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Friday, 31 May 2013

Thai chicken curry and plain boiled rice

Using coconut milk and thick double cream, delicate spring onions, lime leaves, ginger and garlic puree, lemon grass and tamarind as a curry base I cooked up some succulent breast of chicken and field mushrooms in butter and made a fabulous curry with plain boiled rice. To the paste I added a bag of flat leaved coriander (chopped and stalks discarded). This was a wonderful subtle curry with the benefits of all the ingredients being fresh. The whole thing cost me seven pound! Half the price of a take away and utterly scrummy!

Chopped chicken breast and mushrooms cooking gently in salted butter.

yellow poppies outside as I cook

Looks good and smells fragrant.

"Oh God yes!!!!"

Thumbs up!

So nice!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

A very tasty Rogan Josh lamb curry

Last night I boned and cubed up a lovely blade end of lamb shoulder from Tesco. It was very lean for shoulder which can be the naturally fatter end of the lamb. Not that I mind the fatter parts of meat (often more tasty). The lamb shoulder happened to be on a half price offer so very economical shopping. This I gently fried for half an hour and added a finely chopped white onion and some chunks of de-seeded tomatoes half way through the cooking.

Next I delicately cooked through five large chopped field mushrooms in salted Normandy butter - Beurre d'Isigny- for extra texture and taste to the curry. I did these in a separate pan to concentrate the buttery taste, added a couple of shakes of black pepper near the end, partially drained and added to the beautifully cooked and tender lamb.

Lastly I added four roughly chopped cloves of garlic and left it to simmer for fifteen minutes. The aroma was fantastic. As I wanted the curry to last two or three days I decided to get two jars of Patak's Rogan Josh curry sauce and after draining off the small amount of cooking oil I introduced the cooked ingredients to the Tesco special offer Patak Rogan Josh sauce (two jars for £2.50) and stirred well. Then I got some long grain rice on the boil and within the hour my tea was ready and the house was full of the aromas of the curry. Yum!


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Getting around a fiver's worth of delicious ham on the bone for under two quid.

I love cooked ham on the bone but cannot justify buying the fresh cut or pre-packaged item from a deli. The other day I was in the local butchers and he had ham hocks on sale for only £1.98. So, for the first time I learnt how to cook one of these wonders and found it very very easy. Big pan. Put the uncooked ham hock into some cold water for fifteen minutes to release some of the excess salt. Drain and pop into the deep pan with loads of water and a few bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then leave simmering with the lid on for two hours. Eat it hot if you want but I feel it is best if left until the meat is cold and left overnight in the fridge to chill. This I did and had two utterly yummy ham and tomato baguettes the next day with loads left to nibble on or mix in with some pesto and pasta. Hmmm! All that delicious meat for under £2.00! Heaven!

raw ham hock

Cooked ham and tomato baguette

cooked ham hock slightly sliced


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Coffee at Delilah in Nottingham

It was pouring down with rain in Nottingham city centre and I decided to pop into Delilah the deli that's grown enormously and more glamorously since its move from the previous premises near to the tatty Broadmarsh Shopping centre.. This was the first time I'd been in the former bank premises to purchase anything. It may have been raining out on the street but sitting by the window with my steaming cup of coffee I felt like I was in another country. A lovely relaxing experience. Food from Delilah can also be ordered online at

Do visit their deli if you are ever in the heart of Nottingham. This is a place that will become a firm favourite on any food lovers list of places to visit.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Cornish sardine pate

Things are only really supposed to be stored in the domestic freezer for three months so I rescued some Cornish sardines to make, for the first time, some sardine pate. There were half a dozen filleted sardines and a similar amount as whole gutted fish all of which I defrosted then filleted the rest. Sardines are very delicate oily fish so care in handling is paramount.

There was no need to remove all the small bones as they get blitzed in the food processor. I gave all the filleted fish a gentle wash under the cold tap and arranged them in a large oven proof dish and added a small amount of light olive oil. This went into a pre-heated oven (Gas mark six - 150 degrees) for forty five minutes and then I put the cooked fish into a colander to drain and cool.

The cooked sardines.
The original recipe called for coriander. I had none nor the opportunity to buy any (shops shut due to Bank holiday) so I just left it out and added 75g of unsalted butter and the juice of four lemons and two limes. I blitzed the whole lot in the food processor and spooned the mix into two dishes and put them into the fridge for four hours. The mix seemed quite sloppy when I spooned it into the dishes and I was worried that I would end up with cold sardine soup. However the pate came out of the fridge in a perfect state and feeling that I would never eat two dishes I gave one to my neighbours to try. They loved it!

The dishes are about six inches in length.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Livering it up this Spring.

Still trying to watch the pennies I decided to make an old favourite the other day - lambs liver and onions in a tomato sauce with mashed potatoes. I made a decent amount, cooked it like a tomato stew with fried liver and used two cans of chopped tomatoes and a bottle of pasta sauce I happened to have in the cupboard. That's it. I left the stew to cook through for about 45 minutes on a medium heat whilst the potatoes were boiling for the mash. Dead simple and very tasty.

The days are starting to get a bit cheerier and warmer now and I actually had the back door open whilst I was cooking the gardens are looking like things are about to bloom. I noticed that the shoots on my lavender plants are coming through too.

Next door and the lovely rose bush.

My lavender garden and a few weeds.