I must have first tried this recipe in the 1980s, it is hand-written in an old jotter that I used to copy out some recipes clipped from newspapers. I remember collecting recipes from the Sunday Times; they ran a series by Madhur Jaffrey about regional recipes around the Indian subcontinent.
I have some very large carrots still to harvest this year. I grew a yellow variety that has a very firm flesh ideal for adding to stews, and for this dish. There’ll be more carrot-based dishes to come. Most spices are available in local shops. I bought some of them from Seasoned Pioneers, who retail spices online.
- 500g carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cm ginger root (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/8 tsp asafoetida
- 2 hot green chillies
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 20g chopped dill leaves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Peel and slice the carrots, peel and finely chop the ginger
- Heat the oil in a karhai or wok over a medium heat. When it is hot, add in sequence the cumin seeds, asafoetida, ginger and whole chillies, stirring between each addition.
- As the ginger begins to brown, add the sliced carrots, coriander and turmeric. Stir and fry for a couple of minutes
- Add the dill and salt, turn the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for another couple of minutes, until the carrots are cooked.
- Remove the carrots from the oil and drain away most of the oil.
This is delicious as a side dish, with rice and a range of other curries. Last night I was just on my own so I had it with a little bit of nan and yoghurt.
I am lucky. I know someone who had some extremely high-quality sika venison available, and I got a couple of cuts. One cut was a lovely 450g piece of meat, the loin. Sika deer are smaller than our red deer, but in evolutionary terms, are quite similar. They are originally from Japan and neighbouring countries in the far east, and are an introduced species in Europe.
I made this dish based on a recipe from Gordon Ramsey, adapted to suit. Remember to take your time, as the ingredients need to be chilled and resting in between bouts of cooking.
- 450g sika loin
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- around 400g mushrooms
- 50g butter
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1/2 glass dry white wine
- Salt, pepper, a grate of nutmeg
- 2 packs of prosciutto, around 10 to 12 slices
- 320g jus-rol rolled puff pastry (one pack)
- 1 egg, beaten, or one egg yolk beaten with a little water
- Heat the oven to 220C
- While it is heating, put the meat on a roasting tray, brush with olive oil, and season with pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool, then chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes
- Chop the mushrooms to your preferred texture,
- Heat 50g butter with 2 tbsp olive oil, add the thyme and the mushrooms and fry gently for around 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft.
- Add seasoning, and the white wine, and cook until the wine has been absorbed. Don’t worry if the mixture seems loose, the venison needs a little oil. Once the mushrooms are cooked, remove the thyme and set to cool a little.
- On a clean linen cloth or clingfilm, lay out the prosciutto so that it is about double thickness, overlapped and about the length of the venison. Spread the cool fried mushrooms over the prosciutto and then place the venison on top. Use the cloth or cling-film to roll up the venison inside the prosciutto, and to tighten the parcel together. Put this in the fridge to rest.
- Take out the pastry, lay it out on the paper it came wrapped in, and use a rolling-pin to neaten it up. Unravel the venison/prosciutto parcel and place it along one side of the pastry, so that there is space to fold the pastry over the top. Think of a giant Cornish pasty. Before you fold over, brush the bare pastry and the top and sides of the venison parcel. Fold the pastry over, press and crimp to seal the edges, and transfer back to the roasting tray. Brush the surface with the egg wash, and use the back of a knife to mark diagonal scores along the pastry. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 200C. Cook the Wellington for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to stand for around 10 minutes before slicing into thick portions.
We served this with celeriac and potato mash, and garden carrots simmered in a little white wine, butter and thyme.
There were some aubergines reduced in price at Neillie’s shop, and I had most of the rest of the ingredients already, so I tried out this recipe from ‘Nightingales and Roses’ – really delicious and also vegan and virtuous. Best served with flat bread and Greek yoghurt.
- 8 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 aubergines (or 2 if they are large) – 1cm slices
- 6 red onions
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp dried lime powder (optional, I got mine online)
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced.
- 1 large red pepper – cut into 2cm pieces
- 4 tomatoes – 1 cm slices
- 2+ potatoes – peeled, 1cm slices
- Put a couple of spoonfuls of the oil in a frying pan, and fry the aubergine slices in a single layer in batches; cover the pan and fry for 4-5 minutes until one side is brown, then turn to fry the second side. Add small amounts of oil as required for each batch. Set aside the fried aubergine.
- Chop two of the onions finely, and fry in a couple of spoonfuls of oil over a medium heat for around 10 minutes, until golden brown. Stir in the turmeric towards the end of the frying time.
- Meanwhile, mix salt, pepper, chilli and lime powder in a small bowl or cup.
- Use a large wide casserole dish. Put 2 tbsp oil in the bottom. Slice the remaining onions into 1cm slices, and arrange them across the bottom of the dish in a single layer (you may need more or less onions depending on their size). Cover with the fried aubergine, then 1/3 of the spice mix, half of the fried onions, and then half the sliced garlic. Then add the red pepper, the rest of the garlic, the rest of the fried onions. Next, a layer of sliced tomatoes, the rest of the spices, and a layer of sliced potatoes. Put the lid on the pan.
- Bring to a simmer on the hob, then turn the heat to very low and cook for at least an hour, until the sauce has reduced. If it looks as if it is drying out, add a little hot water.
- Serve with rice or bread, and a bowl of yoghurt.