Category Archives: Recipes

chapati trials

I tried making chapatis (rotis/Indian flatbreads) the other day, to go with my matar mushroom. I’ve made them twice before and it seemed pretty simple at the time. Hmmm. I got overly enthusiastic and lugged a huge sack of wheat flour (or atta) home from the shops. Meanwhile my friend searched out a YouTube video with clear instructions of what to do (a video that now seems to have disappeared).

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It was a lot like making pastry: work flour and fat (oil) into crumbs, add water to make into a dough, rest and roll out. But I haven’t quite got the hang of it yet…

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My chapatis didn’t puff up in the pan like they did in the video. They just sort of stayed hard and flat. You’re meant to press down on the bubbles that form, so forcing the air into other parts of the chapati. When I did this, either the air refused to budge or I popped a hole in the dough so it escaped altogether. Each one got a little easier though, until they were just about decent and half puffed up.

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matar mushroom

This dish is on many menus in Delhi and I first tried it at Tadka . I’d never thought of using mushrooms in Indian cooking, and it’s true that they’re not often used, but this is still a popular dish. The cashew nuts make it surprisingly creamy. Serve with chapatis, rice and dal. No photo as the presentation left a lot to be desired (I was hungry!) but I can assure you it was really tasty.

Ingredients (serves 6-8 as a side dish, 3-4 as a main):

200g closed cup mushrooms

250g frozen peas (matar)

2 onions

4 tomatoes

4 green cardamoms

An inch of cinnamon stick (not too crumbly or you will end up picking bits of cinnamon out of your teeth)

Fresh ginger (about 2 inches squared)

3 cloves garlic

1 packet unsalted, uncooked cashew nuts

1 tbsp chilli powder

1 tbsp corriander powder

1 tsp tumeric

1 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp vegetable oil

salt to taste

1) Finely chop onions and fry on a low heat vegetable oil with the cardamoms and cinnamon stick until the onions are translucent.

2) Meanwhile grate the ginger (you can leave the skin on) and peel and crush the garlic. Add these to the pan and stir.

3) Chop the tomatoes into eighths, add to the pan and cook gently, stirring often for about ten minutes.

4) Meanwhile simmer the cashew nuts in in a small pan, with just enough water to cover them, for five minutes. Take off the heat and blend to a paste, adding water as you go if the mixture is too sticky.

5) Add the chilli, corriander, tumeric, garam masala and salt to the onion pan mixture and cook for two minutes.

6) Add the cashew nut mixture to the pan along with a cup of water. Stir thoroughly and bring to the boil.

6) Meanwhile wash the mushrooms (I don’t really believe in the brushing v washing debate) and chop into quarters.

7) Add the mushrooms and peas to the pan and cook until the mushrooms are tender but not mushy – about five minutes.

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Filed under Indian, vegetarian

vanilla beach icecream

Spot the difference – one is a sandy beach on Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands…

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The other is the contents of a vanilla pod floating atop of a pan full of double cream and milk…

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Vanilla Icecream (from Gordon Ramsay’s Just Desserts – makes just over half a litre of incredibly rich icecream)

250ml whole milk
250ml double cream
50g caster sugar
1-2 vanilla pods
6 large free-range egg yolks

1) Put a bowl in the fridge to chill at least a few hours before making this recipe. Also, if you are using an icecream maker, make sure it has been in the freezer for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

2) Put the milk and cream in a heavy-based saucepan with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Split open the vanilla pod(s) and scrape the seeds into the mixture. Add the empty pod(s) too.  Slowly bring to the boil.

3) Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar together with a balloon whisk until pale and creamy.

4) When the vanilla cream mixture is about to boil, take off the heat and pour about a third into the eggs, whisking well. Then pour the rest in slowly, whisking continuously.

5) Return the mixture to the pan and cook on low, stirring continuously until you are able to coat the back of your wooden spoon with the mixture. Careful not to overcook it.

6) Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into the chilled bowl. Place in the fridge to chill and stir occasionally to make sure no skin forms on the top.

7) Then pour into a shallow container and freeze. Take it out and beat thorougly at least three times during the freezing process. If you have an icecream maker, just pour the mixture into the clever machine and be smug.

Beach photo by Mora McLagan.

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Filed under sweet things

christmas korma…

Left-over-goose curry sounds weird, but this turned out quite nicely, so thanks to Dirty Kitchen Secrets for her white curry suggestion. The korma would probably taste better with chicken though, as described in Darina Allen’s brilliant Ballymaloe Cookery Course book. I recommend drum n bass for grinding spices. Continue reading

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port and foie gras macarons

Here is another recipe that I finally got around to trying – one from the macaron making class at L’atelier des Chefs cookery school last month. The macarons are incredibly sweet and the filling is rich and creamy, so just one or two per person is fine as a starter. Mine came out looking rather less than perfect, but they tasted delicious! Continue reading

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Filed under French, sweet things

jelly again

It’s been over a month since I wrote a post about Jelly Ronson – a glow-in-the-dark gin & tonic jelly recipe by Bompas & Parr. But it has taken me this long to find the time, the courage and an occasion special enough to actually make some myself. Here are the results…

dsc_0473I really recommend listening to Paprika Balkanicus whilst making jelly – their songs are at just the right tempo for sprinkling gelatin and dancing around the kitchen in a jelly-like manner. Dr. Oetker’s sachets (available in most supermarkets) seem to work as well as fine leaf gelatine, but can come out a bit lumpy, so I recommend sieving the mixture when you pour it into the jelly mould. Finding moulds was not as easy as I’d thought. I found a few antique copper ones at Spitalfields market – see the post below – and also managed to find a ‘brioche mould’ at a hardware shop, which seemed to do the trick. Maplins sells blacklights. Continue reading

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perfect roast potatoes – the goose fat versus olive oil debate

dsc_0354I’ve always been led to believe that roasting potatoes is a fine art. And as my mum is a maestro, I thought it best never to cook them myself. There is a glitch here though: I’m cooking dinner at mine on Christmas day and having visions of my mum carrrying trays of of hot fluffy, crispy roasties through the drizzly streets of London and the poor tatties dying on the way, arriving cold, leathery and sad. So, last week I tried to cook some myself and here is the result, pictured with ginger tuna and lime, avocado, cherry tomato salad – not the most suitable accompaniment I know… Continue reading

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Filed under English, vegetarian