So the book’s been officially on sale for a week now, and amazingly has sold out not once, but twice already on Amazon, which has been pretty surreal to say the least.
If you’re interested, here’s what the Metro had to say about it, and even the Mail online voted it their food book of the week which was unexpected. I had a chat with Robert Elms about it on BBC LDN, and to my enormous surprise made the ‘British Bangladeshi Power 100‘ list which left me completely gobsmacked and very happy indeed.
Anyway here’s a nice recipe for some soup.
roasted carrot, red lentil and blood orange soup
750g carrots, peeled and chopped into big hunks
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
150g red lentils
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
cheese rind (optional)
the juice and zest of 3 blood oranges,
a big fistful of chopped parsley
- in a roasting dish, toss the carrots in half the shallots, 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes at 160C.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a saucepan and sprinkle in the cumin seeds. Once they release their fragrance add the second shallot, garlic and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.
- Tip in the red lentils and stir well for a couple of minutes. Pour in the stock and cheese rind if using.
- After about 30 minutes or when the lentils are tender add the roasted carrots and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Add the blood orange zest and juice and more salt if necessary. Remove the cheese rind an blend until smooth and stir in the parsley.
One of the main reasons I could never move to the countryside is because I seriously couldn’t bear to be too far from the ethnic shops and grocers I’ve grown up with in the smoke. I’m constantly amazed at the comedy prices supermarkets slap onto exotic ingredients like those miniature packets of okra, tiny bags of rootless coriander leaves, pickled lemons and tahini. But then, I am lucky enough to live near a Moroccan butchers where I can scoop up big bottles of pomegranate molasses, decorative tins of harissa and home made packages of nutty, herb flecked za’tar at about an eighth of the price. It’s always nice when you can make dishes that don’t ultimately taste of rip off.
I wanted to try something more exciting with my za’atar than just dipping it in bread and these onion rings were the answer. Hot and crunchy with the fluffiest of fillings; we gingerly ate them dipped straight from the pan into cold, creamy yoghurt speckled with garlic, mint, cumin and salt.
1 large onion, sliced into rings and separated
100g rice flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. za’atar
a dinner plate sprinkled with panko breadcrumbs
oil for frying
parmesan cheese, finely grated
a wire rack placed over some foil/kitchen roll
- heat the oil
- mix the flour, baking powder, za’atar and salt in a small bowl and dip the onion rings in this mixture until well coated. Set aside.
- Crack the egg and whisk the milk into the remaining flour mixture in the small bowl and dip the floured onion rings into the batter, coating well. Place on the wire rack to drain.
- combine the panko crumbs and Parmesan in a shallow platter coat each ring thoroughly. Tap off any excess.
- deep fry the rings in small batches for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle over a little more za’atar and serve immediately.
Those nice people at Maldon salt sent me their frankly brilliant Desert Island Dishes cookbook. If you’d like to win a copy, just leave a comment below outlining what your desert island dish might be.
It seems that the whole world and his wife have been struck down by the sniffles. Everyone I talk to sounds a bit bunged up, slightly red around the eyes and just a little bit blue. After working our way through some pretty vile cold powders, mugs of hot honey, lemon and ginger and inhaling endless bowls of steaming Vicks; it was this comforting soup, that finally put paid to monsieur lurgy. Sweet, spicy and ambrosial on the throat, this makes an immense tureen. Perfect for squirreling away freezer-friendly stashes ready for the next onslaught.
850g pumpkin, hacked into chunks
270g parsnip, peeled and chopped into chunks
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 large onion, finely chopped
75g ginger, peeled and finely chopped
150g brown basmati rice
145g/2 medium carrots, diced
110g celery sticks, diced
250g eating apples
4 green cardamom pods
1 tsp. turmeric
500ml chicken stock
400ml coconut milk
400g tinned tomatoes
2 tbsp. mango chutney
2 tbsp. fresh coriander
A big squeeze of lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 180C. In a shallow roasting tray toss the pumpkin and parsnip chunks with the garlic, curry powder, cumin, salt and half the olive oil. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until tender and charred in places.
- In a large saucepan heat the butter and remaining oil. Fry the onion and ginger for about 10 minutes over a low heat. Add the rice, carrots, celery, apple, cardamom and turmeric and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes or until everything is well cooked.
- Mash in the roasted pumpkin and parsnip along with the tempered oil from the roasting pan.
- Pour in the stock, coconut milk, tinned tomatoes and adjust seasoning to taste. Simmer until the rice is tender.
- Stir in the chutney and lemon juice. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with the fresh coriander and lots of black pepper.
In need of some Christmas gift inspiration? Want something that looks and tastes like way more effort than is actually involved? Look no further than home made piccalilli. Your lucky recipient will think you’ve injected literally hours of love and care – the reality is an inexpensive crowdpleaser that once you’ve salted your veg, you can whip up in less than half an hour.
- sterilise your jars by rinsing well in hot soapy water and then drying in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes.
- toss the vegetables thoroughly in the salt and leave in the fridge overnight in a colander with a bowl underneath.
- The next day, mix the rice flour, turmeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds, nutmeg, nigella, cumin and coriander together in a bowl. Mix the vinegars together and add enough to the turmeric mixture to form a runny paste. Stir in the fresh ginger.
- Heat the sugar, honey and remaining vinegar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. You might want to open a window at this point.
- Scrape in the turmeric mixture and boil for about 5 minutes.Stir well.
- Fold the hot vinegar mixture into the vegetables and load up the hot jars. Leave for 6 weeks. (If you can)
There’s a special place in my kitchen cupboard dedicated to all those crazy life-enhancing ‘restorative’ health foods I’ve purchased in a guilty haze after overdoing it or when I’m feeling under the weather. Zip lock bags of spirulina powder, maca powder, wheatgrass and wheatgerm all shoved to the back ready and waiting to anoint a bowl of porridge or salad. Endlessly waiting because of course, this is something I never, ever do.
2 tbsp. maca powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. honey
- In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, wheatgerm, spirulina powder, maca powder and wheatgrass powder. Add the salt and sprinkle over the vanilla extract.
- Mash in the peanut butter and honey and gradually drip in the apple juice until you’re left with a soft, slightly sticky play-doh like dough.
- Adjust the salt and honey to taste.
- Using a scrap of cling film shape tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls and dip in the sesame seeds
- Leave in the fridge for an hour or so to set before wrapping in cling film ready for the next time you need to snack on something insanely healthy.
“ahm joony faareigner ja git me yeah? Nooo. Naaaaah Jimmy I’ve nae idea wha’ ure sayin’” slurs the wild-eyed Asian guy with the Celtic scarf and hair like Jesus. The table of young office workers look shocked and slightly scared. I hold my head in my hands. It’s 2003 and I’m in The Cock with my mate Hermeet. We’ve just been working on the John Peel show and my Glaswegian Sikh colleague is pissed again. (Un?)fortunately nobody understands a word he’s saying. Earlier that day I watch him cheerfully trowel a good inch of butter onto his parathas. “Nobody does comfort food like us Punjabis” he tells me, or at least I think he does. He introduces me to the ambrosial delight that is chole bhature – or chickpea curry mopped up with deep fried bread. It’s basically the north Indian equivalent of beans on toast. Fast forward to now and it’s all I want to eat because it’s parky and I’m coming down with a treacherous cold.
Pairing up tangy, cumin-flecked legumes with crisp, puffy bhature equals pure magic. Traditionally these yeasty, slightly spongy orbs are deep fried. I prefer to cut down on the cholesterol overload by shallow frying, and I’ve made mine with spelt flour over plain, and with yeast over baking soda. So not really bhature in the sense your average North Indian might recognise, but still pretty damned tasty. You can of course make the curry beforehand, but it’s important to dish up the bread as you fry it, perhaps with a nice cool raita alongside, for that triple texture-taste delight.
Boiling the chickpeas with Assam or Darjeeling teabags, really encourages an authentic street-vendor mahogany hue. You could just chuck in tinned, but for me, nothing beats the nutty bite of raw to soaked and it’s hardly that much of a faff. With a bit of forward planning you’re looking at an unbelievably cheap eat with tons leftover to freeze.
For the chickpeas
250g dried chickpeas
3 large onions, finely chopped/blitzed in a processor
30g fresh ginger, finely chopped/blitzed
6-8 cloves garlic finely chopped/blitzed
1 ½ tsp. cumin seeds
1 black cardamom (use a couple of green if you don’t have any black ones)
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns, tied in some muslin/a baby sock
1 tsp. turmeric powder
½ tsp. black salt powder (‘kala namak’ is available in asian shops, use 1 tsp. standard white salt if not)
A fat slice of butter
1 tsp. curry powder
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
½ -1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. dried fenugreek powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
250g fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh coriander
Lemon wedges and v.finely sliced red onion to serve
For the spelt bhature
300g spelt flour
150g plain flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. nigella seeds
½ tsp. dried yeast
1 tsp. salt
150ml natural yoghurt
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Approx 300ml warm water
Oil for shallow/deep frying
- One or two nights before you want to eat this, soak the chickpeas in at least double the volume of water.
- Anywhere between 1-6 hours before cooking, (you could also start this the night before) get your bhature dough on by mixing the flours, sugar, nigella seeds, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the water, oil and yoghurt in a jug. Gradually add to the flour mixture until you have a smooth dough. Knead for 10 minutes until nice and elastic and then leave in the bowl somewhere warm covered with a damp cloth.
- tip the contents of the chickpea bowl into a large saucepan, adding more water if necessary until you have at least double the volume of water to chickpeas. Add the teabags, 1/3 of the onion, 1/3 of the garlic, ½ the cumin, the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, 20 peppercorns and the turmeric. Cover and simmer for an hour over a gentle heat and then drain and toss with the salt. Fish out the tea, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns and bay but reserve the liquid.
- In another pan, heat the butter and add a splash of oil. Gently brown the remaining onion, garlic and ginger for a good half an hour.
- Stir in the curry, pepper, chilli, fenugreek and coriander powders along with the remaining cumin. After a few minutes add the fresh tomato and the chickpeas and cook for a minute or two.
- Add the cooking/soaking water and simmer until tender. Check seasoning and sprinkle in lots of fresh coriander.
- To make the bread, heat the oil to deep/shallow-frying temperature. Knock back the dough and tear off lemon-sized pieces. Roll each one out to the size of a small dinner plate and cover with damp kitchen roll.
- Gently slide the bhature into the hot fat, allow to brown, while pressing continuously down into the centre of the bread with a slotted spoon for about 45 seconds-this should cause it to puff up magnificently if you’re deep frying and more languidly if shallow. Flip over and brown the other side before draining on plenty of kitchen paper-lined plates.
- Serve hot with a well chilled cucumber raita, the chickpeas, red onion slices and lemon wedges.
aaah miso-cream cheese. My new addiction; this happy, happy accident has proved incredible on toast, in smoked fish sarnies, smeared over celery sticks and of course, straight from the spoon. It’s absolutely killer in this super-speedy tart. This has become the mid-week go-to dinner in our flat, when all I have to do is grab a pack of those ‘on-offer-due-to–massive-glut-season’ courgettes and some puff pastry. I find myself repeatedly turning to it on those afternoons when I have no idea what day it is let alone what the hell we’re going to eat. Such a lifesaver in pastry form, It ought to come with it’s own little fluorescent yellow security jacket. Although that would be a bit weird.
serves 2 with a salad
2 courgettes, sliced into thin discs
2-3 tbsp. grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp.olive oil
1 pack all butter puff pastry
100g full fat cream cheese.
1 dessertspoon miso paste (I like barley miso)
- preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/GM6
- in a large bowl mix the courgette slices, half the Parmesan, half the garlic, all the onion and the olive oil.
- roll out the pastry into a big rectangle. Score an inner-rectangle ‘crust’ around the margin.
- In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, the other half of the garlic and the miso paste really well. Resist the urge to eat this on its own.
- Spread the miso-fromage over the inner rectangle of pastry. Overlap the courgette slices in layers over the top and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan (this shouldn’t be any more than a couple of layers deep, you don’t want soggy pastry or raw courgette).
- Stick in the oven for about 20 mins. Remember that it’s Thursday.
AKA Japanese salad dressing. I used to buy bottles of this stuff ready-made before I realised just how easy it is to knock up at home (except for the bit where you have to grate the raw onion – wearing shades helps). Just the thing for when you definitely don’t want to turn the cooker on.
(optional) dried seaweed salad mix, which you can buy online here
1/4 small onion, finely grated including juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. grated ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. roasted white sesame seed, lightly pulverised in a pestle and mortar
grated carrot, radish, batons of cucumber, tomato, etc.
soak the seaweed salad if using in cold water
combine the dressing ingredients.
Drain the seaweed, mix together all salad ingredients and pour over the dressing
*(apols for the blurry photo-taken while holding a very wriggly 12 week old)
Hello, it’s been a while. Don’t worry, this isn’t another one of those “sorry I haven’t blogged in ages” posts because I don’t really see the point of those. Personally, I blame the year round availability of unseasonal fruit in our supermarkets – people just think they can have what they want when they want it all the time. Perhaps it might help if you just think of me as an organic greengage, or something.
Anyway. Aren’t peas brilliant? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve podded and ploughed my way through a fresh bag fully intending to use them in a meal but with absolutely nada to show at the end. I had to exercise a lot of self restraint for this dish, but am super pleased I did because it’s bloody sensational.
At about 4am last Tuesday I had a proper hankering for mutter paneer, palak paneer and also for makhani paneer (think butter chicken but with paneer instead of poultry). You might say I really, really wanted paneer.
This was the result – a glorious mash up of all three. Packed with sweet fresh* peas and spinach for all those crucial vits plus sour cream (SO authentic, I know) butter and cashews for a healthy dose of hedonic richness. A win-win dish if ever there was one.
2 large onions
4-5 cloves garlic
2 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
60g roasted cashew nuts
A little blitzing water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. curry powder
salt to taste (I used a teaspoon)
¼ – ½ tsp. chilli powder
½ – 1 tsp. dried fenugreek (methi) leaves
1 tsp. coriander powder
½ tsp. turmeric powder
1 tbsp. tomato puree
2-3 tbsp. sour cream (coconut milk would be lush)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 green chillies chopped finely
2 tbsp. coriander stems, chopped finely
1 tbsp. sunflower oil
A large knob of butter
2 tsp. cumin seeds
227g paneer cubed
300ml veg. stock
chopped fresh tomatoes (250g-ish)
200g spinach leaves-wilted in a colander with boiling water from the kettle then chopped
145g shelled peas (*you can of course use frozen if you don’t have fresh)
coriander leaves chopped fine to garnish
A few extra whole toasted cashews to serve
- Blitz onion, cashews, garlic and ginger to a rough paste in a blender with a little water.
- Mix sugar, curry powder, salt, chilli powder, fenugreek leaves, coriander powder, turmeric and tomato puree in a bowl. Add the cream and lemon juice, green chilli and coriander stems
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add oil. Once it’s hot add the butter and cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter.
- Add the onion mix and fry until it turns a sort of frazzled beige colour (this took about 20 minutes over a low heat, giving any excess water the chance to evaporate). Add the paneer cubes and cook until everything is well crusted and golden.
- Stir in the stock, spiced cream and fresh tomatoes. Cook for 10 mins on a low heat.
- Finally, add the peas and spinach. Adjust seasoning to taste, scatter over the toasted cashews and coriander leaves. Serve with hot plain rice.
Poor camera phone filming. Poor sound. Nice biscuits.
When Miss Marmite Lover invited me to host a curry stall at her forthcoming underground food rave, I decided I’d offer dishes that were a little bit different alongside the same old traditional curries. Chaal kumro bhaja is a classic Bengali fried pumpkin dish, which involves panch phoran (Bengali five spice), fresh coconut and chilli. This roasted panch phoran pumpkin salad is my modern version. Fat chunks of the orange flesh are lightly coated in mustard oil, salt and garlic before roasting to fudgy tenderness. Cubes of paneer, raw cashews, fresh coconut, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are browned in panch phoran and chilli tempered oil before everything is tossed with a pinch of sugar, salt, fresh coriander, lemon juice and pomegranate seeds. A drizzle of chillified yoghurt and the contrast of crisp, spicy cheese, nuts and seeds with soft garlicky gourd is pretty unbeatable.
I’ll be serving this on Saturday 5th November, along with a more old school mutton kosha mangsho (slow cooked Bengali mutton and potato curry), saag and pea paneer (with home made paneer), spicy sausage rolls (both veggie and meat), potato and pea shingaras (Bengali samosas with nigella seed pastry) lentil doughnuts in raita (dahi vadai), organic, free-range chicken curry, vegetable biryani, masoor dal and smoked aubergine and tomato borthas (fresh Bengali salsas).
Serves 2- 3 as a main course and 6 as a starter/side dish
1/2 medium pumpkin or 1 small one, halved, deseeded and lopped into chunks
1 tbsp mustard oil plus extra for drizzling
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
½ block paneer, cubed
1 handful raw cashews
½ fresh coconut, sliced thinly
1 tbsp each of sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1 tsp each of fenugreek, asafoetida, cumin, mustard and nigella seeds
1 fresh chilli sliced or ½ teaspoon hot chilli sauce
Fresh coriander roughly chopped
Fresh lemon juice
½ fresh pomegranate, deseeded
2 tbsp natural yoghurt mixed with 3-4 tsp chilli sauce
- Place the pumpkin chunks in a baking tray and anoint liberally with the garlic, salt and a little of the mustard oil. Roast at 150C for around 30-40 minutes, or until slightly charred and very soft.
- In a frying pan, heat the remaining mustard oil and when hot, add the mustard and nigella seeds. Lightly crush the fennel, asafoetida and cumin and add to the oil, which should be spit and crackle.
- Add the paneer and coat well in the spices. Add the fresh chilli or chilli sauce and stir in the pumpkin and sunflower seeds, the cashews and the coconut. Mix thoroughly and continue to cook until everything is toasted and golden brown.
- Tip the contents of the frying pan over the roasted pumpkin, add a teaspoon each of salt and sugar and mix well. Strew with the coriander, pomegranate and a generous squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle with the chilli yoghurt dressing. Serve warm.
Creamy, oozing with comfort and addictive little stabs of chilli this savoury French toast with an Indian twist is just the dish to take refuge in whenever you’re feeling hungry, tired, skint or all three. It’s a proper serotonin-raiser, whether we’re talking a decadent breakfast in bed gesture or a midweek, post-work-pre-flicks/plonked on the sofa type affair. The peach and tomato salsa is bright, punchy and the perfect accompaniment (it’s basically my Bengali tomato salsa recipe plus a couple of very ripe peaches), although a hefty blob of ketchup is just fine if you really can’t be bothered. My aunt in Rochdale makes hers using cheap white sliced bread but for me it’s all about the nuttiness of wholemeal.
1-2 tbsp single cream
A large pinch of curry powder
4 of the finest eggs money can buy
slices of bread
½ Fresh green finger chilli sliced (or more if you like your heat)
1-2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
1 shallot, finely chopped/spring onion
Salt and pepper
Tomato bortha/Bengali tomato salsa with a couple of ripe peaches roughly chopped and crushed in.
- Beat together the eggs and add the curry powder, cream, chilli, coriander, shallot and salt and pepper.
- Place a slice of bread in the mixture and leave for about 5 minutes then turn over, until well saturated with the egg mixture.
- Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and when sizzling carefully add the bread. Brown on both sides.
- Repeat until all the egg has been used up and serve hot with plenty of salsa/ketchup.
It’s the scent that yanks me back, pinching at my nostrils and dragging me helplessly by the nose. A fat, fragrant double-taker of headiness. The brain doesn’t quite compute at first, because all I’m met with is the gaping maw of a white van spewing crimson viscera onto the road, while a flock of Christian youth rap energetically about salvation. But then I gaze a bit further and there they are in all their scarlet splendour. Punnets upon punnets of them. “3 for a pahnd” bellows the red faced man, and the people jostle and throng with their pounds. Further in there are stalls flogging free range organic duck and quail eggs, the biggest papayas I’ve ever seen, chicken’s feet, goat’s livers, ginseng, mustard oil, fresh shea butter, live crabs, green coconuts and tangerine chillies. However, none of this interests me, for it’s that most English of juicy fruit that I’m after. It feels like the whole of Hackney is here, shopping, shouting and bumping into each other in the sunshine. People hug and argue, they flirt with and avoid each other, they coo over and swear at sullen-faced little ones. There are mountain ranges of rubbish everywhere and an intermingling of other, less savoury smells. Drugs are dealt and hearts are broken. You would never get this in Borough Market.
Back home I think about the flavours that might fit. Because they’re not exactly Gariguettes, I decide that they’d be most at home in a savoury salad, one with plenty of balsamic and black pepper to really flatter the fruit. I decide to team them with some tender grilled feta, watercress, cucumber, parsley and smoked almonds in what turns out to be one of the freshest of summer salads and the beginnings of an infatuation with the chaotic brilliance that is Ridley Road market.
Serves 2-3 generously
1 punnet of strawberries, picked over and halved
1 bunch watercress, torn up
gem lettuce roughly chopped
½ cucumber, diced
1 block of feta
a handful of smoked almonds or walnuts
1 tablespoon parsley, finely
1 orange pepper, diced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling on the feta
plenty of black pepper
1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
3 tsp honey
Small pinch of dried oregano
Sprinkle a little olive oil and the oregano over the feta and brown under a hot grill until tender
While that’s cooling, combine the watercress, cucumber, toasted pine nuts, smoked almonds, orange pepper, strawberries and lettuce in a salad bowl.
Cube and gently mix in the feta
Combine the parsley, balsamic, remaining olive oil, salt, pepper and honey and carefully dress the salad
I’m still working my way through that final truckle of Red Leicester. As I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth, these savoury scones are my cunning twist on the classic cream tea. I’ve already made a batch for @farmlondon and with not one but two tea parties coming up in the near future; these decadent little delights will most certainly be putting in an appearance.
There’s a fair amount of fromage in the mix so you only need a few teaspoons of oil. They swell up beautifully and the hint of truffle works a treat with the cheese, as does the suggestion of smoky pepper. Split them while they’re still warm from the oven and recklessly smother with the roasted garlic cream and a generous blob of tomato relish. Wash down with a large mug of lady grey. Splendid.
- 500g plain flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp thyme leaves
- 250g red leicester (or any other decent hard cheese), grated
- 2 spring onions, finely snipped
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- lots of black pepper
- pinch of smoked paprika
- 1 tsp truffle oil
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 250 ml whole milk
- 1 egg
for the garlic cream
- 250ml sour cream
- 1 bulb garlic, sliced in half
- a little oil
- a handful of chives
to serve – tomato relish or my personal favourite, some Branston’s pickle.
- weigh out the flour and mix in the baking powder, salt, thyme, cayenne, paprika, spring onions, black pepper and grated cheese.
- Combine the beaten egg, milk and oils in a jug and slowly trickle into the dry ingredients.
- Mix well until a dough is formed. Roll out to about just over an inch thick (make sure you don’t roll too thinly).
- If you want to create a natural “split” in the scone, fold the dough in half, back over itself and lightly roll out again.
- Using a cutter (or an inverted glass) cut out round shapes.
- Place on a well oiled baking tray and brush with milk. Sprinkle with a little more grated cheese.
- Put your garlic halves on a scrap of foil, drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Wrap up into a loose parcel.
- Place the scones and the garlic parcel in the oven at 220C/450F/gas mark 8 for about 20 minutes or until the scones are well risen and golden and the garlic tender.
- Put the scones on a rack to cool slightly.
- Mash the roast garlic to a pulp, mix with the chives and stir into the cream.
- Split and smother the scones.
- Serve immediately.
This is Incredible.
Make it for someone you love kind of incredible. Can’t wait to make it again and again kind of incredible. Make it in the afternoon and watch it cease to exist by the evening kind of incredible. Thyme scented garlic, slick with balsamic syrup, glossier than Cheryl Cole’s barnet kind of incredible. Clods of butternut roasted to coax out the sugar, cosseted in a duvet of delicately shuddering dairy kind of incredible. There are no words kind of incredible.
Mr Ottolenghi – I salute you.
My friend George has this theory about Brick Lane. He reckons there’s a secret factory operating about six feet underground which spends all day churning up two enormous vats of neon slurry. That there are pipes snaking up from the vats to the kitchens of each of the restaurants, which have taps marked “yellow” or “red” depending on the particular hue you prefer your slop. The lane is saturated with naff “Indian” restaurants and it’s so refreshing to see a proper southern place in the area, offering some deeply regional alternatives. Dosa World has been open for three months already, only seats about twenty and the owners hail from Chennai. Although I’m due to visit next week, the nagging siren song of a decent stuffed pancake a mere phone call away proves too much.
Tough day in the office? Repeatedly sneezed on during the central line rush hour? Feeling a bit sniffly? Had your favourite pair of Cheap Monday’s tsunamically and indeed deliberately drenched by some sadist in a white van? If like me you’ve recently suffered from any/all of the above then what you need is a great steaming bowl of shorba. Nothing sorts me out quite like that rich, soothing hug of a soup, alive with spices and the spiky warmth of ginger. It truly is the perfect antidote to so many of life’s woes.
Mark Hix certainly seems to know his Asian food – I’ve had my eye on the mutton chop curry recipe in his latest cookery book for some time now. I chanced upon his recipe for these lentil and potato cakes on a yellowing scrap of old Independent I’d ripped out around, ooh seven years ago. Gently spiced potato cakes filled with a piquant mango chutney and lentil mix and rolled in coconut, they are the perfect packed lunch fodder and definitely taste more intense the next day. I used fresh coconut instead of desiccated and added some bay and grated ginger to the potato mix. I think a spot of fresh green chilli in there wouldn’t go amiss, or if you can get hold of it, the weeniest dollop of Mr Naga hot chilli sauce.
So the Great British Summer is upon us and of course it’s all grey and drizzly out there. I always swear by a big steaming cup of tea, with a good book in one hand and a plate of fresh bhajis to munch on as the most comforting way to counteract the dreaded June mizzle. But today I discovered something a little bit different, something that turned out to be astonishingly delicious….