Sweet & Sour Meatballs


  • ¾lb/340g minced beef
  • 2oz/57g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 leek
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2oz/57g mushrooms
  • salt & pepper


  • 1 heaped tsp cornflower
  • 2 level tsp sugar
  • ¼pt/142ml water
  • 1 dessertspoon tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (optional)
  • salt & pepper


  1. Place meat, breadcrumbs, egg & seasonings together in a bowl & mix well. Turn onto a floured board & shape into 16 balls.
  2. Heat oil in frying pan & fry meatballs until brown all over. Lift out onto plate.
  3. Peel & chop onion, peel carrot & cut into slices, slice leek & celery, quarter mushrooms. Add to pan & fry slowly.
  4. Place cornflower & sugar in a bowl & gradually stir in water. Add ketchup, vinegar & soy sauce & pour into frying pan, season and cover with a lid or foil. Cook for 30 minutes. Serve with ribbon noodles or mashed potatoes.

Crunchy Rhubarb Flan


  • 6oz/170g digestive biscuits
  • 1½oz/170g margarine
  • 2 level tbs golden syrup


  • 1lb/450g rhubarb
  • 2–3oz/57–85g sugar
  • ¼pt/142ml water
  • 2 level tbs cornflower
  • ½ level tsp cinnamon


Grease tin or flan ring. Crush digestive biscuits. Melt margarine & golden syrup & stir in biscuits. Press into a tin and leave to set.

Wash, trim & cut rhubarb.

Dissolve sugar in water in a saucepan. Add rhubarb & cook gently until tender. Drain off syrup. Place cornflower & cinnamon in basin & mix to a thin paste with 2 tbs rhubarb syrup. Add to rhubarb in pan & cook for 2 mins, stirring continuously. Pour into biscuit case & leave to set.

Sausage & Apple Pie

  • 1lb/450g sausage meat
  • ½ tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • ½lb/225g cooking apples
  • 1 dessertspoon sugar
  • 1lb/450g mashed potatoes
  • 1 tomato, sliced

Mix sausage meat with herbs & onion. Peel core and slice apples & place in bottom of dish. Sprinkle with sugar, cover with sausage mixture. Cover with potatoes. Decorate with the sliced tomato. Bake in moderate oven for 30 minutes.

Ginger Shortbread

  • 4oz/115g butter
  • 2oz/57g caster sugar
  • 5oz/142g self-raising flour
  • 1tbs baking powder
  • 1 level tsp ginger
  • 2oz/57g sugar
  • 2oz/57g butter
  • 1 level tsp ginger
  • 3 tsp syrup

Melt in a pan & pour over shortbread while warm.

Pineapple Torte

  • 1½ packets Barmouth biscuits
  • 2oz/57g flaked almonds
  • 1oz/28g unsalted butter
  • ½pt/285ml double or whipping cream
  • 1 tin soft pineapple (or other soft fruit)
  • 4oz/115g icing sugar
  • 1 egg

Use a loose bottomed tin, 6–7 inches, 15–18cm.

Crush biscuits & toss in 1oz/28g melted butter.
Cream together butter & icing sugar. Add egg.
Line bottom of tin with half the biscuits.
Spread on half the creamed mixture.
Layer—pineapple, nuts (almonds), whole of the cream.
Top with remaining biscuits.

Refrigerate overnight or freeze. Serve upside down.

Spicy chickpea chaat

This one is ideally best served on a sunny evening in Eskdale, after having spent at least an hour pitching a new tent. Twice. Preparing this is a lot easier.


  • 1 Tin of chickpeas (450g)
  • 2 Tablespoons of plain yogurt
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • Plenty of black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon of tandoori powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of mint (jar)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
  • Salt to season

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl.

I found the above quantities enough for 3 people as a starter. I can imagine making a large bowlful for diners to help themselves to before the main courses arrive.

Curry in a hurry

In 2013 a friend was kind enough to buy me a course at the Curry Academy. I highly recommend it if you’re anywhere near the splendid garden city of Huddersfield. The particular course I took was Restaurant Style Cooking, the point of which is summarised here:

Have you ever wondered why curries cooked at home never taste like the ones ordered from a restaurant? This course will de-mystify the cooking techniques used to produce restaurant standard dishes.

What I hadn’t appreciated was how much time could be taken out of the process, without losing any of the flavours of a properly home-cooked dish. And how few ingredients are required.

Continue reading “Curry in a hurry”