Marmalade curried beef (this is not a typo)

This week’s recipe comes to you from a bleary eyed Saturday morning after a brilliant night out watching Dick Gaughan in Dundee with oor pals Brendan and Caddy. If you haven’t heard of him you really should check him out!

It’s been a slow week in the office for me, reading and attempting to write, but I feel like I’m making some headway with my research so today is a chirpy one.

We’re going to drop by a friend’s place the Fountain Cafe along the road later on for brunch. It’s worth pointing out that he has just opened a new takeaway coffee and sandwich joint on Lauriston place called Contino. Check it out if you’re in that end of town. I can tell you that the coffee, from the fair hand of Meg, is rich and dark (a relatively unknown Italian supplier) and that a smoked salmon and cream cheese roll will set you up nicely for the day.

[Update] – As is perhaps apparent, this is not Saturday. I wrote this post yesterday and published it today which means I can bring to you an exclusive picture of one of the best brunches you could hope for. Simon (our pal, the owner) recommended the pancakes with bacon and maple syrup which, even having had a fairly large breakfast only an hour before, was entirely irresistible. The salty savoury bacon with the sweetness of the syrup and the light fluffy stack of pancakes delivered pleasure beyond measure! Here they are in all their glory!

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The recipe this week is rather experimental, especially because it came to me in a dream about 3 months ago. You hear of these things happening to musicians, they wake up humming a wee ditty or whatever, but it’s never happened to me before. Naturally I had to cook it! Catherine took a bit of persuading (hence the 3 month hiatus) but I finally ground her down enough to let me try it. It is a real corker (if I don’t mind saying so myself). I’ve just asked her for a quote on the curry:

Not as bad as I thought it would be… Nah, it was amazing

Take from that what you will.

The dish itself requires a little time and actually works best, I’d say, in a slow cooker or a casserole dish in the oven. this allows the flavours to infuse and for the beef to tenderise. The marmalade, although unconventional, dots the curry with sleek jewels of bitter-sweet rind and gives the curry a richness that is hard to beat. Just think of it like mango chutney and you’ll soon get over the apprehensions I’m sure you’re harbouring as you read this.

So, to the recipe! This is pretty rough so you should feel free to muck about with it a little if you like. Let me know in the comments if there are any additions/substitutions you discover. Also, it looks like a lot of ingredients but if you combine the whole spices in a wee bowl before hand then you can turf it all in at once!

Marmalade curried beef

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Ingredients:

1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 red onion roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 sliced red chillies seeds left in (adjust to tastes/tolerance)
1 black cardamom
5 cloves
1 star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp sea salt
500g stewing beef diced
1/2 butternut squash diced
1/2 courgette diced
3 tbsp thick cut marmalade
Beef stock
1 tsp garam masala

Method:

1. Toast coriander, cumin and cinnamon in the pot you’ll use for the curry over a medium heat. When they just start to smoke and release a bit of their fragrant oils tip them into a spice mill and grind them to a fine powder (you can do this in a mortar and pestle if you prefer/if it’s all you have).

2. Return the pot to the heat, whap in a glug of veg oil and gently fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for a further 2 mins.

3. Now tip in the whole spices (cardamom, cloves, star anise, fennel and fenugreek seeds) and stir them in. It should be smelling amazing by now! Give it a few minutes and then tip in the ground spices and salt. Keep stirring so they don’t burn.

4. After a minute or so throw the beef in and let it seal all over (4-5 minutes should do it).

5. Now add the veg and the beef stock and two tablespoons of the marmalade (the last one will go in at the end) and bring to the boil. The stock should just cover the meat and veg (if you’re using a casserole dish add a little more as it will reduce a little in the oven).

6. If you are using a casserole dish give it 2-3 hours in the oven on 180C or gas mark 4-5. If you’re using a slow cooker give it 5-6 hours on low (you can really leave it all day if you’re out though and it will be amazingly succulent and tender when you get home).

7. Just before serving stir in the remaining tablespoon of marmalade and the garam masala. this will just brighten it up a little.

8. Serve with boiled basmati rice and yoghurt (the entirely pretentious orange zest is optional).

I really hope you try this one out, it’s well worth stepping a wee bit out of your comfort zone for! The dream recipe thing seems to work, perhaps next time we’re hosting for dinner I should have a wee nap and see if I can come up with a whole menu?

Let me know what you think.

Till next time…

Hom(age) to Ken: Crispy Pork and Braised Aubergine

Hom(age), see what I did there? Ken Hom? Never mind.

I was watching a back episode of Ken Hom’s new programme this morning whilst eating breakfast and it gave me some good ideas (as well as making me want dumplings all day). This dish is inspired by my pal Ken and incorporates a few of his techniques from various recipes I’ve seen him do over the years. It’s simple but there are a few ingredients you’ll need to have. First is kecap manis which is a really sweet, thick, molassesy soy sauce (this is my favourite brand). The second ingredient is Jimmy’s Satay Sauce which is not like the thick peanutty sauces you get over chicken skewers, it is a Malaysian paste which adds a sweet and savoury note to your dishes. If you don’t have these I recommend both heartily!

The benefit of braising the aubergine, rather than frying, is that it doesn’t soak up a load of oil and in this way is slightly healthier (ignore the fact that it’s belly cut) and you get a lot of flavour without the greasiness.

Anyway, here’s the recipe:

Crispy Pork and Braised Aubergine

Crispy Pork and Braised Aubergine

  • Crispy Pork and Braised Aubergine:
  1. 500g of pork belly – sliced into bitesized chunks
  2. One whole onion – roughly chopped
  3. Three spring onions – chopped
  4. Three cloves of garlic – roughly chopped
  5. One whole red chilli – chopped
  6. One whole aubergine – diced into 1cm cubes
  7. 100ml water
  8. Two tbsp rice vinegar
  9. Two tbsp kecap manis
  10. Jimmy’s Satay Sauce
  11. One tbsp dark soy sauce
  12. One tbsp light soy sauce
  13. One tbsp of lime vinegar
  14. Handful fresh coriander
  15. Juice of half a lime (if no lime vinegar use juice of whole lime)
  16. Whole green pepper – sliced into rings

– First, and this is a Ken Hom tip, heat 2tbsp of oil in your wok until smoking and then fry the pork in batches until crispy. Remove each batch and drain in a sieve. This might seem like a hassle but it makes the pork so tender when you return it to the wok later and I promise it’s worth it!

– Once all the pork is fried and resting, add to the hot wok the onion and spring union and fry until soft. Next add the garlic and chilli and fry for a further 3 mins.

– Now add the aubergine, the pork and the water and place a lid over your wok. Allow to braise for five minutes.

– It is now time to get it going: bang in your flavours (ingredients 8-14), stir through, and replace the lid for a further three minutes.

– At this stage I’d get  some chow mein noodles on (or whatever style you prefer).

– Finally, you are ready to serve. Drain the noodles and toss in a little toasted sesame oil to stop them sticking and for a bit of rich nutty flavour. Serve the pork and aubergine over the noodles, squeeze the lime over for a bit of zing and top with the green pepper and a few sprigs of coriander.

I’ve just finished eating this and I want more… There’s something about the fatty pork belly and the salty sweetness of the kecap manis that I can’t resist. This dish contains a lot of my favourite things and is a recycled variation on all sorts of dishes I make in order to get the same things in: pork belly, kecap manis and Jimmy’s. With any one of those ingredients you can’t go wrong; with all three, you’re in heaven.