Orange, almond and yoghurt loaf


Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease a small loaf tin with plenty butter and dust the inside with flour.

Using the paddle attachment on an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest until the mixture is soft and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each one.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Tip these dry ingredients into the creamed mixture in two batches and whisk together on a low speed until just mixed. Mix in the yogurt and two extracts.

Pour this batter into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

The best prawn curry

best prawn curry


This is really is the best prawn curry. The curry leaves give it a great depth of flavour. You can find jars of dried ones quite easily in the supermarket. If you don’t like prawns, you can use diced chicken breast instead.

Heat a good splash of oil in a pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds. Once they start popping, add the curry leaves followed by the onion. Lower the heat and cook the onions, stirring, until they are golden brown and soft.

Next, add the ginger, garlic, chilli, fenugreek and turmeric with a good pinch of salt. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes. Continue to cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have softened. Add a little water if the spices start to catch.

Once the tomatoes have cooked out, add the coconut milk. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, uncovered, to let the sauce thicken and reduce. It should be the consistency of double cream.

Add the tamarind paste and stir well. Bring back up to heat and add the prawns and potato. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the prawns are cooked. Add the spinach and allow to wilt in the heat of the sauce. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Serve with basmati rice and garnish with the fresh coriander.


The Earl Grey cocktail

Earl Grey cocktail


A great summer cocktail as made by Aberdeen mixologist, Alex Garrow!

Infuse the teabag in the gin for 1 minute. Discard the teabag.

Put the flavoured gin in a cocktail shaker with the lemon juice and honey. Shake well.

Strain into a flute and top up with champagne. Garnish with the lemon zest if using. Enjoy!

Cauliflower bhajis

cauliflower bhaji


Serves 4 as a starter.

Put the cauliflower in a frying pan with 100ml water, the onion, knob of butter and a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and leave to cook. When the water has evaporated, add the spices and let them cook out with the cauliflower and onion, making sure everything is well coated. Leave to cool.

Warm the milk in a pan and add the saffron. Take off the heat then add a good pinch of salt and some black pepper. When it has cooled a bit, add the egg and the gram flour. Mix to make a batter and then add in the cauliflower mixture. Mix well but carefully, so the cauliflower doesn’t break up too much.

Fill a wok or large pan one-third full with oil. When hot, drop in tablespoons of the cauliflower batter and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning regularly until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately.

These are good served just with some salad and a wedge of lemon. Alternatively, you could make a yogurt dip – mix some natural yogurt with a squeeze of lemon, chopped cucumber, chopped fresh mint and coriander.


Dean’s sweet and sour curry

prawn curry


Put the tomato puree and Greek yogurt into a bowl and add the garam masala, chilli powder, garlic, mango chutney, salt and sugar, if using. Stir until they are thoroughly mixed together.

Heat the oil in a deep round-bottomed frying pan or a large karahi. Lower the heat slightly and pour in the spice mixture. Bring to the boil and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chicken pieces and stir until they are well coated. Add the water to thin the sauce slightly. Continue cooking until the chicken is tender.  Add half the fresh chillies, half the fresh coriander and the cream and cook for a further 2 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer to a warmed serving dish and garnish with the remaining chillies and coriande

Spiced lamb and coconut pilaf



In a heavy-bottomed casserole dish with a lid, fry the onion, garlic and ginger in the groundnut oil until soft and slightly coloured.

Add the lamb mince and brown. Next, add the rice and spices with a pinch of salt and stir well. Pour in the stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has been mostly absorbed. Add the peas and cook for a further 2 minutes. Check the seasoning, squeeze over the lemon or lime and garnish with the coriander.

Sweet and sour chicken

sweet and sour chicken


Make this sweet and sour chicken recipe and you will never eat that luminous gloop from the take-away again! You can also make it with pork or prawns.

Start by ‘velveting’ the chicken (see cook’s tip). To do this, put the chicken, egg white, cornflour and rice wine, if using, into aa small bowl. Mix really well and leave to marinate at room temperature while you get everything else ready. Don’t put it in the fridge or it will harden.

In another bowl, mix up the sauce ingredients along with 2 tbsp of water. Set aside.

Heat about 100ml groundnut oil in a wok until smoking. Fry the chicken in batches until nice and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Pour out all but about a tablespoonful or so of the oil. Bring back up to heat and stir fry the spring onions, peppers, carrots, garlic and ginger for a few minutes. Add the tomato and pineapple and fry for a few minutes more. Next, add the sauce and bring to the boil. Return the chicken to the wok and allow to bubble for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and everything is cooked through.

Serve with steamed rice.

Malaysian spiced lamb curry

Malaysian spiced lamb


This is a really great Malaysian spiced lamb curry, beautifully spiced with a creamy coconut sauce and a fresh zing from the mint. Apologies for the slightly blurry picture…must have been the wine!

Split the cardamom pods and extract the seeds. Roughly crush the seeds with the cumin seeds and chilli flakes using a pestle and mortar, then mix in the coriander and paprika.

Roughly chop two of the onions and whizz in a blender with the garlic and ginger to form a paste. Add the spices and mix well. Slice the remaining onion and fry in the oil in a large pan for about 5 minutes until soft and lightly coloured. Add the spice paste and cook gently, stirring, for 5 minutes until darkened slightly.

Add the lamb to the pan and stir well to coat in the spices. Pour in enough water to just cover the meat (about 350ml) and plenty salt and pepper. Next, add the cinnamon stick and star anise. Cover and simmer slowly for 1 and a half to 2 hours until the lamb is really tender.

For the last half hour, add the coconut milk and allow to simmer with the lid off to thicken slightly. Taste to check the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.

When ready to serve, add the mint and mix through. Serve with basmati rice and a squeeze of lime.

Salmon in a light fragrant broth


Put the stock, lemongrass, shallots, chilli, mushrooms and sugar into a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, halve each salmon fillet lengthways and season well. Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the salmon, skin side down and sear for 2-3 minutes until the skin is crisp. Turn over and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes, until heated through but still pink in the middle.

Wilt the spinach in the broth for 10 seconds then remove with tongs and divide between four warm shallow soup bowls. Arrange the salmon on top. Add fish sauce and lime juice to the broth then spoon round the salmon. Serve with a wedge of lime to squeeze over.

Smoked fish pate

Smoked mackerel pate is amazing with oat biscuits and perfect for Christmas party nibbles.  This will take ten minutes to make which means there is more time for gin o clock! Continue reading “Smoked fish pate”

Spiced Parsnip Soup

parsnip soup


Heat the oven to 200C. Grind the cumin and coriander seeds, chilli flakes and a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar. Put parsnips in a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and scatter over the spice mixture. Toss the parsnips well to coat them. Roast in the oven for about half an hour or until soft and golden.

Meanwhile, fry the onion and celery in a pan until soft and slightly coloured. Add the potato and lentils and mix through. Add the stock and the roasted parsnips. Simmer until lentils are cooked, about 20 mins. Use a stick blender to whizz until smooth.

Spicy butternut squash soup


Heat the oven to 200C. Grind the coriander seeds, chilli flakes and a good pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar. Put the squash in a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over the spice mixture and mix to coat well.

Roast in the oven until the squash is soft and golden at the edges.

Meanwhile, fry off the onions until soft, add the curry powder, lentils and stock and simmer. Add the squash when it is cooked and simmer until the lentils are cooked, about 20-30 mins. Add a pinch of garam masala and blend well with a stick blender until smooth.
(Use vegetable stock instead of chicken if you want this to be a vegetarian dish)

Pea, prawn and mint risotto

Pea, prawn and mint risotto


Heat the stock in a pan and keep on a low heat.
Gently fry the onion and celery in olive oil in a frying pan taking care not to colour. Add a good pinch of salt and stir well until vegetables have softened.  Add garlic and fry for a couple of minutes.
Add rice and mix well with the vegetables so that the grains are well coated in oil and glistening. Add the wine and reduce until almost evaporated.

Then start adding the stock, a ladle at a time, making sure that each ladleful is absorbed before adding the next, stirring well.

Before all stock is added, add peas and prawns. The rice is cooked when it is soft but still with a bite. At the end, add the herbs, butter and some of the parmesan and stir well. Check seasoning and leave to sit in the pan for a few minutes before serving.

Serve in bowls – sprinkle with rest of parmesan and squeeze over a little lemon juice to taste.

Greek stifado

Greek stifado


Cut the meat into chunks and lightly coat in the flour. Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil in a large casserole pan and fry the meat in batches until it is browned.

Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add onions to the pan and fry for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Return the meat to the pan and add the wine. Cook until wine has all but evaporated.

Add tomatoes, tomato puree, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and oregano. Add half a tin of water. Mix well, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2-3 hours. Check seasoning and add parsley before serving.