Keema with Browned Onions

Food Blogs and Recipes

Keema with Browned Onions
‘Two Onions’ by Julian Merrow-Smith

This is a great example of east meets west, and while based on the traditional Indian ‘keema’ dish, this was adapted by us over years of getting it to suit our need for depth of flavour, as opposed to what was previously a somewhat bland and ‘safe’ recipe for undeveloped English palettes.

While this is already a highly adaptable meal in itself, it can also be used with a variety of ingredients and accompaniments, which means that it’s perfect for introducing guests to the diverse world of Indian cuisine, particularly those reluctant to try ‘spicy’ food, and where suitable, you can always use minced beef instead of lamb.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
400g of Minced Lamb (or beef)
6 Tbsps of Olive or Sunflower Oil
3 Onions (Two Chopped and One Finely Sliced)
4 Garlic Cloves (Peeled and Grated)
1” of Peeled Fresh Ginger (Grated)
2 Tsps of Ground Cumin
2 Tsps of Ground Coriander
2 Tsps Ground Turmeric
2 Tbsps Natural Yoghurt
Whole Cinnamon Stick
Bay Leaf
3 Whole Cloves
0.25 Tsp Ground Mace
0.25 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
Whole Tomato (Finely Chopped)
Tsp Salt
Tsp Ground Black Pepper
100ml Water

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar) and then gently fry the sliced onion until browned but not burnt, and then remove with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.

2. Add the cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf to the remaining oil and gently fry, before adding the chopped onions, garlic and ginger, stir-frying further until the onions are slightly browned.

3. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and stir well, before adding the yoghurt, stirring again as the yoghurt is absorbed into the onions.

4. Add the minced lamb, and stir-fry over a medium heat while stirring occasionally, and breaking down the mince with a spoon.

5. Add all the mace, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste, and continue stir-frying for 1-2 minutes, before adding the water.

6. Mix well and simmer covered for 1.5 hours, while the sauce thickens and to allow for more intensity of flavour.

7. Gently stir in the fried sliced onions and serve.

Comments
This wonderful meal can be served with plain basmati rice, noodles, spaghetti and most pasta shapes, and as mentioned above, can be adjusted to suit spice tolerances, while any leftovers can be readily frozen and used again for children’s meals, or served with warm chapatis alongside a simple Indian salad.

Southern-fried Chicken

Food Blogs and Recipes

Southern Fried Chicken
‘Kentucky Fried Chicken Bucket’ by Suhita Shirodkar

Enjoyed by millions of people all around the world, this is a simple recipe that we use when on the odd occasion, we decide to make a huge mess in the kitchen and eat with our fingers. As a word of caution please be extra careful when using hot oil, and ensure that you have plenty of space around you when frying to avoid any nasty spills.

Chicken Marinade (Serves 4)
4-6 Skinless Chicken Breasts (Halved Across the Breast and Lightly Scored)
600ml Buttermilk
Medium Onion (Finely Chopped)
5 Garlic Cloves (Peeled and Grated)
25g Pack of Fresh Coriander (Finely Chopped)
0.5 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
Tsp Salt

Chicken Coating 
10 Tbsps Plain Flour
Tsp Celery Salt
2 Tsps Ground Cayenne
Tsp Ground Black Pepper
3 Tsps Paprika
Tsp Dried Thyme
3 Tbsps Chicken Seasoning
2 Tbsps All Purpose Seasoning

How to Cook

1. Combine the halved chicken breasts with the marinade ingredients, mix well and refrigerate for at least 24hrs.

2. Combine the chicken coating mix in a bowl and set aside.

3. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and roll in the coating mix until well covered, before refrigerating them again for another 45 minutes to help the coating stick and set.

4. Heat 1-2 litres of vegetable or sunflower oil in a very large pan for about 10 minutes, or until a dropped in breadcrumb turns golden brown in seconds.

5. Pre-heat an oven to 175°C

6. Remove the coated chicken pieces from the fridge and then gently add introduce them to the oil one by one, allowing them to fry until a lovely golden brown before carefully removing each one with a slotted spoon and placing them on a baking tray.

7. Place the tray into the oven and cook the chicken on the middle shelf for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Comments
There’s little need to mention how best to serve what is already a staple fast-food meal for many, however you really can’t go wrong with a nice potato salad, corn cobs and some good quality coleslaw if you like it, and be sure to remember napkins for those greasy fingers too!

Smothered Lamb Curry

Food Blogs and Recipes

Smothered Lamb Curry
‘Tamil Girl Cooking’ by S Elayraja

As with any meal worthy of repeated eating, this curry proves itself time and time again when left to simmer gently over a period of hours, rather than minutes (which is an excellent rule of thumb when cooking any meats). And while confidently spicy, it avoids falling victim to an overabundance of chillies, relying instead upon the effective blend of spices, minimal preparation and a long cooking time to intensify the final dish. Try it out for yourself, and I guarantee that you’ll love it almost as much as I do.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
400g of Lamb Shoulder Steaks (Diced)
4 Tbsps of Olive or Sunflower Oil
Medium Onion (Finely Chopped)
4 Garlic Cloves (Peeled and Grated)
1” of Fresh Ginger (Peeled and Grated)
400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
Tbsp Tomato Purée
Tbsp Garam Masala
Tsp Ground Cumin
0.5 Tsp Ground Turmeric
100ml Natural Yoghurt
Fresh Chilli Pepper (Seeded and Finely Chopped)
25g Pack of Fresh Coriander (Finely Chopped)
Tsp Salt
350ml Water

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar) and then gently fry the chopped onion and garlic, stir-frying until the onions are lightly browned.

2. Add the ginger, ground cumin, turmeric and chopped chili, stir-frying for 1-2 minutes before adding the diced lamb, yoghurt, tomato purée and salt.

3. Mix well, add the chopped tomatoes and water, and gently simmer covered for 1 hour before adding the freshly chopped coriander.

4. Mix everything well, and simmer uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes, while the sauce thickens and reduces, and the lamb becomes soft and tender to the touch.

Comments
If you find that you’re not a huge fan of lamb, then this recipe works equally well with diced pork or beef, and is best served with natural yoghurt and steaming plain basmati rice, or even stuffed inside warm buttered chapatis with a topping of Indian salad.

Yellow Curried Chicken

Food Blogs and Recipes

Yellow Curried Chicken
‘Sunrise’ by Sudrak Khongpuang

Another Thai classic, this is a wonderfully pungent and yet feisty dish that is so simple to make, and yet never fails to impress with those who love their curries with less heat and more sweetness.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
5-6 Tbsps of Vegetable or Sunflower Oil
3-4 Chicken Breasts (Diced)
2-3 Shallots (Finely Sliced)
4 Tbsps Yellow Curry Paste
Tsp Curry Powder
400ml Tin of Coconut Milk
3 Tsps Fish Sauce
Tsp Tamarind Paste
Tsp Brown Sugar
200ml Water

How to Cook

  1. Heat half of the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar), add the chopped shallots and gently fry them until they are crisp and golden, after which you can remove the shallots with a slotted spoon and set them aside on one or two paper towels.
  1. Pour half of the coconut milk into the pan, along with the curry paste and remaining oil, and simmer on a low heat while stirring.
  1. Add the diced chicken, fish sauce tamarind paste, sugar and the water, before  simmering while stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes.
  1. Add the remaining coconut milk, cover and simmer for a further 30-45 minutes before serving with the crispy shallots on top of the chicken and sauce.

Comments
As with any Thai curry, this is best served with a plain basmati rice, and it goes very well with a crisp, cold beer to offset against the sweet and delicious sauce (which tastes even better when you combine it with the warm fluffy rice). Simply gorgeous.

Italian Meatballs

Food Blogs and Recipes

Italian Meatballs
‘With Meatballs on Top’ by JJ Galloway

The staple meal in any Italian household, only made to our particular tastes, this is a dinner that is well worth the wait, and I would recommend you wear some kind of napkins or kitchen paper over your clothes to avoid any mess. There is no doubt that this is a lip-smacking dinner which wins with children and adults alike, and any leftovers (and there rarely is) can be easily frozen for later use.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
Large Slug of Olive Oil
2 400g Packs of Beef Meatballs
240-300g Pack of Bacon
Medium Onion (Finely Chopped
2 Garlic cloves (Peeled and Grated)
Beef Stock Cube
2 Tsps Tomato Purée
2 Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Finely Chopped)
500g Tomato Passata
3 Whole Tomatoes (Quartered)
Tsp Dried Oregano
Tsp Dried Basil
Tsp Dried Parsley
2 Bay Leaves
Small 187ml Bottle Red Wine
25g Pack Fresh Basil (Finely Chopped)
Tsp Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

How to Cook

  1. Finely dice the bacon after removing any unwanted fat and then after heating the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar), gently fry the onions and garlic until soft and slightly brown.
  1. Add both the meatballs and bacon and brown both meats slowly on a gently heat, stirring occasionally.
  1. Add the oregano, basil, parsley, beef stock cube, salt and pepper, sound-dried tomatoes, tomato purée and sun-dried tomatoes and bay leaves then stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
  1. Pour in the red wine and tomato passata, stir well and simmer for 3-4 minutes  before adding the quartered tomatoes, covering the pan and simmering gently for 1 to 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  1. Just before serving, add the chopped basil and mix well.

Comments
It goes without saying that meatballs are best served with spaghetti or linguini, however you can also use penne or fusilli if preferred. In fact, most shaped pastas work equally well, while remembering to grate plenty of freshly grated parmesan or romano (pecorino) cheese over the top (as long as your diners are in agreement) along with extra salt and pepper where required.

 

Smoked Mackerel & Potato Bake

Food Blog

Smoked Mackerel
‘Three Mackerel Fish’ by Theresa Tanner

This is a meal that can easily wow your guests, and please most of your family, while the experience of eating this deliciously simple dish is more than worth the effort when cooked and dished up.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
700g White Potatoes (Peeled)
Medium Onion (Finely Sliced)
25g Butter
200g pack of Smoked Mackerel fillets
25g Pack of Fresh Dill
150ml of Double Cream
100ml of Fish or Vegetable Stock
2 Tbsps of Creamed Horseradish
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

How to Cook

  1. Heat the oven to 175℃ and chop the potatoes into 1.5″ sized cubes.
  1. Add the potato and the onion to a pan of slightly salted water and boil gently for around 6-8 minutes before draining the pan of water.
  1. Lightly butter the base of a large metal roasting/baking tray and evenly spread the potato cubes and onion slices across the base of the tray.
  1. Peel the skin from the mackerel fillets, before breaking the flesh into evenly sized chunks and scattering them over the potato and onion.
  1. Combine the stock, horseradish and cream before slowly stirring it all into a relatively thick sauce.
  1. Finely cube the butter, before scattering it randomly over the potato cubes, onion slices and mackerel pieces.
  1. Remove the thick stalks from the fresh dill and roughly chop what’s left before scattering it over the potato cubes, onion slices and mackerel pieces.
  1. Carefully pour the cream, stock and horseradish sauce over the potato cubes, onion slices and mackerel pieces, before sprinkling over the dill and grind fresh salt and pepper over the contents of the tray to taste.
  1. Place the tray into the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes, after which it should be a nice golden brown and ready to eat.

Comments
In all honesty, this is a meal that can easily wow your guests, and please most of your family (provided there’s no serious intolerance to dairy or oily fish) and while the calories are naturally weighty by comparison, the experience of eating this deliciously simple dish is more than worth it, particularly when accompanied by a slightly bitter, pre-washed, rocket salad. The other plus is that this recipe requires a short ingredients list that can be taken from most kitchen fridges, therefore you’re almost guaranteed to use those purchased ingredients again, so nothing is ever truly wasted.