The Maharaja’s Grill

A sort of Indian restaurant mixed grill

 

maharajas-grill

 

Onion bhajias warming, Bombay Aloo keeping warm and some mint sauce too. On the plate we have, from the front,

 

Lamb Kofte,  Lamb Tikka,  Vegetable kebab ( pre-cooked mushrooms, onions and green pepper)  King Prawn Tikka ( shell-on)  and finally Chicken Tikka.

 

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Really simple…..all the ‘prep’ is done earlier…just fire up the grill when you’re hungry!

 

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Perfect:

 

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International Kebab Day

No, not an international day to celebrate the humble kebab……rather a day when we ate an ‘international kebab’ with meat styles from Greece, Turkey and India……….

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We ate outside, of course………

The Usual Suspects;…. Indian Lamb sish kebab, chicken tikka,, Greek chicken skewers, vegateble and mushroom kebab, Greek lamb kebabs and Turkish lamb shish kebabs:

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With the usual accompaniments: lemon wedges and pickled chillies, lettuce and cucumber, Mexican chilli sauce, onion salad, garlic and onion dip and red cabbage salad.

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Almost ready!

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Perfect!

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le Déjeuner au Jardin

A four-course meal in the garden;

 

First course, rillettes de porc avec cornichons et cidre de Bretagne

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Main course, Steak-Frites avec legumes Française, champignons et sauce poivre vert ( with a nice Bordeaux red)

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Dessert course, Rhum-baba:

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And to finish, cheese and fruit…with Calvados:

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This might look like a lot of hard work, but it was simple!

Cornichons from Waitrose, Rillettes de porc from Lidl.

 

Steak, pepper sauce and oven-chips from Sainsbury. Tinned veg from Waitrose

 

Rhum-baba , fruit and cheeses from Sainsbury.

 

What a cheat! It was all out of tins and jars!!

 

Pommes de Terre au Montagne avec Steak Aloyau

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Small new potatoes are peeled and boiled until just cooked. They are then allowed to cool fully, before being sliced and set aside.

Double cream is mixed with garlic puree and dried thyme with some pre-fried bacon bits added.

The potatoes are lined vertically in a small oven-proof pot and the cream poured over them, followed by some grated Emmenthal cheese with a few extra bacon bits.

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The potatoes ready for the oven…30 minutes at 200Deg C. and a sirloin steak with seasoning ready for the grill.

 

 

 

The Kebab of Thunder!

A thundering great kebab that I had to cook indoors as there was a storm outside………..

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Toppings:

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From Top left, left to right there is:

Roasted Peppers on Onions

I used a jar of red and yellow peppers, fried some onion in a little oil and then some green pepper with a little salt and sugar added before water was added to the pan to steam them.

Pickle Cucumbers

Sliced cucumber was salted for an hour, then rinsed, dried with kitchen paper before being added to spiced malt vinegar for four hours..the spices were mixed dried peppercorns, chilli flakes and two allspice seeds.

Pickled Chilli Peppers and lemon wedges.

Carrot Salad

Grated carrot had honey, garlic puree ands salt added to it.

Fried new potatoes

These  were pre-boiled first.

Cabbage Salad

Thinly sliced white cabbage was dressed with olive oil and white wine vinegar before a pinch of salt was added and a touch of parsley.

Onion Salad

Thinly sliced onion was dressed in olive oil and white wine vinegar…no salt on this one!

Green Salad with Tomatoes

Garlic and Onion Dip

Chilli Sauce

Tomato puree was loosened with water and a dash of olive oil, … garlic puree and salt were added before adding bottled chilli sauce to taste.

The meats:

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Top left, left to right:

Marinated Lamb.

Seam-butchered and then rested in olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of ‘chicken seasoning’ a pinch of meat tenderiser, a pinch of ground cumin and a dash of tomato and garlic purees.

Sliced Donner meat.

This was bought in from Tesco as a frozen kebab with everything but the meat discarded……it was that or a trip to the kebab van!

Flat breads

These are from Sainsbury…they look like folded pitta breads but they are far better

Marinated Chicken.

Butchered and then marinated in olive oil and white wine vinegar, chicken seasoning and a dash of ketchup.

 

Kofte Kebabs.

Minced lamb was bound with some plain breadcrumbs before a teaspoon of curry powder, and some  ground cumin was added. A little salt and chopped coriander leaf was added too.

Due to the storm I warmed the peppers through in the microwave, toasted the breads and the meat was cooked in pans! The potatoes were fried in a little olive oil.

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I cooked the meat very gently then turned the heat up high to colour, chopping the kofte into bits:

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The assembled kebab:

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Did we finish them all?   ……no, not quite, but the dog was very happy!

 

 

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Mixed Grill, …made easy……

Mixed grill

This isn’t a recipe, more an idea. From time to time I buy a decent pack of sausages, some small sirloin steaks and some lamb chops along with a small cooked ham joint.

hamSainsbury’s British roasted ham joint. I slice this and freeze the slices. Some gets diced for Special Fried Rice, some gets frozen with half a sirloin steak, a sausage and a lamb chop.

Put them in a freezer-bag and squeeze all the air out so that the meat doesn’t get ‘freezer burnt. Freeze until needed.

Fry the sausage , warm the oven for oven chips and onion rings. When the fries go in light the BBQ or heat a cast iron frying pan hot with no oil in. Add half a tomato to the sausage in the frying pan.

When you turn the fries add the onion rings and cook the lamb chop. When you turn the lamb chop turn the onion rings too. Then add the sirloin half-steak. Then add the ham steak. Turn as needed…….

 

Put some petit pois to warm through in a saucepan.

You could also fry an egg with the sausage and tomato half and you might like some fried mushrooms too….maybe some herb butter for the steak…..

 

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Greek potatoes

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Greek potatoes with souvlakia and a Greek salad

 

Actually, I’ve never been offered this dish in Greece or the islands, and only one restaurant I knew served them, but they were delicious and are so easy. They can also be kept warm waiting for guests who you just know are going to be late to arrive………😉

Choose small, round new potatoes and simmer them in a pan big enough to let them all have a bit of the bed to themselves, like this:

Greek potatoes

When the biggest one lifted out of the water on a cake skewer slides off they are done. Drain the water away and cover them in cold water for one minute. Now drain that water off and allow the remaining heat to dry the potatoes off.

Place in a container and cover with kitchen paper to cool before storing in the ‘fridge for up to four days…..but 4 hours works too…..

A half hour before you want to eat them put them back in the same pan and place them on a low heat, with the lid cocked a little to let steam out. When they are warmed through drizzle a tiny, tiny drop of olive oil on them and shake to distribute.

When your guests finally turn up turn the heat up a little, add a pinch of dried oregano and a good pinch of salt. Shake to turn the potatoes occasionally and give them a few brown patches.

 

That’s it….serve when you need them…simple!

Yamas!

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Afelia….Greek pork with red wine

Afelia

This is a Cypriot dish, but it’s cooked differently in the homes and restaurants of its home country. Here in the UK the Greek restaurants have developed a quick way to make it, quite different to the traditional slow braise.

 

You need cheap pork chops or shoulder

Red wine…you really want a ‘challenging’ old style of wine for this dish, but they are so hard to find now. You can always add a few drops of vinegar to the finished dish to balance that caramelised sugars.

Whole coriander seeds ( and a pestle and mortar to bash them in! )

Sugar, Black Pepper, Olive Oil, Sugar and Lemon Juice.

 

Choose the pork chops with the greatest marbling of fat…and look how cheap they are!

cheapest pork chops

That’s right…just 62P each chop!

You need a sharp, short bladed knife to ‘seam cut’ the meat from them, using the natural sections created by the various muscles of this cut. Time was, butchers called this ‘best end’ and charged you extra for them…but supermarkets have ‘trained’ us all to want the wrong chops:

Far too lean and one big tasteless muscle…..they’d be better braised!raw-pork-chops-3720540

Here’s just one chop seam butchered:

pork chops 'seam' butchered

See how I have left just a little fat on each piece.

 

Now marinate the meat in the following:

Olive oil

Lemon Juice

Ground black pepper

Sugar…just a level teaspoonful

A pinch of Meat Tenderiser

Most folk would add salt to this marinade, but I feel it is likely to just draw moisture from the meat…add it after cooking if you wish…

After the meat has marinated for a few hours, or longer if convenient, fry it in a large pan on a high heat with a little extra olive oil so that all the meat gets onto the hot metal and is un-crowded.

 

Turn the meat to brown all over, then reduce the heat and cover the pan to finish cooking. If your pan doesn’t have a lid use a plate …. but it will get hot!

Whilst the meat is cooking grind the coriander sees in the pestle & mortar.

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Now remove the lid, turn up the heat again and pour half a glass on red wine in. Use a spatula to de-glaze the pan with the wine and  loosen up all the dark brown bits.

 

When the wine has almost  gone and is thickening add the ground coriander seeds and stir well. Continue cooking to soften the seeds a little

 

You might just serve this with French Fries and finely diced raw onion and a sprinkling of chopped parsley…my favourite Greek restaurant always did. Meat covered in aromatic crunchy seeds is a little daunting…but it is addictive. It’s the first thing I ever learned to cook….I simply HAD to have it!

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You could also serve it with Greek Potatoes…or maybe rice-shaped Orzo pasta.

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Listen while you cook:

 

 

 

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Burritos

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From the North of Mexico, near the border with the USA, the tortillas are made of flour, not maize, and the meat is beef. This is a Burrito…the local street food.

 

Simply stir-fried meat that has been marinated in a few spices, turned into a warmed wrap. Grated cheese and ‘pico de gallo’ are added, maybe some chilli sauce and sour cream, before the burrito is wrapped and then cooked in the microwave for ten seconds to melt the cheese.

Burrito ingredients

The meat marinade is simply black pepper and garlic, chilli powder and cumin with vegetable oil. The meat can be stir-fried or seared on the BBQ, but always rest it for a few moments before serving to relax the meat. This time I used rump steak strips:

Burrito marinading meat

 

The Pico de Gallo meaning “beak of the chicken” is a crunchy dice of vegetables for both flavour and texture. I made this one with diced tomatoes, diced onion, diced cucumber, diced green pepper, capers, chopped pickled green chillies and chopped pickled yellow chillies, a dab of tomato paste to bind and a dash of chilli sauce.

Burrito Pico de Gallo

Use sparingly…this is powerful stuff!

 

It’s not a bad idea to wrap the folded burrito in metal foil to save your shirt! these things squirt……..

 

 

 

 

Indian Curry Base Sauce

I’ve categorised this under ‘Indian’, but it’s really British or Bangladeshi if it’s anything. This is how British Indian Restaurants ( BIR) bind their curries together…it holds the oil and water together in an emulsion which feels smooth and creamy on the tongue……..

You need to roughly chop up a few pounds of peeled onions after removing the root and any green parts in the centres.

Put these in a pan and add a little vegetable oil and a pinch of salt.

The salt is important as it breaks up the fibres and allows the starch to turn to sugar when heated far more efficiently…it’s chemical cooking, really!

Add some garlic puree and some ginger puree, you can actually buy garlic and ginger puree in jars in most supermarkets nowadays.

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Add a can of chopped tomatoes and a can of cheap ready-cooked carrots.

Now simmer the onions for at least 30 minutes on a low heat to make them sweet. You’re caramelising them, not frying them.

After 30 minutes check to see if all the onions are soft and translucent to gauge how much longer to cook them. For the last bit of cooking you can add the following

Paprika……a small amount

Turmeric…a small amount

Garam Masala….a slightly larger amount

Ground Coriander or Dhaniya…a slightly larger amount

Ground Cumin or  Jeera…a small amount.

Cook the spices through and allow to cool a little before blending the onions to a smooth runny paste. You can add a little boiled water to loosen the mix if your blender struggles, but don’t go too far or you’ll fill your freezer up with portions of curry base too easily.

 

Decant into freezer-safe tubs and cool before freezing to store.  This keeps well and would surely keep for over a year, but it probably won’t get the chance. You’ll only use about three ladle fulls per portion so freeze it in a way that helps here. Small is best!

 

To make a curry you simply fry the spice paste of your choice in oil, or blend your own, and add some more garlic  puree and ginger puree. Then add some ready-cooked meat pieces.  Allow to warm through before adding the base sauce portion and loosening to taste with water.

You can cook raw meat in the spice and oil but the restaurants don’t have the time and always use pre-cooked. Prawns alone can be cooked from raw as they are so quick to cook.

To pre-cook meat will depend on the meat…chicken is poached gently but beef or lamb are slow roasted or braised. All will be cooked with spices that flavour the meat but don’t trap it into being any particular style of curry…subtle is best.

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