This recipe was inspired by seeing a bhuna recipe on ‘grubworm’ but when I went to download it, we had an IT failure, so I used a similar bhuna recipe from a book. The flavour is fantastic. The main feature of a bhuna is that the sauce is cooked right down to a sticky paste that adheres to the meat.
Seasoned Pioneers can supply just about any spice or herb that you can’t source locally.
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 dried chillies
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4cm ginger root, grated
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 15 curry leaves
- 4 goose breasts, cut into thin strips
- 1 tsp salt
- 250ml water
- a pinch of garam masala
- freshly chopped coriander leaf to garnish.
- Toast the spices in a small pan for a minute or two, until the mustard seeds start to pop. Take off the heat, cool, and grind in a pestle and mortar with the salt.
- Put the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processer and blend until the onion is in small chips.
- Fry the chopped onion mixture in a little vegetable oil, until the onion is starting to brown.
- Add the tomatoes and curry leaves, and cook until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Add the ground spices, keep stirring, and after five minutes, add the water, and bring back to a simmer.
- Put a lid on the pan and simmer on a very low heat until the sauce is really thick. This can take quite a while, an hour or so.
- Meanwhile, around 10 minutes before serving, fry the goose in a very hot pan for around 5 minutes, and then add to the thickened sauce, stir and reduce the sauce further.
- Sprinkle with garam masala and garnish with the chopped coriander.
Serve with plain rice, and a glass of cold beer. The flavour from the freshly roasted spices is amazing.
We make this frequently at home, because it is easy, and it is a top comfort food. For a vegetarian option, leave out the bacon.
- 1.2 kg waxy potatoes
- 200g diced smoked bacon
- 1 onion, finely sliced (you can add garlic if you like)
- 1 tbsp olive oil or butter
- Salt, pepper, nutmeg
- 1 reblochon cheese (a softish cows’ milk cheese)
- 2 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1 glass of dry white wine (Apremont for preference: it has a fresh light taste)
- Peel and boil the potatoes for ten minutes, drain and leave to cool
- Gently fry the onion in the oil, and add the bacon. Cook until the onion and bacon are beginning to brown slightly. Season with salt and pepper, and a grate of nutmeg
- Butter a gratin dish large enough to take all the ingredients. Slice half the cooked potatoes thickly, and make a layer over the bottom of the dish
- Add half the onion and bacon.
- Use the rest of the potatoes, sliced to make a second layer and top with onion and bacon.
- Pour over the glass of wine
- Spread the creme fraiche over the top, then halve the reblochon lengthwise, and put this cut-side down over the potatoes.
- Bake at 200C for 15 to 20 minutes, so the cheese has melted into the potatoes.
We had the big family Christmas this year, twenty people with five vegetarians. I made this for Christmas Day, and served it as an alternative for turkey et al. It was delicious, but it took quite a bit to find a corner to make it in while all the turkey and trimmings were being prepared. I used the recipe in Delia Smith’s Christmas – a very fine book indeed.
For the stuffing:
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 50g butter
- 1 tsp chopped fresh sage
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 75g panko breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
For the roulade:
- 100g grated hard cheese
- 50g butter
- 25g plain flour
- 275ml cold milk
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 40g chopped and toasted hazelnuts
- 1 tbsp grated parmesan
- salt and pepper
For the parsnip filling
- 3 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 25g butter
- 2 tbsp double cream
- freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper
You will also need a clean tea-towel, greaseproof paper or tin foil, and a swiss roll tin, or similar baking tray.
- Preheat the oven to 200C gas 6
- Make the stuffing layer first. Melt the butter in a small pan, and fry the chopped onions for around five to six minutes, until translucent.
- Add the herbs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, and stir together.
- Meanwhile, line the swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper, silicon paper or greased tin foil.
- Make a thin layer of the stuffing in the swiss roll tin.
- Next, make the cheese layer. Put the butter, milk and flour together in a saucepan. Heat this on a medium heat, stirring until thickened, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook on a low heat for a couple more minutes.
- Put the sauce aside to cool. Separate the eggs, making sure the egg whites are in a grease-free bowl. Add the egg-yolks to the white sauce, and whisk them in. Next, add the grated hard cheese, and stir until it is melted in. Check for seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl and clean whisk, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. (I got my sister to do this.)
- Fold the cheese mixture into the egg-white: Start by adding a little of the egg-white mixture to the cheese sauce and then add the cheese sauce to the egg-whites, fold a spoon at a time until well mixed. Take care to ensure that the mixture retains as much air as possible.
- Pour the cheese mixture over the stuffing and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until set. It should be springy and feel firm.
- Last layer: make the parsnip filling. Boil the chopped parsnips for at least 15 minutes, until soft.
- Mix the cooked parsnips with butter, double cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Have a really good go at this to make smooth paste.
- Assembly: Put the tea-towel on the table and sprinkle with toasted chopped hazelnuts.
- Turn out the stuffing/cheese layer onto the hazelnuts. Spread the parsnips onto the stuffing layer, and then roll up the roulade along the longest side, using the teatowel to ensure it ends up as a round shape.
- Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with grated parmesan.
I found this to need a bit of reheating at the end to ensure it was hot enough to serve with the turkey. Turn the oven down to 180C, cover the roulade with tin foil, and heat through for around 20 minutes.
Have to hand a sink with a bit of cold water in the bottom, a jam thermometer, an electric beater and a well-greased swiss-roll tin, preferably resting on a trivet.
- 1 can condensed milk
- 1 kg caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 250g salted butter
- In a large pan, mix the condensed milk, sugar, butter and vanilla. Rinse out the condensed milk tin with a little bit of water, less than half the tinful, and add that to the mixture.
- Gently heat, whilst stirring, until the sugar has all dissolved and the butter is melted.
- Keep a track of the temperature with a sugar thermometer. Keep on stirring and cooking, as the tablet begins to take on a brown colour, and is up just past the ‘soft ball’ temperature, around 119 C
- When the tablet looks right and is the right temperature, take the pan off the heat, cool the bottom of the pan in a sink of cold water. Take your time to put down the spoon and the thermometer.
- Beat the tablet as it starts to cool, until the surface starts to lose its shine. If you test the texture on the beater wires, it should begin to thicken and look slightly velvety.
- While it is still hot, pour it into the greased swiss roll tin.
- Leave to cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then score into squares. When it is completely cool (usually much later) turn it out and break into squares.
I like tablet with coffee.
This is a very easy Persian version of a common middle-eastern dip. Be prepared to get a bit messy for the best results.
- 2 large aubergines
- 1 tbsp very good quality olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 200ml plain full-fat greek yoghurt
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Rinse the aubergines and prick them with a fork in a few places. Put them in the centre of the oven on a rack with a baking tray underneath. Bake for one hour.
- Remove the aubergines from the oven, let them cool until you can handle them. Peel off the skin and chop the flesh.
- Put all the chopped aubergine into a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. I used my bare hands to squish the aubergine well, before beating with a fork. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with saffron water, a tablespoonful of plain yoghurt and mint leaves.
- This recipe is best made 24 hours in advance, and stored in the fridge. Remove from the fridge 10 minutes before serving. This is good served with bread.
Some of you will know that I spent some time living in Teheran when I was a child. Zara used to work for our family as a housekeeper, and she used to cook wonderful Persian home-cooking for us. Our favourite was a dish called Loubia Pollow, made with rice, beans, tomatoes and lamb. We also used to eat the most delicious barbari bread and thick plain yoghurt sold in blue earthenware bowls.
I have sought to recreate the flavours of the food we ate there, and have never managed to get it quite right. Persian food is very complex and sophisticated, from ancient civilisations, combining the herbs and spices of east and west.
There are a few sites online where you can look up Persian recipes, but the flavours and end-results are unfamiliar to most. I have one recipe book, A Taste of Persia which is aimed at the US market, and has all the ingredients in cups. I’ve been working my way through the recipes and re-jigging them to suit local ingredients and UK directions.
- 1 cucumber, peeled and finely diced
- 1 500g tub of full-fat plain Greek Yoghurt
- A bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh dill or fennel leaf, chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tsp dried tarragon
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Garnish of fresh mint, rose petals, dill leaf, chive flowers, chopped walnuts, chopped radishes etcetera
- Combine all the ingredients, mix well and adjust the seasoning.
- Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, and up to four hours before serving. Take out of the fridge ten minutes before serving and garnish.
I have no idea if this recipe is Mexican at all. I got it from my friend Kay, who I think got it from a book called the Vegetarian Epicure which I have never chased down yet.
- 2 large onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 floz olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 2 cups of white rice
- 1 1/2 pints of tomato puree (I use canned chopped tomatoes which I blend, or you could use passata)
- 2 tsp salt
- 14 floz water
- Chop the onions and garlic and lightly fry in the oil.
- Add the ginger, coriander, cloves and pepper, and stir for 30 seconds
- Add the rice and stir, cooking until the rice seems to be turning clear and beginning to brown
- Add the tomato puree, salt and water, and simmer for 25 minutes
A good recipe for left-over mashed potato.
- Mashed potato, seasoned well with salt and pepper – around 250g
- 50g plain flour
- Add the flour to the mashed potato, stirring it at first and then pulling the mixture together to form a dough the consistency of pastry. It doesn’t look like it is going to work at first
- Roll the pastry out very thin, and cut into portion-sized triangles
- Fry in hot butter, turn with a fish-slice to ensure each side is cooked to crispy brown. We used dripping this morning, in place of the butter.
Serve as part of a very ill-advised and delicious fried breakfast.
Dear Angela. Here is the original recipe for the chutney. I got this from Christina at the surgery, whose mother got it from a friend. The quantities are quite ‘loose’ and depend on what is in the store cupboard.
- 2 lb cooking apples
- as much garlic as you like
- 1 3/4 pints malt vinegar
- 1 lb dates, stones out and chopped
- 1 lb raisins
- 1 lb brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp salt
- ginger, peeled and grated, if wished
- Chop the unpeeled apples, garlic and ginger, and simmer in a pan with the vinegar, until soft.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring regularly.
Makes about 6 jars. The recorder of the recipe advises keeping your fingers crossed; I suspect because she is free and easy with the quantities.