Cumin Rice

Side dishServes 4

How to cook 1. Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes. 2. Add the oil to a pan and heat. Add the cumin seeds and wait until they turn brown. 3. Drain the rice and place into the oil and stir slowly for 1-2 minutes. 4. Dissolve the stock cube with the hot water and add to the pan. 5. Add more water so the level is twice the level of rice. Stir gently. 6. Turn the heat down to medium/low and cover. Cook until the water has all evaporated and the rice is cooked. 7. Serve as an accompaniment to any Indian main dish.

Garlic Chilli King Prawns

StarterServes 2

How to cook 1. Defrost the prawns if frozen 2. Put the oil in a cooking pan and heat, add the fenugreek seeds and wait until they turn brown. Add the finely chopped onion and stir. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. 3. Once the onions are cooked and brown add the tomatoes and stir. 4. Add all the spices except the fresh coriander. Cover and cook for 5/10 minutes until the sauce is cooked, the oil will start to appear through the sauce. (Add a little water if the sauce is sticking) 5. Add the Prawns, remember they don't take long to cook, approx 5 minutes. If more sauce is required add a bit of hot water. 6. Serve with chapattis or boiled basmati rice.

Spicy Lamb Chops

Main courseServes 6

How to cook 1. Trip the chops and excess fat and put into a large bowl. 2. In a separate bowl add all the other ingredients except the oil. Mix and then add the chops. 3. Marinate for overnight or for at least 2 hours. 4. Put the oil in a frying pan and heat. Fry the chops in batches for a couple of minutes on each side and then place in on an ovenproof tray. 5. Cook in the oven at 200C/gas 6 for 10 to 20 minutes depending on how pink you like your lamb. 6. Serve with an Indian side salad or mint chutney.

Onion Bhajis

StarterServes 4

Make the batter 1. Mix all the ingredients excluding Bicarbonate of soda, onions and potato together in a bowl. 2. Add luke warm water to form a batter. Fairly thick consistency. Leave to one side for 15 minutes for the flavours to combine. (This can be done a day in advance) 3. Heat up the oil in a frying pan. 4. Just before frying add the Bicarbonate of Soda into the mixture. Stir in thoroughly. 5. Add the chopped onions and grated potatoes. 6. Drop medium size balls into the frying pan and cook turning once for 2-4 minutes. 7. Drain and serve with mint sauce or any chutney/salsa. Note: Also add mixed vegetables if required.

GRANDMA ABSON’S CHRISTMAS CAKE

DessertServes N/K

This is a foolproof recipe from Grandma Abson's Traditional Baking collection which I make every Christmas. There is rarely a piece of it left by 1 January! Grandma would make Christmas Cakes well in advance in late October or early November. This allows time to prick the cake all over the top once it's cool and pour a tablespoonful of brandy on it. You can do this two or three times before putting on the Almond paste and icing to keep it moist. Heat the oven to 325F, Mark 3, 170C. Line an 8inch/21cms cake tin – either round or square with greaseproof or baking paper or use a cake liner. Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. You can do this in a food mixer. Add the warmed treacle and golden syrup to the mixture. Add the beaten eggs gradually and half of the flour and spices (cinnamon and mixed spice). Mix well. Stir in the nuts/almonds and cherries and then the rest of the flour , dried fruit and mixed peel. Add the stout at the end. Put the mixture into the cake tin and smooth over the top , making a slight indent in the middle - this stops the cake from rising too much in the middle and cracking. Bake for 3 – 3½ hours. Start with the oven fairly warm for 30 minutes at 325F, Mark 3, 170C and then gradually reduce over the time to finish in a slow oven at 250F, Mark ½, 130C. Grandma's Tips : Wrap several layers of brown paper or newspaper around the cake tin and tie it with string before putting the cake into the oven to prevent burning. Grandma made strict use of a thin cake skewer or cake tester to stick in the cake and check if it was thoroughly cooked. If it was cooked, there should be no trace of the mixture when the skewer is taken out, but if traces of the mixture remain on the skewer, then it needs further cooking time. Ready for the oven A Perfect bake! PUTTING THE ICING ON THE CAKE Grandma would put the finishing touches to her cake a couple of weeks or so before Christmas. ALMOND PASTE You need to first cover the Fruit Cake with a layer of Almond Paste (or marzipan). Grandma always made her own Almond Paste (or marzipan). It's really easy. Grandma also sometimes used to add a little sherry or brandy to the mixture for an even stronger kick. Mix the almonds and sugar together. Add sufficient lemon juice and/or water to make a stiff paste. First of all spread a thin layer of Apricot jam over the cake before placing the layer of rolled out Almond paste (usually about 3/8 inch /1 cm thick) on the top and sides. Alternative Topping You can always put dried fruit, nuts and glace cherries which have been folded in a redcurrant jelly and apricot jam glaze to make a jewel of a topping. Sieve the icing sugar and add a little lemon juice and enough whites of the eggs to make it like the consistency of whipped cream. Beat for 15 minutes or until it will adhere to the spoon when held up. Do not beat too long. It may be necessary to add a little more sugar. Grandma's Tip : Add a teaspoonful of glycerine to the mixture and this will stop the icing drying out. Meryl's Tips : Use Ready to Roll icing to spread over the cake. A Cake smoother is really useful to get a perfect finish. Or, if you do make the icing yourself, use a fork to make peaks in the icing to simulate a snow scene.

Oaty Yogurt with Nuts

SnackServes 1

Prep time: 5 minutes Dry fry the oats and nuts for about 3 minutes over a medium heat until toasted. Stir in the honey and dried fruit and allow to cool slightly. Reserve 1 tbsp of the mixture and stir the rest into the yogurt. Spoon into a glass and top with the reserved oat mixture before serving. Hints and tips Try using a flavoured yogurt like strawberry or add fresh fruit for a different taste. Nutrient Per portion Per 100g Calories 400 160 Protein 16 6.5 Fat 14 6 Of which saturated fat 1.6 0.7 Carbohydrate 54 22 Of which sugar (naturally occurring sugars only 5g of extrinsic sugars) 35 14 Salt Sodium equivalent trace Trace