Weekly menu 40

You know how sometimes you think about something and it sends you in to a blind panic because you haven’t done it? Well that happened this week when I realised that I hadn’t had a curry on the menu in a while…. so you’ve got 2 this week, one Indian and one Sri Lankan! If you don’t like the thought of using goat you can use lamb.

Another treat for you is Sunday’s tamarind braised beef short ribs you will need veal demi-glace, it’s worth seeking this out at a farmers market or alternatively you can get it online from Aubrey Allen, http://www.aubreyallen.co.uk/product/334/veal-demi-glace-1-litre (they also do some very fine and yummy meat and game). It is a luxury ingredient no doubt but this is a show stopping dinner, the perfect dinner party main or to glam up a rainy Sunday!

Enjoy! 🙂

Saturday: Bacalao cod stew
Sunday: Tamarind braised beef short ribs w/ truffle mash, butter glazed chanterelles and watercress puree
Monday: Courgette and Mozzarella pasta bake
Tuesday: Jafna goat curry
Wednesday: Frango no Churrasco (Portuguese grilled chicken and rice)
Thursday: Saffron clams
Friday: Pumpkin Curry

Bacalao cod stew

1 fillet dried and salted cod, soaked in water overnight
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions, chopped
1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ yellow peppers, chopped
½ red peppers, chopped
8 potatoes, thinly sliced
1-2 carrot, finely sliced
100 g tomato purée
2 bay leaves

Drain the cod and chop into evenly sized pieces. Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium heat and add the onions, sweating them until soft. Add the chilli to the pot, cooking for a few minutes until the chilli is softened. Add the garlic. Stir in the peppers and cook until they are beginning to soften. Layer on the potatoes, carrots and the cod alternately, finishing with a layer of potatoes. Add the tomato puree and bay leaves and stir it all together.

Leave to cook on a low-medium heat for 2 hours, until the fish is cooked through and the potatoes are soft. Serve hot.

Tamarind braised beef short ribs w/ truffle mash, butter glazed chanterelles and watercress puree

4 x boneless beef short ribs (approx 8oz in weight each)
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black  pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and  minced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 dried bay leaves
1/8 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/8 tsp whole cloves
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup tamarind paste
1/4 cup molasses
5 anchovy fillets
1 quart beef stock or low-sodium beef broth
2 cups veal demi-glace

For the watercress purée:
1 bunch fresh watercress (thin stems and leaves only)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon

For the butter-glazed chanterelle mushrooms:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed (halved or quartered if large)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable stock
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the truffle mash:
1½ kg potatoes, such as Desirée or Maris Piper
100-140g butter, cut into cubes
300ml hot full-fat milk
6 tbsp double cream
½ tsp truffle oil, or to taste

Make the mash earlier in the day by peeling the potatoes and cutting into even size dice so they all cook at the same time – about 12-15 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain well then return to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes over a dry heat. Mash the potatoes very thoroughly or press them through a potato ricer back into the pan – they should be completely lump free.

Gradually beat 100g/4oz of the butter into the potato until it starts to look shiny. Heat the milk in a small pan and cream until on the point of boiling, then slowly mix into the potato purée with some salt and freshly ground pepper. The potato should become a soft velvety purée. You may not need all the creamy milk. Add the truffle oil and seasoning to taste. You can make this well ahead of time and chill in the fridge. When reheating, add a little extra creamy milk to soften the texture, and the last of the butter.

You can also make the watercress purée earlier and set it aside till needed. In a medium pot of boiling water, blanch the watercress (reserve a couple of leaves for garnish). Transfer to a blender or food processor, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and blitz until smooth. With the blender or food processor on low, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and continue to process until smooth and fully incorporated. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the lemon zest.

To braise the short ribs, season the short ribs generously on all sides with salt and pepper.

In a large frying pan over moderately high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the short ribs and sear until well browned on all sides. Transfer short ribs to a plate and set aside.

In a large casserole pot (large enough for your short ribs to all fit in) over moderate heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, bay leaves, peppercorns, and cloves and sauté, stirring occasionally, until caramelised, about 5 minutes.

Add the vinegar, tamarind paste, molasses, and anchovies and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about 1/3. Add the beef stock and veal demi-glace. Add the seared short ribs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and simmer until the meat is fork-tender, about 3 hours. Transfer the short ribs to a plate. Pour the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and discard the solids. Return the strained braising liquid and the short ribs to the large saucepan, cover, and keep warm until ready to serve.

Make the butter-glazed chanterelle mushrooms. In a large frying pan over high heat, warm the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes. Add the butter and let it melt, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetable stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, to glaze the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, reheat your truffle mash, and put a good couple of spoonfuls into the centre of each plate. Top each with 1 short rib then divide the mushrooms among the plates, arranging them around the short ribs. Drizzle the plate with the braising liquid and the watercress purée and garnish with the reserved watercress leaves.

Courgette and Mozzarella pasta bake

500 g courgettes, trimmed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250 g pasta, penne or rigatoni
250 g ball of buffalo mozzarella
2 tbsp double cream
Parmesan, freshly grated

Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5, and lightly butter a 1.5 litre oven dish.

Cut the courgette into 3mm thick slices, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the courgette. Once sizzling nicely, but before they start to brown, turn the heat down and season with a little salt to draw out the moisture. Continue to cook the courgette gently for up to 30 minutes, until they’re soft to the point of mushiness, making sure to stir often and break them down a little with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the garlic when you think they are almost done. You should end up with a fragrant, garlicky, rough courgette purée.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil, salt it well and add the pasta. Cook for a minute or two less than the minimum time suggested on the packet, so it is marginally underdone. Drain the pasta well. Add the courgette and stir to combine. Tear up the mozzarella with your hands and add it to the pasta, along with the cream. Season with salt and pepper and stir.

Transfer to the prepared oven dish and top with a generous grating of parmesan or other hard cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until piping hot and golden brown on top. Serve immediately.

Jafna goat curry

1 goat liver, cleaned and cut into chunks (lambs liver is fine)
400 g goat meat, from leg, chopped into chunks
1 tsp Sri Lankan curry powder (or just a good strong curry powder – not a mild one)
1 tsp roasted ground cumin
7 cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 stick cinnamon stick, broken up
1/2 tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp chilli powder, or more to taste
2 tsp roasted curry powder (put curry powder in a hot, dry frying pan to lightly roast, about 30 secs)
2 tbsp tomato purée
200 ml coconut milk
2 garlic cloves
100 ml vegetable oil
100 g onions, diced
3 green chillies, sliced
2 slices fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
10 cm piece pandanus leaf (rampe), torn (optional)
1 sprig curry leaves, picked from stalks (dried is fine)

Place the chopped liver and goat meat into a bowl, then add the Sri Lankan curry powder, cumin powder, cardamom pods, a teaspoon of salt, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, turmeric, chilli powder, roasted curry powder, tomato paste and coconut milk.

Stir to combine and then leave to marinade while you peel and crush the garlic with some coarse sea salt using the back of your knife to make a paste.

Heat the vegetable oil in a pan until really hot – check by putting a curry leaf in and it’ll pop and spit if it’s right. Add the garlic, onion, chillies, ginger, pandanus leaf (if using) and curry leaves. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the onions turn translucent.

Add the marinated meat to the pan, swilling out the bowl with a little water to get all the remnants of marinade. Mix to combine, bring to the boil and then turn down to a really low heat.

Cook for at least 30 minutes until the meat is tender and cooked through, or longer for a really tender result.

Serve with plain rice and poppadoms or if you prefer roti or naan bread.

Frango no Churrasco (traditional Portuguese grilled chicked and rice)

1 whole chicken
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of paprika
2 tablespoons paprika mixed with a little oil into a paste
3-5 tablespoons piri piri sauce (you can get this in most supermarkets these days)
1 lemon
1 cup rice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Butterfly the chicken in half with a knife through the breast and cut it into pieces. Mix all the ingredients down to lemon juice together and rub it all over the chicken, making sure to get it well and truly smothered. Leave the chicken to rest for about 1 hour.

Boil the rice in a saucepan and set aside until ready to eat. Place the chicken on the grill and cook until well browned, you can baste if you have any left over marinade as it’s grilling.

Saffron clams

1 kg clams
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
pinch of saffron strands
¼ tsp smoked paprika
50 ml dry sherry
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
Crusty bread, to serve

First check that the clams are all closed, discarding any that stay open when tapped on a hard surface. To clean the clams, place them in a bowl or sink of cold water and let them soak for 30 minutes; this should help get rid of any sand. Drain the clams and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until softened and golden. Add the remaining ingredients and the drained clams, cover with a lid and cook for 3–4 minutes or until all the clams have completely opened. Discard any that have not.

Pour into serving bowls and serve immediately, and serve with plenty of crusty white bread.

Pumpkin curry

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp nigella seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander
3 tomatoes, chopped
500 g Asian pumpkin, cut into 2.5cm slice
1 tsp garam masala
2 green chillies, sliced
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp coriander, leaves finely chopped

Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the cumin and nigella seeds. When they start to pop add the onion and sauté until lightly browned. Add the ginger, ground spices and a pinch of salt to taste. Stir for a minute, then add the tomatoes and cook until they turn mushy.

Add the diced pumpkin, cover and cook for 8–10 minutes, until tender. Add the garam masala, chillies, lime juice and chopped coriander, mix well and serve with basmati rice.

(Credits: US MasterChef, Valentine Warner, Atul Kochhar, Peter Kuruvita, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Rachel Allen, JJMoola’s Kitchen)


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