Monthly Archives: August 2011

Pig Paradise, Wiltshire

For our anniversary Rich bought me a very special treat. I love pigs – not in the same way as the crazy cat girl but enough that I have a collection of pigs including a life size piggy bank. We spent the day yesterday learning how to look after pigs at Pigs Paradise in Wiltshire. It was an absolutely amazing day in which we could cuddle piglets and also learn how to look after them properly. Tony and Carron, the people running the course, have a vast knowledge and love for pigs which was awe inspiring.

The course consists of a mix of classroom and practical where you learn how to vet your pigs and save yourself a lot of money. It also gives you an idea of how much it costs to own a pig for its potential life time of 20 years!  The cost could be as much as £50k and that’s not even for organic feed! I have to admit at this point that Rich was the only one in the class who got anywhere close to the price as he actually costed it out – that’s what being a company director does to you.



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Malaysian Grand Prix

As we are currently having our Grand Prix summer break I thought that I would try to catch up on some of the cuisines that I haven’t blogged about earlier in the season.

I started my Grand Prix dinners before I started the blog so I have recipes for the Turkish (an amazing Turkish breakfast/brunch) Spanish (Spanish chicken which I repeated for the European GP) and Monaco (decadent Provençal style tapas). The problem was that I didn’t take any pictures, which was a complete over sight!

Last weekend I thought that I would try Malaysian food; for last year’s race a made beef rendang so I thought that I would try another typical Malaysian dish. I am a huge fan of south-east Asian flavours and in Malaysia, as they are a trading island, almost all of the spices imaginable are present. I decided to make chicken curry kapitan which is a typical example of nyonya cuisine. The spices in this dish reflect this melting pot with fice spice from China, lemongrass from Thailand, cinnamon from Sri Lanka and the holy trinity of garlic, ginger and chilli from India.

Kota Bharu Market, Malaysia

image credit: exfordy

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Malaysian Chicken Curry Kapitan

Recipe: Chicken Curry Kapitan

SummaryThis looks like a long list of ingredients but if you have a mini food blender it’s really easy. If you don’t, it will require a lot of pounding in a pestle and mortar.

Chicken Kapitan with an Asian Tomato Salad


  • 1 tsp of Dried Chilli Flakes
  • 250g Onions – about 2 Medium
  • 10 cm Ginger
  • 8 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 tsp Five-Spice Powder
  • 2 tsp Turmeric
  • 4 Lemongrass Stalks
  • 1/2 tsp of Shrimp Paste
  • 2 tbsp Oil – Vegetable or nut, just make sure it’s flavourless
  • 8 x Chicken Thighs – On the bone and skinned
  • 1 Tin of Coconut Milk
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 tsp Palm Sugar
  • 2 Peppers Sliced
  • 100g of Beans – I used runner beans as my garden is full of them
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime
  • Coriander


  1. The first thing to do is make the paste – once this is done the recipe practically cooks itself! Add all of the paste ingredients into a food processor and blend into a paste. If it’s a bit stiff add a little water.
  2. Add the paste to a heavy pan on a medium heat; this is a perfect dish for cooking in a le cresuet. Cook for at least ten minutes until the paste begins to colour; the more you cook this out the darker your finished dish will be.
  3. Into the paste, add the chicken, cook for a couple of minutes then add the coconut milk, cinnamon sticks and palm sugar. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and cook for about an hour – this can be done in the oven on a low heat.
  4. After an hour your house will be full a beautiful heady aroma of coconut and spices. Next add the peppers and beans and cook for another 30 minutes.
  5. Finally add the lime juice and most of the coriander.
  6. Serve with rice, an Asian style tomato salad and garnish with coriander.

Quick notes

As with most curries this dish is better the day after its been cooked as the flavours have developed.


The peppers and beans are not exactly traditional but they add a nice bit of colour and texture; leave them out if you like.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: Malaysian

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Tomato Pasta Sauce

In my garden I always grow tomatoes. One of the reasons that I grow them is because they are relatively easy but also because so often you find the supermarket ones kept in the fridge. It seems crazy to me to buy a tomato that has been in the fridge as putting them in the there fundamentally changes their texture. They get that nasty cotton wool like texture which completely ruins my enjoyment.

Anyway, one of the issues with growing tomatoes is what to do when they all become ripe. I always sew too many, it doesn’t matter how much I try to stop myself I simply can’t resist growing at least two varieties; this year Gardeners Delight an easy cherry and Sungold a golden cherry both suitable for ripening in the English sunshine or lack there of. Obviously you can make a tomato salad but this sauce makes something more substantial and can easily be made in 20 minutes.

Sungold & Gardeners Delight Tomatoes

Recipe: Tomato Pasta Sauce

Summary: Simple fresh pasta sauce


  • 1 Tin of Anchovies
  • 400g Fresh Tomatoes
  • Dried Pasta – 60g per Person
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • Pinch of Chilli Flakes (optional)
  • Handful of Basil Leaves
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1. In a shallow pan (I use my big sautéing pan which is a bit like a flat bottom wok) on a gentle heat melt the anchovies.
  2. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopped. Cook for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes break down. There will be a lot of juice that comes out of the tomatoes which will reduced and create an intensely tomatoey sauce.
  3. In a pan of boiling, well salted water add the pasta shape of your choice – for me it really depends on my mood and what I have in the cupboard.
  4. Add the garlic and chilli to the tomatoes, reduce the heat and cook until the pasta is ready. If your sauce becomes a bit dry add a little of the pasta water to loosen it.
  5. Just before you are going to serve add the torn basil leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I am currently using a peppery one from Puglia in the south of Italy.

Spaghetti with a Tomato Pasta Sauce

Quick notes

This tomato sauce is the starting point for so many of the traditional sauces. In fact by adding the chilli it goes from a simple pomadoro to arribatta.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: Italian

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Hungarian Goulash

I was thinking that this was a little too wintry to cook today (it’s been pretty hot in London) but I have never cooked it before so I had to. Of course, I had to turn to Delia’s Complete Cookery  Course to see what the recipe entailed but as always I changed it slightly. I actually find that a lot of her savoury dishes need a little tweaking to modernise them – it’s not that much of a surprise as they were written in the 70s. Anyway, the addition of paprika somehow makes this stew summery and therefore it’s fine to have on such a hot day.

Goulash - Served with Boulangere Potatoes and Steamed Greens

Recipe: Hungarian Goulash


  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 400g Stewing Steak – Blade steak is my favourite but I would recommend to get it in one piece so that you can cut it into strips
  • 2 tbsp Seasoned Flour
  • 2 Medium Onions – Sliced
  • 2 Red Peppers – Sliced into strips
  • 1 Carrot – In batons
  • 1 Clove of Garlic – Crushed
  • 1 Tin of Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Oxo Cube (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole
  2. Toss the steak into the seasoned (all you need to do is add plenty of salt and pepper to the flour). Shake off any excess flour and brown in the casserole once it’s browned put aside on a plate. It’s best to do this in batches to not over crowd the pan and cool it down; you may need to add additional oil in between batches
  3. Add the onions to the casserole, turn the heat down to low and cook for about 5 minutes with the lid on until they are beginning to soften
  4. Add the carrots and peppers and cook for another 5 minutes
  5. Next add all of the rest of the ingredients include the pre-browned meat
  6. Replace the lid and put the casserole into the preheated oven. Cook for at least an hour or more (this dish doesn’t mind if it’s in the oven for 2 hours – just make sure that it doesn’t dry out)
  7. When you are ready to serve, swirl in the sour cream and enjoy

Quick notes

I have added additional vegetables into this dish but you can have more meat and less veg if you are that way inclined. I have also added an Oxo cube as it gives an additional depth of flavour


You can make this with turkey steaks to decrease the calories but then don’t cook it for so long as it will dry out. You can use actual steak to make a quick version of this dish but the only problem is that the flavours won’t have had so long to develop

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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