30 Dec 2019


Outstandingly great way to serve and eat beautiful curry with lots of sharing dishes which makes this a great family social holiday meal, even better you get a whole mini buffet of gorgeous Indian food to enjoy, just pick your favourite five dishes, add pakoras, Indian paratha ghee layered breads and rice.  On this occasion I choose Lamb Madras, Tarka Dhal, Bombay Potato, Sag Aloo, Onion Pakoras, Potato and Pea Samosas, Paratha Bread, Basmati Rice, Onion Mint Salad and mango chutney a glorious feast, as always make plenty so you have days of left overs or freezer stock for next time.  

I always make over double each time and freeze the leftovers, this makes for a really easy takeaway dinner with minimal work for the next Thali dinner, I always make fresh Bombay potatoes, sag aloo potatoes, pakoras, rice and Dhal, but happily freeze raw paratha dough, curry and samosas.  This halves the kitchen work out and in under one hour Ta Da a fabulous Thali Curry.


(serves 4-6)

Best Ever Curry Base Sauce 
2 tbsp ghee 
2 onions chopped
6 cloves garlic grated
2" ginger grated
1/2 red pepper diced
1/4 white cabbage chopped
1 carrot chopped
5 tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup tomato puree 
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
1 tsp ground coriander 
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground fenugreek 
1 tsp turmeric 
1 tsp paprika 
1 tsp garam masala
1 ltr water
1 kg leg of lamb diced

A one pot cook, heat a large deep saucepan medium hot, add the ghee, onions and garlic, soften for 7 minutes, then add all the other ingredients except the garam masala and 1 ltr of water or stock.  Simmer for 20 minutes, then using a stick blender blitz to a smooth sauce, add the garam masala, that's the base sauce made this is now ready for the lamb, second layer of spices, finish spices and some unattended cooking time.

The Second Layer Curry Spice Mix
If your a preper like me you can do this stage a few days ahead, I will often place the base curry in a glass Pyrex dish, add the meat and second spice layer and leave to marinate in the fridge for a day or two giving me a make ahead dinner ready to go from the fridge to stove with no prep time.

1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
8 fresh green chillies sliced longways
6 cardamom pods bashed
2 " ginger grated
6 cloves garlic grated
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp mango chutney 
1/2 juice lime
Fresh coriander 
2 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp finishing spice powder mix

Finishing Spice Powder Mix
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric 
1 tbsp ground coriander 
1 tbsp heaped curry powder
1 tsp paprika 
1 tsp garam masala

Once your base sauce is blitzed, add the lamb, second layer spices except the fresh coriander, lime juice and mango chutney, then add the finishing spice powder mix, leave to gently bubble away for around 2 hours until the lamb is tender and will fall apart with a little pressure.  That's it.



One of my favourite dhals, I love the depth of flavour you get from adding the crispy nutty ghee fried garlic and fresh coriander with garam masala tarka at the end of the cooking, it really does make all the difference from a plain dhal to a sumptuous dish.  I like to scoop this dhal up with ghee loaded parathas, they are basically a chapati that has been folded with ghee several times which renders them flaky and buttery just perfect with this rich dhal.

(serves 4)

The Dhal
1 cup of red lentils soaked
6 cups of water
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp coriander stalks finely chopped

The Tarka
8 fat cloves garlic sliced
1 small onion finely diced
1 tbsp ghee
1 small bunch coriander roughly chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala 
1 red chilli finely diced optional
Sea salt to taste if needed

1.  Drain the lentils and place in a deep saucepan with the water and sea salt, bring to a simmer, pop on a lid and turn down to a low simmer and leave to cook for around 30 minutes, the lentils may need as much as 40 minutes, you are looking for a thick soft texture where all the lentils have cooked down and created a lovely dhal.

2.  In a frying pan heat the ghee and gently fry the garlic until nutty brown, remove from the ghee and leave to one side while you next add the onion and fry until softened, add the garam masala, cumin turmeric mix well add back the garlic along with the chilli if using.

3.  Add the tarka to the dal and stir in along with the fresh coriander and serve with some parathas for dipping scooping and stuffing.


2 tbsp ghee
3 King Edward potatoes cubed
1 tbs ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
30 ml water
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp curry powder
chopped coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala

In a pan melt the ghee and toss the potatoes, stir cooking for approx 7 minutes, add all the spices and stir well, when the spices start to stick on the pan add the water, place on a lid and turn down the heat, simmer for 15 minutes, after 10 minutes add the cook on for the last 5 minutes.  Add the coriander and garam masala, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed to taste.


2 tbsp ghee
3 King Edward potatoes cubed
1 tbs ghee
1 tsp mild curry powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
150ml water
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp curry powder
1 cup fresh spinach
chopped coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala

In a pan melt the ghee and toss the potatoes, stir cooking for approx 7 minutes, add all the spices and stir well, when the spices start to stick on the pan add the water, place on a lid and turn down the heat, simmer for 15 minutes, after 10 minutes add the cook on for the last 5 minutes.  Add the coriander and garam masala, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed to taste.


(makes 8)

250g chapati flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
150g melted ghee
130ml water

1.  Place the chapati flour, sea salt and melted ghee in a bowl, using your fingers in a bird like pecking action peck the ghee in to the flour, just a French way or rubbing in but less rub equals more lift in the puff of the pastry/bread.

2.  Add some of the water and a little more if needed until you have a soft not sticky dough, knead for a couple of minutes and then cover and leave for 10-15 minutes.

3.  Divide the dough in to 8 balls and then roll out to a nice thin circle, brush with melted ghee and fold in half, brush with melted ghee again and fold in half again, you now have a triangle, brush this with ghee and fold in half again then tuck the sides under and form back in to a rough ball, roll out to a 5-6 inch circle.

4.  Heat a skillet to a high hot heat and brush the paratha with butter and place in the pan, cook for a couple of minutes, brush the top of the paratha with melted ghee and turn over cook for a further 1-2 minutes, wrap in a warm tea towel until needed.


1 large Spanish onion
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 fresh chillies chopped
1 hand full fresh coriander chopped
1 cup chic pea flour
100ml water
400ml nut oil to cook with

If you have time sprinkle the sea salt over the sliced onions a hour ahead of time, this releases liquid from the onions and makes a better more flavoured pakora batter.

Place all the nut oil in a pan and bring up to a medium hot heat, 170-180 C, meanwhile in a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients except the water and coat the onions with the chic pea flour, add most of the water and stir to combine, you want a thick batter consistency, add a little more water if needed.

Scoop up a large golf ball size and shape in to a firm ball using two spoons, gently place the pakora in the oil and fry for around 2 minutes on each side, turning only once.  Remove and place on kitchen paper to drain, repeat with the rest of the mixture, you can cook more than one at at time, just don't overload the pan or the temperature will lower and the pakoras will soak up oil and be greasy.


Watch out these are so delicious a thin buttery flaky pastry like you've never had before stuffed full with a gorgeous pea and potato spiced curry will have you sneaking three or four more on your plate!  The pea and potato curry is outstanding in its own merit as a great main meal or side.

150g plain flour
40g ghee
1 tsp sea salt
60ml water

Pea and Potato Curry
Stage One 
Mustard Oil Fried Potatoes
1 tbsp ghee
50ml mustard oil
1 large potato diced
1 tsp turmeric powder

Stage Two The Sauce
2 tbsp ghee
1 small onion finely diced
4 cloves garlic finely diced
1 cup petit pois peas
1 tsp cumin seeds ground
1 tsp kashmiri powder
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 red chillies finely chopped
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 juice lime
2 large tomatoes skinned chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp chopped coriander

The Frying
2 ltrs ground nut or olive oil
Paper roll for draining

1.  First bring a pan of seasoned water to a boil and add the diced potato, par boil for approx 8-10 minutes until tender, drain and reserve to one side.  I like to drain the water back into another pan so that I can use the same hot water to heat the peas, a little help for the environment.  I like to make the next two methods at at the same time. 

2.  Mix the salt in with the flour, rub in the ghee and then add the water and bring the dough together, knead for a 5 minutes and leave to rest for 1 hour if you can.

3.  Heat a large skillet with the ghee and mustard oil when medium hot add the potatoes and fry until slightly crispy and lightly golden all over add the turmeric and stir through, remove the potatoes from the pan and reserve to one side.  Keep the pan for the sauce, do not wash up!

4.  In the same pan heat the ghee and then gently soften the onions and garlic in the ghee for 5 minutes or so, then add the spices, the cumin, kashmiri, coriander, asafoetida and turmeric and fry for a couple of minutes.

5.  Then add the tomatoes, peas, sea salt and lime juice and cook for a further 10 minutes add the potatoes back in along with the the garam masala, taste and adjust the season if needed, leave to one side to cool while you make the pastry.

6.  Heat the oil to 180 degrees C 356F

7.  Now to make the samosas, divide the dough in to half and then each half in to 4, roll in to balls and roll out each ball in to a circle.  Cut the circles in half.  Brush some water around the edge of the half circle and taking the corner of the straight edge of the pastry fold it over to the centre of the curved side.  

This will now look almost like a diamond shape.  Press the two edges together and you will now find you have a pocket that you can stuff with the pea and potato curry!

To seal the samosas fold over the top flap of the pastry on top of the pocket and seal the edges.  If you find it difficult stuffing then you can place the filling on the half circle of pastry and fold the pastry over the filling and seal that way.

8.  Fry for around 3-5 minutes until light and golden in colour and enjoy these are just delicious.


Simply slice mild red onions and toss with dried mint.

Perfect Rice
2 cups of basmati rice
4 cups of water for the rice

Rinse the rice in a sieve and place in your pan along with the water, pop on a lid and bring to a simmer, turn down the heat to a low simmer, under no circumstances take the lid off or stir the rice!  Simmer for 6 minutes and then with out touching the lid ! take the rice off the heat and leave to one side, the rice will be ready in another 5 minutes but will be good to stand and stay hot for at least 10 minutes.  That’s it perfect fluffy rice every time!  

23 Dec 2019


This is the easiest and most perfect every time Beef Wellington recipe, the success is simply in the method and it is all in the 20’s!  This I learnt from a cooking lesson with my fabulous son Oscar with John Torode at Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII’s home.  I made my own puff pastry but this is optional, recipe below!  But store brought is excellent puff pastry and the whole point of entertaining is to also enjoy hosting your party too.

The Key To Success is all in The 20’s ...
220 C / 428 F for 20 minutes, 200 C / 392 F for 20 minutes & 20 minutes resting

(serves 6-8)

The Rough Puff Pastry
330g self raising flour
130g suet
150g water
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
200g butter

The Wellington 
1kg centre cut fillet steak
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
200g chestnut mushrooms finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch black pepper 
6 slices Parma ham optional 
1 beaten egg for wash

Mushroom Pate
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 garlic finely chopped
500g mushrooms finely chopped

First make the rough puff pastry, place all the ingredients except the butter in a bowl and bring together to a rough ball, roll out to a 1/2 " thick rectangle, slice the butter into 12 slices, place 3 butter slices on the top first half of the rolled out pastry and fold up the bottom half covering the butter, turn the folded pastry 90 degrees and roll out to rectangle again, repeat 3 more times, wrap in parchment paper or cloth and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes while you make the mushroom pate.

This is roughly how your rough puff pastry will look inside, all the layers of butter are what will melt and make your rough puff, puff up and become light, melt in the mouth pastry.

The Mushroom Pate
Heat a skillet medium hot, add the butter and olive oil, add the onions and garlic and soften for five minutes, add the mushrooms and cook for a further five minutes, remove from the pan and leave to one side to cool.

To Sear The Wellington 
 Place the same skillet back on the heat, turn up to hot, sear the whole fillet steak until browned all over, remove from the heat and leave to cool.

The Wellington 
Pre heat your oven 220 C degrees
Roll out your pastry to a large thin rectangle, that will cover the beef fillet when wrapped up, you do not want any excessive overlapping, maybe a centimetre or so as to much overlapping will cook soggy, trim off as much excess as you dare.  If using the Parma ham lay a blanket over the pastry then  spread the mushroom pate on the pastry up to a inch or so away from the edges of the pastry, place the fillet of seared beef in the centre of the pastry and bring the left and right side up and over the fillet to cover, now hug the ends of the pastry parcel around the end of the beef fillet, trim off as much excess pastry as you dare, turn the parcel over so that the Wellington is now sitting seam side down and using your hands hug/tuck the minimal excess pastry back under the Wellington parcel.  

The Key To Success is all in The 2's ...
220 C 20 minutes, 200 C 20 minutes, 20 minutes resting ...

Place your beef Wellington parcel on a baking sheet, egg wash generously all over and place in your pre heated hot oven, once in do not touch or open that door!  After a further 20 minutes turn the temperature down to 200 degrees C and quickly turn the Wellington 180 degrees in the oven, next as soon as your 20 minute timer alerts you take your Beef Wellington out of the oven and leave to rest on the side for 20 minutes, this gives you time to fuss with any side dishes you want to serve with this dish.  Resting is as important as cooking.

 That's it, you Beef Wellington is now ready to carve and serve perfectly rare medium and juicy to serve to your family and guests.  It really is a beautifully simple dish when you have the perfect cooking method, a party show stopper still served in the old classic original restaurants in the city of London where even the queen eats among many, this unassuming restaurant is down a back street behind a old theatre and it’s decor is still sumptuous deep velvet upholstery. 


What’s more lovely than arriving at friends and families homes over the festive season with a sumptuous gift of home made pork pies or slow cooked steak and ale mini pies.  These are now expected of my family and friends and it is such a pleasure to make them knowing what joy they will bring long after we have gone home showing our gratitude with the love of good food.

All wrapped up in recyclable paper with natural twine and a bay leaves and rosemary sprigs bouquet from the garden.  All these extra little touches cost nothing and go a long way to show your love.

This pie is made using a old French raised pie tin, such a show stopper, nothing different to any pork pie, just the fluted tin which adds such elegance and presentation which is perfect as a gift.

These are my Piece de resistance at any party fabulous one bite slow braised chuck steak and ale pies encased in a light crumbly suet crust pastry awith a steak gravy chewy crust where the gravy bursts out while baking adding another level of flavour, there is never any of these little pies left over!

The Pork Pie
This is a all at once cook, I start with the jelly first as it needs a couple of hours to render down while I make and cook the pork pie.  I think of pork pies as a two day tease, this is because the pork pie needs to rest over night before pouring in the jelly and setting again overnight in the fridge ready for the excitement of sharing, giving and eating with everyone on day two or three.

(serves 6-8)

Hot Water Crust Pastry
600g strong plain flour
2 beaten eggs
7g Himalayan sea salt 
5g white pepper
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
110g lard
110g butter
240ml water

The Pork Pie
800g pork shoulder diced
200g belly pork minced
200g bacon minced
10 sage leaves finely chopped
4 sprigs thyme chopped
1/2 tsp mace
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
1 tsp black pepper

The Jelly
1 pork hock or 2 trotters
1 ltr water
1 onion skin on halved
1 carrot rough chopped
1/2 stick celery 
1 garlic clove bashed
8 peppercorns 
1 bay leaf
1 tsp mustard powder
1 pinch celery salt
2 leaves gelatine (optional) 

First get the jelly underway in a pressure cooker for 1 1/2 hrs or casserole dish for 3-4 hrs place all the ingredients in your pan, bring to a simmer and place on the lid.  Once cooked remove the trotters or pork hock, the latter makes a wonderful dinner with some buttery vinegar mashed potatoes and pease pudding or stuffed in a suet bacon and onion pudding roll, a memory straight from junior school dinners!

Now to check if your pork jelly will set without the need for gelatine, which it should once cooled, place a saucer in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, take a tablespoon on the jelly stock and place on the cold saucer on your work top, leave for two minutes and assess the thickness of the set cooled jelly.  If too running then add the gelatine leaves by soaking in water to soften for 5 minutes and then stirring in off the heat.  Leave your jelly to one side while you bake the pork pie.

Next make the pork pie filling mix all the ingredients together and reserve to one side to infuse their flavours while you make the hot water crust pastry.

To make the hot water crust is really simple place the lard, butter and water in a saucepan and melt without allowing a simmer, in a large mixing bowl place the flour, salt and ribbon through the beaten eggs, make a well in the centre and pour in the hot lard and butter mix, using a spoon gently bring together until just combined, using your hand knead the mix for a minute until a smooth ish ball is formed.  Take 2/3 of the dough and place in your tin pressing the sides up and forming the base, place in your pork pie meat, lay your pastry lid on the top and crimp the edges, I like to take my left hand ready to pinch the pastry from the underneath of the tin lip and pastry, while my right hand will push the top pie crust pastry in to the two pinch fingers, this gives a great crust finish.  Make a hole in the centre of the pie and decorate with leaves.

Place the pork pie in a pre heated oven 200 C for half an hour, then lower the heat to 160 C for one hour, remove the pork pie from the oven and remove the french tin, glaze the sides with egg wash and place back in the oven to cook for a further 10-15 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool, fill your pie with your homemade jelly using a funnel or a bladder syringe, then allow the jelly to set in the pie in the fridge overnight, then your good to go, enjoy this glorious pork pie it is a outstanding pie.

Best Ever Steak Pies

(makes 36)

(This also makes 2 pie top crusts)
330g supreme self raising flour
100g cold butter grated
130g atora suet
Water as needed (150ml+)
1 tsp salt and white pepper 
2 eggs beaten for egg wash

Nan's Braised Steak
2 kg chuck or rump steak 2" square chunks
 1 onion finely chopped
1 stick celery fine chopped
1 carrots finely chopped
2 clove garlic chopped
1 glug of ooil
knob of butter
1 ltr rich beef stock
(homemade recipe below)
3 cans of Guinness 
2 tbsp mustard powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 bay leaf 
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp butter

Pre heat your oven to 160 C, in a large casserole dish add the olive oil and butter, on a medium heat add the onions and soften for ten minutes, then add the garlic, carrot and celery and soften for a further five minutes, crank up the heat and add the diced rump steak and let the steak catch a little browning off ever so slightly and catching the bottom of the pan creating more flavour, add the Guinness, stock, mustard, cayenne, curry powder and bay leaf, top up with water if needed to cover the meat by a inch, pop on a lid and place in the oven to slowly cook for 3-4 hrs, when your rump steak will fall apart when gently squeezed it's done.  Remove from the oven add the salt, pepper and butter.  Leave to cool before filling your pies.

The pastry will need to rest in the fridge for at half an hour before rolling.  Place all the ingredients except the water in a large bowl and very gently mix so that the ingredients are incorporated evenly, you do not want to over work the mix as this will make it tough in texture and this pastry is the best ever because it is light and crispy with a flakey texture finished off with a hint of almost dumpling flathat soaks up the gorgeous braise stake gravy.  Add the water probably 150ml ish and gently bring the pastry mix together to form a ball, wrap in baking paper and rest in the fridge for half an hour.

Cut 1/3 off your pastry ball, this is for the pie lids, roll out the larger piece of pastry on a lightly floured work top to as thin as you dare, using a standard scone cutter cut 36 circles, roll out the remaining pastry using a half size smaller cutter again cut 36 lids.  Taking your trays line each mini pie hole, brush all the pastry edges with egg wash, fill with a couple of teaspoons of your cold braised steak and press on the pastry lid.  Egg wash the tops of the pies and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, once cooked leave to cool in the tins for a couple of minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool or enjoy hot and fresh.

These pies are great at parties, friends and family gatherings served cold made the day before from the fridge or fresh and warm on the day these are a crowd pleaser.

3 Dec 2019


A real easy super flavoursome twist on pit beef, individual pit steaks charred and cooked juicy rare served with gorgeous garlic nutty butter mushrooms and new potatoes, for us these were fresh out of the ground from our West Dorset holiday home, Oh my Gosh these are the best potatoes EVER!  Served with wild cep and pink oyster mushrooms in a apple cider vinegar mustard sauce and garlic butter spring greens this was a awesome feast.

(serves 2)

2 10 Oz ribeye steaks
4 cep mushrooms sliced
8 pink oyster mushrooms torn
30 ml olive oil
75g butter
4 cloves garlic sliced
1 shallot finely diced
1 head of spring greens
1 tsp apple cider vinegar or other flavour
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
200 ml double cream
100 ml white wine OR chicken broth
White pepper
Himalayan sea salt
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley 
500g new potatoes

Cook these at the same time as the steaks.  Bring a pan of water to a simmer, add the new potatoes and cook for around 10 minutes until fork tender, lift out the potatoes reserving the hot water in the pan on a low heat, toss the potatoes in some sea salt and butter.  Just before serving add the spring greens to the hot water and simmer for two minutes, drain, toss in some butter, season with salt and pepper and serve with the below.

Heat cast iron skillet medium hot add a third of the butter, the shallots and garlic, gently pan fry for five minutes until softened.  Remove from the pan and reserve to one side.  Crank up the heat to high add the olive oil and the steaks sear each side of the steaks for around two minutes making sure you really colour both sides, take the pan off the heat and add another third of the butter, spoon the melted butter several times over the steaks, turn the steaks over and repeat.  There is enough heat in the skillet to finish cooking the steaks to medium rare while also resting them.  

Take half the softened garlic and shallots add to a saucepan, add the wine if using and reduce by half, if using the chicken stock just add and bring to a simmer, add the mustard, cream, apple cider vinegar, taste and season with salt and pepper.  Keep warm on a low heat.

Move the steaks to warm serving plates to finish resting, return the skillet to a medium heat, add the remaining butter and mushrooms, cook for two minutes, add the remaining softened garlic and shallots.

To serve place the steaks on your plates spoon over the mushrooms and remain pan juices, place the spring greens and new potatoes on your plates and then spoon over the warm creamy mustard sauce and enjoy.