Category: Noms

Feb 18 2020

Vegetable Pakora

Easy recipe time. Before you start, make up a big ol’ batch of Mix Powder.


  • 3 medium potatoes, grated.
  • 4 medium carrots, grated.
  • 2 medium onions, sliced.
  • 2 red finger chillies, sliced into rings.
  • 2 green birds-eye chillies, sliced into rings.
  • a handful of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves (including stalks).
  • a handful of fresh garden peas.
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger & garlic paste (equal parts pureed ginger and pureed garlic).
  • 1 tablespoon of the aforementioned mix powder.
  • 1 tablespoon of Kashmiri chilli powder.
  • 4 tablespoons of gram flour.
  • 2 tablespoons of cornflour.


  1. Put everything except the flour into a large bowl and mix well. Do not add water – there’s enough water in the grated potatoes to bind everything and more will come out of the vegetables when they cook. Adding water at this stage will result in a runny middle and nobody wants that.
  2. Add the two flours and mix again until you get a really thick, sticky batter. Leave it to sit for half an hour (or longer if you can – it’s really nice if left overnight in the fridge).
  3. Heat enough oil in a smallish wok so that it’s about an inch or two deep in the centre. You want the oil hot enough to make a small drop of the batter sizzle and float, but not enough to make it darken quickly.
  4. Cooking involved two tablespoons. Dip one spoon in the oil, briefly, so that it’s nicely lubricated (oo-er matron). Scoop up a tablespoon of the batter and form it a little using the other spoon. Pop the end of the spoon (the end with the batter on it) into the oil and let it sizzle for ten seconds or so to cause it to start firming up, then wheech it off the spoon using the other spoon.
  5. Fry for five minutes or so (or until golden red), turning whenever you like.
  6. Feast and then make more.
Sep 26 2016

Savoury Lorne Sausage

Well, Lorne Sausage (or square sausage, if you like) is a staple of the Scottish breakfast and it’s particularly awesome. This is my take on it, including a sage & onion mix and basic crumb coating that my local butcher used to add when I was a wean 🙂


  • 750g minced (ground) pork & beef – 20-30% fat. Equal parts pork & beef.
  • 150g pinhead rusk. You can buy this by the kilogram on Amazon for the square-root of hee-haw. You could also make your own breadcrumbs, it’s just a double baked biscuit of flour, water and a little raising agent, whizzed up.
  • 200g chilled water.
  • 2 tsp salt.
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg.
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.
  • 1 tbsp onion granules (you can vary to taste).
  • 1 tbsp dried sage (you can vary to taste).
  • 1 egg and a little milk for an eggy wash.
  • Crumb coating – ruskoline is good, but you can make your own breadcrumbs from cold toast if you like.


Mix all the herbs, spices and salt together with the meat in a large bowl. Try and get it as even and broken down as possible. A food processor can help here.

Mix in the water and work it through to make a horrible sticky gooey mess.

Now mix in all the rusk, again getting it as uniform as possible.

Line a bread tin with clingfilm (don’t skip this – trust me) and pack the mixture in tightly. Leave for 24 hours to set. The rusk will absorb all of the liquid and bind everything together.

When it’s set, pop it out and slice into 1 cm slices with a sharp knife.

Make up your eggy wash and coat each slice then dredge in the ruskoline to coat.

Fry  or cook under the grill and serve on (preferably) a well-fired (i.e. burned) morning roll 🙂

Sep 01 2016


imageI think this is more of an Italian-American dish that straight Italian – someone who knows will no doubt tell me. It’s similar to a Lasagne, but without the need to make two sauces. It’s cheap, it goes a long way and it’s delicious.

So, here’s what’s needed.

  • 500g hot Italian sausage (mix together 500g pork mince, 1 tbsp ground fennel seeds, 1tsp salt, 1tsp ground black pepper, 1 tbsp good balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp chilli flakes).
  • A little extra virgin olive oil for frying.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carton of passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • imageEither 250g grated mozzarella or 125g grated mozzarella and 125 sliced provolone. Provolone is getting kinda hard to find in the UK, hence the option.
  • 1 carton of sour cream – usually about 200ml
  • 400g dried Rigatoni or Ziti (big tubes) pasta. Offering Rigatoni as a substitute here as Ziti has gone the same way os provolone in the UK.
  • Salt for seasoning.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees / Gas Mark 5.

First up, we’re going to make the ragu. Lightly brown the sausage in a little olive oil. Add in the onions and garlic, stirring frequently over a medium heat and taking care not to burn the garlic, until the onion is softened.

Add the balsamic vinegar, basil and oregano and continue to stir for a minute or two until the hissing from the vinegar dies down a bit.

Add the tomato puree and mix in well, then add the tin of tomatoes, the passata, and the brown sugar.
Bring all this up to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for around 30 minutes. You want the tomato cooked and the whole thing reduced a little. You’ll see from the surface when the tomato is cooked as the oil will begin to separate a little and it’ll go a lovely glossy dark red.

While this is simmering, drop the pasta into a large pot of boiling salted water (please, no oil in there) and cook for around 8 minutes until al dente.

While that is simmering, butter the insides of a large casserole dish.

Once the sauce is ready, we want to start constructing the Ziti. First off, put a layer of half of the pasta in the bottom of the casserole dish.

If you’re using provolone, layer all of it on top of the pasta, otherwise layer half of the mozzarella and a quarter of the parmesan.

Top this with all of the soured cream and spread it over with a knife.

Next, layer on half of the ragu.

Next is a layer of the remainder of the pasta.

Then the other half of the ragu.

Finally, add the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.

Bake uncovered in the centre of the oven until either the cheesy is all melty and brown or until you can’t take the smell any longer and need to devour it.

Note: this makes enough food to feed four or five people easily. As an alternative to doing the whole lot in a single big dish, you can construct individual servings in little foil trays and freeze before cooking.


Aug 14 2016

Basic Italian Sausage

This is a lightly spiced sausage meat which works great for any red meat-based Italian food (your lasagnes, bolognese and what have you) as well as for stuffing into skins if you’re so inclined. A word about the ground pork / port mince first, though; if you’re going to use a packet from the supermarket, make sure there’s at least 20% fat content or you’ll have rubbery tasteless yuk at the end. If you’re mincing your own, I’d recommend a cut of pork shoulder (skin off, obviously) as it has the best fat:meat ratio.

Anyhoo – here’s what you’ll need for 500 grams of basic Italian sausage.

  • 500g minced/ground pork
  • 2 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp good quality sea salt (you know my preferences there)
  • 1 tsp good balsamic vinegar

Method: mix it all together, leave for an hour or two to marinade. Use. 🙂

Some optional extras – you can make sweet, hot, smokey, all kinds of varieties by adding a teaspoon of chilli flakes, smoked paprika, brown sugar, etc. Obviously not all at once though. Although…

Jun 06 2016

British Indian Restaurant style base curry gravy

Hello all. So, I’ve been experimenting a lot with curry cooking the way it’s done in British Indian Restaurants. These dishes have a unique taste and texture of their own, distinct from traditional Indian and Pakistani cooking. I expect this has come about from a requirement to rapidly produce a wide range of dishes in as short a time as possible.

Using this “base gravy” as a stock allows you to produce a huge variety of curries just by changing the ingredients in the basic masala (spice mix) you start with. Anyhoo, here’s how the gravy is put together.

First bit:

  • 1.5kg brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • 100-125g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • Half of a large green pepper, roughly chopped.
  • 100g potato, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • 80g ginger & garlic paste.
  • 1.5 tsp salt.

In a large pan (a pressure cooker works well – you’ll need a minimum of 5 litres), heat 200ml oil on a medium high heat. Add all of the above to the oil and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover and turn down low. The aim here is to simmer gently for an hour, until everything starts to disintegrate. Stick your nose in it – it should have a gentle sweet smell.

Second bit:

Turn the heat up to medium and add:

  • 2 tablespoons of mix powder
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala

Cook in the spices for a minute or so, stirring constantly to make sure they don’t burn. Next add:

  • 160g double concentrated tomato puree
  • 40g creamed coconut block (or 80ml coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery or brown sugar
  • 2 litres of water

Bring to the boil then put the cover back on and turn down to low. Simmer for about an hour. 15 minutes before the end, add a handful (a generous one, in my opinion) of chopped coriander stalks. About 50g. Or the stalks and the leaves. Whatever, but DEFINITELY the stalks – that’s where the flavour is.

You have an immersion “gravy gun” style blender, yes? Stick it in there and blend until it’s as smooth as you can get it.

You now want to simmer for another 30 minutes. Yes, I know this is a long-ass recipe (2.5 hours cooking so far, never mind the prep), but it freezes well and you’re making enough for a good dozen curries.

This base gravy is double concentrated. Before use, you’ll want to dilute it a bit. I generally portion it up as is in takeaway sized tubs. When it’s time to use, I add another takeaway tub of water to the gravy to thin it. This generally makes two single portions of curry.





Jun 06 2016

Indian Restaurant style “Mix Powder”

So, in most of the BIR style curry recipes I make, I use what’s called a “mix powder”. This is just a blend of the spices common to just about every British style curry there is. It’s easy. Just punt the following spices into a jar, shake ’em up, and you have mix powder.

  • 4 tablespoons of a GOOD QUALITY MILD curry powder. I’m not talking Schwartz or your supermarket’s own brand. Those are SHIT QUALITY MILD curry powders. If you need a recommendation, Al Noor Pakistani bassar curry masala is an excellent choice.
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon good quality garam masala. You can make your own – in fact I recommend you do – but if you don’t want the faff, the East End branded one is pretty good.

And that’s it.

Apr 16 2015

Chilli Con Carne

ChilliesNothing complicated here – no weird and wonderful chillies that you need to travel 50 miles to buy. All off the shelf stuff, but tastes amazing and gets better after a couple of days.

If you decide to make a huuuuuuuge pot of it, either portion it and freeze it or heat the whole pot every time, adding a little water.

If you’re feeling exotic, finely chop and couple of habaneros and add them and cut back a little on the chilli powder. Serve it however the hell you like – rice, chapatti, tacos, enchiladas, your call.


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2lb (900g) minced beef
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • chilli powder to taste – minimum of 2-3 tbsp
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper – optional – season to taste at the end
  • 1 x 5oz (140g) can tomato puree
  • 8fl oz (250ml) beer
  • 15fl oz (450ml) fresh tomatoes, blanched skinned cooked and sieved – she right passata FTW 🙂
  • 12 oz (350g) cooked or canned red kidney beans , rinsed and drained
  • 50g-ish dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan and cook the onion until softened, about 5 mins.
  2. Add the beef and cook until browned, breaking up the meat with the side of a spoon.
  3. Stir in the garlic, brown sugar, chilli powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the tomato puree, beer and passata and stir to mix. Bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 50 minutes.
  5. Stir in the kidney beans and chocolate and simmer 5 mins longer, uncovered.
Sep 17 2014

Spicy Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker / crockpot

[EDIT] So, I’ve found that it’s generally easier to get a 2kg chunk of shoulder than a 3kg one, so I’ve tweaked the recipe over the last few months. It turns out that the only thing that changed, other than the pork-weight, was the amount of salt – reduced from 3tbsp to 2tbsp. Results are awesome.

So, you have a 2kg lump of boneless pork shoulder in your fridge and you want to do something awesome with it. Here’s what to do. Combine the following.

  • 50g/2oz soft dark brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp smoked hot paprika (I use pimenton)
  • 2 tbsp sea salt flakes (Maldons)
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp ground fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp dry mustard powder

Rub about 50% of this into the pork, getting it into all the nooks and crannies. I usually remove the skin and untie the pork first, just to make sure I get as much of the rub on as I possibly can.

Dump it in a big bowl and cover with tinfoil then put in the fridge to marinade. A couple of hours will do, but if you can do overnight that’s even better – particularly as you’re going to be doing it in a slow cooker.

Once you’re marinaded, put a couple of roughly chopped onions, some garlic cloves and about 150ml of boiling water in the bottom of the slow cooker and set it on high.

Rub the rest of the marinade into the pork, stick it in the slow cooker, put the lid on and leave it alone for 8 hours.

After the 8 hours are up, lift out the pork (you may need a spoon to do it :)) and put it on a chopping board. Cover with foil and leave for half an hour to rest.

Use a couple of forks to pull the pork.



Feb 08 2013

Christmas Pudding Ale seasonings

This is a message from the future! For once, it came out magnificently on the first attempt so I’ve stuck with this recipe ever since. 

So I’ve devised a recipe for what I’m hoping will be a nice Christmas Pudding Ale. The Youngs one, if I remember correctly, is just a winter warmer mixed with a stout and with a dash of coconut added. The one I’m planning is significantly more spiced.

The actual brew will be a fairly standard winter warmer – 5.22kg Pale Malt, 0.45kg Crystal Malt and 0.25kg Chocolate Malt, bittered with Kent Goldings. The trick, though, will be in the infusion I’ve concocted to be added into the last 15 minutes of the boil.

Basically, on the stove top I boiled up:

  • The juice and rind of three oranges
  • 2.5 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 6 crushed cardomom pods
  • 1.5 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp mixed spice (pudding spice)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • About an inch of liquorice root
  • 400g of clear honey
  • 200ml water

I let these boil for a good fifteen minutes or so and then sealed up in a tub and left to infuse for about a week. I’ve no idea if this is going to work out or not, but I’ll be sure to update if it does.

Oct 13 2011

Chicken Korma (Restaurant Style)

Normally the curries I make tend to be closer to actual Indian food than the type of things you buy in a British Indian restaurant, but it’s nice to have a change sometimes. This is a pretty straightforward but very yummy Korma recipe.

First off, make a curry paste (sort of) by mixing together two tablespoons of ghee, half a teaspoon of cayenne, half a teaspoon of cumin, half a teaspoon of turmeric and half a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Next, we’re going to make a basic onion sauce. Quarter a large onion and put it in a pan with two shallots, about 2 inches of roughly chopped ginger, a clove of garlic and about two cups of water. Bring this to the boil then cover and simmer for about forty five minutes, topping up the water if need be. Set aside to cool for a bit.

Put the contents of the pan in a blender and whizz it until very smooth. Take about a ladleful of the sauce out and set it aside for the chicken.

Add to the remaining sauce one finger chilli, three cherry tomatoes, half a teaspoon of cumin, half a teaspoon of ground coriander a little bit of salt and a pinch or two of turmeric. Whizz this together until all smooth. Put it in a pan and bring it to the boil, skimming the gunge that rises to the top. Allow it to boil for a minute or two once it’s skimmed. This is your base sauce.

In a flat pan / wok, heat a tablespoon of ghee and season with some cardomom pods, cloves and a bit of cinammon. Drop in a couple of diced chicken breasts and stir until the chicken is sealed. Add the ladle of sauce you kept aside earlier and continue to fry until the water is boiling out and the sauce is reduced to practically nothing (you’ll get a nice sizzling sound when this happens). Fish the chicken out with a slotted spoon and set aside then empty the pan.

Add the curry paste to the pan and allow the spices to fry for a few seconds then pour in the base sauce. You want to get it really hot. Be warned, it’ll spit quite enthusiastically. Once it begins to reduce, add the chicken and continue to cook until the water has boiled off.

Add about half a block of grated creamed coconut and stir in. Add single cream, a little bit at a time, until your sauce is at the required thickness. Take care not to overheat the sauce once the cream starts to go in.

Throw in some fresh coriander. Done.

If you want to do a Vindaloo instead of a Korma, about the only thing you need to do is add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, one teaspoon of cayenne pepper and two teaspoons of hot chilli powder to the base sauce, leave out the coconut, and add half a teaspoon of garam masala and some fresh coriander at the end. Maybe a bit less cream, depending on your taste.

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