Kofta Curry and Gujarati Green Beans


The Kofta Ingredients

Kofta Ingredients:
750g beef mince
3 x Green chillies finely chopped
1tsp Garam Masala
1 x Egg
Chopped fresh coriander

Mix everything together and form into balls about the size of a walnut. Refrigerate until needed.

Sauce Ingredients:
3tbs Cooking oil
1″ Piece of cinnamon stick
10 x Cloves
1 x Onion finely chopped
2″ Piece of root ginger finely chopped
2 x Garlic cloves finely chopped
2tbs Ground coriander
1tbs Ground cumin
1/2tsp Chilli powder
1 x Tin of chopped tomatoes

Heat the oil, add the cinnamon stick and cloves, stir for a moment or two while the cloves swell then add the chopped onion. Cook until the onion is a light golden colour and then add the remaining ingredients with the exception of the tomatoes and fry for a few minutes stirring all the time. Finally, add the tomatoes give it all a good stir and simmer for 5 minutes before adding the Koftas, place a lid on the pan and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. If the sauce is looking too watery towards the end of the cooking time remove the lid and let the sauce reduce a little.

Gujarati Green Beans Ingredients:
350g Green Beans, tails removed
1tbs Black mustard seeds
1 x Clove of garlic finely chopped
Dried chilli flakes – as many or few as you want!
3tbs Cooking oil
1/2tsp Sugar

Heat the oil in a frying pan on which you can later fit a lid. Add the mustard seeds and as soon as they pop add all the other ingredients. Mix well and then add a few splashes of water before covering tightly. Cook for 10 minutes or so until the beans are tender. The water should never get cooked away so that the beans fry, nor should there be water left when the beans are ready.

Barnes’s Bread, Southampton

Barnes's Bread

Pure nostalgia!

In ‘About me‘ I wrote how my Grandfather, Edwin Barnes, must have had a very early influence on my love of good bread having died when I was about 8 years old. Here’s a photograph of him and one of his bread carts. By the time I was around the horse drawn carts had been superceded by small Ford vans with a tiny oval window in each rear door. The bake house stood on the corner of Church Street and Milner Street behind a little corner shop run by my two spinster aunts. The photographer had his back to the bake house when taking this photograph making the Black Horse on the opposite corner the backdrop.

I can’t remember a great deal about the bakery apart from the smell of raw flour, the smell of baking bread, the people working in the bakery all being covered in a fine layer of flour and the ovens being fired by coke. It wasn’t often that I didn’t leave the bake house without an iced bun in my hand.

One other thing has sprung to mind as I write this, the difference between how bread was sliced then and now. My grandmother and spinster aunts all buttered the bread before slicing it. The loaf was then clutched against their bosom and a very thin slice cut which was already buttered. Bread was always delicately thin then, I can’t ever remember seeing a doorstop slice!

15 June 2014 I’ve just come across a paper bag from the bakery. I bet there’s not another one in the world! S Barnes was my great-grandfather. He’s listed as a baker in the Southampton Kelly’s Directory of 1887, still listed in 1912, but by 1916 the listing changes to Edwin Samuel Barnes, my grand-father. Which makes this bag over 100 years old.

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S Barnes Bakery Bag

Mushroom Risoniotto

This is a top favourite of mine, not only can it be made in 10 minutes it’s loved by both vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

Mushroom Risoniotto

Mushroom Risoniotto

The recipe is taken from River Cottage.

2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
A knob of butter
500g chestnut mushrooms (see above), cleaned, trimmed and thickly sliced
150g risoni or orzo pasta
2 garlic cloves, chopped
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
About 75ml dry white wine
About 50ml double cream or crème fraîche
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A good handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to serve

Put a large pan of well-salted water on to boil, so that you’re ready to cook the pasta while the sauce is coming together.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and half the butter in a large frying panover a medium-high heat. Add half the mushrooms and cook briskly,
stirring often, until all the liquid released has evaporated and the mushrooms are starting to caramelise. Transfer to a dish and repeat
with the rest of the oil, butter and mushrooms. (Cooking in two batches like this avoids overcrowding the pan and ensures the mushrooms do not stew.)

When the second batch of mushrooms are nearly cooked, add the pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook until al dente.

Return the first lot of mushrooms to the frying pan. Add the garlic, thyme and balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.
Add the wine and cook until there is almost no liquid left. Add the cream or crème fraîche, reduce the heat a little and stir until it is just about simmering. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta as soon as it is cooked, add to the mushroom mixture and toss well. Serve scattered with lots of chopped parsley.