Category Archives: Recipe

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


Bolognese sauce, done right

Everyone knows how to make spaghetti bolognese … after a fashion. It’s classic student cookery, isn’t it? Onions, minced beef and tomatoes into a pot, simmer for a while — bam, done. But it can be done right, and then it’s a glorious thing.

Photo from Kok Robin’s blog.

And the good news is, it’s not difficult. It doesn’t need the ludicrous over-complication of Heston Blumenthal’s version. The main thing it needs is elapsed time. What you can’t do is make it in a hurry. But most of the time is simply simmering, so it doesn’t need to take up much of your time.

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Chicken Dhansak

This recipe is my homebrew attempt at synthesising my favourite restaurant/takeaway curry in a quick-to-make form, since all the dhansak recipes I’ve seen are very involved and don’t read like they’d produce anything very similar to the curry I know and love.

This is not my curry, but it looks pretty much like it.

As with all my cooking, quantities are very approximate: I never measure or weigh anything, so the amounts I’ve specified below are just my rough guesses at the amount that I tend to slop in. Although I work this way due to laziness, I argue that it’s positively a good thing, since the subtly different proportions every time you cook the same thing stop the palate from getting so used to it that it becomes boring.

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Vile Potatoes

A very easy recipe that operates in the same space as boulangère potatoes, dauphinoise potatoes, potatoes au gratin and no doubt others that I have forgotten.


It’s basically just sliced potatoes, onions and garlic baked in cheese sauce:
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Chicken sort-of-korma

I’m posting this recipe for my colleague Jason Skomorowski, who enjoyed this curry when he was staying with me recently. It’s a mild, creamy curry that to some degree resembles a korma, but it’s nowhere close to authentic. Still, it’s my own recipe, and it works well. It has a much richer and more intense flavour than an actual korma.

This is not my curry, but it looks pretty much like it.

This is not my curry, but it looks pretty much like it.

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A cake that didn’t quite work

It was my birthday on Saturday, so I made myself an experimental cake:

2016-03-14 08.59.49--cakefail

It’s a variant on the chocolate and marmalade cake that I’ve been making. I wanted to aim for a more fresh, real flavour, so I dumped the 450 g marmalade, and instead used two whole oranges. I gently simmered them whole for thirty minutes to soften them, then blended them, and used the resulting semi-liquid in place of the marmalade.

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Oh, and the chocolate-marmalade cake!

Here it is, served with full-fat natural yoghurt:

2016-03-03 14.32.49-slice-of-cake

It’s a variant on a recipe attributed to Nigella Lawson — though of course recipes get handed down and around so much, with so little attribution, that it’s impossible to say where it really originated. The question might not even be meaningful, since cake recipes are like Makefiles: no-one ever wrote one from scratch, every one is copied and modified from one that’s close to what you want.

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