Monday, 26 May 2014

prawn curry with mint and yoghurt

This is a lovely, light, summery curry. It doesn't take any longer than the rice to cook. We've got some sprightly, Spring mint bushing up so it would seem a shame to waste it.
While you're thinking of rushing out for prawns and yoghurt you could take the time to click on the link below and pledging lots of money for our kids' skate park!

(serves 2)

  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 birdseye chilli (finely chopped)
  • 2 peppers (chopped)
  • 2 plump tomatoes (chopped) - skin them if you like but life just might be too short!
  • 400g raw prawns (cleaned with a single longways slice so they butterfly)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 11/2 tsp ground cumin
  • black mustard seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • natural yoghurt
  • a bunch of fresh mint (finely chopped)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sunflower oil
  1. add the mustard seeds to the oil and fry gently until they begin to pop
  2. add the onion
  3. add the garlic, chilli and peppers
  4. add the spices and fry for a couple of minutes
  5. add the tomatoes and fry until they soften
  6. add the prawns and fry until they become opaque
  7. combine the yoghurt, mint, lemon juice and salt to taste
  8. drizzle the curry with the minted yoghurt

Sunday, 18 May 2014

tabouleh with merguez sausages

Merguez (lamb, beef and paprika) - absolutely the most wonderful barbecue delight. Spicy and spitty - perfect in the delirious sunshine that is now the definite norm in Cromer. This batch were brought back from France last Summer, bought in a last minute panic with the wine and cumin flavoured gouda cheese. Along with the sausages, the barbecue yielded some lovely chicken (2 crowns for £5, each split down the middle, glooped in an off the shelf Nandos marinade and some ill thought out lamb chops, marinated in mint sauce. The chicken was fabulous and the chops were fine but didn't taste of mint at all!

The bulghur wheat says to cook it and so on but I just soak it like couscous which, incidentally, is an ok substitute. I think they probably use dried mint in the tubs of tabouleh that we live on when we're camping in France. Other perfect accompaniments for this would be potato salad with frankfurters, celeriac in lemony mayonaise and carrot rappe.Oh and that lovely beetroot salad they do in French supermarkets.

Make sure the herbs are plentiful with the wheat in the background (I probably used a bit too much to bulk it out for the week ahead).


  • bulghur wheat
  • a tomato(finely diced)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • flat leaf parsley (lots)
  • mint (not as much as the parsley)
  • a small red union (finely diced)
  • cucumber (finely diced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (mushed)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • olive oil
  1. soak the bulghur wheat in boiling water (about 1cm above the top of the wheat)
  2. leave it to cool down - all afternoon in this case
  3. slice/chop the herbs but not too finely
  4. combine all the ingredients and drench with lemon juice and some olive oil
Make enough to last all week.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

breaded chicken with potato wedges

I first discovered this recipe in my catering class at school. With a few twists, I made this into the perfect dish. The bread crumbs were especially good because they were a nice crispy coating to the chicken. I presented the meal on 5 plates then fed it to my family. Arthur de Neve  (I'm 13, by the way)

(serves 5)

  • 6 chicken breasts (sliced long ways once)
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • salt and pepper
  • plain flour
  • 1 packet of panko Japanese breadcrumbs
  • 8 large red potatoes
  • vegetable oil
  • paprika
  • dried thyme
  1. cut the potaoes into wedges then dredge them in oil and season with salt and pepper
  2. put the wedges into a hot oven for about 40 minutes
  3. cover the a chicken breast with flour seasoned with the thyme, salt, pepper and paprika
  4. dip the chicken into the egg, holding it over the tray so the excess drips off
  5. coat the chicken in breadcrumbs
  6. repeat with all of the chicken, laying it out in an oiled oven tray
  7. cook the chicken with the potatoes for the last 25 minutes or so
  8. serve with salad

Saturday, 2 November 2013

chilli jam

Rarely has such mirth and laughter smothered the De Neve household.
“You’re making what?”
“Chilli jam… as in … jam… with chillies in it?”
“Why would you do that?”
“Who would eat that?”
Merriment that turned to bemused contempt.
This recipe is exceptional. The paprika gives it an earthy, smoky edge that matches the sweetness and heat of the jam. Certainly great with cheese, I’d say it would be lovely with cold meats or fish.
It isn’t a quick job – set aside an hour or so. The finished mixture will make around six small jars. The ones pictured are about 4 inches high.

I imagine the vinegar you use could be mixed and matched. Balsamic probably wouldn't look very nice!


  • 100g fresh red chillies (cored and seeded)
  • 100g red pepper (cored and seeded)
  • 500g jam sugar
  • 200ml cider vinegar
  • 100ml nut vinegar (I used  Vinaigre de vin aromatise noix made by Maille) 
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  1. finely chop the chillies and red pepper with the paprika in a blender
  2. dissolve the sugar in the vinegar over a medium heat
  3. when the sugar has completely dissolved, add the blended chilli and pepper mixture
  4. bring to the boil then simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, removing the scum as you go
  5. test the jam setting point by plopping a teaspoon of it onto a cold plate. After a minute or so it should seem 'jammy'
  6. leave to cool for 10 or 15 minutes before ladling into sterilised jars (I used a little funnel)

Sunday, 13 October 2013

roasted vegetables with new potatoes

 Delicious, light meal. Originally based on a recipe from science fiction writer, Ursula K. Le Guin's novel, Always Coming Home. I think it was called Red and Green, featuring corn on the cob, aubergine, potatoes and courgettes.  No sweetcorn but a glut of cherry tomatoes. Also, the courgettes had become marrows so I just used about 1/2 of one. I've made this with mint and flat-leaf parsley instead of coriander; each adding a different twist. Needless to say, the kids would neither sample it or even look at it!
(serves 4)

  • 1 aubergine (cubed)
  • new potatoes
  • 2 courgettes (cored and cubed)
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • natural yoghurt
  • cumin seeds (toasted just before serving)
  • fresh coriander (roughly chopped at the last minute)
  • 1/2 a preserved lemon
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon


  1. boil the potatoes until tender ( they can sit and wait whilst everything roasts if you get to them too early)
  2. heat the oil in a large roasting tray (oven on highish)
  3. add the aubergine, garlic and courgette, adding a glug of oil because the aubergine will suck it up like a sponge
  4. roast the veg until it's starting to brown then throw in the tomatoes for about another 10 minutes
  5. meanwhile... mix the yoghurt with lemon juice and a glug of good olive oil, salt and pepper 
  6. take the pan out of the oven and add the potatoes, tossing gently
  7. take the pulp out of the preserved lemon and thinly slice the rind
  8. pour on the yoghurt, sprinkling with preserved lemon slices, coriander and cumin seeds
  9. eat in the garden

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

chicken and egg curry

More pampering! The kids weren't likely to eat an egg curry so some chicken thighs were roasted and added. Without the chicken it would have still been amazing, with really interesting textures and the heartiness that lentils always bring to the table. The recipe will be for the egg curry but it's easy to add the chicken if anyone can't get their head around the idea of eggs in the dish.

(serves 3-4)

  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • a few mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 red pepper (cored and chopped)
  • a handful of red lentils
  • a handful of puy lentils
  • 4 eggs (hard boiled, shelled and cut in half)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • most of a tsp of turmeric
  • half a tsp of cinnamon 
  • 4 cardamon pods (crushed)
  • 1.5 pts of chicken stock
  • a knob of butter
  • sunflower oil
  • a handful of chopped fresh coriander


  1. fry the onions, long and slow before adding the garlic, mushrooms and pepper
  2. add the dried spices and cook out on the lowest temperature, adding a bit more butter if necessary
  3. add the lentils and stir it all together
  4. add most of the stock and the bay leaf. Simmer for 40 minutes or so, adding more stock if needed, stirring occasionally
  5. add the eggs and leave to rest, off the heat for about an hour
  6. Bring back to heat, being careful not to break the eggs up
  7. serve, when piping hot, garnished with the fresh coriander

Saturday, 25 May 2013

fish pie

A mix of salmon, cod, smoked haddock and prawns - cooked into a cream and Chardonnay sauce, flavoured with fresh dill. Heaped mashed potato, capped with Mature Cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Baked in the oven until the cheese has browned but not so long that the poatato is super heated (I hate that!) I'd love to say the kids ate it but they had fish fingers. When will they learn?