• cooking

    Barbecue Sauce

    This sauce has a lot of ingredients. It’s better if you cook it a few hours in advance or even the day before to allow the deep flavors to merge and mingle.
    – Fry a chopped onion in a little oil.
    – Add a tin of peeled tomatoes
    – Add the following ingredients:
    2 cloves chopped garlic, teaspoon ground coriander, teaspoon ground cumin, two big spoons tomato ketchup, lemon (or lime) juice, tablespoon dark brown sugar, big teaspoon molasses, two or three tablespoons red wine vinegar, a chopped chilli pepper (or two depending on how hot they are), two big spoons of mango chutney, two teaspoons honey, glass of orange juice, big dash of Worcester sauce, two tablespoons of soy sauce, 2cms of chopped fresh ginger (or teaspoon ground ginger), big teaspoon of mustard, a little water, salt to taste (just a little, the soy sauce usually makes it salty enough).

    – simmer on a low heat for 35-45 minutes, add some more water if the mixture starts getting too thick
    – I add an optional ingredient at the end which is “liquid smoke”, you can buy this if you live in the US, otherwise it can be ordered on the internet at It gives a wonderful smoky taste.
    – I cook spare ribs for 45 minutes in the oven and baste regularly both sides with this sauce. Then finish them off on the barbecue. You can use it with practically any barbecue recipes. Heat some sauce and put on the table for dipping.
    The photo on the left shows my barbecue ribs served with Mille Feuilles of Boulgur and Quinoa (see recipe here above)

  • cooking

    Salmon and Leek pie

    My mother used to make fish pie regularly, this recipe brought back childhood memories similar to that wonderful scene with the food critic in the movie Ratatouille.
    – Chop two leeks and gently fry in some olive oil with a chopped onion.
    – Peel and boil some potatoes and carrots, you can also add a turnip, a swede, or a sweet potato.
    – Add a little water to the leeks if they start to stick to the pan
    – When the leeks are soft add a large knob of butter to the pan.
    – Sprinkle with flour and mix well. When all the lumps of flour are dissolved, add some milk and keep stirring until the sauce starts to thicken. Add plenty of nutmeg.
    – If the leek/béchamel sauce is too thick add some more milk or a little cream.
    – De-bone some fillets of fresh salmon and remove the skin. Actually any other fish would also be good.
    – Place the fish in a deep baking dish, add pepper and sprinkle a little white wine over it, for added flavour.
    – Pour over your leek/béchamel mixture.
    – Mash the potatoes (and other vegetables if used) with a little butter.
    – Spread the mash over the top of the fish and leeks. Make pretty patterns on the top with a fork.
    – Bake in the oven at 200° for 25-30 minutes by which time the mash topping should have started to brown.

    For me the best condiment to go with this fish pie is a generous dose of hot tabasco.

  • cooking

    Mille Feuilles of Boulgur and Quinoa

    I purchased some cooking rings. They are really useful for making individual gratin portions (“rostis”), perfectly round fried eggs, and for making very pretty presentations on a plate. You can find them in most supermarkets now or buy them online at places like Tescos or even Amazon. They are very cheap. I am told you can also cut an opened tin can in half, but this sounds dangerous, beware of cutting yourself.
    I have always like cooking with cereals, rice and couscous of course but also Bulgur, Quinoa, Barley and Millet. I made these little cereal and tomato moulds to accompany my chicken breasts stuffed with horn of plenty mushrooms with blueberry sauce
    – Fry a chopped onion in a little oil.
    – Add a mixture of quinoa and bulgur, salt, pepper and some stock to just cover
    – Cook for about 10-15 minutes adding more stock if necessary. This method is identical to making a risotto. Different grains are available in different countries and require varying cooking times. You need to stop cooking when the cereals have absorbed all the liquid but are still a little “al dente”.
    – Allow the cereals to cool a little and add a lot of chopped parsley, or better, some chopped basil.
    – Slice a large tomato, I used Coeur de Boeuf or “BeefHeart” tomatoes. Using your chef’s cooking rings, cut out a circle from each tomato slice just the size to fit inside the rings.
    – Grate some cheese, I used a mixture of freshly grated parmesan and goat’s cheese but emmenthal or cheddar will also work.
    – Add one or two eggs (depending on how many rings you are making) to the cooled quinoa/bulgur/parsley (or basil) mixture.
    – Assemble your rings with a layer of cereals, a layer of grated cheese, a slice of tomato, a layer of cereals, a layer of grated cheese and topped with a tomato ring. Add any leftover grated cheese on top.
    – Bake in a medium oven for 12-15 minutes.
    – Place the rings on a plate and carefully lift them off. The eggs and melted cheese should have set the little “towers” which look just spectacular.

  • cooking

    Christmas Pudding Roll

    They say that your can keep Christmas pudding indefinitely in a plastic container in the fridge. I guess this is because the amount of alcohol that goes into it, a very long shelf life is assured.
    You can see my Christmas Dinner Leftovers recipes on my 26th December post.
    You can imagine that I was a little reluctant about making a dessert from the leftover Christmas pudding in early May (ie 6 months old) but as this was a homemade pudding based upon the wonderful Good Housekeeping recipe, it did smell ok, and the archeological effort of re-discovering it and getting it out of the deepest depths of the fridge sort of justified doing something with it.
    In fact, after months of marinating, it was just delicious, better than at Christmas.
    – Roll out several layers of fill pastry, brush each side with melted butter and lay on top of each other.
    – Grate an apple (or two). Add some cinnamon and nutmeg.
    – Spread the grated apple and left over Christmas Pudding onto the layers of filo pastry. Moisten with a little rum or brandy if the mixture seems too dry.
    – Roll up the pastry into a roll and brush all over with more melted butter.
    – Bake in a hot oven until golden brown.
    – Slice and serve with cream, ice cream or even some bandy or bum rutter.

  • cooking

    Beef stir fry

    – Chop an onion. Cut two or three carrots into matchstick sized bits. Fry the onions and carrots in a wok using sesame oil.
    – When the carrots start to soften after a few minutes, add some chopped steak.
    – Fry on a very high heat for a few minutes until browned. Add a little chopped garlic.
    – Add some ground szechuan spice. You can find this is most oriental food stores, it’s main ingredient is szechuan pepper.
    – Add some soy sauce, a little HoiSin sauce (you can also find this is most oriental food stores), some sugar and a dash of sherry.
    – Cook through until the sauce thickens a little.
    – Serve with rice.

  • cooking

    Bread and Butter Pudding

    An old favorite, my mother used to make this. It’s a sort of merger between French toast and clafouti.
    – Butter some slices of bread and cut into triangles. In the photo I used Italian Panettone cake which gives this dish a lot of flavour. If you are using plain bread, you should also spread some jam or marmalade onto the bread.
    – Lay the triangles in a baking dish
    – Sprinkle with raisons, sultanas and cinnamon
    – Heat 350ml of milk and 50ml of cream to boiling point (just scald, don’t boil), you may need to increase these proportionally for a larger dish
    – Whisk two eggs with three tablespoons of brown sugar
    – Slowly pour in the hot milk stirring all the time
    – Pour the custard mixture over the bread and allow to rest for a while so that the bread soaks up some of the liquid.
    – Sprinkle with ground nutmeg and demerara sugar
    – Bake in a moderate oven for 40 minutes until the custard is cooked and brown on top.

  • cooking

    Prawn curry and chapatis

    – Mix a smooth bread dough with flour, salt, oil, a little yeast, and sugar. Let it rest for a while, this makes it more elastic and easier to roll out thinly.
    – Fry a chopped onion in some ghee.
    – Add some cubed courgettes and a chopped banana and continue frying for a few minutes.
    – Add some curry powder or, better, curry paste. You can make this yourself in a small blender by adding freshly ground dry spices (coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds) and fresh chillies, ginger and a little oil. You can find various posts in this blog about making fresh curry paste, basically use the spices you like best and experiment with the proportions.
    – Mix the spice mixture into the pan and add some lemon juice, and coconut milk.
    – Cook on a low heat until the courgettes are cooked through and the sauce is creamy.
    – Add some peeled cooked prawns, just heat through and serve.
    – You can also use uncooked prawns (also peeled), in which case put on a high heat and cook for a little longer until the prawns are cooked through.
    – Roll out small balls of the chapati dough until they are very thin. Cook on a very hot flat griddle or a heavy based frying pan. They need only one minute per side providing the pan is hot enough.

  • cooking

    Curried Meatball Koftas

    – Fry an onion in a wok using ghee (clarified butter available in dairy or vegetarian form in all Indian shops).
    – Add some Indian curry powder (see elsewhere on this website) and fry for one minute until the aromas are released.
    – Add two chopped tomatoes, some tomato paste and a little water, simmer gently.
    – Mince some lamb.
    – Blend one or two green chilli peppers, some curry powder, chopped garlic and ginger. Add a little tomato paste.
    – Mix the spice paste with the lamb and some chopped coriander.
    – Now put your hot tomato curry sauce into the blender and liquidize. Pour back into the wok and add some water.
    – Using your fingers, form some small golf ball sized meatballs with the stick lamb mixture.
    – Place the meatball into the tomato sauce and gently cook for about 30 minutes. Add more water if the sauce becomes too thick.
    – Serve with rice sprinkled with grilled sesame seeds.
    – Decorate meatballs with some more chopped coriander and some plain yoghurt.

  • cooking


    I’m back to making bread every day with organic spelt flour.

    Take about one pound of regular flour in a bowl. I actually use a little more than one pound because my bread tin is quite long and holds more than a pound. I also mix wholemeal and white flour, about half and half. Use instant yeast from Knights supermarket or similar outlets. You can also use any other dried yeast or fresh yeast dissolved in a little warm water with some sugar For just over a pound of flour I would use about two tablespoons of yeast, here you can see the approximate amount in a yoghurt pot. You can also follow instructions on the side of the yeast packet Add yeast, two tablespoons of cooking oil, a teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons of sugar. You can also add oats, linseeds, raisons, whatever you like to give more flavour. Mix well.
    Add warm (not hot) water and knead until the dough is soft and flexible but not sticky Roll out the dough on a floured board and then place in a buttered baking tin Cut some incisions into the top of the loaf which helps it rise evenly and make it look pretty. You can also brush with a little egg and decorate the top with oats, sesame seeds, cornmeal, poppy seeds, whatever. Cover with a tea towel and leave it to rise (about 30mins to one hour or more depending on the weather) Leave it until the dough has risen over the top of the bread pan and put into a very hot pre-heated oven. After 6-7 minutes bring the heat down to 190° degrees C and cook for a further 20 minutes (total baking time 27-28 minutes).
    Basically you need to take the bread out of the oven when its a nice golden colour and it sounds “hollow” when you tap it with a wooden spoon.
  • cooking

    Smoked Salmon Mousse starter

    – Put some leaves of gelatine to soak in cold water or, if using powdered gelatine or veggie jelly (various brands out there), follow instructions on the packet.
    – Finely slice a carrot and boil for a few minutes (the carrots should still be a little crunchy).
    – Make some mayonnaise (or use some ready-made) and mix it with a little tomato ketchup and a little horseradish sauce (or tabasco if you want more of a kick).
    – Melt the gelatine in a small amount of hot water, allow to cool a little.
    – Add the cooled gelatin mixture to the pink mayonnaise and add some fromage blanc (you could also use cream). Line the bottom of some ramekin moulds with a little of the mixture.
    – Assemble the ramekins in layers of smoked salmon, cooked carrots, and mayonnaise mixture.
    – Place in the fridge to set.
    – To serve, place the ramekins into a little hot water to slightly melt the set gelatine and then turn out onto the plates.
    You could also use cucumber slices in this recipe.

  • cooking

    Griddled Chicken

    This was an improvised dish made on the plancha griddle, it turned out to be very tasty.
    – Cover some chicken breast with cling film and bash them out flat with a rolling pin.
    – Place the chicken in a marinade of lime juice, olive oil, honey, soy sauce, crushed peppercorns and crushed coriander seeds.
    – Marinated for an hour or two, more if you want.
    – Heat the griddle until it’s really hot.
    – Grill the chicken breasts twisting once (to give them a pretty criss-cross pattern and turning once. Baste with the marinade from time to time.
    – Gently heat any remaining marinade separately in a small saucepan to pour over the chicken when serving.
    – To accompany, I grilled some quartered mushrooms on the side of the plancha (see photo).
    I served with mashed potato and cherry tomatoes.

  • cooking

    Boeuf Bourguignon

    This is a classic French dish which I have been making for a long time. I used to do it in the pressure cooker but I find that slow cooking in the oven works best.
    – It is best to marinate some chunks of stewing beef in red wine overnight in the fridge but this is not essential.
    – Fry some onions and stewing beef. If you have marinated the beef, pat it dry with some kitchen roll first (keep the marinade).
    – Add some nutmeg, cinnamon, and chopped garlic. Add some flour and briefly stir so as to coat the meat.
    – Add some red wine and some stock to almost cover the meat. If you have marinated the beef, use the marinade.
    – Add some sliced carrots, two or three squares of dark chocolate, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil.
    – Place in an oven proof casserole dish and cook in a medium oven (160°) for about two hours (or more) until the meat is very tender.
    – About 10 minutes before the end of cooking I add some sliced cherry tomatoes as decoration, you can also add sliced mushrooms.

    In the photo I serve the beef with garlic/mustard mashed potato and beans. Traditionally it is served with steamed new potatoes.

  • cooking

    Swedish Gravalax eclairs

    Eclair cases made from choux pastry also work very well for savory dishes. You can buy them in most supermarkets and specialty pastry shops.
    – Slice some eclair case lengthwise.
    – Blend together a large bunch of chopped dill, mustard, lemon juice, sugar, olive oil and a little mayonnaise. You can also buy ready made “gravalax” sauce.
    – Gently mix the dill sauce with some fromage blanc, this filling should be quick thick, not too runny. Spread this mixture inside the eclair cases and close.
    – Cover with a slice of smoked salmon.
    – Allow to stand for an hour or two before serving to allow the moisture to soften the eclair cases.
    – Decorate with grilled sesame seeds and fish roe. Serve with rocket salad and a lemony vinaigrette.

  • cooking

    Easy Sunday Lunch starter

    – Grate some carrots and celeriac.
    – Mix the grated vegetables with lemon juice, mustard, some raisins, a few chopped walnuts and olive oil. Season well.
    – Mix some plain yoghurt with some soft cheese, I used fresh goats cheese but cottage cheese or similar will also work.
    – Mix in a lot of finely chopped dill.
    – Roll yoghurt mixture in a slice of smoked salmon. Secure with a cocktail stick if necessary.
    – Serve with little mounds of the carrot and celeriac salad

  • cooking

    Pot Roast Chicken

    This started out as Garlic Chicken (click here for recipe) but then I realized I didn’t have enough garlic

    – Thinly slice some potatoes.
    – Place two or three chopped onions in a pot with some olive oil. Place the sliced potatoes on top and towards the edges so that there is enough room for the chicken. Add some chopped garlic (if you have got any).
    – Lay the chicken onto its potato and onion bed and place the open pot in a hot oven for 10 minutes to brown the top of the chicken.
    – Stuff fresh tarragon all around the chicken. Add a little white wine stock. Season well.
    – Cover tightly and put back into a moderate oven for an hour or until cooked.

  • cooking

    Meat Pie

    This pie was delicious and very easy.

    – Fry some onions in olive oil.
    – Add some bite sized chunks of meat and brown. I used beef cheek but any stewing steak will do.
    – Add some chopped mushrooms and some flour and mix in well.
    – Add a bottle of beer to almost cover.
    – Cover tightly and cook on a low heat until the meat is tender. It can also be cooked in the oven on a fairly low heat if you prefer.
    – Place in a pie dish. Put some slices of cheese (cheddar) on top of the meat stew and cover with puff pastry (home made is better, recipe may appear here soon).
    – Brush with egg and cook in the oven until golden brown.
    I served this with garlicky mashed potatoes.

  • cooking

    Indian grilled chicken

    This was totally improvised.

    – Take the skin off some chicken legs and thighs.
    – Toss the chicken pieces in a mixture of curry powder and flour.
    – Brush with an egg.
    – Toss in a mixture of breadcrumbs and polenta.
    – Cook in the oven until golden brown.
    Meanwhile, make a spinach curry:
    – Fry some chopped onions in ghee.
    – Make a paste with freshly ground spices added to fresh ginger, garlic and chili.
    – Add to the onions, stir well and add a large bunch of fresh spinach leaves, stir over a low heat until the leaves begin to wilt.
    – Stir in a little fresh cream or yoghurt and cover to cook through.
    I served the chicken on a bed of spinach curry and topped with some yoghurt mixed with a little curry paste. A sprinkling of chopped nuts to garnish.

  • cooking

    Christmas Left-Overs

    The left-over Turkey Gratin (left) recipe can be found here. This year I topped it with almonds which grilled nicely in the oven – pretty.

    The Christmas Pudding Roll was spectacular. Just roll up Christmas Pudding and a grated apple in a few leaves of filo pastry. Grease the individual filo leaves before with melted brandy butter (or bum rutter as we call it). Bake in a hot oven until golden.
    Above you can see a slice served with pineapple slices and vanilla ice-cream.

  • cooking

    Aumônières au pommes

    A spectacular recipe with filo pastry.

    – Stew some chopped apples with a little cinnamon, raisons, lemon juice and sugar. Don’t overcook, the apples should be soft but not mushy.
    – Warm up the oven (hot).
    – Place two spoonfuls of the cooled apple mixture onto a sheet of filo pastry and fold up into a little bag. Secure the top with a cocktail stick.
    – Brush the “aumônières” with melted butter and cook in a hot oven until lightly brown.
    – Serve with vanilla ice cream (or rum and raisin) and homemade shortbread.

  • cooking


    I came across this at our fishmonger this morning. We live 2 hours from the Atlantic Ocean and 3 hours from the Mediterranean, so the Friday fishmonger is eagerly awaited because we don’t get really fresh fish every day.

    We have often eaten swordfish in the West Indies and, in fact, you can read the chapter of my online e-book about this by clicking here.

    I cook this fish in the simplest of ways, but be careful not to overcook because it can become very dry:
    – season the fish with garlic, salt, pepper (or chili flakes) and a drizzle of olive oil

    – heat your “plancha” (cast iron griddle) ribbed side upwards.
    – grill the fish for about 4 minutes per side, rotate them halfway through if you want to make a pretty griddle pattern as indicated in the photo.
    – sprinkle with chopped dill and lime juice to serve.
    – Serve with chopped courgettes fried with garlic and some curry powder (freshly ground from spices, of course).