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.

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Spicy Green Beans

spicy green beansAlthough I made this as a side dish to curry, you could have this as a vegetarian main course – and although it is spicy, there’s no reason not to have this as a side with more ..anglican food, like chicken, chops or roast meat. Zingy, lemony & aromatic, it is a good partner to the creamy Beef in Yoghurt and Pepper I have paired it with. May seem like a lot of ingredients, but its really easy. If you don’t have a blender or food processor, well, you’ll need a mortar and pestle and a bit more patience for the ginger and garlic bit, but its still achievable. Get a hand blender already. I’d say this would serve 4 generously as a side or 2 as a main. I write this the next morning and I can confirm it makes a delicious breakfast straight out of the fridge.

  • 350g green beans, chopped into centimetre rounds
  • small piece of fresh ginger, roughly couple of centimetres square, chopped roughly
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 whole dried red chilli, bashed either in a mortar & pestle or with the back of a blade of a heavy knife
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 medium tomato, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 200 ml water

Alright, firstly, if you don’t know the quickest way to peel a fresh tomato, this is it: Boil up some water in a small saucepan. Cut a large cross in the top, and why not the bottom of the tomato. Dunk the tomato into the boiling water and leave there for a minute. Remove from the water and, under the tap if I were you unless you have asbestos fingers, just peel the skin off.

That dealt with, do this. And do it in the order I say!

Put the ginger and garlic and about 75ml water in a blender and blend it until its smooth. Heat the oil in a large saucepan (one with a well fitting lid, fairly important) over a medium flame – when its hot, put in the cumin seeds and no more than 10 seconds later, put in your chilli, and when it turns dark (mere seconds) put in the garlic and ginger paste. Stir that over a medium heat for about a minute again. Put in the coriander, stir. Put in the chopped tomatoes, and stir these, bashing them about as you go with a wooden spoon until they break down. Put in your beans and salt and the remaining water. Put the lid on. Bring to simmering point and cook  for about 10 minutes, until the beans are tender. Add the lemon juice, ground cumin and the pepper. Give it a good stir, turn up the heat and boil away any remaining liquid, stirring gently as you go. Scoff.

Serve with Beef with Yoghurt and Pepper, and Parathas.