Prawn Biryani

We adapted this from Madhur Jaffrey’s book, Curry Easy. Her recipe uses farmed tiger prawns, which are available frozen. We used fresh local prawns. It was really delicious. We had to adjust quantities as well, as we are only cooking for two people. I added some spices and herbs from similar recipes from Iran. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 kg fresh prawns
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • chopped coriander and mint leaves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 150g rice
  • Small pinch of saffron in 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp Caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp butter

METHOD:

  • Put the rice in a large measuring jug of cold water, and leave to soak. Drain off and refresh the water from time to time. 
  • Cook the prawns for a couple of minutes in boiling water, then drain. When the prawns are cold, peel the tails, and cut them in half around the middle. 
  • Put the prawns in a bowl with garlic, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and set aside.
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil, flavoured with salt, half a teaspoon of caraway and 2 cardamom pods. 
  • When the water is boiling, add the drained rice. Bring back to the boil and cook until the rice is not completely cooked, but almost. Drain the rice.
  • In a frying pan, heat up a tbsp of vegetable oil and fry the prawns for 2 minutes or so. 
  • Mix the cooked prawns with the lemon juice, coriander and mint leaves. 
  • Grease the bottom of a large pan with the butter, then add half the drained rice, then the prawns, and then the rest of the rice. Sprinkle the top with the saffron water. 
  • Cover the rice and cook over a low heat for another ten minutes or so, until the rice is fully cooked. 
  • Carefully mix the rice and prawns, and serve. 

Margarita

I found the end of a bottle of tequila in the back of the drinks store area. I’ve had it for a while. I had enough to make two small Margaritas. They were so delicious, I may have to buy more tequila. 

A note about tequila. It is a distillate of a drink made from the blue agave, which grows wild in Mexico. The process was bought to Mexico by the conquistadors, who set up a distillery in Tequila.  

Tequila comes in various types:

  • Silver or white tequila, which is clear white, and bottled within 60 days of being distilled.
  • Gold tequila (joven) is a caramel colour, and is much the same as silver tequila, with a little colouring and flavouring. 
  • Reposado tequila has been aged in oak barrels for up to a year, and is generally a lovely golden colour. 
  • Anejo tequila is aged for between one year and five years
  • Mezcal is not specifically a tequila, and may be made from a variety of agave plants. The agave is roasted before the fermentation, adding a smoky flavour. The ‘worm’ is a larva of an insect that lives in the agave plants. It is a sign of authenticity and luck. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Lime wedges
  • Table salt
  • 3 floz (75ml) silver tequila
  • 3 floz (75ml) fresh lime juice
  • 2 floz (50ml) Cointreau
  • Lots of ice. 

METHOD:

  • Rub a wedge of lime around the rims of 2 chilled cocktail or margarita glasses, and salt the rims. Fill the glasses with ice
  • Add the liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until the mixture is very cold. 
  • Strain into the prepared glasses. Give the lime wedges a bit of a squeeze, and drop them into the margaritas. 

Lamb chops, Persian style

This is an excellent recipe for a beach barbecue (ready for when these are allowed). The chops can be put in the marinade in a sealed box, and they are all ready to cook when you get to wherever the barbecue is. I have also defrosted chops whilst marinading them. Not sure if that is allowed but it worked. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 lamb chops
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp orange peel slivers
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g plain Greek Yoghurt
  • A good pinch of saffron threads in 2 tbsp water. 
  • Some more lime juice and 2 tbsp melted butter for basting

METHOD:

  • Put all of the ingredients in a plastic box with a good lid. Shake them together and marinade for a minimum of 8 hours. 
  • Under a hot grill, cook the chops for around 3 minutes on each side, basting with melted butter and lime juice. 
  • OR get the barbecue on, and when it is really hot (around 30 minutes) put the chops on, basting with butter and lime juice, and cook for around 3 minutes on each side. 

Serve with pitta bread and salad garnished with spring onions and basil. 

Wild goose with bulgar wheat

This is so tasty. The goose needs to be chopped pretty small though. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced finely
  • 1 medium onion, sliced finely
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced finely
  • 700ml stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 wild goose breast, sliced thinly and then cut into small squares
  • 250g coarse bulgar wheat (I bought mine online from Turkishop)

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, and fry the potato slices. As the potato starts to brown on one side, flip the slices over. Keep stirring and flipping. Once the potato is done, put it into a large casserole dish.
  • Next, fry the onion slices and carrots together in the remaining oil in the frying pan, for at least 5 minutes over a medium to high heat. 
  • Meanwhile, slice the goose and put it in a layer over the potato.
  • Once the onion is done, layer that over the goose. 
  • Put the stock into the frying pan and bring to the boil, and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Put the bulgar wheat over the top of the carrot and onion layer in the middle, making a mound. 
  • Pour in the boiling stock, cover and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. 
  • Let the dish stand for around 5 minutes before serving. 

Italian Sausage Casserole

In the freezer I had a large Italian pork sausage, flavoured with fennel. I made this stew, which could be made with any good quality coarse pork sausage, for example a Cumberland sausage. The stew is very easy to make, and we served it with creamed potato and celeriac mash, and sea kale florets. 

INGREDIENTS;

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 coarse Italian pork sausages (around 400g) or similar
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, or other chilli powder
  • 1 tsp date syrup, or treacle
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs (I used the mystery herbs from Italy)
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Fry the sausages in the oil in a large frying pan for around 8 minutes, until they are browned. Transfer to a casserole dish. 
  • Fry the onions in the same pan over a medium heat, for around 5 minutes, until they are beginning to brown.
  • Add the crushed garlic and chilli, and cook, stirring for another couple of minutes
  • Add the stock, tomatoes, puree and herbs, and bring to a simmer.
  • Pour over the sausages in the casserole dish, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

This tastes better if it is not boiling hot, let it sit for a few minutes whilst preparing the mash and vegetables. 

Chocolate brownies

This recipe uses up the egg-whites left over from making hollandaise sauce. It is really chocolatey. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 170g butter
  • 170g 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 30ml cold coffee
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 30g unsweetened cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 125g plain flour

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 190C. Prepare a 20cm square cake tin – grease with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
  • Put a bowl over a pan of boiling water, and put in the chocolate and butter. Heat until all the butter and chocolate have melted together. 
  • Add the vanilla, coffee and salt, stir and set aside for 15 minutes to cool. 
  • In a large bowl, mix the caster sugar, soft brown sugar and cocoa powder. Add the egg whites, and use a beater to whist the mixture together. The volume should increase by more than double and the mixture should go pale. 
  • Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture and the flour. 
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and put it in the oven. Turn the heat down to 175C and bake for 30 minutes. 
  • Set the cooked brownies to cool in their tin. Once the are cold, lift them out and cut into squares. 

 

Roast Celeriac, Turkish style.

The last celeriac from the garden, I sewed some more seed for next winter/spring. I roasted it with orange juice and carrots. It was really good. The seeds are tiny, for such a robust vegetable. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks about 1 by 1 by 2 centimetres
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, split lengthways and cut into chunks about 2 centimetres long
  • 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • Grated rind and juice of one large orange
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp grated black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh dill to garnish. 

METHOD:

  • Set the oven to 180C
  • In a large roasting dish, put all the ingredients except the dill, and stir to mix
  • Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes, stirring a couple of times during the cooking.
  • Mix in the chopped dill before serving. 

 

Potato Scones

Continuing the theme of using things up so we don’t have to go to the shops. We had 125g of left-over mashed potato in the fridge, so this morning I made potato scones. The ratio of flour to mashed potato is around 1:5 so I added 25g flour. I mashed the flour into the potatoes until it was all well mixed, and then drew the mixture together with my hands. I rolled it out into a circle, and then cut that into six wedges. I fried the scones in lard until browned on both sides, and served with a couple of fried eggs and some Stornoway black pudding. 

 

Goan prawn curry with coconut

We made this with some really great quality local prawns. Looks like a tradition is starting. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 kilo medium or large prawns, shelled
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • 250ml coconut milk (or 50g creamed coconut dissolved in 250ml boiling water)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (or 1 tsp tamarind paste)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1cm cubed fresh ginger, finely diced

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a wok, or large frying pan
  • Add the onion, and fry at quite a high temperature. 
  • Add the ginger and garlic when the onion is translucent. 
  • When the onion starts to brown, turn off the heat and stir in the pepper, cayenne, paprika and turmeric. Stir to mix. 
  • Return the pan to the heat and add the coconut milk. When it starts to bubble and cook, add the prawns and lemon juice, stir and cook until the prawns are hot.

Serve with rice.