Chickpea, leek and spring cabbage curry


This is the stuff I grew up on. It never fails to surprise me how the humble combination of pulses, spice and veg can be so moreish. I find myself turning to this, at least once a week. With parathas, on toast, with kitchuri and fridge cold from the pan with a dollop of yoghurt while waiting for the kettle to boil. Adding leeks and cabbage to a traditional tomato and chickpea curry makes for a healthy, cheap and utterly delicious treat (just remember to soak the chickpeas the night before you want to start- or if you can’t be bothered crack open some tinned ones instead).


a knob of ghee/ butter + a splash of oil

1 chopped onion

2 small leeks, finely sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 knob ginger, grated

1 heaped tsp. cumin seeds

1 cinnamon stick

3 green cardamom pods

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. curry powder

1 fresh green finger chilli finely chopped

1 400g  tin tomatoes

400ml chicken stock

200g soaked drained, boiled chickpeas

20g tamarind cut from a block

1 tsp. sugar

1-2 handfuls of finely shredded spring cabbage (or any greens)


  • melt the butter/ghee and splash of oil. When it’s hot add the cumin seeds, onion, garlic, ginger and leeks. Stir in the turmeric, curry powder, fresh chilli, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Cook over a low heat until you’re left with a spicy tangle of green and gold (usually around 15-20 minutes)

  • Tip in the chickpeas, chicken stock, tomatoes, tamarind sugar and salt.

  • Simmer for 30 minutes. Fish out the cinnamon stick, tamarind and cardamom pods.

  • 5 minutes before serving add the shredded cabbage and simmer until just tender.

Lamb ragu and biryani

So, you voted for the lamb ragu dish and here I am cooking it (and looking more than a little bit pregnant)! I like to top this with a rosemary and garlic pangritata* for added textural interest.

*(blitz up 50g stale breadcrumbs, 1 clove of garlic crushed, a couple of tbsp. each of fresh parsley and rosemary and 5-6 tbsp olive oil, before crisping in a frying pan – you can also store this in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days).

After making this film I was left with even more leftover lamb and decided to put it to use in a biryani. Biryani is very much a “special occasion” project, so this is a great thing to put together on a lazy Sunday, leaving you something special to look forward to in the week ahead.

2 tbsp. oil
8 cloves
2 black (if you can get them) cardamom pods and 2 green ones. (otherwise just use 4 green ones)
3 cinnamon sticks
4 thinly sliced onions
2 tbsp. crushed garlic
2 tbsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. curry powder
3 tbsp. each of finely chopped fresh coriander and mint leaves
380g leftover lamb (if you don’t have much leftover, throw in some lentils to pad things out)
1 carton chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 green chillies, sliced
1 pint of lamb stock
4-5 tbsp. natural yoghurt
big squeeze of lemon juice
a couple of onions sliced into rings and fried to a crisp
cooked basmati rice
optional – 300ml milk warmed with a pinch of saffron
  • heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, onions, garlic, ginger and curry powder.
  • cook over a low heat until the onions are nice and brown (this should take at least 15-20 minutes). Add the lamb (and lentils if using), mint, coriander leaves, tomatoes, red wine vinegar, a good pinch of salt, and the chillies. Stir well and then pour in the stock, yoghurt and lemon juice. Cook for about 30-40 minutes, until the sauce is nice and thick.
  • Layer some rice in the bottom of a large dish with a tight fitting lid. Add a layer of the lamb and then a layer of onion rings. Continue until you’re left with a layer of rice on top. Pour over the warm milk if using, cover well with plenty of foil to make it airtight and bake for 30 minutes at 180C.

Rejina Vs Chicken – Sainsbury’s video #3

This seems to be the most popular of all my Sainsbury’s videos – If you want to spice up your Indian roast chicken even more, I’d recommend adding 1 tsp.crushed cumin seeds, a small knob of fresh ginger, a finely chopped green finger chilli and a handful of coriander to the blitzing mix. Enjoy.

My first Sainsbury’s video – the ultimate roast pork

In case you missed it, here’s my first video for Sainsbury’s. It’s all about making the ultimate roast pork and includes tips on making gravy, how to ensure crunchy crackling and carving. Enjoy!

pickled apple and smoked mackerel salad


Faced with a glut of coxes I decided to try my hand at pickling a few. I can’t believe I’ve never done this before because pickled apples are truly superb. Sweet and crunchy yet saturated with the acidity of cider vinegar, these were the perfect partner to some smoked mackerel and fat chunks of garlic roasted onion squash. I trickled over lime and cumin yoghurt dressing for a truly autumnal mid week supper.

for the apples
2-3 coxes or other eating apples
200ml water
100ml cider vinegar
8 tsp. caster sugar
1 tsp. salt

for the roasted squash

one onion squash (or any squash) hacked into chunks

2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a sprinkling of mace
salt, oil

for the dressing
250ml greek yoghurt
a splash of olive oil
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground roasted cumin seeds
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 a finely diced red onion
the juice of half a lime

a handful of toasted sunflower seeds
smoked mackerel, flaked

  • mix the sugar, salt, vinegar and water together in a bowl until dissolved.  Core and chunk the apples and leave to steep in this mixture.
  • Toss the pieces of squash in the mace, garlic, salt and oil and roast for about 40-50 minutes at gas mark 4 until tender.
  • Mix the dressing ingredients together. Place the lettuce, seeds  and cress in a salad bowl with the mackerel. Add the roasted squash and the drained pickled apples. Dress liberally with the yoghurt.

Lebanese Mint Lemonade



I came across this at Yalla Yalla the other day. Gloriously sharp and refreshing, it’s immensely quaffable and there’s been nothing else I’ve wanted to drink quite so much since. Don’t forget to strip the leaves from the stalks. There’s nothing worse than stalky bits in your lemonade.


the juice of 4 lemons

45g mint (leaves only)

75g caster sugar

1 litre water

optional- a dollop of orange blossom honey



  • make a rough syrup by placing the sugar and water in a pan and simmer until just dissolved.
  • Blitz the mint and lemon juice in a blender. Add the cooled syrup, honey (if using) and adjust adding more lemon, mint or sugar as required. Serve with plenty of ice.

Coming soon, to a supermarket near you…


Sodium chloride fans everywhere, let us rejoice!!  Yours truly has been featured on the side of Maldon Salt packets, and for a limited time only you can pick one up in your local herb and spice aisle.

As you can see in the photo they’ve grilled me for my Desert Island Dish, which would have to be coronation crispy duck. Here’s the recipe taken from my forthcoming book, out January 31st and available to pre-order here.



char siu duck

I can think of few things nicer to slowly crisp in the oven than char siu duck. Goose perhaps, but that’s trickier to get hold of.
By giving the tender, fatty poultry the same treatment as you would a more traditional bit of pork and smothering in garlicky, umami-rich condiments the flesh is rendered heady with aromatics. Char siu literally means “fork roast” in Cantonese and is typically a mixture of honey, five spice powder, red fermented bean curd, soy, hoisin and a drop of rice wine (I sourced a tin of the curd from my Taiwanese corner shop). After a quick blanch in boiling water, the duck was rubbed in a mixture of five spice and salt before being liberally anointed with the rest of the marinade ingredients. This doesn’t have the same maltose laquered gloss as those burnished specimens you see dangling from hooks in the windows of China town, but it’s still pretty special nonetheless. After a tantalisingly languid roast we devoured this with some stir fried greens and steamed jasmine rice. The dish that keeps on giving, the  leftover carcass went on to form the stock base of a truly
stunning ramen.

serves 4

1 duck

2-3 tsp. five spice powder

1 tsp. salt
½  bulb garlic, crushed
3 tbsp. honey
120ml hoisin sauce
2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tbsp. mashed red fermented bean curd
2 tbsp. rice wine
2 tsp. sesame oil

1 lemon, halved


  • at least 4 hours in advance or preferably the night before, prick the duck all over and blanch in a large pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Dry completely and thoroughly before rubbing all over with the five spice powder and salt.
  • Combine everything else and smear over the duck, cover and leave to work it’s magic.
  • Heat oven to 140C/gas mark 1 and stuff the duck cavity with the lemon halves and then roast on a rack for 2 and a half hours, basting every 20 minutes. Crank the heat up to 220C for the final 15 minutes.

Wasted again


There’s something seriously whack in the world of food. At the risk of sounding like a dolorous, preaching, harbinger of doom proclaiming that we are all going to hell in a handcart; we are in fact all going straight to hell. In a solar-powered handcart.

Read the rest of this entry »


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