Moussaka (as made by Patrick Leigh Fermor’s housekeeper)

This recipe comes from Rick Stein’s TV series From Venice to Istanbul. This featured in the programme where he visited the home of the late Patrick Leigh Fermor and ate a moussaka cooked by PLF’s housekeeper, Elpida Beloyannis. Continue reading

Baked sea bream with potatoes, tomatoes and white wine

Baked sea bream

This is a nice way to cook a whole fish per person.

The ingredients are:

1 sea bream per person,
Pre-cooked sliced new potatoes
Sliced red onions
Sliced tomatoes
1 glass of dry white wine (I used Gros Plant du Pais Nantais)
Slices of lemon, cut into half moons
The juice of half a lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Herbed olive oil

For the herbed oil, I mixed a teaspoonful of pistou (you could use pesto, or whizz up some basil leaves with oil in a blender) with some extra virgin olive oil.

In an oven-proof dish, layer the potatoes, onion and tomatoes and season.

Make a few slashes on one side of the fish and put a half slice of lemon in each slash. Put the fish on top of the vegetables. Season again and pour over the lemon juice and wine.

Then drizzle with olive oil and bake in a 170C oven until the fish is cooked.

Serve in a shallow dish, to take the juices, drizzled with the herbed olive oil and garnished with chopped parsley. Aioli would work well with this and a glass of the same wine you cooked with would be even nicer.

Massaman-style chicken and potato curry

I like potatoes in a curry, they absorb the spicy flavours perfectly.

Massaman is a Thai style of curry that comes from the southern, Muslim, part of the country. It is traditionally made with beef, but it works well with pork (obviously non-Muslim) and chicken too.

You can buy ready made Massaman pastes in oriental shops but I also like the yellow Thai curry pastes as well, which seem to have a similar fragrance and flavour to a Massaman paste but are lighter in colour.

This curry used chicken thigh meat and new potatoes, red chillies, garlic, chopped onion, a tablespoon of yellow curry paste, a tablespoon of fish sauce, 400ml of coconut milk, a small can of coconut cream and some bought crisp fried shallots.

I sautéed the onions, garlic and chillies in hot oil in a wok and then added the potatoes and chicken, cooking until the meat had lost the pinkness. Then I added in the paste and fish sauce, stirring so that everything was coated.

Then I added in the coconut milk and simmered until the meat was done and the potatoes soft. Then, I added in the creamed coconut and let in heat through.

You need a fair amount of sauce, because you want a soupy consistency.

I served the curry with crisp shallots and jasmine rice.

Indian-spiced roast chicken

Basically this is just a variation on roast chicken, but it owes something to trying to cook tandoori chicken. Jamie Oliver also did something similar on his recent British food series on TV.

You make a paste with crushed ginger and garlic, powdered cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, Kashmiri chilli powder, salt and black pepper with sunflower oil.

Then you stab the chicken all over with a knife and rub the paste into the bird.

Wrap it in foil and leave for a couple of hours.

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/180C and roast the wrapped chicken for an hour and then open the foil and roast the chicken for about another 45 minutes to an hour.

You can serve this with rice and maybe some curried vegetables, salad and flatbreads, panchporan potatoes or anything else you think will work.

We had salad and panchporan potatoes.

I made the potatoes by parboiling some floury potatoes and draining them. Then I heated up some oil and added in a couple of teaspoons of panchporan mix and a few dried red chillies.

Then I fried the potaoes on gentle heat with turmeric and salt until they were crisp and golden.

Turkey escalopes with asparagus, spinach and potatoes

Hardly a recipe required here but a nice easy and relatively quick midweek dinner.

Some plain new potatoes, poached asparagus and steamed spinach make good accompaniments to some small escalopes of turkey breast fillet, coated in flour, egg and panko crumbs and deep-fried until golden and crisp – about four minutes in oil at 180C.

You could do all kinds of accompaniments to escalopes like these; pasta and pesto would work, or pasta with a tomato sauce.

You could also serve them with potato croquettes and a cheese and mustard sauce, or a mushroom and cream sauce.

They are also nice cold, in a baguette with crisp lettuce and some mayonnaise or tartare sauce.

Turkey breast meat is lean and cheap and is ideal for cooking in this way, because the crumb coating helps to keep the meat moist and the quick cooking stops it drying out as well.