Goan Lamb Curry

This recipe is by the very talented Paul Merrett, and is also available from the UKTVFood website.

I have tried it a few times now, and experimented with spicy / mild / Lamb / Chicken. My personal preference is Lamb, with the same amount of chilli powder as below, and one chopped chilli in the pan. As before, it’s all down to individual taste. I also use a block of creamed coconut, instead of the canned cream ….. purely because I didn’t have any. It tasted great, but the cream would loosen the sauce a little more.



  • 2 heaped tbsp chopped onions
  • splash vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, sliced or grated
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2-1 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cardamom pods, split
  • 2-3 chillies, sliced (optional)
  • 450 g lamb shoulder, cut into cubes
  • 500 g carton plain yogurt
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 3-4 tbsp coconut cream, (optional)

For the spice mix

  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1-2 tsp ground almonds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder


1. Fry onions in a little oil until softened and lightly golden. Add the garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom and chilies if using. Fry for a couple more minutes until the garlic has softened. 

2. Mix together the spice ingredients with a pinch of black pepper and add to the pan. Cook for a minute or two until you can smell the spices.

3. Add the lamb and cook for five minutes to brown on all sides.  Then empty the carton of yoghurt into the pan and cook over a low heat.  If necessary add a little water to loosen the sauce a bit.  Season with salt to taste. Cook until the lamb is tender (about 2 hours) over a low heat until the meat is soft and tender.

4. Once almost ready to serve add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.  Add the coconut cream and heat through, mixing well. Then serve with rice.


Vietnamese Ginger Chicken

I clocked this on a TV show the other day, and it seemed really easy, and quick, with not too many ingredients, so I thought I would give it a go. I’m not sure if I followed the method verbatim, but it seemed to work.

  • Boneless Chicken – I used boned and skinned Thighs, cut in half
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of Oyster Sauce
  • 2” piece of fresh Ginger – Julienned
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Red Chili – Julienned
  • 3 Spring Onions – Julienned

Take half of the Ginger and bash up in a Mortar & Pestle. Mix the Sugar, Fish Sauce, mashed Ginger and Oyster Sauce together, and use to marinade the Chicken for 20mins. Heat some vegetable oil in a Wok and brown the Chicken off in batches …. Try not to crowd the wok too much or the Chicken will just boil. Once the Chicken is done, set aside, heat a little more oil and fry off the Garlic and remaining Ginger – 2 mins, turn the heat down and add the browned chicken and any remaining marinade.

Put a lid on and cook for 20 mins, or until the Chicken is cooked – stirring occasionally. Chuck in the Spring Onions and Chili, leaving a little left over for showboating garnish. Serve with Rice.

I really glad this turned out ok, because during the marinating, and parts of the cooking, the Fish Sauce smells quite strong, but it does mellow during cooking, and the sugar balances the saltiness really well.

Winner all round, and will be doing this again….. SOON!!!

Victoria Sponge

Now I’m not really into desserts or cakes, and was encouraged to do this on a rainy day to help get the kids into the kitchen. We were flicking through an array of cookbooks and came across this recipe for a Victoria Sponge in Jamie Oliver’s “Cook with Jamie” book. Having never really baked a cake, we followed the book to the letter.


For the Sponge


225g Unsalted Butter – softened

225g Self Raising Flour – sifted

225g Caster Sugar

4 Large Eggs

Zest of 1 Lemon


For the Filling


150g of Strawberry Jam

250g Fresh Strawberries – Sliced

285ml Double Cream

2 Heaped Tablespoons of Caster Sugar

Juice of the Lemon

1 Vanilla Pod – seeds removed


Preheat the over to 180 deg. C. Take two 20cm sandwich cake tins and grease the bottom and sides with butter, line the base with greaseproof paper and dust the side lightly with flour. Beat the butter and sugar together with either an electric whisk or a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating each one in before adding the next. The fold in the flour and lemon zest.


Divide the cake mixture between the two tins, spread it out with a spatula and bake in the over for 20mins, until lightly golden and risen. You can check to see if the sponge is cooked by sticking a cocktail stick into the middle, leaving it for 5secs. If it comes out clean it is cooked. Allow to cool slightly then carefully turn out on to a rack to fully cool.


Warm the jam in a pan, remove from the heat and stir in the strawberries. Whip the cream, sugar lemon juice and vanilla seeds together until you have soft peaks. Pick the best looking sponge to go on top. Smear over the jam and strawberries, and spread the sweetened cream over the top. Put the sponge on top and dust with icing sugar.


Its worthwhile mentioning that if you don’t allow the sponge, or jam to cool, before you put the cream on …. It will melt, as I found out. Well I was a bit eager to eat the thing.

Curry, Curry, Curry

Curry … we all love it. I cook it all the time. In the early years, mine were either from the takeaway, or out of a jar. I bought an Indian cook book about 5yrs ago and tried a few recipes out of there. They were very good, but seemed to take forever, and use hundreds of ingredients. I wanted something that I could knock up after work, after the match, at the drop of a hat …. Whenever I fancied it. So I created this basic recipe that I use for all of my “normal” everyday curries.


Dry Stuff

Black Onion Seeds

Cumin Seeds

Mustard Seeds

Garam Masala




Chilli Powder


Not so Dry Stuff

1 White Onion – Chopped

2 Cloves of Garlic – Finely Chopped

A thumb sized piece of Ginger – Finely Chopped

1 Chilli – Finely Chopped (more or less as per your taste)


Wet Stuff

2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes



It may seem like of lot to go out and buy, but once you have them, they last for quite a while. Now most of this is usually situated on my “special” shelf, or in the cupboard, so all I have to decide is what to put in. The list is endless, Meat, Fish, Potato, Cauliflower, Courgette, Sweet Potato, Spinach etc. Our current favourites are Chicken Thighs or Potato, but if you have any other veg knocking about, like Red / Green Peppers, get them in as well. This is a one pot dish, so it’s easy on the cleaning up as well.


Heat some oil in your pot, and put in the seeds. When they splutter and pop, add the other dried spices and fry for about a minute. Then into the pan go the Onions, Garlic, Chilli and Ginger. Turn the heat down a little and cook them until soft. If you doing a Potato curry, now’s the time to put them  in. Dice them up no bigger that 2cm, and fry them off for a few mins with the onions and spices. In with the tomatoes, stir and top up with the stock – the liquid needs to cover your spuds.


I would use that method for most vegetable curries, but if you fancy Chicken, Meat on the bone is best. In your big pot, heat a little oil and brown Chicken thighs in batches. Set to one side. Now use the juices from the Chicken in the bottom of your pan to fry off the seeds and spices etc …. Nothing is wasted, and it’s all flavour. Prepare the sauce as above, add the Tomatoes, then the reserved Chicken, topping up with stock if necessary – As per the Kofte, the meat will give off juices that will loosen the spicy sauce.


Simmer on the hob on a medium heat until the Veg / Meat is cooked and the sauce has reduced and thickened. You can cook the Chicken slower / longer and the meat will just fall from the bone. Serve with rice, breads and a nice cold bottle of beer.


NB – All of the spices are of equal measures (1tsp), apart from the chilli powder. Alter that to your tastes…. And I put a bucket load of Black Onion Seeds, cos I luv ‘um.


I always cook my rice the same way. I’m not saying it’s the right way, or the best way, but it always works for me. Rapidly boil some water and add salt. I use a large handful of rice per portion, and a handful for the pot. I tend to use Basmati rice a lot. Boil the rice for approx 5 mins, stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick. Drain into a metal colander, and rinse with cold water. This helps to remove the starch from the rice. Leave the rice in the colander and put over a simmering pan of boiling water. Cover the top of the colander with foil, or a saucepan lid. This will now steam the rice to perfection. Just give the rice a stir every now and again to ensure it doesn’t stick together and cooks evenly…….. Hopefully you end up with fluffy rice, without the grains all clumped together .

Quick Pasta Tea #1

This is an awesome, quick meal I lifted off a website a few weeks ago, when searching for ideas for Courgettes. It’s by a guy called Neil Parry, and a link to the original recipe is here. I have changed it slightly by using Spaghetti and fresh chilli. The recipe calls for dried chilli flakes, but I think the fresh chilli delivers a softer heat, and is less harsh.

So you will need:

Dried Spaghetti

3 Courgettes  – Grated

6 Anchovy Fillets

3 Cloves of Garlic

1 Red Chilli – Deseeded and finely chopped

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper for seasoning

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

That's all you need

Boil water in a large enough pan to accommodate your pasta. – I use the base of my large steamer. Once boiling, add some salt, and launch in the Spaghetti. Dried Spaghetti normally takes about 10 mins to cook al dente, but follow the instructions on the packet. Whilst it is simmering away, grate your courgettes, and finely chop you garlic and chilli. Heat some olive oil in a pan, and fry the Anchovies until they have nearly disappeared. Then add the garlic and chilli. Be careful of the heat because you don’t want these to burn and cause a bitter taste. 3 mins later, add in your courgettes with a generous slug or 2 of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Stir and cook for a further 5 mins. Your pasta should now be cooked. Drain, but save a little bit of the water the pasta was cooked in. Put the pasta back in the pot, with the cooking liquor, and stir in the courgettes mixture / sauce. Serve with a bucket load of freshly grated Parmesan.

Breaded Mackerel with Thai Style Salsa Verde

This idea was totally off the cuff . I was mooching around my local Supermarket and spotted some fresh Mackerel. I’d never cooked with them so thought I would give it a try, boosted by the fact I could have 3 whole fishes for less than £2.80. I really did make this up as I went along, but the sauce is a doffed cap to Jamie Oliver’s Spicy Noodle Salad.

  • Mackerel – Filleted (have fun with that…. I did!!)
  • Flour, 1 Egg (beaten) & Breadcrumbs
  • Big bunch of coriander
  • ½” Ginger – Peeled and chopped
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 1 Red Chilli
  • 2 Spring Onions
  • 1 Lime – Zest and Juice
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seed Oil
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce

Season the Mackerel with salt, cover with Flour, pat off the excess, dip in the egg and coat in the bread crumbs. I wanted to use the fine Japanese bread crumbs but could not find them. I used normal dried bread crumbs from the Supermarket, but crunched them up a little to make them a little more refined. Fry off the breaded filets for a few mins each side, until the bread crumbs are golden.

All of the other ingredients go into the food processer for a quick wizz. It’s quite potent stuff, so use carefully. If it a bit thick, use some olive oil to loosen, Arrange the cooked fillets on a plate, and serve with the “Thai Style Salsa Verde” and a wedge of Lime.

Steak & Guinness Pie

Pies are great because there are no firm rules relating to what goes into the filling. Lots of what you like …. Nothing is really off limits. A firm family favorite at the moment is Steak & Guinness pie.

I use whatever I have lying around …. In this particular pie I used

  •  Braising Steak
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Herbs – Rosemary, Thyme finely chopped
  • Mushrooms – Quartered
  • 2 cans of Guinness
  • 1 stock cube
  • Handful of Frozen Peas
  • Shop bought puff pastry
  • Salt and Pepper to season

Flour the beef before browning in a frying pan. I tend to do this in small batches so the meat browns well. If you put too much into the pan the meat starts to stew, not brown.

In the same pan sweat off the Carrots, Onion, Celery, Garlic and Herbs for about 5 mins, and add to your casserole dish containing the meat. Fry off the Mushrooms quickly and also add to the pan. You don’t want to waste any flavor on this dish, so heat the frying pan back up and deglaze the pan with some of the Guinness and add the juice to the pot.

Bring the meat and veg up on heat, and crumble in a stock cube. Add all of the Guinness, bring to the boil, add the peas and simmer. This will simmer away for a good 60 / 90 minutes and the flour that your used on the beef will help thicken the sauce.  Keep tasting….. As it cooks, the flavors develop, so you can add seasoning to you taste (or even a splash of Worcestershire Sauce). You want to simmer this until the liquid has reduced by about half.

Pour into a pie dish. Roll out you pastry. I make no excuses for using shop bought. It’s really good, and very convenient. Cover your pie mixture with the pastry, score the top with a knife and glaze with a beaten egg.

Bake in the oven at about 180F for approx. 25 mins, or until the pastry has risen and turned a nice golden brown. Serve with more veg of choice, or on its own with some buttered crusty bread.

Harrisons Kofte

My good mate Rob gave this recipe to me. His original recipe used minced Lamb, but as Mrs. W doesn’t like Lamb, I have substituted it with Beef mince. It works just as well. This is a great dinner any day of the week, and whenever it’s suggested, is always greeted with a resounding YES!!


For the Kofte you will need:


800g Beef / Lamb Mince

1 Fresh Green Chili – Finely Chopped

1 Clove of Garlic – Finely Chopped

1 Thumb sized piece of Ginger – Peeled and Finely Grated

¼ tsp. of Garam Masala

3 tbsp. of Freshly Chopped Coriander

Salt to season


Put all of the above into a bowl and mix together by hand. Form into approx. 20 equal sized balls. Really good to get the kids involved, as they love getting their hands dirty, so you don’t have to.


Set the meatballs to one side, and prepare the sauce. You will need:


½ tsp. Cumin Seeds

½ tsp. Black Onion Seeds

1 White Onion – Chopped

1 Clove of Garlic – Finely Chopped

1 Thumb sized piece of Ginger – Peeled and Finely Grated

1 tsp. of Ground Cumin

1tsp of Ground Coriander

1 Can of chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp. of Tomato Puree

½ tsp. of Chili Powder – add more / less Chili for you own tastes


Heat a little oil and add the Cumin and Black Onion seeds. Fry until they start to splutter and pop. Then add the Onion, Garlic & Ginger and gently fry for 5 mins. Add in you spices and cook for a further 2 mins before adding the rest of the ingredients. Let this simmer for a few mins before adding the meatballs. Cover and cook for 25 / 30 mins until the meatballs have cooked through. You may think that there is not enough sauce, but be patient. As the meatballs gently stew away, they release lots of juice that adds to the sauce.


Serve with steamed rice, and garnish with a little more freshly chopped Coriander

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