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Beef Stroganoff

It was this recipe that started me off in doing this project as Margaret included it in her book and attributed it to me.

Certainly in the 60s we seemed to have sour cream with everything. I could never work out why soured cream was always cheaper than fresh cream especially as one way to convert the one to the other is to just add some lemon juice.

This rates with the great balance of trade conundrum which proves to me the existence of aliens. [If you add together the trade accounts for all countries on Earth, you find that the Earth as an whole is exporting more than it imports so clearly aliens are buying up the surplus.......please explain]

When we returned to England from Buffalo in 1970 we met an ex-student of mine and invited him for a meal. Yes, he would be pleased to come so long as we 'didn't serve that meat stuff in a white sauce!' So much for beef stroganoff.

Incidentally, I would add lots of closed cup mushrooms to the mix and if you would like a veggie version, just omit the beef.


  • 500g beef steak [rump or sirloin]
  • 250g chopped onions
  • 250g green pepper
  • Small pot sour cream
  • closed cup muhrooms
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 crushed garlic clove

Slice the steak across the grain very thinly, trimming off the fat. You want pieces about 5cm x 2cm as thin as you can get. Slice the onions and pepper fairly thinly. Fry the mushrooms with the garlic then add the onion and pepper until they are just cooked but still crisp. Remove from the pan and then stir fry the beef in hot oil until just coloured. Stir in the paprika and the cooked vegetables allow to cool slightly then stir in the cream. Serve immediately.

A popular use for the stuff was as a sauce for baked potatoes.

Sort of baked potato

Slice a baking potato into rounds and interleave each round with a slice of onion, re-assemble into a potato shape, wrap in aluminium foil to hold it all together and bake in the oven as usual. When cooked, douse with sour cream and serve.


♉   Bobity as served on nb Wolf.

One of the things I have enjoyed about visiting the Tts in South Africa has been discovering new dishes and ways of cooking them. I'm planning on adding recipes cooked in my potjie and skilpadjies cooked on my braai grid soon but here is one for bobity which has become a favourite.

There are no fixed rules for bobity, which suits me well, as one can use what happens to be to hand but the essence of the dish is its mild curry taste, the mixture of fruit and meat and the finish with beaten eggs. Link to another ♉recipe from Genious Kitchen.



  • 500g minced beef/lamb or pork
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or marmalade or fruit jam
  • Fruit, eg apple, dried apricots, raisins etc, about 300g
  • Nuts eg blanched almonds, pine nuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml milk

First of all deal wih the meat, this can be either plain minced meat or, what I prefer, hand chopped brazing steak, pork or lamb. Fry the meat in a skillet in olive oil, drain and reserve, then cook the onions, garlic and spices, re-combine with the meat, fry a little longer and then add the tomatoes, either from a tin or hand chopped fresh ones. This is suspiciously like Some sort of filling baked in the oven with tomatoes

Cook the onions, garlic and spices.

Add the fruit and nuts, mix well and turn out into an oven dish. Many recipes add bread soaked in milk at this stage to provide moisture but I prefer either a generous shot of red wine or just plain water, to give the bake some moisture. [This may not be needed if you use tinned tomatoes or if you run off and save the juices that run out of the meat when you first start heating it before it starts to fry.]

You can either pour over the well beaten eggs and milk at this stage or wait until the bobity is part cooked in the oven. Putting the eggs in later is a good move if you are not going to eat it immediately.

Either pour the egg mixture over the meat now or wait until later.

Bake in a hot oven [170-180C, lower for a fan oven] for about 40 minutes, meanwhile beat together the eggs and the milk, remove the meat from the oven, and pour the eggs over the meat and continue baking for a further 15 minutes or so until the egg mixture sets.

Hot from the oven.


Gamma men

The men and boys of Gamma Tau Sigma.

In 2004 I went to a re-union at Cortland. This was especially for the fraternity which was having a special do. There was much reminiscing and we were asked to jot down some of them. This is mine and Jim Newlands is on my left.

It was great to meet you all at the reunion weekend, to renew old acquaintances and to make new ones. As someone from the class of '67, caught in the middle so to speak, hearing first hand of the move from Port Watson Street, and then of the final years at 59 Tompkins Street was of particular interest. Despite the final difficulties, the strong traditions of Gamma obviously held good to the end as shown by the great gathering of 'stout hearted men' brought together by the reunion. So thanks and appreciation to all.

Thanks also to Jim Newlands who reminded me of his most famous faux pas as house steward when he decided to widen the culinary experiences of the brotherhood by serving smoked Polish kielbasa and sauerkraut as the evening meal. Now Jim compounded his error by ordering a prodigious quantity of kielbasa with the result that not only was this not the most popular of meals but there was also a large surplus. Jim relates that when he went to bed that night he was shocked to find his bed inhabited by a large and thick snake one not familiar to him.....and there was another under his pillow, and another at the bottom of the bed and....well lots of them.

At the time, I was house president, and those kielbasa kept turning up in odd places throughout the house as the cleaning details took their toll. Two turned up over a year later, one in a lampshade and the other behind a fire extinguisher. There are probably some still at large on Tompkins Street to this day.

Thanks also to Neil Greenfield for a great BBQ at his house the night before we left and also for the hint to visit the Wegmans store on our way home, which we did. What should I find there but kielbasa. I have to admit that this is why I know how to spell it, because I bought a bunch and the sauerkraut to go with it and have been enjoying it now that I am back home. A poignant and pungent reminder of times past. Should any of you come to stay with me, I should warn that there is a bit left, so don't get too frightened when you jump into bed.

chez the Greenfields

I am also puzzling about what it might look like on an x-ray. When I picked up my baggage from the arrival carrousel at Heathrow, it had a sweet note attached to it from security informing me that they had opened my case 'for security reasons', presumably to check out the coiled sticks of tnt with their sauerkraut detonator. Little do they know that the explosion only happens once you have eaten it.

Lidl's is a good source of kielbasa and sauerkraut although I don't always partake of the latter. I do like the kielbasa though. I boil it up in a single pan with rigatoni and usually broccoli. Start with the pasta, then add the sausage and then finally the broccoli so they are all ready at the same time.

Spinach Pie

In 2001 we had a summer break in the US and met up with Sj in Syracuse. At the time, she was working for the "Centre for Really Neat Research" and as this meant occupying a re-claimed fraternity house, it also meant that there was room enough for us to stay.

A link to the
center, Sj in the middle of the balcony.

One evening Sj announced that she would invite some friends round and that she would do the cooking. This sounded very good to me so on the appointed evening, we opened a few beers, watched Sj running round the kitchen and awaited the arrival of the friends.

No sign of the friends but the rest of us were getting a bit hungry so Sj put the pie in the oven. I should digress here to say that as this was an ex-fraternity house, the stove was a commercial one and was somewhat larger than the customary, rather modest affairs to be found in American homes.

Anyway, there was still no sign of the friends but at least the pie was in the oven and should they appear they could join in with our piping hot pie. At the end of the appointed baking time, still no friends but if they are going to be this late, they can eat our left over crumbs. When the oven was opened we were greeted by the warm glow of the pilot light and that was all, certainly there was no crispy spinach pie! The main burners had failed to ignite and our food was uncooked. This was soon remedied and at last the friends and the pie arrived hot to table.

Spinach Pie

This is Sj's spinach pie recipe though I think that I would reduce the butter and add a few crushed garlic cloves. [Scallions is the American name for spring onions]

here is the spinach pie recipe you wanted cj...

Spinach Pie


  • 1pkg filo Dough
  • 3 pkgs spinach (frozen)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 lb cottage cheese
  • 1/2 lb feta cheese (crumbled)
  • 1 lb butter
  • 2 bunches scallions (chopped

Drain/squeeze Spinach so that there is no water remaining in it. In large frying pan melt one stick butter and sauté spinach and scallions.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until fluffy, stir in feta and cottage cheese. Add spinach mixture and set aside.

Melt remaining butter.

Place 12 layers of filo dough in deep sided cookie tray, being sure to paint the edges of each sheet with butter before adding the next. Do not butter the top sheet, instead spread spinach mixture over it and then layer the remaining filo dough over it.

When you run out of filo, pour remaining butter over the top such that the entire top has a thin coat of butter over it.

Refrigerate for an hour or so to allow it to set.

Pre cut then bake at 350 for 50 mins.

Spinach Souffle

On one of our jaunts with Jim and Terry on our 2016 trip to Stoupa, we drove up to Exochori and walked in the Viros Gorge and took our lunch at Eleni's restaurant, Faraggio, with magnificent views overlooking the gorge.

Eleni's restaurant, Faraggio, the gorge.

In the restaurant with the gorge below.

The food and the views were excellent and what I especially liked was the 'spinach souffle', which I have been trying to reverse engineer since my return. This is its third iteration and is probably as close as I am going to get to it. While I was doing it, I was reminded of sj's spinach pie , and indeed it is very similar but without the pastry.

I grow chard at the allotment, red and white, and this does well in this dish cut the stalks into small pieces and throw away the tough ones. In Greece a generic term for greens is horta which seems to range from cultivated chard like greens to wild gathered leaves. All could be regarded as spinach.

Spinach Souffle


  • 1kg fresh or frozen leaf spinach or chard
  • bunch of fresh parsley
  • large onion or spring onions [chopped]
  • several garlic cloves
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g feta cheese (crumbled)
  • 100g pine nuts and or sunflower seed hearts
  • freshly ground pepper
  • good sprinkle of oregano/mixed herbs

Ingredients ready to go.

Wash the spinach well, tear into small pieces and drain.

Lightly fry the onions, garlic, nuts and pepper in olive oil and then add the spinach and parsley. Cover and cook to wilt and reduce the greens.

Drain any excess liquid,transfer to a shallow oven dish and allow to cool.

Lightly beat the eggs and crumble in the feta cheese add to the spinach and mix well.

Bake for 40 minutes at 180 centigrade.

Serve with crusty bread.

Ready to serve.

Coq au vin

This used to be a cheap Cribbit staple in the early days and the Coq bit was not taken too literary as I would often buy a huge turkey drum stick for 99p. For some reason, tw always refers to this as cock en vent and I know that he won't be including the mushrooms but I think they are the best bit.


  • Onion
  • crushed garlic
  • old fowl, turkey leg, chicken bits
  • button mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • red wine

Gently fry the mushrooms in the oil and garlic so they are golden all over and their texture changes from 'goat brain' to 'garden slug'

Add the onions, the coq and the red wine. I rarely fry the meat first as many do as I can't tell the difference and in this case will be throwing away the skin anyway.

It can now be gently simmered for about 90 minutes depending on the meat. Fresh chicken will probably need little more than 20 minutes.

Once the meat is cooked and falls easily off the bone, remove it from the pan, strip off skin and sinews, keeping the meat as intact as possible. Reduce the gravy. Return to the pan, correct the seasoning, warm back up and serve.

Barbeque or Braai

In the 70s, we used to spend most summer weekends on Anglesey with John in a caravan at Morfa Buchan. We sailed and fished and generally lived like savages.

Barbequing was practically unknown in Britain at that time and as it was our main method of cooking, we were often the subject of much scrutiny. Once a group of kids came up to us and asked if we were burning our meat. We explained that we were charcoaling it. This intelligence was taken away and at length one of them said 'Oh yes we know about that, we have coal in Liverpool' then they all ran off.

In those days, Anglesey was 'dry' on Sundays and the pubs were shut. Now our favourite pastime was sailing to either Red Wharf Bay or Moelfre, depending on inclination, wind and tide for a lunchtime pint or two. Of course there was not much point in doing this on Sundays, so then, we would have a BBQ on the beach with freshly caught mackerel and bottled beer thoughtfully bought the day before. I can still smell the mackerel cooking and the onlookers envying our cooked meal AND our bottles of beer!

Mackerel does especially well on the BBQ I think as its oily nature feeds the fire and its flesh is improved. Like all fish, it needs gentle treatment and should only be turned once over a low fire.

We used to do hamburgers too but then you had to ask the butcher to add a bit of extra fat and I always added a dash of water to the mix. None of this is needed to-day!


More recently, we have been big game hunting, via the internet, as a nice tease of home to South African friends.

Jordi cooks up Springbok, Blesbok, Kudu, Wildebeest steaks from Alternative Meats, Boerwrust from Stratford Market


"The Kudu is known for its spectacular long spiral horns and its name is derived from the Hottentot name "koodoo". These antelope browse on a very wide range of plants including a variety of leaves, herbs, fruits, vines and flowers. The meat is coarse grained and dark red"
Available from:
Alternative Meats

Kola the 

Kola supervises the cooking.

Kola visited us at Catslide very soon after we had got the keys and put in a day's labour which was very good of him. NOT so good of him was to play our version of pat tennis with Rosemary. His body was nothing but a blur as he strove to return the ball and the poor dog hardly got a look in at retrieving a lost one.

Now whenever Rosemary and I play and I miss a ball, she pointedly remarks that "Kola would have got that one!"

blurred Kola

See what I mean!!!

My hints for successful barbequing are:

  • Take your time! The whole point of a BBQ is to have a few beers, nurture the fire, chat, play a ball game, be entertained by all that is going on.
  • Build a much smaller fire than you think you need. Remember that charcoal was the fuel of choice for the steel industry, you don't want to convert your grill into metal ingots, you want to gently cook your food.
  • I never pre-cook anything, I think this dries out the food. Thick cuts and chicken need a long slow cook to make sure that the heat penetrates. Speed up if you must by covering with an old pan lid. Turn regularly.
  • I never use aluminium foil either, if I wanted to boil something, I would put it in a pan. Besides the foil reflects the heat and prevents the BBQ taste from developing which is surely the whole point of the exercise in the first place.
  • Never put salt on meat before cooking it, it draws out the moisture.
  • Salt is useful though if the fire gets too hot, sprinkle salt on the coals to slow them down.
  • Do marinate the meat, especially pork.

If I'm doing steaks, I usually layer them one on top of the other with a layer of crushed garlic and freshly ground pepper between them for at least an hour before cooking, it helps to keep them in the refrigerator as this will remove some of the excess water the butcher will have put in so that you pay more for them. Cook hot and for no longer than 10 minutes, try to turn once only. Treat thick cuts like chicken, quickly seal over the hot part of the grill then cook more slowly turning regularly to distribute the heat.

Of course one reason that barbequing in Britain was slow to catch on was the weather. Special measures are sometimes needed for success!

gentle rain 
from heaven and the place beneath

Whatever the weather, enjoy!

enjoying a bbq


Skilpadjies or Little Tortoises

   Skilpadjies or Little Tortoises

We had a ♉   braai in the evening of the ♉   tTs wedding and their colleagues brought the meat to cook on it. Some things that were new to me and brought by ♉   Gregor were skilpadjies aka 'little tortoises' and they were 'so lekker' I just had to make them myself.

I got some good hints from ♉   Gregor and of course I have had ♉ ♉ ♉ a good surf around the web 3 links so what you see here is my first attempt at making them and very nice they were too. [lekker even]

One item that might be difficult to get is pork caul [netvet], this was very easy for me as Margaret and Terry gave me some that they had got from their local ♉butcher in Melbourn [Hants]. Terry used his to make sheftalia, Greek sausages. These are very nice as well. [πολύ ωραία even]

One bit of good advice from the Afrikaans version though is: 'skaaplewer (kudu lewer is net so lekker)' so I don't advise using kudu liver though I am rather partial to its meat.


  • 350gm or thereabouts of lamb's liver
  • 1 pack of streaky bacon, about the same 350gm
  • crushed garlic, at least 5 big cloves
  • 1 slice of white bread chopped
  • 1 large onion finely choped
  • finely chopped fresh herbs, I used what we had in the garden being: rosemary and sage but would have liked some thyme
  • teaspoon each of ground spices: what you have but I added: nutmeg, coriander, cummin
  • freshly ground black pepper and coriander
  • generous splash of Worcester sauce


  • Chop [or mince] the liver, its worth the effort to do this by hand
  • Do the same to about half the streaky bacon and add to the liver, saving six rashers to wrap the bare skilpadjies
  • Mix all the ingredients and splash in the Worcester sauce
  • Wrap two tablespoonsful of the mixture in pieces of caul
  • Wrap each parcel with a rasher of streaky bacon and secure with a toothpic
Braai 20 minutes or so until the bacon is crispy and the caul has melted and the filling is cooked

All of that in pictures

   Skilpadjies or Little Tortoises

   Skilpadjies or Little Tortoises

   Skilpadjies or Little Tortoises





For the sauce

  • 3 eggs
  • milk
  • 2 heaped tablespoons flour, I am incapable of measuring flour, I just shake out as much as I think I need. Aim to use about a pint of milk.
  • olive oil
  • nutmeg

Prepare Some sort of filling baked in the oven with tomatoes. Minced lamb is the meat of choice in Greece.

Slice the aubergine and the courgette [if using] transversely and soak the aubergine slices in lemon juice before putting them in the baking dish. This stops them going brown but best of all it reduces the amount of oil they absorb and gives a nice lemony flavour. Put a layer of aubergine slices in the oiled oven dish. Then a layer of the lamb mince and tomato filling and repeat until the dish is full. Pour the sauce over the lot and sprinkle a little nutmeg on top.

Make up the sauce in a pan over a low heat by adding the flour to the olive oil, stirring well in and add milk little by little to keep a thick paste. Some do this over a double boiler but that is too much effort for me. Keep the heat low, the pan moving and the sauce stirred and it will be alright. Keep adding milk as the sauce thickens to keep it from overheating. When you have a creamy flour sauce, allow to cool a bit and add the well beaten eggs and stir all around. You can add some grated mousetrap cheese too, if you like, but don't overdo it, this is not a cheese sauce.

Bake in a slow[ish] oven for at least 90 minutes, longer if possible. [Start with the oven at 200C, reduce to 150C after 15 minutes and then cook for 45 minutes, reducing the temperature again to 110C for another hour. Switch off the oven and leave for another 30 minutes, if you have the time!!!]

Recent Christmas Dinners

Christmas dinners have featured game in some guise or other for the past few years. One year, we went to the Sheldonian for a Christmas concert after a day shopping in Oxford. We had seats high in the building, backing on the top bay windows. These provided a very convenient shelf on which to store our shopping bags, including one rather full with game from the market. As these were also cool we were congratulating ourselves on the excellent seats that included refrigeration for our Christmas dinner. As the concert went on, we became aware of a rather distinct and recognisable smell of ripe pheasant wafting over the audience. We maintained a look of perfect innocence but were careful to hide the name of the purveyor emblazoned on the bag when we left.

It was also a remarkable concert in that half the audience died during the performance. Hardly had the orchestra struck up but the wail of an ambulance could be heard and the first old man was wheeled out of the auditorium. No sooner were we settled than the whole action was repeated again, this time with the assistance of medically qualified members of the audience. When it happened a third time we decided that Christmas concerts were probably a risk to health and better avoided.

Christmas on Cribbit


In Birmingham

xmas xmas


From Live Journal of Mar. 1st, 2005, 02:04 pm

The shooting reason has just ended and as tw has the car, an alternative method of pheasant mortification, this makes it unlikely that I will get to cook pheasant again until October, by which time I will have forgotten how to do it so it is recorded here.

First get your pheasant and that comes straight from Mrs. Beeton. Next pour yourself a large glass of wine, have a small sip and assemble your utensils. This is one small pyrex roasting dish with tight fitting lid. Better wash it if this is October, at other times it will have been in regular use. Better have another sip of wine as no one likes washing up. Stick the bird in the pot, breast down and pour the rest of the wine over it, top up the glass and put another squirt in with the bird. Put on the lid and put in the oven at high heat. Drink some more of the wine and after about 30 mins take the dish out of the oven, turn over the bird and replace in the oven for another 30 min or so at medium heat.

And that is it!!! no basting no bacon no lard no fuss!! Comes out pink, tender and juicy!!! with a nice stock at the bottom for the gravy.

Rabbit Pie

This is sj's favourite although her reasons for wanting it are a little suspect. This always comes to table to chants of 'kill the bunny' and further exhortations like 'lovely fluffy bunny, yumm, yumm, yumm'

game at Borough market

Borough Market

Sarah insists that the pie should also contain the vegetables but they can be done separately if you have more than three diners.

Rabbit usually cooks quickly, though the old alpha male shot at Mynydd Bach took a bit more than most before he was fit for consumption.


  • Rabbit
  • button mushrooms
  • garlic
  • potatoes, par boiled
  • carrot
  • beans
  • olive oil
  • red wine or better a bottle of stout
Rabbit Pie

Fry up the rabbit, garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil and give it a bit of a poke. If it looks as though it will be tender, throw in the onions and the red wine and deposit all in the pie dish. If not throw in the beer/wine and simmer until the meat starts to tenderise, then throw it in the pie dish with the onions on top.

Now add the vegetables on top of the rabbit, salt and pepper and add a bit more wine if it looks as though it needs it. Drink some yourself whatever.

Cover with pastry and bake at 200 C for 45 minutes. Its a good idea to support the pastry on an upside down cup. Not a pastry funnel. As the pie cooks, gravy gets drawn into the cup and when the pie is opened there is extra gravy.

Rabbit pie

Some sort of filling baked in the oven with tomatoes

Many of the recipes that follow start off with the same treatment of the filling.

All use tins of chopped tomatoes and of course I have a prejudice here. The expensive sort come in a thick sauce which I don't think does as well as the special 'el cheapo' kind that the supermarkets keep on their bottom shelves away from prying eyes and at much reduced cost. I have also noticed that these tend to come in old fashioned tins that you open with a tin opener. These are to be preferred as I can never open the 'easy open' ones without spilling their contents.

If using lentils, boil them until they are al dente and then treat them as though they are the minced meat. They will need more olive oil to fry them than the meat.

Filling Ingredients:

  • minced meat or lentils
  • garlic
  • onion
  • chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • mushrooms [optional]

If using minced meat, its probably better to fry this up on its own first and then drain off the fat and extra water that they will have added to 'enhance' it.

In a skillet, fry minced meat, garlic onions, mushrooms. When the meat is browned, pour one or more tins of chopped tomatoes over the lot. Allow to simmer for a short while.


Scull and cross bones

Sj shapes a scull and cross bones in cream cheese for our Swallows and Amazons Lasagne


Make the filling as above.

Splash olive oil on the bottom of your lasagne dish and arrange a layer of un-cooked lasagne noodles across the bottom.

Break off the corners to get a good fit in the dish.

Cover with a layer of the filling and spread strips of mozzarella over it and add blobs of low fat cheese. Continue with layers of noodle and filling until all is used up, reserving the full fat cheese for the upper layers. Bake in a slow[ish] oven for at least an hour.

Stuffed peppers

When I lived in Cortland sometimes we used to go over to Homer to the Homeville Diner for Saturday lunch. Last time I was there I noticed that this has now been made into a museum of 'how we were'. It was a genuine old railroad car and Denny used to make what he called stuffed peppers which we always had with homefries.


  • mixed peppers, but mostly green ones
  • filling mix above
  • olive oil

Denny was the original greasy spoon cook and I have to say that the oil does make for a better dish than when less is used.

Pour some olive oil into an oven dish, about 2mm deep. [Less if you are really concerned about you health] Cover the bottom of the dish with peppers cut into quarters longitudinally. You see I lied about the stuffed bit, these peppers are all but flat! Cover, but sparsely, with some sort of filling baked in the oven with tomatoes and bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes. The peppers should be soft, covered in oil and pungent. [That's why the green ones are best]. Serve with a slotted spoon to reduce the fat.

Shepherd's Pie


Shepherd's Pie

The chopped tomatoes are not essential for this but you do need to replace their moisture content with something else, red wine, soy sauce, brown beer all come to mind.

Cover a layer of the filling mix above with creamed mashed potatoes. Scour the surface with a fork and either bake in a very hot oven to brown the top or stick it under the grill.

Steak and kidney pie

When we lived at Witney, we invited Rosemary's mother to stay for the weekend so she could join us at a friend's surprise 50th birthday party. Rosemary warned me that her mother liked rather traditional English cooking so I settled on steak and kidney pie with Brussel sprouts as a vegetable.

The meal was a success and we all toddled off to the golf club for the party and barn dance. Now I'm convinced that it was the Do Si Dos that did it but the combination of the sprouts, the kidneys and the exercise had a most deleterious effect on me and I soon realised that I was slowly clearing the dance floor. At least the progressive dances enabled escape from the effluvia and then all that was needed was an accusative Paddington bear stare at however was left behind.

Steak and kidney pie


  • steak and kidney
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • bottle of stout, or other dark strong beer
  • pastry
  • brussel sprouts [optional]

Fry up the mushrooms in some oil and then add the meat, onions and the beer. Simmer until the meat is tender.

Put in oven proof dish, cover with the pastry and bake for 45 minutes or so. Its a good idea to support the pastry on an upside down cup. Not a pastry funnel. As the pie cooks, gravy gets drawn into the cup and when the pie is opened there is extra gravy.


I only discovered the Tagine a couple of years ago when Jordi and I went to see Eve Best as Hedda Gabla at the Almeida theatre in Islington. After the play we went to Magreb, a Moroccan restaurant. The meal was splendid and the presentation in the Tagine spectacular. I just had to get one!

This is my recipe for a fish Tagine.


  • fennel
  • fish
  • preserved [or fresh] lemon
  • chopped tomatoes
  • olives [pitted]
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • cardamom
  • sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • white wine

Layer the ingredients in the Tagine in their order in the ingredients list.

Put the fish on a bed of fennel and put slices of lemon on top of it. Chop the tomatoes and pile on top including their juice. Top off with the spices and a good shot of olive oil.

Bake for as long as you can in a moderate oven.

Pheasant Tagine

This week, I actually got round to reading the instructions that came with my tagine. It's by Emile Henry and they say that it can be used on a stove top. Now this was a surprise. I'm not sure if other tagines can take this treatment but it certainly makes the cooking easier for a simple dish.

Now this revelation was timely, as I was just back from the farmers' market in Thame with pheasant breasts [3 packs of four 'sides' for a tenner, that's equivalent to six mortified pheasants], and 5 lemons, expecting to make a last batch of lemonade for the hot indian summer, now but a fading memory, but just the ingredients for a pheasant tagine.

Preserved lemons

Preserved lemons are a common tagine ingredient and I have bought jars of them in the past, [Waitrose stock them] but they are simple to make, especially when their main ingredient has become redundant with the dark nights and first frosts.


  • 5 lemons
  • salt
  • vinegar
  • olive oil

Wash the lemons well and cut into slices. Arrange the slices in layers in a container and sprinkle each layer liberally with the salt. Splash over some strong vinegar, cover with olive oil and refrigerate.

Pheasant Tagine


  • pheasant breasts cut into pieces
  • onion
  • garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, corriander, ginger and sugar
  • 6 prunes
  • 4 dried apricots
  • 2 slices of the preserved lemon
  • pitted olives
  • a good handful of parsley and whatever other herbs are available in the garden
  • olive oil

Fry the pheasant in the olive oil in the tagine on the stove top, if you think yours can stand the treatment. Once the meat is sealed, add the onions and garlic and fry gently and then the rest of the ingredients. Add water to less than cover and then simmer gently for 30 minutes or so.

Serve with rice or couscous.

Courgette or Zucchini

A quote from "The Witches of Eastwick" by John Updike, Penguin Books

"I remember one year with the zucchini," Sukie responded, setting the jars [of tomato sauce] dutifully on a cupboard shelf from which she would never take them down. .......

......"I did everything," she said to Alexandra, relishing in exaggeration, her active hands flickering in the edges of her own vision. "Zucchini bread, zucchini soup, zucchini salad, frillata, zucchini stuffed with hamburger and baked, cut into slices and fried, cut into sticks to use with dip, it was WILD. I even threw a bit into the blender and told the children to put it on their bread instead of peanut butter. Monty was desperate, he said his shit smelled of zucchini."

Well this summer, 2009, we know how she feels!!

We have done as many, maybe more! so here are a few courgette recipes:


1. For smallish ones


  • 4 yellow and green courgettes
  • 2 onions
  • mange tout, sugar snap peas
  • french and runner beans, blanched ie boil them for a bit
  • stem ginger, preserved in syrup
  • salt
  • soya sauce, pepper etc
  • Worcester sauce
  • butter
  • garlic

Slice the courgettes along their length and use a teaspoon to scrape out all the seeds and the mushy bits surrounding them, then cut into pieces approx 5cm x 2cm x 2cm or so. ie quite chunky pieces.

Gently fry the onions and garlic in the butter, throw in the peas and beans then add the courgettes, ginger and the sauces. Shake around for a bit until the courgettes are heated through rather than cooked.


2. For bigger ones, not yet marrows


  • courgettes
  • 2 onions
  • fresh tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper etc
  • garlic

Slice the courgettes along their length and use a teaspoon to scrape out all the seeds and the mushy bits surrounding them, then cut the slices into 2cm cubes [approx].

Gently fry the onions and garlic in the oil, add the chopped tomatoes and courgettes. You need a generous helping of the oil so should have a rather rich sauce of olive oil and toato. This can also be done with tinned tomatoes but is not as good. Use less oil if using tinned tomatoes.

4. Link below to vegetable stuffed courgettes in the vegetarian section

Try this link to vegetable stuffed courgettes in the vegetarian section


Fish Pie

Abbey and Narinder

Abbey and Narinder join us for Christmas Eve Salmon pie.


  • Flaky fish, salmon does well here or cod
  • rice [optional]
  • peas [optional]
  • prawns [optional]
  • milk
  • pastry

Cook the rice a bit underdone, gently poach the fish in the milk.

Flake the fish into the drained rice and mix in the peas. Put all in an oven proof dish, add the poaching liquid, cover with the pastry and bake for about 40 minutes in a medium oven.

Flying Fish


The Newham contingent at Nanette's wedding in Barbados.

In December, 2002 I went to Barbados for Nanette's wedding. When I got back, I realised that I had had flying fish every day that I had been there and was lamenting that now I was back in Blighty it would be unlikely that I would have them again. Shopping in Summerfield my first day back to my surprise, I thought I saw flying fish! Closer inspection revealed these to be fresh sardines, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to me that from a culinary point of view it would be hard to tell the difference.

Salmon Loaf

This works with most pre-cooked fish. It came about through having fewer than expected guests for a baked salmon one evening and wanting to use up the leftovers.


  • 400g cooked salmon or other flaky fish
  • 40g oatmeal, 25% volume or 10% weight of the fish
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 4 teaspoons horseradish sauce
  • salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients and then bake in a moderate oven for 40 minutes or so.

Sea Bass or other fish aka 'the lost fish recipe'

I've been doing this with farmed sea bass which seem to be readily available and are very nice fish. Either use them whole or as fillets but any oily fish will do.

You could even use 'edless reds' as suggested by this Live Journal entry.

Live Journal October 25th 2007
'edless reds

I've just been to
East Ham market to buy some fresh fish for this evening's meal. The fishmonger detecting that I was prevaricating, made a suggestion as to what I should buy, he suggested Icelandic sea bream. "'cos these are 'edless and gutless so you only gets what you pay for."

Well Ok i'll have that one!

He went on to describe how these were his favourites and divers ways of cooking them.

Anyway I was pleased with my purchase and asked him to repeat their name so I could buy them again if successful. "yes" he says, "they are what we calls edless reds'". So they are though I rather presume that at one time they did also have heads.


  • fish, whole or filleted
  • olives [black pitted]
  • onion
  • parsley
  • 3/4 fresh tomatoes
  • garlic
  • sun dried tomato, capers, olives, mezze mix, optionaL ifyou have it
  • tarragon, dill or fennell, optional
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Pitted olives are OK for cooking but just check the tin when you buy them to make sure that they are really black olives and not dyed green ones. This may take careful reading of the contents list, which is normally beyond my failing powers.

Gently fry the onions, garlic and condiments in the olive oil and add the chopped tomatoes as you chop them.

Cook until the tomatoes break down a bit and you have a nice oily sauce, add the olives and the mezze mix.

Place the fish fillet on this mixture and continue cooking until one side is done, then turn the fish over and do the other side.

If using a whole fish, balance it on its backbone first, then do each side in turn.

Try not to cook the fish more than once on each side and work the mixture into the cavity after each turn.

Stuffed dormice

Recently, I went to the ♉ ♉ 'Last supper in Pompeii' 2 links exhibition at the ♉Ashmolian Museum. I really enjoyed the exhibition, especially as it was all about food and drink but what really caught my eye was the information about dormice and the display of a glisarium as they called it but also known as a ♉glirarium elsewhere. They were used to fatten ♉dormice ready for eating and consisted of an earthenware pot, a bit like a hamster cage, with steps and ladders to entertain them. Their name comes from the latin name for dormice, glis glis which were quite a ♉ ♉ delicacy for the Romans 2 links.

Of course this got me wondering as to why one might go to this amount of trouble to prepare and eat something that even when fattened up did not amount to much by way of a meal. It seemed to me that a likely reason might be that the dormice were being used as a handy and fatty cooking pot for something else. Knowing that the Roman's liked sweet things mixed in with their savory and having just done the South African dish ♉   bobity which also combines fruit and meat this seemed like a good idea.

So what to use instead of dormice? I have seen ♉ ♉ ♉ other recipes 3 links based on chicken but this didn't feel right to me so decided to try breast of lamb and I'm very pleased with this.

Stuffed dormice

Stuffed dormice hot from the oven.


  • Breast of lamb with the bones removed
  • 275g mixed lean lamb and pork mince
  • 75g chopped dates
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 50g prunes
  • 75g fresh apple [oh ok one apple cored but not peeled]
  • garlic
  • fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • liquid honey [or solid honey diluted with a little water]

Spread out the breast of lamb and delaminate it so that you have layers of skin and fat and cut into sheets. Mix all the ingredients together adding any bits of lamb meat, well chopped, from the breast and put about a third of the mixture onto each sheet of lamb breast and sew them up into parcels. [You will now find out why the Romans had slaves]

Mix the ingredients.

Lay out on the pieces of lamb breast.

Sew up into parcels.

Put in an oven dish, douse with the honey, garnish with rosemary and then bake for 45 minutes or so at 170C.

Stuffed dormice hot from the oven.

Stuffed squid

There are two recipes here for stuffed squid. The first uses salmon as the stuffing and the second a more esoteric mix of anchovies and olives cooked in a tomato sauce.

Its difficult to give exact measures here as squid vary so much in size BUT I have a system! First get your squid two small ones each one medium or share a great big one. Clean it, cut off its tentacles and reserve and then fill the sack with water, pour the water into a measuring jug, or weigh on the scales. [1 gram equals 1ml] Multiply by the number of squid you have and that gives the volume of stuffing required. Amounts below assume a total volume of 500ml [5 x 100ml squid so adjust accordingly.

Stuffed squid version ONE

Squid, swimming in tomato and garlic sauce.


  • 400g cooked salmon or other flaky fish or a mixture. I like the hot smoked salmon and smoked haddock.
  • 40g oatmeal [or porridge oats in the UK], 25% volume or 10% weight of the fish
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 4 teaspoons horseradish sauce
  • salt and pepper

Clean the squid. Discarding the 'quill', eyes, beak and internal organs. Reserve and finely chop the tentacles and mix with the other ingredients and stuff into the squid.
Bake in a moderate oven for 40 minutes or follow the method for squid version TWO by simmering in a garlic and tomato sauce. Don't stuff to tight as the oatmeal expands on cooking

Cuttlefish/Octopus stifado

First clean the octopus/cuttlefish, cut off its tentacles and then open up the sack and remove and discard the internal organs, taking care not to pierce the gut. Strip what flesh you can from the head and add to the rest. Cut all the meat into bite sized pieces and put into a casserole dish with the rest of the ingredients. Cut out and discard the 'bone' and donate to a budgerigar owning friend, or use it to sharpen your teeth.

Octopus/cuttlefish stifado

Cuttlefish stifado.


For the stuffing

  • Octopus/cuttlefish cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 carrots
  • half tin chopped tomatoes [200g]
  • 1 Onion chopped plus several small whole onions/shallots
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • several garlic cloves chopped
  • chopped parsely and mixed herbs

Put all the ingredients into a casserole, deep saucepan or slow cooker, pour over about half bottle of red wine, or at least enough to cover the ingredients. Add water if you are feeling mean about the wine. Simmer for a couple of hours until the cuttlefish is tender [not tough anyway]. Test and stir regularly.

Shortly before serving bring up the heat and reduce the sauce or if using a slow cooker take the lid off for the last hour.

Put all the ingredients into a casserole.

Indonesian food

Babi Ketjap

Tender pork in a sweet ginger and soya sauce.



The ingredients ready to go

Fry the pork in the olive oil until all the water that has been added by the butcher has been released and you can actually fry it. Reserve and then sweat off the onions garlic and ginger. Return the pork to the pan. Add the beer and a good slug of ketjap and the treacle. If you don't have ketjap manis add ordinary soy sauce, an extra teaspoon of treacle and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Simmer for half an hour or so.


Ready to serve

Serve with boiled rice, Krupeuks and pieces of cucumber.

Indian food

You may have noticed that so far there have been no recipes for Indian food on cooking on cribbit. This is not because I don't make Indian food, rather it's because I'm not very good at it! Having observed Pallavi in her kitchen I just feel incapable. She has a round container, divided into compartments from which she dispenses spices at the speed of light. The results are excellent. I'm afraid all I do is add pre-mixed spices to whatever I happen to have handy.

Having said that, here are a few suggestions.

Sag aloo [Spinach with potatoes]


  • 2 onions
  • potatoes [boiled]
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper etc
  • spinach, fresh and/or frozen
  • pre-mixed curry paste
  • garlic
hot pepper [to taste]

Sweat the onions and garlic in some olive oil and then add the boiled potatoes and spinach. Add curry spices [to taste] and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Serve with naan bread or rice or eat on its own.

I like the combination of the fresh and the frozen spinach. The aim is to have a green sauce for this and the frozen spinach is a simple way to get it.

Replace the potatoes with pieces of lamb or chicken and you have lamb sag or chicken sag.

Onion bhajia

I've been working on this recipe for some time and I think I have it about right now. You will need gram flour for this. I usually buy mine from the ethnic aisle in Tesco now I have moved away from London. The flour comes with a recipe but I have found that as this is provided by the manufacturer, it is designed to use as much flour as possible, so it makes rather dense bhajia. Gram flour is ground up chick peas and is glutten free.


I don't often have onion bhajia when I go to an Indian restaurant as they are often deep fried which makes them delicious but dangerously fatty. I had some the other day which were more like'scotch' pancakes with onions in them and they were excellent and this is my recipe for them.


  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • gram flour
  • olive oil
  • 100ml water
  • yeast or baking powder
  • pre-mixed curry sauce
  • squashed garlic clove
  • 1tsp cummin seeds
hot pepper, chilli powder [to taste]

If using yeast, mix the yeast with the warm water and a little sugar and leave to get going as you do for bread. If using baking powder mix with the gram flour.


Once the yeast is working well, mix in the flour until you have a fluid consistency, slightly thicker than for [English] pancakes, as for blinnis.

  • Add the spices and the onions.
  • Fry in a minimum of oil.
Drain on kitchen roll when ready. coc0410 coc0411

If you make the batter thicker, the bhajia will hold together in balls and can be deep fried.

Indian starters.

We normally have poppadoms to start. I keep my eyes open for hot pickles when I am out and about on the Rialto but all the supermarkets have their own selection. I particularly like the hot mixed pickle. Poppadoms are also readily available. I usually buy them ready made and cooked as I seem to be incapable of remembering them once they are under the grill.

Finely chop an onion and add a little thinly sliced tomato or sweet pepper. Serve with a yoghurt sauce made by mixing yoghurt with fresh mint. I am always surprised how little fresh mint you need or how much dried!

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