Date Archives September 2013

My pals at Green & Blcks have just launched two new exciting flavours- lemon and orange! As I was packing for tomorrows warm Grecian holiday this morning, this welcome package arrived on my doorstep! Although a week away in sunny Greece is nothing to complain about, I’m not sure how I will manage waiting a week before getting back into the comfort of my kitchen to experiment with these new wonders! A week away from the blog I’m afraid but I’ll make up for it…promise! Sunbathing can be very productive when it comes to recipe inspiration. Plus, I’m not sure how well these would cope in the Grecian heat…!

Pea, Mint and Black Pudding Fritters



If you’re cringing at the thought of black pudding, I’ll be candid- man up. Its no more ‘disgusting’ than eating meat surely?! If you’ve never sampled this cheap and tasty treat, at least try it! And hopefully, like me, on you’re first sample you’ll kick yourself at all the time you wasted not enjoying it! Its deep, rich flavour works amazingly well with the sweet flavour of peas…

This recipe is a bit like a previous post (see here) for pea fritters and if you know me you’ll know that I like to fritter things. Its so easy and you can do it with loads of different ingredients and flavours with whats to hand- as long as you have eggs and flour! Here I have simply added crumbled black pudding instead of the cheese in a previous recipe and some fresh mint. A delicious light lunch.

Serves 4

  • 125ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g cornflour
  • 100g flour
  • 250g peas
  • 100-150g black pudding (cooked and crumbled)
  • Large bunch mint, leaves picked and chopped finely
  • Handful of chives, chopped finely.
  • Lemon
  1. Boil the peas for a few minutes then run under cold water. Place half the peas in a food processor and puree.
  2. Sieve in the flours, some salt, pepper. Add the beaten eggs and milk and mix until smooth.
  3. Place in a bowl and fold in the whole peas and herbs and mix well with a squeeze of lemon juice. It should be fairly thick, enough to hold its shape in a pan. Finally crumble in the black pudding.
  4. Heat a frying pan to a medium heat and warm some sunflower oil
  5. Fry spoonfuls of the mixture (as large as you like) in the hot oil for a few minutes on each side until golden brown and set in the middle. Pat fry on kitchen roll and devour.



Caramelised Garlic Tart

I’d seen this recipe in my thumbed copy of Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty’ too many times to flick past it again. I’d heard good things about it…they’re true by the way. The original recipe calls for puff pastry which I think would have tipped me over the edge into food heaven but I used a lighter flaky shortcrust infused with thyme after an indulgent week that just couldn’t handle the butter content of puff. Either pastry is fine but I suggest puff just to do it justice. Agreed, when you read the recipe and see 3 heads of garlic, separated and peeled you may find yourself navigating away to another site. However, there is no need to contemplate taking a half day off work as it really won’t take long and you’ll be rewarded with the benefits on eating. The garlic is sweet and glazed when cooked and teasingly moreish.

Serves 6-8

  • 375g puff pastry, rolled/ 1 quantity of shortcrust pastry flavoured with thyme (optional)
  • 3 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 220ml water
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1 tsp each chopped rosemary and thyme
  • 240g goats cheese- a mix of soft and hard or a mix of cheeses if you’re not a goat cheese lover
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100ml creme fraiche
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C . Grease and line a tart tin (about 28cm) and line with the rolled puff pastry. (You can also use a shortcrust pastry which is what I actually did when I made it). Prick all over with a fork and line with a sheet of parchment and some baking beans. Bake blind for about 15-20 minutes until mostly cooked and then remove the beans and parchment and return the case to the oven for 5-10 minutes to allow the base to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the cloves of garlic in boiling water for 3 minutes and drain.
  3. Return the garlic to a clean pan with the a splash of oil and fry for a few minutes on a high heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and the water, boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the sugar and the herbs and a pinch of salt. Simmer for another 10 minutes until the liquid begins to reduce and turn syrupy. Set aside.
  5. In a jug, whisk the eggs, creams and plenty of seasoning.
  6. In the pre-baked tart case, crumble or grate over your choice of cheese and then top with the garlic cloves and syrup. Add some more thyme leaves also if you like.
  7. Fill the gap of the tart with the cream mixture and bake at 160°C for 35-40 minutes until set and golden brown.

I served mine with a fresh rocket and baby cos salad with some griddled courgette slices, toasted pine nuts, wafers of parmesan cheese all dressed lightly with lemon juice and olive oil. Devine!


Green Chicken Curry



Its been a busy few weeks and the pantry has been in shameful neglect and I miss it badly. No work on a Sunday so it cannot possibly steal me from my apron and wooden spoon. I love this dish and these flavours. I hate the fact that amongst my travels, I haven’t ventured anywhere where I have been able to master and learn the art and recipe for an authentic Thai green curry paste that would put the salty and sugary rubbish you can buy in a supermarket jar to shame. Therefore with a little research, my (hopefully) good instinct and palate and a huge bomb proof granite pestle and motar this can be appreciated as a good English alternative. Feel free to use different vegetables, more herbs and it is absolutely open to adding a splash of whatever you think it needs. This recipe worked for me (this time) but I find it changes everytime depending on the strength and type of coconut milk, chilli or even the chicken. In this recipe, its important to taste as you go along!

Serves 4


  • Large knob ginger, peeled and sliced roughly
  • 2 red chillis, deseeded
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 stick lemongrass
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • Bunch of coriander


  • 400ml thick coconut milk
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 1tsp fish sauce
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 200g sugar snap peas/green beans/mini baby corn
  • 8 chicken thighs, boned (optional)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Handful of basil, coriander,and 2 spring onions to garnish
  • 2 limes (1 for serving)
  • 6oz wild/brown rice
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • Popadoms to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Start with the paste. Using a pestle and mortar, firmly pound together the ginger and the chilli. Add the lime leaves and repeat.
  3. Add the garlic, the lemon grass and the spring onions and pound everything together firmly until you form a really mashed and blended paste. Add the coriander leaves and pound in. Reserve your paste to a bowl.
  4. Heat a heavy based pan or casserole dish with a splash of sunflower oil over a high heat. Season the chicken thighs and fry skin side down until a really crisp skin forms.
  5. Add the sesame oil and remove them from the heat. Remove from the pan and reserve to a plate
  6. Over a medium low heat now, add the curry paste and fry for a few minutes until fragrant. Add 2-3 tbsp of the coconut milk and mix. Add a splash more coconut milk and mix in before adding the rest. Add the fish sauce and soy sauce and stir together. Bring to the boil and add about 200ml of hot chicken stock to form a thickish sauce.
  7. Return the chicken to the pan, try to keep the skin above the liquid to retain the crispy skin but don’t panic if not it can be crisped up later.
  8. Cook for 25 minutes in the oven, uncovered. While cooking, cook your rice with the cardamon pods thrown in or a cinnamon stick if preferred.
  9. Once the chicken is cooked and tender, remove from the dish from the oven. Remove the chicken from the pan and, if the skin isn’t crisp, place on a baking tray under a hot grill and crisp it up while you deal with the sauce. Alternatively, remove to a warm place to rest.
  10. Place the sauce over a medium high heat on the hob and bring to a simmer. Add the sugar snaps (or vegetables being used) and the coconut and simmer for a few minutes. Add the juice from ½ lime and taste. Adjust the taste as needed, adding soy for seasoning.
  11. Return the chicken to the pan. Scatter with chopped basil, coriander and thin slices of spring onions. Squeeze over the juice from the other half of the lime and bring to the table to serve with the rice.

NOTE: This can be adapted in many ways. Try topping with toasted coconut for texture of chopped salted peanuts.