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Monday, 31 August 2015

Rajma Curry Recipe (Kidney Beans)

Punjabi Rajma Curry

This is a really easy dish and it goes great with basmati rice and yogurt. The dish is cheap to make and we always have the ingredients in, which makes it a go to store cupboard dinner. This is a dish I have eaten 100's of times but this was the first time I made it!


1 Can kidney beans
1/2 Tin chopped tomato
2 Medium onions, finely chopped
2 or 3 Cloves garlic
1 Thumb ginger
3 Chillies
5 New potatoes
1/4 Teaspoon tumric
Pinch cumin seeds
1 Teaspoon garam masala
1 Teaspoon ground coriander and cumin powder
Handful of chopped coriander leaves
1-2 tablespoon vegetable oil


1. Heat the oil in a pan, When hot add the cumin seeds until they splutter, then add the onions and a teaspoon of salt. You want them to brown. It will take from 10 to 15 minutes. If they catch just add a tablespoon of water every time they do.

You want them to look like this.

2. Mince the garlic, ginger and chillies. Add them to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the spices and cook for 2-3 minutes. If it catches just add a tablespoon of water.
4. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
6. Drain and rinse the kidney beans, add to the pan.
7. Add approx 1 litre of water. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked and the sauce thickens. Check seasoning and salt to taste if required.
8. Switch off the heat and add the chopped coriander.

I also served it with rice, yogurt and a mushroom curry. The recipe to follow.

Thursday, 27 August 2015


Barfia (Birmingham)

Barfi is a milk based sweet confectionery from India (a type of mithai). Originally from the northern part of India, the name is a derivative of the Hindi word for snow and ice. It  has been compared to fudge by way of comparison.

Traditional flavours include, cardamom, rosewater, pistachio, almond, chocolate and coconut. Barfia however gives this Indian classic a very modern twist. See a selection of Barfia's flavours below.

My wife, two of my sisters and niece went on a shopping trip to Birmingham and stopped at Barfia for a treat. They sent me the picture below. The slightly bruised apple on my desk lost even more appeal!

When I got home I was pleased to see the box below waiting for me.

Barfia's Flavours in my box included:

Candy Floss
Mint Chocolate
New York Cheesecake
Peanut Butter
Maple Syrup and pecan

Modernizing a  classic can sometimes have horrible results, but these guys have nailed it! My favourites, in my box were the New York Cheesecake followed closely by the bubblegum and Maple Syrup. The flavours were actually as described I got each one in the first bite. They only one I did not like was the Banoffee.

What they say:

Barfia is the first Indian barfi house to bring an artisan twist to traditional Indian sweets. Classic Indian favourites are given a new lease of life, infused with western elements and beautifully presented, resulting in a modern and sophisticated range of Indian confectionery.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Prawn and Avocado Salad


Serves 2


150g Bag of mixed salad leaves
1 Ripe avocado
Juice of half a lime. (reserve the other half  to serve)
1/4 Cucumber
1 Teaspoon olive oil
1/2 Clove garlic, crushed
1 Teaspoon chilli powder
200/300g Cooked prawns
10g Coriander leaves, chopped

To Serve
Drizzle olive oil
Crusty bread
Lime wedges


1. Scatter salad leaves between two plates. Peel and slice the avocado and mix with the lime juice in a bowl.
2.Thinly slice the cucumber using a vegetable peeler. Scatter the cucumber and avocado on top of the leaves.
3. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the garlic and chilli flakes, soften for a minute or two. Turn up the heat and warm the prawns through for a couple of minutes.
4. Scatter the prawns over the salad, drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle on the coriander.
5. Serve with lime wedges and crusty bread. I use par-baked sourdough bread cooked to the instructions served warm.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

OAKS Nottingham

Review OAKS (Nottingham)

The venue is stunning, the smell of the grill and food cooking over burning wood embers excites the senses as you walk in. It's not just a restaurant, but also a really great bar with a good section of cocktails, spirits and craft beers. While we were eating a live singer was setting up and there was also going to be a DJ until 2.00a.m.

From speaking to the staff you can see how passionate they are about the OAKS concept, and food and drinks. They care about the provenance of the produce and the recipes The grill is custom made and they even get the logs sourced locally form the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

To start we had nibbles and cocktails.

We ordered the baked olives, garlic & rosemary. They were divine and I'd go as far as to say the best olives I have ever had! When I asked about them I was told they are marinated and baked for 24 hours.

My wife had a version of the Chilli cooler (I think, we asked the bartender to surprise us) We said no alcohol as she was driving but she liked something like a Mojito and likes ginger beer. I think the mocktail included chilli, agave nectar, lime, mint and ginger beer. The heat from the chilli gave the drink a warming background heat. We both recommend this!

I had the Cuban affair – Havana 7 rum, charred pineapple, fresh ginger, ginger ale. I could have drank these all night.


When it came to the mains, It was between the Angus beef and bone marrow burger and the softshell crab burger for me. They serve the burgers pink in the middle just as they should be. I went for the softshell crab in tempura & wasabi (as it was something different) with a side of Hand-cut chips. I had a Freedom organic lager to go with it. The burger was amazing. The tempura was so light and crispy and the wasabi had enough zing to let you know it was there, but was not overpowering.  I can't wait to have the Angus and bone marrow burger next time.

My wife went for the Chicken, asparagus, ricotta, sage, lemon zest sausage with a pretzel bun. and a side of hand cut chips. She says it was "really good and really different, would never think of those flavours in a sausage". I had her leftovers as it's a big portion. So So good! The waitress said the chef's actually mix the ingredients in-house and then a local butcher makes the sausages. My wife also says they are the best chips she's ever had.

Homemade sauces. Okay these homemade sauces are so good they get their own paragraph. Mustard and Horseradish, Burnt Tomato Ketchup and Smoked Chilli Brown Sauce. I normally don't even like brown sauce, but this was delectable. They should sell these by the bottle!

We were so full by the end of the meal, but had to try the Bluebell Farm ice cream, we went for the Carrot cake flavour. This like all Bluebell ice creams I have had was amazing. I will have to pick up a tub when I am next in Spondon.

This place gets the ThatFatFoodGuy thumbs up. You have to eat here!

As I dad, I have to say the kids menu is superb value. I know my eldest would love it and I'm my youngest will to when he starts weening.

What They say:

The unique new dining concept on Bromley Place is serving up a signature range of flavoursome handmade sausages created to the chef’s own recipes, with taste sensations ranging from chicken, asparagus, ricotta, sage and lemon zest to wild boar, purple broccoli and smoked mozzarella served with mashed potato.

OAKS is bringing something a little bit different to the city with diners able to watch chefs as they prepare food on the smoking hot grill, using a cooking technique currently only seen in a handful of restaurants in the UK.

I have to use one the venues pictures to show you the #GrillEnvy and some of the Chef's and Staff that made our evening great.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Sausage cakes?

What do you do when you make Bangers and Mash and you have leftovers?

Today we had bangers, mash, fried onions, Yorkshire puddings and gravy for dinner.

After plating up, there was still a sausage, some mash and fried onions left, my eldest had eaten at nursery and only wanted a little bit.

What to do with the leftovers?

In a moment of genius I thought...

Thinly slice the sausage, mix it through the mash and fried onions, then shape it into a "fishcake". The  frying pan was still on the hob so I turned on the gas. The pan still had oil in it. I pan fried patty for 2 minutes on each side and the Sausage cake was born.

I will be making these again and serving with a poached egg or two!

Monday, 17 August 2015

Salmon Fishcakes

Easy Baked Salmon Fishcakes

This is a really easy recipe. It goes down well with the whole family. The Fishcakes are great with a simple side salad and tartar sauce or mayonnaise mixed with some fresh lemon juice. I bake mine but you could also shallow fry them. Any breadcrumbs will do but I prefer the crunch from panko breadcrumbs.


Plain flour
2 Eggs
125g Panko breadcrumbs
450g Maris piper potatoes, cut into chunks
4 Spring onions finely sliced
3 Fillets Salmon (approx 350g)


1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. Place the salmon on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until just cooked.
3.Meanwhile place the potatoes is salted boiling water for 15 minutes until tender. Drain and return to the pan to steam dry.
4. Season and mash the potato, leaving it lumpy for texture. Flake and mix in the salmon and spring onions.
5.  Shape into fishcakes of the size you desire.
6. In three separate bowls place place,  seasoned flour, eggs and breadcrumbs.
7. Dip the fishcakes into the flour, then egg and finally coat in breadcrumbs.
8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

The Indian Queen (Leicester)

Review: Indian Queen (Leicester)

The Indian Queen, is my father-in-laws local. Its basically a working men's club with a great Indian grill restaurant situated upstairs.  The bar and eating area are always busy when we visit. Tables of guys eating, drinking and watching football.

The mixed grill sizzlers are a great way to try a selection of the grilled/ tandoor cooked meats. The Indian Queen serves simple home style food cooked well.

We opted for a takeaway on Friday night, as we were watching football on TV.

We ordered;

The baby chicken, cooked in the tandoor. The charred taste from the tandoor is one of the best flavours

Chicken wings, again cooked in the tandoor.

Shell on prawns, I don't know what goes into these but its pure magic. Its an "Indo-Chinese" flavour. I am sure there is soy sauce, garlic, ginger, onions and tamarind in there. I will just have to ask for the recipe I think! 

Tandoori lamb chops.               

We also ordered a lamb curry and naans. The best way to enjoy the dishes is mix and match them, garnish with side salad with the simple s and crack open an ice cold beer.

This place is a real hidden gem.

2 Halkin Street, Leicester.

No website. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Swine Fries

There are some recipes that allow you to make two similar but different dishes, like my my spinach and cannelloni post. Here I also made a lasagne using the same ingredients.

This is a homemade version of a dish I tried at Reds True BBQ in Nottingham. See the review here. This recipe is essentially my pulled pork burger served another way.

The Swine Fries at Reds consisted of a mixture of sweet potato and skin-on fries topped with Red’s pulled pork, grilled cheese, chipotle sour cream, spring onions, sliced jalapeños, and coriander and lime salsa.

Instead of rewriting my recipe here I will link the elements of previous posts I used.

My Reds inspired dish had the following elements:

Sweet potato and skin on potato wedges. Recipe here.

Pulled Pork. Recipe here.

Torka beans. Recipe here.

Fresh Salsa. Recipe here.

Red and green jalapenos

Sour cream


Beetroot slaw

Mature English cheddar


Layer the wedges on a baking tray and sprinkle with cheese. Layer the pulled pork over the wedges and sprinkle more cheese over the pulled pork. Place in the oven at 200C until the cheese melts.

Plating up:

I placed the wedges and pulled pork mix on the plate and topped with the other ingredients and served the slaws and torka beans on the side.

Its always fun recreating a good meal you have had at a restaurant at home.

What to recreate next?

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Sheetal's Gujarati Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry, Basmati rice, yogurt, onion, tomato and cucumber salad
Serves 4


500g chicken breast, cubed
6 medium onions, finely diced
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
6 cloves garlic
2.5 inch ginger
100g tinned chopped tomato
8 green chillies
Handful fresh coriander
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric (haldi)
3 teaspoons coriander and jeera powder (you can get this ready mixed in the shops)
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon red chilli power
1 bay leaf
3 cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Heat oil in large pan and set over medium heat.  Let oil warm up for a couple of minutes
2. Add the bay leaf, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, leave for 30 seconds and then add the cumin seeds and let them splutter a little bit
3.  Add the chopped onions, stir and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, until they are golden brown.  If onions start to stick in the pan, then add a splash of water each time the onions begin to stick. The oils will "split"
4. Blend the green chillies, ginger and garlic together in a blender.
5. Once onions are golden brown in colour, add the chilli, ginger and garlic mixture and stir.  After 1 minute add 1 tablespoon of  water and let it disappear
6.  Add the tumeric, red chilli powder, coriander and jeera powder, salt and garam masala and stir.  Add another tablespoon of water and let it disappear
7. Add the chopped tomatoes  and 3 tbsp of water, cover and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally
8. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
9. Add 300ml of hot water and cover and simmer over a low heat for a further 15 minutes.
10.  Remove from heat and remove the gloves, cardamom and cinnamon and add chopped coriander.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Brooklyn Social Review

Burgers, Beers and Cocktails

Burgers are finally getting the respect they deserve. Glad to find another burger joint on the Derby restaurant scene.

The decor here is quirky and cool. The staff are very helpful and went out of their way for my 3 year old son. We went on a busy Saturday night and there were lots of people. Some enjoying the drinks in the bar and others were there for the food.

I went for the Notorious B.I.G - named after my favourite artist. A  beef patty, American cheese, chorizo, pineapple, fried egg, & jalapenos. It also came with tomato, lettuce and pickled cucumber. I took out the pineapple, normally I ask for it not to be put in but my 3 year old distracted me! Great burger.

What better accompaniment to a burger than a beer. They have my favourite beer on draft here, Blue Moon and it comes served with a wedge of orange. I first had this in the states and thought they had run out of lemon and limes, but it is the way it is served.

My wife went for the burger of the month which was Jerk Chicken, tomato, lettuce and pickled cucumber. She is also not a fan of pineapple on food so left out the pineapple salsa. She liked the burger but thought there could have been more of a Jerk flavour to the chicken,

We went for a side of fries which and they were good.  Next time I will go for the Brooklyn Chilli Cheese Fries.

My son went for The Godfather Part I and II Crispy deep fried chicken tomato, lettuce and pickled cucumber, we chose to leave out the other toppings ( a choice of Beetroot Tzatziki or Harissa Mayo. He really enjoyed it and ate it all (minus the one bite I had for research purposes).  I think I will have this next time with the harissa mayo.

Keep up the good work guys!

34-35 Sadlergate, Derby

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Full English Breakfast

The weekend.

I love the weekends, especially breakfast. During the working week you make do with cereal, cold toast, breakfast biscuits or some fruit. You just have to grab whatever you can. The weekends are so much more relaxed.

We were entering for breakfast this morning. Three meat eaters and a vegetarian. I decided bacon, sausages (chipolatas), poached eggs, large mushroom and cherry tomatoes.

I won't really go through a recipe as the "Full English" is personal preference. I rarely have the same things on mine. My Torka Beans go great with a full English.

The toast, my favourite bread for toasting is thick cut white bloomer.

The mushrooms and tomatoes:  I  slice the tomatoes in half and coat them and the mushrooms in olive oil and season with Himalayan pink sea salt and black pepper. I bake the mushrooms for 20 mins and the tomatoes for 15 mins both at 200C.

The Sausages and Bacon: I like to griddle both, The charring looks good and adds flavor.

Poached eggs: you need fresh eggs, at room temp, I break each one into a separate ramekin then tip them slowly into simmering water with a dash of vinegar. The eggs take three to four minutes to cook.

The the vegetarian option, I mashed an avocado with a squeeze of lime, salt and pepper.

Served with tomato ketchup,chilli sauce and BBQ sauce.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Square Pizza Company

Review: Square Pizza Company (Leicester)

I love the pizza here. The staff are friendly and prices very reasonable.

We had the Vegi Delight and Meat Feast on this occasion. Both large of-course.  We went here on the recommendation of a friend and have been hooked since.

The Meat Feast  - pepperoni, ham, smoky sausage, spicy pork and chargrilled chicken. You get a selection of each meat on each square.  There is nothing worse than a pizza that lacks topping, but as you can see from the photos theses pizza don't lack toppings!

The Vegi Delight - green pepperes, riquitto peppers, garlic butter, onions, sweetcorn, tomato, pineapple, green chilli and chilli powder.  The first thing you need to do on the vegi is remove the pineapple in my opinion it has no place on a pizza. We swapped ours for olives. The garlic butter gives the pizza another level of depth.

We have had the chilli chips from here before and they are well worth a try.

I can't wait to try the Mexican Heatwave and Butter Chicken when I am back in Leicester.

What they say:
"... we dont cut corners". 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Falafel Pitta Salad


Quick and easy dinner tonight. Can't really call this a recipe just putting a salad together. No cooking required (you can't class heating falafel in the oven as cooking).

Serves 2

What I used... but as a salad throw in anything you like.

4/5 Falafel each (heat according to instructions)
1 Red pepper sliced
1/2 Cucumber sliced and quartered
4 Spring onions finely sliced
2 Wholemeal pitta bread toasted and torn up into small pieces
200g Hummus
2 Table spoons chilli sauce
1 Fresh jalapeño finely sliced
10 Cherry tomatoes
2 Handfuls mixed salad leaves


1. Toss the peppers, pitta, cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions and jalapeño in a bowl and divide between 2 plates.
2. Spoon the hummus and chilli pepper in the middle of each plate.
3. Place the falafel and leaves on the bowl
4. Enjoy

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Spinach and ricotta cannelloni (or lasagne)


People think this one is a lot more complicated than it is. Trust me this is easy and goes great with a simple salad and garlic dough balls.

Serves four



500g spinach
500g ricotta
200g mushrooms sliced (optional) 
Olive oil
Pinch of nutmeg

Fresh pasta sheets 

White sauce for topping:
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
350ml milk
Pinch nutmeg
Grated mature cheddar cheese to taste

Tomato Sauce:
800g Pizza Express Passata
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Make the tomato sauce:

1. In a pan heat the olive oil, then add the garlic until softened, then add the onions until they also soften. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste.

Make the filling:

2. Add some olive oil to a pan and cook the washed spinach in batches. Set aside to cool. If using mushrooms add oil to the same pan and saute. Squeeze the moisture out of the spinach and chop it up. In a bowl mix the chopped spinach and ricotta (and mushrooms if using), with nutmeg and seasoning.      

Make the white sauce:

3. Melt the butter over a medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook for about three minutes or until thick. Slowly add the milk and stir constantly until the sauce is smooth. bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. It should  be smooth and thick. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 200C


4. Place the tomato sauce in either one large dish or equally among four smaller dishes.Cut the lasagne sheets in half, place some filling on the sheet and roll. Place on the tomato sauce. Cover with white sauce and sprinkle with cheese if using. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until golden. To vary you can layer the tomato, filling and white sauce as you would for a lasagne.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Ginger Beer Mojito


This drink is so refreshing, it always goes down well. Hope you enjoy this as much as my friends and family. Just leave out the rum if you don't drink or are driving!


All ingredients are per person

10 Mint leaves
Juice of half a lime
1 Teaspoon sugar
Ice (crushed works best)
Rum (Havana 7 year old) 50 ml
Jamaican Ginger Beer 150 ml to 200 ml (to taste)

To serve

1 Wedge lime
Fresh mint sprig


  1. Muddle the mint, lime juice and sugar 
  2. Add the rum and part fill the glass with ice, add the lime wedge and mint sprig and top with ginger beer.
  3. Enjoy

Sometimes I strain the muddled mint leaves after point 1.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Shepherd's Pie

Recipe - Shepherds Pie

Comfort food at its best.  This is one of our family favourites.

Serves four

1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stick
1 clove garlic
1 table spoon olive oil
500g lamb mince
1 table spoon plain flour
1 table spoon tomato puree
200g tinned tomato
pinch smoked paprika
275ml stock (meat or veg)
1bay leaf
1tea spoon Worcestershire sauce
handful frozen petit pois
handful frozen sweetcorn
ground black pepper
450g potatoes (Maris Piper)
100ml crème fraiche
50g unsalted butter

1. Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Then place in a pan with the olive oil and saute for five minutes over a medium heat.

2. Add the lamb mince and break up well; cook until it is browned. Add the flour and mix well, the the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and pakrika; mix well, cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the petis pois and sweetcorn simmer for a further five minutes.

3. Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks, cover with hot water and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain when cooked, return to the pan and shake over a low heat to steam off excess water.

4. Remove from the heat and mash with a potatoe masher until smooth, add the creme friache, butter and pepper. Mash.

5. Heat the over to 180C. Remove the bay leaf from the meat and place in a ovenproof dish (or four separate dishes). Carefully spoon the mashed potato on to the mince mix and use a fork to spread the potato over the top, covering the filling. Run a fork over the mash (this helps it to go crispy in the oven).

6. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden. Serve with Yorkshire puddings and lashings of gravy.


Top with cheddar and breadcrumbs (panko for extra crunch)
Swap the lamb for beef to make Cottage Pie.


Konak restaurant (Leicester)  Review

I had never been to a Turkish Restaurant before, so did not really know what to expect. I knew there would be meats cooked over a charcoal grill but no idea about the flavours.

I went on a Friday evening with my brother in law and my wife, the restaurant was very busy but we managed to get a table. We decided to order a mixture of dishes and share them so we could experience as many dishes as we could. We were given some complimentary flat breads and dips. The Pizza's on the other tables looked good but we wanted a meat feast as pizza  was on the agenda for the next day.

From the hot meze section we went for:

Icli Kofte - made from bulgar, minced onions and finely  grounded minced lamb.
Falafel - deep fried balls made from chickpeas served with carrots, lettuce and hummus.

From the charcoal section we went for:

Chicken wings

Jumbo mix (for four people) - Lamb Shawarma, adana (minced lamb skewered kebab), chicken shish, chicken wings, Lamb Shish, chicken beyti (minced chicken), tavuk pizola (grilled chicken thighs). served with rice.

The foods was cooked very well and there was more than enough for the three of us, so I got a doggy bag to go. The chargrill flavour was so good, I prefer my food spicier and did ask for some extra chilli sauce but that's just my preference. Next time I will pack some extra sauces that will compliment the meats.

Jumbo Mix

What they say

KONAK (pronounced Koe. Nack) carries the meaning of a “house” in Turkey, typically used as a residence for senior officials. Konak, also is a popular district in Izmir (Turkey), an area which is known for it’s posh restaurants located by the Agean sea side. We strive to bring true comfort of senior officials and the beautiful atmosphere of Konak to you on London Road – Leicester.

Fresh Salsa


This is a really quick easy recipe and does not require any cooking. I prefer this to shop bought any day. I get uniform tiny chunks by using one of my favourite kitchen gadgets called a nicer dicer. This goes great with nachos, on burgers and with most Mexican dishes. 


  •  250g fresh tomatoes, finely chopped (I use a combination of cherry and vine ripened tomatoes)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  •  coriander, finely chopped (min 2 table spoons)
  • salt, to taste
  • lime (juice of half)


1. combine all the ingredients in a bowl and combine well.

Serve and enjoy.


Mild Chilli Salsa

·         add about 10 chopped up pickled Jalapenos

Hot Salsa

·         add 3 finely sliced chillies

Sweetcorn Salsa

·         add one small tin of sweet corn