This was the first recipe I posted away back in 2012! I thought I’d start with a family favourite, Dad’s and now Hubby’s too. It’s the curry I usually cook for friends, and have been since Uni which is probably when I wheedled the recipe out of Mum. Unfortunately, the accompanying photo was similarly a first and absolutely awful… I’ve been meaning to get a better shot and finally did tonight, which seemed as good an excuse as any to repost it 🙂
This curry is closest to a madras, both for flavour and heat. Obviously the generic name of “curry” isn’t ideal, but this is an Anglicised curry rather than an authentic one, and is a total cheat for the use of ready made curry paste. But it’s properly delicious and, at the end of the day, isn’t that what’s most important?
Don’t be put off by the 4 hour cooking time. Not only does it make for meltingly tender chunks of beef, but you do all the work in the afternoon and just leave the curry to do its own thing while you do yours, and come supper time all that’s left to do is dish it up. Nom!
If you have enough leftover it freezes really well, except for the potatoes. I usually split the curry in two at the two hour mark, before I add the potatoes, and freeze half for another day. Just pop in a new batch of potatoes when start reheating the curry.
And I always add too many potatoes so that I can pop the leftovers into a bowl with a little sauce and keep them in the fridge to nibble on. They’re ridiculously moreish cold (I actually prefer them cold to hot!) and I’m lucky if they last 48 hours! And if you just have sauce left and no meat, or none to speak of, the sauce lends itself really well to being scooped up with a chapati, so still worth freezing and maybe having a lazy Tiffin style lunch one day with some pop in the oven Indian starters. Moar nom!
Mum's Epic Beef and Potato Curry
A rich and unctuous Madras-inspired curry. A real family favourite!
1 level tsp chilli powder (optional and/or to taste)
1 beef stock cube/pot
5 or 6 potatoes that suit boiling
Boiled white rice (I like Thai fragrant myself!)
Plus Mango chutney if you like it, it’s entirely optional but I can’t eat it without!
Prep before you start
Pop the onions into the food processor and blitz until they are almost pureed. This is the base of the sauce so needs to be almost liquid.
Mince the garlic, and grate the ginger (fifi's top tip - If you freeze the ginger, it grates really really easily and without that fibrous stuff, as well as keeping for longer than if just in the fridge).
Heat some oil in the pot, and on a high heat fry off the cubed meat in batches so as not to crowd the pot. Once the meat is browned and sealed, remove to a bowl.
In the same pot, pour in enough cooking oil to entirely cover the base and then some, and turn the heat down to medium/low.
Fry the onions with a sprinkle of salt for 5 minutes.
Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the stock cube, curry paste and chilli powder and cook for another 5 minutes.
While you’re on the last 5 minutes, put the kettle on to boil.
Add the steak back into the pot and then add enough boiling water to cover the meat. Bring to the boil before turning the heat down to simmer.
Season, put a lid on it, and leave it for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Just before the 2 hours are up, peel the potatoes and cut them into half (or quarters if they’re large). Once the curry reaches the 2 hour mark pop the potatoes in, put the lid back on, and leave for another 2 hours. Check on it and give it a stir every now and then. Taste and season if needed, and add more chilli powder if there isn’t enough of a kick. Hubby likes to bash the meat down throughout the cooking time, so that it almost collapses and becomes part of the sauce.
This is an oily curry, so expect it to have a slick. If anything, you might need to add a little more oil towards the end to make it have that slightly oily look. If the sauce looks too watery add a little gravy mix – I’ve never done this myself, but my Mum swears by it.
Serve with rice. I highly recommend trying some mango chutney too 😉
I have distinctly Northern Chinese food tastes, despite being Hong Kong born and bred, and always make a beeline for the fried noodles and fried dumplings first. That said, I won’t say no to a soupy bowl of wonton noodles if there’s a bottle of Chinese vinegar nearby to douse it in… But at home there are only a few noodle recipes that I dare to cook myself, and I’m always on the look out for new ones to try. When I saw this on the frankly quite awesome The Woks of Life blog, the noodles looked too tasty to be true… (where true = easy!)
So so wrong that this is already become my favourite home-cooked noodle dish, hands down 🙂 It really does taste as good as it looks – slick, chewy udon noodles, loaded with satisfyingly savoury mushrooms that go perfectly with sweet bites of pork, and bak choy to round everything out. Seriously, what’s not to love? A quick marinade and quick cook time means you can be tucking into a bowl of these in about 20 minutes!
This recipe didn’t need any tinkering, it really was perfect as it was and the only changes I made were to ‘Britishify’ some of the ingredients. The real trick to this dish, for me, is slicing the pork nice and thin so that it doesn’t need much cooking and avoids getting all tough and chewy. The noodles, however, I just can’t resist leaving in the wok to get a little bit of char on them, because who doesn’t love that ‘breath of the wok’ flavour 🙂
The recipe uses a few store cupboard staples rather than needing a spoonful of something you have to buy especially, and then will forget to use again before it rots in the back of the fridge, which just makes it even better still. And the marinade is so simple but so flavoursome that I’ve even started using it with some old mum-taught Chinese recipes… shhhh! Don’t tell her!
Shanghai Fried Noodles
These delicious wok fried noodles are satisfyingly savoury and, with just a handful of ingredients, ridiculously easy to rustle up.
As the weather finally hots up (and not before time!), mealtimes start to be less about comfort and more about avoiding spending much if any time near a hot flame, but without skimping on taste. This old favourite ticks ALL of those boxes and is relatively well behaved to boot! It’s also a one pan cooking dish which always makes me happy 🙂
To be honest, there isn’t much that’s Mexican about this recipe… The only thing it has in common with actual fajitas is that they are both wrap based and hand held… There’s not even any guacamole or salsa in sight! But don’t let that dissuade you from trying this because what it lacks in Mexican authenticity it more than makes up for in tastiness.
The trick to this dish is to get that chargrill thing going. It might look like it’s never going to happen, but have faith and persevere (and drain off excess liquid if you have to!). The rewards are a sticky charred deliciousness of big big flavours thanks to the lime and chilli flakes, which marries perfectly with the sweetness from the peppers.
Chicken & Lime Fajitas
Wok charred chicken and peppers with zingy lime, all wrapped up in warm tortillas, that taste far more sinful than they actually are.
2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced into 1cm strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into 1cm lenthways strips
1 red pepper, cut into 1cm lengthways strips
1 red onion, cut into thick strips
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp crushed chillis
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 limes, 1 zested and juiced, 1 quartered for serving
4 flour tortillas
150ml 0% fat Greek yoghurt
salt and pepper
Coriander for garnish
Start with a large mixing bowl, into which place the chicken strips, peppers and onions, oregano, chilli, vegetable oil, and the lime zest and juice. Season well before giving everything a good toss-about until the chicken and veg is well coated with the herbs and lime.
Place a wok (or large non-stick frying pan, the deeper sided the better!) over a high heat until its just starting to smoke. When it's good and (fiercely!) hot, tip everything out of the bowl into the wok and cook for about 6-8 minutes, turning only occasionally until its looking cooked through - this is to ensure that everything gets good and brown with a lightly charred effect.
If there's too much lime juice or liquid, you might need to drain some of this off otherwise the chicken and veg will broil rather than char.
Turn the heat off and let the chicken rest in the work while you warm your tortillas in the microwave, or in a dry frying pan.
Pile the chicken and veg in the middle of your tortilla, top with some coriander (if desired), a dollop of yoghurt and a squeeze more lime juice if you like it properly zingy, and scoff!
Spaghetti Bolognese is my go to comfort food. It never fails to cheer me up or warm me up when needed, and even the act of making it is oddly comforting, go figure! But sometimes you just can’t be bothered… Sometimes you just want the comfort without the effort. Which is where this awesome new recipe find from Delicious Magazine comes in to play! Normally I’ll tinker with a recipe, but this is one instance where the recipe was perfect straight out of the box (so to speak!).
The veal makes this feel like a really indulgent supper, and I love how the sauce is rich but light thanks to missing out the ubiquitous can of tomatoes that goes into most ragu sauces. The splash of red wine vinegar at the end helps cut through some of that richness, and adds a wonderful counter flavour to the otherwise sweet ragu.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love recipes that taste like they were hard work but are actually anything but. This recipe is a perfect example of that, super easy to throw together but tastes like something that required an awful lot more time in the kitchen then it actually did. And the long slow cooking makes it the perfect Sunday night supper 🙂
ps – if you don’t like veal then mince beef would work just as well, and appreciate the slow cooking just as much.
Veal Mince Ragu with Tagliatelle
A poshed up version of that old British favourite, spag bol!
Start with a large saucepan or wok over a medium heat and melt your butter before adding all of the chopped veg. Gently fry until the onions are going transluscent, then remove to a plate.
In the same pan, add the veal mince and give it a good season. Turn the heat up until the meat is browned off.
Add the tomato puree and stir through the meat, and then cook for a couple of minutes before adding the veg back into the pan and giving everything a good stir.
Next, add the white wine and, still on a high heat, bubble for 2 minutes before adding the beef stock and milk.
Once it’s all bubbling again, turn the heat down until your ragu is simmering and then cover. Leave it to simmer away 1½-2 hours, giving it a stir every now and then and tasting to check the seasoning.
Take the lid off for the last half hour of cooking. If it's too dry add more stock.
Just before you’re serve, stir through a splash of red wine vinegar, then toss through the tagliatelle and plate up with generous shavings of parmesan.
I have created a curry monster…! When Hubby first arrived on these shores with his American palate, his spice tolerance was firmly skewed towards all things Mexican. His first curry confused his tastebuds what with being all spicy but in a way he wasn’t used to, but he soon overcame that and now gets a little grumpy if he goes more than a week without a curry. Which probably explains why I feel like I’ve made a curry every weekend for the last wee while, because the curry monster has been a bit demandy-pants!
So I’ve been trying out some new recipes, with Hubby as guinea pig, and two are proving to be quite good. There’s a chicken pathia that I’m still working on that is almost there (but not quite!) and then there’s this lamb and spinach one, a particularly great find from the peeps at Olive Magazine. And since it’s National Curry Week, it seemed like a good time to blog it!
My favourite curries always seem to be lamb ones, that slight gaminess that lamb has just seems to partner perfectly with lovely aromatic Indian spices. Lamb is even better when you slow cook it for hours, which is the biggest adaptation I made to this recipe, extending the cooking time from an hour to two and a half. The result is a sweet melt-in-the-mouth lamb that almost falls apart when you stick a fork in it. And the spinach wilts perfectly into the spicy sauce to add a lovely layer of flavour as well as a bit of texture to the dish.
Another thing to highly recommend this recipe is how easy it is to make, with the help of a food processor to save you time chopping the onions, garlic and ginger. There’s also no need to skin or deseed the tomatoes (which always takes ages!) as they melt down into a lovely sauce. And if you don’t have any fresh tomatoes to hand (or can’t be arsed dealing with them!) a can of chopped tomatoes will do the job just as well. Honestly, all the hard work is done by the slow cooking, leaving you free to put your feet up and enjoy the lovely aromas coming from the pot or, as in Hubby’s case, be driven mad with hunger by them for the better part of a weekend afternoon! But don’t take my word for it’s deliciousness, take Hubby’s, who has demanded this curry two weekends in a row and declared it his (new!) favourite 🙂
Lamb & Spinach Curry
A slow cooked melt-in-the-mouth lamb curry to celebrate National Curry Week.
thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 green chillies, deseeded and sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
600g lamb neck fillet, cut into bite-sized cubes
4 tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can chopped tomatoes)
1 tbsp tomato purée
100g spinach, chopped
1 lamb stock cube
Throw the ginger, garlic and onions in a food processor and pulse blitz everything until it's somewhere between a liquid and a paste.
Heat about 1 tbsp oil (or ghee) in a stewpot then brown the lamb in two or three batches (if you crowd the pan the lamb will end up stewing and not browning). Remove all the lamb and set aside.
Add the blitzed onion mix to the empty stewpot, sliced green chillies and 1/2 tsp salt (with a little more oil if you need to) and cook for 5 minutes.
Next, add the spices to the pot and stir well until the spices are mixed throughout the onions, and cook for another couple of minutes.
Stir in the tomato puree and give that a minute or two to cook in before adding the lamb back to the onion and spice mix. Stir well and let it cook for a minute or two.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes and a teaspoon of sugar. Fill the empty tomato can with cold water (equivalent of 2 cups) and bring to a simmer.
Cover and cook for at least 2 and a half hours - lamb neck fillet loves slow cooking!
About an hour into cooking, add a lamb stock cube and stir until it's melted into the sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning and add more cayenne if required. If the sauce is looking a bit thin, continue to simmer without a lid to help it thicken up.
Add the spinach for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
Autumn is definitely here! The heating finally went back on this weekend after almost 24 hours of perfectly Scottish dreich. So I figured it was time and, to be honest, I’m not really complaining because I’m properly ready for some cold weather. And soup, apparently 🙂 This one, in particular, is probably my absolute favourite of all the ones Hubby cooks (which makes him sound like some kind of weird soup fiend, but he isn’t!)
He mocks me for my love of blended soups, prefers them chunky himself, but when the result is a rich, silky smooth bowl of liquid magic like this then bring out the blender I say!
We also like to call this the ‘clean out the vegetable drawer‘ soup… Anything that’s languishing in there gets tossed into the roasting tin along with the squash and sweet potatoes. So every time Hubby makes this it’s just a little bit different, with new layers of flavour depending on what he finds in the drawer. And holding all those flavours up is coconut milk, giving this dish a lovely creaminess that marries perfectly with the heat of the chillis in a bit of a South East Asian twist.
We normally top with homemade croutons but in my neverending browse of Pinterest I saw a Thai-ed up butternut squash soup from a blog called Carlsbad Cravings where they roasted the seeds in a sweet and spicy mix and popped them on top of the soup. To be fair, I only made them to garnish the picture (soup is incredibly difficult to photograph and make look interesting!) but the seeds are delicious, all sticky with the honey and spicy with the Sriracha and crunchy with the roasting. Make them! You won’t regret it 🙂
Before I hand you over to Hubby and his recipe, don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – half of it goes in the roasting tray and the other half are spices. Also, he rambles… Bless.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
The flavours of Autumn in a bowl, a balanced blend of coconut and spice that'll heat up those cold, windy days.
1 bulb of garlic (the larger sizes for roasting are perfect)
1 pint / 2 cups chicken stock (stock cube or gel pot is fine if you can't find stock)
1/3 - 1/2 pint / 1.5 cups warm water
1 400g can coconut milk (or 200ml double / heavy cream if you don't like coconut)
Oil for roasting
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon (more to taste)
3/4 tsp ground ginger (more to taste)
1/2 to 3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste, white pepper is best
Optional - Cayenne pepper - To add warmth if the chillies weren't hot enough for you
Optional - 1 to 2 tsp chicken powder
Optional - Few dashes Maggi Liquid Seasoning
Stuff you'll need for the Honey Sriracha Butternut Squash Seeds...
saved butternut squash seeds
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp groundnut/vegetable oil
1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. While it's heating up, chop the stem and top off of the squash, and then halve it lengthwise down the middle. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and set aside. Continue scraping out all of the fibrous seed strands until the hollow of the squash is clean. If you're going to roast the seeds, rinse to get any stubborn fibrous stuff of the seeds and then pat dry with kitchen roll
Next, peel your carrots and cut off the tops, and peel your sweet potatoes. Halve the potatoes lengthwise and cut into thick half-round slices, then cut the carrots into thumb-sized chunks.
Peel your onion and cut off the top and bottom, then cut into chunky quarters. Cut the stems from the chillies, slice open and de-seed them. Now do the same for your peppers.
Lastly, peel the outer layer of the garlic, and then chop of the top so that you expose the cloves within.
Place the squash in your roasting pan cut-side up, and then arrange the other root vegetables around it. Place your whole bulb of garlic in one of the hollows of the squash, and then drizzle the lot with olive or vegetable oil and mix it about to coat. Next lay the chillies and peppers on top of the other veg, skin side up, and drizzle with a bit more oil.
Cover the pan with tinfoil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
After the first half-hour has passed, give the veg a good shoogle about and remove the foil. Put the pan back in the oven, and roast the vegetables for another 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your oven.
Check and stir the vegetables every 20 minutes or so, and add more oil as necessary to keep the veg from drying out.
When you're roasting the veg you'll need to take the chillies out first, once the skin starts to blister. The peppers will be the second to come out. Be sure to check the garlic as well, and take it out once it's begun to darken in colour and is soft. If the onion begins to blacken, go ahead and remove it as well.
The carrots only need to be softened, as the other veg will roast much quicker, that's ok. The other root veg should ideally be fork-tender.
When the roasting is finished,, allow the vegetables to cool for a bit. While they're cooling, peel the skins from the chillies and peppers and discard. Then squeeze the garlic cloves out of the bulb and set aside with the peppers.
If you're roasting the butternut squash seeds, lower the oven heat to 150C/300F, line a baking tray with parchment or foil and set aside for now.
Now peel the skin from the squash and discard it before breaking the roasted squash into rough pieces.
Next you'll want to blend the vegetables. This is easiest if you have a stick blender, but if you put them into a blender / liquidiser you can strain the lot later, and this is ideal because the finished soup should be smooth and silky. As a note, you may want to add the chillies one at a time, as they can vary in heat, just taste the mix as you go.
Blend all of the vegetables until smooth, adding the chicken stock throughout to make it easier to blend.
After the squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, onion, chillies, peppers and garlic are all blended, strain the mixture through a mesh strainer into a large saucepan or stewpot. You'll need to press the veg through the strainer using the back of a spoon.
Once you've done that, it's time to add the spices and seasoning, followed by the coconut milk (or double cream). Stir well until all of the spices are incorporated then bring the soup up to a good simmer and add extra water (or milk) as needed until the soup is the desired thickness and consistency. It's generally quite a thick soup even with the coconut milk in, so the listed measurements of extra water are a good guide to go by.
If you're roasting the seeds, this is when you want to get them going (see breakout recipe below).
After about ten minutes on simmer the soup should be warm and ready to serve (if you're roasting the seeds then just leave it simmering while they're in the oven, you might need to add more water/milk if the soup thickens up too much though). Finish by adding a bit of the butter for an added silkiness and flavour, and garnish with a few cracks of black pepper or the lovely roasted squash seeds.
Roast honey sriracha butternut squash seeds!
In a small bowl, whisk together all the seed ingredients before adding the seeds and stirring until they are evenly coated.
Spread the seeds out evenly on the baking tray and as much in a single layer as you can (they're super sticky!).
Cook for 25-30 minutes (if you like your seeds really crunchy then leave in for a little longer). The seeds will be a little soft when they first come out but will crunch up as they cool.
The amount of spices in the recipe should be taken as a base reference, feel free to adjust them to your personal taste. If it needs a bit more heat you can add cayenne pepper, but you can absolutely leave it out if the soup is hot enough for you with just the chillies. The spices add another layer of earthiness to complement the squash, or in the case of the cayenne and ginger, a bit more warmth to supplement the chillies.