We’ve teamed up with the team behind ZIGZAG to bring you the perfect recipes to rustle up on the grill this summer!
(Prep: 15 mins – Cooking: 12-15 mins – Serves: 4)
for the lamb: • French trim lamb chops – allow three per person • Garlic • Extra virgin olive oil • Fresh thyme leaves • Rosemary • Balsamic glaze
• Marinade lamb in oil garlic and thyme for 2 hours prior to cooking • Heat up pan in the oven, • Roast lamb chops for 3-4 minutes on both sides, • Serve with fresh rosemary leaves. • Drizzle with balsamic reduction for extra sweetness
(Prep: 15 mins – Cooking: 12-15 mins – Serves: 4)
And for roast asparagus: • Bunch of fresh British Asparagus • Olive oil • Lemon wedge • Rock salt • Black pepper • Parmigianino Reggiano
• Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus • Place into the oven on a baking tray or metal handled pan. • Remove from oven when soft and golden brown, • Serve hot with slice of lemon, rock salt, pepper and a few shavings of parmesan.
(Prep: 15 mins – Cooking: 12-15 mins – Serves: 4)
for the aubergine: • Two large aubergines, cut into disks around 1cm • Extra virgin olive oil • Tahini • One pomegranate, cut in half and with seeds removed • Fresh oregano
• Lay out cut aubergines face down in a pan or baking tray • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper• Roast until golden brown • To serve overlap aubergine, drizzle with tahini and sprinkle with fresh pomegranate seeds. • Garnish with oregano
(Prep: 15 mins – Cooking: 12-15 mins – Serves: 4)
And for roast fish: • Whole seabass – around 35cm long scaled and gutted • Potatoes, sliced 1cm think and par-boiled to soften • Lemon • Sunblush tomatoes, • Fresh dill & parsley • 2oz of fish stock
• Lay out cut aubergines face down in a pan or baking tray • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper • Roast until golden brown • To serve overlap aubergine, drizzle with tahini and sprinkle with fresh pomegranate seeds. • Garnish with oregano
Star chef Kay Plunkett-Hogge shares two recipes from her new book Baan: Recipes & Stories From My Thai Home
Gaeng keow wan gai
A classic green chicken curry
(Prep: 15 mins – Cooking: 12-15 mins – Serves: 4)
for the paste • ½tsp coriander seeds • ½tsp cumin seeds • 1 tsp white peppercorns • A good pinch of salt • 1 tbsp finely chopped & 1 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass • Two Thai shallots or one regular, peeled and finely chopped • 12 green Thai bird’s eye chillies, de-stemmed and chopped • Two long green chillies, destemmed and finely chopped • 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) root, with some stem attached • One garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped • 2cm / ¾-inch piece of fresh turmeric, finely chopped • zest of one kaffir lime • 1 tsp kapi (shrimp paste)
And for the curry • 2 tbsp vegetable oil • One 400ml / 14fl oz can of coconut milk • 350g / 12oz chicken thighs, cut into 2cm / ¾inch dice • 1–2 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce) • a pinch of caster (superfine) sugar (optional) • 65g/2¼ oz pea aubergines (eggplants) • Two Thai round aubergines (eggplants), cut into quarters • 100 g/3½ oz bamboo shoots, chopped • Two long red chillies, diagonally sliced into three pieces • Large handful Thai sweet basil • One long orange chilli (optional)
Pound all the paste ingredients in a pestle and mortar (hardest first, as listed, working down to the softest), until you have a uniform, close-textured paste. If it’s not completely smooth, don’t worry. If you prefer to use a food processor or a blender, again work from hardest to softest, and add about 1 tablespoon water or more to bring the paste together. Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan and fry the paste until it smells fragrant (about a minute). Add half the coconut milk, bring to the boil slowly, stirring to dissolve the paste. Let the coconut milk simmer a little until you see oil appear on the surface. Then add 200 ml/7 fl oz/a cup of water and bring to the boil.
Add the chicken and bring back to the boil, then add the rest of the coconut milk. Bring back to the boil and simmer for about six minutes. Add the nam pla and the sugar, if using. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If it seems a little thick, add a little more water – you want a soupiness, not a thick gravy. Add the aubergines, the bamboo shoots and one of the long red chillies. Simmer for another three minutes or so. Taste – you want this to taste vibrant, hot, salty and herbaceous. Add the basil, the remaining red chilli and the whole orange chilli if you have one, and serve with some jasmine rice and nam pla prik (fish sauce with chillies).
Khao pad goong
Fried rice with prawns
Heat the wok or frying pan (skillet) until it’s very hot. Add the oil, then the garlic and stir-fry until golden. Add the prawns and the chillies, and carry on stirring, adding the nam pla, soy sauce and sugar, until the prawns are cooked. Add the cooked rice and stir through well, breaking up any clumps. Add the onion and the spring onion and incorporate well.
Season with white pepper, then turn on to plates and serve sprinkled with coriander and with the cucumber slices and lime wedges on the side.
Fried rice is one of the great comfort dishes – it’s filling, soothing and satisfying. I’ve used prawns in this version, but you can use slivered beef, pork, chicken, tofu, whatever. Feel free to pull back the chilli, too, if you like. You can always add extra heat later with some nam pla prik (fish sauce with chillies).
Three words of cooking caution: firstly, when you add the rice, you may be tempted to add more oil… Don’t do it! It will make the dish claggy. Keep breaking up the rice as you stir it through the wok, and work through it. Secondly, if you want to make this for more than two, by all means do. But don’t double up all the ingredients and throw it all into one wok. Make the dish once, wipe out your wok, and go again with the second batch. Thirdly, make sure the cooked rice is at room temperature when you make this. If it’s too warm and steamy, it will clump and stick. If it’s too cold, it will turn out as hard as a rock.
Artisan baker Paul Barlow-Heal, dessert devotee and founder of Cotswold Baking, shares special recipe for gluten free sweet pastry, roasted rhubarb and egg custard, making this gorgeous egg custard tart!
(Prep: 30 mins [see pastry] – Cooking: 55 mins – Makes: one large tart)
Gluten Free sweet pastry (always make 24hrs before needed)
• 500 grms gluten free plain flour ( I use doves) • 225 grms diced unsalted butter • 110 grms caster sugar • 1.5 tsp xantham gum • 2 large eggs • 75 mls milk • ¼ tsp Vanilla extract • Good pinch sea salt • 1 egg for sealing
1. Place flour, xantham gum, caster sugar and diced butter into a machine mixing bowl and blend until mix resembles fine breadcrumbs and butter is incorporated.
2. Whisk eggs and milk together with salt and vanilla. Pour onto the flour and butter and mix on slow speed until the dough comes together. The mix will seem wet, this is normal.
3. Transfer the dough to a container, cover with clingfilm and store overnight in the fridge
4. Remove the dough from the fridge and on a lightly floured surface gently knead the dough to make it pliable. Don’t worry about over working it. There is no gluten in it so this will not happen. The enemy of gluten free pastry is warmth, because it is soft it will become very difficult to work with quite quickly.
5. Roll out the dough using gluten flour or rice flour as a dusting, and roll to about 3ml thick, then line your 10” loose bottom tart case making sure the pastry is tucked nicely into the edges of your tart case, and trim away the overlapping pastry, but don’t throw this away. You can reuse as it will not get tough.
6. Prick the bottom of the pastry case with a fork then place in the fridge for 20 mins to firm up.
7. Line the pastry case with a circle of baking parchment and baking beans ( I use uncooked rice) and bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 C for about 20 mins then remove the parchment and bake for a further 10 mins.
8. Gluten free pastry does not take on a golden colour like normal pastry, it does stay quite pale. Remove from the oven, leave to cool slightly then brush the inside of the case with some of the 1 remaining beaten egg ensuring it is nicely sealed then bake for a further 2/3 mins to cook the egg glaze. Leave to cool
• 500 grms rhubarb • 80 grms light soft brown sugar • Zest of 1 lemon
1. Wash and trim the ends of the rhubarb, then cut into 2” lengths. Place the rhubarb in a bowl and add the zest and the sugar. Toss the ingredients together.
2. Place the rhubarb onto a shallow baking tray lined with two layers of baking parchment then cover with another piece of parchment and place in a preheated oven at 180c and cook for 15 mins.
3. Remove the parchment and check the rhubarb, it should be tender, but not mushy. If it needs more cooking, place back in the oven for a further 5 mins. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
1. Place the cream and milk with half the sugar and split vanilla pod into a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs together with the remaining sugar. When the cream mix has come to the boil pour a third onto the egg mix whilst whisking in, then finally add the rest of the liquid stirring until all incorporated.
3. Pass the mix through a fine sieve.
4. Place the tart case into a preheated oven at 140c for a couple of minutes then leaving the tart case in the oven slowly pour your egg mix into the case, taking care not to over fill the case or spill any.
5. Once the tartf case is completely full ,grate some fresh nutmeg on top and bake for about 30/40 mins, (this can vary depending on your oven.
6. If the mix starts to bubble around the edges turn down your oven until there is a slight wobble in the centre of the tart. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
7. When completely cool place the tart in the fridge and chill to set.
To serve, cut a nice slice of the tart and serve with some roasted rhubarb and its cooking liquor and a spoonful of full fat crème fraiche.
Ahead of Alresford Watercress Festival on Sunday, 19th May, The Watercress Company has teamed up with chef Keri Astill Frew. Watercress, which grows in the flowing spring waters of Hampshire and Dorset, is one of the healthiest plants known to man and has been revered since ancient times. It contains more than 50 vital vitamins and minerals and, gram for gram, even contains more calcium than milk, more folate than banana, more vitamin C than oranges and more vitamin E than broccoli. Watercress has been scientifically proven to help prevent cancer and other diseases.
(Prep: 10 mins – Cooking: 15-20 mins – Makes: 9)
• 100g watercress • 225g self-raising flour • 2 tsp baking powder • 1 tsp mustard powder (optional) • A pinch of salt • 50g butter, cubed • 75g mature Cheddar cheese, grated • 200ml buttermilk plus a little for brushing the tops • A pinch or two of cayenne pepper
A tangy alternative to the traditional sweet scone, these are delicious with butter or perhaps topped with a cream cheese.
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas mark 7.
Reserve a few small sprigs of watercress (to decorate the tops) and finely chop the rest.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and mustard into a large bowl. Add the salt and butter; rub into dry ingredients with your fingers. Stir in watercress and two thirds of the cheese, mix well.
3. Make a well in the centre, add buttermilk and mix with a round bladed knife into soft dough.
4. Very lightly knead on a floured surface, then use a floured rolling pin to roll dough to a thickness of 2.5cm. Use a 6cm plain round cutter to press out circles of the dough, rerolling lightly, as necessary. The mix should make nine scones.
5. Place the scones on an oiled large baking sheet. Brush each with a little buttermilk (or milk), top with a sprig of watercress, then scatter the remaining cheese on. Dust with a pinch of cayenne if liked, then bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 mins or until golden on top. Leave to cool for five mins before serving warm.
Chocolate, orange & watercress brownies
…with chocolate ganache topping
Chocolate, orange and watercress may not seem the most obvious combination but by golly, it works! The sharp pepper of the watercress contrasts deliciously with the citrus flavours and bitterness of the chocolate to make a truly mouth-watering treat.
• 300g good quality dark chocolate, chopped • 200g unsalted butter • Zest of one orange • 350g caster sugar • Four large eggs • 100g plain flour, sieved • 50g cocoa powder, sieved • 50g watercress, finely chopped
For the topping:
• 250g good quality dark chocolate, chopped • 250ml double cream • 1 tbsp Cointreau (optional)
1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C and line a square tin with greaseproof paper. Place 200g chocolate, all the butter and orange zest in a heatproof bowl and microwave, full power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring and repeating. Be careful the chocolate doesn’t get too hot and burn.
2. Use an electric whisk, or stand mixer with whisk attachment, to beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Leave the chocolate mix to cool for at least five minutes before stirring in, then mix in the flour and cocoa. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate and watercress, then pour into the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes, using a skewer or knife to test it’s cooked. Remove and cool completely.
3. Bring the cream to the boil in a saucepan, being careful it doesn’t boil over. Remove from heat, then stir in the chocolate, stirring until melted and mixed. Finally, stir in the Cointreau if using.
4. Allow the ganache to cool a bit, then pour on the brownies in the tin. Smooth using a palette knife or spatula, then leave for 30 minutes before cutting into squares.
5. The brownies can be kept for three-to-five days in an airtight tin or frozen (up to three months).
• Visit www.thewatercresscompany.com for more recipes. For details about Alresford Watercress Festival visit www.watercressfestival.org
Popular in the 1970s and ’80s, homity pies were often seen as somewhat worthy – leathery, unappetising with a smug crust. But we thought this pie deserved a second look. This recipe is the grandson of those early pies and – we bashfully believe – a great improvement. We’ve cut down on the potatoes to make it less heavy and added some broccoli and other root veg – although you can vary these as you like. Celeriac and swede would also work well. A great veggie dish that can be enjoyed by all.
Put the flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and just enough cold water to bind. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film, and chill in the fridge.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add potatoes, carrots and turnips and bring back to the boil. Cook for four minutes, then add the broccoli. Cook until the vegetables are just done but still with a little bite – about another two minutes. Drain and leave to cool. While the veg is cooking, melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft and lightly coloured. Add the garlic and cook for two more minutes. Remove pan from the heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.
Put the cooled veg into a large bowl, add 100g of the cheese and the parsley, mix and set aside. Roll out the pastry and line a 20cm cake tin or a deep pie dish. Spoon the filling over. Whisk the milk and mustard to make a thin paste, then stir this into the cream. Season with a little salt. Pour this mix in a slow and steady stream over the filling so it soaks through the layers of vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the pastry is crisp and cheese has melted and started to brown.
Serve hot or at room temperature.
Salmon pie with spinach
Not many people know this about us but we are both keen fishermen. One time when we’d caught loads of trout in a river in Scotland we made this pie and it was so good that we wanted you to have some too. We found it tastes even better with salmon which is harder to catch but easy to find in the supermarket!
(Prep: 10 mins, Cooking: 20 mins, Serves: 4)
• 4–5 tbsp hollandaise sauce • 500g salmon fillet • 450–500g baby leaf spinach • 375–500g pre-rolled puff pastry • Grated zest of one lemon • 1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon (optional) • One egg, lightly beaten • Sea salt and black pepper
Make hollandaise (recipe in our book!) and leave to cool by putting the bowl of sauce into a larger bowl of iced water.
Put the salmon in a large pan and add cold water just to cover. Bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer for two minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave for a further five minutes. Strain off the liquid and leave the salmon to cool then flake the flesh, keeping the pieces as large as possible.
Wash the spinach, then without draining it too thoroughly, put it in a pan. Place the pan over a medium heat and push the spinach down with a wooden spoon. When it has completely collapsed leave to cool, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.
Unroll the puff pastry. Arrange half of the salmon over the bottom half of it, leaving a 2cm border along the bottom. Season with salt and pepper, and top with half the spinach. Stir the lemon zest and tarragon (if using), into the hollandaise, then spread half of the sauce over the spinach. Repeat these layers with the remaining salmon, spinach and hollandaise. Brush the border and exposed pastry with beaten egg. Fold the pastry over and roll the edges to seal. Brush the pie with egg and cut a few slits along the top.
Bake for 35–45 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed up and is a rich golden-brown and the filling is piping hot.
• Tickets now on sale for An Evening with The Hairy Bikers – www.gigsandtours.com The Hairy Bikers British Classics is published by Seven Dials
Ahead of Chinese New Year on Tuesday, 5th February (the Year of the Pig), local star Ching He Huang shares her wisdom…
Cheat Char Siu Pork with Pak Choy
(Prep: 10mins – Cooking: 20 mins – Serves: 4-5)
I love the flavour of char siu pork but it takes some time to roast and if you want dinner in minutes then this is my cheat char siu pork stir-fry. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil, 2 garlic cloves – crushed and finely chopped, Knob of fresh root ginger – peeled and grated, 1 tablespoon Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry, 200g pak choy leaves – sliced in half on the diagonal
For the pork 250g pork fillet – cut into 5mm slices, 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce, 1 teaspoon hoisin, 1 teaspoon runny honey, Pinch of sea salt flakes, Pinch of ground white pepper, 1 tablespoon cornflour
For the sauce 50ml cold water, 1 tablespoon low-sodium light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce, 1/2 teaspoon yellow bean paste or miso paste
1. Place all the ingredients for the pork, except the cornflour, in a bowl and turn to coat the meat evenly. Dust with the cornflour and set aside.
2. Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a jug, then set aside.
3. Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking and add the rapeseed oil. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for a few seconds to release their flavours.
4. Add the pork fillet and let it settle for 10 seconds to sear and brown, then flip it over. Add the Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry and toss for another 5 seconds.
5. Add the pak choy leaves, then drizzle in 1 tablespoon cold water around the edge of the wok to create some steam to help it cook. Toss for 30 seconds to wilt the leaves, then pour in the sauce and toss again.
6. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.
Shiitake, Kimchi and Pineapple Fried Rice
(Prep: 10 mins, Cooking: 20 mins, Serves: 6-8)
A delicious sweet, umami-flavoured fried rice. Perfect for supper, any night of the week.
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil, Knob of fresh root ginger – peeled and grated, 5 large fresh shiitake mushrooms – rinsed, patted dry and cut into thin slices (stalks optional), 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon fermented cucumber kimchi – finely sliced, 300g cooked brown rice (150g uncooked), 2 tablespoons low-sodium light soy sauce, 100g fresh pineapple – finely diced into cubes, 5g spring onion to garnish – sliced on a deep diagonal
1. Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking and add the rapeseed oil.
2. Add the grated ginger and stir-fry for five seconds, then add the shiitake mushrooms and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
3. Season with the dark soy sauce, then add the sliced cucumber kimchi followed by the cooked rice and toss together for one minute.
4. Season with the light soy sauce, then add the fresh pineapple cubes and toss gently into the rice.
5. Garnish with the spring onions and serve immediately.
Zhajiang Smokey Bacon Noodles
(Prep: 10mins – Cooking: 20 mins – Serves: 2)
Zhajiang mein means mixed sauce noodles. This classic Beijing dish is made with fresh hand-pulled noodles. There are many varieties and some are saucier than others, the traditional Zhajaing noodle is slightly drier – my personal preference.
2 tbsp rapeseed oil, tbsp finely chopped garlic, tbsp finely chopped root ginger, 2 tbsp diced baby leeks, teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, 200g smoked lardons, finely diced, tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry, tbsp fragrant oil (see tip), tsp dark soy sauce, 150ml hot chicken or pork stock, tbsp tian mian jiang or hoisin sauce, tbsp yellow bean paste or miso paste
For the noodles: tbsp sesame oil, tsp dried chilli sauce laced with chilli oil, 200g plain wheat flour or egg noodles, cooked, drained and tossed with 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
For the garnish: 2 small red radishes, sliced into matchsticks, 1/2 cucumber, deseeded and sliced into matchsticks, 1 spring onion, finely chopped
1. Divide sesame oil and chilli sauce between two serving bowls. Place cooked noodles in the bowl, toss in oil and sauce and set aside.
2. Heat wok over high heat until smoking, add rapeseed oil.
3. Add garlic, leeks and peppercorns and toss , add lardons and stir-fry for a minute.
4. Add rice wine or dry sherry, fragrant oil and dark soy sauce, stir fry for a minute.
5. Add stock, tian mian jiang or hoisin sauce and yellow bean paste or miso and toss well.
6. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring until pork is cooked.
7. Divide the pork mixture between the two bowls of noodles and garnish as above. Sprinkle spring onion and serve.
CHING’S TIP Heat 5 tablespoons of groundnut oil. Add a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon grated ginger and 1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion, cook for 1 minute then strain the oil into a glass jar. Keep for 5 days in a cool place.
• Recipes from Stir Crazy, published by Kyle Books, photography by Tamin Jones. Visit www.chinghehuang.com
Star chef Dipna Anand shares some Punjabi-inspired vegan recipes to warm the cockles as we enter a new year.
(Prep: 10mins – Cooking: 20 mins – Serves: 4-5)
Not only extremely popular across India, alu gobi has also made its mark in Britain. It’s a customer favourite, enjoyed with a naan or a chapatti as a main meal or even a side dish. If you are looking for the perfect Punjabi vegetable dish which is quick and easy to prepare then look no further; it’s what I call simple food – hearty and tasty at the same time.
6 tbsp vegetable oil, two finger green chillies, finely chopped, one medium onion, finely chopped, 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste, 2 tomatoes, finely diced, 1 ½ tsp salt, 2 medium potatoes, peeled, diced into ½ inch cubes, 300ml water, 500g cauliflower florets, 2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp turmeric, ¾ tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan for one minute.
2. Add the cumin seeds to the oil together with the green chilli and when the seeds begin to sizzle, add the chopped onions to the pan and cook for three or four minutes until the onions begin to colour.
3. Add ginger and garlic paste and cook for one minute before adding the turmeric, red chilli powder, diced tomato and salt and cook for one further minute.
4. Add the diced potatoes to the sauté pan with 150ml water, cover the pan and simmer on a low-medium heat for about eight to 10 minutes (mix occasionally).
5. Add the cauliflower florets to the sauté pan with the remaining 150ml of water, cover the pan and cook for nine or 10 minutes (mix occasionally, if more water is required in between and the alu gobi is drying out, add as needed).
6. When the cauliflower and potato are cooked, add the garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves and fresh coriander to the pan and cook for a final one or two minutes.
7. Garnish with finely chopped ginger juliennes and chopped coriander stalks.
(Prep: 10 mins, Cooking: 20 mins, Serves: 6-8)
This is my mum’s version of the dish and it’s packed full of flavour yet does not use that many spices. Some recipes use a lot more ingredients and spices and complicate the method, yet Mum’s way is simple and straightforward and the result is hearty and flavoursome!
Two large aubergines (800g), 4 tbsp olive oil, two finger green chillies, finely chopped, one medium onion (finely sliced), 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste, 3½ tomatoes, blanched, skinned and chopped 1 ½ tsp salt, 160g peas, frozen or tinned, 5 tbsp water, 2 tbsp fresh coriander (finely chopped) . Tadka (finishing touch!): ½ tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coarse black pepper, 1 tsp turmeric powder, ¼ tsp white pepper powder ¾ tsp garam masala. Garnish suggestion: aubergine skin, rolled into tubes and roasted in the oven for 10 minutes
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
2. Cut the aubergines in half, length-ways, lay them flesh-side up and roast on an oven tray for 45 minutes. Once cooked, let them cool.
3. Using a spoon scrape out the inside pulp of the aubergine avoiding scooping out any of the skin and put the pulp into a bowl.
4. Cut the stem from the skin and mix with the pulp, leave the aubergine pulp to one side and discard the aubergine skin or save for garnish.
5. In a sauté pan, heat the oil, add the green chilli, cumin and coarse black pepper and onions. Fry the onions until golden brown and almost caramelised, this should take about seven or eight minutes on a medium heat.
6. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for two minutes.
7. Add half the chopped tomatoes and cook for four or five minutes.
8. Add the salt, turmeric and white pepper powder and cook for a further three or four minutes.
9. Add the peas to the masala and cook for 4-5 minutes.
10. Add the aubergine pulp and stems to the masala sauce together with the remaining tomatoes and water and cook for eight to ten minutes.
11. Add the final touches of garam masala and fresh coriander and cook for a further two or three minutes.
12. Serve with a fluffy buttered chapatti, spread like pâté.
Here are some indulgent yet wholesome and uncomplicated recipe ideas to help keep us grounded throughout this mad month.
These are great to make ahead and present in a glass jar or tin when you are serving coffee or after-dinner liqueurs. Dip these in Vin Santo to transport yourself to heaven. Give me these over mince pies any day!
Preheat your oven to 170°C. Add 220g of plain flour, 1½ tsp of baking powder, generous pinch of salt, 60g of ground almonds, 120g of whole almonds and 150g of golden caster sugar to a large bowl and mix together. Lightly beat two eggs and add to the mixture with 1tsp of almond extract and bring together with a wooden spoon. Use your hand to bring the dough together into a ball (it may be a little sticky) then lightly flour a work surface, divide the mixture into two and roll it into two long sausage shapes, about 20cm long each. Lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and slice into 1cm thick pieces using a serrated knife then lay flat back on to the baking sheet and cook in a cooler oven at 150°C for another 20-30 minutes or until crisp and golden.
Chuck steak con carne
This is the kind of one-pot dinner that gives you a break after all the fiddly, feasting food. Really hearty and another crowd-pleaser. Serve with sour cream with a dusting of paprika, grated cheese, nachos and rice or winter slaw.
Heat your oven to 170°C. Chop 1kg of beef brisket into 2.5cm chunks then brown in a hot pan with 2tbsp of vegetable oil in batches. Transfer the beef to a casserole pan then finely chop two red onions and sauté until softened and starting to turn golden. Add five minced garlic cloves, cooking for a few minutes then add 2tsp each of ground cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano and ½tsp of ground cloves. Add more oil if you need and cook out the spices then add 2-3tbsp of chilli paste (chipotle or ancho work well) and transfer everything to the casserole with the beef. Add two tins of plum tomatoes and 500ml beef stock and bring to a boil then put the lid on and transfer to the oven for two hours. Drain and rinse two tins of kidney beans and add to your casserole, cooking for a further hour without the lid until the beef is tender. Check seasoning and serve.
Something fresh and tasty to go with leftover turkey or ham. This makes a large bowl and looks great piled high in the centre of the table for people to help themselves. Add some pomegranate seeds for a little sparkle.
In a large bowl mix together 4tbsp of buttermilk, 1tbsp of Dijon mustard, 1tsp of celery salt and the juice and rind of one lemon. Add in two grated carrots, ¼ red and ¼ white cabbage, finely shredded, five finely sliced radishes, five sliced spring onions and a large handful of roughly chopped parsley. Mix together, adjust seasoning to taste and pile high into a serving bowl.
Chive blini with salmon, caviar and crème fraiche
This is always a great crowd-pleaser. I like to serve these on Christmas morning between breakfast and lunch, as we are all opening presents with some bubbles. It is really worth making these yourself as they are far more tasty than shop-bought, just warm in the oven before serving.
In a large bowl weigh out 100g of plain flour and add a generous pinch of salt. Separate an egg, adding the white to a clean mixing bowl and the yolk to the flour. Measure out 150ml whole milk and add half to the flour. Use an electric whisk to whisk the egg white until it begins to stiffen and leave to one side whilst you then whisk the flour mix until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the milk while continually whisking then 25g of melted butter and a handful of chopped chives. Fold through the egg white. Warm a pan and brush with a little butter until it begins to foam then add small spoonfuls of your batter. Cook on a low heat until the bottoms begin to brown then flip and repeat. Serve warm with a dollop of crème fraiche, smoked salmon, caviar and dill.
We talk to Fulhamites Gracie and Sophie – aka Squirrel Sisters – about their mission to bring their vegan snack bar start-up to the masses.
Q. You’ve both lived in Fulham all your lives – why do you love it here? “We were born in Richmond but we moved to south-west London after university. Fulham is amazing because it’s so central and well connected with that buzzy London attitude at the same time as having a lovely village feel to it. You get the best of both worlds in Fulham.”
Q. Tell us a bit more about how you went about starting the business… “Health, wellness, food and how it makes us feel has always been a passion of ours so we started Squirrel Sisters as a blog in 2014. Our blog gained a large following quickly; people connected with our mission and the fact we are two normal girls with a busy lifestyle who want to enjoy life while feeling great.
“With a growing following on our blog we saw an opportunity to turn our blog into a business so after much planning and preparation we launched our snack bars in November 2015, which we already had the recipes for [Gracie used to make them for Sophie due to her gluten intolerance.]
“We wanted to prove that healthy could be delicious and exciting so set off on a mission to help people make better and healthier choices more often. We wanted to help others believe that in treating yourself you can treat your health.”
Q. You’re stocked in an impressive range of places! Have you found it hard to break into the supermarket giants? “We are extremely proud of our distribution – after two and a half years you can now find our products in more than 1,000 stores across the UK including Waitrose (you can find our cacao brownie and cacao orange flavours stocked in the Waitrose by Parsons Green), Morrisons, Boots, Whole Foods (all our flavours are stocked in the Fulham Whole Foods), Planet Organic, Selfridges, Ocado, Amazon and hundreds of independent delis, cafes and supermarkets.
“Launching into supermarkets is a challenge for a small company, especially if you haven’t had investment. We have won several awards for our bars (including three Great Taste awards) and we have great branding so this really helped with breaking into the bigger supermarkets.”
Q. There are lots of small, independent shops and supermarkets around Fulham. Do you think these are important as well? “So important! In our first year we focused on all the independents and created good sales case studies that we could show the big supermarkets to prove how popular our bars were. We always make a conscious effort to support the smaller independent stores.”
Q. Which healthy cafes or restaurants do you like to visit in Fulham? “We love Little H (especially because they stock our bars) on New Kings Road [www.littlehlondon.com], Esquires Coffee (they do the best avocado on toast) just across the bridge in Putney, Megan’s by the Green on Parsons Green Lane and Boy’s N Berry on Fulham Road.”
Q. And what are your plans for the future? “We have big plans for Squirrel Sisters – we are currently in the process of securing investment, which will really take us to the next level. We want Squirrel Sisters to be accessible to everyone. We want to be a global brand that is known for its real, honest and exciting approach to health.”
Q. Anything else to share with our readers? “We recently published our first cookbook, Naturally Delicious Snacks & Treats, which is available in all good bookshops and online retailers including Waterstones and Amazon.”
Recipe: bacon maple syrup
The ultimate sweet and savoury popcorn combo – you’ll make this again and again!
• 2 slices dry-cure smoked streaky (fatty) bacon • A splash of olive oil • 50g / 1 3⁄4 oz / 1⁄4 cup popcorn kernels • 1 tbsp maple syrup • 1⁄2 tsp sea salt flakes
Put the bacon in a non-stick frying pan (skillet) with a small splash of olive oil. Fry over high heat until crispy and golden all over, turning when needed so that it all browns evenly. Remove the bacon from the pan with tongs and leave to one side to cool.
Tip any fat left from the bacon into a large saucepan with a lid. Add the popcorn kernels and pop the lid on. Heat over high heat until you begin to hear pops. Keep cooking, shaking the pan frequently so that none stick and burn, until the popping subsides. Turn the heat off and leave it for another 30 seconds or so before removing the lid to make sure any late-popping kernels don’t fly out at you. Tip the popcorn into a bowl, discarding any un-popped kernels.
Once the bacon has cooled and hardened a little, put it into a food processor and blitz to a coarse powder.
Drizzle the maple syrup over the popcorn, stirring gently all the time so that it is evenly distributed. Sprinkle in the bacon powder and sea salt flakes, mix well and serve.
We have teamed up with Squirrel Sisters to offer a mixed box of bars and a cookbook to one lucky reader. Click here to enter