Fried liver with cumin

This is another favourite recipe from the Moro cookbook. We are often shocked by how few people will eat offal, but the waste of not eating the whole animal is anathema. This recipe is very quick and easy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Sliced liver (we had lambs liver) around 400g
  • 5 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Cut the liver into strips around 5cm long and 2cm wide.
  • Season the flour with cumin, salt and pepper,
  • Just before frying, dust the liver strips with the flour
  • Heat the butter and oil in a pan until the butter starts to foam.
  • Quickly, place strips of liver into the hot fat, and cook on each side until it is sealed: the outer layer should be browned, but the centre should still be pink and juicy.

Serve with mayonaise, or with chopped salad, or with a yoghurt and cumin dressing.

Harira

This is a delicious lamb soup with chickpeas, one of those ‘meal in a bowl’ soups. I’ve made a few versions over the years, with mint as the main herb on one occasion. This version is the best, and it is from the Moro cookbook. I highly recommend this book, the recipes are delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 350g Lamb (lamb neck, chops, shank, on the bone)
  • 2 litres cold water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 sticks of celery, chopped,
  • a pinch of saffron strands
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 5 grates of nutmeg
  • a bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  • 100g green lentils (optional)
  • 1 can of chickpeas in water
  • 1 dessertspoon of tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp of plain flour, blended into 2 tbsp of butter
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Put the lamb in a large pan with the water, and bring to the boil, skimming off any foam that forms. Simmer for five minutes or so while you chop the other ingredients
  • Add the chopped onion, celery, garlic, and the saffron, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, salt and pepper and half of the bunch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped.
  • Simmer for half an hour, then add the lentils and tinned chickpeas, including the chickpea water. Simmer for another half an hour.
  • Remove the meat from the pan, and let it cool, while you add the tomato puree, lemon juice and the flour mixture. Season with plenty of salt and pepper.
  • Shred or chop the meat well, and add back to the pan. Continue to cook until the chickpeas are properly tender.
  • Serve garnished with the rest of the chopped coriander.

Plum tarte tatin

I made this one Christmas, after a trial run at home. The trial run went better, my oven heats evenly and I know the sizes of my pans. On the day, in a rented house, it came out unevenly, but it was still delicious. This is a simple recipe that is worth rehearsing to get it right.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 large ripe plums, stoned, quartered, and chilled overnight
  • 60g butter
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 300g puff pastry

METHOD:

  • Put the plums into a dish lined with kitchen paper, cut side down, and chill overnight.
  • Turn the oven to 200C
  • Take a non-stick oven-proof pan, and cover the base with the butter, sliced, and the sugar. Next, put the plums in, cut side down, in a well-packed layer, and then sprinkle with cinnamon. Heat until the butter/sugar caramelises, gently agitating the pan and keeping a close eye. (An 8 inch dish would be fine) This doesn’t take long, five to ten minutes, and the caramel should be a lovely brown colour.
  • Next, roll out the pastry, cut to fit over the plums in the dish. Tuck the edges down over the plums to create an upside-down pastry case.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. If the pastry is not completely golden-brown and crisp, lower the heat to 180C and continue for up to another 10 minutes.

Turn the tarte out onto a serving dish, and serve with thick cream, mascarpone or ice-cream.

 

Pheasant with cloves, cinnamon and chestnuts

I came up with this recipe when we were given several frozen items from a friend who was moving.  We borrowed the recipe from Moro, and adapted it to what we had.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g panceta or other cured pork belly, finely sliced
  • 10 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 bayleaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (although 1/2 tsp cinnamon would have been easier)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 4 cloves, roughly ground
  • 1 can of chopped organic tomatoes
  • 1 large pheasant, jointed
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1 jar of cooked chestnuts (Ronnie’s shop)
  • salt and pepper to season

METHOD:

  • In a large suacepan, heat half the olive oil and cook the panceta over a medium heat for five minutes
  • Add the chopped shallots, carrot, garlic and bay leaves and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown nicely
  • Add the cinnamon, thyme, paprika, cloves, stir for a little bit longer then add the tomatoes, turn the heat down low.
  • While the tomatoes are simmering, in a large flat pan, heat the rest of the olive oil, season the pheasant joints and fry until brown on all sides.
  • Add the legs/thighs and then the wine to the saucepan with the tomatoes, and simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes.
  • Add the roughly chopped chestnuts along with the pheasant breast meat, and cook slowly for another 10 minutes, with the lid off.
  • Check the seasoning, and allow to rest for around 10 minutes before serving

We had this with roast parsnips and mashed potatoes. And wine.

Celeriac and Potato Mash

This is good with sausage and game stew.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large celeriac, approx 1 lb
  • Equal weight of potatoes
  • 150ml milk
  • 50g butter
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Peel and chop the celeriac, and boil until tender
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop the potato, and boil in a separate pan until cooked
  • Warm the milk, butter, salt and pepper until the butter has melted
  • Purée the celeriac with the milk and butter
  • Add the purée to the cooked potato and mash with a potato masher (don’t try to purée the potato)

I’ve seen similar recipes elsewhere, using cream or créme fraiche, which I am sure would be delicious as well.

Poached pears with chocolate

We had poached pears with ice-cream and chocolate sauce tonight, inspiration from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 pears
  • 2 heaped tbsp caster sugar
  • a vanilla pod
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • ice-cream

METHOD:

  • Pour a litre of water into a large saucepan, add the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and bring to the boil.
  • Meanwhile peel the pears, halve them and remove the cores with a teaspoon.
  • Add the pears to the boiling syrup, and poach for 15 minutes
  • Allow to cool in the syrup
  • To serve, take 200ml of the syrup, and boil this with the chocolate.
  • Serve the pears over the ice-cream with chocolate sauce poured over the top.

Baked Spare Ribs

We took this recipe from ‘The Organic Meat Cookbook’ by Frances Bissell. We used some spare ribs from Ken Wilson’s croft: they were HUGE and delicious. The book says to allow 450g ribs per person but that was way more than enough. We used the oriental variation of the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 spare ribs per person (or 450g)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsps rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp angostura bitters
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp chinese five spice powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

METHOD:

  • Mix all the ingredients except for the ribs and the cornflour, and put them in the bottom of an ice-cream tub or similar, large enough to take all the spare ribs. Mix well.
  • Put the ribs into the marinade in the tub, make sure they are all coated in the marinade, and leave in the fridge overnight
  • When ready to start cooking, turn the oven to 200C and take the ribs out of the fridge to warm up a bit.
  • Take a roasting tray with a rack, and put a enough water in to cover the bottom. Put the ribs onto the rack, and put this in the oven. Save the marinade for basting
  • Bake for 1 hour, turn and baste the ribs every 15 minutes or so.
  • Once the ribs are cooked, take them out of the oven, and set aside on their rack. Take a spoonful of the liquid in the bottom of the tray, mix with the cornflour, and stir this back into the pan. Bring this to the boil to make a thickish gravy.

We served the ribs on rice cooked with a little shredded cabbage. One suggestion is to add sesame seeds to the ribs for the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking. We sourced most of the more unusual ingredients from Lovats (Carnan)

Chicken curry with mint

 

We had some bits of chicken in the freezer, all boned, and I made this from ‘Curry Easy’ which has to be one of my favourite recipe books.

Ingredients for marinade:

  • 500g boned skinned chicken pieces, cut into 2cm slices
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Put all the ingredients in a sealed plastic box overnight (or minimum 30 mins if you forgot) in the fridge. Give the box the occasional shake to keep things all mixed together.

Ingredients for cooking:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g chopped onion (about 1/2 an onion)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Method:

  • Use a wok, karhai or large frying pan. Heat the oil over medium/high heat, then add the chopped onions and stir-fry for a minute
  • Add the marinade and the chicken, and stir-fry for 3 minutes
  • Add the mint, stir through, then take off the heat and serve with rice.

Venison Curry

We made this curry with left-overs.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.25 kg left over roast venison, chopped into large cubes
  • 4 tsp whole coriander
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seed
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp whole fenugreek seed
  • 4 tsbs olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cm piece of grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 350ml stock (beef, chicken or marigold
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 125ml creamed coconut
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • In a small heavy pan, roast the cumin, coriander, fennel and fenugreek over high heat for 30s, set aside to cool, and then grind in a pestle and mortar.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan, and fry the onion, garlic, ginger and cinnamon over a medium heat for five minutes
  • Add the stock, meat, vinegar, cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, lots of grated black pepper, all the ground spices, and bring to a simmer.
  • Stir every so often, and heat through for around 30 minutes
  • Stir in 125ml creamed coconut (or 250ml coconut milk)

I served this with rice. You could make this with brisket of beef, and cook in a slow oven for around 2 hours.

Apple and Date Chutney

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.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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

METHOD:

  • 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.