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Spicy Thai Fishcakes with Dipping Sauce

These take literally minutes to make and they make a super tasty starter or snack.

Wine Suggestion: our favourite wine with dishes like this is dry Riesling, with the limey, citrus flavours of wines from the Clare Valley, like those made by Pikes, coming to mind first. They are zesty and thrilling in flavour with the bracing acidity working perfectly with the citrus fruit to make a wine that is both thirst-quenching and hunger inducing at the same time. Aperitivo!

Spicy Thai fishcakes with dipping sauce – serves 2

  • 200g raw peeled prawns
  • 2-3 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • a small bunch of coriander, stalks separated
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Put the prawns, curry paste and coriander stalks into a food processor and whizz to a paste. Form 4 to 6 flat cakes.

Heat a non-stick frying pan, heat a drizzle of oil, then fry the cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through.

Mix the vinegar, sugar and chilli together in a small bowl.

Serve the cakes with the coriander leaves and sauce for dipping.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, October 2012.)

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Steak in Porcini Mushroom Sauce

We’re all about mushrooms at this time of year, both dried and fresh, as they have the smell and taste of Autumn. We cooked this when the clocks changed and we got home to a cold house after a long weekend away. Serve with steamed rice or Italian roasties, and some greens if you like.

Wine Suggestion: Luigi Pira makes some really thoughtful and traditional Barolos and his Langhe Nebbiolo is no different; it tastes of Nebbiolo with the tar and roses, firm tannins sit well with the perfectly ripe wine and, with a touch of age, velvety undergrowth characters. An excellent match to both the steak and the mushrooms.

Steak in Porcini Mushroom Sauce – serves 4

  • 15g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 450g sirloin steak, cut into ½ cm strips
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 50ml red wine
  • 3 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley
  • 150g mascarpone cheese

Put the dried porcini in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Season the steak really well with salt and black pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan and fry the steak in batches over a hight heat for a maximum minute per side, or until nicely browned but not cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.

Pour another 2 tbsp of oil into the pan and fry the chestnut mushrooms for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another minute. Pout in the wine and cook for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the porcini mushrooms and reserve the liquid. Stir the liquid into the frying pan (leave the last gritty bit behind). Roughly chop the porcini mushrooms and add to the sauce.

Stir in the parsley and mascarpone, then return the meat to the pan. Cook gently for a couple of minutes.

Season to taste and serve with rice or Italian roasties.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

Ginger & Miso Soup

Pumpkins are everywhere and the evenings have got dark and chilly. This delicious soup by Melissa Hemsley looks like sunshine and tastes warm and comforting. Don’t omit the topping as it really brings the soup to life.

Ginger miso sunshine soup – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 5cm piece of ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 large carrots, chopped into 1.5cm cubes
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 1.5 litres stock or bone broth or water – we used Marigold Bouillon powder
  • 2 tbsp miso
  • juice of 1 lemon

CHIVE TOPPING

  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp chives, chopped
  • 4 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Melt the oil in a large, wide saucepan. Add the onions and cook over a medium heat for 4 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook for another minute.

Add the carrots & squash, followed by the stock. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and cook for 15-18 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the topping in a small bowl. Add the miso and lemon juice to another bowl and add a few tablespoons of the hot liquid from the soup and stir or whisk until you have a smooth paste.

Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the miso paste. Blend the soup until smooth and season to taste. Serve with the chive topping.

(Original recipe from Eat Happy by Melissa Hemsley, Ebury Press, 2018.)

Mughlai Lamb with Turnips - Shabdeg

Our local supermarket has perfect sweet turnips with purple and white skin and green tops so when flicking through Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking we just couldn’t go past this unusual lamb curry. The cooking method goes against many of our instincts but, not wanting to mess with Madhur Jaffrey, we followed the instructions to the letter and the result was amazing! Great with steamed rice or serve with Mushroom Pullao, Spicy Green Beans and Yoghurt with Walnuts and Coriander for a fabulous Indian feast.

Wine Suggestion: We like many struggle to match Indian food with wine. Tonight we had a clean lager which fitted the bill for us, though some more adventurous beers would be good too.

Mughlai Lamb with Turnips  (Shabdeg) – serves 6

  • 10 small turnips, weighing 750g when the leaves and stems have been removed (halve the turnips if they are larger)
  • 5 medium onions, peeled
  • 8 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg stewing lamb shoulder cut into 4cm cubes (include some bones if you have them)
  • 285ml plain yoghurt
  • 2.5 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2.25 litres water
  • ½ tsp garam masala

Peel the turnips and prick them all over with a fork. Put them in a bowl and rub with ¾ tsp of salt, then set aside for 1½-2 hours.

Cut the onions in half, lengthwise, and then across into very thin slices.

Heat the oil in a large, wide, and preferably non-stick pot over a medium-high heat. When hot, stir and fry the onions for about 12 minutes or until they are reddish brown in colour (this took longer than 12 minutes on our hob). Remove the onions with a slotted spoon, squeezing out and leaving behind as much oil as you can. Spread the onions out on a plate.

Add the meat, yoghurt, ginger and 1 tsp of salt to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil, then turn the heat up to high. You should have lots of fairly thin sauce. Cook on a high heat, stirring now and then, for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is fairly thick and you just begin to see the oil (be patient as we cooked for more like 20 minutes to get to this point). Turn the heat down to medium-high and keep stirring and frying for another 5-7 minutes or until the meat is lightly brown and the sauce has disappeared. Turn the heat to medium-low, then add the turmeric, cayenne, and coriander. Stir for a minute.

Add the water and 1tsp of salt. Drain the turnips and add them to the pot. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until you have less than a third of the liquid left (this stage took closer to an hour for us). Stir the pot occasionally as it cooks.

Return the browned onions to the pan and add the garam masala. Stir gently to mix and turn the heat to low. Cook gently, uncovered, for another 10 minutes. Stir it now and then but be careful not to break up the turnips.

Spoon off the fat that floats to the top and serve hot with rice and other Indian dishes (see above).

(Original recipe from Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey, Baron’s Educational Series, 2002.)

 

 

Mushroom Pullao - Khumbi pullao

A gently spiced rice dish flavoured with mushrooms. The perfect accompaniment to a meat curry.

Mushroom Pullao (Khumbi pullao) – serves 6

  • 450ml long-grain rice (use a jug to measure)
  • 1.2 litres plus 600ml of water
  • 150g mushrooms, sliced into 3mm thick slices
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced very thinly
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt

Wash the rice in several changes of water, then drain. Put the rice in a bowl with the 1.2 litres of water and leave to soak for 30 minutes, then drain.

Heat the oil in a heavy pot over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and garlic and stir-fry for about 2 minutes or until the onions start to brown at the edges. Add the mushrooms and stir for another 2 minutes, then add the rice, ginger, garam masala and 1 tsp of salt. Turn the heat to medium-low, then stir and sauté the rice for 2 minutes.

Pour in the 600ml of water and bring to a boil. Cover very tightly, turn the heat to very, very low and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and sit, covered and undisturbed for another 5 minutes.

(Original recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking, Barron’s Educational Series, 2002.)

Spicy Green Beans - Madaledar sem

These green beans are full of Indian flavour and make a great side for curries and other Indian dishes but they would also add interest to a roast chicken. Chopping them up small changes the texture in a nice way too.

Spicy Green Beans (Masaledar sem) – serves 6

  • 750g green beans, trimmed and cut into 5mm lengths
  • 4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 350ml water
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 dried hot red chilli, lightly crushed in a mortar
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped (to peel the tomatoes drop into boiling water for 15 seconds after which the skins should come off easily)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1 tsp ground, roasted cumin seeds

Put the ginger and garlic into a blender or food processor with 120ml of the water and blend until fairly smooth.

Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot over a medium-high heat. When hot put in the cumin seeds, and 5 seconds later the crushed chilli. As soon as it darkens add the ginger-garlic paste, then stir and cook for a minute. Stir in the coriander, then add the chopped tomato. Stir and cook for 2 minutes, mashing the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.

Add the beans, about 1¼ tsp salt and the rest of the water, then bring to a simmer. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the beans are tender.

Remove the cover. Add the lemon juice, the ground roasted cumin seeds, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Increase the heat and boil away the liquid while gently stirring the beans.

(Original recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking, Barron’s Educational Series, 2002.)

Akhrote ka raita

We’re sad to say that we’ve finally used up the enormous stash of walnuts we couldn’t resist at a French market. When we got home we thought we’d never get through them. This dish was a fitting end for the last few handfuls and we need to plan another trip. Try this raita with Indian dishes as a refreshing change from the usual cucumber raita.

Yoghurt with walnuts & coriander (Akhrote ka raita) – serves 6

  • 600ml plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • ½ a fresh hot green chilli, very finely chopped
  • 1 scallion, very finely sliced
  • 65g shelled walnuts, roughly broken into small pieces

Put the yoghurt into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork or whisk until smooth and creamy.

Add the rest of the ingredients plus a good grinding of black pepper and about ½ tsp of salt. Stir to mix.

(Original recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking, Barron’s Educational Series, 2002.)