Category Archives: coconut

beef madras

beef madras curry from sorted food

YouTube is quickly giving rise to a whole new breed of superstar; the self-made vlogger. From NineBrassMonkeys to Periodic Videos, if you’ve got something to say there’s a place for your voice. And if people like you, you’ll build a following (a quick shout out to my great mate MeganIsSleeping – go watch, subscribe and like!). This of course allows room for all hobbies, including food and cooking. I’ve given it a try myself but struggle to make it work. Some people that have found the magic formula are Sorted Food. With nearly half a million subscribers and over 35 million combined views, they’re clearly doing something right.

I was sent a printed copy of Sorted Food’s Food with Friends. On first pass everything reads a little ordinary, but looking again there’s surprising time-saving ingenuity at play – tapenade as a duxelle substitute in a Wellington, tinned oysters in a gratin, BLT in tortilla form. In terms of writing all the instructions are bold and brash with laddish overtones, featuring plenty of SQUEEZE this and SPLASH that. There’s definitely a debt to Jamie Oliver in the style, but it may put some off.

As a fan of the channel, Spud Jr took over this one. We left this simmering for 90 minutes but there was definitely something missing from the flavour, it lacked depth. I had to tone down the chilli content for the family so the tomato was the dominant flavour. It took a little boost from powdered coconut to add a rich sweetness (I love  this stuff from Maggi’s and have always got a box handy for coconut rice, Thai dishes or cake mixes). The instructions are slightly off on this recipe, referencing a paste which you may not realise you’ve just created in previous steps. My beef also wasn’t tender in 90 minutes, so this recipe would need someone confident dealing with casseroling meat to know it may take longer. I reckon with patience 4 hours would make this melting and delicious.

This are nitpicks really, from someone who’s spent a long time in the kitchen. If you’re looking for a great core of recipes you’re likely to actually want to make in an accessible style, this would be a good start. With recipes at the more humble end of budgets and a focus on fast food (the good kind!), this would be a great book to slide into a student’s bag before they head off to Uni (or gift them the Kindle version).

If you want to give it a try, The Ultimate Barbie from the Sorted crew is free to download for Kindle. Thanks to Penguin for the book.

Beef madras (serves 4):

2 onions, peeled

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon chilli powder

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 lemon

800g diced beef

4 tablespoons tomato puree

200ml beef stock

1 tin tomatoes

2 tablespoons powdered coconut

For the leek garnish:

½ a leek

1 tablespoon cornflour

  1. Get a large lidded casserole on the hob over a high heat. Season the beef and fry all over until browned.
  2. While the beef browns, in a food processor blitz the onion, garlic and ginger to a paste. Add the salt and some pepper, the chilli, coriander, lemon and fennel and whizz for a second or two to recombine. Add this to the browned beef and continue to fry until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes and stock, stir well to combine and then cover. SImmer on a low heat for 60 minutes and stir in the coconut. After 90 minutes check to see if the beef is tender.
  4. For the leek garnish, slice the leek into fine strips and dust with cornflour. In a generous amount of oil fry the leek strips for a minute on each side then drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with salt and scatter over the curry. Serve with creme fraiche and basmati rice.

tuna with greens and coconut rice

tuna with greens and coconut rice

I’m certain people who cook a lot, like me, ponder something along these lines: when you really enjoy a dinner, one that you made, what made it special? Was it the choice ingredients, or the exotic technique you used… or was it the company? Heston talks often about this theory – the atmosphere of a meal – and how you can recapture it. It’s often impossible.

I love having friends over for dinner. This occasion was a reunion of very old colleagues who had been through various trials together and come out as good friends on the other side. I took the rare opportunity to cook some fish and heaved a great pile of broadly-Asian-flavoured tuna and rice in front of us, and we all dug in. I know I cooked it, but I really enjoyed the meal. And I’d like to think it was the rare tuna, the fruity rice, or savoury greens, but I suspect that took a sideline to tales of disastrous bike rides, hasty pool tournaments and broken chopsticks. That’s what I enjoyed.

Tuna with greens and coconut rice (serves 3):

1 large mugful of rice

1 heaped tablespoon instant coconut milk powder

450g diced tuna (sustainably sourced, please)

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoons cumin seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

A few mixed green crunchy veg, e.g. tenderstem broccoli, sugar snap peas

1 large bag of spinach

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Soy sauce, to serve

Bunch of coriander, chopped

Chilli flakes, to serve

Lime wedges, to serve

  1. Get a saucepan over a medium heat and add the rice, coconut powder and twice the amount of boiling water to rice. Cover and simmer while you do everything else. When the water has subsided taste and check for seasoning.
  2. Get another frying pan very hot. While it heats up, crush the seeds along with salt and pepper together lightly. Scatter on to a chopping board and roll the tuna pieces all over to cover. When the pan is hot add a dash of oil and then stir fry the tuna for about 90 secs, until all sides are coloured. Remove to one side.
  3. Add the crunchy veg to the pan and toss for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and add the oyster sauce, and then the spinach. Toss together briefly until the spinach wilts. Serve everything in a great pile, adding a drizzle of soy sauce and a sprinkle of coriander to everything, and plonk chilli and lime on the side for guests to pimp their own.

coley korma

coley korma

I’ve been watching the recent fish campaign fronted by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay with great interest. Hugh’s documentaries were particularly memorable: following a fishing boat and watching aghast as tons of dead cod is tossed back into the ocean. Why? Because they have already exceeded their cod quota. Senseless, wasteful and frustrating. I watched most of it with tears in my eyes. I recommend you have a look at the Fish Fight website to find out more – why not sign up while you’re there?

The campaign has got the nation out and voting with their wallets. M&S reported their biggest week of fish sales in all their years of trading. Let’s hope the campaign continues to be a success and the ridiculous quota system is overhauled.

You may have noticed this blog contains little in the way of fish recipes. Sadly whilst I am a massive fan of fish, no others in the Roast Potato household are. Therefore fish is a real treat for me reserved for nights in alone. Tonight was one of those nights.

One of Jamie’s recipes in the series caught my eye: coley korma. Coley is a sweet and delicious fish, very reminiscent of cod but dirt cheap. Give it a whirl.

Jamie’s original recipe is here.

Coley korma:

4 coley steaks

1/3 jar of Patak’s korma paste

200ml coconut milk

1 mugful of rice

A couple of cloves

A couple of cardamom pods, cracked

Handful of coriander leaves, shredded

Half a cinnamon stick

  1. Get the rice on – chuck the rice in a saucepan with the spices, a splash of oil and some salt. Add twice the amount of boiling water to rice (so, two mugfuls) and simmer over a medium heat for ten minutes. After this time turn off the heat and pop the lid on for a further ten minutes to steam.
  2. Spread half the paste over the back of one of the steaks. Place in a hot pan and sizzle on one side for a couple of minutes. Flip over, add the rest of the paste and the coconut milk. Allow to simmer for a further 7 – 10 minutes until the fish flakes apart. Scatter over coriander and serve with the rice.

thai chicken curry with kung po rice

thai chicken curry with kung po rice

Having both rice and curry paste in the cupboard to use up, I played with the idea of Thai green curry to create a lifting and tasty midweek meal. Using some Tilda Kung Po stir fry rice and other bits and bobs lying around, I lucked on to something pretty nice.

Thai chicken curry with Kung Po rice:

2 chicken legs

Dark soy sauce

1 courgette, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

1 packet Kung Po stir fry rice

For the sauce:

1 teaspoon Thai green paste

1 can coconut milk

500ml chicken stock

Fish sauce to taste

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Shake some soy sauce over the chicken legs and rub all over. Pop in the oven for 40 mins until crisp and cooked through. Shred the meat off the bone with two forks.
  3. Put the paste in a pan and sizzle for a minute, then add the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer to reduce.
  4. In a separate pan fry the courgette and pepper in a little oil until tender, then add the chicken meat. Add the rice and cook for a further minute. Combine with the sauce and serve.

tikka paste

tikka paste

After garam masala, the next logical step is to make some tikka paste as the basis for a curry.

tikka masala pasteInto a blender went: my garam masala, a smal piece of ginger, two garlic cloves, a squeeze of tomato puree, a de-seeded green chilli, paprika, a touch of cayenne, touch of cumin, fresh coriander, dessicated coconut, ground almonds, smoked sea salt, and a splash of veg oil to bind it together. Whiz it up, and I’ve got this pungent mix bursting with potential. What will become of it?!