I’ll begin with something I dislike in food recipe posts. For reasons unknown to me, bloggers seem to make every effort to write 90% of the post about the origins or main consumers of the beverage or meal without telling you how it is made or which ingredients you need! the guide itself is almost an afterthought. Not on Cedric Suggests! I shall keep inane and irrelevant descriptions to one paragraph. Karak Chai is made with black loose tea leaves, crushed cardamom, saffron and sugar and evaporated milk. It is possible to use cardamon flavoured evaporated milk but I do not believe such a luxury to be available in the Tesco Metro near me.
Its origins lie in South Asia, and though this flavourful and milky tea is part of the Qatari tradition today, it actually comes from Indian and Pakistani households were this Karak is a part of their everyday lives and is known mostly as ‘Masala Chai’, roughly translated as tea with spices, or ‘Karak Chai’, roughly translated as strong tea with the word ‘Chai’ coming from the Chinese word for tea ‘Cha’.
It’s believed that when the workers came down to Qatar from India and Pakistan in the 1950s – 1960s to take part in building the country’s infrastructure around the time when oil had just been discovered, they found it hard to leave their love of this sweet milky tea behind and bought the recipe with them to Qatar to remind them of home. I Love Qatar
Ingredients – makes 2 cups of tea
2 cups water (475 ml)
3 teaspoons of loose leaf black tea (three teabags are also effective)
1.3 cups evaporated milk (300ml)
2 teaspoons of sugar (sweeteners also an option)
4-5 cardamon pods crushed
1 small piece of cinnamon
3-4 strands saffron (optional)
- Boil the water and pour it into a saucepan
- Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon, and tea. I put these in my tea infuser to minimise mess.
- Bring it to boil, with the tea infuser, then once the water is boiled add milk and sugar.
- Let the mixture come to boil again
- Set a timer for 4 minutes. Once the mixture is boiling it will boil over so remove it from the heat when it does. Once it has calmed down put it back on the heat. Repeat this for the duration of the 4 minutes.
- Once you see the tea has a dark caramel colour, turn off the heat.
- Pour the tea into a mug and enjoy!
Apologies for the wretched weather in the above photograph. I was surprised at how sweet this recipe was so would advise using less sweet black loose leaf tea to begin with and evaporated milk instead of condensed milk. Then you can add the sugar to regulate it to your liking. Overall, this is a sterling winter beverage and I believe this one is superior to the one at Damascena!
If this isn’t the simplest recipe in the world, my name is not Chrystler Jennings the III. No I do jest, in all seriousness there are simpler recipes out there, such as not boiled egg. Pesto is among the simplest and least time consuming recipes I have ever made. Additionally, it is one which will keep well and last a long time after is made.
- 1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
- 3 medium cloves of garlic
- one small handful of raw pine nuts (lightly roasted in a pan with no oil)
- roughly 3/4 cup Parmesan, loosely packed and freshly grated
- A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Some recipes ask you to hand chop all the dry ingredients with a mezzaluna knife, adding olive oil to the form a paste. While I understand the therapeutic and practical ramifications of such an act, I find it barbarously wasteful of precious time. While hand cut pesto is often better quality and allows one to separate the ingredients more clearly, my preferred method is to blend it with a machine
If you are lucky enough to possess a Moulinex or similar small blender, put all the ingredients in it and pulse it a few times. Then scopp out the pesto and put it in a jar, ready to be used at will. Easy as pie.
Pesto is among the easiest dishes to make. I like to alternate the Parmesan with either Pecorino Romano or Chilli Pecorino to give it a bit of a kick and for better melting once added to your gnocchi. You are of course at liberty to use other pasta, but in so doing, you will secure your place at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital.
Have you ever been so angry, so bilious with ire that the only way to console you is cooking? I didn’t think such a state of perfect puerile vexation existed until Wednesday last. That was when I made this phenomenal Ragù. It tasted quite phenomenal, so terrific in fact that I felt the need to share it with you, loyal readers, so that you might delight in its calming properties.
- 6 porc sausages (I used Neapolitan chilli sausages from A Di Maria)
- 200g mushrooms chopped finely
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped finely
- 3 celery sticks chopped finely
- one finely chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves (chopped… wait for it… finely!)
- 500ml excellent quality passata
- salt and pepper to taste
- 500g pasta of your choice (I used gnocchi)
- Grated pecorino Romano
The first and most off-putting thing you must do is peel off the skin from the saucies. You’ll want to tear them into little pieces with your bare hands. Then combine the mushrooms; carrots; celery; onion and garlic in a pan with some olive oil. Cook them until the onions are translucent.
At this point, add the saucies. Fry them in the same pan for a few minutes. Add some white wine here, if you so desire. Whichever way the pendulum of your fickle taste buds swings, now is the time to add the passata. Season the passataed dish with salt and pepper. Cover for about 20 minutes on low heat.
In this trying time, you may want to do the washing up. I find these moments of waiting for food to cook are excellent for tidying. Watching The Good Place on Netflix, I was tremendously moved by Janet expostulating “These humans are on earth for 80 years and they spend most of their time waiting for things!” Not me!
Boil your pasta for however long the packaging says you should. Drain it once it is done.
Combine the drained pasta and some of the sauce. You will have more than enough sauce for about 1.5kg of pasta. Don’t throw it all into 500g or you will open yourself to the caustic ‘would you like some pasta with your sauce?’ question. There is nothing more heinous than comportment which facilitates such a remark.
Sprinkle your magical pecorino over the top of the dish and serve piping hot. Prepare to see waves of self-actualisation pouring over your guests as they feast on this revelatory dish. I like to think that no good can come of acts motivated by anger, but this day I was proven wrong.
Winter has come. Now is the time to stay indoors with your friends or family and eat heartily until you fall asleep. Of course, if you have neither friends nor family with whom to eat, I’m sure there are plenty of woodland creatures just dying for a warm meal. Invite them to sit by the hearth and keep you company in these dark times.
- 400g beef mince
- 1 litre excellent quality tomato passata
- 400ml vegetable stock
- 125ml white wine
- 3 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- Fresh basil
- Salt and pepper to season
- Parmesan, grated
- 500g pasta mezze maniche (or as proximate a pasta as you can find)
If you have a slow cooker, this will be easy and slow. If not this will be quick, but with one minor additional inconvenience: namely you’ll have to boil the carrots and celery for 10 minutes to make them soft.
This recipe is fairly straightforward. Simply combine the passata; stock; wine; vegetables; basil and seasoning in your slow cooker/ pot. If you have a slow cooker, set it on low for 8 hours. If you have a pot, simmer for 45 minutes.
At the end of either method, blend the sauce with a hand blender. It should be smooth with no bits of veg floating about.
This is where things get interesting. While the sauce is cooling down, use the beef mince to make meatballs. Obviously, the bigger you make the meatballs, the fewer you will have to consume. You can make as many as you so desire, you’re the best judge of how many will be consumed.
Once you’ve formed your balls, put them in a bowl with some of the sauce. Let them marinate for at least one hour, though the best results come after a few hours of marinating.
When you’re ready, fry the content of your ball bowl in some olive oil. Cooking your pasta at the same time as frying the meatballs in the sauce is most efficient. You can add some more sauce if you want a more liquid final product. I like for the sauce to be a little more condensed. Add salt and pepper as you see fit. The frying should take no longer than 5 minutes, unless you made some really quite sizeable meatballs.
Combine the now-combined meatball and sauce medley with your drained pasta and serve immediately. Sprinkle some parmesan over the top for extra wow-factor.
A tip: when re-heating this dish, fry the combined meatballs and pasta in a little olive oil. When the pan is hot, add a splash of cooking wine (cheap wine) and cover. The ensuing steamed contents of the pan will astound and delight you even more than the original dish. You can steam with either red or white wine, depending on your mood.
Let me know what you think of this recipe!
Ho ho, Christmas is fast approaching. Have you bought disproportionate amounts of Linx body spray for your teenage relatives? Have you remembered the true meaning of Christmas as family and togetherness rather than unnecessary material possessions? Just checking!
Those of you who know what love means will simply adore this recipe. It’s superbly easy and delicious. Additionally, it is vegan – so you can have your soul warmed and feel good at the same time. So, here we go.
You’ll need a slow cooker and a hand held blender.
- 500ml good tomato passata. The good stuff, from an Italian deli, or from Waitrose
- 250ml white wine (quality of cooking wine doesn’t matter, go for the cheap non-sparkling stuff)
- 500ml good quality vegetable stock
- two celery sticks, chopped roughly
- Two carrots, peeled and chopped roughly
- One onion, chopped roughly
- Two garlic cloves, crushed
- 16 basil leaves, plus more for the final garnish
- rock salt and pepper, to taste
The beauty of slow cooking food is that it takes almost no work. You combine everything in your slow cooker, or big old pot, and set it on low. Then you leave. If you are doing it in a pot, rather than a slow cooker, you may have to stay with it to make sure it doesn’t burn at the bottom. Equally, you don’t want the house to burn down.
When you come back from whichever nefarious event you attended (be it work or university), the house will be replete with delightful smells. Use the hand blender to reduce everything to a gorgeous smooth soupy texture.
Then, garnish it with some more basil leaves. Your soup is now ready to be consumed at terminal velocity.
If you want to make it even more splendid, make croutons. You’d need to cut some slices of bread (preferably homemade) and fry them in some olive oil until they are crispy. Watch that they don’t burn, mind.
This dish is wonderful for winter. It soothes all ills and warms the soul. I hope you enjoy it.
It has been a while since I published one of my recipes. Perhaps it is the realisation that I have neglected finishing my recipe book (Fabulous Food for the Famished Student). Perhaps because I have become addicted to peeled Italian plum tomato soup and cannot find an angle to make it seem appetising. Regardless of my reasoning, here for you is the recipe for my Easter Sunday Roast Lamb.
Of course you may consume it any other Sunday you like. The title is not meant to be blasphemous so much as celebratory. Easter is a time of joy and unity. It is also one of the most highly celebrated events on any Catholic’s calendar. A time where one is reminded of sacrifice and the nature of goodness. One is kind to their neighbour on Easter Sunday. It is almost a shame that Easter cannot occur every Sunday.
I designed this dish to emulate the Garden of Eden. Setting the lamb on a (hidden)bed of carrots. I surrounded it by a sea of cannellini beans. Amid them were trees of brocolli with sliced onions from the lamb gravy I made on them to denote fruit. The forbidden fruit lays at the foot one of these trees, partially quartered. I should have thought to include two stalks of thyme as Adam and Eve. Nobody’s perfect.
-1.5kg lamb shoulder, with the bone taken out; put back in and sewn up with a butcher’s knot. Your local butcher will know what to do.
– 400g cannellini beans, preferably fresh.
– A large bunch of broccoli
– 3 British carrots, peeled and diced.
– one red onion
– Fresh garlic cloves, halved
– Fresh rosemary
– one white onion chopped finely (to make lamb stock)
– Some lamb bones with a little meat and fat still attached to them (to make the stock)
– white cooking wine
– 500ml water
– salt and pepper to taste
For overnight glaze:
– Two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– one teaspoon dijon mustard
– two garlic cloves, crushed
– juice of half a lemon
– Fresh chopped parsley and oregano
– Salt & Pepper to taste
Firstly you’ll need to soak your fresh cannellini beans overnight. Then boil them for ten minutes. Drain and set aside.
Next, combine the ingredients for the glaze and mix them together in a bowl. Pour over the lamb shoulder in a dish, cover and leave overnight. Preferably outside of the fridge if you have room.
Next make the lamb stock, fry the onions in a little oil until they are soft. Then add the water; bones and white wine. If you’re impatient, you can combine a tablespoon of cornflour with water and add it to the mix. Bring this to the boil. Cover and leave to simmer for 3 hours. Or two if you’re willing to sacrifice flavour to save time.
Take out the lamb when you’re ready for the grand finale. Stab little holes in it and put one half of garlic and a sprig of rosemary in each crevice.
Place the carrots diagonally in a corner of your baking dish. Lay the marinated, perforated lamb on top of them and cover the rest of the space in the beans. Place your trees of broccoli around as you prefer. Quarter your red onion but don’t slice all the way through. Leave 1mm space for it to unfold beautifully. Pour over your lamb stock.
Cover with tin foil and cook for 1.5 hours at 190 degrees centigrade.
Goes Well With:
Cotswold potatoes roasted in goose fat.
Balsamic asparagus stalks.
Homemade garlic mayonnaise