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Cheat’s Thai Red Curry

9 Jun

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I’m not a huge fan of Thai food in general, but I bloody love a good red curry. I also love being able to make something tasty in under 20 minutes and not have to faff about, and that’s where the cheating comes in…

This is made with shop-bought curry paste. From a jar. GASP!

So, to make enough for two, you need:

  • A jar of red curry paste (I like Waitrose’s own-brand one best)
  • One or two red chillies
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Just under an inch of ginger
  • Three spring onions
  • A can of coconut milk
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • Teaspoon of fish sauce
  • Two chicken breasts
  • A handful of green beans, the same of baby corn, and again of broccoli (you can use frozen veg too). Really, you can add any veg you like. I’m not the boss of you.

Peel the garlic and ginger and finely chop both. Cut the spring onion and the chilli into thin rounds and very gently fry it all in some vegetable oil in a deep pan.

Add two or three tablespoons of the curry paste and let that fry for a minute or two.

Pour in the can of coconut milk, add the chicken stock and your fish sauce, and after a good stir let it come to a gentle boil.

Chop your chicken and veg into manageable chunks and once the pot is bubbling tip it all in and let it simmer for around ten minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve it with sticky rice, a scattering of fresh chilli, and something rubbish on Netflix.

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Guinness lamb shanks 

20 May


I stole this recipe off Jamie Oliver (with a few changes) because while I think his sugar tax is really a TAX ON THE POOR *Theresa May face* and just genuinely shit and stupid and it makes me angry, he’s so good a chef I just can’t dislike him. Though my god I feel bad for whichever lackey has to pick up all the herbs he’s always chucking around the place. 

I cooked this for my boyfriend and his son, who, just so you know, gave every bit 10 out of 10 and I’m smug about it. Also I went all the way to sodding Croydon to my storage unit just for some kitchen equipment so I had to actually use it. 

This takes some time but is gorgeous. Rich and hearty. 

Ingredients: (for two):

  • Two lamb shanks
  • One red onion, finely sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon marmalade 
  • Half a tablespoon of ketchup 
  • 1 tablespoon Worscestershire sauce 
  • 170ml Guinnness 
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary, leaves off the woody bits and finely chopped
  • 500ml chicken stock

In a casserole (or in pans and then bung it all together like I do) on a medium heat with a bit of vegetable oil cook the onions – Jamie says until they caramelise but this is bollocks. That takes forever. Literally an hour minimum. Just cook them gently until they start to brown without crisping up. 

Stir in the marmalade, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and a good bit of salt and pepper. It’ll go lovely and gooey and nice. Then chuck in the rosemary. 


Add the Guinness and keep everything very gently simmering on a low heat. 

Brown the lamb shanks in vegetable oil until they’ve got a good colour all over. 

Pour the chicken stock into the Guinness and onions and stir. Add the lamb shanks, put the lid on and bung in the oven at 160°c/gas mark 3. 

Cook for two and a half hours, then turn the meat. 


Cook for another two and a half hours or until the lamb is falling off the bone. 

Remove the meat and stick it back in the oven for ten minutes uncovered. 

While you do this whizz the liquid and onions etc up in a blender (thank you Croydon) and then put on a medium/high heat on the stove to reduce until thick. 


After the ten minutes in the oven take the lamb out to rest under tinfoil for at least another ten minutes. While you do this your gravy will become unctuous. I just really wanted to use that word. 

Plate up, pour over the sauce. Serve with all butter mash, because what other mash is there? and lots of greens you have to force boys big and small to eat. 

Potato and goats cheese tart

16 May

 

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Aaaarrrrrgh I love this. SO many carbs. All the carbs. And cheese. Cut me open and I’m basically a breathing Breville.

This is a really simple lunch or supper, great served with a big green salad. Imagine I’ve added it into the photo on MS Paint.

Ingredients:

  • Pre-made puff pastry because let’s be honest who can be buggered otherwise
  • A large red onion
  • Three potatoes
  • A log of goats cheese (without the rind probably better melty-wise)
  • A few springs of fresh thyme
  • Fresh black pepper

Peel and boil your potatoes. I know this is super complicated but I have faith in you.

Slice your onions into thick half rounds and in a frying pan on a very low heat gently cook them in a little olive oil until they start to caramelise. Though this seems to take about eighty years usually so just sweat them until they start to brown unless you’re really relaxed and have time.

Score a box about two centimetres in from the edge of your pastry. Lightly oil some grease-proof paper and pop it on top on an oven tray. Cut your potatoes nice and thin and then layer them over. Just look at that. Carb city.

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Sprinkle (dollop) your onions over the top and add slices of goats cheese. Take the leaves off the thyme and scatter over the top, with a good scrunch of black pepper and drizzle over a tiny bit of olive oil. You don’t need any salt because of the cheese. I added salt when I ate it because I’d bought some sort of organic bullshit and it was sad.

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Pop it into the oven at 180°c/gas mark 4 for about 15 minutes, or until everything is golden and yummy. It also makes fantastic leftovers.

You can thank me later. I accept cash and travellers cheques.

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Steak and ale pie

15 May

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Hi there, don’t know if you’ve noticed but it’s mid-May! You can tell by the grey sky, sheeting rain and the fact I am regretting taking my coat to my mum’s to make more room in my wardrobe.

Basically, it’s comfort food weather. Sod your bikini body salads, it’s best to keep that little sleeping bag of going-up-a-size on until it warms up. I made this pie before spring sprang and then promptly dropped dead, but forgot to blog about it, so thanks to the shitty weather you’re getting it now. It’ll help, I promise.

I used the Grauniad’s How to cook the perfect… for this so it’s almost an exact copy based on it.

DISCLAIMER: I don’t want to hear your whinging about how this is a casserole in a hat, I get enough of this at home. Christ.

You need:

  • 800g of ox cheek – I did puppy eyes in Waitrose so the man at the meat counter cut it into chunks for me. A butcher will do this, or you’ll need a super sharp knife
  • 15g plain flour
  • 200g lardons
  • 250g chopped white onion
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 400ml Fullers Golden Pride ale
  • Four or five sprigs of thyme, leaves off the stems
  • Two sprigs of rosemary, leaves off the stems
  • A bay leaf. Just one. Then you’ll realise you already have three boxes of them in the cupboard
  • 1 tablespoon of dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
  • Ready-made shortcrust or puff pastry
  • A marrow bone for a funnel if you’re feeling proper fancy

Season the flour and coat your ox cheek in it, I find it easiest to do this with my hands. It’ll help the meat brown beautifully, but if you don’t have any don’t panic. Brown it off in a frying pan on the stove on a high heat using vegetable or rapeseed oil (or anything tasteless), but don’t bung it all in the pan or you’ll overcrowd it. Once it’s done chuck it in a large casserole dish.

Throw the lardons in the pan, turn down the heat and add the onions. Once they start to brown they all go into the casserole with the beef.

Pour over your ale and the stock (hot, please!), then in go the herbs, sugar, vinega and cocoa. Give it all a nice stir and then get it up to a simmer. If, like me, your casserole dish won’t go on the stove, just bung it in the oven with the lid on now, at 150°c/gas mark 2. It’s a pie. It’ll be fine.

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I cooked this for about six hours, stirring when I remembered, so the beef was incredibly tender. For the last hour or so I took the lid off the dish to let the liquid reduce – I stirred it more at this point to stop the top bits from crisping up too much.

I used a little blackbird pie funnel for this, but you don’t need to worry too much if you don’t have one. If you want to show off, which I usually do, use a marrow bone instead. As it cooks the marrow will melt into your pie filling and be delish.

Egg wash the lip of the dish and place your pastry over the top, crimping the edges with a fork. Brush egg over the pastry, add on any decoration and egg wash those too. This will make it shiny and lovely and make you look like you know what you’re doing.

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I made this for my boyfriend which is why it is so romantic 

This then goes in the oven at 180°c/gas mark 4 for around 50 minutes. I served it with LOADS of all-butter mash, broccoli and red wine. We’ll pretend we ate all the broccoli.

Puttanesca 

1 Oct


Puttanesca is one of my favourite easy suppers. It’s usually made with spaghetti, but I always find that a bit slimy so use linguini, or fusilli to really mop up all the sauce. 

The name comes from the Italian for prostitute, puttana, and basically means whore’s pasta. There’re lots of arguments about why, but rather than a load of working girls knocking something up for clients (do you pay extra for dinner?) I see it in more of a Godfrey Bloom sense: you’ve been far too sluttish to do any shopping, never mind clean behind the fridge, and this is the ultimate bare-cupboard recipe. 

Serves four or two carb lovers

  • Pasta, obvs, of your choice
  • Half a white onion, finely chopped
  • Two cloves of garlic, finely chopped 
  • Two anchovies, chopped up
  • A tin of chopped tomatoes or around 300ml of passata 
  • Tablespoon of tomato purée if you have it
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried chilli flakes depending on how much heat you want
  • A small handful of black olives, halved

Chuck a spoonful of capers in if you like them, and if you have any dried basil or oregano a sprinkling of those. 

For anchovy haters like me PLEASE don’t miss these out. You absolutely won’t taste them but they add a perfect bit of salt and non-fish flavour. 

Gently heat a glug of good olive oil in a large pan and add the anchovies for a minute then sweat off the onions and garlic until the former have gone slightly translucent. 

Throw in the chilli and give it a good stir before throwing everything else into the pan. Let it simmer while your pasta cooks and then stir through with a tiny bit of the starchy pasta water – it helps the sauce stick. Top with LOADS of Parmesan and some torn basil if you’ve got some handy. 

Eat with a bucket of red wine and a hot date, just make sure they leave a tip on the nightstand. 

Lemon Drizzle 

14 Sep

 

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I used to be quite good at cakes, then suddenly, like some sort of biblical curse, every cake I touched curdled.

I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t left staring at a big, grainy mess in the bowl in front of me. At first I thought it might be because my kitchen was so cold, but now I’ve moved back to my mum’s with her fancy show-off central heating and proper insulation and I’ve still got the same problem.

I know all the tricks, putting in a tablespoon of flour before you start mixing the wet ingredients, everything you’re cooking with being room temp, but no luck. The worst bit is I don’t even really know what curdling is, or why it matters. Everything seems to turn out all right in the end anyway. There’s probably a life lesson there, but who really cares?

Cake:

  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • Skewer

Syrup:

  • Juice of 1 and a ½ lemons
  • 100g icing sugar

Icing

  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 150g icing sugar

Grease and line a standard-size loaf tin or loose-bottom cake tin – I know this is a faff and boring and every time I see it in a recipe it makes me clench my fists and breathe really hard through my nose, but you’ll thank me later. Heat the oven to 180ºc/gas mark 4.

Cream together the butter and sugar until doubled in size and light and fluffy. Add the zest of one of the lemons, and the eggs. Gently whisk in.

Fold in the flour and salt, at which point it’ll all seem too thick and dry and you’ll start to get that hollow feeling of failure in your throat. Oh you. Stir in the milk and it’ll all be fine. If you’re me it will have curdled by now anyway. (I usually chuck a tablespoon of poppy seeds in with the flour, but had run out and am disorganised so… didn’t.)

Pour into your cake tin (if you’re feeling fancy you could put some lemon curd in the middle and leave off the syrup later) and pop it in the oven for around 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Just before you take the cake out make the syrup by heating the sugar and lemon juice together until dissolved.

While the cake is still hot poke some holes into it and pour over the warm syrup. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

Make the icing by mixing together the icing sugar and lemon juice. That’s it. Don’t use all the juice at once, just get it to a thick consistency where it will pour off a spoon, but still set.

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Lazy Posh Bolognese 

13 Sep

Ragu. Cheese, because duh.

A post shared by Sarah Douglas (@sarahduggers) on

 

As we all know – and by that I mean you avidly read here and remember everything I say – I hate mince. This means I’ve never got on with bolognese. Also growing up with a vegetarian mother meant it was never really a staple. TLDR; I’m not a bolognese fan.

Until I made this. Because it’s fancy in its own way, easy as falling over, but makes me look good. And those last two are quite important to me. The ingredients list seems long but really apart from the meat it’s a cupboard recipe.

SO. You need:

  • 500g stewing beef – go to the butcher, it’s much better than a packet
  • OR a kilo of oxtail. This seems stupid amount-wise, but I’m badly estimating taking bone into account. I make mine with the beef and a few oxtails thrown in
  • One white onion, finely chopped
  • Two carrots, very finely chopped
  • One stick of celery, finely chopped
  • Two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Herbs: I’m so basic bitch with this I’ve been using Bart’s Mediterranean herb mix, about a tablespoon. But go mad and use what you like.
  • Can of chopped tomatoes
  • Same amount of water
  • Beef stock cube
  • VERY LARGE glass of good red – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it
  • Time.
  • Pappardelle or tageatelle

First of you need to make a sofrito: take your onions, celery, and carrots and chop them into tiny little cubes. This is ballache unless you have a food processor. If you do, use that. Mine is currently in storage in Croydon so instead I spent some time listening to the Archers and chopping things very small. It should look something like this. But probably better.


Chuck it in with some rapeseed or other flavourless oil plus the garlic too and sweat everything on a very low heat forever until it’s all soft. Once that’s happened throw in your meat and brown it off.

MEAT

Add the tomatoes, water, wine, stock cube, herbs and stir.

Stick the lid on, put the heat down as low as it will go and cook for at least four hours, probably about six, stirring once in a while.

The meat will pull itself the slower it cooks, if you use oxtail you may need to pull the meat off the bone but I found the bones just came out clean. Reduce it right down until it’s in a thick gravy.

Stir through fresh pasta or reheat and do the same. Eat with lots of fresh Parmesan and red wine. Ignore the prosseco below…

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