‘Exotic’ recipes made easy

This is my recipe book where I keep all the recipes like these. No photoshopping (other than resizing for posting). It had a really nice cover till my cleaner managed to spray it with some kind of kitchen stuff resulting in green splodges…

My daughter and I have both experimented with one of those delivery sites that send everything you need, including instructions, for an unusual meal. We both used them when they were initially cheap, then when they reverted to their original price we decided independently that they weren’t quite worth it. However, we each got a handful of recipes as a result and here are two of them – both now firm favourites in our households.

Turkish lamb mince with bulgur wheat.

My daughter uses Quorn, a vegetarian substitute mince available in UK. But I suppose you could use any vegetarian option.

Ingredients:

Lamb mince (or substitute)

Cherry tomatoes

Yoghurt (preferably Greek style)

Bulgur wheat

Seasonings etc: sumac, harissa, dill, garlic, salt and pepper, olive oil.

Method:

Mix the yoghurt with chopped or minced garlic, black pepper and a little oil. Set aside for the flavours to infuse.

Fry the mince and halved tomatoes then add harissa. You can use bought paste or make your own which is easy: garlic, chili powder, sugar, salt and a little hot water. One advantage is that you don’t then have a jar of opened paste risking mould in the fridge.

Add the bulgur wheat to boiling water and simmer for about 15 minutes then drain. Add chopped dill, alarge pinch of sumac and a drizzle of oil.

Finally reheat the mince if necessary.

To serve:

Assemble in shallow bowls (e.g. pasta bowls).

Ladle a layer of bulgur wheat then a layer of yoghurt then a ladle of mince. Top with more chopped dill and sprinkle with sumac.

I have deliberately not given quantities. Only you know the size and appetite of your family. As a very rough guide I use a few tablespoons of wheat, ditto of mince, about a dozen tomatoes and half a large pot of yoghurt. For spices etc. that will depend on your liking for heat and other seasoning.

Mock kedgeree

Ingredients:

Risotto rice (again, the quantity is up to you)

An onion, finely chopped – more if you are catering for a large party

Cherry tomatoes – allow three or four per person

Hard boiled eggs (halved) – allow one per person and have them ready in advance

Cashew nuts

Smoked haddock fillets (if veggie, omit this and double the quantity of eggs) – one per person

Sultanas

Lemon (an actual lemon, not juice)

Seasonings: curry powder, saffron (just a few strands), salt, oil, coriander (preferably fresh but frozen will do), stock (I use bouillon powder made up with hot water)

Method:

Sprinkle the tomatoes with oil and salt. Add the cashews in a separate container (I put those and the tomatoes on a roasting tray) and roast in the oven. Take the cashews out after about 7-10 minutes but leave the tomatoes for about half an hour altogether. Put the slightly cooled nuts in a bag or under a cloth and use something like a rolling pin to crush them.

Fry the onion till soft, stir in the curry powder then add the rice and gradually stir in the stock with the saffron added. Continue stirring – you are basically making a risotto and you want the rice to cook by absorbing all the liquid. I use about half a pint but you might need more depending on how many you are cooking for. (Basic risotto rules apply and you can find these online.) Once cooked, add the chopped coriander, sultanas and crushed nuts.You want these hot but not overcooked so continue to heat for just a minute or so.

You can do the haddock fillets in the oven (foil wrapped) alongside the tomatoes or you can poach them in simmering water on the stove top. I prefer the oven method and if you use a big enough oven tray everything goes on one shelf. They take about the same time as the tomatoes.

To serve:

Place a serving of risotto in a bowl (again, pasta bowls are ideal)

Place the eggs, tomatoes and fish (if using) on top.

Decorate with more coriander and lemon wedges which people can squeeze.

With both these recipes it helps to work out a timetable and do the things that take ages first.

Both are quite impressive for entertaining and are an easy option since you can do a lot of the work well in advance. Rice, though, should be cooked at the last minute since it is prone to grow nasty fungus once cooked unless frozen. Incidentally, that applies to takeaway leftovers, too.

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