Category Archives: garlic

turkey masala burgers

turkey masala burgers with sweet potato wedges and cauliflower pickle

A turkey isn’t just for Christmas. It’s for all year round.

That was the message put out by the British Turkey board. Headed up by Paul Kelly – a good Essex boy – me and a bunch of others were entertained as a guest of Cyrus Todiwala to help promote the use of turkey throughout the year. Cyrus was an affable host, preparing dinner and chatting away. We were blown away by dishes like turkey heart pie and turkey cafreal tikka. All of us were stuffed with the amount of turkey dishes served, it really did showcase the bird!

It inspired me to cook an Indian-flavoured dinner. I have to be honest and say I’d not used turkey outside of December for a few years; it’s appearance in supermarkets seems to have declined. I would quite often but the breast strips for marinating, stir frying or for pies. Using mince here I made a burger with rich masala flavours, inspired by Cyrus Todiwala’s tikka recipe. I marinated mine in clotted cream, because I had some knocking about, but traditionally you’d use yoghurt.

My turkey here was succulent and meaty, and supported by spiced flavours it was a real hit. I will definitely be putting turkey in my basket more regularly.

Based on a recipe by Cyrus Todiwala

Turkey masala burgers (serves 4):

800g British turkey mince

¼ teaspoon turmeric

2 heaped tablespoons clotted cream

40g ginger

4 cloves garlic

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon red chilli powder

Juice of 1 lime

½ teaspoon garam masala

For the sweet potatoes:

5 sweet potatoes, scrubbed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

For the cauliflower pickle:

400g frozen cauliflower

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

½ red onion, peeled and sliced

Burger buns and mango chutney, to serve

  1. Season the mince with the turmeric and plenty of salt and pepper. Combine well then form into 4 patties, and leave covered in the fridge while you make the marinade.
  2. Bash up the garlic and ginger with the cumin, coriander and chilli powder in a pestle and mortar until you have a paste. Add the lime juice and cream and mix well to combine. Smother the turkey patties in the marinade, cover (twice!) and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C, get a saucepan over a high heat and the grill on medium high. Slice the potatoes into wedges, dust with the cumin and drizzle with oil. Roast for 30 – 40 mins, turning frequently until starten to blacken at the edges. Sprinkle salt over as they come out of the oven.
  4. When the potatoes are in the oven, put the onion in a bowl with the vinegar and a pinch each of salt and sugar. Stir occasionally.
  5. Add the cumin and nigella seeds to the saucepan and allow to heat for a minute. Add the cauliflower and jam the lid on. Toss frequently and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender. Add the onion for the last minute of cooking and check for seasoning.
  6. Grill the burgers for about 6 – 9 minutes each side, until browned and cooked through. Serve in a toasted burger with plenty of mango chutney.

roasted new potatoes

roasted new potatoes with rosemary and thyme

For all the different things I make on this blog, I do still love a roasted potato as often as I can. Usually fluffy varieties are the ones, but a new potato can be a great alternative if treated right. Although to be honest slathering anything in rosemary, garlic and thyme is often a good idea.

hidden valley ranch dressingReally though, I made these as a vehicle for ranch dressing. When relatives come back from the States they bring food gifts like sweets, and the occasional sachet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. It’s MSG-tastic but when made up with mayo and milk makes a creamy, thick and delicious dip that goes well with crudites, salad potatoes, crisps, salad, chicken, green veg… it’s really good stuff.

Roasted new potatoes (serves 4 as a side dish):

250g new potatoes, scrubbed and halved

3 cloves garlic, squashed

3 sprigs rosemary

2 sprigs thyme

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Heat a large lidded casserole on a hob and add a little oil and a knob of butter. Add the herbs and garlic, fry for 30 seconds and then add the potatoes. Turn several times in the flavoured oil to get them started, then cover and transfer to the oven.
  2. Roast for 35 – 45 minutes, turning occasionally until browned and fudgy in the middle. Serve with ranch dressing.

hei hei wedges

hei hei wedges

I found myself in GBK at the weekend. It was supposed to be family lunch at Las Iguanas, but a few seconds of appalling customer service had me trundle a few steps down Lakeside’s Boardwalk to the burger parlour.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed it – a tasty “Capital” cheeseburger with standard accompaniments, a choice of brioche or regular sesame seed bun and all the monkey nuts you can eat. But the shoestring fries were great, particularly when you shake over their hei hei salt. Pretty much all American diner-style eateries in the UK coat the fries in a salty concoction, and I’d been meaning to make one of my own for ages. Serving up wedges this week meant this was a great excuse.

If you’re looking for an interesting salty-spicy mix to dust your chips or wedges, this is a great place to start. You can then of course add or remove other spices to your taste – a curry powder would be nice.

There’s two levels of seasoning here; in my experience of roasting potatoes the salt flavour simply disappears (where does it go?). So the initial salt is merely grist to combine the ingredients, whilst the second salting is the true seasoning of the wedges. You should really use garlic salt for hei hei seasoning but I prefer to have more granular (ha!) control over the seasoning.

Hei hei wedges (serves 2 as a side dish):

4 – 5 medium potatoes, Maris Piper or other fluffy variety

For the marinade:

2 cloves of garlic

¼ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin

1 ham stock cube (chicken would be fine)

Large pinch of salt

Olive oil

For the seasoning:

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Slice the potatoes into wedge shapes.
  2. In a pestle and mortar, combine all the marinade spices and pound withe garlic until you have an orangey-brown paste. Add oil until you have a gloopy mixture and coat the wedges liberally. Arrange cut sides down on a baking tray and roast for 40 minutes, turning every ten minutes, until crisp and cooked through.
  3. Combine the seasoning ingredients and shake over the fries as you serve. You’ll probably have excess seasoning for another day.

garlic baguette


Paul Hollywood. The man of the moment. Overnight success many years in the making. I remember watching him opposite Jeni Barnett on Great Food Live a decade ago and he was clearly a font of all bready knowledge. His patented double-claw-rolling-out-dough technique was well practiced even back then.

Post Bake-Off, he is fronting the most appropriately titled vehicle for him: Bread. Blogs are awash with how decent his recipes are; and his myth-busting tips are pure gold. Such as: you don’t need warm water for yeast to prove dough. In fact tap-cold water is better as the slower growth will develop the flavour. Genius.

I have a handy recipe for garlic bread which I really like but it’s a bit more suited to a barbecue. His garlic bread involves folding roasted garlic cloves into baguette dough, and as you might imagine this creates the most amazing smell whilst baking. Mine didn’t even get the chance to get bathed in mozzarella like his before being scoffed; maybe next time!

The garlic bread recipe is over on the BBC site and well worth trying.

pinot grigio potatoes


Shock, horror! Another roast potato recipe on this blog. What an anomaly.

Of course it isn’t, I’ve got roast potato recipes here, here and here for starters. But this was another twist, derived from cooking Heston’s perfect chicken (again). The chicken there is treated with a boozy butter baste. I’d gone a bit crazy and made too much, so decided to slather it on the potatoes. And with a little lemon and garlic to really boost those flavours I think it’s a great alternative!

Any white wine would work, but I had some Pinot Grigio a-wastin’ so that’s what I used. You want something sweet-ish here I think, a dry wine could turn out bitter with such fierce roasting.

Pinot Grigio potatoes (serves 4):

700g – 1kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and diced to walnut-sized pieces

100ml white wine

125 unsalted butter

A few sprigs of thyme

1 lemon

3 cloves garlic

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C. Simmer the potatoes in salted water until really tender. Drain and allow to steam off excess water a little while you prepare the baste.

  2. Put a heavy baking tray in the oven to preheat. Add the wine, butter and thyme to a saucepan and bring to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat. Toss the potatoes in the buttery wine and tip on to the baking tray and roast.

  3. After 20 mins, peel the lemon zest in strips and add to the baking tray along with the garlic. Toss the potatoes well to coat. If it’s looking a bit dry add a dash of oil.

  4. Roast for a further 20 mins, or until the potatoes are very crisp. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

roasted pepper and garlic gnocchi with feta

When you’re trying to cook to a budget potato gnocchi is a great choice: just a few of them go a long way. Their bland nature makes them a great foil for any strong flavours. I’m a big fan of roasting vegetables so this is a super combo.

student-survival-guideThis is warming, filling, and doesn’t feel frugal! There’s lots going on with sharp, salty cheese; soft, toothsome gnocchi and rich, sweet roasted red peppers.

Approximate cost  for main ingredients, excludes storecupboard ingredients (prices from 7th Oct 2012): £3.63

Roasted pepper and garlic gnocchi with feta (serves 1):

2 red peppers

2 cloves garlic, skin left on

250g gnocchi

100g feta, diced

30g rocket

  1. Preheat the oven on to 180°C. Put the peppers and garlic on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and pop in the oven for 30 minutes to soften and char. When soft to the touch mash the squeeze the garlic out of their skins and mash together the peppers with a fork, adding some salt and pepper.
  2. Get a large pan of salted water on to boil. Add the gnocchi and boil according to the packet instructions. Drain and combine with the pepper sauce, then stir the feta and rocket through. Serve immediately.

garlic mushroom and broccoli bake

garlic mushroom, broccoli pasta bake with bacon breadcrumbs

student-survival-guideContinuing my series on decent grub on a budget, here’s a pasta bake dish with lots going on. It’s the breadcrumb topping that makes it! This was intended to have a white sauce made with milk but I ran out, so instead I went for a velouté version made with stock.

(PS. I’ve listed ingredients for 1 but the version above serves 2 – 3, in case you’re wondering why yours is smaller!).

Approximate cost  for main ingredients, excludes storecupboard ingredients (prices from 7th Oct 2012): £1.91

Garlic mushroom and broccoli bake (serves 1):

100g penne or other shape pasta

100g mushrooms, sliced

1 head of broccoli, separated into florets

1 rasher of smoked bacon

1 slice of bread, preferably yesterday’s

20g butter

20g flour

1 clove garlic

500ml hot chicken stock

  1. Get a large pan of salted water on to boil over a high heat and preheat the oven to 200°C. Get a smaller pan on a medium heat and get a baking dish ready.
  2. Add the pasta to the water. Add the butter to the smaller pan and once melted whisk in the flour to combine to a gloopy paste. Crush in the garlic and allow it to cook for a couple of minutes. Add all the stock, whisking all the time.
  3. Add the mushrooms and veg to the pasta water and then return to whisking your sauce. Keep whisking until it resembles thick, smooth custard. At this point you should check to see whether the sauce needs salt or pepper.
  4. After the vegetables have cooked for five minutes drain these along with the pasta and combine with the sauce in your baking dish. If you have a food processor blitz the torn-up bread and bacon together to breadcrumbs, if not lay both on a  chopping board and rock your knife over the lot of it to dice as small as possible. Scatter these breadcrumbs in a single layer over the pasta bake, and pop in the oven for about 15 mins until the breadcrumbs are golden and the bacon pieces are cooked.