Category Archives: Food and drink

Moussaka

I don’t honestly even like moussaka much. By my wife loves it (and aubergines more generally), so a while back (pre-lockdown) she ordered it in a supposed Greek restaurant, only to find that what arrived resembled a shepherd’s pie: very little aubergine all mixed in with the meat sauce, and with a layer of mashed potato on top in place of the white sauce. Ugh.

Here’s how it should look (stolen from a recipe on the BBC website)

Anyway, being the exemplary husband that I am, I cooked a moussaka for her, more according to her preferences. This is the recipe I landed on (having read two or three that were in the ballpark but not quite right). Continue reading

Home-made beefburgers

These are very much better than anything you get in a shop.

They are really simple to make. Here’s how.

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I’m getting better at this pizza thing

I didn’t think to get a photo before I’d eaten a good chunk of it:

But here is last night’s pizza — one of three that I made. Fiona’s was topped with olives and anchovies, Jonno’s with BBQ chicken. For my own, I planned to go 100% traditional and use only tomato sauce, mozzarella and a few basil leaves, but I chickened out at the last minute and added sliced chorizo.

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Making pizza from scratch

This is a recipe adapted from one that my good friend Charles Ledvina gave me. I have only made it once — to good effect — so I am blogging this mostly so that I have an easy way to find it. If you find it useful, too, all well and good.

The first pizza as it came out of the over. The cheese is slightly toasted, because I left it in too long, hoping to char the crust.

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What to do with leftover rice

Now that we’re in lockdown, and it’s difficult to get food delivered, we’ve become more careful about making the best use of all our leftovers. In particular, when we have left-over rice (most likely from one of our curries), I’m remaking it into a sort of Singapore fried rice.

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Another curry

I don’t know what to call this curry: it’s sort of like a dupiaza, sort of like a jalfrezi. The key point is, it’s delicious.

This isn’t it; but it looks a lot like it.

And the great thing about it is that the first 80% or so of the recipe is exactly the same as my chicken sort-of-korma recipe. Which means you can get 80% of the way through that recipe, then split the mixtures and make half-and-half of that and this.

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Making sushi for my son’s birthday

My eldest son, Daniel, just turned 22. Sushi is his favourite food, but of course we couldn’t take him to a restaurant during the Coronavirus crisis — and even in peacetime, the nearest good sushi restaurant to us is 67 miles away in Solihull. So I prepared his birthday meal.

Here, I am making the last of the nigiri — mostly salmon, some tuna. In the middle of the plate is a roll of my own invention, inspired by Peking duck pancakes in Chinese restaurants. It’s shredded chicken, sliced spring onions, hoi sin sauce and avocado. It was a big hit.

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Chili con carne

A while back I published my recipe for bolognese sauce. Our eldest is starting a scheme where he cooks for us once a week, and last week he used that recipe. This week he wants to do chili con carne, so I’m posting my recipe mostly for him to follow. I hope it’s of use to others, too.

While this superficially resembles bolognese sauce, and shares many of the same ingredients, it’s a very different dish. (My wife’s tendency to refer to both of them just as “mince” is one of her few imperfections.)

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Six pies, and more lessons learned

It’s been a while since I did some experimental baking. This evening, the mood took me, and I made six small pies which made just about enough food for the four of us to have a light meal. Here’s the process.

First, I did a dumb. I started with a pack of ready-rolled puff pastry, which was completely the wrong pastry for these pies. I should have just made up some shortcrust. We’ll see the consequences of this in later photos. Continue reading

Just a little late-night snack

I’m working late, so I treated myself to this small plate:

The cheeses:

  • Parmesan (Italian)
  • Manchego (Spanish)
  • Saint Agur (French)
  • Wensleydale with cranberries (English)

The meats:

  • Parma ham (Italian)
  • Chorizo (Spanish)

And of course the wine: Rioja, from Spain.

Please don’t take me out of the Single Market. I like it here.