Vietnamese Style Sweet and Sour Lamb

Disclaimer: I have almost no experience cooking Vietnamese, this is just a distillation of various recipes I’ve only read. Lamb steak (or other meat: just did this with rib-eye steak, was delicious)
Onion
Sugar
Garlic
Crushed chilli (or other form of chilli)
Vinegar
Soy sauce
Fish sauce First cook the lamb (or other) steak until browned outside but rare inside. Set aside and slice into thin slices during the remaining cooking. Slice onions then fry gently in oil until transparent. Add sugar (quite a lot – for two I use a couple of tablespoons at least), garlic, chilli and fry until the sugar is lightly caramelised. Throw in equal parts of vinegar, soy and fish sauce (roughly speaking, you want a little more total liquid than you had sugar), stir in and bring to the boil. Cook until slightly thickened. Add the sliced meat and stir-fry until cooked to your
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Duck with Orange and Fennel

Duck breasts
Honey
Soy sauce
Fennel bulbs
Orange Sous vide the duck breasts with a bit of honey and salt at around 56C for about an hour to 90 minutes (sorry, but sous vide really is the path to tender duck breasts – if you can’t sous vide, then cook them however you like, to rare or medium rare). Let them cool down a little, then fry for a few minutes on each side to brown (if you’ve done the sous vide thing). Let them rest for 5-10 minutes, slice into 1/4″ slices. Thinly slice the fennel. Peel the orange and break the segments into two or three chunks each. Quickly stirfry the duck breasts for just a short while – 30 seconds or so. Add soy and honey. Throw in the orange chunks and sliced fennel and stirfry until the fennel has wilted slightly and the orange is warm
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Smoked Duck Breasts

I’ve recently started experimenting with smoking. First experiment was lamb bacon, but that’s going to take some refining – it was good, but I’m sure it could be better. Recipe once refined. Todays’ was smoked duck breasts. Marinade the duck breasts for 2 days in red wine, sugar, salt, pepper and chinese five spice. Smoke (I use a ProQ Frontier) with apple wood (half a smoking box full) and lapsang souchong tea (contents of four teabags) at 125C for 3-4 hours.

Fruity Lamb Curry

My younger son, Oscar, asked me to put bananas into the lamb curry I was planning to cook. Which inspired this: Ghee
Chopped onions
Diced ginger
Cumin
Coriander
Cardamom
Fennel
Fenugreek
Cloves
Star anise
Chilli
Diced leg of lamb
Raisins
Banana
Dried apricot
Lemon
Yoghurt
Salt Fry the onions in the ghee. Add ginger and ground spices and fry for a minute more, then add the diced lamb and brown. Add the raisins, banana (sliced), dried apricot (roughly chopped) and lemon (cut into eighths, including skin) and some yoghurt. Cook on a medium heat until the yoghurt begins to dry out, then add some more. Repeat a couple of times (I used most of a 500ml tub of greek yoghurt). Salt to taste. Eat. The lemon is surprisingly edible. I served it with saffron rice and dal with aubergines.

Pea Soup

Olive oil
Smoked bacon (I don’t know why you’d ever used unsmoked for anything)
Onion
Frozen peas
Chicken stock
Pepper
Sour cream Dice the bacon, fry in the oil ’til slightly browned. Add sliced onion and fry until sweet. Add chicken stock and frozen peas (you want a pretty high pea-to-stock ratio), boil for a few minutes. Blitz to a pretty smooth puree (longer than you think, the peas’ outer coatings are quite chewy). Season (I didn’t need salt). Serve with a dollop of sour cream in the middle. The whole thing only takes about 15 minutes, if that. I’m sure it’d be great with fresh peas, too. Perhaps even better. Obviously you’ll need to boil it for longer.

Parsnip Soup

Very easy and very nice. Cumin
Coriander
Cardamom
Cloves
Onions
Ginger
Butter
Garam Masala
Parsnips
Milk
Chicken stock Dry fry the Cs (all curries are mostly made with spices that start with C … seriously), then grind them. In the meantime, or after, fry thinly sliced onions + ginger in olive oil. Once they’re slightly browned, add the spices (including garam masala) and some butter. Fry/stir for a little longer (maybe a couple of minutes). Add the diced parsnips and coat them, then add milk and chicken stock (1:2 ratio) to cover. Boil for about 30 mins, til the parsnips are somewhat soft, then blitz. You probably need some salt, too. That gives a basic recipe. I added sliced grilled sausages. I think shredded roast duck legs would also go well, but I haven’t tried yet. Chilli, either fresh (which would look nice added at the end) or ground, would
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Salmon Bhuna and Dry Cauliflower Curry

These days, I spend a fair amount of time trying to dream up low calorie dishes (no, I am not on a low calorie diet). Today I tried a new one and an old favourite, combined. Probably about 250 calories a head, given enough to fill a plate. Calculate your own calories if you care. Anyway, the bhuna: Fish (I wanted to use cod, but all I had was salmon)
Onion
Tinned tomato
Ginger
Garlic
Cumin
Coriander
Chilli
Cloves
Ghee
Salt My fish had skin on, so first I fried the skin side to crisp it, then set aside. Fry thinly sliced onions in a small amount of ghee (or if you really are counting your calories, spray some oil) until sweet. Add crushed garlic, diced ginger and ground cumin, coriander, chilli and cloves. Cook them for a minute or two then add the tinned tomatoes and some salt, mash
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Pickled Apple

Apparently, it’s a thing. I made some to go with roast pork. It was nice. We had it again tonight with fried salmon, green veg with cream and saffron, and pasta. It was nice again. So, here’s the vague recipe… The pickling juice is cider vinegar, water and sugar in a 5:5:1 ratio. For three apples (sliced into big but thin chunks), I used 400 ml each of vinegar and water, and (obviously) 80g of sugar. I added black peppercorns, coriander seed, cloves and star anise. Probably I could’ve used less liquid or more apple. It was pretty nice with the pork after 2-3 hours. Even nicer with the salmon a day later. That is all.

Quick Okra Pickle

A friend brought me okra, which is hard to find in Wales (let me know if you know different!) and I invented this dish to go with the chicken curry I was cooking. By special request I am going to try to guess quantities, but feel free to ignore them. 1 medium onion
2 inches ginger
1 dsp ghee
300g okra
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp black onion seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (or fresh chilli if you have it)
2 tsp fennel seeds
water
100 ml white wine vinegar (other varieties should be fine)
2 tbsp sugar Thinly slice the onion and fry it in the ghee until sweet. Add the thinly sliced ginger (I like to keep the ginger in slices rather than dicing it, but you could also dice) and the chilli flakes (or finely diced fresh chilli), mustard, onion and fennel seeds. Fry for
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Rice Pudding

For almost all of my life, I have hated rice pudding. But recently my wife made some (up to now, I’ve only seen her eat it from a tin – disgusting stuff). And it was awesome. So now I keep making rice pudding. I recently had occasion to cook it for a lot of people. Here’s the recipe. 500g pudding rice
250g demarara sugar
1l whole milk
flavourings (see below)
ground nutmeg Flavourings: there’s probably a lot you can do, but the two I did most recently were (choose one): a) Zest of two oranges (I like to peel them with a potato peeler and then finely slice the peel) plus ground seeds from about 20-30 cardamom pods (pods removed). b) Zest of two limes and two lemons (as above). Put nearly all ingredients in a flat oven dish, should be about 1.5″ deep and mix. Dust the top
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