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This is Meera Sodha’s fresh take on Matar Paneer, which is usually a richer dish. Delicious with warm naan breads and plain yoghurt, this version could easily become a regular favourite.

Fresh Matar Paneer – serves 4 as a main or more as a side with other dishes

  • rapeseed oil
  • 550g hard paneer, cut into 1.5cm cubes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 200g green beans
  • 200g mangetout
  • 200g frozen peas (defrosted), or you can use fresh of course if you have them
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced to serve

Heat a couple of tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the panner over a medium heat until browned and crisp all over, then remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Heat another tbsp of oil in the pan, then add the garlic and stir-fry for a couple of minutes (make sure the frying pan isn’t too hot when you add the garlic or it will burn). Add the tomatoes and cook for about 6 minutes or until just turning jammy. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder and turmeric, then stir for another minute before taking off the heat.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add salt. Add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes, then add the mangetout and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 1 more minute, then drain and leave to steam dry.

Heat the sauce, then stir in the paneer. When both are hot, stir in the veg. Sprinkle over the sliced red chilli and serve.

(Original recipe from Fresh India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2016.)

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In our house almost anything will be eaten if it’s mixed with noodles (though not mushrooms sadly … but we’re working on it). Any leftovers of this will make a popular lunchbox too.

Chicken & soba noodle stiry-fry – serves 4

  • 800ml chicken stock
  • 400g chicken breasts
  • 200g dried soba noodles
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • half a red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely shredded
  • 150g green beans, trimmed
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • a small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a pot, then add the chicken breasts and cook for 20 minutes. Make sure they are completely submerged in the stock. Remove the chicken breasts, shred with two forks and set aside.

Add the noodles to the chicken stock and cook according to the pack instructions. Remove the noodles from the stock with tongs and set aside, reserve the stock.

Heat the oil in a wok, then stir-fry the ginger, chilli and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the onion, carrot, green beans and mushrooms and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes.

Add the shredded chicken, the noodles, 50ml of the reserved stock, the soy sauce and the sesame oil. Toss to combine and heat through. You can add a little more stock for moisture if you need.

Divide between warm bowls and scatter the coriander over the top.

(Original recipe by Nadine Brown in Olive Magazine, May 2021.)

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If you use a vegan curry paste you can easily make this a vegan dish. Lots of bright colours and great flavours in this one, and it’s quick to make.

Wine Suggestion: We think a minerally, just off-dry Riesling like Pikes Hills & Valleys from the Clare Valley is the ticket here with the limey fruit characters lifting the flavours of the dish and then the hint of residual sugar to balance the chillies.

Thai Green Veggie Curry – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium butternut squash (800g), cut into small cubes
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • a handful of sugar snap peas
  • a handful of asparagus, snap off the woody ends and discard
  • a handful of green beans
  • a handful of frozen edamame beans
  • 1 lime, cut into wedge, to serve
  • a handful of coriander leaves, to serve
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced, to serve
  • 1 scallion, finely sliced, to serve
  • jasmine rice, to serve

FOR THE CURRY BASE

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bash with a rolling pin to bruise it
  • 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • 2 x 400ml coconut milk

Toss the cubes of butternut squash with the light soy sauce in a bowl. Heat 1 tbsp of the sunflower oil in a wok, then add the squash and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until softened and browned, stirring often.

To make the curry base, heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a large frying pan, then add the lemongrass stalk and curry paste and cook over a high heat for a minute.

Stir in the coconut milk, then reduce the heat a bit and simmer for 8 minues.

Discard the lemongrass, then add the sugar snap peas, asparagus, green beans and edamame beans to the sauce and cook for 4-5 minutes or until just tender.

Ladle the curry sauce into bowls and top with the squash, a squeeze of lime, some coriander, red chilli and scallion. Serve with jasmine rice.

(Original recipe by Katy Beskow in Olive Magazine, April 2018.)

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This will improve your veg intake for the day and puts frozen prawns to good use. A perfect curry for mid-week. Serve with naan breads or rice and lime wedges.

Prawn, spinach & coconut curry – serves 2-3

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g raw prawns, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 chillies, deseeded
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 tbsp curry paste, we like Patak’s Madras
  • 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • 80g Tenderstem broccoli, cooked until tender
  • 100g baby spinach
  • lime wedges, to serve

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and chillies and fry for another 2 minutes, then addd the sliced pepper and cook for 3 minutes until softened.

Push the veg to one side and fry the curry paste for a couple of minutes to heat through, then add the coconut milk and mix well to combine. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until thickened, then add the prawns, broccoli and spinach. Stir well and simmer until the prawns are just cooked and the spinach wilted.

Serve with rice or naan breads and lime wedges for squeezing over.

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A healthy version of chicken tikka masala with salad and saffron rice. You will be eating the rainbow for dinner with this one.

Wine Suggestion: A new find matched this well: Umani Ronchi’s Centovie, a rosé made from Montepulciano in Abruzzo. The cherry fruit flavours and savoury, dry finish were a good compliment to the food. If you can’t find a rosé made from this grape find a nice red and chill it a little instead.

Chicken tikka masala – serves 4

  • 1 large skinless chicken crown (about 1kg), get your butcher to do this for you

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • juice of half a lemon
  • 5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp medium Madras curry powder
  • 2 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • a large pinch of salt
  • 100g Greek yoghurt (you can use 0% if you wish)

FOR THE CURRY SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml water
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • half a cucumber, diced
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp chaat masala

TO SERVE:

  • coriander leaves, roughly torn
  • basmati rice, cooked with salt and a pinch of saffron strands (only if you have them)

Put the chicken into a large dish and slash the breasts with a sharp knife. Mix all of the ingredients together for the marinade, then spread over the chicken. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 120C fan.

Put the chicken into a roasting dish and spoon over any remaining marinade. Cook for 2 hours (this won’t cook it through).

Meanwhile, make the curry sauce. Heat the oil in a deep frying or sauté pan. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown, add a splash of water if they stick. Add the garlic and ginger with a splash of water, stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add the spices with some salt and pepper and cook for another minute.

Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a minute, then add the tinned tomatoes and the 300ml of water. Bring to the boil, then reduced the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the chopped peppers and cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Remove the chicken from the oven and use a blowtorch over the surface to slightly blacken the marinade in places. If you don’t have a blowtorch just pop it under a hot grill. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Mix the salad ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Remove the chicken breasts from the bone and cut into bite-size chunks. Reheat the curry sauce, then add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the yoghurt and chopped coriander, then season to taste.

Serve with some coriander leaves, saffron rice and the salad on the side.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, ABSOLUTE PRESS, 2017.)

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Chinese New Year was on a Tuesday this year and we had to squeeze our Chinese food in between homework, swimming lessons etc. If that is you, then this recipe is for you. As ever you need to prep everything before you start cooking. We served with rice but noodles would be good too.

Beef with mangetout & cashews – serves 4

  • 50g unsalted cashews
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 ½ tbsp low-salt soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 280g rump steak, thinly sliced
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 200g mangetout, halved

Toast the cashews in a dry wok or frying pan, until browned, then set aside.

Mix the cornflour and soy sauce together to make a paste, then add the oyster sauce, rice vinegar and honey.

Heat your wok until very hot. Add the oil and swirl around to cover the base and sides. Use tongs to place the steak pieces into the wok in a single layer. Cook, without turning for 30 seconds – 1 minute, or until a dark crust starts to form. Add the ginger and garlic and toss everything together, then add the mangetout and the sauce. Cook for another 30 seconds – 1 minute or until the beef is just cooked through and the sauce is glossy. Sprinkle over the cashews and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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It’s Chinese New Year tomorrow so we thought we’d post some dinner inspiration for the year of the tiger. This is a good crowd-pleaser and definitely better than take-away. It’s simple too, just prep everything before you get your wok on.

Wine Suggestion: an umami laden southern-French red, like the schist laden Domaine Cébène Faugères à la Venvole. Textural and velvety Grenache with hints of Syrah plums and gravelly Carignan; loads of flavour but not too much weight.

Pork chow mein – serves 4

  • 500g pork fillet
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 200g dried medium egg noodles
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin or dry sherry
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into very thin strips
  • 25g fresh ginger, peeled and very finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 6 scallions, sliced
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 225g tin water chestnuts, drained and sliced

Trim any fat and sinew off the pork, then cut in half lengthways and cut into thin slices. Put into a bowl and add the five-spice powder, ½ tsp sea salt and black pepper, then set aside.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the noodles acording to the pack instructions, then drain and rinse in a sieve under running water until cold, then toss with a 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and set aside.

Mix the sugar and cornflour together in a bowl and gradually stir in the soy sauce, mirin and 100ml water, then set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wok. Add the pork and stir-fry over a high heat for 2 minutes or until browned. Scoop out and set aside.

Add another tbsp of oil and stir-fry the pepper and carrot for 2 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, scallions, peas and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes more until just softened, then scoop out onto a plate.

Pour the last tbsp of oil into the wok and add the noodles. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until some have turned crispy and brown. Add the meat and veg back into the work and toss everything together for 1-2 minutes, or until well mixed and hot.

Stir the soy and mirin mixture again and pour it into the pan. Continue tossing for 1-2 minutes or until hot and glossy. Serve straightaway.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Meat Feasts by Si King and Dave Myers, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015.)

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This was made at the end of a weekend where all the previous recipes we’d tried hadn’t quite come together, or worked as we’d hoped, so our expectations were low. What a relief: we were blown away with the flavour, and our enthusiasm returned with a vengeance! The recipe is by Jamie Oliver but inspired by the Japanese restaurant Nobu in London who are known for their black cod miso and for good reason. The recipe is simple but you need to start 24 hours in advance.

Wine Suggestion: This is a dish jam packed full of savoury umami flavours and needs a similarly umami loaded wine to match. We started with a small glass of Hidalgo La Gitana’s Pasada Pastrana, a single vineyard aged manzanilla which was excellent. Then we segued into savoury Grenache territory with Roc des Ange’s Segna da Cor from the wilds of Roussillon; vibrantly textured and almost sucking the stones it was grown on. What a way to end the weekend.

Black Cod Miso- serves 4

  • 4 bulbs of pak choi, quartered
  • 1 cucumber, peeled halved and deseeded, then sliced into long 1cm thick strips
  • juice of 1 lime
  • soy sauce
  • cooked sticky rice (to serve)

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 stems of lemongrass
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 200ml of sake or white wine
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 300g miso paste
  • 4 x 200g cod steaks, skin-on and pin-boned

Start the marinade the day before. Remove the outer layer from the lemongrass stems and discard. Bash the lemongrass with the back of a knife, then finely chop. Put the lemongrass into a pestle and mortar with the chilli, ginger and a pinch of salt, then bash to a paste.

Put the paste into a saucepan with the sake and honey, then bring to the boil. While the mixture is warming, gradually add the miso paste, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Simmer until the mixture is lightly golden, then remove from the heat and pour onto a flat tray so it cools quickly.

When the marinade is cool, put the fish into a container and pour over three-quarters of the marinade. Move the fish fillets around to ensure they are completely coated, then cover and put into the fridge. Put the rest of the marinade into a container and keep in the fridge until needed.

When ready to cook, preheat the grill until very hot. Put the pieces of fish onto an oiled baking tray, skin-side up and cook until slightly caramelized and golden. This will take 6-8 minutes depending on how thick your pieces of fish are.

Meanwhile, lay the pak choi into a steamer over a pan of boiling water. Add the strips of cucumber and steam until the pak choi is tender.

Stir the lime juice into the container of leftover marinade to loosen it slightly. Serve the fish with the greens and drizzle over a little soy sauce. Serve with cooked rice and the miso dressing on the side.

(Original recipe from Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver, Penguin Books, 2006.)

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We were very pleased to find a late season crown prince pumpkin at our farm shop last week, which is our favourite variety. You could easily use a butternut squash instead if pumpkin is not available. This is a mild and creamy curry from Sri Lanka.

This is not an attempt at veganuary, we love to eat vegetables just as much as meat and fish. After the excess of Christmas we find a variety of dishes very welcome.

Wine Suggestion: Look to complement the rich, creaminess with a richer, creamy white, like an oaky Chardonnay, or similar. We went a bit left field with an older bottle or Jean-Michel Gerin’s le Champine Viognier which had in our cellar. With a heady apricot, pineapple and mango exoticism and a rich, very textural palate it was an unexpected treat.

Vegan pumpkin & coconut curry – serves 4

  • 1kg pumpkin or butternut squash, peel, deseed and cut into 1 ½ cm cubes (you want about 900g of cubed pumpkin)
  • 2 tsp curry powder, not too hot
  • 1½ tbsp rapeseed oil
  • fine sea salt
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 long green chillies, finely sliced, we took the seeds out but you can leave them in if you want more heat
  • 12-15 curry leaves
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 150g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 x 10cm cinnamon stick, snapped in two
  • 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime
  • rice, to serve

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Put the pumpkin pieces into a large bowl with the curry powder, rapeseed oil and ¾ tsp of fine sea salt, then toss together to coat. Tip the pumpkin out onto the lined tray and spread it out evenly. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, put the onion, chillies, curry leaves, turmeric, fenugreek, garlic, cherry tomatoes, cinnamon stick and 1½ tsp of salt into a saucepan with 200ml of cold water. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat and cook for about 12 minutes or until the onions and tomatoes are soft and the liquid almost evaporated.

Add the coconut milk and roasted pumpkin, then bring back to a gentle simmer, then remove from the heat and add the lime juice. Taste and add more lime or salt if needed.

(Original recipe by Meera Sodha in The Guardian, 1st January 2022.)

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This is a mildly spiced curry and quick to prepare. We had it on Friday with some naan breads from the take-away, but it’s easy enough for a weeknight too. An easy, tasty treat.

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs a lighter red wine with lower tannins and little to no oak. We enjoyed Domaine de Boede’s Pavillon rouge with this. An easy, Cinsault-Syrah blend which has such purity and precision of fruit that we love; a good accompaniment for the food.

Chicken & spinach curry – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 750g chicken thigh fillets, cubed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 90g baby spinach, chopped
  • a large handful of coriander leaves, chopped

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based pan, then gently cook the onions for about 5 minutes or until softened.

Stir in the spices, garlic and ginger, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring.

Turn the heat up to medium-high, then add the chicken and cook for about 5 minute until browned all over.

Add the tomatoes and salt, bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.

Stir in the sugar and lime juice, then add the spinach and stir until wilted. Take the pan off the heat, scatter the coriander over the top and serve.

(Original recipe from Every Day by Bill Granger, Murdoch Books, 2006.)

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We made this a few weeks ago for a small group of friends (before omicron took hold) and it was devoured with gusto. Despite the list of ingredients it’s all quite straight forward and a recipe to keep up your sleeve for any occasion … for friends, or just for yourself.

Wine Suggestion: the wine opened at the time was determined by the event, the Altosur Malbec made by Finca Sophenia in Tuppangato, Mendoza and what a triumph it was. Body and depth with seemless and juicy tannins; it just made it taste the dish a bit richer and more sophisticated.

Chicken kari – serves 4 to 6

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 cassia bark stick (not a cinnamon stick)
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped
  • thumb-size piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 4 big cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 small green chillies or 1-2 long red chillies, split but leave the stalks intact
  • 8 large chicken thighs, skin removed but bone-in
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 large tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • Steamed rice, to serve

Warm the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the mustard, fenugreek, cumin and coriander seeds, the cassia bark and cardamom pods and fry until the mustard seeds start to pop. Keep giving the pan a shake.

Stir in the onion and cook for a few minutes until it starts to brown and caramelise.

Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and stir-fry for a minute, then add the chicken thighs, turmeric and lots of salt and pepper and stir well. Add the fresh and tinned tomatoes, then add enough cold water to cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2 hours, stirring now and then. Top up with more water if needed.

Remove the cassia bark and cardamom pods, then season again to test if needed and serve.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020.)

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Our daughter is a gyoza addict and luckily we have a good local Japanese restaurant. She would order three or more portions if we let her. So in order to avoid bankruptcy we’ve decided to start making them ourselves. They are actually very straightforward, and helped immensely by shop-bought gyoza wrappers and a little gyoza folding gadget.

The wrappers keep in the freezer and defrost in an hour at room temperature. Just put them in the fridge afterwards until you’re ready to make the gyoza.

Chicken & Shiitake Gyoza with Miso Lemon Dipping Sauce – makes about 30 gyoza

  • 300g chicken thigh fillets, quartered
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 8 water chestnuts, finely choped
  • 3 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp sake or mirin
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 30 gyoza wrappers
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp pale miso
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Pulse the chicken thighs in a food processor until minced, then tip into a bowl.

Add the mushrooms, water chestnuts, soy sauce, ginger, sake/mirin, scallions and cornflour. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper, then mix together well with a metal spoon. You can leave the mixture in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.

Mix together the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside.

Line a large tray with non-stick baking paper and have a bowl of water handy.

Put a gyoza wrapper into your gyoza maker, floured side down, and put 1 tbsp of the filling in the middle (you can and should use a piping bag for this). Dip your finger in the water and lightly run it round the edge of the wrapper. Close the gyoza maker and squeeze tight to seal. If you don’t have a little machine, you can look up how to fold them on youtube.

Heat a large frying pan with a lid over a medium high heat. Add ½ tbsp sesame oil, then place the gyozas into the pan, you will probably have to do 2 batches. Leave them for about 2 minutes or until the bottoms have turned golden, then add 40ml water and cover with a lid. Cook for another 2 minutes until most of the water has evaporated, then remove the lid. Drizzle over another ½ tsp of sesame oil and allow to crisp up for about 30 seconds.

Remove from the pan and serve with the dipping sauce.

(Original recipe from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce, Murdoch Books, 2018.)

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A simple fish dish for weeknights, and something a bit lighter before the feasting starts.

Wine Suggestion: A delight with a light, playful Riesling like Korrell’s Slice of Paradise from the Nahe in Germany, or Pikes Traditionale from the Clare Valley.

Grilled trout with Asian dressing – serves 2

  • 300g Charlotte potatoes
  • 2 skinless trout fillets
  • Thai basil or regular basil, to serve

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, remove the woody outer leaves and finely chop
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Boil the potatoes in salty water until tender, then drain and slice thickly, lengthways.

Season the trout, then grill for 3-4 minutes.

Arrange the potatoes onto plates and top with the trout. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and spoon over the top, then garnish with basil leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, November 2014.)

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This is great for using up leftover cooked rice. We also had some leftover char siu pork which was delicious chopped up and stirred through.

Wine Suggestion: This calls for an easy style of Grüner Veltliner, like Forrest Estate’s version from Marlborough NZ. Maybe not quite the same as Austrian versions but very pleasurable nonetheless.

Chinese-style fried rice – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 225g shelled raw prawns
  • 120ml groundnut oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 large eggs
  • 800g cooked rice, it needs to be cooked at least a few hours in advance
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced, separate the green and white parts
  • 225g cooked ham or pork, diced
  • 225g frozen peas
  • 1½ tbsp thick soy sauce
  • 30-45ml stock

FOR THE PRAWN MARINADE:

  • a pinch of salt
  • 1½ tsp cornflour
  • ½ egg white

Devein the prawns and cut into 2cm pieces. Pat dry with kitchen paper and put into a bowl.

Make the marinade for the prawns by mixing the salt, cornflour and egg white together. Stir into the prawns to coat evenly, then leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Heat a wok until smoking. Add 2 tbsp of the oil, give it a swirl, then add the garlic. As soon as it starts to colour, add the prawns, stirring to separate with a metal spoon for about 30 seconds or until almost cooked and turning pink. Add the Shaoxing wine and as soon as the sizzling calms down, scoop out the prawns and set aside. You will now need to wash and dry your wok.

Lightly beat the eggs with 1 tbsp of the oil and a pinch of salt. Heat a large frying pan until hot, add 1 tbsp of the oil and tip the pan to coat the surface. Pour in half the beaten egg and tip the spread to the edges. When set, turn over and fry for a few seconds on the other side. Remove to a plate and slice into thin strips.

Break up any lumps in the cooked rice. Blanch the peas in boiling salty water for a few minutes, then drain well.

Reheat the wok over a high heat until smoking. Add the remaining 4 tbsp of oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the white parts of the scallions, pour in the rest of the beaten egg, then immediately add the rice. Turn and toss the rice with a metal spoon scooping up the raw egg from the bottom of the wok.

When the rice is hot, add the ham or pork, then stir in the peas and prawns. Finally add the soy sauce and stock, stirring all the time.

Add the green parts of the scallions, then tip out onto a platter and garnish with the strips of egg.

(Original recipe from Yan-Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook, by Yan-Kit So, DK, 1984.)

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This is really two separate recipes but they go so well together that we strongly suggest making both. As this is essentially a dry dish, rice on the side is good but the fresh salad really makes it.

Wine Suggestion: We think this goes really well with a velvety Pinot Noir like Andre Dezat’s Sancerre Rouge, or Cline’s Sonoma Coast Pinot. The juicy fruit and lightness of expression plays wonderfully with the layers of spice, sourness, sweetness and charred flavours these dishes offer without overwhelming them, and without too many dry tannins which could fight the dish.

Char siu pork with a chilli, coriander & mint salad – serves 4

  • 2 pork fillets (tenderloins), trimmed of fat and sinew

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 tbsp clear honey
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 4 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 4 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

FOR THE CHILLI, CORIANDER & MINT SALAD:

  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, halved lengthways, sliced, then finely chopped
  • 1 cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½-1 tsp palm or caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 cos lettuce, cut into thick strips
  • ¼ cucumber, seeds scooped out and discarded and sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • a large handful of coriander leaves
  • a large handful of mint leaves

First make the marinade for the pork. Put the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low heat. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Put the pork fillets into a large container with half the cooled marinade, keep the rest for cooking the pork. Rub the marinade into the pork and leave for at least 2-3 hours, or ideally overnight, in the fridge.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 230C/Gas 8.

Remove the pork from the marinade (don’t throw the marinade away) and place them on a wire rack over a foil-lined roasting tray.

Roast the pork in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 190C/Gas 5. Continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes, turning and basting with the reserved mainade every 5 minutes, until cooked. You can finish the pork on a hot barbecue for the last 5 minutes of cooking to get a nice barbecue flavour or under a hot grill.

Leave the pork to rest for 5 minutes, before slicing.

To make the salad, put 1 tbsp of the lime juice into a small bowl with the soy sauce, sugar and oil. Add the chilli, garlic, lemongrass and ginger and whisk to combine. Taste and add more lime or sugar if needed.

Put the lettuce, cucumber, scallions, coriander and mint in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately with the sliced pork and some steamed rice.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook by Claire MacDonald & Jenny Stringer, Quadrille Publishing Limited, 2013.)

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Thai basil can be hard to come by for us but they sometimes have it in our local farm shop which inspired us to cook this delicious duck dish by Neil Perry.

Wine Suggestion: A dry, but fruit forward Pinot Gris was our first thought, but tried the Domaine Bott-Geyl’s Pinot d’Aslace Points Cardinaux, which was to hand, and were delighted with it’s playful nature and depth to match the dish. A blend of all the Pinot grapes, including Pinot Noir this has a vibrant freshness and focus as well as roundness and layers of texture; altogether a good food wine.

Stir-fry duck with coconut milk, Thai basil & noodles – serves 4

  • 600g boneless duck breasts, with skin on
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 stem of lemongrass, pale part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 80ml vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion, halved and thickly sliced
  • 320ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 20g crispy fried shallots (shop bought)
  • a large handful of Thai basil leaves
  • 200g dried rice vermicelli or other rice noodles, cooked and drained (to serve)

Put the duck onto a board, skin side down, and cut into 5mm slices. Put the duck slices into a bowl and add the garlic, lemongrass and chilli. Mix well with your hands.

Heat 60ml of vegetable oil in a wok until smoking. Stir-fry the duck in batches for 1-2 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add more oil if needed, then add the onion and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes or until light golden. Return the duck to the wok, then pour in the coconut milk and bring to thte boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, tamarind paste, sugar and sea salt. Simmer for another few minutes, then check the seasoning.

Garnish with fried shallots and Thai basil and serve over noodles.

(Original recipe from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, Murdoch Books, 2016.)

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We’ve had limited success with prawn cakes in the past, they often fall apart. These are grilled which makes things much easier and the peanut chilli sauce is amazing!

Wine Suggestion: these call for a vibrant, youthful white like Weingut Korrell’s Weißer Burgunder (Pinot Blanc) which was full of charming pear and apple flavours with a zesty citrus twist that complemented the limes and fish sauce a treat.

Prawn cakes with peanut chilli sauce – serves 4 as a starter

  • 2 tbsp palm sugar or soft brown sugar
  • 3 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • a handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 3 small Thai shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 long red chilli, diced
  • 400g raw peeled prawns
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • chilled iceberg lettuce, to serve

FOR THE PEANUT CHILLI SAUCE:

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml rice vinegar
  • 2 red chillies, diced
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, toasted, finely chopped
  • 2 small Thai shallots, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp coriander

Put the palm or brown sugar into a small frying pan with 1 tbsp of water. Mix together and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat.

To make the peanut chilli sauce, boil the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until syrupy. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely, then add the chilli, peanuts, shallot, fish sauce and coriander.

To make the cakes, put the ginger, coriander, shallot and chilli in a food processor and blend until fine. Add the prawns, lime zest and fish sauce and pulse until combined, keep it chunky. Season with plenty of black pepper.

Put a little oil on your hands, then form the prawn mixture into 16 flat cakes. Put in the fridge until ready to cook.

Preheat the grill. Brush both sides of the prawn cakes with a tiny bit of oil then put on a rack on top of a baking tray.

Grill the cakes for 1 minute, then brush the tops with the palm sugar syrup. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until opaque, there is no need to turn. Serve warm with the chilled lettuce leaves and peanut chilli sauce.

(Original recipe from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce, Murdoch Books, 2018.)

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This is perfect for mid-week – tasty, healthy and just a few ingredients.

Wine Suggestion: The hot and sour flavours pair well with dry Rieslings, like the exhuberant Domaine Bott-Geyl Les Elements. Apples, zesty lemon, a hint of apricot and a taut freshness.

Hot and sour aubergine with sticky rice – serves 2

  • 150g sushi rice
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 aubergine, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce, plus extra to serve
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 100g green beans, halved
  • 1 red chilli, shredded, plus extra to serve

Cook the rice according to the packet instructions.

Fry the onion and aubergine in the oil in a wide shallow pan with a lid until golden and softened. Stir it every few minutes.

Mix the sugar and vinegar together, then add the soy sauce and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the cornflour and stir to dissolve.

Add the beans and red chilli to the pan and cook for 4 minutes with the lid on. Add the liquid mixture, stir and continue cooking for another 2 minutes with the lid on.

Serve with the rice and some extra soy sauce and chillies on the side.

(Original recipe by Kate Calder in Olive Magazine, June 2012.)

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Kids activities are back on which means we spend a few weeknights dropping off and picking up rather than cooking. So we’re on the hunt for more dishes like this, minutes to make but healthy and delicious; flavoursome and light at the same time.

Wine Suggestion: This dish partners really well with a fruity, youthful and dry Riesling.

Chicken meatball tom kha gai – serves 2

  • 4 chicken sausages (we bought ours in M&S)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander, plus some whole leaves to serve
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 50g flat rice noodles
  • 400ml tin coconut milk (you could use half-fat if you like)
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, discard the woody outer leaves and finely chop the inside
  • 50g mangetout, finely sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

Remove the skin from the chicken sausages and put the insides into a bowl. Add 1 tsp of the ginger, the chopped coriander and half the chilli. Mix well and form into 10 small meatballs – wet hands help with this.

Cook the noodles according the packet, then drain and rinse with cold water.

Bring the coconut milk and stock to a simmer in a large saucepan, then add the rest of the ginger and chilli with the lemongrass and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the chicken meatballs and simmer for 3 minutes, then add the mangetout and cook for another 2 minutes.

Gently stir in the lime, sugar and fish sauce, divide the noodles between 2 warm bowls, then ladle over the hot soup and meatballs, finish with the coriander leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2018.)

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We definitely have a bit of a thing for Asian-style greens and rice. And while it may seem like you need another dish on the side, you really don’t, it’s just a bowl of healthy, delicious things. Having said that, this would also be great on the side of some white fish.

Wine Suggestion: Anthony Girard’s La Clef du Recit Menetou Salon is a star here. A Sauvignon Blanc grown on Kimmergian clay-limestone, this has a depth, texture and body that belies the grape a little and a wine that we think gets better with a few years in the bottle … if you can wait that long. Don’t worry if you can’t though, it’s delicious from release too.

Asparagus with ginger & garlic – serves 2

  • 12-16 spears of asparagus, snap off the woody ends and slice on the diagonal into 4cm pieces
  • 2-3cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into very fine matchsticks
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 80ml water
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • cooked rice, to serve

Put your wok over a medium-low heat and add the sunflower oil. When warm, add the ginger and cook briefly until fragrant.

Add the asparagus, garlic and chilli and toss, then pour in the water and turn the heat to high. Cook for a minute, then add the oyster sauce. Toss well to coat the asparagus and cook for about 30 seconds or until tender but with a bite.

Remove from the heat and season with some black pepper, you shouldn’t need salt.

Serve hot over rice.

(Original recipe from My Favourite Ingredients by Skye Gyngell, Quadrille Publishing, 2008.)

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