Category Archives: Soups, Stews & Curries

Chicken Tagine with Spinach, Olives & Preserved Lemons

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Whale received multiple Moroccan themed ingredients and a tagine for her birthday so naturally this is the result. On a side note we’re also going to Marrakech in the summer. I’m sure you could do this without using a tagine – a large casserole dish would probably suffice. Recipe modified from a gorgeous book – The Food of Morocco.

Ingredients

Marinade

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp garlic paste or 1 clove crushed
good pinch of salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp of lemon juice

Tagine

4 chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
3 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 pickled lemons, quartered
few strands of saffron
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
good handful spinach
200ml chicken stock
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cinnamon
handful pitted olives
large handful fresh coriander, chopped

Method

Make up marinade in a large sandwich bag (or a plastic bowl). Add the chicken, give a good squidge around and stick in the fridge for a few hours.

When ready to cook, put the saffron in 2 tbsp warm water. In a large frying pan sweat the onions over a medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the garlic for and sweat for a further 2-3 minutes. Tip half the onions into the tagine (put the other half to one side) add the chicken stock and saffron water, then layer over with lentils and spinach.

In the frying pan fry the chicken with the cinnamon and turmeric then once sealed add on top of the spinach, with the preserved lemon quarters. Stick the tagine in a cold oven and put on 160oC/320oC/gas mark 3 for 45-60 minutes. 5 minutes before serving take the tagine out, top with the remaining onions, olives and chopped coriander and stick back in the oven. Serve with a side order of tagine bread (recipe to come).

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Meen Molee [South Indian Fish in Coconut Milk]

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Very quick and very straightforward. I made this, just about, after coming home from an 80 km bike ride with feet I couldn’t feel and hands I couldn’t stop shaking. And it still turned out alright. So it can’t be that hard…! Adapted from Mighty Spice.

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves
2.5cm ginger
2.5cm fresh turmeric (use a teaspoon of ground turmeric)
1 large onion, diced
1 large tomato, chopped
500g white fish fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
400ml can coconut milk/cream
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp curry powder
handful of green beans
1 carrot, peeled into slivers

Method

Mince the garlic, ginger and turmeric together into a paste. If you have one use a mini blender, but I don’t so I made do with a stick blender, a large mug and a little oil.

Fry up the onions for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the paste and tomato and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the coconut milk and lime juice and season with salt. Stir, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and add the fish. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the carrots and beans then continue until fish is cooked through (approx. 3-4 minutes).

Sorry, no piccy. Wouldn’t have been able to hold the camera probably…

Roasted Squash & Blue Cheese Risotto

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For some reason risotto has never really appealed to me. This recipe has made me change my mind. And look, two posts in two days! Shocking.

Serves 4-5, or 2 with plenty of leftovers!

Ingredients

1 medium-large butternut squash, cubed (2cm)
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
300g risotto rice
1.2l vegetable stock
150ml white wine
100-150g blue cheese (we used Danish Blue)
few sprigs of rosemary
1 cup of peas
salt, pepper, basil, oregano

Method

Heat the oven to (200°C/400°F/gas mark 6). Coat the bottom of a roasting tin with some oil, couple of sprigs of rosemary and a sprinkling of black pepper. Add the butternut squash and turn over to coat. Stick in for 20 minutes or so, giving a good shufty every now and again.

Meanwhile heat up a tablespoon of oil in a deep pan. Gently soften the onions for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Stir often so that the onions do not brown. Add the rice and stir well, the rice needs to just gently heat up before you can add the liquid. Stick the kettle on to boil and make up the vegetable stock. After 2 minutes, add the wine – stir well to allow the rice to soak it all up. As the pan dries out somewhat, add a small amount of the stock (around 100-200mls at a time). Wait for the liquid to be nearly all soaked up then add another 100-200ml.

Keep adding stock like this and stir frequently. After half the stock has been added, throw in the herbs. After around 20 minutes, check to see if the rice is soft. Turn off the oven, take out the butternut squash and mash half, returning the other half to the oven to keep warm. Stir in the mashed butternut squash, peas, most of the cheese and heat thorough – you may need a drop more water depending on how saucy you like your risottos. If the rice needs a bit more time to cook, carry on adding small amounts of hot water until cooked, before adding the squash, peas and cheese. Don’t be afraid of adding more water if necessary – it’s really important not to let the risotto boil dry.

Serve in a bowl with a few cubes of butternut squash and crumble over the rest of the cheese. Enjoy your warming winter grub!

Picture to follow…!

J

Curried Aubergine Pie

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Up until recently aubergine hadn’t really registered on my radar. I think before this month I’d only ever used one once, as a layer in a vegetarian lasagne. However I am now developing rather a taste for them, they’re excellent flavour carriers (they are the sponge of the vegetable world) and, so long as they’re not cooked to death, have rather an interesting texture. This recipe takes inspiration from one on BBC Good Food, but adds a few ingredients to really liven it up.

A note on my measurements. I use specific measurements in recipes to make it as straightforward as possible, however I for one never actually measure 2 tbsp tomato purée, I just put in what looks “about right”. Please go with whatever seems reasonable to you – if you really like ginger, add more ginger, if you don’t like ‘hot’ food, use less chilli!

Ingredients

1 large aubergine, cut into 3 cm cubes
4 large old potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
2 large onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 cm fresh root ginger, grated
handful curry leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7. Put the potatoes onto boil – they’ll need about ten minutes, though check every so often to make sure they haven’t gone to mush as potatoes are extremely variable I find. Drain and set aside when soft.

In a large saucepan gently fry the onions in oil until starting to go translucent, add a little water whenever they start to stick. Add the garlic, turmeric, coriander, chilli powder, tomato purée, ginger and curry leaves and fry for a further 5 minutes. The turmeric will give the dish (and your cooking utensil!) a wonderful ochre hue. I think that’s possibly the first time I’ve ever used the word ‘ochre’ in a sentence. Blimey, I’ve just done it again! Continue to add water whenever it starts to burn/stick.

Set aside roughly a quarter of the onion mixture before adding the aubergine and frying off on a medium heat for a further 5-10 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas and reduce until ‘gloopy’ rather than runny. Pour the mixture into a large oven proof dish and top with the potatoes. Top with the onion mixture you set aside earlier – I smeared it all over to imbue (imbue! look at me and my fancy vocabulary today) the potatoes with the turmeric colour.

Bake in the oven for half an hour or until the top layer of potatoes is golden and crispy. No picture this time I am afraid!

J

Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Chicken Stir Fry

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As I’m currently on Easter break I am home for a while which means I have access to many more (free) ingredients than I would do normally. Hence this stir fry has got everything I could get my hands on in! It could easily work with a lot fewer ingredients.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

400g chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
½ broccoli, cut into small florets
handful red chard, leaves stripped from stems, stems sliced
½ karela*, cut horizontally into strips
1 red pepper cut into strips
1 cup of peas
handful peanuts
handful cashew nuts

*also known as bitter melon apparently, I picked one up in the supermarket because it looked interesting. This really is pretty bitter, though grated in the marinade it gets cooked through nicely and loses its edge much more than when left in chunks. If I use it again I think I will probably grate it all.

Marinade

6 spring onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, grated
½ bitter melon, grated
thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp chilli powder
3 tsp coriander
1 piece galangal, broken into a few pieces
zest and juice of ½ a lemon
zest and juice of ½ a lime
1 kafir lime leaf
handful fresh basil, torn up
handful fresh coriander, torn up
1 stick lemongrass, slightly crushed
glug sesame oil

Serve with noodles

Method

Usually I would advice cutting everything up first but seeing as your chicken is going to want to marinade for a while it makes sense to do the marinade first. Stick all the marinade ingredients into a large bowl. Give a good mix then add the chicken and smush around until everything is relatively evenly coated. Cover with clingfilm and stick in the fridge. I left mine for an hour or so. Go get cutting!

If possible get a wok, preferably one with a lid. (You could use a frying pan but it would have to be pretty mega). Toast the nuts for a few minutes then set aside. Fetch your marinaded chicken from the fridge. Heat a fairly large glug of oil (sesame if you have it, but this is by no means essential) over a high heat. Add the chicken and fry off for a few minutes, until cooked through. Remove and put to one side.

Put a saucepan onto boil for your noodles. Fry up the onions for 7-8 minutes then add a little water to the wok and throw in the broccoli. Stick the lid on and steam for 5 minutes or so. Remove lid, stir, add carrots and chard stalks, replace lid. After a further five minutes add the peas, chard leaves and re-add the chicken and nuts. Heat everything through while you cook your noodles. Depending on personal preference either add the noodles to the wok or just put them on a plate and add the stir fry on top.

J

what, no kitchen sink?

 

Lamb, Spinach & Potato Curry

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Courtesy of the Hairy Bikers from their dieting book. Not that either of us are dieters. Not that it’s even our book.

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

600g lamb steaks, cut into 3cm cubes
2 large onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium potatoes, cut into 3cm cubes
5cm piece fresh root ginger
1 medium red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin spinach*
curry paste**
4 bay leaves
3 large tomatoes, cut into eighths
200ml coconut milk
water
salt and pepper

*I used tinned simply as that’s all we had. If you have fresh (and it will undoubtedly taste better if you do) use 200g of that!
**I haven’t given a quantity here as curry paste varies so much. To put the recipe into context I used 4 teaspoons of Patak’s “extra hot” and I reckon it could have done with at least 1 more

Method

Preheat the oven to 190oC/375oC/gas mark 5 and set aside a bowl. Heat some olive oil in a large casserole dish, brown the lamb with some salt and pepper and place in the bowl. Add the onions to the casserole dish and cook over a medium heat for 7-8 minutes before adding the garlic, chilli, curry paste and grating in the ginger. Cook for a further five minutes before removing from the heat and blitzing to a paste with a hand-blender.

Return the lamb to the paste and return to a medium heat, cooking and stirring for 5 minutes or so until throwing in the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, potatoes, bay leaves and enough water to cover everything. Season with salt and pepper and add a spoonful of sugar, give a good stir before adding the lid and whacking in the oven.

Cook for 60 minutes, check then stick back in for half an hour. Remove from the oven add the tomatoes, spinach and cook on the hob, for five minutes. Serve with a lovely curry-soaking flatbread.

J

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Onion & Cider Soup with Stilton

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This is a great soup taken pretty much straight from the BBC Food website (a fantastic resource if you’ve never used it – also check out BBC GoodFood). Very simple, reasonably quick, damn tasty and quite a bit lighter than the much-vaunted French Onion soup.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

4 medium onions, 3 diced, 1 sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large baking potato, cut into 2cm cubes
250ml cider
white wine vinegar
few sprigs fresh thyme (or a pinch of dried)
3 bay leaves
handful fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 litre stock
salt and pepper
stilton

Method

Heat a big old glob of butter in a large saucepan, add the 3 diced onions, a good twist of salt and pepper and sweat over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and continue to sweat for a further 5 minutes.

Add a glug of white wine vinegar, the bay leaves and pour in the cider (I doubt you’ll be able to find a 250ml bottle so I guess you’ll just have to drink the rest!). Increase the heat and reduce by half before adding the stock and potato. Keep on a simmer until the potato is cooked through.

Meanwhile heat a little more butter in a frying pan and once melted added the sliced onion, a little salt and pepper. Fry up over a medium heat until starting to golden. Crumble in a little of the stilton, give a good stir and fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Turn off the hob but leave the frying pan on it while you use a stick-blender to zhuzzzhhh up the soup.

Serve the soup in bowls (bowls, for soup – what is this craziness?!) topped with fried cheesy onions and a further crumbling of stilton. Enjoy with friends – I dare you not to eat the whole lot!

J

Soup-a-soup-a-tasty-soup