We have a very global theme this week, Turkish, Indonesian, South Indian, Italian, Japanese and Sri Lankan. Lots of different cooking styles and flavours going on, the thing I love most. It also gives you the opportunity to tweak to suit your taste adding more or less spices and getting things just as you like it. Cooking is all about experimenting and discovering new things and flavours, and I hope you like this weeks menu.
Saturday: Turkish style aubergines stuffed w/quorn mince
Sunday: Indonesian BBQ duck
Monday: Spinach and courgette pasta
Tuesday: Tapenade lamb cutlets
Wednesday: Sugar snap pea curry w/ yellow rice
Friday: Sri Lankan coconut curried mussels
Turkish style aubergines stuffed w/ Quorn mince
2 large aubergines or 6-8 baby aubergines
1 small onion, grated (or very finely chopped)
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
2 large tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp red pepper paste (or get some roasted red peppers from deli counter and blitz in blender)
250g Quorn mince
1 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp cumin powder
3 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp dill, chopped
50 ml veg stock or water
1/2 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 large chilli (large ones are mild), sliced
Salad/bread to serve
Halve the aubergines lengthways, keep the skin on. Run a knife down the middle of the flesh but not all the way through to the skin, you don’t want to cut through. Salt them and place in a colander for 15 mins to draw out some of the moisture. Then rinse and pat dry with kitchen towel.
Sautee the onion and garlic in the butter for about 3 minutes. Then add in the tomatoes, tomato puree and red pepper paste. Cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes.
In a separate pan add the spices and quorn mince and brown the mince. When you have good colour on the mince and it’s all nicely mixed add to the tomato mixture in the other pan and season well with salt and pepper. Add the parsley, dill and stock and simmer for 10-15 mins until you have a reduced thick sauce. Taste again and adjust seasoning as necessary.
While the mince is cooking down, heat the oven to 170C/gas 4. Add veg oil to a frying pan and put the aubergines in over a high heat to brown on all sides. As they get colour they will start to soften up so be careful when turning them so you don’t split the skin. Once lightly browned lay them cut side up in a buttered casserole dish (you want them snugly fitted in) and spoon the mince mixture on to each aubergine, making sure to push it down into the slits you have cut in the flesh. You can pile it up a bit on top as well. Finally toss the slices pepper and chilli slices in a little oil and place on top of each aubergine. Bake in the oven for around 30 mins until the aubergines are really soft and collapsing and the top is browned. If you want more of a brown on the top you can finish off flashed under a hot grill. Serve with salad and Mediterranean bread. (* if using baby aubergines, the cooking time in the oven will be less, so check them regularly).
Indonesian BBQ duck
2kg duck, giblets removed
1 cinnamon stick
10 shallots or 2 medium onions
1 bulb of garlic, segmented and peeled
6 macadamia nuts
2 tsp shrimp paste
50g ginger, peeled
1 tsp turmeric
3 red chillies, roughly chopped
2 sticks lemongrass, roughly chopped (tough outer leaves discarded)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp coriander powder
Juice of 1 lime
5 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
2 tbsp coconut/vegetable oil
2 tbsp water
100g spinach leaves, roughly chopped
Prepare the duck night before by washing and patting it dry. Blend all remaining ingredients bar the spinach to a thick paste.
Mix half the paste with the spinach and rub the remaining paste all over the duck and inside the cavity. Stuff the duck cavity with the spinach mixture and wrap the whole thing very well in foil until completely airtight. Marinade overnight in the fridge.
The next day place the wrapped duck in a hooded BBQ for 4 hours (or in an oven at 160C/gas 3 for 2 hours and then at 120C/gas 1/2 for another 2 hours).
Unwrap the duck and pour the juices into a small pan. Carefully scrape off any excess marinade and add to the juices. Simmer to reduce a little and stir in some of the stuffing. Very carefully return the unwrapped duck to the BBQ or into a hot oven to crisp up the skin. Serve the sauce in a bowl alongside the duck.
Spinach and courgette pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
2 courgettes, cut into chunks
200g baby spinach
Zest and juice ½ lemon
For the anchovy crumbs
2 tbsp olive oil
4 anchovy fillets
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
100g sourdough bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
To make the anchovy crumbs, heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the anchovies and use a wooden spoon to break up the fillets, then tip in the chilli flakes and breadcrumbs, stirring until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, drain and reserve a ladleful of the cooking water. Heat the butter and oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming throw in the courgettes and cook for 3 minutes, or until just tender and starting to turn golden in places.
Add the spinach and allow the heat of the pan to wilt the leaves. Pour in the pasta’s reserved cooking water and lemon zest and juice, allow to bubble then stir through the pasta, tossing it into the sauce. Serve topped with the crispy crumbs.
Tapenade lamb cutlets
8 loin or chump lamb cutlets or chops
3 tbsp tapenade (either homemade or bought)
3 tbsp maple syrup
1-2 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
Mix the tapenade, maple syrup and paprika together and smother the lamb chops in the mixture, then place in a container, cover and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 240C/gas 8. Place the chops on a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes, keeping them a little pink. You can also cook these on the BBQ, timing dependant on how you like them. Serve with a simple leafy salad.
Sugar snap pea curry w/ yellow rice
200-250g sugar snaps, trimmed
60ml of ghee, butter or corn oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
Seeds of 6 cardamom pods
1tsp black mustard seeds
1tsp fenugreek seeds
20 curry leaves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2tsp finely grated root ginger
1-2 red or green chillies, sliced
1/2 tbsp tomato purée
600-800ml vegetable stock
2-3 tbsp chopped coriander
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
Heat the butter or ghee in a thick-bottomed pan and gently cook all of the spices on a low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring so they do not burn and the seeds start popping a little.
Add the onions, garlic, ginger and chillies, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomato purée and stock, season if necessary, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half.
At this stage put your rice on to boil, remember it’s 1 3/4 times the amount of water to rice. So 1 mug of rice needs 1.75 mugs of water. Also add turmeric, a good pinch of salt and give it a stir. Once the rice has absorbed the water and you can see the little air holes formed in it, then test a grain – it should still have some bit to it, then turn off the heat and cover with a clean towel and the put the lid back on so it finishes cooking and the steam is absorbed.
Back to the curry, stir in the sugar snaps and simmer for another 7-8 minutes, or until the sauce is just coating them; you can top up with a little water if the sauce is reducing too much. Stir in the coriander and remove from the heat. Serve straight away with the yellow rice or if you prefer you can omit the rice and have it with roti.
4 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp caster sugar
250 ml dashi stock or light chicken stock
1 onion, sliced
600g/1¼lb boned chicken thighs, skinned and cut into chunks
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Steamed Japanese rice
3 spring onions, sliced
Place the mirin, soy, sugar and dashi or chicken stock in a large frying pan and bring to the boil.
Spread the onion over the base of the pan, top with the chicken pieces and bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Slowly pour the eggs evenly over the chicken and cover with a lid. Cook for 30 seconds then remove from the heat and leave covered for another minute.
Serve in bowls over Japanese steamed rice, topped with spring onions.
Sri Lankan coconut curried mussels
1kg mussels, shells scrubbed and cleaned and ready to cook
1 small-medium onion, finely chopped
End of thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 small green chillies finely sliced
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1-2 tsp hot chilli powder
1-2 tsp Sri Lankan roasted curry powder or garam masala
handful of fresh curry leaves
handful freshly grated coconut
1/2-3/4 can coconut milk, depending on how coconutty you want it
1 tbsp ghee
Splash veg oil
Put the ghee and splash of veg oil in a large heavy pot and once hot add the mustard seeds. Alow them to fry for around 30 seconds until they start to pop then add the grated coconut and continue to fry, for about 1 minute. Next add the curry leaves, garlic and onions and cook until the onions start to soften. Then add the dry spices, chillies, ginger and 1/2 the quantity of coconut milk and allow to simmer, covered for about 15 mins. Give it a stir every now and then and if the sauce is getting too thick add a little splash of water.
In a separate saucepan with lid, put the mussels (discarding any which don’t close) to steam with a splash of water. Shake the pan a few times during the steaming process to make shake them up. After 3-4 minutes you should have them all open and there should be a little very strongly flavoured cooking liquid in the bottom of the pan. Remove the mussels and add this cooking liquor to your coconut sauce, give it a good stir and taste for seasoning, then adjust as necessary. At this stage add the remaining quantity of coconut milk. Taste again and then thrown in your mussels and mix it up well as you want all your mussels to get coated in the lovely spicy sauce. Cover and cook again for a couple of minutes. Serve with fresh roti, bread or skinny chips.
(Credits: Gastrogeek blog, Mark Hix, Bill Granger, Rebecca Seal, JJMoola’s Kitchen)