Archive for July 2009


BBQ Bass in Banana Leaves with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

July 31st, 2009 — 2:47pm

I am addicted to eating fruit in savoury dishes at the moment so when Chris brought home some baby bass he had spotted going cheap at the end of the day, I immediately looked for a fruity accompaniment. I had a pineapple patiently waiting to meet its fate and decided to give it a good grilling on the BBQ and then use it in a tropical, chilli spiked salsa.

I rarely cook by any method other than BBQ in the ‘summer’ and so needed a way of protecting the bass on the grill. The huge bunches of banana leaves decorating many of the shops in Peckham Rye seemed just the ticket – a bit more exciting than foil anyway.

When I went down to buy some they were nearly all gone and it dawned on me how these shops work; they receive huge gluts of produce, which can sometimes be sold out the same day and not seen again for weeks. When the fresh callaloo comes in, which is exactly what had happened on banana leaf day, bunches are stacked into towering piles on every corner of every stall, around which throngs of people are jostling, rifling and grabbing for the best bunch. It’s usually all gone in the space of a day.

I snagged my banana leaves unscathed and looked to ingredients for the salsa – finely chopped red onion, chilli, coriander and mint to mix with the grilled pineapple. It’s my favourite fruit to BBQ by a mile – either brushed with chilli-lime syrup or ginger or straight up savoury like this, I just love slapping fat slices on the grill. Juicy, sweet, charred and fragrant.

The banana leaves worked a treat too – the bass steamed perfectly inside, stuffed with lime, slivers of scotch bonnet, ginger and herbs, releasing a poof of fragrant steam when unwrapped. Only thing is, now I have a load of leftover banana leaves – those things are pretty massive and I’ve about eight of them – any ideas for other uses?

BBQ Bass in Banana Leaves with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

2 sea bass or other white fish suitable for stuffing and steaming
2 banana leaves
Skewers or cocktail sticks to seal the leaves (soaked for 20 minutes in cold water)
4 slices lime + extra juice of 1 lime
4 slices ginger
Handful coriander
Handful mint
4 slivers scotch bonnet or other chilli (use more or less depending on the heat of the chilli)
Oil
Salt and pepper

For the salsa

1 pineapple, cut into thick slices
Small handful coriander leaves picked and roughly chopped
Small handful mint leaves finely shredded
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
Black pepper

- Light the BBQ. When hot add the pineapple slices until charred in places on both sides.
- Open out a banana leaf and oil the part which will come into contact with the fish. Stuff the belly of the fish with 2 ginger slices, 2 lime slices and half the herbs and chilli. Squeeze a bit of lime juice in and season all over. Wrap the leaf up as best you can to contain the fish and secure with skewers or sticks. Repeat with the second fish and put on the BBQ, lid on. The cooking time will depend on the size of your fish. I cooked mine for about 20 minutes.
- While the fish is cooking, dice the pineapple and mix with the other ingredients.
- Serve fish with salsa and enjoy!

13 comments » | Barbecue, Fish, Fruit, Healthy, Main Dishes, Side Dishes

Dessert with the Go Go Gin Girls: Cherry Samosas

July 29th, 2009 — 9:04am

So here’s the final offering from the Go Go Gin Girls (did I mention, purleeeeze vote for us!) and the dish that was actually the starting point for our fruit themed menu. Cherries are smack bang wallop in season and we thought it would be plain criminal not to include them – a woefully under-used fruit in our opinion.

We slightly under-estimated just how labour intensive the stoning of the cherries might be but with plenty of prep time just settled down into a good rhythm, gin and tonics within easy reach. The resulting splattering of juices on aprons was impressive and would have looked mildly disturbing out of context if it were not for the words ‘cookery school’ printed on our aprons.

The cherries are flambéed, then cooked down until gooey and confected. The mixture is then cooled before being dolloped onto filo pastry, folded into samosas and brushed with lots of melted butter – sweet, jammy cherry mixture encased within hot, crisp filo all ready for a good dippy dippy into cooling, apple kissed mascarpone.

Just be careful to let them cool down a bit before eating or you could end up with a pop tart/Maccy D’s apple pie situation, and don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, we’ve all done it.

Cherry Samosas with Apple Mascarpone

Serves 4

1 box of filo pastry
300gr cherries
A small handful of mint
A pack of unsalted butter
1 tbsp sugar (to taste)
A good glug of brandy (I guestimate at 100mls)
A tub of mascarpone
Half an eating apple
Icing sugar

Pit and halve the cherries, reserving a few for garnish. In a non stick frying pan, melt a knob of butter until foaming, and then add the cherries. Add the tablespoon of sugar and cook on a low heat until the juices are released. Pour over the brandy and carefully bring a lit match towards it – it should catch fire and flambé the mixture. Simmer on a low heat until thickened and syrupy. Taste it and if needed, add more sugar. Take off the heat, throw in the mint, chopped finely, reserving one leaf. Leave the mixture to cool.

To fold the samosa, take out the filo and slice into three lengthways. Melt the pack of butter and pour off the clarified butter, discarding the white bits. Using a pastry brush, brush one lengthways layer of filo with the butter, then lay another on top. Brush again with butter and lay another one on so that it’s 3 sheets thick. Spoon a tablespoon’s worth of the cherry mixture onto the bottom corner of the sheet, then fold the sheet carefully into a triangle, pressing down the seams. Butter the rest of the sheet and carry on folding until you’ve run out of pastry, sealing the seams as you go along. Repeat until you have 8 samosas (2 per person). When you come to baking them, brush both sides with butter (no one said it was a healthy recipe…) and bake in a hot oven, around 200 degrees C, for 10 – 15 minutes or until browned. Meanwhile, grate the apple into a clean tea towel and squeeze a little of the juice out. Mix with the mascarpone.

To serve, dust the samosas with icing sugar and place two on the plate with a quenelle of the mascarpone. Garnish with a mint leaf and a couple of cherries.

For Lizzie’s post about our yumsome samosas go here.

If you’re in a generous mood, Action Against Hunger have teamed up with Nom Nom Nom and are holding a charity raffle; prizes include a meal at Le Gavroche… Click here to donate.

11 comments » | Cooking Competitions, Desserts, Fruit

Sketch: A Tale of Two Meals

July 23rd, 2009 — 10:21pm

Have I been transported to another time and space? Nope, it’s just the loos at Sketch – the restaurant that considers itself a bit of a hipster and is head cheffed by Pierre Gagnaire, famous for his challenging (some might say jarring), texture and flavour combinations. Sketch have been offering 50% discount vouchers recently and so my mate and I jollied on down to The Gallery one evening looking for some top notch grub on the cheap.

We were shown to our table which was uncomfortably close to another group of three, who irritatingly seemed to be getting preferential treatment with an amuse bouche and flashy chat but we tried our best to ignore it.

To start I chose the ‘Tahiti’ – a ceviche of grouper, barramundi and red snapper, marinated in coconut and lime, with pineapple sorbet and coconut shavings. I was excited as I’d never tasted any of the fish before but unfortunately, I didn’t get to taste them here either. Any flavour was so overwhelmed by coconut that the fish was merely a texture. The different types were indistinguishable from one another. The pineapple sorbet was delicious though – a very welcome palate cleanser.

For the main I immediately zoned in on the beef tartare – one of my all time favourite dishes. Sadly, it was almost completely lacking in seasoning (my mates main by contrast was almost inedible due to over salting).There was no egg yolk on top – fine, I realise it’s not essential but it disappointed me nonetheless. The accompanying ‘egg mollet’ did go some way to compensating when I mashed it up on top.

The most confusing element of the entire dish however, was the ‘fresh spicy tomato’. Talk about false advertising. What I actually received was a plastic shot glass (classy), with what tasted like the watery juice from a cheap can of tinned tomatoes with a bit of black pepper thrown in. I am absolutely clueless as to the point of this – the waitress didn’t seem to know either.

She had asked if we were enjoying our meals. When we raised our issues she looked confused, “oh” she said, “we don’t usually get any negative comments.” Right, so er, it’s our problem then? No matter, we decided to soldier on and give them a proper chance by sharing a dessert. “What do you recommend?” we asked. Our waitress faltered and stuttered out a few dishes. My mate enquired about the ‘Malabar.’ “Ah yes” she said, “everyone likes that.” We struggled to work out how this was not a reason for her to recommend it in the first place.

Apparently, you are supposed to mix the whole thing (bubble gum ice cream, orange blossom marshmallow, crispy green tea) together, so that we did. A couple of spoonfuls in and I felt it…something hard and sharp. I looked up at my mate’s face, a mixture of anticipation and horror as she watched me pull the two small shards of clear plastic from my mouth.

The manageress was clearly shocked and upset. She apologised profusely and invited us back for a meal, on the house, as an attempt to compensate for our unpleasant experience. Fair enough.

So it was that we returned to Sketch with open minds and empty bellies. A better table this time started things off on the right foot and we refreshed ourselves with a vodka and rosemary based cocktail which I really got into – like drinking alcoholic herby juice, it made me feel healthy.

To start this time I chose the terrine of foie gras with smoked duck breast, gingerbread, courgette chutney and apricot. “You can’t go wrong with foie gras” my mate remarked. A good smooth swathe of terrine on toasted brioche, a nugget of caramelised peach and a sprinkling of crispy gingerbread bits – heavenly. Courgette chutney was sweet, intense and jammy and actually re-ignited my interest in courgettes, something I feared may never happen.

I threw all ideas of balance out the window and followed foie with roast rib-eye, served with olive and potato cake. The beef was cooked perfectly rare as requested although could have packed slightly more flavour. The potato cake however was just plain weird. You know how mashed potato turns gluey when you over whip it? Well the texture was like that but formed into a cake. On the side, arrived another of those plastic shot glasses, although this time filled with a sorrel flavoured dip and some puffed crispy quinoa wafer things for dipping. It was surprisingly tasty but turned frustrating halfway through when the wafers started to break and I could no longer reach the dippy stuff. Pierre, I urge you, ditch the plastic shot glasses.

For puds we settled on the ‘dessert for two’ – a selection of petit fours basically – the most pleasing of which was a little layered opera cake style chocolatey thing and a sweet and fruity raspberry tart.

I also had high hopes for these posh jammy dodgers but by this point we were suffering the effects of over-indulgence and had to leave the majority of the intensely confected biccies just nibbled.

So, did Sketch make up for our shocking meal the first time round? Well, in short, yes. In terms of customer service, they were faultless. They took all complaints squarely on the chin and went all out to repair any damage. During our first visit, we speculated, is Sketch simply a case of style over substance? It is the sort of place people go to see and be seen, and I’ll admit I often glanced around wondering if diners were loving their food just because they think they ought to. I don’t think I’ll ever be the biggest super fan of Pierre Gagnaire’s food but I certainly admire Sketch’s standards of service and you’ve got to admit, those toilets are pretty effing cool.

Sketch
9 Conduit Street
London
W1S 2XG
0207 659 4500

www.sketch.uk.com (watch out, website may cause headaches)

21 comments » | Restaurant Reviews

Duck with Gooseberry Sauce (Go Go Gin Girls!)

July 22nd, 2009 — 1:33pm

And so on to our main course for Nom Nom Nom – duck with gooseberry sauce, fondant potatoes and rainbow chard. This is where we nearly ran into trouble when shopping for ingredients. Lizzie had spotted some duck breasts in Marylebone farmers market, but at £10 for two, they were going to send us seriously over budget (we needed to make 4 portions of each dish). A mad dash around Waitrose turned up nowt as we just stood there, staring blankly at the space where duck breasts should be…”Sorry” said the sales assistant. I think he thought we might be about to cry. We hot footed it back to the market and decided to buy three for £15 – they were proper beasts and once sliced served 4 easily.

We rendered the fat from the duck and used it to fry our potatoes – be rude not to, really. Mmm, duck fat. We then gave them a good sprinkling of chopped rosemary, slung in some bashed garlic, filled the pan with stock and a generous wadge of butter, then covered and let them simmer away on the hob until silky, buttery and aromatic on the inside – the tops still crispy from the duck fat frying.

To continue our fruity theme we chose a gooseberry sauce to go with the duck. They are bang in season and the tart fruit cuts through the richness of the duck perfectly. So, think rare slices of meat, crispy fat on top, tangy gooseberry sauce (lightly spiced with cloves) on the side, dreamy fondant potatoes and a little bed of rainbow chard, wilted in the fondant potato juices at the last minute. I’m actually in danger of dribbling a little bit just thinking about it. If you are too then please vote for The Go Go Gin Girls HERE!

Duck with Gooseberry Sauce

Serves 1

1 duck breast
100gr gooseberries
4 shallots
A knob of butter
2 medium sized floury potatoes
A glug of white wine
A pinch of ground cloves
Sugar, to taste
Half a bulb of garlic
1 sprig of rosemary
Chicken stock
Some greenery (in our case, Swiss chard but spinach or savoy cabbage also works)

Score the duck breast and salt heavily. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut in half lengthways. Top and tail the gooseberries. Pat the duck breasts dry, and fry them on a low heat, skin side down to slowly render the fat out. This needs about 15 minutes, to really get the fat out and crisp up the skin. When this is done, turn the duck breast and fry on a medium heat for a minute or two to give it some colour. Remove and leave on a baking tray. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Next, fry the potatoes in the rendered duck fat until they are browned. Remove them and place in a frying pan with a lid, with the browned sides facing up. Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a knife, scatter them around the potatoes with the sprig of rosemary, chopped finely. Add the chicken stock until it comes partway up the side of the potatoes, but doesn’t cover the previously fried part. Put the lid on and simmer gently for about 15 – 20 mins, or until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, heat the knob of butter in a pan and add the shallots, sliced. Fry until softened and then add the glug of wine. Simmer until reduced, then add the gooseberries and the cloves. Fry on a low heat until the gooseberries have collapsed, and mash them down with a fork. Add sugar to taste and leave to simmer gently.

Depending on how thick your duck breasts are, we put ours in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove and leave them to rest for 10 minutes, to coincide with the potatoes being finished. To serve, plate the potatoes on a warmed plate. Strain the stock into a saucepan and add the greens to be cooked in the garlicky rosemary stock until al dente, and then drain and use them as a bed to serve the duck breast, sliced on top. Spoon some of the stock onto the meat, and serve the gooseberry sauce on the side.

11 comments » | Cooking Competitions, Food Events, Fruit, Main Dishes, Meat

Futurist Aerobanquet with Time for Tea and Bompas and Parr

July 21st, 2009 — 11:21am

When you go to a restaurant, you generally know what to expect – sit down, order, eat, drink, pay and leave. If you can afford it, the realm of molecular gastronomy may be within your grasp, in which case things can get a little more wacky; challenging texture and flavour combinations and a more full on assault on the senses – think Heston with his ‘sounds of the sea’ ipod for example. Lately, however, there are some new kids in town – the crazy culinary partay creators Bompas and Parr.

This year is the centenary of the birth of the Italian futurist movement. To mark the occasion, Bompas and Parr collaborated with Time for Tea and the Dhillon Hotel Group to throw a big old shindig in the form of a banquet, a futurist aerobanquet – or as B & P put it, ‘dinner with a plane crash and explosions’. You must know by now that I adore pretty much everything they do – I’ve wolfed down their glittering gold leaf flecked Prosecco jellies, I’ve breathed in their vapourised walk in cocktail and now I’ve piled onto a coach out to The Olde Bell Inn, Berkshire for the most random, spectacular and just downright fun meal in my recent memory.

On arrival we were welcomed by a group of radiant air hostesses and one rather stern captain. They ushered us through security, which involved a cloakroom disguised as an x-ray machine, ticket and visa collection and some light frisking – all in exchange for canapés and cocktails.

The canapés were designed to celebrate the multi-sensory approach promoted by the futurists and we were invited to close our eyes and pop our chosen nibble down the hatch while stroking the attached textural appendage. Think stickily glazed kumquat accompanied by velvet and the rasping scratch of sandpaper complementing a baby fennel. Looking around at this point I could see some hesitancy from fellow passengers and so made a beeline for one guy who was really getting into it and then proudly displaying the textured sticks like army stripes on his lapel.

My favourite cocktail was a red wine and lemonade effort, sporting what I thought was a wedge of pineapple as garnish. When I bit into it however (excitedly encouraged by the woman standing next to me), I was surprised to find it was cheese. Red wine and cheese at the beginning of a meal? Those crazy kids.

Drinks in hand, we moved through to the ‘departure lounge’, our chattering drowned out somewhat by the whoosh of plane noises overhead. Then suddenly, a huge swathe of silver sheeting was pulled down to reveal a magnificent room containing the most stupendously large and shiniest table I’ve ever clapped eyes on. As we were seated and prepared to take flight, our hostesses performed the necessary safety instructions (exits here, here and here etc.), before the engines fired up and we were (literally) blown away by the force of huge fans aimed from the corners of the room. I may or may not have squealed with delight.

And then the food started to arrive, the first course, a ‘futurist tasting menu’ was arranged on specially crafted aeroplane style plates, with a little indent for each nibble, including ‘geraniums on a stick’, swordfish and fig skewer, ‘dates in moonlight’ (pressed dates and ricotta tart) and a savoury jelly – a ‘cubist vegetable patch’. Apparently the futurists thought it might be better if everything we ate could be consumed in a single mouthful. The starter then, would have gone down very well. The main course on the other hand – a juicy, crackly, herby stuffed beast going by the name of ‘pork fuselage’, perhaps not so much (fools!).

While we waited for the fuselage to make its grand entrance the hostesses appeared again, this time resplendent in stockings, jewels and feathers, to perform a magnificent chorus line show – kicking, flapping, shaking, strutting – there was even some upside down scissor leg action.

A porky waft indicated the fuselage had arrived and I rejoiced in the excellent crispy crackling on my portion, bulking it out with some new potatoes and slippery, buttery greens and washing all down with an excellent Innis and Gunn beer – malty, toffee heaven.

I was feeling a little merry by this point after cocktails, wine and beer and so the ensuing evacuation amidst explosions, smoke and full on fire in the garden accompanied by a screeching ambulance and emerging jelly in the shape of an airport sent me into a whooping, cheering frenzy of giddy excitement.

We queued up with plates for a slice of the wobbly stuff (me and my mate opting for absinthe flavour), a scoop of ice cream and a mini pastry plane. This was eaten whilst standing in the flickering flame light of nearby plane wreckage.

Then there was mingling and drinking of brandy, before we retreated indoors to enjoy the futurist jazz band, accompanied by some rather excellent and professional dancers who were thoroughly impressive although perhaps a little intimidating until I’d downed my third brandy.

Bompas and Parr combine the two things I love most in the world – eating and partying. In many ways, I enjoyed this meal more than I have enjoyed meals at high end restaurants because of the creativity, the element of surprise and the invitation to open your mind and become absorbed in the fantasy experience. It made me laugh, it made me think, it made me clap my hands together in excitement more than once. I ate, I danced, I whooped and cheered and I was more than a little drunk at the end of it. The only way anyone could not have had a fantastic time at this event is if they were a) ill b) totally lacking in imagination and spirit or c) dull as bloody dishwater.

Aircraft Commanders Time for Tea and Bompas and Parr I salute you.

Distressed hostess photo courtesy of Bompas and Parr.

16 comments » | Far Out Crazy, Food Events

Please Vote for the Go Go Gin Girls!

July 16th, 2009 — 2:14pm

Last Sunday Lizzie and I took part in the Nom Nom Nom cooking competition hosted by Cookery School and Qype. Pairs of contestants were challenged to come up with a three course menu (including one cold course), which was ‘simple, sexy, sustainable and seasonal’. To be perfectly honest, we entered on a bit of a whim and then as the competition day loomed near, quickly realised we would actually have to cook stuff, and that it would be judged by the likes of Dan Lepard, Tom Aikens and Allegra McEvedy. Eeek!

With this in mind we decided it might be a wise move to test it out first rather than going in cold. Despite the practice session being worryingly peppered with mini crises – notably a transport fail, a broken oven, a bee sting and a box of eggs that jumped straight from the fridge to the floor, we were pleased with the results. Our menu was to follow a fruity theme, with a crab and mango salad to start, followed by duck with gooseberry sauce, chard and fondant potato and a dessert of cherry samosas with apple marscapone.

We’d managed to push on through our practice session with the help of some generous gin and tonics and so in honour of the beverage decided to call ourselves the Go Go Gin Girls and back it up by sinking three rounds each throughout the course of the competition proper. Pretty good going I think you’ll agree.

The refreshment was most welcome after a frantic dash around sunny Marylebone Farmers Market followed by a last minute panic spree round Waitrose, which we found shut when we first arrived. Despite this irritating setback which saw us enduring half an hour in the devil’s coffee shop – Starbucks, we managed to find all necessary ingredients and hot footed it back to the cookery school with literally minutes to spare.

I’m pleased to say that we managed to turn out the whole meal exactly as planned – on time, well cooked and we thought, delicious. The only problem really was that, erm, we lost. We held our breath as the winners were announced – ‘here’s a clue…the first course was something fishy’ (yes!), ‘followed by duck..’ (yes! our hearts were really pounding now) ‘…and the winning team is…The French Connection!’ Oh. WE WERE ROBBED! And thoroughly serving winners they were too, closely followed by runners up More Ginger’s Vicar?

All is not lost though readers, oh no, for there is such as thing as the ‘viewers choice awards’ – and so this is where you fascinating, intelligent, good looking, witty readers come in. Please, please vote for the Go Go Gin Girls! Here’s the link or you can click on the Nom Nom Nom badge in the right hand column. We’ll be posting the main course and dessert over the next couple of weeks but in the meantime, did I mention, VOTE FOR US!*

Crab and Mango Salad (serves 1)

100g crab meat – a mixture of white and brown
1/4 mango, diced into 1cm cubes
Small handful mixed leaves
The green parts from 1 spring onion, finely sliced
Sesame seeds to garnish

For the dressing

1 small red chillli, de-seeded and chopped
1 small handful mint leaves and coriander leaves, chopped
1 small clove garlic
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 small piece ginger (about 2cm square), chopped
A good pinch of sugar
1 tbsp flavourless oil
Salt and pepper

- Begin by making the dressing. Crush the garlic, ginger and chilli in a pestle and mortar with the salt until it is broken down and combined. Add the mint, coriander, lime juice, pepper and sugar and work in well. Add the oil and mix again. Adjust the quantities as necessary.
- Combine the crab meat with the mango cubes.
- Place a chef’s ring in the middle of a plate and add the mixed leaves, pressing down gently. On top of this add the crab and mango mixture, again pressing down gently before gently lifting off the ring.
- Swirl the dressing around the sides and sparingly scatter with spring onion slices. Garnish the crab with sesame seeds and serve.

*I’ve never used so many exclamation marks in a blog post. Can you tell we would like to win?
For Lizzie’s post about the starter and a drunken hug picture, click here.

Thanks to Chris Osburn for the top and bottom photos.

14 comments » | Blogging Events, Cooking Competitions

Curry Goat

July 15th, 2009 — 9:48am

Chris and I returned to my student stomping ground, Oxford last weekend to pay a visit to Chris’s bro who has just moved back over from Dubai. Amongst his possessions he had stashed a magazine clipping which he kindly saved for me and which covers one of my favourite subjects in the whole wide world – sandwiches. I was drawn immediately to a confit oxtail creation and set out in search of the necessary caudal appendage in Oxford’s Covered Market. Alas, it was not to be – sold out in every one of the five or so butchers inside. And then I spotted the goat. Not advertised as ‘mutton for goat’, which is the usual offering of, well, mutton instead of goat but the genuine, bona fide Billy.

An early afternoon train meant I would get back in time to pick up the other requisite ingredients from Peckham – scotch bonnets, thyme and spring onions. Ingredients secured I scurried back to the house, my eager mind racing with thoughts of welcoming a whole brand new meat into my life. And then a thought struck me…I’d never cooked curry goat before but I would bet my bottom dollar it needs marinating overnight. A quick Google confirmed this. Knowing I wouldn’t have a chance to cook the next day I resolved to push on regardless – a brief 1 hour marinade and 3 hours on the hob.

The results were, quite simply, dribble inducing. I sprung out of bed the next morning and missioned it down Peckham Rye in search of some more goat, striking gold almost instantly. I bought double the amount this time plus some bony bits for extra flavour. This batch would get some overnight marinating, even longer, slower cooking and a healthy mountain of rice and peas on the side.

Making a dish like curry goat takes serious patience and I strongly advise stocking up on snacks to save sanity. The smell of the meat in the marinade is a tease, the smell of the marinated meat hitting the hot pan is enough to make your knees turn to jelly, and the smell as it bubbles away gently on the stove is almost unbearable. The reward however is a deep, complex curry with meat that melts apart when you so much as show it a fork.

Although the second batch of curry was even better than the first due to the extra effort, I’m not convinced it actually was goat meat. The first batch melted almost completely and tasted a little bit like lamb but a bit more beefy. This second batch smelled just a bit too, well, lamby. It also had a huge amount of fat, and tasted suspiciously like mutton. Hmm. Whatever, the resulting curry was still fruity, spicy, fragrant and rich. If you’ve never made curry goat before I strongly encourage you to try it, although avoid, if you can, using mutton dressed as goat.

Curry Goat

For the curry powder (makes a small jar)

15g coriander seeds
Seeds from 7 cardamom pods
15g black peppercorns
10g fenugreek seeds
5g ground turmeric
15g ground ginger
10g ground cinnamon

Grind the whole spices in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and mix with well with the ready-ground spices. Store in an air tight jam jar or container.

For the curry

1kg goat meat, diced (or use mutton)
2 onions, finely chopped
3 spring onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 scotch bonnet chilli, slit down the middle but left whole (or use two if you like it really hot)
2 tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander plus extra to garnish
Small sprig thyme, leaves only
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon spice mix for marinating, 1.5 tablespoons for cooking
1 bay leaf
Juice of 1 large lime
1 tablespoon caster sugar
500ml lamb stock (or use water)
2 tablespoons vegetable or groundnut oil, for frying

Mix the goat meat with 1 teaspoon of the curry powder, the spring onions, coriander and thyme. Mix well and refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan. Dust the marinade off the goat meat, reserving the marinade in the bowl. Brown the meat in batches. Set aside. Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, then fry the onions gently for 20 ? 30 minutes, until softened and starting to caramelise. Add the 1.5 tablespoons spice mix, cumin, tomatoes, scotch bonnet, bay leaf and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, then add back the meat.
Add the stock plus 500ml water (or use 1 litre water instead) to the bowl that contained the marinade, rinsing it around to pick up all the residue, then add this to the pan with sugar and the goat. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for approximately two hours, or until the meat is very tender. Uncover and simmer for a further hour to thicken the gravy. Check the seasoning and serve.

33 comments » | Caribbean Food, Curry, Main Dishes, Meat, Peckham

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