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Rogan Josh

4 Feb

Rogan Josh

God that photo is awful. I got flustered taking photos of my food in front of guests because, lets be honest, blogger or not, it’s the mark of a bit of a tosser.

Anyway. I absolutely love Indian food but most of the time find takeaways far too oily. They always leave me with a feeling of having shovelled a lot of Very Bad Things into my face and having to undo the top of my jeans. It seems like a bit of a scary thing to cook yourself, but I can promise you it isn’t. And it tastes so much better than something lukewarm out of a foil container.

This is basically a recipe from Anjum’s New Indian, which I bought donkeys years ago but – more fool me – rarely cook from. I didn’t have a load of the ingredients in the cupboard so just sort of… improvised. The list of spices may seem long but the depth of flavour they add is fab.

You need:

  • 7 whole black peppercorns
  • 7 green cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • Around half an inch of a cinnamon stick
  • A bit of mace (you can buy this anywhere – it’s the outer shell of nutmeg)
  • ½ teaspoon or so of black onion seeds
  • 1 large onion, sliced into half rounds
  • 20g-ish of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly sliced
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 800g lamb, cut into large chunks
  • Can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried coriander
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons of chilli powder, depending how hot you like it
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of garam masala
  • Pinch of salt to taste
  • 1½ – 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
  • 2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach

Before you start cooking make a paste of the garlic and the ginger in a food processor of blender – chuck them together with a little splash of water and whaz up. Because I’m very, very nice and helpful I’m going to tell you the easiest way to peel ginger: USE A TEASPOON. Seriously. Just scrape the edge over the skin and it just comes away. You’ll never do it any other way.

Heat up some rapeseed or vegetable oil in a large pan over a low to medium heat and throw in your whole spices (the ones listed before your onion). After a couple of minutes you’ll hear the onion seeds starting to pop. Remove the cinnamon stick and add your onion. Give it a stir and make sure the heat is low enough that they don’t start to crisp up and burn, you’ll need to keep stirring so they don’t stick to the pan.

After five or ten minutes the onions will be nice and golden. Put the lamb in and stir everything together until the meat has browned all over. Turn the heat down and add the garlic and ginger, letting it cook for a few minutes.

Add the tomatoes and the rest of your spices, along with a tiny bit of just-boiled water, just enough to loosen it up. Pop the lid on and let it cook on a low heat for around 45 minutes/an hour, or until the lamb is falling apart and the sauce has reduced to a very thick gravy. Stir in the yoghurt and mix the spinach through until it has wilted.

We ate this with lots of (shop bought) naan bread and saffron rice. If you’re feeling benevolent you may want to pick the cloves out before serving.

Lemon Curd

15 Dec

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is SO simple even the biggest moron in the world can manage it. It is, in fact, probably the simplest thing I’ve ever made.

This makes a pretty decent amount:

  • 5 unwaxed lemons
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs plus one extra egg yolk

Put the butter and the sugar into a large, heatproof bowl with the juice and zest of four of the lemons. Pop this over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl – you just want the heat from the steam.

Let the butter melt completely, stirring once in a while.

Whisk the three eggs and the yolk together and stir into the mix, giving them another good whisk until everything is combined.

Leave this to cook until it begins to really thicken up – giving it the occasional stir –  and then mix in the zest of your fifth lemon. (If you don’t want bits in it add this in at the beginning with the rest of the lemons.)

Once you’ve got the right texture – nice, thick and not too runny, take the bowl off the heat and leave it to cool completely.

Pop into a sterilised jar (wash thoroughly with hot soapy water and then pop into the oven for fifteen minutes at 150°c/gas mark 2 before leaving to cool) and keep in the fridge.

Lemon Curd

Mince Pies

12 Dec

Mince Pies

Right. Now you’ve obviously made your mincemeat, it’s time for mince pies.

This is a pastry recipe from Delicious Magazine, but I could NOT make this work by doing this in a muffin tin because I’m bad at life. In a way though this is good as it means you don’t have to have one. You just need a biscuit cutter, or a glass wide enough to cut out rounds of the pastry about the width of your palm.

Annoyingly I don’t have any photos as I wasn’t sure if this would work, but (hopefully) this is easy enough that you don’t need them.

SO. For the dough:

  • 340g plain flour
  • 200g unsalted butter
  •  2 tablespoons of golden caster sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks (I trust you are using free range enough not to say it. Sort of.)
  • Four tablespoons of freezing cold water

For the mince pies:

  • Mincemeat (this will use about half the amount from my mincemeat recipe)
  • Golden caster sugar
  • Two beaten eggs

You want to keep everything as cold as possible, for as long as possible.

Pop the butter in the freezer until it is coooooold and then grate it into the flour. Rub it all together until it looks like fat breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar and the egg yolks, mixing very quickly with a knife, and add in two to four tablespoons of water until it forms a dough.

Shape everything into a flat disk and wrap in clingfilm, pop it in the fridge to rest and chill for about fifteen to twenty minutes.

Preheat the oven to about 190°c/gas mark 5.

Lightly flour a surface and roll out your dough to just under the thickness of a one pound coin. With a large biscuit cutter or a glass or something else imaginative cut the dough into an equal amount of circles.

On one circle of dough, pop about a teaspoon/teaspoon of a half of mincemeat right in the middle. Lightly brush some of your beaten egg around the outside and then pop another circle of dough over the top and seal the edges together and then press lightly around the seal with a fork. Repeat until you’ve used up all your dough.

Pop these onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and lightly brush the tops with your beaten egg. Sprinkle over a little bit of golden caster sugar and pop them into the oven for about ten to fifteen minutes, or until the pastry is lovely and golden.

Let them cool and dust over some icing sugar. I got some very twee glittery stuff from Waitrose that I’m clearly never going to use again.

Mince Pies

Tadaaa! You’ve basically just won Christmas. Take these into the office or to friends and show off.

Mince Pies

 

Mincemeat

11 Dec

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Wow, I really kept up that three posts a week nonsense, didn’t I? I can only apologise that you haven’t had any of my kitchen wizardry to fill your days with for so long. I know, I know: you’ve been lost without me.

So anyway. It’s nearly Christmas blah blah blah and Christmas means mince pies. You can just buy them from the shop but there’s never enough booze in them so let’s make the filling from scratch. Yaaaay.

You need:

  • 125g butter
  • 215g light brown sugar
  • 175g currants
  • 200g raisins
  • 150g sultanas
  • 175g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed peel
  • Half a cooking apple, chopped finely and cored, but leave the skin on
  • 50g skinned almonds, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • A teaspoon of mixed spice

Once it’s cooked you’ll need about 300 to 400ml of brandy.

Pop everything bar the booze into a large pan on a low heat until the butter has melted, and turn the heat up a fraction. Let everything cook for around 15, 20 minutes and let the fruit soak everything up, stirring occasionally.

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Let it cool completely, mix in the brandy and pop into a sterilised jar or some Tupperwear until you want to use it.

Spicy Portugese Chicken

24 Nov

Portuguese Chicken

My friend David came over for lunch last Tuesday and while it was lovely and sunny for some of the day, the rest of the time it was disgusting and grey and rainy because blurgh, so this seemed like the perfect thing to cook. It’s a recipe from Feasting at Home, but with the chillies I had knocking around the kitchen. While it uses four chillies it’s not SUPER hot, more warming. If you want it hotter replace the weaker chillies with hotter ones, or put the marinade under the skin rather than just on top.

You can buy dried chillies almost anywhere, mine were just things I grabbed in Waitrose ages ago, and haven’t known what to do with.

You’ll need:

  • A chicken, because without that you’ll be a bit stuck
  • 1 dried ancho chilli
  • 1 dried habanero chilli
  • 1 dried cascabel chilli
  • 1 dried chipotle chilli (the smokiness of this is gorgeous)
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 60ml red wine vinegar
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • A teaspoon of dried coriander
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put the chillies in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil, simmer for 20 minutes to rehydrate. Let them cool slightly so you can handle them.

Finely chop or mince the garlic and chop up the chillies and bung everything other than the chicken (duh) into a food processor.

Portuguese Chicken

Blend everything until you have a paste and then brush or rub about half over your chicken. If you want to let it marinade do this an hour or so before you want to cook. Pop half an onion up your bird’s bum to keep it moist. (It’s all gone a bit Dapper Laughs now, hasn’t it?)

Portuguese Chicken

As I said in my rosemary and thyme chicken post, cooking times vary depending on the weight. It’s usually 45 minutes plus 20 per kilo. Put your chicken in for however long it should cook at 200°c/gas mark 6. Half way through cooking baste again with the rest of your marinade.

Portuguese Chicken

When it’s done leave it to rest for ten minutes and then get someone competent, as in, not me, to carve.

Portuguese Chicken

We ate this with a big salad and sweet potato chips.

 

Boozy Eton Mess

21 Nov

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Terrible photo but I was busy eating and wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, God knows why though, it’s got cream and booze in it.

I randomly bought little meringues the other day so decided to throw together an Eton mess for pudding.

Next time I may soak the fruit in booze for a bit too.

You need:

  • Three meringue nests
  • A punnet of raspberries
  • Half a punnet of strawberries
  • 200ml double cream
  • Hazelnut liqueur, Frangelico or Fratello
  • Chopped hazelnuts

Crumble up your meringues into a bowl and throw in your raspberries, quarter your strawberries and add them too.

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In another bowl pour in your cream and a really good slug of liqueur. Whip up until it forms soft peaks.

Mix this in to your meringue and fruit until everything is coated and the raspberries streak through the cream.

Sprinkle over one or two teaspoons of chopped hazelnuts (you can buy these but I wazzed – technical term – some blanched whole ones in the food processor).

Pat yourself on the back, you’ve just won at desserts.

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Cinnamon Rolls

21 Nov

Cinnamon Rolls

I ADORE these. I can eat ten of them on the trot and the smell while they’re cooking – SWOON!

This recipe is stolen off Sod Nigella, with a couple of changes. They went down very well at home and in the office, and I’m tempted to do them yet again just to win more brownie points.

For the buns you need:

  • 250ml full-fat milk
  • 100g butter
  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 7g yeast
  • 80g caster sugar
  • A tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • ½ a teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 beaten egg

For the filling:

  • 200g softened butter
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 4-6 tablespoons of ground cinnamon, depending on taste
  • ½ a teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • Four handfuls of raisins and/or sultanas

To make your dough: Very gently heat the milk in a small pan, you want to get it hot, but don’t let it boil. Take the pan off the heat and add the butter and stir in until it has all melted.

In a large bowl mix the flour, yeast, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Pour in the milk bit by bit, and start to bring the dough together with your hands. OH THE SMELL! Gradually add the beaten egg  – don’t do this too soon or the heat from the milk may scramble it.

You’ll end up with a sticky, very light dough which you need to knead on a floured surface for at least ten minutes. It’ll be very pillowy and soft at first but you’ll know when it’s done when it becomes slightly more elastic. Dough, I think, is one of those things you can sort of do by feel – the more you deal with different doughs the easier they become as you start to be able to tell when they’re ready.

Cinnamon Rolls

Pop it into a bowl and cover with clingfilm – you’ll need to leave it in a warm place to prove for at least an hour. My kitchen is quite cold so I tend to need to leave things for a little longer. It’s done when it has doubled in size.

While your dough is rising make your filling. Beat everything together with a spoon – bar the fruit, if you’re using it – until you have a gorgeous, buttery mix.

Cinnamon Rolls

Separate your dough into manageable portions – four or five maybe – and leave the bits you aren’t using in the bowl under the clingfilm so it doesn’t dry out. Quickly knead again, only for a minute or two, and then on a lightly floured surface roll out into as much of a rectangle as you can manage – don’t make it TOO thin, the thickness of a pound coin is pretty good, but this doesn’t need to be exact.

Spread with some of your butter and cinnamon mix and sprinkle over your raisins etc if you’re using.

Cinnamon Rolls

 

Gently roll this into a sausage shape – do it lengthways for slightly smaller buns, or roll from the shorter edge for wider ones.

Cinnamon Rolls

With a sharp knife slice this into rounds about an inch thick. Lightly butter your oven dish and pop them inside. Leave a little bit of space as you’re going to let them rise again and they will spread when they cook.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cover these with yet another bit of clingfilm and again, leave someone warm for half an hour to an hour until they have doubled in size. While you’re waiting heat the oven to 190°c/gas mark 5.

Pop your rolls in the middle of the oven for around 15 minutes, until they’re lovely and golden.

Cinnamon Rolls

These are best eaten warm, but are equally good cold. I followed Morgan’s lead and iced mine with a mix of maple syrup and icing sugar mixed together until it’s drizzly. They’ll keep for a few days in an air-tight container but I very much doubt they’ll last that long.

I couldn’t even wait to take a photo ffs.

Cinnamon Rolls

Courgette and Parmesan Chips

19 Nov

Courgette and Parmesan Chips

 

For some reason I am unable to do an Ocado shop without ordering about 10,000 courgettes. The other day I finally decided to do something other than fucking courgette pasta with them.

So:

  • One or two courgettes
  • 500g grated parmesan
  • A teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • Pepper
  • A tablespoon of olive oil

Heat your oven to about 200°c/gas mark 6. Mix the cheese, chilli and pepper together in a shallow dish. Marvel at how pretty it is and oooh isn’t cheese soft?

Courgette and Parmesan Chips

Cut the courgettes into rounds, you want them to be the thickness of around two pound coins. Toss them in the olive oil so they’re very lightly coated and then dip them in the cheese, gently pressing it in to either side so it sticks.

Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper on an oven tray and pop in the middle of the oven. After ten minutes flip them over. They’re done when they’re nice and brown.

If you’re a very good cook and food blogger you’ll forget they’re in the oven and they’ll look like this.

Courgette and Parmesan Chips

 

Eat.

Honey and Mint Slow Roast Lamb Shanks

17 Nov

Honey and Mint Slow Roast Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks are absolutely my favourite cut of lamb. For me they have to be very, very slow cooked so the meat flakes straight off the bone and melts in your mouth.

My best friend Charlotte and I used to spend every Sunday of our late teens and early twenties in the Prince’s Head on Richmond Green, drinking lots of beer and gossiping. I would always have the honey and mint lamb shanks and the other weekend was feeling a bit nostalgic so gave them a go.

You need:

  • Two lamb shanks (one per person)
  • A nice handful of fresh mint
  • 4 tablespoons of runny honey
  • Salt and pepper

Finely chop the mint and simply mix with the honey and add a good pinch of salt and black pepper.

Honey and Mint Slow Roast Lamb Shanks

Put the lamb shanks in a roasting tray and bast with the mix.

Honey and Mint Slow Roast Lamb Shanks

Place them on their sides and cover the tin with tin foil (shiny side down, I mean, come on.) and pop in the oven on a very low heat (maybe 150-60°c/gas mark 2-3) for four to five hours.

Half way through take the lamb out and baste with the juices in the pan.

Honey and Mint Slow Roast Lamb Shanks

 

Leave to rest under the foil for 10 minutes and then serve. (Always good with hassleback potatoes FYI..)

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Perfect Yorkshire Puddings

14 Nov

Yorkshire Puddings

I love Yorkshire puddings SO much, but I’ve always been a little scared of them even though they’re actually incredibly easy. The only trick is making sure your pan is super hot.

This is Jamie Oliver’s Yorkshire pudding recipe, but I’ve added a pinch of nutmeg to jazz them up a little. (Because I totally know more than a professional chef, obvs.)

You need:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 100ml milk (I use skimmed because that’s what we have in the fridge)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Few turns of salt and pepper
  • A small pinch of nutmeg
  • Vegetable oil
  • A cupcake tin

The original recipe says this should make 12 in a cupcake tin but I’ve found it makes about six. If you want to make more just double the recipe. Basically everything in this weighs the same amount – eggs are around 50g – so for each extra egg you add you need 50g more of flour and 50ml more of milk.

Whisk the flour, milk, eggs and seasoning together until you have a light, lump-free batter. Pour a tiny bit of vegetable oil into each dip in your cupcake tin and pop it in a pre-heated oven at 240°c/gas mark nine.

Leave the oil for a good ten to fifteen minutes to get it SMOKING hot. The only tricky bit now is whipping it out very quickly and pouring the batter into each hole, filling it up about half way. Do this as fast as you can and get it back into the oven. DON’T open the door! Just leave them be for about 10 minutes or until they’re golden.

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