Tag Archives: spices

Chicken Fritters

Tonight I needed to cook dinner, I really couldn’t be bothered and I had next to nothing in the cupboard.
But I did have half a cooked chicken and some dry goods.

I thunk and thunk and wondered what the outcome would be of making a crispy batter and shallow frying the chicken.
This is what I did and jolly nice it was too with a nice spicy aftertaste.
This serves 4 as usual.


Dinner from bugger all

1 x medium mixing bowl
1 x whisk
1 x large frying pan
1 x fish slice
1 x slotted spoon
Kitchen roll / paper towel

4 small chicken breasts or the equivalent cooked chicken
If using raw chicken – ¼ pint chicken stock
4oz self raising flour
½ teaspoon parsley
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ pint milk
vegetable oil for shallow frying

If using raw chicken, poach lightly in the chicken stock until cooked through and drain
Cut the chicken into chunks or strips
Put all the dry ingredients together into the bowl and blend well
Gradually whisk in the milk until it forms a thick paste
Put the chicken into the paste
Heat the oil in the frying pan until it is very hot
Fish the chicken bits out of the batter with a slotted spoon
Fry quickly in batches in the hot oil turning until the chicken is golden brown on both sides
Drain on the kitchen paper and blot to get rid of any excess oil
Serve immediately


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Regional, Storecupboard

Unfashionable Cauliflower – a retrospective (plus a recipe for Aloo Gobi)

Yet again, the subject of the poor, ganged-up-on, unpopular cauliflower has reared its curly head on the telly.  It always makes me really cross when people talk about unpopular foodstuffs.  Would the average shopper be happier if it had ‘Louis Vuitton’ stamped on every floret?  Or perhaps the Nike Turnip would prove to be a hit?  Fendi Fennel… stop me now – I’m only pretending that I know some designers.

Cauliflower is lovely and I shall prove it.  Read this article wot I wrote in May last year.

Now go and buy a cauliflower.

Than, if you want to be exotic, try this quick and delicious recipe for Aloo Gobi, a North Indian/Pakistani dish  made with cauliflower, potatoes and Indian spices.  My friend Ila also puts a handful of frozen peas in it at the potato stage.


1 x large saucepan
1 x vegetable peeler

3 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion – finely chopped
1 clove garlic – chopped
1 green chilli – chopped
1 inch / 2.5cm ginger peeled and finely chopped
2 medium potatoes – peeled and cut into smallish chunks
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
1 medium cauliflower cut into florets
a dash of lemon juice
a little salt
½ tsp garam masala

Heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic, chillis and ginger until just tender.
Add the potatoes and fry for another 2-3 minutes
Add the spices except for the garam masala, and mix well
Add a tablespoon of water, cover the pot and cook
When the potatoes are al dente add in the cauliflower.
Replace the lid and cook until the cauliflower is just soft
Add a sprinkle of lemon juice, salt and garam masala and stir well
Serve with naan or parathas


Filed under Food, Recipes, Regional

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding has been around since the 11th century and is an excellent way of using up stale bread.  Nowadays, shop bought bread doesn’t go stale in the same way as home-made bread, because of the preservatives, but crusts or loaf ends sometimes get left behind, so you can use those.  I had a bag of white rolls which Boy the Elder brought back from Scout camp.  We ate a couple, but we’re not really white bread people, so they went into the bowl with some seeded, wholemeal crusts which were on the turn.

I made this yesterday evening and we had it hot for pudding with cream and then we all had a slice, cold, for breakfast.  And very nourishing it was too; bread, milk, eggs, dried fruit and not too much sugar – that’ll stick ‘em to the ground.


1 x large mixing bowl
1 x grater
1 x pair of freshly washed hands
1 x oven-proof dish, about 8×10” – buttered

8oz / 240g bread
10oz / 300g dried fruit (I used raisins)
2 teaspoons mixed spice (pumpkin spice for the Colonies…)
½ pint / 300ml milk
1 large egg (or 2 bantam eggs)
3oz / 90g dark brown sugar
the grated zest of 1 orange OR lemon
3oz / 90g butter – melted
2 tablespoons demerara sugar*
a little nutmeg to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 160 / 3 / 325
Tear the bread into pieces and place in the large bowl with all the other ingredients except the butter and demerara sugar
Leave to soak for 20 minutes
Mash it all up together with your hands, squeezing and squelching until it’s well mixed
Add the melted butter and stir in well
Pour the mixture into the ovenproof dish
Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and a little nutmeg
Bake for 1 ½ hours, covering with foil for the last half hour to stop it browning too much
Cut into squares and serve hot or cold

* If you haven’t got Demerara sugar, mix 1 tablespoon of white and 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar together


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes, Storecupboard

Meaty Mincemeat – the gloves are off

Right. I’ve had enough of this namby-pamby mincemeat with nothing but dried fruit and sugar!  Let’s put some meat in the recipe!  No, really, let’s put some meat in the recipe.  Originally mincemeat was just that – a well spiced condiment containing, amongst other things, minced meat.

It started off as a savoury dish in the 15th century but as sugar became more widely available, it gradually crept sweetly towards the end of the meal.  It was also a good way of preserving meat and although mine has never stayed around long enough to find out, it can certainly be left for a month in a sealed jar and probably longer.  You can use lamb or beef – I prefer lamb because it’s lighter – but whichever you choose make sure it’s good quality meat with no sinewy bits and nice and lean.

You mustn’t be afraid of this recipe; many people find mincemeat somewhat too sweet anyway, and whilst this version is pleasantly sweet, it leans towards the spice rather than the sugar.  Also, it is virtually impossible to detect the meat so there is no need to be squeamish.  A few years ago I took a warm plate of these mince pies into the playground at school and handed them round.  They were received with great gladness and only a few stupid people wrinkled their noses when they found out what was in them.  Why do people do that?  If I’d fed them minced kittens I could understand it… blah blah blah…

1 x large mixing bowl
1 x vegetable peeler
1 x grater

1lb / 480g minced lamb – broken up finely
1lb / 480g dark brown sugar
8oz / 240g apples – peeled cored and chopped
8oz / 240g raisins
8oz / 240g stoned dates – finely chopped
2oz / 60g suet
1 small orange – juice and grated rind
1 lemon – juice and grated rind
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 good slosh of brandy (apple brandy is really nice in this too)

Mix it all up together in a bowl
Spoon into sterilized jars and leave for at least a week or preferably two before using.

You can sterilise jam jars in the microwave. Quarter fill the jam jar with cold water, put the lid on, shake the water around the jar, then remove lid and empty almost all of the water out. Microwave  for 1 minute. Everywhere the water has touched will be brought to boiling point and sterilised. Pour out the water, take care as the jar will be hot, and use for jams etc


Filed under Christmas, Food, History, Recipes, Seasonal

Oxford Sausages or Regional Snorkers Part 1

An inadequate Google image I’m afraid, but you get the drift

I love sausages of all kinds and they really do come in all shapes and sizes.  Different regions have their own specialities and the recipes often develop from ways of using up leftovers or utilising cheap cuts of meat.

Today’s recipe and its accompaniment are from Oxfordshire.  Oxford Sausages traditionally contain pork and veal, although the veal has latterly been replaced with lamb.  Once upon a time I would have agreed with this substitute, as the practice of veal crating was utterly abhorrent.  Nowadays, however, many British dairy farmers are keeping the male calves, which would previously been slaughtered, to produce very high quality, high welfare and very delicious rosé veal. 

References to the “Oxford” style of sausage date back to at least the early 18th century, but it was more widely popularised by its inclusion in Mrs Bloody Beeton’s Unspeakable Book of Household Management in 1861.  I am not a fan.  However, with the rise of mass food production the Oxford sausage fell out of favour, as did many regional foodstuffs. The modern enthusiasm for local food has resulted in the Oxford Sausage being revived, albeit often in revised form.


1 x large mixing bowl
1 x grater
1 x large frying pan
Kitchen roll for absorbing excess oil
1 x lemon squeezer
Blender or a stick blender

1 lb / 480g ground/minced pork
1 lb / 480g ground/minced veal or lamb
12 oz /360g shredded suet
1 mugful fresh breadcrumbs
Rind of 1 or 2 lemons – finely grated
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped, mixed herbs or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp fresh chopped sage
salt and black pepper
a little flour for coating
a little lard, goose fat (ideally), or oil for frying , but if you use butter always add a drop of oil to stop it burning

Mix the meats, suet, breadcrumbs, lemon rind, nutmeg and herbs in a bowl – use your hands, get in there!
Add the egg and mix thoroughly
Lightly flour your the worktop and your hands and form the mix into sausage shapes
Coat each sausage with flour and shape into a C
Heat the fat in the frying pan until it is quite hot (a drop of water should fizz but not scar you for life)
Fry for about 8 minutes until nicely browned and cooked through
Blot with the kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil

Oxford Sauce

1/2 pint / 300ml Port
4 tbsp redcurrant jelly
the juice of 1 orange
the juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp Oxford Marmalade (Frank Cooper’s ideally but any rich marmalade will do)
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 tsp cooked shallots
1 tsp mustard
cayenne pepper (to taste)
ground ginger (to taste)

Mix all the ingredients together in a blender


Filed under Food, Recipes, Regional

Spicy Parsnip Soup

We haven’t had a recipe for a while so I thought I’d share my supper with you.  This recipe serves 6 and is very filling.   Remember that soup freezes well (probably just by leaving it outside the back door at the moment) so consider making a double quantity and popping it in the freezer for an instant, warming treat for another time.

Also remember that spicy vegetables are rather good for the liver.  I know mine needs help…

I was going to talk to you very seriously about the iniquities of socks , but I’m rather tired so I’ll leave that for another day.   I have Opinions about socks so keep your eyes peeled.


1 x large pan
1 x vegetable peeler
1 x hand blender

Ingredients: *mostly storecupboard
3oz / 90g butter
2 medium onions – chopped
2lb parsnips – peeled and cubed
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin (freshly ground if poss but from the jar is fine)
½ tsp turmeric
1 ½ pints of chicken or vegetable stock *
¼ pint double cream *

Melt the butter in the pan
Add the onions, parsnips and spices and cook until the parsnips are softening (+/- 10 mins)
Add the stock and bring to the boil
Turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the parsnips are soft enough to puree
Allow to cool slightly then puree with the hand blender
Stir in the cream
Serve with crusty, seedy bread

* If you have no cream, use ¾ pint of stock and ¾ pint of milk

Also, if you don’t have the full amount of parsnips, a few carrots can added quite happily.  In fact, for variation and excitement, carrots can be substituted entirely, but try parsnips first.


Filed under Food, Recipes