Spiced Lamb Meatballs In A Stewed Tomato And Aubergine Sauce.

Spiced lamb meatballs cooked in a stewed tomato and aubergine sauce, served on a bed of couscous and garnished with herbs and toasted almonds.

This dish is the first time I have been genuinely happy with meatballs I have made, both the flavour and the texture are spot on. This is a fairly quick and simple meal to prepare, but has a depth of flavour that tastes like it has taken all day to prepare.

Firstly a spice mix is prepared from coriander seeds, cumin seeds and smoked sweet paprika – the spices are toasted until aromatic then ground in a spice grinder. Sliced almonds are then dry roasted in a pan until they are toasted on both sides, these give both a wonderful flavour and texture to the final dish.

Meatballs are then made in a small food processor which gives a smooth well mixed meatball, they are flavoured with some of the spice mix, salt, mint, parsley, onion and garlic. Some breadcrumbs and egg are used to help bind the meatballs. Once blitzed into a smooth paste, they are rolled, placed in a fridge for 10 minutes then browned in some hot oil. They are then removed from the oil and set aside as they are finished in the wonderful sauce which comes next.

The sauce is made from first frying garlic, onion, a red chilli and a peeled diced aubergine. Once softened some spice mix is added along with some diced peeled plum tomatoes. A little salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, some chicken stock, parsley and coriander leaf is added, then the meatballs. The pan is covered and left to stew on a low heat for 25 minutes, during which some couscous is prepared using chicken stock for extra flavour.

The meatballs are served on a bed of couscous, garnished with the toasted almonds and a lemon wedge.

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Serves Two

Cooking time less than 40 minutes

Ingredients and method

Toasted spices and almonds

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tbsp. sliced almonds

Method: place a dry frying pan over a medium low heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and toast for approx. 5 minutes until aromatic, shake the pan frequently to turn the seeds and ensure they do not burn. Transfer to a spice grinder along with the smoked paprika and grind until a smooth powder is formed. Set aside for cooking.

In the same pan add the sliced almonds then increase the heat and toast the almonds until coloured on both sides, again shake the pan frequently to ensure even cooking. Set aside to garnish the dish later.

Meatballs

250g lamb mince

1 small brown onion

1.5 tsp spice mix

0.5 tsp salt

8 mint leaf’s

1 tbsp. chopped parsley leaf

3 cloves garlic

3 tbsp. breadcrumbs

1 egg

2-3 tbsp. vegetable oil

Method: Add the ingredients to a small food processor, blitz until combined and a smooth thick paste like consistency is formed.

Use wet hands to portion and roll the meatballs into small balls, about half the size of a golf ball is best in my opinion. I find it helpful to have a bowl of warm water to dip my hands into as wet hands make rolling the meatballs much easier.

Once rolled place on a flat plate, cover and place in a fridge for 10 minutes.

Remove from the fridge, then warm 2-3 tbsp. of oil in a wide frying pan. Fry the meatballs in batches so that there is plenty room in the frying pan. Brown the meatballs, then place them on some absorbent paper, set aside ready to add to the sauce.

Tomato and Aubergine Sauce

1 onions – diced

3 plum tomatoes –  skin, dice

3 cloves garlic – crush, chop

1 red chilli – deseed, dice

1 Aubergine – skin, dice

Rest of spice mixture

0.5 tsp salt

Handful coriander leaf – chopped

Handful parsley – chopped

150ml chicken stock

Juice of 1/4 lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil

Method: Heat a large deep frying pan (one with a lid) over a medium high heat and add 2 tbsp. olive oil. Once hot add the diced onion, chilli and aubergine, stir frequently and cook until the onions soften. Add the spice mixture and salt and stir through.

Next add the diced tomato, stock and herbs, stir through and bring to a simmer. Add the browned meatballs, lemon juice and stir through the sauce. Bring back to a simmer, place a lid on the pan, reduce heat and leave to simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Couscous

120g couscous

350ml chicken stock

Method: place the couscous and chicken stock in a sauce pan (one with a lid), bring the pan to the boil, reduce heat to low and leave until the couscous has absorbed all the liquid. Remove lid and fluff up with a fork prior to serving.

Serving

Place a bed of couscous on the plate, ladle the meatballs and sauce on top then garnish with the toasted almonds.

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Mexican dishes

 

Mexican Chilli Soup with Cheese Quesadillas

Mexican Soup

Mexican Prawn and Crab Soup

Spiced Bean Soup

Fantastic Tomato and Avocado Salsa

Tomato and orange pepper salsa

Spiced Coriander, Lime and Chilli dressing

Crab salsa taco bites with roasted refried bean stuffed Peppers

Grilled steak rice salad with spiced coriander dressing

Mexican Carne con Chile, Red Pepper Rice and Salsa

Fish Tacos

Blackened Salmon with flame roasted vegetable rice salad

Chicken enchiladas with tomato and guajillo chilli sauce

Spiced Chicken and Rice

Huevos Nachos

 

 

 

 

Dahl Curry, Basmati Rice with Cucumber and Mint Riata

A wonderfully spiced and authentic tasting lentil curry with carrot and potatoes. Served with Basmati rice and a delicious cucumber and mint riata.

Sorry I haven’t written many recipes lately as I have been extremely busy, however I think I have made up for the delay with this one. Tastes like it is straight from a very good Indian restaurant, and it is so easy to make!

I also served this with shop bough roti breads, these are entirely optional.

Serves two

Cooking time 45-50 minutes

Ingredients and Method

Broken down into three sections – curry, rice and riata. It is best to soak the rice before you start, add make the riata and finish the rice as the lentils simmer.

Dahl curry

100g red lentils – rinsed thoroughly

50g potato – peel, cut into 3-4cm cubes, pre cook in boiling water for 6-7 minutes

3 red onions – diced

1 carrot – thinly slice on diagonal

15g ginger – peel and grate

6 gloves garlic – crushed 

5 green cardamom pods

5 cloves

6 fresh curry leaves

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp ground fenugreek

1/4 tsp asafoetida

1 bay leaf

2 round tomatoes – cut into 1/8ths

2 sliced green chillies

1/2 tsp salt

water – approx. 500ml of water, enough to submerge lentils.

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

3tbs roughly chopped coriander leaf

Method: Start by heating the vegetable oil over a medium heat, once hot add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and the curry leaves. The leaves should sizzle and keep heating until the mustard seeds start to pop, a bit like popcorn.

Add the onion, chilli, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, cloves and cardamom pods then fry, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes until onions soften and start to colour.

Add the lentils, turmeric, fenugreek and asafoetida then stir well until combined. Fry for 1-2 minutes stirring frequently.

Now add approx. 500ml of water (around the same volume as mixture in the pan, enough to submerge the lentils) and bring to the boil, stirring frequently so lentils don’t catch on the pan. Once boiled and add the pre cooked potatoes, carrot and salt then cover pan and simmer for around 35-40 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent lentils catching and burning.

You may want to adjust the seasoning or thickness of the sauce to your preference, either by adding more water or cooking uncovered for a few minutes to cook the liquid off. Before serving add the sliced tomatoes and coriander – cooking just long enough to warm the tomatoes through but not long enough to cook them (not long enough that skins start to peel).

Ladle into bowls or Balti dishes and enjoy!

Basmati rice

120g basmati rice – rinse well and soak in water for 30 minutes before cooking

Method: soak the rinsed rice in water for around 30 minutes, this plumps up the rice and makes a real difference.

Once soaked cook the rice in the same volume of water as the rice in a covered pan for 10-12 minutes or until rice absorbs all the water.

Fluff up the rice before serving.

 

Cucumber and Mint Riata

150g greek yogurt

1/4 lime – juice only

40g cucumber – peel, deseed, finely dice

5-6 mint leaves – bruise then chop

salt – just a pinch

Method: start by peeling, deseeding then finely dicing the cucumber. Many recipes will call for this to be grated, however I prefer the texture of the diced cucumber. Lay the diced cucumber on a clean kitchen towel or absorbent paper and the place more on top. Press gently and leave for 10-15 minutes to remove excess liquid.

In a bowl mix the yogurt, lime juice, cucumber, mint and a pinch of salt. Cover and set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.

This is best eaten the same day but will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days – any leftovers make a great dip for chips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stir fried Scallops with Roe sauce

Stir fried scallops and vegetables with a delicious scallop roe sauce.

A recipe of my own design. Stir fried scallops with green beans, onion red pepper and spring onion. Served with a delicious sauce made from scallop roe, chilli, garlic, ginger, honey, oyster sauce, dark soy, Shaoxing and vinegar.

Serve with boiled rice, fried rice or noodles.

Serves two

Preparation 15 minutes, cooking time less than 10 minutes

Ingredients and method

For scallop roe sauce:

Roe from King scallops – from 4-6 scallops

1 large red chilli – remove stalk and seeds

4 cloves garlic – peel

Thumb of ginger – peel, cut into matchsticks (for smoother sauce)

2 dessert spoons honey

2 dessert spoons dark soy sauce

2 dessert spoons oyster sauce

1 dessert spoon Shaoxing rice wine

1 dessert spoon vinegar

Method: Use a mini chopper or food processor to blitz into a smooth sauce. Retain ready to add to the wok.

 

For the main dish:

4-6 King scallops – slice in half 

1 small carrot – peel, cut into 3-4cm batons

1/2 a red bell pepper – dice

1 medium size white onion – peel and slice

3 spring onions – slice white on diagonal, keep green tails for garnish (slice very thinly)

10-12 green beans – trim ends and cut into 3-4cm batons

3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil – 2 tbsp. for frying scallops, 1-2 tbsp.  for the dish

1 red chilli – slice for garnish

Method: Start by frying the scallops. Heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil in the wok over a high heat, once oil is smoking hot add the scallops. Cook for 60-90 seconds on each side, until some caramelisation appears, then remove from wok and drain on absorbent paper. Wipe the wok clean ready to cook the dish.

Heat 1-2 tbsp. of oil in the wok over a high heat until smoking hot. Add the peppers, onion, green beans and spring onion and stir fry for 2 minutes. Next add the scallop roe sauce and stir through the vegetables, keep on a high heat and stir fry the sauce for a further 3 minutes, until the sauce starts to reduce and thicken slightly. Add the cooked scallops and finish them in the sauce for a further minute.

Serve immediately with rice or noodles, using the thinly sliced spring onion greens and sliced chilli for a garnish. Enjoy!

 

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Thai King Prawn Curry

King Prawns cooked in a delicious Thai red curry sauce.

This is a quick and easy recipe to make a delicious Thai prawn curry, although you can substitute the prawns for chicken, pork, white fish or tofu if you are a vegetarian. Serve with boiled fragrant jasmine rice.

The authentic flavours come form a wonderful homemade curry paste, like all good Thai curries. There are quite a few ingredients in the paste, however they are perfectly balance and can be used in many other dishes. All the ingredients I use are easily obtained in Scotland from your local Asian supermarket, and increasingly your regular supermarket.

  For this recipe you only need half the paste, the other half can be stored in fridge for up to five days, or frozen for next time. You can also use the paste to marinade chicken before roasting, or as I did marinade tiger prawns then roast them in the curry paste – just amazing!

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Serves Two people

Preparation 10 minutes, cooking time 10-12 minutes

 

Ingredients and method

For the curry paste:

4 large red chillies – remove stalk  and seeds

6 bird eye chillies – remove stalk and seeds

3 red onions – peel, roughly dice

Thumb sized piece root ginger – peel, roughly chop

2 sticks lemongrass – bruise, remove outer husk and thinly slice

1 medium sized garlic bulb – peel each clove

2 tbsp. cashew nuts

Juice of 2 limes

2 lime leafs

2 tbps ketchup manis

2 tbsp. oyster sauce

1 tbsp. dark soy sauce

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tbsp. coriander stalks

3 tbsp. desiccated coconut

3 tbsp. brown sugar

3 cardamom pods

3 cloves

Method: Use a mini blender or food processor to blitz all the ingredients into a smooth paste. Cutting the harder and more fibrous ingredients such as the ginger and lemongrass helps for a smoother paste. You can also do this the authentic Thai way by using a mortar and pestle – unfortunately due to my disabilities I can no longer do this.

You only need half the paste for this recipe, to store the other half either freeze it (does not effect the flavour like some claim) or store it in a refrigerated airtight container for up to 5 days.

For the main dish:

Half the curry paste

150-200ml coconut milk

50ml water

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

225g Raw king prawns – Shells removed, devein

1 large red chilli – remove stalk, thinly slice

6-8 large Mint leaves – bruise, thinly sliced

2 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander leaf

Method: Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a wide deep frying pan or wok over a high heat. Add the curry paste, reduce heat to medium and stir fry for 6-8 minutes until the paste is very aromatic. If it begins to catch add a little of the water to loosen the sauce.

Add the water and 150ml coconut milk to the sauce along with the mint leaves, increase the heat until the sauce begins to boil then reduce to a simmer for 2-3 minutes. Taste test the sauce, add a little extra coconut milk if you wish but keep some to drizzle over the dish. Add the prawns and poach them in the sauce for 1-2 minutes, until they change from grey to pink and sauce starts to bubble again.

To complete the dish sprinkle the chopped coriander and sliced chillies on top, and drizzle a swirl of coconut milk on top (1-2 tbsp.). Serve straight away with some fragrant boiled jasmine rice.

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Carrot and Coriander Curry with King Prawns

A curry made with carrot and coriander soup base, onions, potatoes, garlic, cardamom, chilli, tomatoes and jumbo king prawns.

I have always liked carrot and coriander soup and thought that it would make an excellent base for a curry. I did a little experimenting and came up with this recipe – which exceeded my very high expectations. It has a wonderful earthy, warming flavour without being too spicy. I added potatoes and some King prawns to make this a really satisfying dish, both take on the flavours really well. The addition of chilli, garlic and cardamom adds a new depth of flavour to the dish, which is my new favourite curry!

I used the leftover Carrot and Coriander Soup in this recipe.

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Serves two people

Preparation and cooking time 45 minutes

 

Ingredients and method

300-400ml carrot and coriander soup – please use Carrot and Coriander Soup

200g raw jumbo king prawns

125g potatoes – peel, cut into small pieces

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 medium size white onions – peel, thinly slice

6 gloves garlic – peel, finely chop

2 large red chillies – remove stalk and seeds, finely chop

4 green cardamom pods

1 small carrot – peel, thinly slice

2 round tomatoes – cut into thin crescents (1/8ths)

3 tbsp. chopped coriander leaf

Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Start by par boiling the potato pieces for 7-8 minutes in well salted water, then drain and set aside.

In a deep wide pan heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil over a medium hot heat. Add the sliced onions and fry for 5 minutes, stirring frequently (a little colour on some is good). Add the drained potatoes and stir well so they are all coated in the oil, continue to fry for a further 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Next add the sliced carrot garlic, chilli, generous amount of ground black pepper and cardamom, stir well and continue to fry for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently – be gentle so you don’t break up the potatoes.

Add the carrot and coriander soup and stir through the fried ingredients. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. After this taste test and add salt if required, as there is salt in the soup you should need very little.

The other ingredients – the prawns, tomatoes and coriander are added at the last minute so they do not overcook. Add the prawns first and stir through the sauce, as soon as they start to turn pink add the tomatoes and coriander, stir gently through the sauce. Increase heat slightly and as soon as the sauce starts to bubble it is ready to serve. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!