Fish Curry

17 Jan

fish curry

I admit, I tend to prefer chicken to any other protein in almost all the cooking I do, but a pescetarian friend was coming over for dinner the other night so decided to give this one a go.

This is a basic korma recipe but with a bit more of a bite of chilli and with lime which gives a nod to the south east Asian cuisine as well. I replaced the chicken with some firm white fish. I used river cobbler, but any white fish would do.Prawns could work as well. This one serves 2-3 people.


400g white fish, cut into cubes.
1 onion finely sliced
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or use a cinnamon stick)
Curry leaves  or a bay leaf (optional)
1 can coconut milk
Juice of 1/2 lime (or lemon)
A pinch of sugar (if needed)
Fresh coriander


150g natural yogurt
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated

1 shallot
1 red chilli
2 garlic cloves


  1. Marinade the cubed fish in the yogurt and the grated ginger for a couple of hours.
  2. Make a puree of one peeled shallot, 1 deseeded red chilli and 2 garlic cloves in a blender/food mixer.
  3. Gently sautee the sliced onions in a sautee or frying pan with high edges.
  4. Add the puree mix to the pan with the coconut milk and all the spices. Let it simmer for about half an hour on low heat to allow the spices to blend and mature.
  5. Add the fish mixture (including the marinade) into the pan for the last five minutes of the cooking time.
  6. Taste and adjust flavour by adding lime and sugar. Should you wish to have more heat, just add some more chilli
  7. Add some fresh coriander into the mix just before serving.
  8. Serve with rice and naan bread.

Chicken Dhansak (Murgh Dhansak)

27 Jul

One of my favorite Indian dishes in any curry house as I’m a die hard fan of lentils. This particular one is extremely low fat and very tasty!



  • 60g yellow split peas
  • 250g butternut squash (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 3 cauliflower florets
  • 3 table spoon of oil
  • 4 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 4cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 500g of skinless chicken breast fillets (cubed)
  • 1 large tomato finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 red or green chillies (chopped)

Spice mix:

Whole spices:

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves (ground)
  • 4 cm cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 fresh or dried curry leaves

Ground spices:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of fennel
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric



1. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce and boil in some water until all the vegetables are soft. Puree it all into a paste like sauce. Add more water if needed.

2. Fry off the whole spices for 30 seconds

3. Fry the chicken until lightly brown all over.

4. Add puree and add all the spices and the vegetable paste and let cook for 2-25 minutes. Add more water if needed.

5. Serve with rice or home made chapati flatbread.

Yummy Pineapple Pie

28 Jun

AnanaspajThis yummy dessert has the look and feel of a cheesecake but not as heavy. It’s absolutely delicious and extremely easy to do. My friends adore it and are visibly disappointed if it’s not part of my dinner party menu. I sometimes vary the fruit with fresh strawberries (when in season), but reduce the amount of sugar in the filling as strawberries have a natural sweetness.



Pie crust

  • 150g butter
  • 300 ml flour
  • 100 ml sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder


  • 1 can crushed pineapple (400ml) – all liquid thoroughly drained through a sieve prior to adding to mix
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 200ml crème fraiche
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg


1. Put all the ingredients for the crust in a sauce pan on very low heat until the butter has just melted enough to be easy to work. Press the filling into a pie tin and shape along the bottom and the edges. A tin with removable sides is recommended. Leave to cool.

2. Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Pour the filling into the pie tin and place it in the oven at 175 degrees/gas mark 4 for approx 25-30 minutes. Check it from time to time by giving it a bit of a shake. If the filling seems a bit too runny, leave it a bit longer. It should have just set when you take it out.

Serve it warm with a bit of vanilla ice cream on the side. Yum!

Thai Coconut Rice with Salmon

27 Jun

recipe-image-legacy-id--4334_11This is a sure winner. Easy to make and yummy to eat. It’s also good that some can be prepared in advance so that you don’t have to spend all your time by the stove while your guests are waiting!

For a little extra kick, I quickly fry spring onion, garlic, ginger and chilli (all chopped finely) and sprinkle on top of the salmon. This leaves it up to each guest to decide how much of a chilli kick they want as it’s sprinkled on at the table. Saves you having to judge/guess everyone’s preferred spice level!

I don’t always follow the instructions for cooking the fish. I have shallow fried it to get crispy skin and also steamed it from time to time. I have also done this dish using sea bass and it works equally well.


20g pack of fresh coriander
3 limes
2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
2 tbsp light olive oil
25g butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
90g jar Thai red curry paste (we used Bart’s spices)
500g basmati rice
4 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or freeze dried
6 skinless salmon fillets, each weighing about 140g/5oz
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp golden caster sugar
4 spring onions
1 plump red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
simple green salad, to serve

Serves 6.


  1. You will need a wide-based shallow casserole about 30cm in diameter, or a deep-sided sauté pan, with a tight-fitting lid as the salmon needs to steam in a single layer. Pick the coriander leaves off the stalks, finely chop the stalks and put the leaves in a bowl. Grate the zest of one of the limes. Set aside. Pour both cans of coconut milk into a large jug, then fill one of the empty cans with cold water and stir this into the jug.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in the pan over a lowish heat, tip in the shallots and sizzle gently for about 5 minutes, stirring, until they start to turn golden. Stir the curry paste in and cook for another minute.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and add the lime zest, coriander stalks, rice and a heaped teaspoon of salt, then mix everything together until the rice is coated in the curry paste. (You can prepare this up to two hours ahead.)
  4. Pour the coconut milk mixture over the rice and stir. Bring to simmering point on a medium heat, stirring gently now and then. Get the spoon right to the bottom of the pan so the rice doesn’t stick to it. Scatter in the lime leaves and leave everything to simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir the rice once more, then lay the salmon fillets on top. Cover and leave to barely simmer over a very low heat for 15-20 minutes until the salmon looks cooked and the rice is tender. Cook everything very gently or you will have crunchy rice on the bottom and no liquid left.
  6. While the fish is cooking, juice two of the limes (the grated lime and another) and in a small bowl mix the juice with the soy sauce and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Trim the spring onions, then split lengthways and slice into thin strands on the diagonal. Mix the spring onions and chilli with the coriander leaves. Cut the third lime into six wedges.
  7. When the rice and fish are ready, take the pan off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes. To serve, scatter a third of the coriander salad over everything in the pan. Spoon some coconut rice on each plate, then, using a fish slice, put a salmon portion on top. Drizzle with some of the soy and lime dressing and scatter a spoonful of the coriander salad on top. Give everyone a lime wedge to squeeze over it. Serve the remaining dressing if anyone wants extra, and a side salad.

The Oxford Kitchen

7 Apr

215 BanbOxKitchenury Road
Oxford OX2 7HQ
Phone: 01865 511 149 or

Since the demise of The Lemon Tree, Oxford has sorely missed a restaurant that can be remotely called ‘fine dining’. We have plenty of great restaurants, but nothing that really fits into this ‘elite’ category. The Oxford Kitchen seems to fit the bill. I have only been once (4 April), but was mighty impressed by everything. The food was exactly that, fine dining. I had duck bonbon as a starter and a main of ox cheeks. My husband opted for crab starter and a surf & turf wagyu burger & lobster tail. Yum! On top of that we were offered a small appetizer of chicken duck liver on the house. Everything was sensational and looked as pretty as it tasted. The staff were great. I can’t wait to go back!

Menu Highlights: Still testing it out – and so far everything has been excellent. Can’t wait to taste more, so watch this space. It ain’t cheap, though….

The Black Boy

31 Mar


Address: 91 Old High St, Headington, Oxford OX3 9HT
Phone:01865 741137


Located in the heart of gorgeous Old Headington, this is a gastro pub with a great reputation (lots of rave reviews from the likes of Jay Rayner (The Observer), The Guardian etc). We’ve been several times and have always walked away happy. Our most recent visit was Mother’s Day lunch yesterday and it didn’t disappoint. Even with fussy eaters (one in our party is), there’s always something for everyone. The prices are mid-range of what you’d expect. Not cheap, but not over the top either. The quality is good/great.

I guess my only question is the ‘seasonality’ aspect of it. There’s a lovely broad bean/crayfish risotto on the menu, and in March, these are definitely not in season. Seasonality being a big buzz word at the moment could be a bit of a let down. But that’s it really. Everything else is very good indeed!

Menu highlights: Strangely enough I haven’t picked out any favourites at this place. I tend to ask what’s on the specials board and/or follow recommendations from the staff. My husband had their Moules Mariniere yesterday and raved about it. His scallop starter was exceptionally good as well. My sister really enjoyed their roast beef lunch and said it’s the best she’s had out ever (high praise indeed!).


La Cucina

22 Mar

cucina40 St Clement’s St, Oxford OX4 1AB
01865 793811

OK, I’m going to go out on a limb here. I’m a real foody and I can’t think of anything I enjoy more than going out for a meal. I am also a keen home cook and Italian is probably where my general inclination lies (split with Thai, possibly). BUT if I had to pick my absolute favourite restaurant in Oxford, it has to be La Cucina. We absolutely love going to this place. Their food is always amazing. Whenever possible I tend to go for one of the specials because they’re usually sensational.

Menu Highlights: Apart from the specials: duck pappardelle (yum!) and my hubby really loves how well they cook the steaks to order (he’s medium/rare).

Tip: Make sure to book in advance as it’s reasonably small – particularly weekends. Request the back of the restaurant. You will feel you’re almost part of the kitchen. Quite cool.


22 Mar


152 Oxford Rd, Oxford OX4 2EA
01865 777402

Oxford has an abundance of amazing curry houses, but I have to say this is my favourite. Karma offers all the ‘normal’ curry dishes that you would expect, but the highlights are really their chef/house specials.

The best thing about this place, though, is the staff/customer interaction. In some places serving staff are either ignorant, disinterested or told not to recommend a dish. Not at Karma. I brought my family from northern Sweden (among which my 10 and 12 year old nieces), and asked them for a great way to introduce them to curries, as there weren’t really used to spice or heat of any kind. They were brilliant. They served a mix of spice degrees and flavours + took the time to explain the dishes too. My family walked away loving this style of food.

Fortunately for us it’s around the corner from our house and, in my opinion, there is no curry house even being close to this one!

Menu highlights: Me: Murgh Xacuti (chicken, medium/hot). Hubby: Goa Maachli Curry (medium, fish)

Cote Brasserie

21 Mar


A French bistro style restaurant chain. Went to the one in Brighton a couple of years ago and was really happy to see the Oxford branch opening up in late 2012. It’s a very popular restaurant even on weekdays. This is partly due to its location on George street next to the theatres, so pre-theatre is particularly busy. But it’s also because the food is really good! Their Plats Rapide are extremely good value and perfect if you’re in a bit of a hurry. Their specials are usually very good as well.

Menu highlights: Seafood Linguine, Roast Duck Breast + any exciting item on the specials menu…

Pierre Victoire

21 Mar
PVAddress: 9 Little Clarendon St, Jericho, Oxford OX1 2HP
Phone:01865 316616
Last visit: 16 March 2014

This restaurant is ALWAYS busy. It’s situated down ‘little trendy street’ just as St Giles meets Jericho and is popular with people of all ages. This is my husband’s favourite restaurant, so whenever given the choice, this is where we’re heading. It’s crowded, busy, (sometimes) loud and very atmospheric. The staff tends to be all French and always extremely friendly. The food is very typically French and rarely strays from that. Their set menu lunches on Sundays are a real bargain!Vegetarians may struggle…

Menu Highlights: Moules Mariniere (my husband’s fave – swears he has never tasted any better than here!), rabbit and confit duck.