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Goat bhuna

This is one of my favourite curry house dishes typically made with lamb but I've made an exception for Goatober, the goat meat works really well with this dish. While Bhuna may be the curry house name of the dish, it is actually the name of the cooking technique. It is a method of frying the whole spices in oil to bring out the flavour and then adding the meat, letting it cook in its own juices. It is a drier curry in comparison to masala style that most of you are familiar with.
I'd like to thank Monique van den Broek aka Mevrouw de Bok for the meat for my goat recipes this month. Monique is involved with Boeren van Nederlands and like myself is keen to promote goat meat here in the Netherlands. She travels the Netherlands with her goat Thijs de Ambassadeur speaking at events. 

Whole spices
1 black cardamon pod
3 green cardamon pods
4 cloves
1 blade of mace
1 bay leaf

Ground spices
10g cumin
5g coriander
5g turmeric
10g mild chilli powder
10g garam masala

3 large onions peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic grated
30g ginger grated
3 tomatoes roughly chopped
2 - 4 green chillies sliced (or more if you like it really hot)
30ml oil or ghee for cooking
1kg goat shoulder or leg, diced into 1 inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish

First fry off the whole spices in the oil on a medium heat for 5 minutes to release the aromatics
Add the onions and lower the heat, cook the onions until soft and glossy, this takes about 10-15 minutes
Next add the coriander, cumin, chilli powder, turmeric, garlic, chillies and ginger and stir through, cook for a further 5 minutes
Add the goat and tomatoes, place a lid on the pan, lower the heat and cook for 3 hours stirring every so often to ensure it doesn't burn on the bottom
You can also cook this in the oven (130c fan, 140c normal) or BBQ (150c indirect).  
If the mixture is getting too dry, just add a small amount of water
Half an hour before the end of the cooking time add the garam masala and stir through
You need the meat to be tender but not falling apart, so do check the meat at regular intervals after 2 hours of cooking to see if it is starting to give
When finished, season with the salt and pepper
I like to serve this with steamed rice and chapatis




Smoked slow roasted butternut squash and nduja soup

Butternut squash has become a recent favourite of mine at this time of year. I like the fact it can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes and is less stringy than other members of the squash family. With the squash season coming to an end this soup is great winter warmer. 
Nduja is a spicy Italian salumi or sausage from Calabria. Made from pork, it was traditionally made from offal and combined with spices and chillies. These days it is made from shoulder or belly with some offal, but is very spicy, it's also very soft and almost spreadable. I found that it added a great meaty, spicy kick and went well with the smoked sweetness of the squash. The recipe follows two stages, first slow roasting the squash with apple wood chips on the BBQ and then making the soup itself. 
Those of you not wishing to BBQ can slow roast the squash in the oven at 130c, (140c normal) for 3 hours.

1 butternut squash around 1kg cut in half
2 sticks celery finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
1 potato finely chopped
1 litre chicken stock
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
50g nduja sausage
20ml oil for frying
20ml creme fraiche to finish

First set up your BBQ for indirect cooking at 130c
Once lit, add some apple woodchips (a small handful as apple does smoke heavily), wait until the initial heavy white smoke has died down and you have blue smoke
Place the squash halves on the BBQ and cook for 3 hours 
Remove and place to one side to cool

Soup
Place the onion and celery in a pan with the oil and cook on a low heat until soft and glossy (around 15 minutes)
Add the potato and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes
Peel and de-seed the squash, roughly chop into cubes and add to the pan
Pour in the stock and cook for 20 minutes on a medium heat
After 20 minutes has elapsed, add the nduja and cook for a further 5 minutes
Take the soup off the heat and puree until smooth using a stick blender (you can also use a food processor or blender, just take care as it will be hot)
Season to taste with the salt and pepper and stir through the creme fraiche to finish

Magimix Cook Expert method
Place the pre-smoked squash, celery, potato, garlic and onion in the stainless steel bowl with the chicken stock
Select the cream soup function
Once finished add the nduja and creme fraiche and put on power 13/0c for 2 minutes
Season with salt and pepper


Shellfish and fish stock

Both shellfish and fish stocks are relatively quick and easy to make, they don't take as long as beef or chicken and can be ready in a couple of hours. The trick is knowing what you can and cannot use for the stock itself.

It's also a great way of lessening the amount of waste you have in your kitchen. I tend to build up my stock ingredients over a period of time, putting them in a ziploc bag in the freezer until I have enough to make stock. I then add simple veg such as onions, leek, carrot, fennel and celery, along with peppercorns, bay leaf, kombu, dillisk, dried shiitake mushrooms and flatleaf parsley.


Here is a list of what shells, heads and bones you can use for both fish and shell fish stock:

Lobster, crab, langoustines, crayfish, prawns, shrimp, white fish, and flat fish

Things to avoid
Salmon, mackerel, sardines (oily fish), mussels, oysters, clams

You can also use whole small fish in the stock, often these are sold quite cheaply at the market or fishmonger, just ensure they have been gutted before you throw them in.


Place the bones and veg in a pot large enough to hold them, top up with enough water to cover the stock ingredients, and bring to the boil.
Lower the heat and then add some cold water, this should bring up any residue or fat from the shells
Strain off the scum or fat that might have risen to the top
Simmer for 40 minutes and then strain into another pot
Place on a high heat and reduce until you have half the original amount, if you want a more concentrated stock just keep reducing and tasting as you go
Portion up in freezer bags or Tupperware containers and place in the freezer until you wish to use them.

Leftover turkey and ham meatballs with balsamic onions

This time of year there will be leftovers and rather than the usual soup or curry, these meatballs will go nicely with a good tomato sauce and pasta. The main ingredient for the meatballs will depend on whether you have opted for turkey or ham or even both. The balsamic onions will make a great accompaniment to those leftover cheeses too!

Balsamic onions
1kg red onions - finely chopped
100ml balsamic vinegar
50ml port or madeira
Salt and pepper to taste
100g brown sugar
oil for frying

In a thick bottomed pan fry off the red onions until soft on a medium heat
Add the sugar and continue to cook on a medium heat until they start to caramelise
Increase the heat and add the balsamic and port and allow to boil for 1 minute
Decrease the heat and allow to cook and reduce until the mixture has thickened, keep stirring throughout otherwise the mixture will stick to the pot and you will have bitter burned bits
Once reduced and nice and thick add the seasoning, not too much salt as the mixture should have a nice sweet and sour tang
Allow to cool and then put in sterilised jam jars
Once opened keep in the fridge

Meatballs
250g turkey and 250g ham finely minced or 500g of turkey or ham dependent on which leftover you are using
100g balsamic onion 
2 eggs
100g breadcrumbs
20g dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying


In a bowl mix the ingredients together, place in the fridge for an hour to allow the flavours to infuse
Form into golfball sized rounds and place back in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up
In a pan sear the meatballs in the oil until nicely browned on the outside place to one side while you prepare the tomato sauce


2 cloves garlic
20g finely chopped fresh thyme, parsley and rosemary
20g tomato puree
20ml extra virgin olive oil for frying
1 tin tomatoes
50ml passata
2-5g sugar to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
50g freshly grated parmesan to garnish

In a pan fry off the garlic on a low heat until soft and glossy
Add the tomatoes, passata and tomato puree and stir to combine
Add the herbs and sugar and stir through, cook for a further 5 minutes

To finish season with the salt and pepper

To finish the dish
Place the meatballs in the sauce and place a lid on the pan and cook for 15 minutes
Serve with your pasta of choice, I always like to serve with linguine or spaghetti



Soy sauce and Honey Ice cream

This might sound like an odd combination, but it does work well together. Soy sauce and honey are often used as the basis for many a savoury dish and it got me thinking how well they would work in a sweet dish such as ice cream. The end result is almost like a salt toffee flavour with a back note of aniseed.
As you can see I've been getting the most out of the Magimix Gelato Expert, it's made trying out new flavours effortless.


30g sugar
300ml cream
300ml full fat milk

70g honey
45ml Soy sauce (my preference is Kikkoman dark)
4 egg yolks

Heat the cream and milk until just before boiling point and turn off the heat
Whisk the sugar, honey, soy sauce and egg yolks in a bowl until light and fluffy
Pour the cream and milk slowly into the egg yolk mix whisking as you do
Pour the mix back into the pan and continue to whisk slowly on a low heat until it reaches 70c, keep it at 70c for at least 5 minutes which will pasteurise the custard
Ideally I like to allow the custard base to “cure” overnight in the fridge as this helps the fat molecules develop and gives a better overall mouth feel to the ice cream finish, but you can use it the same day if so you wish

Turn your ice cream maker on for at least 5 minutes before using
Next strain the custard into a jug using a fine mesh sieve
Turn the machine on and get the paddle moving before pouring in the custard
The mixture will take roughly 35 minutes to churn



My Cookbooks - Christmas Chronicles Nigel Slater

Dear Nige has had a place in my culinary heart for many years now. I was introduced to his books about 20 years ago and fell in love with his joy of food and the way he embraces the most simple ingredients. 
One of his earliest books "Real Food" was one of the cookbooks that pushed me further in a culinary sense and gave me an insight into the fact that there was more to food than just a basic repertoire. I had just graduated from university and got my first job, so after years of abject student poverty, I finally had some cash to spend on food (and cookbooks!). It was also a stepping stone to many more cookbooks too.

I couldn't just single out one of his books but would have to include all of them, but for today and given that it's December, Christmas Chronicles seems to be an apt choice to focus on. 
Christmas Chronicles is perhaps one of his best books to date, a seasonal book in the true sense that it documents the daily and weekly activities that are part and parcel of his Christmas preparation as well as harking back to childhood memories. It brought back a lot of memories for me of the activities in my childhood that took place leading up to Christmas such as baking the Christmas cake and feeding it, preparing the pudding, choosing the Christmas tree and visiting Christmas markets. 

The recipes themselves are pretty simple but it is the pure celebration of ingredients and food and encourages the reader to allow themselves to indulge. With all of Nigel Slater's books it is not just the recipe but his prose that is a joy to read, he really knows how to engage the reader. You have the added bonus of great recipes paired with great writing. It is one of those books that you want to read curled up in front of the fire with a some mulled wine or an indulgent hot chocolate.

Boned and Stuffed roast quail

My first experience with quail was at Maison Novelli in London about 20 years ago. It was served during a staff Christmas party and I had no idea what to expect when I saw "jumbo quail" on the menu. I knew it was poultry but had no idea how it would be served. So I got a surprise when this tiny whole roasted bird turned up on my plate. Having tried the bird, its a wonderful alternative to roast chicken and always fun to serve at dinner parties. I've even served it as an alternative to turkey at Christmas. It has a deeper flavour than chicken and is not too gamey. 
The bones can be a bit fiddly with this bird as they are so small so, ask your butcher to bone them out for you, that way you can slice the bird easily. I like to serve one quail per person. 




2 quail
Salt and pepper
10ml duck fat for basting

Stuffing
150g Sausage meat 
50g breadcrumbs
Mixed fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary and parsley) about 20g finely chopped
Half an onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 small egg
Salt and pepper
10ml olive oil

In a frying pan, fry off the garlic and onions in the oil on a low heat until soft and glossy, place to one side to cool
In a bowl mix together the sausage meat, herbs, breadcrumbs, onions, egg and garlic until well combined
Stuff the cavity of the quail with the stuffing until the bird looks whole again
Smear the outside of the birds with the duck fat and season with salt and pepper
Cook in the oven at 180c (fan), 190c (normal) or set your BBQ up for indirect cooking at 180c for 25 minutes
Check that the stuffing inside is also cooked and at a minimum temp of 62c with a meat thermometer 
Allow to rest for 10 minutes in a warm place before serving