Recipe: Indonesian Fish Curry

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Well Pumpkin Spiced Lattes are trending on Twitter, I guess that officially means it’s Autumn now.  The BBQ I bought at the end of June is sitting in the cellar, optimistically assembled but unlicked by charcoal flame.  The only thing it’s possibly been licked by is the cat that has decided to sleep in it occasionally, completely ignoring the handmade cat-yurt we bought them from Etsy.

Autumn means stews, soups and curries – reliable, comforting recipes to warm you up without abandoning all dignity and putting a onesie on, or having to get a Wonga loan out to fund a hours worth of central heating.  Earlier this week I made my first stew-dish of the Autumn, an Indonesian Fish Curry from John Torode’s new book (Torode’s the one off Masterchef who didn’t get savaged by Charlie Brooker), and it ticks all the boxes for an Autumn and Winter warmer – a reassuring hug in a bowl, but with a lip-biting bit of spice, and it’s quick and easy enough to make and eat before the windows turn pitch black and you surrender to bed at 6:30pm.

Method

Fry 3tbsp Red Curry Paste in a pan with 1tsp Paprika and 1tbsp Coconut oil.  Stir in Half a tin of Coconut Milkand simmer for a few minutes.  Add the other Half a tin of Coconut Milk and then half-fill the tin with Water and add that, then add Ten Kaffir Lime Leaves and simmer for a few more minutes.  Add your fish to the curry sauce – I used 2 White Fish Fillets and a Handful of King Prawn – as well as Cherry tomatoes, a pinch of salt and the juice of a lime.  Cover the pan and leave to cook for a few minutes.  

Meanwhile add a handful of Beansprouts and a few stalks-worth of Mint leaves into bowls – when the fish is just cooked, spoon the curry into the bowls while it’s still piping hot – the residual heat will soften but not overcook the beansprouts, and release the flavour from the mint leaves.

I guess Autumn isn’t all that bad if having to put up with a few dreary mornings and manky leaves on the pavement means getting to eat this kind of thing several times a week.  And it won’t be long until Greggs bring back the Festive Bake

Recipe: Thai Sweet Potato Fritters

Thai Sweet Potato Fritters

This one’s a very quick one, but I thought it was worth posting as it’s taken me ages to put together a recipe that works for me.  I’ve tried dozens without much success – the fritters either don’t bind properly, they’re too wet, too dry, or just not the right consistency.  The trick is to use egg and polenta or cornstarch as a glue to hold everything together, and to not be shy when it comes to the amount of oil you fry them in so they caramelise on the outside a little – so use something healthier like Coconut Oil.

Thai-spiced sweet potato fritters brunch
Fritters for brunch with bok choi with soy and mirin, and a dippy egg

This is a good for using up leftovers as they can be padded out with finely sliced greens or whatever vegetables need using up – like a fancy bubble and squeak.  If you’re a gannet like us though and leftovers are a rare sighting in your house, it’s worth deliberately making too much sweet potato for tea one night, and then keeping it to make these for brunch or as a side with your tea Read more

Cauliflower Buffalo “Wings”

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Hey guys, are you sat down comfortably?  Good, because I’m about to drop a couple of universal-truth bombs on you:

1. Chicken Wings, when made well, are one of the greatest, most fun things you can eat – no question about it.

2. Chicken Wings, when made at home, are an unequivocal disaster of poor seasoning, flabby skin and questionable wet meat.

To make them properly you need a decent quality of chicken that supermarkets generally don’t provide, maybe a smoker if you want to get really fancy, and an industrial-grade deep-fryer to crisp that skin up just right and make it taught against the meat – if the oil’s not hot enough then they end up half-fried, half-confit, and all bogus.

Bearing in mind all of these obstacles, you might want to consider a different vehicle for transferring hot sauce from a plate to your mouth – that’s where cauliflower comes in.  Cauliflower is getting a lot of Buzzfeed/Pinterest love recently for its versatility as a replacement for various things – rice, flour, pizza bases etc – and it also happens to do a much better chicken impression than any of the Bluth family.  Read more

Recipe: Vegan Shepherd’s PIe

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I’d been working on this Vegan Shepherd’s Pie recipe for a few weeks, ever since my fiancee decided that she was going to be a vegetarian again, which, in the wise words of Jules from Pulp Fiction, pretty much makes me one too.  Since that decision was made for me, I’ve been trying to find/create meat-free, vegetable and pulse-heavy recipes which are enjoyable to eat rather than comparable to self-flagellation (self…flageolation?)
 

As unlikely as it sounds, a handful of my friends have “strict ethics” and “a moral code” (whatever that is) which stipulates that they don’t eat meat either, so when they came round for Sunday lunch last week I couldn’t rely on my foolproof hosting method of cooking a big cheap cut of Beef or Lamb until it becomes delicious – so this recipe was my go-to.This was the second or third attempt at it and the one that I was most happy with – the combination of mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and flageolet beans gives a satisfying hearty sense of substance with an umami flavour that gives lamb a run for its money, and the smashed root veg topping is a lot more interesting than regular mashed potato. Read more

Oat Milk Waffles with Chocolate and Tahini

We should all try and be more like Leslie Knope, and a good place to start is by upping your waffle consumption.  It’s all very well going to one of the American Diner type places that have cropped up in every nook and cranny large enough to fit a replica jukebox, but for around the same price as four waffles from one of them, you could buy an entire waffle iron for yourself.  You know what they say: “Give a man a waffle and he’ll eat breakfast for a day, but give him a waffle iron and he’ll Instagram his brunch for years”

The other good thing about DIY waffles is that you get to call the shots when it comes to the batter.  Milk is amazing, but it’s pretty much poison to some people, and altogether not really that great for everybody else, so try replacing it with non-dairy equivalents.  This recipe uses Oat Milk which gives the waffles a slight oaty taste (go figure), and a more noticeable contrast of crispy outside and fluffy inside than with regular cow-milk.
This sauce makes an unusual but brilliant substitute for the usual Maple Syrup when you’ve got the chance to spend a bit of time on your brunch (Hint: Mothers’ Day is this weekend, a Moonpig card isn’t going to cut again this year) – use a 70% cocoa bar of chocolate to give it a really rich taste, and Tahini to complement the nutty flavour of the Oat Milk waffles.  Some of the more unusual ingredients like Tahini and Coconut Oil might sound difficult to come across but I managed to find them in my local Coop, so give them a try.
If you’re not ready to make the commitment of buying a waffle iron (go on), then you can use the same recipe to make American-style pancakes.
Ingredients (Makes six waffles)
For the waffles
250g Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
20g Caster Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 Medium Eggs
450ml Oat Milk
30ml Coconut Oil
 
For the sauce
 
100g Bar of Dark Chocolate
1 tbsp Tahini
1 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
Method
Break up the dark chocolate and melt it in a mixing bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water.  When it’s melted, stir in the tahini, honey and coconut oil.  Turn the heat off the saucepan but leave the mixing bowl where it is, to keep it warm and runny for serving.
Combine the dry waffle ingredients in another mixing bowl, and whisk in the eggs.  When they’re worked through, slowly whisk in the Oat Milk and Coconut Oil a little at a time, until the mixture’s nice and smooth.
Preheat the waffle iron (or frying pan if you’re a spoilsport) and brush with a little Coconut Oil to stop the mixture sticking.  Add enough of the batter so that it just covers the bottom of the waffle grill – it expands during cooking, and you don’t want batter dripping all over the place.
Cook each waffle for 3-4 minutes, the the waffle iron might be a little stubborn to open, but be persistent.  Keep the waffles warm in the oven until the whole batch is ready to serve.
Garnish with some seasonal fruit, drizzle with the chocolate tahini sauce, and serve with an extra pot of it to dip waffles/fruit/fingers in.

 

Salt Beef & Chorizo Hash Recipe

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Sometimes there’s nothing more appealing than a recipe which gives you an excuse to waltz around the market squeezing seasonal produce and talking to butchers about the provenance of their locally-reared pork, before getting all of the ingredients home and spending hours crafting them into a delicate meal – if you’re lucky, some songbirds might fly through the kitchen window, tie your apron strings with their beaks and provide musical accompaniment.
Other times you just want to quarantine yourself at home and follow a recipe that requires you to chuck anything edible into a pan and then bung it in the oven – including but not limited to potatoes, fresh/frozen veg, chilled/cured meats, and any songbirds foolish enough to step to you on a day like this.
For the headliners I used Salt Beef and Chorizo because that’s what I had lying around, but in a pinch you can use Corned Beef, Spam, Bacon, Black Pudding – anything you’d expect to find in a nuclear bunker.  See it as a vehicle to use up whatever vegetables you’ve got in your fridge as well, and then supplement them with some frozen peas and peppers to brighten things up a bit.
Recipe and Photos:

Ingredients
  • 200g Salt Beef, cubed or shredded
  • 200g Chorizo, in pound coin-sized slices
  • 4 Baking Potatoes (Or equivalent), diced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 Celery sticks, diced
  • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Red Pepper, sliced
  • 100ml Stock
  • Handful of Frozen Peas

Method
  1. Pour a glug of Olive Oil in a big pan and soften the onion and celery in there for a few minutes, add the chorizo until it begins to swell, the oil it releases should start to give the onion and celery a pale golden tint.
  2. Add the potatoes and a pinch of salt, saute on a high heat until they start to go brown on the edges and soften on the corners
  3. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.  Take off the heat and add the salt beef and red pepper.
  4. Cover the pan and put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 200°C
  5. A few minutes before serving stir a handful of frozen peas through so they defrost and cook slightly, but stay fresh.  Top with a poached egg, sprinkle with chives and serve with baked beans (it’s the law)
Here’s it is, topped with a chaste little eggy all intact:
And one for you yolk pervs: