Saturday, October 1, 2016

Vegetable Thoran

I have adopted this recipe slightly from the one I was shown at a cookery class in Cochin, Maria's Cookery. maria's cookery cochin


Grated vegetables. I use 3 parts white cabbage, 1 part carrot. You can use other vegetables that lend themselves to grating. 250 gm
1 small dried red chilli, crumbled
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
2 green chillies, split and deseeded. (optional)
1/2 cup coconut flakes. I use dry coconut.
1/4 turmeric powder (or a small piece of turmeric root, finely chopped.
curry leaves.
coconut oil


Heat the oil, add the red chilli, heat for 2 minutes to release the flavour.
Add the mustard seeds, allow to 'sparkle'.
Add the cumin seeds,.
After 1 minute, add the turmeric.
After a further minute, add the vegetables and the coconut flakes, a few curry leaves and a generous pinch of salt.
Add a sprinkling of water to prevent the vegetables catching on the bottom of the pan. This is a dry curry, so be sparing with the water.
Add lid and cook over a low flame until the vegetables are ready.

Keralan Fish Curry

I have adopted this recipe slightly from the one I was shown at a cookery class in Cochin, Maria's Cookery.


Fish in bite size pieces. Whatever white fish is available - cod, haddock, pollock.
1 Red onion, chopped
1 cm long fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp turmeric - or a small piece of turmeric root, finely chopped
2 tsp coriander powder. Grind fresh from seeds.
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder. Adjust this depending on how hot you want the curry.
1 chopped tomato
1 tsp lime juice
1 cup coconut milk
curry leaves
2 green chillies, split in half and deseeded (optional)
t tblsp tomato paste
curry leaves
small quantity coconut oil


Heat oil, add onion, fry until soft.
Add green chillies, turmeric and chilli powder. Cook for a few minutes.
Add tomato and lime juice. Stir and cook for a few minutes.
Add coconut milk and salt to taste. Bring to the boil, add fish. Lower the heat and cook for 8 minutes (or until the fish is cooked). Adjust seasoning. Garnish with curry leaves before serving.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Braised pheasant

Braised pheasant


1 pheasant for two people
1 onion peeled and chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large bottle dry cider
2 large or three medium Cox's apples, cored (no need to peel) and chopped into 1 1/2 cm pieces.
olive oil
2 bay leaves
large know of butter
Heaped tablespoon flour

A metal casserole that can be used on the stove


Heat some olive oil in the casserole and brown the pheasant on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Add the chopped onions, fry for 5 minutes.
Add celery and carrot. Fry for a further 5 minutes.
Replace the pheasant, breast up.
Pour over sufficient cider to cover about 2/3 of the pheasant.
Add bay leaves, parsley, thyme, plenty of freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
Bring to the boil, cover with lid and place in the oven at 140°C.
After 1 hour, add the apples.
After a further 1/2 hour, remove from oven, remove pheasant and place a carving dish with the apples and vegetables.
Heat the casserole and boil vigorously to reduce liquid by about 1/3.
Melt butter in a saucepan and add flour. Heat for a few minutes to cook flour. Add the liquid from the casserole whisk vigorously to obtain a smooth sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper if required.
Carve the pheasant. Serve with the apples, the vegetables and the sauce accompanied by a green vegetable and boiled potatoes.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Spiced duck breast

Chinese spiced duck breasts


4 duck breasts
Chinese 5 spices*
plain flour
white vermouth

Set the oven to 200°C.
Pat the duck breasts dry with some paper towelling.
Cover both sides with the ground spices and sprinkle salt sparingly.
Place in oven in a roasting tin for 20 minutes.
Remove breasts and set aside.
Place roasting tin on stove and add heaped tablespoon flour. Scrape round with a wooden spoon to incorporate any bits in the tin. Add wine glass of white vermouth; let the alcohol boil off. Add sufficient chicken stock to make a sauce. Adjust seasoning.
Carve the duck into 1 cm thick slices.
Serve on a bed of rice accompanied by the sauce and a green vegetable of choice.

Chinese 5 spices. 

Grind together:
1 teaspoon cloves
I heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
4 cm cinnamon bark
1 teaspoon dry roasted Szechuan peppers
2 star anise

The time of roasting depends on how you like your duck meat (well done to pink) and the thickness of the breasts. I usually check the temperature with a meat thermometer.

Thursday, June 12, 2014



Serves 4


2 teacups basmati rice
curry of choice
3 cardamon pods
5 cloves
piece of cinnamon bark
5 curry leaves (preferably fresh, otherwise dried).
some strands of saffron
fried oninon rings

The curry can be whatever type of biriani you want to prepare - lamb, chicken, vegetable (mixed or a single vegetable curry). You will need enough for a single helping for one person


Soak the saffron in a little hot water

Wash the rice and allow to dry.
Melt some ghee in a saucepan and stir in the rice
Add 3 1/2 teacups water with the cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, curry leaves and a little salt
Bring to the boil, turn the heat down, cover and cook for 10 minutes
Lift out the cinnamon bark

Grease the inside of a casserole with butter.
Add a layer of rice (about 1/3 of the rice) and pour in 1/3 the saffron water
Add a layer of curry then rice plus saffron water, curry and rice plus saffron again
Top with fried onion rings
Cover the casserole tightly and either place on the stove on a low heat for 10 minutes or in the oven for about 20 minutes

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Aloo dum

There are dozens of recipes for potato curry (often called Aloo Dum). I have adapted this recipe from a dish I cooked with Chef Lokesh Mathur in his cooking class in Jaipur.

Serves 4 as side dish


Peeled potatoes in 1 cm cubes, 16-20 pieces
1 red onion chopped
3 green cardamons
1 black cardamon
3 cloves
2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
1 flat teaspoon red chilli powder
1 heaped teaspoon coriander powder
Tube of tomato puree
1 heaped tablespoon ot cashew nuts and melon seeds ground together
Yogurt, preferably Greek style, full fat 
small handful methi (fenugreek) leaves.


Boil potatoes for about 10 minutes (until just cooked). Drain and set aside
Fry onions in some oil until golden brown
Add crushed cardamons and cloves, ginger & garlic paste, chilli and coriander powders and two generous squeezes of tomato puree. Fry for a few minutes.
Add ground cashew and melon seeds 
Add enough water to give a good paste
Stir in the yogurt and the methi leaves
Add salt to taste
Add the cooked potatoes and stir to coat them evenly
Cook briefly to heat the potatoes

Monday, May 12, 2014

To weigh or not to weigh?

To weigh or not to weigh?

For roast meat, I weigh the joint to calculate the cooking time.
For other savoury dishes, I do not weigh or measure anything. I just add what looks about right, occasionally varying quantities according to my mood. In my recipes, I have indicated quantities but, if you want to try the recipe, to not feel bound by amounts given, just use them as a guide.

For bread, pastries, cakes, etc., I weigh everything carefully.

For bread, I find 500 gm flour plus 300 gm water works well.

For pastry, I always use 2 parts flour to one part fat (margarine, butter, suet, goose fat) by weight.

For cakes, I always follow a recipe carefully.