Tag Archives: Garlic

Carrot Pickle – A Recipe

As is to be expected I am craving a ton of different foodstuffs. It has only been two weeks since the start of the Ayurvedic Diet, but today was definitely the day that I started to miss things. For some reason today I was craving Carrot Pickle.

This was one of my favourite things growing up. Crunchy carrots in a bath of mustard (oil/seed) and garlic and chillies. I have not made it for a while and today it popped into my head.

I am off to India for work and play at the end of Feb for most of March, the Ayurvedic diet should be easy enough to do out there, what with it being the home of Ayurveda. This means that when I get back the diet will be just about done. I can make a batch of this and watch it pickle and when it is done, I will be allowed to munch it.

I have also been planning a whole day of eating out once I have completed the cleanse. At the moment it looks like this…

  • Breakfast at The Providores – Fry Up and Coffee
  • Lunch at Polpo
  • Dinner at Nobu (the Original not Berkeley, I hate the Berkeley)

This day will no doubt change a number of times over the next 6 weeks, but that is the plan at the moment.

Anyway, back to the pickle. The shape that you cut the carrots in makes a difference, I always do good solid batons and not rounds like my aunts used to do. They end up getting a tad soggy over time. Always sterilise the jars and lids, you know the score.

Carrot Pickle

600g Carrot Batons

1 Tbs Sea Salt

1 Tsp Heaped Turmeric Powder

2 Tbs Yellow Mustard Seeds

2 Tbs Black Mustard Seeds

2-4 Tsp Chilli Flakes

3 Tbs Garlic Crushed

8 Tbs Mustard Oil

100ml Water


Crush the mustard seed roughly and place with all dry ingredients  into a bowl – Mix well.

In a pan warm the oil gently for a minute or so. Place the carrots in a tightly fitting jar. Cover with the oil and top up with the water.

Shake and leave in a cool dark spot for a week, turn occasionally. The carrots will have a good crunch and be spicy and tangy.


Filed under GC Recipes, Stomach Problems

Caramel Chicken – A Recipe

The Mrs has a quarter Vietnamese in her. I have yet to spend a proper amount of time there, but oh how I do love the cuisine. There is something about it that just trumps all the other Far Eastern lands.

Don’t misunderstand me, I adore all the rest Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Cambodian, Malaysian, Laoation…Vietnamese just has a little something extra.

Always trying to include the principle of mahābhūta in the dishes – a confluence of five elements, be it Spices, Nutrients, Colours or Senses – From Pho in the North and a mish mash of stuff in the South(Chinese Influences and Thai) it really covers everything. The use of fresh herbs and light touch with seafood always keeps me going back to such favourites as Mien Tay

One of my favourite dishes is Thịt heo kho tiêu (5 spice Caramel Pork Belly) - It has everything. Texture, Flavour and Pork belly!! It does take a while to cook however and I normally only make it when I have a bit of time. I made up a n altogether easier version for during the week using chicken thighs- It literally takes 15 minutes from start to finish.

The pork belly version is pretty much the same, fry off the belly first and just add some more liquid and braise for a few hours, then thicken the sauce.

It is a little bit here and there with the influences, but I think that it works just fine. I like to spice it up with some chilli, so I use a good hot red one – adjust as you see fit.

Caramel Chicken

500g Chicken Thighs (de-boned)

1 Red Chilli (as hot as you like)

2 inches of Ginger

1 Clove of Garlic

1/2 a Cup of Sake

3 Tbs Soy Sauce

1 Tbs Sesame oil

1 Tbs Fish Sauce

1 Star Anise

Sichuan Peppercorns

3 Tbs Sugar

3 Tbs Water


In a pan heat the sugar and water till it forms a caramel – 2-3 mins.

While it is cooking:

Grate the ginger and garlic. Chop the Chilli. Crush the Star Anise and Peppercorns

Chop the chicken into bite size chunks/strips and place in a bowl with all the remaining ingredients. Mix Well.

When the Caramel is ready – Whack up the heat and pour in the Chicken mixture.

Cook for about 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is thick.

Easy. Serve with rice and steamed green veg.


Filed under Food Experiments, GC Recipes

Macaroni and Cheese Challenge – A Recipe – An Entry

Day two. Entry Two.

I don’t think I have been this excited since I realised that if you had a bit of bum-fluff on your top lip at the age of 13, the local newsagent would sell you cigarettes. I have stopped smoking since then but, as I may have mentioned yesterday in my first entry into The Ultimate Macaroni Cheese Challenge, I still love Mac ‘n’ Cheese and will never quit making it.

It has been tough 24 hours. I have recounted every version of Mac ‘n’ Cheese that I have ever made, trying to enter a recipe  is going to be tough. I have gone through many stages of my life and along the way the recipe for Mac ‘n’Cheese has changed with me.

As a young boy the recipe was pure and simple, unadulterated  – nothing but short pasta and bechamel sauce with a generous handful of maturing cheddar melted in, baked with a sprinkling of cheese atop – slowly melting and releasing its oils, browning the dish. The little spiky edges of macaroni popping out of the thickened hot cheese sauce, crispy and dark.

As I grew older, I discovered new cheeses and experimented with them, I added all manner of ingredients to the mix and I used all manner of shapes of pasta. There was the 3 month period at the end of 2006 where I thought that  Elbow Macaroni was better than Ditali  when Mac ‘n’ Cheese was to be an accompanying dish to something a little meatier, and also more of a spoonable affair – less baked. I was completely wrong, I don’t know what happened to me.

I now have an handful of recipes that I use, tried and tested, a version for any occasion – a quick snack/ a side dish/ a meal on its own/ a special occasion/ to impress/ for a group/ for a lover – Some are adaptations of dishes I have tasted and some have been honed over time.

Whilst ambling down this cheesy path I have been reminiscing about the many Mac ‘n’ Cheese’s I have eaten in restaurants, many are not worth mentioning but the good the bad and the downright ugly made it out of my head and onto the page:

Adam Street – I still think it is the best Mac ‘n’ cheese I have eaten in London town – Simple, strong cheese kick and (although not my preferred topping, i have grown to love it) three slices of tomato on top.

Canteen – Disappointingly dry (unusual for the venue) and reminiscent of Kraft packet Mac ‘n’ Cheese (which is not a bad thing)

Bob Bob Ricard – A vile, distressing mess. Overcooked pasta, cheese-less tasting sauce and breadcrumbs on top!

Hawksmoor – I know that this is a Food Bloggers fave place to eat, but they should stick to the steaks and burgers.

Bumpkin – A decent attempt, worked well as a side dish to a steak. Creamy and Cheesy.

Black Calvados (Paris) – Late night Mac ‘n’ Cheese with truffles – Probably a little too worse for wear to remember how good it was! I do remember it being perfectly cooked and flecked with black truffles which really released their perfume in a late night club.

Jamin (Paris) – Post Robuchon – Benoît Guichard (his protegé) made the most amazing Macaroni Gratin, pasta cooked in milk, Gruyère crust. Amazing – had it with veal fillet.

L’atelier Joel Robuchon (Monaco) – The ultimate and most revered Mac ‘n’ Cheese with truffles. It is sublime and the master does make it exceedingly well. Tho’ when had in London recently it was only good, not great!

After all that, I still have to enter a recipe. Mac ‘n’ Cheese á la Garlic Confit, if I get a decent camera from the insurance company before the 18th I will enter a picture of this dish.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese á la Garlic Confit

250 gms Good, Straight Macaroni/ Maccheroni (not elbow or short ditali)

150 gms Pancetta

75 gms Sundried Tomatoes

6 Big Cavolo Nero Leaves

675ml Full Fat milk

150 ml Double  Cream

75 gms Good Mature Cheddar (Keen’s, Isle of Mull)

5ogms Hard Alpine Cheese not too aged (Gruyère, Beaufort and even Emmental)

10gms Butter

1 large heaped tbs of plain flour

10gms Parmesan

4 Cloves of Garlic

1 Bay Leaf

6 Peppercorns

1 Small Shallot



This may seem a little involved but once you start it just all fits together.

Firstly take 425ml of the Milk, half the cream, the peeled shallot, peppercorns, bay leaf and garlic. Put in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Take of the heat and set aside to infuse.

Take the Cavolo Nero leaves, remove the spine and chop into 1 inch slices. Cover in a bowl with boiling water and stand for 5 minutes then drain.

Slice the pancetta into short, thin slices. Pop in a frying pan on a high heat and cook till crispy, set aside the fat in a bowl and add the Pancetta to the Cavolo Nero.

Strain the milk into a jug. Remove the bay leaf from the strainer and discard. Put one clove of garlic, the peppercorns and the shallot into a blender with the parmesan, the reserved pancetta fat and the sundried tomatoes and pinch of salt. Blitz till it is a rough paste. Then mix in with the Cavolo Nero and Pancetta.

Put a large pan of water on to boil add a stock cube and the remaining milk, cook the pasta for 3/4 of the packet timing. Drain and refresh immediately in and ice cold bowl of water. Drain and make sure the pasta is cool. Set aside.

Put the butter in a saucepan on a gentle heat, when melted add the flour. Incorporate the flour and continue to cook until you have a breadcrumb like substance in the pan – do not let it brown. Over a low heat slowly add the reserved milk a glug at a time, always making sure you have incorporated the milk before you add more. When all the milk has been added continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until the taste of flour has disappeared. While still warm but off the heat add 60gms of the Cheddar and the Alpine cheese to the sauce, fold until it is all melted in. Then add a good grating of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

Cool and add the remaining cream to the sauce and then the cooled pasta.

In an oven dish about 2inches deep and approx 30cm x 25cm – layer the bottom of the dish with the Cavolo Nero mixture and then Macaroni mixture, sprinkle the remaining cheese on the top.

Place on the middle shelf of the oven at 190c (fan) for 15-20 minutes (depending on how good your oven is) and then pop under a grill for a minute to brown off the top. The sauce should be still slightly wet, the Cavolo Nero should colour the underside of the pasta red and green when you spoon it onto your plate and it should just all hold together.


Filed under GC Recipes

Curried Lamb Mince (Keema) and Butternut Squash – A Recipe

I should really come up with a better name for this dish. The end result does not look that pretty so at least the name should have some pizazz. I will have a think, but I will come round and make it at your house if you can come up with a better one than me – mail me

I went on a bit of post-Christmas shop yesterday and found my self with lots of Lamb Mince. The first thing I wanted to make was Shepherd’s Pie, I love it and have not made it for quite a while – however the Mrs is not a fan of potatoes and tonight is an evening devoted to making her happy.

Keema – Indian Lamb Mince and thoroughly good for you. It is a staple at WNC, seeing as today is a Wednesday I thought it would be a good idea. I had a squash sitting there all-lonely-like and to decided to pop some in. It adds a little bit of colour and a soft texture to the mince, which can be quite monotonous. I usually add some peas as well right at the end. The mix if made a little drier is perfect for samosas.

Curried Lamb Mince and Butternut Squash

500g Lamb Mince

200g Butternut Squash

2 Tomatoes

1 Large onion

2-3 Cloves of Garlic

2 inches of ginger

2 Green Chillies

1tbs Cumin Powder

1tsp Cumin Seeds

1tbs Coriander Powder

1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds

2 Cloves

2 Cardamom Pods

1 Small Stick of Mace

4 Black Peppercorns


Thinly slice the onion and fry in a large deep frying pan till soft and just turning golden. Add the pasted ginger, garlic and chilli. Fry for a minute till they are cooked through. Add all the spices and fry till the smells start to come out of the pan. Add the meat, tomatoes and the squash. Mix everything together on an high heat and brown the meat.

Once the meat has broken down and is brown at enough water to cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Serve in pitta breads or on rice.

Garlic Confit - Curried Lamb Mince and Butternut Squash

What shall we call you?


Filed under GC Recipes

Sausage Burger – A Recipe

I have said it before and I will say it again I don’t do Christmas. The birth of Jesus, Santa and Turkey leave me wishing I was on a beach, eating dim sum.

Pretty much my only respite from all of the festivities is >>>>Sausagemeat. It is everywhere. I love the fact you can get it easily and without having to ask your butcher. Why oh why does Britain only need sausagemeat for stuffings and other such dishes at christmas? Why can’t we have it freely available through out the year? Maybe I should start a campaign…

Once you have stuffed your goose and you have a spare pound of sausagemeat what do you do? You only have recipes for stuffing! Delia does not tell you what to do with leftover uncooked sausagemeat, Jamie is on holiday and Gordo’ is too busy stuffing his remaining cash in his pockets before the VATman nabs him.

Sausage Burgers are the answer. Sandwich it between some Poilane, Romaine and a Dijonnaise type affair (anyone else remember that? Do they still make it?)

BTW if you have a proper meat mincer (To be purchased soon Kitchen Craft ICast Iron Meat Mincer No.8 with Sausage Making Attachment) then grab yourself a shoulder of pork and pass it through about 3 times – the third time add the mixture below with out the sausagemeat obviously. The Shoulder should have about 75% meat and 25% fat and is a great way to make sausagemeat at home.

Sausage Burgers

500g Sausagemeat (85% meat content)

1 red onion

12 sage leaves

1tbs Dijon Mutard

2 tbs Worcester Sauce

1 Small Clove of Garlic

1/2 inch piece of Ginger

1/4 of a tart crisp apple (Braeburn is always my choice)

1 tsp of brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

pinch of sea salt


Chop the onion and soften in some duck fat. Cool and add to the meat.

Paste all the other ingredients together – pestle, grinder, whizzer – whatever suits.

Mix everything together, divide the meat into 4 and shape into burgers.

Grill or Fry for about 10-14 mins turning a few times.

GArlic Confit - Sausage Burger

1 Comment

Filed under GC Recipes, Rants

Mutton Curry – I said MUTTON – just in case you could not hear me… A Recipe

To those who are well versed in cockney rhyming slang you will know that : Mutton = Deaf.  All related to an old british cartoon duo called Mutt and Jeff.

What has that got to do with the price of meat? Well, I am always hard of hearing when I am in the butchers because I never hear the them trying to sell me mutton. I always get sidetracked and pick up some lamb and forget to grab me some mutton.

I have been feeling ill of late, nothing serious, just the usual. This means that I had been struggling to get everything done during the day, the weekly online delivery was missed and I had not been out to the local shops either. I opened the fridge and t’was bare. I could have made a very simple dinner of roasted sweet peppers and baby tomatoes on toasted pitta with a side salad of basil, coriander, mint and pickled lemons, but I thought that was a Fridge Challenge too far.

I popped across the road to Al Hayat a melange of cornershop, butcher(halal), greengrocer and all things middle eastern. It is a genius last minute life saver, and anyone that live  in the general vacinity of one of these will know how great they are.

The fruit and veg is of great quality and they had some big juicy aubergines, so I grabbed one. Inside they had tons of chicken wings, lamb neck, brains, liver – in fact most things you can think of. Seeing as it was still early-ish and he had one chunk left, I took the mutton. I had no idea what I was going to do with it and as I wanted to eat in the not too distant future I got out of there quick.

I stood in the kitchen for a few minutes and had a think abut what to make. I chopped the muttton up into bite sized chinks and did the same with half of the aubergine. I did this without any real thought of what was coming….but i know it was going to be curry. I have been making curry since before I could walk (that may be due to being Indian) and whenever I have no brain space or am in need of comforting ,out comes the Ginger, Garlic and Chilli.

Mutton and Aubergine Curry

350 g Mutton (whatever cut you prefer, leg for me)

Half a Large Aubergine

3 tbs Yellow Split Peas (Chana Dhal)

1 onion

1 tbs chopped ginger

1tbs chopped garlic

2 green chillis (small, hot ones – the supermarkets call them finger chilis)

Big Handful of baby Tomatoes

1 tsp cumin seeds

1tbs cumin powder

1tbs coriander powder

1/2tsp turmeric

1tsp salt

small stick of mace

2 green cardamom pods

6 black peppercorns

Handful fresh coriander


Thinly slice the onion and fry it till good and golden in a sucepan. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and when they are toasted  – add the rest of the spices (except the salt and fresh coriander) . Chop the aubergine and the mutton into bite size chinks and add to the spiced inion mix. Whack up the heat and brown everything and mix well.

You should get a great smell coming out of the pan. Add the baby tomatoes (halved) and the lentils and incorporate on a high heat. Add double the amount of water needed to cover the contents of the pan.

Leave simmering for just under two hours – check it every half hour an if needed add a little water. By the end, all the water should have evaporated and made the mutton nice and soft; You should end up with the aubergine pieces breaking down to form a very thick sweet sauce.  It should look like this:


Leave a comment

Filed under Food Experiments, Fridge Challenge, GC Recipes

Ossobuco, Osso Buco, Osso Bucco…tasty however you spell it! – A Recipe

I would like to think of myself as part cook, part food historian and part glutton. Of course I would like to think of myself as the saviour of the modern world, it does not mean I am.

Top of my gastro-historical knowledge search has always been Ossobuco. There are many ways to spell it, as you may have guessed this means that there are many ways to cook it. Traditionally made alla Bianco but now made a little richer with tomatoes. The Bianco version is tomato-less and subtly flavoured with allspice, cinnamon and bay – lovingly finished off with Gremolata, finely chopped parsley, garlic and lemon peel. Both version contain the main attraction(cue music): A large chunk of bone in the middle hiding a delicate quivering nugget of marrow.

Although I do love the Bianco version the altogether young pretender of Veal shins is my choice for company.I normally make Ossobuco for a special occasion. Knocking up some rich veal stock in advance, getting some beautiful tomatoes and making a silky passata. However one can still make a delicious version with a little care and shop bought ingredients.

Some friends were coming around for dinner and I could not for the life of me think what to make. When I had popped out at lunchtime for something to eat and found myself in the shops, I saw some very pretty Veal shins and my mind was made up instantly. I could already taste that buttery soft meat and that rich thick sauce. With an afternoon of proper paid work ahead it was a quick-lunch and an even quicker prep time in the kitchen. The beauty of Ossobuco is that you can leave it simmering away (hob or oven, take your pick) and get on with other things.

Traditionally it is served with Risotto Milanese (saffron risotto) a beautiful orange colour dish with that indescribable taste of the crocus stamen – slightly earthy, sweet and medicinal all at the same time. I have served it with mash and just alone with some greens, but this time I plumped for stir-fried cavolo nero and spelt risotto with peas.


6 big veal shins (sliced about an inch and a half thick)

1 carrot

1 stick of celery

1 onion

A handful of dried porcini

50g of butter

250ml dry white wine

350ml good veal stock (chicken will work as well)

150ml Passata

Handful of sage leaves, about 20 or so for the particular people.

a little flour (seasoned)

Pepper…pepper and more pepper


If you have a big casserole dish with a lid now is the time to get it out of the cupboard.

Take the Veal Shins and cover them lightly in the seasoned flour. I always find that the best way to do this is to pop the flour in a big plastic bag (obviously without the safety breathing holes!) and then pop each shin in one by one and shake around until they are covered.

In a bowl add some hot water to cover the porcini, and leave to one side.

In the casserole pop half the butter (and a slug of olive oil to stop it burning) and when hot, in a single layer, seal the shins. Repeat till you are done, adding more butter if necessary.

Finely chop the Carrot, Onion, Celery and soften in the casserole for about 10 mins, don’t brown them. Whack up the heat and pop in the wine, let it bubble down to about a third of its original volume.

Drain and reserve the liquid from the porcini. Roughly chop the porcini and half the sage leaves and add to the casserole with the passata, porcini juice and the stock. Drop in the shins so that they are all covered. Season, VERY well.

Now you can split the cooking into another casserole if yours are too small, as long as everything is equally split and covered in liquid, all is good.

Now you can leave this on a hob on a very low flame for about 4hours – or leave it in an oven at about 160C for about 4 hours. Check every hour or so and if necessary top up with a little water.

The sauce will thicken and darken, the meal will contract and soften so much you could mistake it for butter.

Take the remaining sage leaves and the remaining butter and fry till the leaves ae crispy, add a little salt and pepper and drizzle over the shins when you serve.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dinner Party, Food Experiments, GC Recipes, Rants