Monday, 17 November 2014

Turkey Squash and Mint Masala

Serves 2

I was thrilled to receive a box of goodies from the lovely people at
Loyd Grossman to try out their new Limited Edition Mint Masala curry sauce. Mint struck me initially as a little strange to have in a curry as I would usually use coriander, but then of course you get cooling mint raita in Indian restaurants, so it does have an affinity.

I used half a jar for 2 portions which with bread or rice was enough for me. The mint was not overpowering – it is very different to our common garden mint. Much more delicate and fragrant.

Decided to use turkey breast and tenderstem broccoli as they needed using up. Plus jazzed it up with some extra spice, not because it was needed, but because I have so much in my cupboard!!

I really liked the sauce as it made a nice change from the usual tikka and korma.

1 turkey breast fillet (about 350g), sliced thinly
1 tsp oil
½ onion, sliced
½ tsp mustard seeds
Pinch nigella seeds
Handful of frozen butternut squash, chopped into bitesize chunks
4 tenderstem broccoli stems, chopped into bitesize lengths
½ jar Loyd Grossman Mint Masala Curry Sauce
10 curry leaves (optional)
½ tsp garam masala powder
1 handful spinach (actually it was spinach, rocket and watercress salad leaves in this instance!)
Naan or rice to serve
Fresh mint to garnish if liked

Heat the oil in a non-stick wok or frying pan and fry the onion and seeds together. Watch out as the will pop and spit!
Once softened and lightly golden, add the squash and broccoli and stir fry until the squash has thawed and soft and the broccoli is cooked but still with some crunch.
Add the turkey strips and fry for 2-3 mins until sealed and almost cooked through. Then pour in the curry sauce, curry leaves, garam masala, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. I needed to add a little water to loosen the consistency to my liking.
Stir in the spinach and turn off the heat. It will wilt down really quickly.

Serve with naan or rice, and sprinkle with chopped mint if using.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Spanish-style cod

Serves 1 – easily multiplied

Have just come back from Majorca and really enjoyed the gutsy flavours of the local tapas. Anyway I had lots of leftover bits in the fridge that needed using up when I got back – peppers, toms, garlic, onion etc – so threw this dish together with a little Spanish inspiration. I really liked it, even though it was eaten on a dreary day rather than hot Mediterranean sunshine!

1 cod fillet
¼ red onion, finely sliced
3-4 cherry tomatoes, sliced
¼ small pepper, sliced (or a mini pepper such as Tesco Chiquino peppers)
½ clove garlic, finely chopped
4-5 chorizo slices, cut into strips
3 olives, sliced
½ tin butterbeans, drained
Pinch dried herbs
Hot paprika
Salt and pepper
2 -3 tablespoons red wine
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Drizzle of Olive oil

Preheat oven to 180C Fan.

Layer most of the onions, tomatoes, pepper, garlic, chorizo, olives and butterbeans in a small heatproof dish (I used a small oblong enamel pie tin). Season and add a little hot paprika to taste.

Place the fish on top and season with herbs, a little extra dusting of hot paprika to taste, and more salt and pepper.

Pile the remaining sliced ingredients on top to cover the fish, then spoon over the wine, balsamic and a little drizzle of olive oil.

Cover tightly with foil, allowing a bit of tent space for steam. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes and serve with seasonal vegetables, rice or bread.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The BEST steak sandwich with sticky onions and steak sauce

 Serves 1

I am partial to a steak sarnie – it’s often the first thing I scan for on pub menus. I suppose it feels a little less naughtier than a burger, but let’s face it, it is pure filthy deliciousness. Well, it is the way I make it. The key is the holy trinity of condiments – this should not be made without the special steak sauce blend…

1 rump steak
Black pepper
½ red onion, finely sliced
Drizzle of oil
Drizzle of Balsamic vinegar
2 slices good, chewy sourdough bread (Love the Real Patisserie Chewy Brown)
1 tsp each Heinz tomato ketchup, French’s Mustard and Hellmans Mayo
Handful rocket leaves
2-3 cherry tomatoes, sliced
Thin shavings of Parmesan cheese

Bash the meat to tenderise and thin it out a little. Trim off any fat and season with black pepper.

In a small frying pan cook the onions in the oil over a gentle heat until soft and translucent. Add a drizzle of balsamic and cook a little longer until sticky. Turn heat off and allow to cool a bit.

Heat a griddle or frying pan until very hot and dry fry the sliced bread until lightly toasted. Set aside then lay in the steak and cook to your liking. (For me, 1.5 mins on both sides is about right by the time it has rested) then put on a plate to rest for 2-3 mins.

Meanwhile mix the 3 sauces to make burger sauce and spread over the toasted bread. Top with a heap of rocket, cherry tomatoes and the cooled sticky onions.

Slice the warm steak on an angle and pile onto the sandwich and scatter with parmesan shavings. Place other slice of bread on top and squash down lightly. Cut in half and devour.

Divine Halloumi and Couscous Salad

Serves 2- depending how greedy you are

I had forgotten how much I adore couscous until recently when I opened a pack that had been in my fridge the best part of a year! (this stuff has an amazing shelf life) I made a massive batch and was eating it for 4 days (see other pic below as proof!) but was actually quite sad when I finished it all off! Must try to get out more.
I have discovered the sweet chilli sauce is also a good friend of halloumi. Nice in a wrap if you don’t use it all up.

1 100g pack tomato or roast vegetable couscous
1 small courgette
1 small aubergine
1 red or yellow pepper
1 red onion
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Handful of olives, sliced
Cherry tomatoes, chopped
3 spring onions, sliced
Bag of rocket
2 tbsp Lemon juice
Fresh Dill and Basil (optional), chopped
1 block of Halloumi

Preheat oven to 200C.

Make up the couscous according to packet instructions and set aside to cool.

Cut the courgette, aubergine and pepper into chunks. About an inch is fine. Peel the onion but leave the end core on and cut into thinish wedges so they do not fall apart.

Tip onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and seasoning. Cook for about 25-30 mins until soft and lightly charred round the edges. Drizzle with a little balsamic and pop back in oven for 5 mins more minute then remove and cool.

In a serving bowl, toss together the warm or room temperature couscous and roasted vegetables with the remaining ingredients, apart from the Halloumi. You can refrigerate at this stage if you don’t want a warm salad.

When ready to eat, slice the halloumi and dry fry in a hot frying pan for about 1 min on each side until golden and toasty. Divide the salad between plates and top with the hot cheese slices and eat.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Greek lamb stew with tagliatelle

Serves 4-5

This dish was created because I couldn’t bear to waste some dill! Can’t believe I spent about £6 on lamb to save the dill, but lamb is such a rare, expensive treat. And it does go quite a long way in this dish.  I then portioned this up and froze little bags of it as I am not feeding a family, although it would improve in flavour in the fridge a day or two after you cooked it.

Next time I might chop up the lamb smaller and cook for 2 hours to make a finer ragu style sauce for pasta or just some nice crusty bread.
  • olive oil
  • 500g lamb steaks ,  cut into chunks
  • 1 aubergine , cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, half chopped and half sliced into half moons
  • garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs (or Herbes de Provence)
  • 200ml chicken or lamb stock 
  • ½ stick cinnamon 
  • few sprigs fresh dill (or parsley if you don’t like dill)
  • 1 lemon, zested (optional)
  • grated parmesan cheese or crumbled feta
  • 50g dried tagliatelle for each person (so 200g for 4)
Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large wok or casserole with a lid. Season the lamb  and brown all over in two batches then remove. Add the aubergine and another splash of oil and cook for 2-3 mins until softened a little. As the aubergine soaks up so much oil, I poured a little of the meat juices that had run out of the lamb to the pan. This deglazed it which adds more flavour and made the aubergine cook quicker without even more oil. Lift out the aubergine and give the pan a wipe as it will probably be black by now! Then add the onions and garlic and cook for 5-6 mins until softened and translucent.

Tip the lamb and aubergine back with the tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, cinnamon and check seasoning. Simmer then put on a lid on (or transfer to a casserole if you used a wok) and cook for 1.5 hours or until the meat is tender and the sauce is rich. Remove the cinnamon stick. Sprinkle the dill or parsley over and lemon zest.

Cook the tagliatelle according to packet instructions and serve with the stew. Add either parmesan or feta to taste and eat.

Thursday, 31 July 2014


Serves 2-4 depending on what you serve with it.

This is a traditional Greek stew that maybe doesn’t sound exciting, but boy I am addicted! The flavours meld together and tastes so summery and this is a great way of using up a glut of runner beans which was the reason for making it. The amount of olive oil is really worth it.

I have eaten masses of this just on its own with crusty bread to mop up the sauce. Or its great with simple grilled fish with a squirt of lemon as in this picture or lamb chops. If you don’t like dill use fresh parsley or marjoram. You can eat hot, warm or at room temperature. It also freezes well.

250g Runner beans, de-stringed and cut into 2 inch diagonal lengths
4 tablespoons good olive oil
1 large onion – half finely chopped and half sliced into half moons
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium potato or 4 new potatoes, sliced into thickish chunks (I don’t bother to peel)
Salt and pepper
Small pinch chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
Water to cover – about a small glass or half a tin canful
Feta cheese, a really thin slice crumbled per serving
Dill or parsley, roughly chopped

1. wash the prepped runner beans and drain.
2. heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok and gently cook the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of mins, stirring so it doesn’t burn.
3. Add the beans and potatoes and cook for 3-5 mins, coating well in the oil and onions. Season well and add the chilli and dried oregano.
4. Tip in the tomatoes and tomato puree, and pour in some water just to cover. Bring to boil and put on a lid or transfer to a lidded casserole then simmer for 1 hour (or cook slowly in oven at 160C for same time)
5. After an hour if it is too liquid, remove lid and cook for another 10-15 mins. The sauce should be rich and velvety.

6. Sprinkle over chopped dill and crumbled over feta.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


I love Dhal – thick, gently spiced, cheap as chips  and very filling. You could add cooked diced chicken or lamb to it and some stock to loosen it more, which would give it more of a Dhansak curry feel. Also nice!

Serves 2-3

150g dried split yellow peas
500-750ml water
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds (black onion seeds)
½ tbsp cumin seeds
A pinch of ground turmeric
10 curry leaves
1 onion, sliced
1-2 large green chillies, sliced (deseed if you don’t like too much heat)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp garam masala
3 tomatoes, chopped
Juice of ½ a lemon
Fresh coriander, chopped
2 shallots, sliced into rings (optional)
Naan or tortillas, warmed, to serve

1 Wash and drain the split peas in a sieve and place in a saucepan. Pour 500ml of water over, boil for 10 mins, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 35 minutes, or until the peas are very soft. You may need to add the extra 250 ml water if it evaporates too fast. Season.
2 Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the spices and curry leaves and fry over a medium heat until the mustard seeds start to pop.
3 Add the onion, chillies and garlic and stir well. Cook for another 3 minutes, then add the garam masala.
4 Mix well, and then tip into the cooked dhal with the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, adding more water if the mixture becomes too thick.
5 Add the lemon juice and coriander. (If you like fry the shallot in a little oil and garam masala until crisp and tip over the dhal)  Serve with warm flatbreads for scooping.