Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Rice Congee

A congee is a type of porridge. By cooking the rice very slowly it falls apart, thickening the dish. This goes well with a variety of toppings, such as meatballs or toasted nuts.


  • 250g long grain rice
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 1000 ml boiling water
  • 1000 ml cold water


  1. Add all the ingredients to a large pan.
  2. Heat on the lowest heat for 2 hours.
  3. Turn the heat up to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes to ensure that it's not sticking on the bottom of the pan.
Serves 4.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Beetroot Pasta

This receipe is worth making just for the colour that the beetroot gives to it. Luckily it's also not just an amazing colour but also tastes nice; the roasted beetroot adds a slight sweetness which goes well with the cream.


  • 7 or 8 small beetroot or 4 large, well washed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g of cashew nuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 400g pasta, penne work best
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 200ml double cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Add the beetroot to a roasting tin and add the olive oil. Mix it all around so that everything is well covered with the oil.
  3. Roast in the oven for an hour.
  4. Remove the beetroot from the oven and set aside to cool.
  5. Put on a large pan of water for the pasta.
  6. Add the cashew nuts to a large frying pan over a medium heat(without any oil). Turn every minute or so.
  7. When the cashew nuts start to toast then remove them from the pan and set aside.
  8. Pour the oil from the beetroot roasting tin into the frying pan and add the garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  9. While the garlic is frying, peel the beetroot to remove the outer skin and chop into 1cm or smaller pieces.
  10. Add the chopped beetroot to the frying pan and leave to cook.
  11. Put the pasta in the boiling water and cook as per the instructions.
  12. When the beetroot has heated through for a couple of minutes in the frying pan, add the lemon juice and mix well.
  13. Next add half the double cream and mix well. Then add the remaining cream.
  14. Turn the heat on the frying pan right down and leave it to gently come to a simmer.
  15. By now the pasta should be done so drain it and mix it with the beetroot mixture from the frying pan.
  16. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and with the roasted cashew nuts sprinkled on the top.
Serves 3 to 4.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Refried Mashed Potato

This is a very simply recipe that I learnt off my dad. It's a great way of using up leftover mashed potato, especially as part of a morning fry-up.


  • 1 bowl of mashed potato
  • enough oil to thinly cover the bottom of your frying pan


  1. Heat up the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. I recommend using a non-stick frying pan as otherwise you'll find that the crispy potato bits stick to the pan.
  2. Add the mashed potato to the frying pan and press down so that it's well spread out in the pan.
  3. Fry for 5 minutes and then turn over. It doesn't matter if it breaks up as you turn over, this will just mean that the crispy bits end up inside the mashed potato.
  4. After another 5 minutes remove the mashed potato from the pan and place on a plate.
Serves 1 or more, depending on how much mashed potato you have.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Mushroom and Blue Cheese Mashed Potato

Caramelizing onions and mushrooms comes up a fair bit in extravagant recipes. This recipe is a good introduction to how to do it and the flavours it produces. Don't worry about the mushrooms and onions burning and sticking to the pan a bit, that's all part of the process to bring out the rich flavours. However it is possible to go too far: you don't want a black lump of dry charcoal, so be ready to add some liquid (stock or wine) if it starts burning so much that pieces of mushroom or onion are burnt to the pan.


  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 350g mushrooms, washed and chopped
  • 6 potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 30ml milk
  • 200g blue cheese such as Stilton, cut into 2cm pieces


  1. Place the onions and oil in a saucepan with a lid.
  2. Put over a medium heat and cook for 20 minutes or so. Stir well every 5 minutes.
  3. When the onions are soft and started to caramelize/burn, add the onions to the pan and place the lid back on.
  4. Put the potato pieces into a pan and bring to the boil. Boil for 20 minutes or until soft.
  5. While the potatoes are cooking keep stiring the mushroom mixture every 5 minutes.
  6. After 15 minutes remove the lid from the pan and let the mushroom mixture simmer down.
  7. When the mushroom mixture starts to caramelize/burn on the bottom of the pan add the vegetable stock and stir well to 'deglaze' the pan (which is the cooking way of saying wash the burnt bits off).
  8. Leave the mushroom mixture simmering for 5 minutes while you prepare the mashed potato.
  9. Make the mashed potato by mashing the potatoes, milk and cheese together until smooth.
  10. Serve immediately by putting the potato onto a place, making a well in the center and spooning the mushroom mixture onto it.
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Creamy Turnip Curry

Just before making this curry for the first time I heard about two different techniques for making thicker curry sauces. The first of these is to use a blender to blend the onions with the spices until they make a thick paste and then fry that paste. The second was the addition of ground almonds just before the end to add a nice nutty taste and texture. I can happily report that both techniques work very well.


  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 chilli, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 750ml boiling water
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 150ml plain yoghurt


  1. Put the onions, turmeric, coriander, curry powder, chilli, water and oil in a blender. Blend until it forms a smooth paste. This will take a minute or two and you'll probably need to keep on stopping to mix it up manually.
  2. Put the onion paste in a large sauce pan and fry over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, stiring constantly.
  3. Add the turnip, potatoes, stock cubes and boiling water to the saucepan and bring to the boil.
  4. Boil with the lid off for 20 minutes, or until the turnip has started to go soft.
  5. Mix up the almond and yoghurt in a mixing jug.
  6. Stir in the almond and yoghurt mixture just before serving.
  7. Serve with rice, naan bread or both.
Serves 3 to 4.