Korean Style Beef Kebabs

I’ve no idea about Korean food, but Ken Hom says these are Korean style so I’ll take him at his word. Either way, these tender kebabs are divine, and should you have the ingredients to hand (I had to shop for the mirin and the spring onions) are a snap to make. I couldn’t taste the pineapple juice in them, but I think it does add to the underlying sweetness and apparently helps tenderize the meat.

Enough to serve 4 with rice and salad

  • 450g steak – rump steak, sirloin or even frying steak
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp 5 spice powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 tbsp crushed garlic

Chop the steak into chunks roughly 1 inch x 2 inches. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour on top of the steaks in a non-metallic bowl. Leave to marinade for about an hour at room temperature.

Thread onto kebab sticks (either metal or if using bamboo, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes prior to using) and preheat your grill. When your grill is hot, put the kebabs in and cook for 3 or 4 minutes on each side.

동. 즐기다, 즐겁게 시간을 보내다.


Celeriac Puree

Or rather, celeriac puree plus duck. But the duck isn’t in the recipe. (To cook the duck breast simply place skin side down (prick or slash the skin, prior) in a hot pan without oil and cook for 4 minutes, turn over and cook for another 4 on the other side; slightly less or slightly more to cook rarer or more well done.)

Much as I love duck, a plain pan-fried piece of poultry (albeit a  rather delicious one), is not exactly a recipe. No, this recipe adapted from Joel Robuchon is for the equally delish side dish. It may be a bit early in the year for celeriac, but it does make a change from potato and is certainly healthier than the potatoes sauteed in duck fat that might otherwise accompany this dish. Serves 3-4, and would be equally yummy with lamb.

  • 1 small celeriac – 300-400g, peeled and chopped up into 2cm cubes
  • 1 medium potato, prepared similarly
  • half a sprig of rosemary
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 175 milk
  • 2 dessert spoons creme fraiche
  • 10g butter, well chilled
  • 50ml water + extra to cover

Pour the 50ml water into a saucepan, put the vegetables, salt and rosemary in and add the milk. If this does not cover the vegetables, pour in enough water to just cover, place the lid on and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes and the vegtables also removing any rosemary – there may be some rogue leaves hanging about so try and remove them too.

Put the drained vegetables into a food processor and whizz until smooth, add the creme fraiche and the butter and then whizz again. Serve immediately.

Moorish Roasted Cod

The sweet and spicy spice paste for this cod is not unlike an unconstructed harissa, but with the unmistakable scent of saffron. This will suit any white fish fillet you could name and would certainly sprauntz up the slightly cheaper whiting or coley. Serve with couscous, veg and lots of fresh lemon. Hangs on to those last warm days and  tastes best eaten in the garden if the weather will stand for it.  Serves 2.

  • 2 cod fillets
  • juice and finely grated rind of one lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp parsley, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (tabasco, west indian or what ever you have)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • half tsps of ground cinnamon, saffron, turmeric and ground cumin
  • 1  tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Take your fish fillets and lie them on a non-metallic plate.Combine the remainder of the ingredients together in a bowl and spread over the fillets. Do not leave this to marinate for more than about half an hour or the ingredients will begin to ‘cook’ the fish. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and transfer the fish onto a baking sheet. Put the fillets into a hot oven and cook for around 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Serve.

Haggis Scotch Eggs with Whisky Sauce

I mentioned to a friend of mine, that I would be trying to make scotch eggs with haggis in them, and a look of disgust flashed, albeit briefly, across his face. On probing further the reason for his antipathy, he asked me whether I knew what was in haggis (this coming  from a man I’ve seen eat donner kebabs and unlucky fried kitten on several occasions). ‘What’s in it?’ I asked conspiratorialy,’ because I caught this one just this last weekend on the Scottish Moorlands. Tricky bugger he was to catch too’.

I do know what’s in haggis, and I don’t care, because I think it’s delicious. For the record, I also like faggots, chitterlings, kidney, and liver. I like trotters, and pigs ears and black pudding. I even like a Domino’s Meat Feast Pizza on occasion. But I don’t like to talk about that much.

I was tempted to save doing this until Burns night, but once I have an idea in my head, I tend to have to follow it through. So here it is, the closest thing to Scottish that a Scotch Egg will actually get. These, even if they were made purely with pork sausagemeat (just double the amount of pork and drop the Haggis) are a world away from shop bought scotch eggs, even the good quality ones have nothing on the home made. And these are really easy, if a little messy, to make. To make 6 scotch eggs.

  • 250g good quality haggis
  • 250g plain sausagemeat
  • 6 cooled medium hard boiled eggs (plus  one raw beaten egg for coating)
  • 2 slices of stale white bread, whizzed down to crumbs in a food processor
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • oil for deep frying

For the whisky sauce:

  • 20ml whisky
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard

A few hours ahead of forming the eggs, mix the sausagemeat and the haggis together by hand and store it in the fridge. It will probably be fairly sticky to handle.  When ready to make them, and you can do that in advance if you like, divide the haggis mixture into 6 balls. Sprinkle some flour onto a piece of clingfilm and roll out the ball with a floured pin/hand. You may find it easier to lift the partially rolled haggis mix onto your hand and finish shaping it there. The piece needs to be about 6 by 4 inches. Dust the egg in the flour and shake off the excess. Put the egg in the middle of the haggis mixture and shape around it, until the egg is completely coated. Seal the joins with your fingers and roll around on some more flour.

Dip the haggis coated egg into the beaten egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs. Heat around 4 cm of  oil in a deep frying pan (I used a wok) until it has reached 180-190 degrees (it’s hot enough when you can drop a small cube of bread in and it turns brown within a minute). Carefully (please be careful!) put the scotch eggs into the hot oil and cook for around 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel.

To make the sauce, heat a small pan over a medium flame and pour in the whisky, and add the dijon mustard. Quickly pour in the cream and turn the heat down. Cook the sauce until the cream has reduced by around half and serve with the eggs. Serve both with a sharp salad.

Yellow Split Pea Soup

I have eaten many forms of this cheery soup; London Particular, German Split Pea Soup made with bacon or wurste, and most commonly in (for me) Amsterdam, where it is known simply as ‘snert’ and is almost everywhere during the winter months. In fact, it’s a cultural tradition that is almost everywhere in the northwestern corner of Europe in the winter months. This soup  is usually made with ham stock and ham or smoked pork of some variety, but I’ve started to prefer to make a vegetarian version and then ring the changes throughout the week when having the soup for lunch. This also means I can give a bowl of soup to a greedy vegetarian. You can put sliced frankfurters in, a la Nigella Lawson (as I have here), or off cut chunks of ham,you could grill some bacon and serve it on top, some crumbled feta, or you could just sprinkle with paprika and olive oil. If you are not bothered about keeping this veggie, then I would make it with ham stock.

Makes 4 generous bowls, very easily doubled.

  • 250g yellow split peas (follow instructions on packet if they need pre-soaking)
  • glug olive oil
  • small carrot
  • small onion
  • small stick celery
  • 800 ml vegetable stock or water
  • bay leaf
  • 1 blade of mace, slightly toasted in a dry pan and bashed up or a good pinch of powdered
  • pepper

Cut the onion, celery and carrot into a fine as dice as possible, or blitz in a food processor until finely chopped. Warm a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat and put in your olive oil. When the pan is hot, put in the vegetables and cook them over a low heat until they have started to soften. If they start to fry or colour, the heat is too high. Add your bayleaf and mace, and then your peas and give everything a good stir. Pour in your stock, bring to the boil and then turn heat down, and gently simmer for an hour with the lid on. Keep checking throughout the process that the water hasn’t all been absorbed by the peas – you may want to top up with hot water from the kettle. Serve with desired accompaniments, as above.