Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Goulash Archipelago

Recipe for the best World's Best Goulash on the BBC website!

British jazz bass player Arnie Somogyi and his friend the Hungarian guitarist Zsolt Bende travel through the Carpathian mountains, only eating what they are given in exchange for playing their music.

With Arnie's double bass squeezed into their tiny hire car, they go in search of Hungarian specialities, including the country's staple dish, goulash.

Friday 21 November

Arnie and Zsolt begin at the  Restaurant Rosenstein on Mosonyi Street, Budapest, before they head out on the open road to test their ability to charm food from the kitchens of rural Hungary by just turning up unannounced and knocking on the chef’s pantry door.

A plate of bean soup keeps the wolf from the door until they fetch up at a very festive occasion in a family restaurant in the town of Band. It's a Christening party and Arnie and Zsolt offer to play for their supper.

Friday 28 November
Arnie and Zsolt  reach Komando, a little logging village over 3,500 feet up in the Carpathian Mountains.

Along the way, they make an unscheduled stop at the ancestral home of Count Kalnoky, who invites to join his guests for dinner, in exchange for a fantastic performance, and insists they stay the night.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Mushroom Dhal - Mike Gorman

250 grams red lentils
1 large onion
4 Cloves garlic chopped
1 piece thumb sized ginger chopped
1 long dried red chilli
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large vine tomato
10 chesnut mushrooms (or 3 portabello mushrooms)
Boiling Water
1 tsp salt


1. Chop half the onion, and place in a pan with the lentils, ginger, garlic, tumeric, red chilli and salt. Cover with boiling water and bring down to a simmer. Cover the pan.

2. When the lentils are cooked, chop the tomato and add to the lentils. Simmer for 5 more mins then remove from the heat.

3. Pour 1 tbls of vegetable or sunflower oil into a frying pan and turn the heat up.

4. Slice the remaining half of the onion, and slice the mushrooms into thin slices.

5. Put the mustard seeds and cumin seeds into the hot oil. They should spit and splutter.

6. After about 30secs add the sliced onion, and fry until browned well. Then add the mushrooms.

7. Fry until the mushroom is soft then pore the whole contents of the frying pan into the dhal, stir, and serve.

Leftover Chicken Biryani - Mike Gorman

This is my own modification of the traditional Anglo Indian Biryani recipe, that works especially well with leftover roast chicken. I've actually tried it with guinea fowl, after making the pot roast recipe below, and it came out great.
These amount are based on a 4lb chicken that has already fed 2 people.
This recipe will easily feed 4 more from the same chicken.

The basic premise here, is to first, make a broth with the bones and whole spices.
Then make the Green Masala, and fry the leftover cooked chicken in that.
Then fry the rice, in the chicken / green masala.
Then add the broth, and cook till ready.


1 onion roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
1 piece of thumb sized ginger roughly chopped
1 stick of celery roughly chopped
1 carrot roughly chopped
2 sticks of cassia bark (cinammon)
6 cloves
5 green cardomon pods
10 black peppercorns
2 pints of water

Green Masala / Rice:
10 curry leaves
1 onion finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 piece of thumb sized ginger finely chopped or grated
1 small bunch fresh green coriander (about the amount you get for 79p in a supermarket) - finely chopped.
1 tablespoon dried mint
2-4 green chillies
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 black pepper
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
leftover chicken
380g rice
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 lime (optional)

2 large pots....1 for the broth, one oven proof pot for the biryani.

1. First remove all the leftover chicken from the bones, and break the bones down into small single pieces.

2. Place all the broth ingredients into a large pot and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cover the pot.

3. Next, heat 1tbls of sunflower or vegetable oil in the oven proof pot or casserole. Add the curry leaves and fry for about 1 min until they are slightly browned at the edges.

4. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and fry on medium heat until soft.

5. Add the green coriander, mint and green chillies, and continue to fry on a medium heat for about 3-4 minutes.

6. Add the tumeric, ground coriander, cumin, mustard powder and black pepper. Fry for about 1-2 mins, then add the vinegar.

7. When the vinegar has evaporated, add the chicken and fry for 2-3 mins until well coated.

8. Add the rice and fry for another 2-3 mins and stir in the yoghurt. Take the pan off the heat. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

9. When the broth has had about 45 mins, remove from the heat and pass through a colander to remove the bones / veg etc from the liquid.

10. Pour the liquid into the rice pot, enough so that it covers the rice with about 1/2 inch to spare. If there's not enough liquid, add some hot water. Add the salt, and bring to a simmer.

11. Cover the pot and place in the oven. After 15 mins check to see if all the water has been absorbed. If not place back until this is the case. When all the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat and leave in the oven for a further 15-30 mins. This gives a chance for the rice to absorb all the steam and improves the flavour even more.

12. Before serving, squeeze the lime into the biryani and mix. This goes especially well with Mushroom Dhal (see next recipe)..

Really easy Buttered Parsley Rice - Mike Gorman

This is so simple, it doesn't really warrent being called a recipe, but it's a nice way to serve boiled rice. It goes very well with the Guinea Fowl recipe below, as well as with Indian dishes.

First rule is always use good quality Basmati rice.

Soak the rice in water for 1/2 hour minimum. The reason for this is that it rids the rice of a lot of starch, after washing it, and helps it to cook quicker and fluffier. Rinse well in a sieve.

Then place the rice in a pan, and cover with boiling water. The trick here is to use twice the amount of water than rice, (eg 1/2 cup of rice need 1 cup of water).

Add salt, and bring down to a gentle simmer.

Cover the pan.

After about 10 mins, the rice should be cooked. Have a look. If it looks like there's still water floating on the top, then leave for another couple of mins.

When cooked, take the rice off the heat and throw in about 2 tsp of good quality dried parsley (freeze dried is good) and a generous knob of butter, cut into small pieces. Make sure you distribute the butter pieces evenly. Don't stir the rice yet. Replace the lid and leave on the stove (but not on the heat) for 5 mins.

Immediately before serving, gently stir the parsley and melted butter into the rice.

Pot Roast Guinea Fowl (or Chicken) with Chickpeas - Mike Gorman

This recipe works equally as well with a good free range chicken.

1 Guinea Fowl (about 4lbs or 1.8kg)
1 onion (chopped)
4 shallots (chopped)
1 stick of celery (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
1 tin of chick peas
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 anchovy fillets (chopped)
2 bay leaves
250 ml white wine
250 ml water (boiling)
olive oil
a small knob of butter

You will need
a large pot or casserole with a tight fitting lid, and a large frying pan.

1. In the large pot, fry the anchovy fillets in olive oil and the butter, for about 30 secs - 1 min, until they've more or less disintigrated into a paste.
2. Add the onion, shallots and garlic, and fry them until softened.
3. Add the celery and carrots, and fry for 5 mins on medium (careful not to burn)
4. Add the smoked paprika, and stir into the mixture for about 1 min.
5. Add the wine, bring to the boil and then add the boiling water and bay leaves, and bring down to a gentle simmer. Add the chickpeas and cover the pan.
6. Pour about 1tbls of olive oil into the large frying pan, and heat up. Brown the guinea fowl on all sides. It will spit and splatter quite a lot, but you can turn it by using a cloth to protect your hands, and manipulating it by the legs and wings.
7. When browned, carefully place the bird into the casserole or pot, sitting in the broth. Cover with a double layer of foil, shiny side down, and place the lid firmly on top of this.
8. Cook in a 200 degree oven for 1 hour, then remove the lid for 15 mins, to crisp up the skin.
9. Remove the bird to a warmed plate, and let rest for 10 mins. Meanwhile, place the Casserole on the stove, and bring the broth to a simmer. Mashing a few chick peas and carrots with a fork at this stage will help thicken it a litte.
10. Serve with boiled rice or mashed potatoes.

Monday, 22 September 2008

The Greatest Fastest Pasta Sauce Ever-Sagat Guirey

The Greatest Fastest Pasta Sauce Ever.


Olive Oil
Onion, medium size
Tinned Tomatoes, 1 can
Mixed Herbs
Bacon Or Lardons*
* = Optional

The sequence of cooking is important because the initial frying is only possible if vegetables with a lot of water content are not put in too soon.

Heat Olive Oil in a large heavy metal cooking pot/frying pan/casserole dish, the more room the ingredients have to spread out in the pan; the quicker the sauce will cook.

The heat can be very high, as long as ingredients are stirred and not allowed to burn.
If not in a hurry; low heat; less monitoring.

There should be enough oil in the pan to fry the finely chopped onions deeply.
Fry onions until golden brown and transparent.

Soon after onions are cooking also fry mixed herbs or any mediterranean herbs you have to hand; thyme, rosemary, oregano. Can add chilli at this time for spicy sauce.

At this time the chopped bacon or lardons can be added, if this is to be a non-vegetarian sauce.

Add finely chopped garlic, fry for a short time, before vegetables are added, until light brown, not burnt.

At this point vegetables could be added (or not) they need to be chopped finely, courgettes, or peppers or mushrooms, fry up until soft. Most vegetables work out ok.

(Boil Kettle, put boiling water into large sauce-pan, add drop of olive oil and pinch of salt, when the water is boiling, put in and cook spaghetti/pasta, which should be ready just before sauce).

Whole or chopped tinned tomatoes, using a spoon or fork hold back tomatoes and strain tomato juice from can into sauce and then reduce quickly using high heat, use a knife to chop tomatoes in can, add them to sauce, reduce over high heat.
Also can use fresh tomatoes: remove skin by plunging them into boiling water.

Wine, not too much, can be added at this point, or used at end, when tomatoes are cooked down to more solid texture, to clean any small bits of mildly burnt bits of sauce from side of pot into sauce.I like the sauce to be a dense texture but less cooking makes a more liquid sauce.
You can also add a small bit of butter at end to increase cholesterol levels.
Fresh basil leaves on top of finished sauce and pasta are good. Fresh chopped parsley can also be good.
Hope you like it.

Ragam South Indian Restaurant -57 Cleveland Street London W1T 4JN

By Anita Wardell
Another South Indian haunt.
The Ragam Restaurant. Wonderful South Indian Food- It looks a bit rundown from the outside, but don't let that put you off. It's quite small and dated but the food is too die for. I had a Dosa for a starter and it was amazing- they are huge and filling so you could stop there! but it's so reasonably priced you wont! I had the fish nadan- which was delicious! washed down with a kingfisher!I recommend that you book as it gets packed!!!! This restaurant was introduced to me by the fabulous Norma Winstone. I've been back many times!

57 Cleveland Street, London, W1T 4JN - Tel: 0871 4263469.

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry- Anita Wardell

Veg oil
1 onion- chopped
2 Cloves garlic- crushed
3-4 red or green chillies- cut lengthways into thin strips and seeds removed
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1.5 Kg chicken pieces
2@1/2 cups of coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut cream
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

Heat the oil in a pan. Add onion, garlic,chillies, turmeric,coriander. Saute for 2 mins
Add Chicken pieces and coconut milk. Bring to boil reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 45 mins or until the chicken is tender
Add the coconut cream and lemon juice simmer uncovered for 5 mins.
Serve with Rice and some fresh cucumber slices sprinkled with lemon juice.
serves 4-6

Restaurant Recommendation - Geeta, London

Geeta, 57 Willesden Lane, London.
By Mike Gorman

Having grown up eating South Indian food, I'm always looking for a restaurant that reminds me of this type of home cooking.
There are a few of these in the Tooting area, since there's a South Indian community there, but the only place I've come across in the rest of London that really fits the bill for me, is Geeta.

The food is unpretentious, with sensible sized portions, incredibly reasonably priced, and very very good indeed.
Some favorites for me are Kerala Fried Lamb, Potato Vadas (sometimes known as bondas), Rasam (a spicy tamarind based soup, which is also known as pepperwater), Kerala Fish Curry, Special Chicken Curry (on the bone, which is a rarity in many indian restaurants), Prawn Madras, Dhal with spinach (an amazing combo), Lemon Rice and Coconut Rice, to name a few.
Also, virtually all of their veg dishes are stunning, and the Masala Dosai is a showpiece of the restaurant, with an incredibly light crisp pancake rolled around some sumptuous potato curry.

One thing that separates Geeta from many of the regular Indian restaurants around (many of which use a North Indian Bangladeshi style of cooking), is that all the dishes are prepared to an individual recipe, rather than the standard practice of having a single base sauce for everything and then adding precooked chicken or lamb to various spice powders and tomato puree in a big wok, which inevitably results in many dishes tasting very similar.
Some of the characteristic ingredients of South Indian food are curry leaves, mustard seeds and coconut, which are used to great effect in many of the dishes at this establishment.

Another thing worth a mention is the discretion of the staff, who are always extremely polite and helpful, but never intrusive or inappropriately over familiar.

By the way, the nearby South Indian restaurant VJ's, is also very good indeed, but in my opinion, Geeta has a more homecooked feel, and is much better value.

Mike Gorman.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Horse Tartare - Arnaud Delafosse

One of my favourite of all times. Unfortunately, I had to forget it while I spent my 14 years in London*. Now Im back in France, Im having this for breakfast everyday (...well, not quite).

You can either present it all separate in the plate (like this), for each to do their own mix, or Brasserie-style, prepared just before serving. Here is how (for 1 person):

  • 250 gr of freshly minced horse steak
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons of French mustard
  • 2 teasp of freshly chopped flat parsley
  • 2 teasp of finely chopped shallots
  • 2 teasp of finely chopped cornichons (small gherkins)
  • salt
  • ground black pepper

  • 1 teasp of capers
  • few drops of Worcestershire sauce
  • few drops of Tabasco (or even better proper chilli sauce)
  • few drops of virgin olive oil

Mix all the ingredients (but the egg) in a salad bowl then add the meat. Mix well then add the egg yolk.
Serve immediately in a plate with French fries, a bit of Mache salad and a glass of red wine... et voilĂ  !

You can now play Donna Lee @ 320 bpm, Ascot style.

*Apparently it's illegal for UK butchers to sell horse meat (although it's totally OK to kill them at the races for ridiculous amounts of money), nevertheless some are still bred in the UK and exported for slaughter for the French and Italian markets. Complètement crazy, n'est-ce pas ?!