Chinese Chicken Curry

There is something wonderful about Chinese chicken curry with rice. I suppose it takes me back to my childhood. Of course I suppose there is nothing authentic about it, but that yellowish creamy sauce, with onions and mushrooms makes it my favourite. You can add what you want to make it vegetarian and substitute the stock for water, personally if I want it veggie I just leave out the chicken. This really is made quicker than waiting for the order to arrive, and it is so simple it can be done after the pub! Feeds two.

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Pie and Mash

IMG_1276I am going through a thing at the moment for food I had as a child (and crave right now). It started when I thought about Chinese chicken curry, and turned very easily to pie and mash. There is something wholesome and deeply fulfilling when you are faced with a pie with a crisp top and suet base, filled with mincemeat. Aside that, comes the mash, and poured over the top the parsley liquor (and a generous amount of vinegar). It is isn’t rocket science, and I can manage to eat two pies even in  the summer. This really works.  Feeds four.

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Crab Linguine

IMG_1599Summer, and in England at least crab comes into its own. I have used it elsewhere on this blog but sometimes with the heat of some chili and silky smooth pasta it can make a lovely, but light dish. If you want to serve it as a starter then add some cream, which makes the whole thing very rich – I think too rich for a main course. Victoria Moore in her terrific book on wine suggests a Burgundian chardonnay or Chablis goes well with this – as ever she is spot on.

Serves 4

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Mackerel with Capers and Chili

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Time to have a fish dish. Mackerel is probably my favourite fish, it is full of flavour and being an oily fish is very good for you. We are also heading into summer, so the meal needs a bit of that Mediterranean feel about it. I have taken this recipe and changed it out a little. While the original is nice, the peppers and potatoes can feel a little bland, so it has been perked up a little with pinch of chili flakes and I have exchanged the white wine for vermouth.

This serves two as a big meal or four as a regular one.

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Bacon Wrapped Mackerel with Side Salad

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Bacon Wrapped Mackerel

So Spring has sprung. Yet the problem is that the weather can be so variable. Yes, I want to move (ok with some resistance) away from the heavier and warming foods of winter, but I am not yet willing to embrace the light dishes of summer; and anyway not everything is in fully in season. So, something must replace the intensity of flavours I am giving up if I am to embrace the change. Here it is. Mackerel. I love this oily fish, the rich, deep flavour, and it needs something equal to its weight and that is a wrapping of thin rashers of smoked bacon with a balanced side-salad as a (not so) welcome nod to the new year. Actually, you could look at this as a deconstructed BLT – but there is a reason why those flavours work so well and why that sandwich is such a hit. Anyway, this is something akin to that, but without the need of bread. It will serve two as good main course, or four as a starter.

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Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

Each year, around the time of my birthday, I wander up the road to the gates of Greenwich Park. From that vantage point I can watch thousands of not so lonely long distance runners set off on the London Marathon. It is fun, for a while. Then I can stroll back home and watch the rest on the television, or sit down with the newspaper. What has this to do with food? Well, the night before a marathon pasta meals are usually the thing. It is so called ‘carb-loading’. This is fine, but a long distance runner (over 90 minutes) also needs to add the protein in order to feed the muscles. Far more important, however, is that the other people eating with you need to enjoy the meal too.  So here it is, a classic carbonara – balancing carbohydrates and protein. There are two ways of cooking this, the one that follows is the ‘in the pan method’. I will put the other one on here (Zabaione method) for those who like a bit more of a challenge.

This serves two – so you may want to add more if there is a house full.

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Celeriac and Apple Soup

An autumnal or winter warmer if ever there was one. This celeriac and apple soup is made in minutes, provides a wonderful starter (you can add scallops for extra refinement) or just a nice Saturday afternoon dish.  Continue reading