I kind of made this up, basing the flavours on a vegetarian recipe that I have. There may be edits as I try out tweaking the recipe. It was good enough the first time, though.
- Approx. 200g onion, chopped
- 200g pancetta (or streaky bacon) (optional)
- 2 tbsp olive oil or lard
- 2 tsp Hungarian paprika
- 1 tsp caraway, lightly crushed
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- freshly ground black pepper
- 300 to 400g beef, cut into cubes
- 300ml beef stock
- 300ml tub of sour cream
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 or 3 potatoes, peeled and diced (or use small salad potatoes, around 200g)
- Set the oven to 160℃
- In a large oven-safe casserole pan, fry the pancetta until crispy on the outside, and set aside.
- In the same pan, fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until golden yellow and soft
- Add the paprika and caraway seed, and stir into the onions, around 15 seconds.
- Add the meat and stir to brown the meat on all sides as well as coating it with paprika
- Add the stock, bacon, tomato puree, black pepper, salt to taste, and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and put the pan into the oven for around 2½ hours
- Add the peeled chopped potatoes, and check the seasoning, and then cook for another half an hour or so, until the potatoes are cooked. You can add other vegetables as well, such as carrots, or celeriac, if you wish. If the stew is not thick enough for your taste, simmer on the stove top with the lid off, to reduce it down.
- Stir in the sour cream, and garnish with chopped parsley to serve.
We had a really good bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape, and when I googled what we should eat with it, the answer was steak and kidney pie. I made this, and it was delicious. The basic recipe is in Maw Broon’s cookbook.
- 375g Bells ready-rolled puff pastry
- 2 sheep’s kidneys
- Approx 150g mushrooms, roughly chopped.
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 50g butter
- 450g steak
- A little water
- Milk or beaten egg to glaze
- Turn the oven to 220C
- Dice the steak into large chunks. Peel the kidneys of their membrane, and cut out the central fibrous tissue. Coat the meat in seasoned flour.
- Fry the onion gently in the butter until translucent, for around five minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, and continue to fry gently for another three to five minutes.
- Mix in the meat, and fill the pie dish with the mixture. The dish should be fairly full. Add a little water.
- I needed to fold the rolled pastry in half, and then gave it a gentle roll to ensure it was just a shade larger than my dish. Wet the edge of the pie dish and trim a strip of pastry, and press this onto the wetted edge of the pie dish. Cover the pie filling with the pastry, pierce a few holes to let steam out, and decorate as you wish.
- Glaze the pastry with egg or milk.
- Cook in a hot oven, 220C until the pastry is golden, and then turn the heat down to 180C and cook for a further hour and a half.
We had mashed potatoes and garlic cabbage with this.
We are eating the last of the beef we got from Dr Louise, from cattle grazed on Askernish Machair. I made this last week, so easy. It is from #CookforSyria, a recipe book that I bought two years ago. The website link also tells you a little bit more about the creation of CookforSyria, a celebration of Syrian food culture, and a fund-raiser for Unicef.
This dish is meant to be cooked in a single pot, as part of a barbecue, picnic or other al-fresco dining event.
- 500g beef, cubed
- 100g suet, beef fat or other cooking fat
- 2 aubergines, cubed
- 2 green peppers, chopped
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 125ml of Arak (or Raki, or Ouzo)
- salt and pepper
- In the pot, cover the beef in cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Any stock that is produced can be used for other dishes.
- Take the beef out of the water, and reserve the stock for another day. In the pan, fry the beef fat for a few minutes then add the chopped vegetables and the beef. Add a few spoonfuls of the stock from earlier.
- Cover and leave to simmer for 25 minutes, and then add the Arak, and simmer for a further five minutes.
- Serve with flat bread and/or rice.
I had no idea that Jhal Faraizi was designed to use up left-overs. In fact, this recipe is almost like stovies, but with more meat, and green Chillies. Madhur Jaffrey’s book Curry Easy gives a short history of the origins of the dish, which originated in Bengal. Some versions have a sauce, but this is more pared back, and quick and easy. I didn’t have any left-over potatoes or beef, so this version includes cooking from scratch.
- 4 medium floury potatoes
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil or other vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 fresh hot green chillies, chopped finely
- around 350g beef (could be left-overs) – diced
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, roughly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- Boil the potatoes whole, and then set aside to cool
- Poach the beef in some water and ginger, for around 20 minutes, then strain and remove the ginger. I kept the liquid back and used it as stock in another recipe.
- When the potatoes are cool, peel them and cut into small dice.
- Put the oil in a large frying pan, and heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle briefly.
- Add the onion, potatoes and chillies, then turn the heat down a bit, and stir, cooking until the onions are translucent, around five minutes.
- Add the meat, a good pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. Stir and mix for a minute, and turn the heat down very low. Press the mixture down into the pan and then cook gently for around 15 minutes.
- We had this with poached eggs on top.
This is a Persian recipe, which we made with some locally raised beef. The co-op has some peaches ready for ripening at home, which are ideal for this recipe, which is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large white/yellow onion
- 450g beef, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 firm peaches
- 20g butter
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Tiny pinch of saffron
- chopped pistachio nuts
- Put the saffron in a small cup and add a tiny amount of boiling water, and set aside
- Heat the oil in a large flat casserole dish, and gently fry the onion until it is beginning to brown.
- Add the beef, turn up the heat a little, and fry until browned.
- Add the turmeric, cumin, white pepper, coriander, stir and add the tomato paste. Cook for another two minutes, stirring until the meat is well-coated.
- Add just enough boiling water to cover the meat, and bring back to the boil, then add the cinnamon and salt. Turn the heat down very low, and braise for a couple of hours, until the beef is very tender.
- Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to peel the peaches, halve them to remove the stones, and cut each half- peach into three segments.
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and fry the peach segments over a medium heat, until they are beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
- When the beef is tender, add lemon juice to taste, and add a teaspoon of saffron water.
- Arrange the peach segments over the stew, spoon over the sauce, cover and cook over a low heat for a further 5 minutes
- Garnish with chopped pistachio nuts, and serve with plain rice.
This is a truly delicious meal, I keep sneaking back for extra portions. It uses a surprisingly small amount of meat to make a meal for around eight people.
I derived the recipe from the astonishingly good book, Nightingales and Roses by Maryam Sinaiee. There are a couple of tweaks to match local circumstances and my store cupboard.
- 400g basmati rice
- 400g white cabbage – I used a whole sweetheart cabbage
- vegetable oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 200g mince
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 5 tbsp tomato puree OR 250ml passata
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 20g butter
- Put the rice in a large bowl, and cover with water, stirring to loosen any surface starch. Drain, and repeat this step three times, then leave the rice to soak in salted water for 30 minutes or more.
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Drain the soaked rice and add to the pan. Bring the water back to the boil, and cook uncovered until the rice grains are on the surface of the water. This takes about six minutes or so. The rice should feel cooked, but still with a little bite to it.
- Drain the cooked rice and rinse with cold water to separate the grains and stop them cooking.
- Chop the cabbage coarsely and saute it in 1 tbsp of oil over a medium to high heat, seasoned with the black pepper. After five minutes, as it starts to brown, remove from the pan.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan, and the chopped onions, fry for around 10 minutes until starting to brown.
- Add the mince, turmeric, and cumin, and fry until the mince is well browned.
- Add the tomato paste, salt and cabbage. If you are using tomato paste and not passata, then add 200ml boiling water. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. If the mixture is looking a little dry, or starting to catch, add another drop of water.
- Using the large pan, put a couple of tablespoons of oil at the bottom, and heat it. Then add alternating layers of rice and cabbage mixture, starting and ending with a rice layer. Wrap the pan lid in a tea towel and jam it firmly on top.
- Put the pan over a medium heat and cook until the outside of the pan is hot.
- Melt the butter in 2 tablespoons of boiling water, and pour this over the top of the rice mountain in the pan. Put the pan into an oven at Gas 3, 170C, and bake for 30 minutes.
- When the dish is done, it should be turned out onto a platter, and served with yoghurt, pickled vegetables, and a salad of herbs. At this time of year, not that many delicious herbs in the garden, so I skipped that bit.
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.
- 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
- 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.
This is a bit of a mixture of recipes. My daughter left some Orzo pasta when she last visited. I hadn’t come across it before, it looks like large bits of rice. So I googled and tested and used what was in my fridge and freezer. This is heavily based on Nigella Lawson’s dish of the same name, but there are other twists from similar recipes.
You could use one of my other meatball recipes to make the meatball mixture, but I followed the method below. The recipe makes six servings.
- 500g mince
- 1 large egg
- 50g breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 50g grated parmesan
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 litre cold water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tsp dried oregano (I actually used the mystery herbs)
- 60ml red vermouth or red wine
- 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 300g orzo pasta
- Put the mince, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, oregano, parmesan and 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl, and mix to a smooth paste. Leave to chill in the fridge for half an hour minimum.
- Heat the oven to 180C
- Make small meatballs from the mixture, about the size of a large marble. I made around 35. They should be small enough to eat whole without looking greedy. Put them onto the bottom of a roasting tray or baking sheet.
- Bake the meatballs in the oven for around fifteen minutes.
- MEANWHILE get ready for the sauce and pasta. Get the ingredients assembled.
- Heat the oil in a large casserole dish or pan with a lid. Cook the chopped onion over a medium heat for around 10 minutes until very soft and cooked
- Add the herbs and stir them in, before adding the vermouth.
- Once the vermouth is hot and bubbling, add the tomatoes, and rinse out the tins with the water before adding that as well. Add 1 tsp salt at this stage.
- Bring the mixture back to a simmer, and let it cook with the lid on for around twenty minutes.
- Add the orzo and the meatballs, bring back to a simmer, and cook with the lid on for a further ten to fifteen minutes. The orzo has a tendency to stick, so the occasional stir will help.
- Serve in shallow bowls, garnished with parmesan shavings and chopped parsley.
- I also served a dish of grilled asparagus and buttered baby carrots.
When I was much younger, I lived in Teheran, and we used to have barbecues when we were out and about – often my dad would barbecue chicken, but we’ve had some amazing meals. We had a sort of portable barbecue, and some rush fans to get the charcoal glowing hot.
I made these kebabs under the electric grill at home, but they would taste so much better cooked under an open sky, the sun throbbing in the sky, with mountains on the horizon and an icy river flowing through the rocks below.
- 1 large onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1kg beef mince, or 50/50 beef and lamb
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice (about half a lime)
- A pinch of saffron, ground in a pestle and mortar and dissolved in a tsp of hot water
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp lime juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Chop the onion and garlic, and put it in the blender with the lime juice and blitz it.
- Put the meat, onion/garlic/lime, salt, pepper, saffron and baking soda in a large bowl. Kneed the mixture with your hands for 15 minutes to make a paste
- Divide the meat into eight or so lumps, and press this around the skewers. The skewers should be flat, so that the kebab doesn’t spin round. We used some stainless steel strips cut into 18 inch lengths. Mold the meat around the skewers. Once they are ready, set aside in a cool place.
- If you are using a barbecue, this should be lit and burning for around half an hour before cooking, so that the charcoal is glowing hot. We had the grill set to high.
- In a small pan, melt the butter and combine with a dash of lime and a pinch of salt. A little cayenne pepper could also be added here.
- Brown the kebabs quickly on each side, so that the outer layer is firm; this is to stop the kebabs falling apart.
- Baste with the butter and lime, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Serve with flat bread, and salad. The kebab can be garnished with lime juice or sumac powder. The best salad would be yoghurt, spring onions, herbs and garlic, perhaps with some walnuts.