Things to make and eat
Feel free to substitute or modify but if it isn't very nice then it's
your problem - practice a recipe first before you attempt it for an
important occasion. But mainly, enjoy. There is also the recipe page
of Simon (which features one of mine).
I have had a lot of fun eating from Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook.
You put a few prawns (cold but thawed out) and a fancily-cut cherry
tomato on some lettuce leaves. Then you pour on the sauce. The sauce is
apparently supposed to be mayonnaisse with some
tomato purée or ketchup in it, but the sauce I like is
actually a bit different, and here is how you make it.
- Put two egg yolks in a bowl with a pinch of salt and three
teaspoons of mustard, and mix it electrically for a moment.
- Drip in 200 ml of oil (sunflower or light olive) slowly while
mixing - it's like making mayonnaisse - until
it gets thick. You can pour faster once it gets going, but there's a bit
of magic involved. You're trying to make an emulsion, and the mustard helps
- Add 450 g of plain white yoghurt, crushed garlic to taste,
chopped gherkins (about 4 small ones) and chopped spring onions (about
- In the empty yoghurt pot, but two fingers of cold water, three
teaspoons of white vinegar (use vinegar without a strong taste if
possible), three teaspoons of sugar (or less if the yoghurt is sweet),
salt and pepper. Mix it up at then add it to the bowl.
- Mix everything well and then put it in the fridge for a few
That amount of sauce may be well enough for 10-12 cocktails, but it
goes with all sorts of fish and chicken. And you can add small pieces of
boiled potato to make potato salad. Just take care to eat it within a
few days because of the raw egg.
- Roast 2 red peppers - cut them in half, take off the green and white
bits, and put them in the oven skin-side up for 30 minutes at
180°C. When they're cool enough, peel them and chop them.
- Put them in a bowl with 20 g of chopped onion, a 400 g can of
tomatoes, a chopped cucumber, half a litre of vegetable stock, 3
tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and some tabasco and Worcester sauce
(about a tablespoon of each).
- Blend it all together. Add breadcrumbs to make it thicker and cold
water to make it thinner.
- Put it in the fridge for a few hours.
- Serve with hot cubes of fried bread.
- Mix 100 g of buckwheat flour, 40 g of ordinary white flour, 400 ml
of milk, 30 g of butter, a pinch of salt, and 3 eggs in a bowl and try
to get the lumps out.
- If you want to make fewer of them, try 70 g of buckwheat flour, 25 g
of ordinary white flour, 250 ml of milk, 20 g of butter, a pinch of
salt, and 2 eggs.
- Cover and leave in the fridge for half an hour.
- Make crêpes from it.
- Put stuff on them and eat them.
- Ham, eggs, and mushrooms are good, for example.
- Cook some pasta in the usual way. Penne work quite well, spaghetti
are also okay. Fresh egg tagliatelle are best. About 70 g per
- Whilst that's going on, cut the bacon up with some kitchen scissors.
I suggest that you use smoked streaky (belly) bacon rather than back
bacon, and three or four rashers is a good amount for one frying pan.
The pieces can be fairly large because they shrink when the water comes
out. Or you can cook the bacon whole and cut it up afterwards: you
can even use some paper towels to get rid of the fat if you like.
- Heat the bacon gently in a frying pan with a little bit of oil. When
it seems like the pan is warm and the bacon fat is beginning to run,
turn the heat up a bit. Cook the bacon until it's crispy.
- Optional: put a squashed clove of garlic in there with it. Also
optional: when the bacon is nearly done add some paprika.
- Drain the pasta, and get rid of the oil and fat from the frying pan.
Put the pasta and the bacon together in the same pan, whichever it will
fit into best.
- Throw in lots of parmesan and black pepper, and then the yolk of one
or two eggs. (You know how to seperate eggs, don't you? Break the shell
into two equal halves and pass the yolk from one to the other.) Stir it
all together but don't let the egg set too much.
- Serves one or two.
- Wash and then soak some basmati rice. Really, no other rice is worth
bothering with. 70 g per person, or nearer 50 g if you
have some sort of bread also.
- Chop one or two medium sized onions.
- Put a little olive oil into a large pan, heat it, and then throw the
chopped onions in. The onions must cook for at least 30 minutes. I'm
not joking. This is very important.
- So you have plenty of time to chop some fresh chilli peppers. Really
it's up to you how many to put in, but the chilli should be as strong as
you can cope with. (It's good for you.) Maybe three or four large
peppers plus seeds? And some dried ones too, whatever. But the fresh
ones are important for the taste. Or you can prepare yourself a bottle
of olive oil with lots of dried chillis in it, and just use some of
- When the 30 minutes is over, put the chillis in the pan. At this
stage you can add finely-chopped garlic too if you want.
- Also add a lot of cumin (seeds or ground, I don't mind, but seeds
need to go in earlier) and a lot of paprika. (Cumin in particular is
good for you.) And a little flour, maybe a teaspoon or so. Give it
another few minutes, but stir a lot so it doesn't stick. Maybe some
more oil is necessary at this point.
- Put in about half a kilo of lean minced beef, and spend a minute
hacking it to pieces so that you don't have large chunks of meat in
there. (Large pieces of grey boiled beef are not what we are
- Maybe more oil is needed at this point. More spices too.
- Give it another few minutes, to let the water come out of the
- Add two cans of plum tomatoes (chop them in the pan: you may ask why
we don't use tomatoes which are already chopped, to which I would reply,
“it's traditional.”) and a generous amount of tomato
concentrate. If you can get cherry tomatoes in a tin like I can here
then good for you. Also you could try using that Italian stuff which
comes in a glass bottle.
- Give it another half an hour or so, then add the kidney beans. Other
kinds of beans may work too.
- Don't add chocolate. I know this is supposed to be traditional, but
really it's a great way to screw up the flavour.
- When you think it's getting near the end you can cook the rice
(should only need a few minutes since you've been soaking it for an
hour) and heat up the tortillas and...
- Serves one, but for a whole week at least.
- Chop one or two medium sized onions.
- Put a little olive oil into a large pan, heat it, and then throw the
chopped onions in. The onions should cook for about 10 minutes.
- You can crumble in a dried chilli at this point if you like.
- Pour in a little bit of dry white wine.
- After a minute or two, put in about half a kilo of lean minced beef,
and spend a minute hacking it to pieces so that you don't have large
chunks of meat in there. (Large pieces of grey boiled beef are not what
we are after.)
- Maybe more oil is needed at this point.
- Give it plenty of time to let the water come out of the meat. Still
in something like half a teaspoon of salt. A little bit of flour
can help soak up a bit of the liquid and make the final result a
- Add a bottle of passata - that Italian tomato stuff. Since this
recipe is basically a minced beef and tomato sauce, the taste of the
passata will dominate, so you may need to try different brands until you
find one you like. I prefer the more rustic ones in which some texture
is still apparent.
- Give it another half an hour or so of gentle simmering: if it
boils you'll have tomato sauce all over your kitchen. Dried herbs,
such as basil and oregano, can go in now.
- When you think it's getting near the end you can cook the pasta:
just about any kind should work but an egg pasta such as tagliatelle may
be more in keeping with the northern-Italy experience. This ragù
can also be used in a lasagna of course. Fresh herbs and black
pepper can go in now, but to be honest fresh basil might end up
dominating a bit - use the leaves as a poncy garnish instead so
that you don't have to chop them yourself.
- Serves four or five depending on how many guests you have over.
- Chop a medium sized onion into relatively large pieces, and two
courgettes, 200 g button mushrooms, and a red pepper into
relatively small pieces.
- Fry the onion in a little olive oil, and then add the red pepper.
You can also add some garlic or celery or something if you have it lying
- Add about 300 g of minced pork, and spend a minute hacking it
to pieces so that you don't have large chunks of meat in there. (Large
pieces of grey boiled pork are not what we are after.)
- Add a pit of paprika and salt and when the meat has cooked a bit,
put in the chopped courgettes and mushrooms. Let this simmer for a bit
as the liquid starts to come out.
- Add 30-50 g of breadcrumbs and half a stock cube. If it seems
to be too solid and sticky add a little water.
- Add a squirt of tomato puree and about 8 small tomatoes,
chopped. A 400 g can of tomatoes also works.
- Slice three large red peppers vertically in half, and trim any bits
which aren't red. Lay them on a baking tray and fill with the pork
ragù thing you've just made. Sprinkle on some breadcrumbs and grana.
- Bake for 40 minutes at 180°C.
- Gnamme! with rice and then take it easy for a couple of hours.
- Serves two, three times.
- Wash and then soak some basmati rice, as for chilli.
- Chop a medium-sized onion.
- Cook the onion for about half an hour in oil, as for chilli. And the
stuff about fresh chillis applies too.
- And garlic if you like.
- Cumin too, for that matter.
- Meanwhile, chop about half a kilo of chicken breast into chunks.
Trim off and throw away the unpleasant bits.
- Mix some spices and flour together in a bowl. The spices can be
whatever you like, but I suggest paprika, cumin, coriander and turmeric
- Coat the chicken pieces with the flour/spice mix.
- After the onion has been cooking for half an hour of so and is
nicely browned, put the chicken pieces in the pan. Try to make sure that
they don't stick together, and that they get fried a bit on all sides.
You may feel like adding a bit of the flour/spice mix to the pan now,
which will give a thicker curry later.
- Then add a healthy dose of your favourite Patak's
- After a few minutes like this, add either a little water or a can of
tomatoes. Up to you.
- Keep stirring, add more water if necessary, more spices, some butter
beans if you like, or even coconut milk. Whatever. (Although I find that
coconut milk doesn't go with strong garlic flavours.)
- After half an hour or so it should be getting near the end. Add
about 20 g of chopped fresh coriander. This is very important: if
you can't get fresh coriander anywhere then just forget the whole
- So then cook the rice as for chilli, and what with naan bread from
the supermarket not being very nice just eat it with tortillas.
- Serves one, about 4 or 5 times.
It seems like you can basically put whatever meat, fish or vegetables
you have into this. It can even be made with noodles instead of rice, in
which case it becomes fideuà.
- Chop a medium sized onion, a red pepper, and a green pepper
also if you like, and start frying it all in a wide pan or wok
with some olive oil.
- Also chop about 200 g of smoked streaky bacon and put
that in too.
- A lot of water will probably come out of the bacon so you need to
insist for quite a while at high heat until it really is frying and not
- Decide what meat or fish you want to put in. I only really like
prawns (big ones which retain some flavour but need to be peeled after
defrosting) but you use whatever seafood you like from your
supermarket's freezer section. Defrost it according to the instructions,
it seems like the quicker you do it the more flavour remains. You can
also use left-over bits of chicken breast cut into small pieces, or
- Chicken can be put in now, seafood is generally precooked so only
goes in right at the end (although you can quickly fry it and take it
out again if you really want to).
- Add about 300-400 g of short-grain rice, the kind which you
would use for risotto and mix well.
- At this point saffron is traditional, but it's expensive and it
doesn't actually taste of anything so I prefer turmeric.
Paprika is also good, because it should end up more orange than
- Add water, a vegetable (or chicken or fish) stock cube, a
400 g can of chopped tomatoes, and 200 g of (frozen)
- Cook over a low heat, stirring and adding more water as it gets
absorbed. It's ok if it sticks a little bit, it's traditional.
- After something like half an hour the rice might be cooked and you
can put in the defrosted seafood, the juice of half a lemon, and
some black pepper. A few minutes later it should be ready to serve.
- Cut the rest of the lemon into slices or wedges for each plate.
- What's Catalan for “Gnamme!”?
- Serves N = (mass of rice / 80 g)
And now, some sweeties. This recipe is based on one of Mary Berry's. See also UK Student Life's
- Grease your rectangular cake or roasting tin with butter. Use a
non-stick one. Something with an area of about 0.06 m2
- Put 125 g of butter in a pan. Follow this with 90 g of
golden syrup and 90 g of light muscovado sugar. (Or brown sugar if
you're not a ponce, but it won't dissolve completely.)
- Heat it gently and mix it together.
- When it's all dissolved and mixed and everything, take it off the
heat and stir in 250 g of rolled oats. I don't know the difference
between rolled oats and not-rolled oats. Just put in some oats.
- Mix well.
- Now put it in the tin. Make a nice flat surface with some special
cake-flattening implement or what-have-you.
- It goes in the oven, at 180°C (350°F, Gas Mark 4,
450K, 40 meV, 140°Reaumur, 820°Rankine) for 30
- A few minutes after taking it out, mark in some lines with a wooden
spatula. so that it will be easier to cut into pieces later. Be careful
because it's still a bit fragile at this stage.
- Let it cool and set completely.
- If it wasn't a non-stick tin then good luck getting it out.
- Eat it all before anyone else gets their hands on it.
- Optional: add a drop of this or this when you put the oats in.
This is a classic Italian sweetie and there are recipes for it all
over the place. Some of them are quite complicated but this one isn't.
The name “tiramisù” means “pick me up”
and it's nothing to do with zuppa inglese, which is something a
bit like trifle.
- Put about 12 savoiardi (sponge fingers) in a tin roughly the same size
as the one you use for flapjack. If you want to be more elegant about it
use a glass dish, but make sure it's shallow and flat-bottomed. Not a
trifle dish, for example.
- Make two cups of espresso (a moka is fine) and sweeten them a little bit.
- Pour the coffee over the savoiardi so that it gets soaked up:
don't leave liquid in the bottom of the tin/dish.
- Now, in a bowl put 65 g of caster sugar and the whites of two
eggs and whisk until creamy but not too stiff.
- In another bowl, mix the yolks of two eggs with 250 g of mascarpone. Try to
not have any lumps of mascarpone: with a soft plastic spatula scrape the
mix off the sides of the bowl and push it towards your whisking
- Gently add the egg white to the mascarpone and yolk mix, and mix
while trying to avoid knocking all the air out.
- When you have a nice homogenous creamy mix, pour it out into the
tin/dish over the savoiardi and smooth out the surface.
- Dust the surface with (not too much) unsweetened cocoa power,
through a sieve. You can also do this the next day immediately
before serving, but I actually like the cocoa to soak up a little
bit of liquid.
- Cover the tin/dish with clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for
several hours. Overnight if possible.
- Serves one, four to six times depending on greediness.
There, you see: nice and simple. No need for brandy in the coffee, no
need for cream or milk, no need to cook anything. No messing about with
making two layers. There are raw eggs, so it's not suitable for the very
old or very young, or whiny people who are afraid of everyhing.
This is something to put on your slice of pandoro. Or you can
just eat it with a spoon and some buttery biscuits.
- Mix three egg yolks in a bowl with 70 g of sugar, 4 teaspoons
of rum and 250 g mascarpone.
- Put the whites of two eggs in another bowl and beat until
- Mix the contents of the two bowls together while trying not to knock
too much air out of it.
- Leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
There are loads of recipes for this on the internet with different
amounts of sugar in, so feel free to adjust that to taste. Seeing as the
recipe is so simple, everything depends on the taste of the sugar and of
the rum, so use decent ingredients.
- For the crumble: mix 150 g of plain flour, 60 g of fine
brown sugar, and 100 g of butter with your fingers until the butter
isn't in obvious lumps, then add 100 g of oats and keep
- For the apple: peel and chop about 1 kg of apples, then simmer
them in a pan with a bit of water, lemon juice, cinnamon and (depending
on how sweet the apples are) some sugar.
- Put the apples into a dish, sprinkle on some brown sugar, and
then put the crumble mix on.
- Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes and serve with custard
or vanilla ice cream or something.
I just thought I'd make a note of proportions which worked for
me. It's important to use your fingers for the first part and to not add
too much sugar to the apples if you're using eaters rather than cookers
(which the latter aren't available here, so I used golden delicious.)
Copyright © 2004-2011 Danny Chrastina
Last updated: 26th February 2011
Email: danny at chrastina dot net