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


Massaman is a Thai beef curry from the south of the country where there is a sizeable Muslim community. 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.