Baked Beef Curry

We are still enjoying the supply of beef from Louise’s Askernish herd, just delicious. We made this very easy beef curry last night, and reheated it the next day. It is from Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Easy. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tbsp olive oil, or vegetable oil
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 kg stewing steak
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 225g chopped onions
  • 300ml plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 180C
  • Heat the oil in a casserole dish, and when the oil is hot, add the cardamom and cinnamon, stir once and then add the meat. Keep moving the meat until is browned all over, then transfer to a bowl. 
  • In the same pan, add the cumin seeds and onions, on a medium to high heat. Keep stirring and cooking for 10 minutes, until the onion is browning. Turn off the heat when the onion is cooked. 
  • Return the meat to the pan, and then add all of the other ingredients, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan with the lid, and put it into the oven to bake for at least an hour and a half, until the meat is tender. 

I served this with almonds browned in a little oil, and with baked potatoes. 

Sweet and Sour wild goose with almonds

We have some wild goose breasts in the freezer, and I am always looking for good ways to cook them. Somewhere I have a traditional goose soup recipe to try, but before I could test it,  I came across a recipe for a lamb dish in Nightingales and Roses by Maryam Sinaiee. 

I must tell you, it was sensational, best recipe ever for wild goose. Spices are available from Seasoned Pioneers, and the other ingredients I got from Persepolis in Peckham. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g slivered or flaked almonds
  • 2 dried limes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 3 goose breasts, sliced into strips
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 100g dried barberries
  • 30g butter
  • 1/2 tbsp rose water
  • a small pinch of saffron, ground and steeped in 1 tbsp boiling water
  • a teaspoon of brown sugar or date syrup
  • a large pinch of salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Cover the almonds in cold water, and leave to soak. 
  • Cover the limes in boiling water, and put something on top to weigh them down so they remain immersed
  • Heat the oil in a heavy pan, and fry the onions over a medium heat for around 8 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure they don’t stick as they fry – they should be sticky and beginning to brown. 
  • Increase the heat to high, and add the goose meat and turmeric. Fry until the meat is browned on all sides. 
  • Add the tomato paste, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the cinnamon and enough water to cover the meat. Bring to the boil and then simmer for half an hour. 
  • Rinse the limes, and pierce them in three or four places. Add them into the stew along with the drained almonds, and simmer for another half an hour. 
  • Fry the barberries in the butter. 
  • Just before serving, when the goose is cooked, check the flavour. Add salt and sugar to balance the sourness, and boil off any excess water. 
  • Add the rosewater, saffron water and barberries, and serve with plain rice. 

My favourite recipe books at the moment

This is a list of my favourite recipe books at the moment, from the shelf in my kitchen, and based on the books I am referring to the most. 

Cookistan

We went on holiday to Istanbul, and at the start of the week, we went on a cookery course to learn more about Turkish food. I had been inspired to do this my a friend of mine, who went on a cookery course in Morocco earlier this year. This is a fantastic way to find out more about the cultural history of food in a foreign country. It seems to be a growing part of tourism; just look on TripAdvisor. 

We booked with Cookistan, and had a great day, preparing six traditional dishes. Aysin met us in the morning and our group of six were introduced to the neighbourhood, to the shops and street stalls. We saw traditional breads being prepared, and seasonal vegetables being stacked up at the roadside. We bought pastries, artichoke hearts, and a few other essentials as we went. 

Once we’d made a few purchases, we settled into the well-equipped food prep area, starting with a cup of tea, some pastries, and a chat about food culture in Turkey, the origins of recipes and our aims of booking on the course. 

Once we were all relaxed and ready, we collaborated to produce six dishes, preparing the ingredients, and showing off our skills. I had no idea that Malcolm, my lovely spouse, had such great skills with chopping herbs and onions. Liva, Aysin’s colleague, helped with all of the vital background tasks, such as watching the pots, basting dishes and producing the ingredients we needed when we needed them. 

On the day we prepared: 

  • Meat-stuffed yufka pastry in the shape of roses
  • A delicious chicken and walnut salad
  • Lentil and wheat meze balls
  • Stuffed artichoke hearts poached in orange and dill
  • Stuffed vegetables and vine leaves
  • Sweet caramelised pumpkin with tahini and nuts

We learned about the joy of eating from a table loaded with delicious meze dishes, sipping on raki and solving the problems of the world, late into the night. Later, Malcolm and I got back to our apartment and sat on the balcony, watching the sky darkening over the Bosphorus, drank wine and continued to eat through the evening.

The whole experience was more than just recipes, it was learning about the cultures in which the cooking originated. Highly recommended. 

 

My favourite sites for online ordering

I love being adventurous with my cooking, trying new flavours, new styles of cooking. The basic ingredients that I use are usually local, but the spices, herbs and some other ingredients are harder to come by. I try to source authentic ingredients, and support food suppliers who know about their merchandise. Here is a list of online suppliers that I use regularly. 

There are also some local websites that supply produce online. 

I’m sure there are more sites that I use, I’ll add them when I remember. Please let me know your top sites so I can try them out. 

 

Baked celeriac

So easy. Serve with anything. Ottolenghi SIMPLE. I grew the celeriac. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large celeriac, scrubbed clean and hairy roots removed. 
  • 50 ml olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed coriander seed
  • 1 lemon in wedges
  • salt

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 170C
  • Pierce the celeriac all over with a sharp knife. Rub with the oil, season with the salt and coriander and put it in a small baking dish. 
  • Roast for around 2 1/2 hours, basting with olive oil if required. 
  • To serve, cut into wedges and serve with lemon, a sprinkle of salt, a drizzle of olive oil. 

Roast cabbage with tarragon and pecorino cheese

Another wonderfully easy and tasty recipe from the Levant. This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s book SIMPLE. Best recipe book I ever bought, possibly. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 60ml olive oil (4 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cloves of garlic
  • 1 spring cabbage (the pointy kind) cut lengthways into 8ths. 
  • 5g tarragon leaves, or 3 tsp dried tarragon
  • 20g pecorino cheese
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 220C
  • In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, a good pinch of salt and a good grate of black pepper. Put 1 tbsp of this mixture in a separate bowl. 
  • Put the cabbage in a large bowl, season with a pinch of salt,  and pour the oil mixture over the cabbages, tossing well to coat. 
  • Arrange the cabbage in a roasting dish, and roast for 15 minutes, until the edges are getting crispy. Remove from the oven to set aside and cool a little. 
  • Add the lemon juice to the reserve tbsp of oil. Add the tarragon. 
  • Put the cabbage on a platter, drizzle over the oil, then add shavings of pecorino cheese and a good grating of black pepper. 

Menemen – Turkish dish of peppers, eggs and tomatoes.

We are about to go on holiday to Istanbul, so I was looking at Turkish recipes. This caught my eye, as I had a couple of green peppers from Tagsa Uist Grow your Community at East Camp. Very tasty, very easy. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 small green peppers, halved, seeded and sliced. 
  • 2 dried chilli peppers, crushed
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • Could include herbs such as thyme, oregano, spices such as cumin
  • chopped parsley
  • Sour cream or greek yoghurt

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, and add the onions, then the garlic, and then the pepper and chillies. Fry slowly until the onions are soft. 
  • Add the tomatoes and any additional herbs and spices, and simmer slowly to reduce the mixture. Season with salt and pepper
  • Make 4 holes in the mixture, and into each hole, crack an egg. Cover the pan and cook slowly for around 5 minutes to cook the eggs. (You can scramble the eggs into the mixture as an alternative.) 
  • Beat the yogurt or sour cream with salt and pepper. 
  • Sprinkle the menemen with parsley, and serve from the pan with the yoghurt or sour cream. 
 

Pea and feta fritters

This is from Ottolenghi’s book, SIMPLE. These pea fritters are good hot or cold, as part of a light lunch or a side dish as part of a feast. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 120g ricotta
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • wedges of lemon, to serve
  • 3 tbsp za’atar spice (from seasoned pioneers)
  • 100g white flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 20g mint leaves
  • 200g block of feta, crumbled into large chunks
  • about 800ml oil
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Mash the defrosted peas using a soup wand or blender, just until the mixture is coarsely crushed. 
  • Transfer the peas to a bowl, add the ricotta, eggs, lemon zest, 3/4 tsp salt, a good grind of pepper, and mix well. 
  • Add the za’atar, flour and baking powder, mix well, and then fold in the feta and the chopped mint. 
  • Pour the oil into a saucepan, and heat to a medium to high heat. 
  • Using a pair of dessert spoons, form the mixture into smooth ovals, and drop them into the boiling oil. They should fizz and bob to the surface, and cook to a wonderful crispy brown in about 3-4 minutes. You’ll need to ensure they are flipped over in the oil to cook on all sides. 
  • As each batch becomes cooked, lift them out in a slotted spoon and put on a towel to drain the oil, before adding to the serving dish. 
  • Serve with the wedges of lemon. 

Ottolenghi – SIMPLE

I’ve been cooking from SIMPLE all week, and the food that I have produced has been astonishingly delicious. The recipes are generally quite easy, and the ingredients are usually available locally. Many of the ingredients I have grown myself, and I am totally in love with this book. 

Another plus: lots of recipes. The book is not stingy. The recipes themselves seem to be easy to adapt to what is available as well. Where fresh dill has not been available, dried dill has worked. I have swapped the cheeses in some of the recipes, and used lemon as well as lime in others. 

If I could only have one recipe book, this would be the one.