauce and with the roasted garlic on the side.

Roast Chicken Made Better

Make classic roast chicken even better by starting with seasonings under the skin and finishing with a delicious sauce from the pan juices

by Beth Dooley & Lucia Watson

Lemon Chicken with Garlic and Herbs is an example of how attention to detail before and after you roast the chicken can pay off deliciously.

Good roast chicken will never let you down," says my grandmother, and Lucia and I definitely agree with her. With its crisp, salty skin, moist breast meat, and dense, meaty dark meat, a whole roast chicken appeals to everyone from a sophisticated diner to a finicky kid (see Choosing the best chicken for roasting).

Getting any two good cooks to agree on how to actually roast the chicken is another story, however. Do you use high-temperature, fast roasting? Or should you take it low and slow? Truss it tight or leave it loose? Baste? Yes? No?

We tried several methods to really explore what worked best, and while we acknowledge that there are indeed many ways to make good roast chicken, we've developed a method that we think is simple, yet which gives us delicious results.

We start with an initial blast of heat, followed by roasting at a moderate temperature; we don't truss, and we don't baste (except for small birds). We do pay careful attention to the first and last steps of the process -- we season the bird to make it even more flavorful, and we always like to go one step further than just plain roast chicken by transforming the flavorful pan juices into a simple but delicious sauce.

Use butter for browning, seasonings for a flavor boost

Three steps to great roast chicken
The simplicity of roast chicken is part of its appeal, so we don't like to clutter it up with lots of ingredients and fussy steps, but we do like to give the bird a nice flavor boost before roasting (see Three steps to great roast chicken). Usually we'll just use butter and seasonings, but for a change we might marinate the whole bird.

For a basic approach, we rub the outside of the bird with softened unsalted butter, which encourages browning, and we work some butter and other seasonings under the skin of the breast to help keep it moist and to add some flavor notes to the mild meat. A generous dose of salt and pepper both outside and inside the bird's cavity is important so that the seasonings can be absorbed into the meat during roasting -- more effective than trying to season the surface later.

We also usually put other flavor additions into the cavity -- herbs, lemons, cloves of garlic -- which help flavor the meat and especially the pan juices as they flow from the bird into the roasting pan.

Don't truss, but do try a rack
Trussing seems time-consuming -- and a little counter-productive. Trussing keeps the drumsticks and wings close to the body so that the skin on the interior part of the breast as well as that inside the drumsticks and wings doesn't brown well. And getting the delicate breast meat and the denser dark meat to cook at the same rate is already an issue in roasting, and trussing can make the dark meat take even longer to cook.

We do like to use a V-shaped rack when possible, which cradles the bird and holds it up higher off the pan than a flat rack (or no rack at all). This lets the hot air circulate under the bird so that it browns entirely -- no more flabby chicken skin on the back side. By lifting the chicken up, the juices hit the pan and evaporate into a rich, caramelized layer (the intensely flavorful base for your sauce), leaving the fat as a layer that can simply be poured off. We've found that when setting the chicken on a flat rack or directly in the roasting pan, the juices that collect around the chicken never have the chance to reduce. Though flavorful, they aren't caramelized so they're not as rich tasting, and they're mixed with the fat, which makes degreasing difficult.

Use an initial surge of heat for crispness without making a mess
A blasting heat crisps the skin and gives the chicken a great roasty flavor, but we recommend just an initial 15 to 20 minutes at 450°F, followed by a more moderate 375°F for the remaining cooking time. High heat throughout cooking works, but the fat spatters a lot, making a needless mess. If the heat is too low, however, the skin never really develops that lovely crispy brown and the meat tastes too bland. As for basting, larger birds are fattier and don't need to be basted; we only baste birds that are under three pounds.

Ovens vary and so do chickens, so cooking times in the recipes should be guidelines only. You also need to consider the amount of other ingredients in the pan; for example, our yogurt-marinated chicken with mushrooms takes a little longer because you've got two pounds of mushrooms sharing the pan with the chicken. The important thing is to learn the signs of a fully cooked chicken. We don't like overdone birds, but unlike red meat, the flavor and texture of chicken don't benefit from undercooking.

A double doneness test is best. Look for clear juices and also use a thermometer. Undercooked chicken doesn't taste good, nor is it safe, so cook your bird to 170°F.

Our tests for doneness start with color. The skin should be dark golden, and the juices that come from the thigh when you prick it (and also from the cavity when you tilt the whole bird) should be clear, not rosy. The drumsticks usually wiggle easily in their sockets, though it's sometimes hard to get a good grip on a hot bird. The ultimate test you should use until you're really experienced is to stick a thermometer into the middle of the thigh meat, not too close to the bone nor too close to the skin; it should read 170°F.

Hurry up and wait. The next step in roasting may seem counterintuitive: you pull your golden-brown bird hot from the oven and you want to rush it to the table. Don't. The chicken will be much better if you let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This lets the juices redistribute themselves. We actually prop up the chicken, backside up, to let the juices run into the breast meat. The 10-minute rest also gives you time to degrease and deglaze the pan and to finish your sauce.

Capture all the flavor by making a sauce from the drippings.

A double reduction intensifies the sauce
This is always our final step in roasting a chicken, and one that we think too many cooks overlook -- making a sauce from the pan juices. The crusty bits that cling to the roasting pan are like gold: concentrated nubbins of roast chicken flavor. We pour or spoon off all the fat (don't go crazy and try to get every drop: a little residual fat won't make your sauce too greasy, and chicken fat tastes good) and then add some liquid to the pan to melt the caramelized juices, forming a thin, shiny veil that covers the pan. We add some stock, reduce it, add a little more, and then reduce that to a silky sauce, thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. If you like, you can reduce just once, but we like the double reduction technique because it seems to create layers of more complex flavors.

It's best of course to use homemade chicken stock or broth, but if you need to use canned, go for a low- or no-salt one; look for Shelton's Arrowhead Mills, or Health Valley. We also love a couple of products made by More Than Gourmet: Glace de Poulet Gold, which is a chicken "demi glace" that can be diluted to use as stock, and Fond de Poulet Gold, which is a concentrated chicken stock. Look for these products in your local market, or for more information, call 800/860-9385. You might save the carcass of the next chicken you roast, boil it for half an hour, and freeze the resulting broth to use with the next roast chicken you make.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Finnan Haddie

There are references to smoked fish in Scotland going back to the 16th century. James Boswell wrote about them in the 18th century, mentioning that Scottish smoked fish could be obtained in London. But these were heavily smoked (as a preservative) and a bit tough. In the late 19th century, as fast transportation by train became available, the Aberdeen fishing village of Findon (pronounced locally as "Finnan") began producing lightly smoked and delicately flavoured haddock (haddies) which were of a much finer texture. They were an immediate success and variations on these tasty fish have become very popular. They can be simply grilled with butter but here is a recipe with milk and onions which turns them into a delicately flavoured fish stew. The quantities are sufficient for four people.

One pound (500g) smoked haddock
One large onion, thinly sliced
14oz (400ml or one and two thirds of a cup) milk
½ teaspoon cracked pepper
1½ teaspoons mustard powder
1oz (30g or ¼ stick) butter, softened
2 teaspoons plain flour
1 finely chopped spring onion
Some finely chopped parsley

Place the thinly sliced onion in the base of a large pan. Cut the smoked haddock into pieces about ½" to an inch (2cm) wide and spread over the onion.
Mix the milk, pepper and mustard and pour over the fish. Bring to the boil slowly, reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for five minutes. Then uncover and simmer for another five minutes.
Remove the fish from the pan with a slotted spoon to allow the juices to run off and place in a warm serving dish. Continue to simmer the mixture in the pan for another five minutes, stirring frequently.
Mix the warm butter and flour and add to the pan along with the finely chopped spring onion. Stir over a low heat until the mixture comes to a slow boil and thickens slightly. Pour over the fish and serve with some finely chopped parsley.

Oven Baked Smoked Haddock

4 to 6oz smoked haddock (I prefer the uncoloured version)
small knob of butter
salt and pepper
herbs (if desired)
pot of yoghurt
juice of half a lemon
grainy mustard

Cook the haddock really simply by placing it on foil with a small knob of butter on it. Season the fish with pepper. You may need a little salt but some smoked haddock is very salty already so be careful. If you use your local fishmonger regularly you will get to know how salty his smoked haddock is. Sprinkle on a few herbs if you like. Seal the foil into a parcel and bake in an oven at 175C for about 20 minutes.

For the sauce, heat some yoghurt but do not let it boil. I recently heard that you should use Greek yoghurt for cooking as it has been strained and does not separate. I have yet to confirm that but Greek yoghurt is always creamier and would give a lovely velvet sauce. Add grainy mustard to taste, the juice of half a lemon and some more herbs if you desire.

When the cooking time is over unpack the fish and serve with the sauce on top with lots of sweet corn.

Cooking the fish in foil could be done on the ashes of a barbecue. So if you entertain in the afternoon you can cook your tea on the remains of the fire if they are hot enough.

Sesame Prawn Toast

Totally non authentic chinese, as far as I know, but offered up in most UK chinese resturants. Usually badly done from pre prepared packs. Having said that, I have some had some great versions in Soho [thick, overladen with the topping of prawns, that have been delicious]. Hence my experiment below.

I confess to using shop bought bags of frozen, ready to go prawns here, they come in at 400g around here.
So, make the whole batch as follows for your dinner party, then enjoy the rest of the mix left over the next day as a traditional chinese wonton stuffing, or just plain and easy as deep fried balls. [roll them into 2cm ball, then drop then into hot groundnut oil, just to get a crust on them, as the contents are cooked already]

Notes: This is based on a recipe by Ken Hom, who recommends using uncooked prawns. By all means, use uncooked as long as you know their freshness etc, and you can put the extra time in by getting fresh-from-the-sea live ones.

1 slice of good quality shop bought sliced white bread per person. (This falls into the Nigel Slater area of you cannot beat a fishfinger sandwich made with shop bought white bread).
400g bag of frozen, cooked Prawns
1 Egg
1 bunch of Spring Onions [4/5 of them]
2cm bit of Ginger chopped very finely
Dash of light Soy Sauce
Dash of Sesame Oil
[sorry to be vague on those last two, but it depends on your tastes. More soy, and it will add a salty taste, more sesame, and it will be nuttier, more ginger, it will be....]
Sesame Seeds
Groundnut Oil for deep frying

1] Roghly chop the Spring Onions and Ginger.
2] Put the Prawns into a food processor, add the Egg, Spring Onions, Ginger, Soy and Sesame Oil.
3]Whiz it for a bit, stop, push the missed bits down into the mix, then whiz again for a few moments. The texture should be tangible, dont go for pate smooth.
[this can sit in the fridge, cling filmed, until you are ready to go]
4] Heat up your Groundnut Oil over a medium heat, being as careful as always with hot oil...
5] Generously spread the mixture over the bread, sprinkle the Sesame Seeds over the top and press down gently to make them stick. Prepare as many sliced as you need.
6] Cut the covered bread into 'soldiers', say 4 per slice.
7] Deep fry them, sesame seed side up, until they brown, say 3-5 minutes. Don't overcrowd the pan, do them in batches.
8] Drain them on kitchen paper, pop them in a warm oven, while you finish them all. Serve.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Celeriac Gratin

Serves 4

Preparation time 10 mins
Cooking time 10 to 30 mins

600g Celeriac, thinly sliced
400ml Double Cream
400ml Milk
200g Blue Cheese, crumbled
Bay Leaf
Garlic Cloves
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
4. Serve the gratin in the ovenproof dish.

Honey-balsamic Roasted Duck Legs

4 duck legs
3 spring onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. soy sauce
Pinch of sea salt & a few peppercorns (if you have a mixture of pink & black peppercorns so much the better, but just ordinary black will do)

Mix all the ingredients (except the duck) together, pour half into the bottom of a small dish (just big enough to hold all the duck legs in a single layer), and add the duck, wiping it in the dish so the bottom side gets coated. Then pour over the rest of the marinade, making sure all the duck is touched with it. Cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge to steep for an hour or 3 (you could prob leave it overnight it you like, and if you have only 20mins to spare it probably wouldn't suffer excessively for it).

Preheat the oven to 180oC. Shake the duck from the marinade (but save it!) and put them on a rack over a baking dish, skin-side up and pour a few inches of water into the dish. This is important as a) the duck will drip lots of fat and you don't want it swimming in it (remember, its a duck - not a fish!), and b) the marinade will drip too and it will BURN and you will never ever get your dish clean again if you don't have the water there. Put the duck in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, but do not abandon it entirely, remember I said it needed basting? Periodically spoon a little of the reserved marinade over the duck. Halfway through the cooking time, turn the legs over so that the cut side can be basted as well. In a pestle and mortar bash together the salt and pepper to a fine powder and when there is only 10 mins cooking time left turn the legs again skin-side up, use up the last of the marinade (if there is any) and sprinkle the salt/pepper mix all over the skin and return to the oven.

Serves 3 people as baguette fillings (or if one person is greedy and has two legs), or 4 when served with some accompaniments.

Crispy Braised Duck Legs

Serves 4

4 fresh large duck legs
1/2 lb shallots, peeled
1 lb parsnips, peel and cut in inch thick slices
1 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 small bay leaf
salt and black pepper to taste
pinch of ground allspice
1/2 cups dry white wine
12 to 18 oz chicken stock

Put rack in center of oven and preheat to 450 F. Trim fat and skin from sides of duck legs and leave a covering of skin on top of legs. Reserve fat. Score skin on legs in a crosshatch pattern (cut through fat but not into meat). Coarsely chop reserved duck fat and cook on medium heat until melted, remove from heat and discard solids and set aside.

Place vegetables, garlic, thyme, bay and half the salt and pepper in a roasting pan, drizzle with 1 tbsp of duck fat and toss to coat vegetables. Roast 20 to 30 minutes (turn every 5 minutes) until lightly browned.

Pat duck legs dry. Stir together allspice and the remaining salt and pepper, then rub onto the legs. Heat duck fat on medium high heat, sauté legs until well browned on all sides, the place on paper towels to drain.

Reduce oven temperature to 375F. Nestle the duck legs (skin side up) into the vegetables, add wine and enough stock so that most of each leg is submerged except for the skins. Braise uncovered, until duck is tender (about 90 minutes). Transfer duck and vegetables to a warmed platter, skim fat from pan juices and serve on the side.

Succulent Duck Legs

Adapted from The New York Times

• Braise (for the most succulent meat). Season with salt and pepper, put the legs, skin side down, in a pan; cover, and turn the heat to medium. When the skin has browned and much fat is rendered, turn the heat to low and cook 90 minutes, turning occasionally, until legs are very tender. Braised legs go especially well with sauerkraut.

• Slow roast (for the crispiest skin). This is about as easy as it gets. Place legs, skin side up, in a roasting pan and put the pan in a 300-degree oven. Roast 90 minutes or until fat has rendered and skin is crisp. You'll end up with leaner, somewhat drier meat, good for using in a hash for breakfast.

In either case, you may serve the duck legs whole or pick the meat off (if you like chicken salad, consider duck salad). Braising, roasting, sauerkraut, it all sounds so . . . European. But duck legs are equally at home elsewhere in the world. Thai green curry is perfect with duck. Duck meat makes superb enchiladas. And those crisp-roasted duck legs can be treated like a country cousin of Peking Duck: Roll the meat and skin up in a mandarin pancake with hoisin sauce and scallions.

Now, what to serve with your duck legs? In my experience, cabbage, green beans and potatoes go better with duck than any other vegetables. No matter how you cook your legs, you'll render some duck fat, a golden liquid that sends the typical chef into fits of glee. This is the cooking fat for your vegetables. Sauté some onion or shallots in it, add some cabbage or green beans and cook until beginning to brown, add some water or stock, cover and cook until tender. Go ahead and throw the duck legs in with the vegetables if you like.

If you have potatoes, especially good potatoes like fingerlings from a farmer's market, cut them into one-inch chunks, toss with duck fat, salt, pepper and thyme. Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Lamb Tagine With Honey, Almonds and Apricots

Serves: 6

3 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 2½" cubes
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ras el hanout
¼ teaspoon saffron
½ cup water
½ cup unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups dried apricots, roughly chopped, or raisins
1½ cups almonds, whole and blanched
¾ cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup carrots
½ cup parsley, chopped
hot cooked rice, couscous or potatoes, peeled, cut in ½-inchthick slices

(Mrouzia) Ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice mixture that translates as "top of the shop." It usually includes a combination of ginger, peppercorns, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamom, black cumin, aniseed, coriander, cayenne, lavender, mace, nutmeg and turmeric. It can be purchased from Middle Eastern specialty stores or Kalustyan's, 800-352-3451 or . If you cannot find it, substitute an equal amount of Chinese fivespice powder or a mixture of spices that are available (ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cumin, coriander, etc.)

In a bowl combine the ginger, pepper, ras el hanout, saffron and water and mix well. Add the meat and rub in the paste, coating evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In a Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and cinnamon sticks and cook until the onions are translucent and the mixture is fragrant.

Add the marinated meat to the pot and then the chicken stock to cover the meat. Bring the stock to a boil, and skim off any scum that appears.

Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring from time to time. Add water if the pot becomes too dry. Stew until the meat is tender, about 1½ hours.

Add the apricots, almonds, honey, carrots, and ground cinnamon and simmer, covered, stirring often to prevent scorching, until the meat is very soft and almost falling apart, about 30 minutes longer. (If it is too soupy, uncover and simmer to reduce the sauce to a syrupy glaze.)

Stir in the chopped parsley and transfer to a warmed serving dish. Serve immediately with couscous, rice or potatoes.

Morrocan lamb tagine

By Lesley Waters from Saturday Kitchen

Serves 4

Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time over 2 hours

900g/2lb shoulder lamb
600ml/1 pint chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp hot paprika
1 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
175g/6oz dried apricots
½ tsp ground black pepper
3 large pieces orange peel
For the relish:
2 oranges, segmented
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
handful coriander leaves
1 tbsp mint leaves, shredded
55g/2oz pine nuts, lightly toasted, to serve

1. Remove excess fat from the surface of the lamb and cut into 5cm/2 inch chunks. 
2. Heat a large non-stick sauté pan or wok until hot. 
3. Add half of the lamb chunks and sear on all sides until brown using two wooden spoons or tongs to turn the meat. When brown, remove, and splash in approximately 100ml/3½fl oz chicken stock. 
4. Stir to remove sediment from the bottom of the pan. Pour out and reserve. 
5. Repeat this process for the remaining meat.
6. Return the pan to the heat and add the olive oil. When hot add the onion and fry gently for approximately 10 minutes or until golden. 
7. Add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the ground spices to the pan and fry for a further minute. 
8. Add the reserved meat and the remaining tagine ingredients, including the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for approximately 2 hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.
9. Combine all the relish ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the tagine and serve with the relish.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tonkatsu - Deep Fried Pork fillets

Deep fried pork is one of the most popular dishes in Japan, it is enjoyed simply on a bed of shredded cabbage with a bowl of rice and is accompanied with hot mustard that is derived from the English version and Tonkatsu sauce. Like tempura Tonkatsu is of European origins being based on the 'schnitzel' but is not shallow fried like its origin, but deep fried of course when preparing this dish you prefer to shallow fry you may but the texture will be slightly different.

6 Portions

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes


* 6 Pork escalopes, around .5mm thick and weighing 130-150g each
* 120g plain flour
* salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 200g dried breadcrumbs
* oil for deep frying

To Serve:

* shredded cabbage
* boiled rice
* Hot English Mustard or Japanese Mustard (prepackaged hot English mustard)
* Tonkatsu sauce or a mixture of 50/50 Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce


1. Pork Escalopes: Using a mallet or meat tenderiser flatten out the pork fillets evenly. Season the flour with salt and pepper in a bowl. Place the beaten eggs and breadcrumbs on seperate plates or bowls. Coat the pork escalopes in the flour then eggs and finely the breadcrumbs shaking of any excess crumbs. Set aside until ready to cook.
2. To Cook: Heat some oil in a deep fryer or wok to 180-190°C. Cook the 1 or 2 fillets at a time in the hot oil for around 5 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove them from the heat and drain them on kitchen paper and keep warm while you cook the remaining fillets.
3. To Serve: Place a bed of cabbage on each plate. Slice the pork fillets into 6-8 slices and place them on the cabbage. Accompany each serving of pork with a bowl of rice, mustard and Tonkatsu sauce or a mixture of Worcestershire and tomato sauce. Serve.

Pork Escalopes with Honey Vegetables

Antony Worrall Thompson

Serves 2

Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time less than 10 mins

For the escalopes
2 170g/6oz pork tenderloins
4 tbsp seasoned plain flour
2 eggs, whisked
110g/4oz fresh breadcrumbs

For the honey vegetables
2 tbsp olive oil
4 medium carrots, peeled, diced and blanched
200g/7oz green cabbage, shredded and blanched
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp honey
To serve
fried egg (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
2. Preheat a medium frying pan over high heat.
3. Place the pork steaks between two sheets of cling film and batter with a meat mallet until 1-2cm thick.
4. Rub the steaks in the seasoned flour, dip in the egg and finish in the breadcrumbs.
5. Heat the oil in the frying pan, and cook the steaks for 6-8 minutes either side.
6. Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan and add the carrots and cabbage. Cook for 5-6 minutes to soften.
7. Stir in the mustard and honey and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
8. Remove from the heat and transfer to serving plates.
9. Remove the escalopes from the heat and serve alongside the honey vegetables.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Western Goulash

Serves 4
3 tbsp olive oil
1 kg chuck or rump steak, roughly diced
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 green peppers, seeded and sliced
'/z tsp salt
1 tbsp paprika (smoked or plain)
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
2 dried Spanish peppers, seeded
100ml soured cream or Greek yoghurt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas
Mark 3. Soak the peppers in warm water for about 20 minutes. until they are soft and malleable.
In a large. heavy-bottomed pot or casserole dish, heat the oil and fry the steak in batches. until it is browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the remaining juices, fry the onions, garlic and green pepper with the salt. Lower the heat, cover and leave for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly soft.
Return the meat to the pot, plus any juice it has produced. Add the paprika and stir in thoroughly. Then stir in the tinned
tomatoes and the dried peppers, torn into strips. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook in the oven for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Check the stew at half-hourly intervals. If it seems at all dry. add a little water, ideally from a just-boiled kettle.
Once the meat is tender, stir in the soured cream or yoghurt. season to taste and serve with rice or lots and lots of buttery mash.

Singapore Noodles

Singapore, situated at the tip of the Malay peninsula, has always been a cultural crossroads. The distinctive local cuisine has been shaped mainly by immigrants from southern India and China. This spicy version of fried rice noodles is as good a showcase as any for that mix of influences.
You can make your own spice mix, as I have done here, or use a hot (madras) curry powder. The dish can be eaten hot or cold and you can vary the contents. This version is meat-free, but Singapore noodles often contain a small amount of pork (bacon is good) or chicken.
Serves 4

300g rice vermicelli noodles
3 tbsp vegetable oil 
100ml vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
Juice of '/2 lime
1 tsp sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1 or 2 dried red chillie
1 red pepper, finely sliced
2 or 3 curry leaves (optional)
'/z tsp ground coriander seeds
'/z tsp ground cumin seeds 
tsp ground cinnamon
'/2 tsp ground nutmeg
'/z tsp ground ginger
1 level tsp turmeric 
100g peas, cooked if fresh, thawed if frozen
Fresh coriander and lime wedges to serve

Soak the rice noodles in hot, but not boiling, water for about 15 minutes. until they are soft. Drain and cool thoroughly. toss with 1 tbsp vegetable oil and set aside. Combine the stock with the soy sauce, lime juice and sugar and set aside.
In a wok, or wide frying pan, heat the remaining oil until it is very hot. Add the eggs and start to fry them as if you were making an omelette. As it sets, break it up with the end of a spoon so that it looks like dry scrambled egg. Remove and set aside.
Keeping the wok on the heat, fry the onions, garlic. chilli, pepper and curry .
leaves for about a minute. Add the remaining dry spices and stir thoroughly. - Now add the peas and the stock.
followed by the noodles and the cooked egg, and keep everything moving. Stir the noodles until all the stock has disappear( at which point the dish is ready to serve Garnish with fresh coriander and extra wedges and serve.


I use tinned chickpeas to make this soup, and if you look for a decent brand (one without too much added salt), the liquid surrounding the peas is a good stock. Many supermarkets now carry organic tinned pulses that are an excellent option.

Serves 4 to 6

3 or 4 dried Spanish peppers
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 carrot, roughly diced
2 medium-sized, waxy potatoes, peeled and
 roughly diced

Handful (approx 100g) of winter greens —kale or brussels tops — roughly chopped
1 tsp tomato puree 
1 x 400g tin chickpeas (or 200g chickpeas, cooked until tender and kept
 in their liquid)
Pinch of saffron (optional)

Dried chilli to taste

Open the dried peppers by pulling off their stalks. Shake out all the seeds and discard them. Cover the peppers with hot but not boiling water and leave them for at least 15 minutes before chopping.
Heat the oil in a large pan (one with a lid). Add the onions, garlic. celery and carrot, and a pinch or two of salt. Cover the pan and allow the mixture to sweat over a low heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, greens. chickpeas (with all their liquid), peppers, tomato purée and saffron if using. Just cover the ingredients with water and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes can be broken with a spoon. Season to taste. Serve with good. crispy bread, strong extra-virgin olive oil and dried chillies to crumble on top.

Panna Cotta

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups buttermilk
5 tsp unflavored gelatin (two .25 oz envelopes)
6 Tbs water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix cream and sugar in a microwave proof bowl. Microwave on high for about 1 minute, stir and continue at 20 second intervals until sugar crystals have fully melted.

Meantime, measure 6 TBS water into a small heat proof cup or ramkin and sprinkle gelatin over. Place cup in a cool saucepan filled with about a cup of water. Let stand for 5 minutes so gelatin can absorb some of the water.

Turn on burner and heat up saucepan (with heat proof cup still in it) until water is boiling. Continue on simmer until all of gelatin has melted, about 1 ½-2 minutes.

Remove saucepan from stovetop. Carefully remove hot ramkin from water bath using a hot pad or oven mitt to avoid burns. Stir gelatin mixture into heated cream.

Stir in buttermilk and vanilla extract.

For individual servings, use a liquid measure to pour about ½ to ¾ cup of liquid into small glass or plastic cups. Top with berries just before serving.

For a larger panna cotta, pour all liquid into a 6 cup mold or two 3 cup molds. A bowl can be used as a mold if you wish.

When you are ready to serve, dip the bottom up to sides of mold in a sink of hot water for about 15-20 seconds. Cover with serving dish and turn over. If panna cotta doesn’t come out, dip again in hot water for another 10 or 15 seconds and turn over again. Spoon berries all around the molded Panna Cotta and use a large serving spoon when ready to serve or cut into slices. Spoon berries to the side or overtop.

Makes 12 servings. Recipe can be halved easily.

Rice Pudding

300m1 Whole Milk
300m1 Double Cream
1 Vanilla Pod
150g Pudding Rice
6 free-range Egg Yolks
150g Caster Sugar

1] Place the Milk, Cream and Vanilla pod in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 10 minutes.
2] Add the Rice and return to the heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then continue to cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3] Place the Egg Yolks and Sugar in a bowl over a pan of hot water and, with an electric hand-held whisk, whisk until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Stir into the rice pudding and cook for a further
5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and then serve immediately.

Banana Bread

by Michael Barry
Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time 1 to 2 hours

225g/8oz self-raising flour
100g/4oz butter

150g/5oz caster sugar 

450g/1lb bananas (the softer the better), peeled and mashed

½ tsp salt

2 eggs 

175g/6oz mixed dried fruit

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Mix all the ingredients except the dried fruit together. You can do this in a food processor or by hand in a basin.
3. When they're all thoroughly mixed, add the dried fruit. Spoon the mixture into a 1kg/2lb non-stick loaf tin, spread it out evenly and bake it for one and a half hours. The loaf is done when a skewer pushed into its middle comes out clean.
4. Cool on a wire rack, then slice before serving.

Saffron Prawn Risotto

A pinch of Saffron threads
Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
500g Fresh Prawns, peeled and deveined, tails intact
Dry White Wine or Vermouth
1.5 litres Fish or Chicken Stock
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Celery stick, finely chopped
400g Risotto Rice
Frozen or fresh Peas

Grated Parmesan

1] Soak the Saffron threads in a little hot water.
2] Heat a little Olive Oil in a pan.
3] Add the Prawns and Garlic and gently fry for 2/3 minutes until the Prawns are nearly cooked. (The Prawns are completely cooked when they go pink)
4] Pour in the Saffron with the water they soaked in and stir. Then pour in the Wine and simmer for a few minutes.
5] Use a slotted spoon to remove the Prawns and set aside.
6] Reduce the liquid a little, then add in the Stock, keeping on a low simmer.
7] Heat a little Olive Oil in a big heavy based pan and sweat the Onions and Celery, 10 minutes or so, until they start to brown.
8] Add the rice and stir around until the rice starts to go transparent.
9] Turn the heat up and pour in a good glug of Wine/Vermouth.
10] Keep stiring and pour in some Stock.
11] Massage the Rice gently in the pan until the Stock gets absorbed.
12] Keep adding the Stock until the Rice is close to being cooked.
13] Throw in the Peas and Prawns and stir through.
14] Turn the heat off and put a lid on the pan.
15] When the Peas and Prawns are warmed through, serve.

When you put the Peas and the Prawns in, keep the heat on, but low, and stir gently until they have warmed through. Then take the heat off, and stir in some Butter and Parmesan. Replace the lid and let it sit for a couple of minutes before serving. Most would advise against mixing cheese with seafood, but I really like the flavour of the Prawns and the cheese...

PERFECT PAELLA (Gordon Ramsey)

OK, so this one isn't in the slightest bit vegetarian, but there is something so satisfying about cooking dishes where all the ingredients come together in one pan. This recipe came from a Hispanic chef I met in America. Chorizo isn't a traditional ingredient in paella but what fascinated me was the way she sauteed it until it almost disintegrated in the oil. It gave a really nice colour and flavour to the rice early on and lent so much depth to the finished dish. Cook it properly, without it becoming stodgy, and you can eat it cold the next day as a salad. As ever with rice dishes, the point is to remember that it will carry on cooking after it's been taken off the heat. Shellfish is good this month and while mussels and prawns are the more traditional ingredients, there is no reason not to experiment. If you can get hold of fresh crevettes you'll find their flavour is far superior to the prawn.

4 tbsp olive oil
4 free-range chicken thighs, skin on
1 tsp smoked paprika
125g chorizo sausage, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely diced 400g Spanish rice 125ml dry white wine
11 chicken stock
A few saffron threads
4 large prawns or crevettes
12 large prepared mussels, or 6 green lip mussels
Few sprigs of rosemary
2 lemons cut in wedges

1 Heat the oil in a large paella pan or frying pan, sprinkle the chicken with the paprika and add to the pan skin-side down. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the chorizo, garlic, onion and pepper. Cook for a few minutes to soften the onion and then add the rice. Stir well so that each grain of rice is well coated in oil.
2 Add the wine and allow to evaporate before adding the stock and saffron. Push the prawns and mussels into the mixture
so that they are submerged. Scatter over the rosemary, and leave to simmer gently for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking. But not too often as you will release the starch and make the mixture too stodgy.
3 Arrange the lemon wedges around the edge of the pan and serve immediately.

Note: the prawns or crevettes in this dish may be peeled or unpeeled. I prefer unpeeled as they retain their flavour. Serve the paella with finger bowls of warm water with a slice of lemon in them — although this is a matter of choice.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Skate Wings with Capers

4 small or 2 large skate wings cut in two, retaining the skin. 2 carrots
2 onions
4 sticks of celery
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 pint of white wine
1/2 pint of fish stock
A handful of chopped chives
A handful of chopped tarragon
4 ozs good butter
4 ozs green capers

Chop the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and lay out on a baking dish. Sprinkle half the herbs on to the vegetables. Place the skate wings over the veg and sprinkle over the remaining herbs. Pour the fish stock and the wine into the tray and cover with foil.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at gas mark 8, 230 C. Remove from the baking tray and grill for five minutes. Melt the butter in a pan, add the capers and cook for a couple of minutes.

To serve, place the wings on the plate and pour over the hot butter and spoon the capers over the wings. Onion mash is good with this, especially is you like or have little worry about pigging on butter for one day in your life.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Toad in the hole with onion gravy

by Tony Tobin
from Ready Steady Cook

Serves 1

For the toad in the hole
3 sausages
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 eggs, beaten
85g/3oz plain flour
85g/3oz milk
1 tsp wholegrain mustard

For the onion gravy
2 tsp olive oil
¾ onion, sliced
1 chicken stock cube (or fresh Chicken stock)
3 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Heat a small frying pan and add the sausages to brown, for 4-5 minutes.
3. Place the oil into a small gratin dish, and place in the preheated oven, while you make the batter.
4. To make the toad batter, place the equal quantities of egg, flour and milk into a large mixing bowl. Whisk thoroughly, then add the mustard and whisk to combine.
5. Remove the gratin dish from the oven. Add the browned sausages, and pour in the batter mix.
6. Place back in the oven for 13-16 minutes, or until cooked and golden.
7. For the onion gravy, heat the olive oil in a saucepan, over a moderate heat.
8. Add the sliced onion, cover with a lid and sweat for 3-4 minutes, until softened.
9. Remove the lid and fry for a further minute or two, then crumble in the stock cube, and add the red wine, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Continue cooking the gravy for 3-4 minutes.
10. Spoon out the toad in the hole onto a serving plate, pour the onion gravy over the top, to serve.

I still want to know where the name for this dish originated.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Hoisin Sauce

4 tb Soy sauce,(dark/light/usual)
2 tb Peanut butter
1 tb Honey
2 ts White Wine Vinegar
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 ts Sesame seed oil
20 dr Chinese-style hot sauce
1/8 ts Pepper

Lighter for chicken and pork.
Stronger for beef and game.
Sweeter for Dim Sum.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

About Celeriac

Resembling the turnip in appearance, celeriac has a rough, fibrous outer skin and the flavour and aroma of celery, though surprisingly it is actually a member of the parsley family.

Choose celeriac which is pale, of medium size with a slight greenish colouring on the top, with no visible wrinkling. Celeriac provides us with potassium, calcium and vitamin C, and contains just 14 calories per 100g.

Celeriac has a wonderful ability to absorb flavours, and is infinitely tastier than celery. The whole bulb can be eaten, and the leaves are excellent for flavouring soups.

To cook, peel the skin as thinly as possible, as the goodness lies beneath it and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discolouring. Unlike most root vegetables, which are brought to the boil from cold, celeriac must be added to boiling salted water and then brought back to a simmer. Cut into slices or cubes and cook for 10 minutes. Raw celeriac can be used shredded in salads, but is best if first blanched in boiling water for a few seconds then refreshed in cold water to remove the slightly bitter taste.

Celeriac Chips

300g Celeriac
Vegatable/Groundnut Oil for deep-frying
Fresh Coriander

1] Peel the Celeriac and slice into 5mm sized chips.
2] Pat them dry.
3] Heat the Oil in a deep pan and fry the chips for 2-3 minutes.
4] Drain on kitchen paper and dress with the Salt and chopped Coriander.

Enough for 4-6

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Baked Red Snapper

Whole Red Snapper
Olive Oil
White Wine
Fresh Black Pepper
Fresh Rosemary, Oregano and Parsley

1] Descale and rinse the fish. Pat them dry.
2] Score the fish on both sides.
3] Mix the remainding ingredients and pour over the fish.
4] Cover and let it marinade in the fridge for at least an hour, turning the fish at least once.
5] Bake in the oven, basting ocassionally.

Cooking time roughly 20 minutes per kg at 200c.

Hint: To descale the fish without the scales flying all over the kitchen, put the fish inside a plastic bag and descale inside that.

Hua Hin Beach red snapper

Hua Hin Beach red snapper

by Ainsley Harriott

Serves 4

Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time 10 to 30 mins

4 x 350g/12oz red snapper

4 heaped tbsp Thai red curry paste

4 tbsp coconut milk

4 limes

4 garlic cloves, peeled

4 spring onions

banana leaves or extra thick foil and cocktail sticks soaked in cold water for 30 minutes.

1. Clean the snapper, remove the scales by scraping them from the tail end to the head with a large blunt knife and then cut off the fins. Cut several deep slashes into both sides of each fish and place them in the centre of a banana leaf or large square of foil.

2. Mix the red curry paste and coconut milk powder together into a thick paste and rub it into the fish, making sure it goes right down into the slashes.

3. Cut 2 of the limes into thin slices. Push one piece into each of the slashes along the side of each fish.

4. Thinly slice the garlic and spring onions and sprinkle over the top of each fish. Wrap the leaves or foil over the fish to make well-sealed parcels, secure with the cocktail sticks and barbecue over medium-hot coals for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until the snappers are completely cooked through and tender.

5. Remove the cocktail sticks and serve each fish straight from its leaf or foil container. Allow each person to open their own parcel, as the aroma is sensational.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Baked Stuffed Red Gurnard

4 Red Gurnard, gutted
1 Onion, thinly sliced
Olive Oil
150 ml Fish Stock
1 glass dry white wine
1 tablespoon cream

for the stuffing
250 g Smoked Bacon, de-rinded and finely chopped
1 Onion, shredded
1 Egg
6 tablespoons Breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon thyme, finely chopped
2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Fresh Black Pepper

1] Pre heat the oven to 200°c.
2] Gently fry the bacon in a little Olive Oil until the Bacon fat runs out.
3] Slowly cook the shredded Onion until it softens. Put aside to cool.
4] Once cool mix in the rest of the stuffing ingredients
5] Wash the fish inside and out, dry with kitchen paper.
6] Push the stuffing into the fishes belly.
7] In a baking dish arrange a layer of sliced Onion and lay the fish ontop.
8] Add the stock and wine to the dish.
9] Brush the fish with some Olive Oil.
10] Bake in the oven for 20-40 minutes until cooked.
11] Keep the fish warm in the oven while you reduce down the pan juices.
12] Add the Cream if you feel like it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Meatball casserole with tomato sauce

by Antony Worrall Thompson
from Ready Steady Cook

Serves 4

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 10 to 30 mins
Quick Recipe

For the meatballs
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2 beef steaks, chopped (approx. 200g/7oz each,)
1 lime, juice only
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg yolk
freshly ground black pepper
For the tomato sauce
2 tbsp olive oil, for frying
1 chopped onion
110g/4oz button mushrooms
400g/7oz tin chopped tomatoes
½ glass red wine
handful fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped

1. Place all the ingredients for the meatballs into a food processor and whizz together until blended.
2. Using wet hands, divide the mixture into 16 even sized portions and then roll into balls.
3. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the meatballs for 3-4 minutes until sealed and lightly browned.
4. Add the onion, tomatoes, mushrooms and wine to the pan and simmer for a further 10-12 minutes or until the meatballs are completely cooked through.
5. Transfer the casserole to serving plates and garnish with chopped parsley.

Meatballs with tomato sauce

Rachel Allen
by Rachel Allen
from Saturday Kitchen

Serves 6

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 10 to 30 mins
Quick Recipe

For the meatballs
2 tbsp olive oil
150g/5oz onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
900g/2lb freshly minced beef
2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs, such as marjoram, or 1 tbsp rosemary
1 free-range egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
For the tomato sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
110g/4oz onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
150g/5¼oz fresh mozzarella, grated
1 tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 x 400g/14oz cans tomatoes

1. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy stainless steel saucepan over a gentle heat and add the onion and garlic. Cover and sweat for four minutes, until soft and a little golden. Allow to cool.
2. In a bowl, mix the minced beef with the cold sweated onion and garlic. Add the herbs and the beaten egg. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
3. Fry a tiny bit to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Divide the mixture into approximately 24 round balls. Cover the meatballs and refrigerate until required.
4. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a stainless steel saucepan.
5. Add the sliced onion and the crushed garlic, toss until coated, cover, and sweat on a gentle heat until soft and pale golden.
6. Slice the canned tomatoes and add, with all the juice, to the onion mixture.
7. Season the contents with sugar, salt and freshly ground pepper.
8. Cook the tomatoes uncovered for approximately 30 minutes or until the tomato softens (while this is cooking make the meatballs).
9. Heat a frying pan and cook the meatballs for about 10 minutes in about three tablespoons of olive oil.
10. When they are cooked, put them into an ovenproof dish with the tomato sauce and top with the grated mozzarella. Place under a preheated grill until the cheese has melted.
11. Serve with spaghetti.


Volume U.S. Units U.K. Units Metric Units
1 teaspoon (US) 1/6 ounce 5/6 teaspoon 4.929 millilitres
1 tablespoon (US) 0.5 ounce 5/6 tablespoon 14.79 millilitres
1 fluid ounce (US) 1 ounce 1.041 ounces 29.57 millilitres
1 gill (US) 4 ounces 5/6 gill 118 millilitres
1 cup (US) 8 ounces 5/6 breakfast cup 236.6 millilitres
1 pint (US) 16 ounces 5/6 pint 473.2 millilitres
1 quart (US) 32 ounces 5/6 quart 946.3 millilitres
1 gallon (US) 128 ounces 5/6 gallon 3.785 litres
1 cubic inch 0.5541 ounces 0.5767 ounce 16.387 millilitres
1 teaspoon (UK) 1.2 teaspoons 0.2083 ounce 6.16 millilitres
1 dessert spoon (UK) 2.4 teaspoons 0.4167 ounce 12.32 millilitres
1 tablespoon (UK) tablespoons 0.625 ounce 18.48 millilitres
1 fluid ounce (UK) .96076 ounces 1 ounce 28.4 millilitres
1 gill (UK) 1.2 gills 5 ounces 142 millilitres
1 breakfast cup (UK) 1.2 cups 10 ounces 284 millilitres
1 pint (UK) 1.2 pints 20 ounces 568 millilitres
1 quart (UK) 1.2 quarts 40 ounces 1.136 litres
1 gallon (UK) 1.2 gallons 160 ounces 4.546 litres
1 millilitre 0.203 teaspoon 0.169 teaspoon l millilitre
1 centilitre 2.03 teaspoons 1.69 teaspoons 10 millilitres
1 decilitre 0.423 cup 0.352 cup 100 millilitres
1 litre 1.057 quarts 0.8806 quart 1000 millilitres
1 decalitre 2.642 gallons 2.202 gallons 10000 millilitres
1 teaspoon (metric) 1.014 teaspoons 0.845 teaspoons 5 millilitres
1 tablespoon (metric) 3.04 tablespoons 2.54 tablespoons 15 millilitres
1 standard cup 1.0567 cups 0.8806 cup 250 millilitres

Weight U.K. / U.S. Units Metric Units
1 ounce 1/16 pound 28.34952 grams
1 pound 16 ounces 453.592 grams
1 milligram 0.000035274 ounces 0.001 gram
1 centigram 0.00035274 ounces 0.01 gram
1 decigram 0.0035274 ounces 0.1 gram
1 gram 0.035274 ounces 1.0 gram
1 decagram 0.35274 ounces 10 grams
1 hectogram 3.5274 ounces 100 grams
1 kilogram 35.274 ounces 1000 grams
1 kilogram 2.204625 pounds 1000 grams

Length U.K. / U.S. Units Metric Units
1 inch 1/12 foot 2.54 centimetres
1 foot 12 inches 30.48 centimetres
1 yard 36 inches 91.44 centimetres
1 millimetre 0.03937 inches 0.1 centimetre
1 centimetre 0.3937 inches 1.0 centimetres
1 metre 39.37 inches 100 centimetres

°F Gas °C
225 1/4 110
250 1/2 120
275 1 140
300 2 150
325 3 160
350 4 175
375 5 190
400 6 200
425 7 220
450 8 230
475 9 240
500 10 260

Imperial Metric US Units
1/2 fl oz 15 Millilitre 1 Tablespoon
1 fl oz 30 Millilitre 1/8 cup
2 fl oz 60 Millilitre 1/4 cup
3 fl oz 90 Millilitre 3/8 cup
4 fl oz 120 Millilitre 1/2 cup
5 fl oz (1/4 pint) 150 Millilitre 2/3 cup
6 fl oz 180 Millilitre 3/4 cup
8 fl oz 240 Millilitre 1 cup (1/2 pint)
10 fl oz (1/2 pint) 285 Millilitre 300 Millilitre
12 fl oz 340 Millilitre 1 1/2 cup
16 fl oz 455 Millilitre 2 cups (1 pint)
20 fl oz (1 pint) 570 Millilitre 2 1/2 cups
1 1/2 pints 900 Millilitre 3 3/4 cup
1 3/4 pints 1 litre 4 cups (1qt)
2 pints 1 1/4 litres 1 1/4 quarts
2 1/3 pints 1 1/2 litres 3 US pints
3 1/4 pints 2 litres 2 quarts
1 teaspoon = 1/2 fl oz (5 Millilitre)
1 Tablespoon = 1 1/2 fl oz (15 Millilitre)
1 fl oz = 30 Millilitre
1Millilitre = 0.035 fl oz
1 UK pint = 20 fl oz
1 US pint = 16 fl oz
1 litre = 33 fl oz (1 US qt)

1/2 oz 15 g
1 oz 30 g
2 oz 55 g
3 oz 85 g
4 oz (1/4 lb) 115 g
5 oz 140 g
6 oz 170 g
8 oz (1/2 lb) 225 g
12 oz (3/4 lb) 225 g
16 oz (1 lb) 455 g
1 oz = 30 g
1 lb = 16 oz (455 g)
1 lb = 16 oz (455 g)
1 kg = 2.2 lb

Sweetcorn Fritters

Makes 6-8 fritters

240g tin of Sweetcorn
100g Plain Flour
1 Egg
50ml Milk
100ml Sparkling Water

Vegetable Oil for deep frying

1] Mix the Flour, Egg, Milk and Water to make a smooth batter.
2] Heat the Oil to hot but not smoking.
3] Drain the Sweetcorn and add to the batter.
4] Drop a large spoonful of the mix into the oil.
5] Cook until the edges start to crisp and the underside is golden.
6] Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm until they are all cooked.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Lamb Chop Kleftico

4 - 8 Lamb Chops (depending on size and hunger)
4 cloves Garlic, slivered
3 tbsp Lemon Juice
3 tbsp White Wine
1 tbsp dried Mint
1 tbsp dried Oregano
salt & pepper

Using a small knife insert the garlic into the chops. Place each chop (or pair of chops) onto the centre of a 12" piece of foil. Distribute the remaining ingredients evenly on the top of the chops. Seal parcels. Place in baking dish and bake in a moderate oven for 1½ hours.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Twice baked Souffle

Based on a Jill Duplex recipe

Prep 15 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes
Serves 4

For coating the pots:
Unsalted Butter

60g Unsalted Butter
60g Plain Flour
350ml warm Milk
100g Grated Cheese (Gruyere, Parmesan, Strong Chedder etc)
4 Eggs (separated)
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
100ml Double Cream
More Grated Cheese for topping
Salt and Pepper

1) Heat the oven to 180c.
2) Butter 4 ovenproof pots.
3) Coat the butter with the breadcrumbs.
4) Gently melt the Butter in a pan, add the Flour and cook for 2 minutes.
5) Gradually stir in the warm Milk.
6) Add the Cheese, season with Salt and Pepper and stir for 5 minutes.
7) Let it cool for 10 minutes.
8) Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.
9) Add in the Mustard.
10) Whip the egg whites until they firm up then gently fold in.
11) Fill each pot to threequarters full.
12) Place the pots in a baking dish half filled with boiling water.
13) Bake for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven until they have risen and slightly browned.
14) Let them cool for at least an hour.
15) Heat the oven to 220c.
16) Turn out the souffles on buttered oven proof plates.
17) Top with Grated Cheese and the Cream.
18) Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
19) Dust with the paprika.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


450g Minced Beef or Lamb
6 tbsp Milk
1 slice day old Bread, crumbed
1 small Onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped Parsley
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 Egg
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 large tin of Tomatoes

Put the milk and bread in a small pan and bring to the boil. Mash with a fork to blend uniformly. Allow to cool. Put the meat, bread mixture, onion, cheese, herbs and egg together and mix thoroughly. Gently form into balls about 2cm diameter. In a frying pan that will take all the meatballs in one layer brown them on all sides in the oil. Add the tomatoes and their juice, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with spaghetti, extra parmesan and garnish with basil.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Spicy Indian Dahl

Serves 4

2 Onions, sliced
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh Ginger, chopped or grated
2 Tablespoons Ghee
1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili powder
2 Teaspoons Ground Coriander seeds
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
5 Cloves
30mm length Cinnamon stick
1 Teaspoon Salt
220g split Red Lentils (Masoor dahl)
Corriander leaves, freshly chopped

1] Rinse the Lentils in a sieve and remove any that look foriegn.
2] Add the Lentils to a deep pan and add twice as much water.
3] Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10-20 minutes, until they are still firm, not mushy.
4] Remove any excess water from the pan by draining them.
5] Gently melt the Ghee, and slowly fry the Onions.
6] When the Onions have softened, add in the Garlic and Ginger. Don't let them burn.
7] Add in the Spices and Salt and stir to coat the Onions.
8] Fry gently for a minute or so being careful not to burn anything.
9] Add the dahl and mix thoroughly.
10] Add in enough water to wet the mixture.
11] Cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring now and again, adding more liquid if needed. Make sure nothing is sticking or burning on the bottom of the pan.
12] Garnish the finished Dahl with chopped fresh Coriander.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sea Bream Provencial

10 minutes

20 minutes

1 Sea bream (1.5 kgs)
1 tomato
a glass of dry white wine (20cls)
2 shallots
1 lemon
a branch of parsley
50grs of butter
salt and pepper

Ask the fishmonger to clean the fish . Wash it carefully then dry it in a cloth.
Heat the oven to 220-230 degrees. Make slices of the tomato and the lemon, chop the shallots.
Put this preparation in a plate you can put in the oven, add the fish. Sprinkle chopped parsley and add some nuts of butter. Heat it in the oven for 20 minutes. Add white wine at middle cooking time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Pork Fillet with Marmalade

Pork Fillet
Ground Cinnamon
White Wine Vinegar
Ground Cumin
Olive Oil

Pre heat oven to 200c

1] Rub the Pork all over with ground Cinnamon.
2] Heat a dash of Olive Oil in a pan in the oven.
3] When hot, sear the meat on all sides and roast for 10 minutes.
4] Mix 4 tablespoons of Marmalade with 2 teaspoons of White Wine Vinegar and 1 tablespoon of Ground cumin.
5] Baste the Pork with half the marmalade mixture and roast for 10 minutes.
6] Turn the Pork over and cover with the remainder of the marmalade.
7] Roast for 10-20 minutes.
8] Allow to stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
9] Reduce the juices in the pan for a yummy gravy.

Monday, February 13, 2006


3 eggs at room temperature, whites and yolks lightly whisked together
Salt and pepper

1] Heat a 20cm frying pan and melt the butter until it starts to brown.
2] Add the eggs and gently work at the edges.
3] Add in any fillings you like and fold the omlette in half.
4] Brown both sides to your liking, but don't over cook it.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Sea bass stuffed with Onions and Honey

Adapted from a James Martin recipe.

1 Whole Sea Bass
2 Onions, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
White wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons clear Honey
Fresh Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
Fresh Rosemary
Salt and crushed Black Peppercorns
Extra virgin Olive Oil
Lemon wedges, to serve

1] Gently fry the Onions until they start to colour.
2] Add the Garlic and gently fry for a few minutes more.
3] Pour in a little of the Vinegar and slowly fry until the Onions brown.
4] Season and allow to cool.
5] Score the fish and stuff the inside with the Onion mixture, Honey and Herbs.
6] Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes per 500g (1lb) until the fish is cooked.
7] Serve with the Lemon wedges.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Chocolate Muffins

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips (or vanilla chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 6 giant-size muffin cups or 12 regular cups with non-stick cooking spray. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave on medium-high heat for 25 second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs, then add sour cream and milk. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour flour mixture into butter mixture and stir together by hand. Stir in melted chocolate, then chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes for standard-sized muffins or 25 minutes for giant muffins, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Makes: 6 giant or 12 standard muffins.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Orange and Onion Marinade

From Derrick Riches,
Your Guide to Barbecues & Grilling.

This is a flavorful marinade which can be used on chicken, pork, and beef. Remember to let the marinade cool considerably before using it on raw meat.


* 1/3 cup orange marmalade
* 3 green onions, finely chopped
* 1/4 cup white wine
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Allow to simmer on low heat until marmalade has thinned and all ingredients are combined. Allow to cool completely before using as a marinade.

Orange Glazed Pork Chops

Orange Glazed Pork Chops
From Diana Rattray,

Pork chops are browned then cooked with orange juice and brown sugar, vinegar and marmalade.

* 4 pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* salt and pepper
* 1/2 cup orange juice
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
* 1 tablespoon vinegar

In a large, heavy skillet, brown pork chops on both sides in hot oil. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Drain off excess fat. In a bowl, combine orange juice, brown sugar, marmalade and vinegar. Pour over the pork chops.

Cover and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes, or until pork chops are tender and glazed. Remove pork chops to a warm platter. Spoon sauce over pork chops. Serve pork chops with rice or potatoes.
Pork chops recipe serves 4.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Braised Pheasant Thighs (Sherry and Almonds)

Serves 3 (2 thighs per person)
6 Pheasant Thighs
3 tablespoons ground Almonds
2 Garlic Clove, crushed
125ml dry Sherry
Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Tomatoes, cut in eighths
3 sprigs Thyme
2 Bay leaves
250ml Chicken Stock
Sea salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

1] Gently toast the Almonds in a non stick pan until they turn golden.

2] Heat the Olive Oil and brown the Pheasant all over. Set the thighs aside to rest.

3] Heat a little more Oil in the pan and gently cook then until they soften.

4] Mix the crushed Garlic with a dash of Sherry in a small bowl and let sit.

5] When the Onions have softened, add the Tommatoes and herbs and simmer for a few minutes until they start to break down.

6] Add the Sherry to the pan and raise the heat to bring the Sherry to boiling point. Turn down the heat to simmer the liquid and reduce it to half its volume.

7] Warm the Stock in a pan or microwave.

8] Add the Pheasant, Stock and a little seasoning. Simmer gently for 40 - 50 minutes, covered.

9] Stir in the Almonds and Garlic/Sherry paste and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickend to your liking.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Creamy Prawn Curry

Creamy Prawn Curry
(Chingri Malai)

An authentic recipe from Bengal (eastern India). Fresh prawns cooked in coconut milk with spices.

Serves: 4

500g frozen Prawns
Turmeric powder
2 Onions, finely chopped
Ginger, a good chunk, grated (I have a micrograter that juices and mashes at once)
2 Red Chilli finely chopped or grated
2 Bay Leaves
1" Cinnamon Stick
4 Cloves
4 Green Cardamoms
1 can of Coconut milk
2 tablespoon(s) ghee(clarified butter) / butter
salt to taste

Rub the prawns with some salt and wash well. Apply some turmeric powder and keep aside for 5 minutes.
Heat half the ghee (clarified butter) in a heavy-bottomed pan and saute the prawns briefly. Strain the prawns from the pan and keep aside. Now, add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and green cardamoms. Saute briefly. Add the onion paste and stir fry on medium heat for about minutes or till the paste is browned. Add the red chilli paste / powder and ginger paste. Fry briefly on low heat till the oil separates.
Add the prawns and coconut milk. Add salt as required. Mix gently. Simmer on low heat for about 2 minutes.
Mix in the remaining ghee (clarified butter) and cover tight for a little while.