The Cookaway, Ottolenghi and a British Classic

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Yep, its been tough for everyone. I am just coming out of a three month long term of depression where most of my time was spent watching cookery programmes and videos on YouTube, the only problem was I didn’t want to cook anything! Thankfully, thanks to family, work, friends and Instagram buddies I am getting back into the swing of things and feeling back to normal again.

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It’s been obvious, the vast number of ‘recipe’ box’s and ‘finish at home’ food parcels appearing online as restaurants and small business’s try to scrape a living until, well you know. My attention was attracted to one particular offering from ‘The Cookaway‘, it was actually one of the cuisines on offer, and the well known cook/author behind the menu, Sumayya Usmani. I have had the pleasure of attending two of Sumayya’s cookery courses, and hope to attend another in May if lockdown permits, she is fab.

So i decided to order some meals, three in fact! The process was extremely simple, selecting when you want the boxes delivered, with lots of communication to keep you informed of the impending arrival, all good so far.

You will notice the high quality packing and very visible labels ensuring your product arrives in good shape, in fact possible the best packed food I have ever had delivered. Anything requiring refrigeration is placed in an insulated cool pack, with ice packs inside.

This was the second menu I had chosen, the first being a very successful fish dish, Almond Crusted Sea Bream with Coconut Spinach and Mushroom which was very tasty and great fun to prepare. So my first Pakistani Cookaway was to be Railway Lamb Curry with Dhania Gajar Biryani, yum.

So, you get everything in the well packed box, and the ingredients and spices are of the highest quality and where needed, individually labelled. The menu comes with recipe cards and instructions explaining and showing what to do. My better half is always the sceptic, even she was mightily impressed with what had been provided!

So read, read and read again to make sure you understand each menu item, what’s involved, time to prepare, time to cook etc. It’s very important as even seasoned cooking fanatics can make the odd mistake, like me :-). Only a minor one, I used all the green chilli in the Curry rather than reserving a small amount for the Biryani, it was clear in the instructions but I missed it!

The recipe is very clever, making sure as much flavour is packed into the resulting dishes, like Lamb Stock, which is made with the supplied high quality meat and infused with some spices during the process.

There are lots of fragrant ingredients in the Railway Curry, and you get to infuse them in the Ghee that comes in a quaint little jar, like those containing jams at breakfast when you stay in hotels! While I was cooking away the whole house was starting to be filled with delicious amazing aromas, the different spices working together to do their magic.

Now onions are a major part of most dishes from Pakistan and India it seems, and the two dishes being cooked during this particular exercise were no exception. The instructions guide you through the technique to make sure you get the best results, I won’t spoil the fun by telling you, invest in a box or two like I did.

I am told men cannot multitask, but do things one after the other very fast! Whilst the Railway Curry is doing its thing in the top pan, the Biryani is starting its culinary journey with more spices in the bottom pan, which, by the way is the very popular ‘Prospector’ from Netherton Foundry in Shropshire, the Frying Pan above is from the same company and I do need to re-season it at some point!

Mingling amongst Tomatoes and Onions are lots of deliciousness including Mace (can you see it?), Coriander Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Kashmiri Chilli and when combined in the supplied proportions make a most amazing dish which we thought could actually be a meal in its own right.

I kept the Railway Curry on a low heat whilst finishing the Biryani, I could not manage to synchronise my cooking well enough but there was only about 10 minutes between finishing the Curry and the Biryani being ready, it did look good, even if I say so myself.

It was fab, the better half loved it too and there was plenty for the two of us portion wise. So, The Cookaway, is it any good, hell yes! I stumbled across the company on Instagram when my friend Sumayya announced that some of her recipes were going to be available and I am glad I did. Ordering was simple, they have an offer on at the moment, communications were clear and precise, packing was excellent, ingredients top notch, recipe cards, easy to follow, results, delish……

This Friday we have a Sufaid Chicken Koftay with Turmeric Rice arriving so there will be more fun in the kitchen.

Some Fun with Flavour, Ottolenghi Style

Having seen Yotam ‘play’ with Celeriac on Saturday Kitchen I ordered a copy of his latest book ‘Flavour’ as a particular recipe intrigued me a lot.

Imagine ‘Cabbage Tacos with Roasted Celeriac and Date Barbecue Sauce’!! Sounds a bit unusual but don’t knock it until you have tried it, is my motto, so I did.

Boy cooking genius Ixta Belfrage is awesome and helped shape his latest book with some unique combinations, it was stunning, tasty, vibrant and just delish!

Buy the book, its worth the investment for this one recipe, you won’t regret it.

A British Classic – Cooked for the First Time!

As a youngster living in Sussex we had lots of home cooked food, stews, pies, puds and one of my favourites was Steak, Kidney and Mushroom Pudding, made with a Suet Pastry.

So I decided to make my first one ever and the above results hopefully speak for themselves, it was quite straightforward and yumm. I used a technique as demonstrated by The hairy Bikers, cooking the meat first and very pleasing the results were too.

That’s it for now, hopefully I will get some more posts done over the coming weeks, this Saturday I am online with Carmela Sereno learning about Risotto’s and Arancini, May is Sumayya and more food from Pakistan and in November I am off to The Rick Stein Cookery School for two days of Fish and Shellfish which is quite exciting.

……………………………….Until Next Time……………..L8ers……………………..

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