Linguine with Aubergine, Tomato, Sage, Garlic and Chilli

Linguine with aubergine, tomato, sage, garlic and chilli
Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 2 small dries red chillies
  • 4-6 sage leaves
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Method:

Fry the aubergine in a generous couple of glugs of olive oil until soft and golden, them remove and drain from the oil on a couple of kitchen towels and set aside.
Chop the garlic, chilli and half the sage leaves and fry gently in fresh olive oil
Add the chopped tomatoes, add salt, fry very gently over a low heat for 5 mins them remove the pan from the heat.
Cook the linguine.
Whilst the pasta is cooking, add the aubergine to the tomatoes and garlic and hear up in the pan.
Add some pasta cooking water if necessary.
When al dente remove the pasta from the water and add to the sauce along with the rest of the sage.
Garnish with roughly chopped cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
Linguine with aubergine, tomato, sage, garlic and chilli.

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A Controversial Kleftico (and it’s illegitimate offspring)

Controversial Kleftico, cooked with Oxtail...

It was a cold and stormy Winter’s night..… OK, it wasn’t. It was actually  an annoyingly rainy and depressingly premature Autumn morning. I was going out to a gig for pretty much the whole day. Luckily though, I’d cunningly foreseen the situation of getting home hungry, wet and weary that evening, so I’d taken the Oxtail that I had in the freezer out to thaw, the night before. My initial intent was to make a curry in the slow cooker, leaving it to cook all day while I was out. However, while flicking through some food photos from my Facebook food group “Foodbook Photos” I came across the Kleftico I made a while ago from a very simple authentic family recipe given to me by a Greek friend. Since it involved rather less preparation than the curry, I settled on the idea of trying to make the Kleftico with the oxtail.

Now I’m aware that proper Kleftico is a lamb dish, and also that there are many variation’s on the recipe, so maybe what I was about to make couldn’t really be called Kleftico (indeed, I had a couple of people on Twitter saying as much), and also that it is made in a conventional oven rather than a slow cooker.
So what I should really call my dish maybe is Greek style oxtail casserole…..? Whatever…!! But it was very nice.

Here’s what I did:

Firstly I set out my oxtail in preparation. It was already chopped into handy chunks:

 

The Oxtail

 

I then sliced up a couple of large onions:

 

Slice the onions

 

And halved some sweet vine ripened tomatoes:

 

Tomatoes

 

I then browned the oxtail off in a frying pan, since it would be going into the slow cooker instead of an oven:

 

Brown the oxtail

 

Next I selected a handful of choice bay leaves:

 

Bay leaves

 

I then layered the onions and the oxtail in the slowcooker:

 

Layer the onions in the pot, and put the oxtail on top

 

To make the cooking liquid I dissolved a tablespoon of tomato puree and some salt in some hot water:

 

Cooking liquid

 

Then arranged the bayleaves and tomatoes in with the oxtail, and poured the liquid into the pot:

 

Arrange everything in the pot

 

Lid went on and I went out for the day:

 

Lid on, me out

 

When I came back, approximately 8 hours later everything seemed to have cooked down nicely:

 

After 8 hours

 

I then gently stirred it, being careful not to break up the oxtail, but making sure to mix the onions up from the bottom:

 

Stirring gently

 

Lid then went back on for another hour or so, then it would be ready for serving.
Before serving it however, I carefully spooned some of the loose fat away that had settled on the top, so it wouldn’t be so rich:

 

Skim off some fat

 

I then squeezed in plenty of lemon juice:

 

Squeeze in plenty of lemon

 

..and served out simply with some mash potato:

 

Serve with mash

 

The flavour was rich, beefy and warming, with that very particular piquancy that you get when mixing tomatoes with lemon (which I also think you get in Madras curries).

Now for the offspring: I had a lot of the stocky cooking liquid left and also quite a lot of meat. So the next day I separated the meat from the bones, and made an oxtail and beetroot curry, simmered in a little of the stock, and served it with with a dhal and vegetable sambar curry and a peas and mushroom saffron pullao.
The leftover meat was rich and gelatinous and was fairly fantastic with the beetroot:

 

Beef and beetroot curry, with a dhal and vegetable sambar curry and a peas and mushroom saffron pullao.

 

…and finally, the next day, I still had quite a lot of stock leftover, so I used it to make a Chilli Con Carne made with smoked chipotle paste, dried homegrown red chillies and Tabasco and served it with corn tortillas. It was quite spectacular, and was easily the best Chilli I’ve ever made…. all down to the rich stock I’m convinced.

 

Chilli made with the last of the oxtail stock, smoked chipotle paste, dried homegrown red chillies and tobasco. Served with corn tortillas.

 

…and the moral of this story is, always buy oxtail, and never listen to pedants 🙂

Prudence Pullao (and dhal)

Prudence Pullao

Yesterday I arrived home from Denmark after playing a Boy George gig at the Esbjerg Rock Festival.
As usual, after a full days travel, which commenced with a (reasonably) early start, following on from the previous days travel – soundcheck – gig – and a couple (ahem) of drinks at the bar  after the show, I was pretty tired and in two minds about whether to cook, or just plump for the takeaway option.

However, a look inside the fridge quickly persuaded me that cooking would be the far more prudent path to take on this occasion, given the fact that I had so much stuff to use up, not least of which was a few pieces of lamb kebab left over from a barbeque a couple of days before. There was also 1/2 a bunch of asparagus and a single carrot. I quickly hatched a plan. Here’s what commenced:

Ingredients:

  • about 6 pieces of leftover barbequed lamb,
  • 1 small tin of anchovies,
  • 1 small onion,
  • 1/2 inch pce of ginger,
  • 3 cloves of garlic,
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric,
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala,
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 carrot,
  • 4 sticks of asparagus,
  • 1 red chilli,
  • 1 tblsp natural yogurt,
  • 1/2 tblsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 cup basmati rice (soaked and drained)
  • 2 cups of boiling water

Method:

  • Heat some oil in a pan, and mash the anchovies into it until they’re dissolved.
  • Chop and fry the onion, ginger, and garlic.
  • Add the tumeric, garam masala, mustard powder and black pepper, and fry briefly.
  • Add the lamb (sliced thinly) and fry in the spices.
  • Add the chopped carrot, asparagus and chilli, and fry round some more
  • Add the rice and fry for a few moments.
  • Add the yohurt and tomato puree and stir through.
  • Add the boiling water and mint and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook until the rice is done, adding more water if necessary or drying off in a medium oven for 10 mins if needs be.

And that was that. You may notice I used anchovies instead of salt or stock. I tend to do this a lot with lamb, since it’s such a strong flavour, I think chicken stock confuses the issue. But anchovies go very well with it and don’t taste at all fishy in the mix….

Finally, I found a portion of dhal in the freezer, which I’d made some weeks earlier, so just thawed it out slowly in a warm pan.
To serve, I moulded the pullao into a small bowl, and simply upended it into the serving bowl – (hey presto !) and surrounded it with dhal as you can see above.

All in all, preferable to a takeaway, and very welcome after planes, trains and automobiles……

A South Indian style pork and potato curry cooked with tomatoes and coconut

I was able to go home over Easter this year. Happily it fell conveniently between two tours. Marlena Shaw UK/Europe tour was the couple of weeks leading up and a few days after the Boy George UK tour started (just getting ready for that one now as I write this after the London dates).

I only made it home for 2 days, but was able to help my mother with the cooking a bit over that time. She normally makes a large chicken biryani, dhal and curry (this time it was a mince and cauliflower curry) for the Easter Sunday family meal. On the Saturday I insisted on cooking to give mum a break, so I just had a look what was in, and improvised. Here’s what I came up with. Was nice, although quite spicy. I like the different types of heat that dried red chillies and green chillies bring to the dish. More of a smokey flavour from the red, and a fresher one from the green.

You could easily adjust the amount of chillies for a milder version.

Ingredients:

  • 750g diced pork
  • 3 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 4-5 small dried red chillis
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • 3 medium onions sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 inch pce ginger chopped
  • 4 green chillis chopped
  • 3 tsps ground coriander
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinammon powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 tins tomatoes
  • 1/2 inch pce of creamed coconut dissolved in 1 cup of water
  • Juice of 1 lemon


Method:

Heat up some oil in a large pot.

When very hot throw in the mustard seeds and dried red chillis. Fry for 10-20 secs (the mustard seeds should pop and spit if the oil is hot enough. Also you may cough because of the chillis).

Throw in the curry leaves and fry for a further 10-20 secs.

Add the onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies.

Turn the heat down to medium and fry until onions and are soft.

Then add the pork and fry until it had lost it’s raw appearance as below.

Now is the time to add the masalas (ground coriander, cumin, tumeric, cinammon, mustard powder, black pepper).

Fry them round, keeping them moving so as not to burn, for about 2-3 mins until the dish appears as below:

Next add the tomatoes, potatoes and the coconut and bring to a simmer.

I left it simmering with the lid on for about 40 mins, then removed the lid and checked for and added salt.

If potatoes are cooked in a sauce after adding salt, they tend to have the effect of removing some of the saltiness, so I always add salt after the potatoes have had a chance to cook so as not to add to much.

I then added to frozen peas, and left it simmering with the lid off while I cooked the rice. Adding the peas towards the end of the cooking in this way means that they still retain a lot of flavour and juiciness of their own when served.

After the rice was cooked, I squeezed the juice of the whole lemon in, briefly brought back to a simmer, and served straight away.