Friday, 25 June 2010

"The best Curry I've ever cooked"

The Perfect Chicken Curry

Well last night they said, (daughter no.2 & wife no.1) to me that this was the best curry I have ever cooked. It was almost chicken Tikka Massala but not quite, not as sweet, not too hot. Anyway try it for your self. It’s very simple. Serve it with basmati rice and naan (that is if you can find some decent shop bought naan).

Serves 4


Section 1
3 Chicken Breasts
2 Lime
200ml Live Yoghurt
Salt & Pepper

Section 2
2 tbs Vegetable Oil
2 Onions
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Good lump of freshginger
I Red Chilli or 1 heaped tsp Chilli Powder
1tsp Ground Coriander
1 tsp Cumin Seed
1tbsp Turmeric
2 tbsp Muscovado Sugar
1 tsp Tomato Pureé

Section 3
2 Tomatoes
100ml cream or crème fraiche


Dice the chicken breast, place in bowl. Squeeze the lime over the chicken.
Coat with yoghurt, season with salt and pepper and leave covered for at least 30 minutes.

Place pan on a medium heat, chop onions medium coarse, add to pan. Make sure the onions do not colour, Chop the remainder of the ingredients in section 2 and add to pan together with the spices & tomato pureé. Cook gently for at least 10 minutes.

Add the chicken & yoghurt mixture to pan and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is tender & cooked through. Whilst the chicken is cooking, chop the tomatoes coarsely and add to pan for the last five minutes of cooking.

Check the chicken is cooked. Remove pan from heat, add crème fraiche. Return to heat while stirring. Serve with the rice

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Yummy Veggie Burgers

Yummy Veggie Burgers

I am not the keenest of vegetarian food fans but I had to find a decent tasting vegetarian burger as it had been requested by a client as part of a barbecue I was catering in June.

The commercial available veggie burgers were either tasteless, (the main feature of Quorn), coated with breadcrumbs, (at which point it is no longer a burger), or containing so many additives and ingredients not known to a simple chef that I felt the only course was to make my own.

I consulted widely (many thanks to KatetheBake) and came up with the following recipe which has a good taste, appearance and consistency but in no way beats 200 grams of the finest minced beef.

1kg Butternut Squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2  medium onions
2 cloves garlic
I tsp dried or fresh oregano
1 teaspoon ground Coriander
500 grams red kidney beans (either cooked or canned)
Bunch fresh coriander, chopped (or cilantro if you are American)
Juice of 1 lime
150g dried breadcrumbs (or more to taste)
I tablespoon Xanthan gum
2 tablespoons Engevita
150g dried breadcrumbs (or more to taste)
Salt & Pepper to taste.

1) Cut peel and de-seed the squash, cut in chunks, place on roasting tray sprinkle with, salt & pepper & drizzle with Olive Oil. Place in a pre-heated oven, 180c, for 40 minutes or until soft.

2) While the squash is cooking gently fry the onions and garlic till soft but not brown.

3) Place the cooked or tinned kidney beans in a food processor & process into a smooth paste. Add the oregano & dried coriander blitz or a few more minutes. The remove contents of processor to bowl.

4) Process the squash then combine with the kidney bean mixture. Add the lime juice, fresh coriander, Xanthan gum and Engevita. Add salt & pepper to taste. Start adding & mixing in the breadcrumbs until you get a mixture that will hold together in a ball.

5) Make into burger like patties. Heat oil in pan, cook patties for a minute either side or longer if cooking from frozen.

The patties can be frozen & cooked from frozen.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Baked Sea Trout with Pink Fir Potatoes & Hollondaise Sauce

It felt like the first day of Spring the sun was shining and it was Shoreham Farmers Market. I walked to the always busy fish stall and bought a line-caught Sea Trout, a big boy weighing in at around 2kg more than enough for the three of us for supper. The fish itself had a bright eye and deep red gills the best signs of a freshly caught fish and less than a tenner. What a bargain.

At the vegetable stall run by Crumbs of Sussex ( I bought some gloriously misshapen Pink Fir potatoes. Naturally I had to make some Hollondaise sauce so the eggs came from the local farm in Steyning and the salt free butter from the Bookham ( cheese & pasta stall. With few suitable local vegetable around I bought some green beans & mangetout from the local Co-op.

Sea Trout
Sea Trout
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice

Brush some foil with the oil, place the cleaned fish on the foil, season well,  sprinkle with lemon juice. Place in an oven pre-heated to 180c. Check after 20 minutes, if the flesh is soft & lifts easily from the bones it’s done, otherwise return to oven for a further few minutes.

Hollondaise Sauce
6 Egg Yolks
250 grams unsalted butter
Lemon Juice
1Tablespoon Wine Vinegar

Fine sauces such as Hollondaise and Mayonnaise hide terrors for some cooks but with care they are both simple to cook.

Ideally you need a double boiler – if you don’t have one place a bowl over a pan of near boiling water.

Place the egg yolks and vinegar in the top of your double boiler, whisking gently. Start adding the butter , roughly a teaspoon at a time letting the butter combine with the egg yolk, keep stirring gently all the time. Once the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat. Place the top part of boiler into a bowl of iced water to prevent further cooking. Add lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste.

Cook your vegetables & potatoes to taste – I prefer mine al dente. What a lovely meal, mostly local and almost healthy!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Dinner for 125(ish)

Dinner for 200 - easy enough, a disorganised client - not unusual, a badly arranged venue - par for the course. All three together a bit difficult.

I then adjusted the menu to allow for the lack of space at the venue, the menu was finalised as:
Starter: Crayfish Cocktail followed by Pheasant with a Cranberry, Orange and Red Wine Sauce served with Red Cabbage, Green Beans and New Potatoes in a Herb Butter, (recipes at the foot of the article) and a desert made by "a chocolate expert" which the client was to provide.

The evening went swimingly apart from the desert which turned out to be a cake called a Japonnaise from a local bakery chain. This confection turned out to be and iced chocolate sponge topped with chocolate butter cream.

The other thing the guest didn't seem to like was the fact that they had to to the washing up. The organisers decided that the guests at this £75.00 per head should roll up their ballgowns and do the washing up. To save money! They guests were not happy but it was for charity. Hey Ho!


Crayfish Cocktail
Crayfish (shelled, allow about 8 per person)

Add the zest and the juice of one lemon to 250ml of mayonnaise, mix the crayfish in with the mayonnaise, coating well. Place Rocket in a glass or small bowl lay crayfish mayonnaise mixture on top, decorate with slice of lemon.

Pheasant with a Cranberry, Orange and Red Wine Sauce (serves 4)
2 Oven Ready Pheasants (allow ½ a bird per person)
1 Large Onion (sliced)
2 Oranges
250 gm Cranberries
Glass Red Wine
Garlic (thinly sliced)
Fresh Thyme
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
Chicken stock

1 large casserole sufficient for all the pheasant

Quarter the birds and dust each piece with seasoned flour. Zest and juice the oranges.
Heat enough olive oil to cover the base of your casserole. Brown the pheasant in your casserole putting it aside when nicely coloured.
When you have finished browning the pheasant de-glaze the pan with the red wine. Gently cook the onion and garlic in the pan until transparent but not brown. (Add another drop of olive oil as needed)
Replace the pheasant in the pan pour in the orange juice and tip in the cranberries. Heat gently until it starts to bubble. Top up the casserole with the chicken stock so the pheasant is covered. Add the sprigs of fresh thyme. Place lid on casserole and put in oven for 2 hours on about 160c.
Serve with green beans and new potatoes.

This sauce and method also works well for Guinea Fowl

Bon appetite!