Tried And Tested: Victoria Sandwich

You might think I’m extracting buckets of urine here by daring to post a recipe for such a well known British classic, but as any discerning cook knows, there is no one great single authentic recipe for any dish, regardless of what the WI might say.

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The Victoria sandwich has been an integral part of British culture since the 19th century (when baking powder was invented) and indeed every known food writer has offered up their take on this simple yet universally-popular cake. I’ve not met one person who doesn’t like it. There is really no way you can eff it up. Though I’ve never understood why people like to put fresh cream in these as it means you have to keep it in the fridge which dries out the sponge, which is the main event here.  But that’s just me.

The Vicky Sponge is notoriously sensitive to cooking time and oven temperature. So much so that it’s used by oven manufacturers to test their products’ effectiveness. Oven too hot? Cake will either burn, rise dramatically and then sink. Oven too cool? Won’t cook properly and you risk overdoing the outside and leaving the centre raw. An oven thermometer is ideal and you only need to know this:

Fan oven: 160C

Electric oven: 180C

Gas oven: Gas Mark 4

And you bake for 25 minutes max.

There’s so many different ways to get the ideal lightness – some writers replace a small amount of the flour with cornflour; others use plain flour and add extra baking powder; others only use the traditional creaming method…the list goes on and I won’t bore you with all of this now.

The best advice I’ve ever read and it’s the one I’m passing on to anyone who’ll listen; and it comes direct from the WI who are fiendishly draconian on their Victorias….weigh your eggs in their shells; make a note of the weight – this is how much fat, sugar and self-raising flour you’ll need. 7 inch sandwich tins use 3 eggs, 8 inch (like mine), use 4. Any size eggs you like.

Anyway, enough waffle. I’ve made countless Victorias over the years…and I’ve broken the rules numerous times….I’ve gone with gourmet butter, regular butter, margarine, Bertolli spread, Flora…if it says ‘suitable for baking’ on the tub then it’s gone into a Vicky sponge.

My preferred filling is raspberry jam (home made) as the WI insist (the seeds help keep the cakes sandwiched apparently), but I find it lacks something on its own, so I always sandwich it along with buttercream to round it off.  The cake in the photos I admit was sandwiched with bought jam…sorry!

Normally my standard formula is salted butter and caster sugar, but I’ve had to change things a bit, especially lately in more budget conscious times – this is the point of this post – and, don’t tell your local WI – but granulated sugar still makes a cracking light sponge! Only the pickiest, most petty judge would be able to tell the difference. Butter is superior in flavour (I don’t put vanilla in my sponge) but as I mentioned in the chocolate cake post, Waitrose’s essential sunflower spread, reasonably priced at £1 a tub, works just as well (it’s also cheaper than, and tastes better than Stork) – though any spread that’s marked as suitable for baking will do. It makes an inferior buttercream but as you only need a small amount for sandwiching, don’t bother getting extra butter just for that.

I also recommend for quickness, the all-in-one method also favoured by Mary Berry. A whisk and a bowl is fine.

Budget Victoria Sandwich

 

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Cake:

4 eggs, weighed in their shells.

Same weight of:
Spread/margarine – must have ‘suitable for baking’ on the tub.
Granulated sugar
Self-raising flour

2 LEVEL tsp baking powder

2-4 tbsp water

Filling:

Raspberry jam (shop bought or homemade)

Buttercream (You can go by eye, but I’d say 1 part marg to 3 parts icing sugar)

Jam (if using homemade):

200g frozen raspberries
250g jam sugar/granulated sugar with the juice of 1/2 a lemon added for the pectin

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan and grease two 8in/20cm sandwich tins with the bases lined with parchment.
  2. In a bowl combine all the ingredients and beat with a whisk (you don’t need electricity here) until combined and smooth – dropping consistency is what you want (hence the water). Don’t overdo it. If you want, you can do this in a food processor.
  3. Working quickly (the raising agents will start to act as soon as the batter is mixed) divide between the tins, spreading out evenly.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes (check at 20 just in case) until golden. When ready, the cakes should be coming away from the sides of the tins; the centre should spring back when pushed lightly, and a tester inserted should come out clean.
  5. If you’re making your own jam (and awesome if you are), now’s the time to do it. In a heavy based saucepan, tip in the raspberries and place over a medium heat to begin thawing out. As soon as they are thawed, add the sugar (and lemon juice if using normal granulated), stir to begin dissolving and turn up the heat, bringing to the boil. Once boiling, leave at a rollicking boil for 4 minutes exactly before tipping into a shallow dish (any ovenproof ‘lasagne dish’ is perfect here) to cool and set.
  6. Place the cakes, still in their tins on a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes exactly.
  7. After this 5 minutes, slide a regular knife around the edges to loosen and remove the cakes from the tins onto the wire rack and leave to cool completely.
    TIP: If you are entering the village show, unmould the cakes carefully onto a clean tea towel before placing on the rack the ‘right’ side up to avoid those GHASTLY rack marks!
  8. Make the buttercream. When not using real butter, I just go by eye and beat a small amount of margarine with icing sugar until I get a spreadable consistency – taste for sweetness. if you have any vanilla knocking about, add a dash.
  9. When the cakes are cooled, pick the less good-looking one of the two and place it face-down on a plate or stand (doily optional) before spreading the flat side now facing up with jam. How much you spread is up to you but remember it’ll squidge out the sides if you’re too heavy handed once you sandwich.
  10. On the other cake, spread the underside with the buttercream. I wouldn’t be too heavy with this as you want it to complement the jam without it being too sickly. Place carefully on top of the jam-spread cake to sandwich.
  11. For a finishing touch, sprinkle with granulated sugar (not icing, sorry. I go with the WI again here and I think it looks better), stick the kettle on and dive in. Keep covered in cling to prevent it going stale.
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Pleasure On A Budget: Dark And Sumptuous Chocolate Cake (sadly not vegan)

First of all, let me address the glamorous goddess in the room. This is obviously not my recipe and nor will I pretend it is. I’m publishing this to make a point (and shut up haters). To borrow from Dwayne The Rock Johnson…it doesn’t matter how cheap your ingredients are!

As Jack Monroe has always stated, the ingredients to any recipe are mere building blocks. It’s what you do with them that counts. So whether you got them from Waitrose 1, Tesco Value, or your local corner shop, you can be confident that you’ll still arrive at the same result if the recipe is good.

And this enchanting, confounding, deeply pleasurable cake from Queen Nigella can be made either with top-tier organic range….or entirely of value ingredients. I’ve tried it many ways and I can assure you it is ALWAYS nothing less than sumptuously good and worthy of its title – far greater than the sum of its parts.

I was keen to see just how much I could ‘cheapen’ this cake to fit my sadly stricter budget these days and not feel like it was compromised. It hasn’t at all. Because I’ve made a few changes I wondered if it was worth posting…I feel it is, though of course I have linked the original recipe to show that I never intended to plagiarise.

The icing I wondered if it would turn out sickly because of the lower percentage of cocoa solids in the chocolate but I find that budget-brand plain chocolate is a dark horse in cooking. It’s produced in France (Tesco) and Germany (Sainsbury’s) and the continentals know a thing or two about making good chocolate. Cocoa solids are a mere 45% (compared the 70% usually recommended in cakes like this) and it does contain whey, but for the tiny price tag it snaps nicely and has a good sheen, and I’ve always found it easy to cook with and never tastes nasty, synthetic or cheap. So it may be 45p a bar but all you’ve paid for is the chocolate and who cares about the ugly wrapper? It may be sweeter than 70% solids but that’s countered by the welcome bitter edge brought by the instant coffee and the cocoa powder and the margarine contains salt anyway so really…it’s just a slightly different formula that results in an identical taste.

I find that the icing made with these particular ingredients goes very thick but that’s not a hardship – for my clumsy self it made it far easier to spread and it sets beautifully. I’m not bothered about mirror glaze finishes. I bake cakes for taste.

I do recommend sticking with Nigella’s stated dark brown soft sugar as I find it’s not a bank breaker but I’m sure if you’ve only got the granulated white stuff to hand, there’s more than enough flavour given by the cocoa and coffee in the cake itself too. And as for the vinegar needed to help the cake rise – it’s such a tiny amount that you can use regular malt, distilled even. That’s the beauty of this recipe. So I’m not trying to pass off this as my own. I’m just saying what I did and proving that Nigella’s haters have yet another of their pathetic arguments nulled and voided – this is not an expensive cake and Aldi and Lidl will stock everything you need.

As for the topping – she says use whatever your heart desires. I topped mine with freeze-dried raspberries and freeze-dried tangerine powder as I happened to have those int he cupboard from more prosperous times. Use what’s to hand and within your budget. Or leave it plain.

Dark And Sumptuous Chocolate Cake On A Budget

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Cake:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 1½ tsp instant coffee granules
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 300g soft dark brown sugar (I tend to have this in but I’m sure granulated would be fine here)
  • 375ml hot water – from a recently boiled kettle
  • 6 tbsp (90ml) vegetable oil
  • 1½ tsp vinegar (even clear distilled is fine)

Icing:

  • 60 ml/4 tbsp cold water
  • 75g margarine (I used essential Waitrose sunflower spread which also makes a fabulously light Victoria sandwich and only £1 a tub)
  • 50g dark brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1½ tbsp cocoa
  • 150g plain chocolate, broken into pieces

You will  also need a 20cm/8in round springform cake tin, lined with greaseproof and lightly greased.

  1. Start with the icing, though first preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and pop in a baking sheet at the same time.
  2. To make the icing, put all the ingredients bar the chocolate into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir to make sure it’s all dissolved together before turning off the heat and adding the broken chocolate. Swirl the pan to make sure it’s submerged; leave for a minute before whisking until glossy and smooth. Set aside.
  3. Put the dry ingredients – flour, bicarb, salt and cocoa in a bowl and fork to mix.
  4. Dissolve the instant coffee granules in the water, before mixing in the sugar, vegetable oil and vinegar.
  5. This cake is literally wet-into-dry – once the wet’s all mixed (ensure the oil isn’t floating on the top), tip into the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined and there’s no lumps, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes. Though ovens do vary – do check at the 30-minute mark to see if it is already done – but you may need to bake for an additional 10 minutes as well.
  6. When it’s ready, the cake will be coming away from the edges of the tin and a cake tester will come out clean, apart from a few crumbs. This is a fudgy cake and you don’t want to overdo it – chocolate cake can take being slightly underdone and squidge is desirable here.
  7. Once the cake is cooked, transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the cake cool in its tin.
  8. When the cake is cooled, unspring from the tin and place on a stand or plate. Stir the icing in case it’s really thick and then spread with rapturous joy over the cake. I found it to have the exact consistency of buttercream frosting when made with these ingredients so just frost away.
  9. If you want to decorate it, just sprinkle with whatever your heart desires and then leave to set before slicing.

Fusion At My Table: Sriracha Tuna Melt Tortilla Pie

As you’d expect, I have slavishly followed the TV series and cooked numerous recipes from Nigella Lawson’s latest book, At My Table, which for my reckoning, is superior to its predecessor Simply.

A very popular recipe, for me at least, is the gloriously easy but very satisfying to eat Egg Tortilla Pie, essentially a ‘pie’ made not from pastry, but tortilla wraps and baked in a dish (in my case a sandwich tin) until crisp on the outside and warmingly savoury goo within. And it’s one of those recipes you can infinitely adapt to what’s in the fridge – known amongst thrifty food bloggers as ‘fridge cleaners’, much like soup and quiche are.

This is go with the flow cookery at its most satisfyingly simple and highly rewarding eating.

I’ve essentially played fast and loose, keeping the tortilla, hot sauce and egg but gotten much more inventive (I think) with the meat and cheese elements.  It’s only loosely related to the recipe that spawned it now so I feel I can call it my own! Satisfyingly savoury, gooey stringiness and just enough heat and bite from the ramped-up sriracha (itself a fabulous condiment that will enhance ANYTHING it’s anointing), and the smell as it cooks is almost pizza-like. The tuna doesn’t invade and absorbs the rasp of the sriracha sauce wonderfully.

I desribe this as the lovechild of a pizza and spanakopita (owing to how crisp the outer edges of the tortilla shell become) and indeed you could throw in tomato of some sort.

 

Sriracha Tuna Melt Tortilla Pie

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2 x plain flour tortilla wraps (the kind you get from the bread aisle, not the small ones for fajitas etc)

1 tin tuna chunks in brine, drained and lightly broken up with a fork.

1 large egg

Grated mozzarella (I use the ready grated stuff in pouches and went by eye, use as much or as little as you want)

Grated Cheddar (any strength, as above)

Sriracha chilli sauce, to taste

Thyme leaves

Garlic-infused olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Grease a small round ovenproof dish or 20cm sandwich tin (preferably lined with parchment) with some garlic oil.
  2. Lay one of the tortillas in the greased tin/dish, letting it come up the sides like a pie crust. Fork out and level it with the tin of tuna.
  3. Crack the egg on top of the fish, season with salt and pepper before sprinkling generously with the mozzarella cheese and anointing with a Jackson Pollock of Sriracha.
  4. Oil the other tortilla and then place, oiled side facing down (so facing the filling) and lightly press to the sides of the first wrap, attempting to make a full-crust pie shape. Top with grated cheddar, strew with thyme leaves and more gaily-squirted sriracha before placing in the oven for 15 minutes, until golden and crisp.
  5. Serve hot, either whole and eaten politely with a knife and fork, or simply slice into spindly wedges like a pizza and eat gratifyingly by hand.

Making Mincemeat Of You: Mincemeat

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Firstly, sorry I’ve left this until December 12 to put up a Christmas recipe. Other stuff has gotten in the way. But I’m back now.

I don’t need to tell you what mincemeat is – I’ve made my own for a good few years now; utilising various recipes and trying to get it right. I’ve used Nigella, Delia, the Ministry Of Food from 1945 and going back a bit further, a 1934 recipe. This year I simply couldn’t decide what to do, so I combined elements from Fanny Cradock’s Royal Mincemeat (yes, the same stuff she thinks is most excellent as an undercooked omelette filling) and the Ministry Of Food as these were what matched my budget and in-cupboard availabilities the most, and decided to go it alone.

I also took inspiration from the ingredients list on the box of Waitrose 1 Mince Pies as I found these to be particularly excellent for bought ones, which is why there’s some unusual ingredients like golden syrup in this, and I used glacé cherries and dried apricots in the mixed fruit as that’s what Waitrose used. But honestly, use whatever combo of dried fruit takes your fancy – just make sure it’s 1lb. I must also highly recommend the dark raisiny tones of Pedro Ximinez sherry as one of your boozes of choice – honestly, makes a real difference.

I’m fairly old-school when it comes to mincemeat – it must contain suet, and I prefer to make it just by combining ingredients and jarring; no cooking necessary as it gets cooked in the pies.

Bramley apples are the best to use, but you can use whatever you like – I actually used Royal Galas as I had some in the fridge that I’d gotten reduced and in bulk. The only work involved is some grating and snipping for the dried apricots (if using), and it takes mere minutes before you have your own homemade mincemeat ready to lock and load.

 

Mincemeat

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8oz brown sugar

4-5oz shredded suet (vegetable if you want)

8oz apples, grated (any variety you desire – leave the skin on)

1lb mixed dried fruit (any you like – I recommend dried apricots and glacé cherries to be a part of the mix)

Zest 1 orange and 1 lemon

2tbsp marmalade (any you like)

1tbsp golden syrup

1tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp mixed spice

3tbsp brandy

2tbsp Pedro Ximinez sherry

OPTIONAL: Juice of 1/2 a lemon, especially if you’re using eating apples. Plus extra liquid helps dissolve the sugar, syrup and marmalade.

  1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl.
  2.  Pack into sterilised jars and seal. Add brandy (or any spirit) from time to time to keep it going. 

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Meeting My Hero: When Tom Met Nigella

I’m scarcely believing I’m writing this down, but I shall never forget All Hallow’s Eve 2017.

They say you should never meet your heroes. And that day I met mine.

I’ve gushed shamelessly over Nigella Lawson and how she has been the reason I’ve sustained an interest in cooking and food writing before, but I honestly never thought I would get to meet her, let alone have a small conversation with her without becoming tongue-tied or saying something hideously embarrassing. She was giving a talk about her newest book At My Table, and audience members were invited afterwards to the microphone to ask her questions or simply get a chance to tell her a story.

I don’t want to pontificate too much with the details of my day, such as my poor meal planning resulting in only having time to cook supper but not actually EAT it – incidentally on the menu that night was the Chicken, Leek and Pea Traybake from At My Table, which already seems to be a very popular recipe from that book as it featured in the premiere of the new TV series (I abandoned Bake Off in September after the technicals got too stupid and relied on specialist equipment *cough* waffle cone machines *cough*). And I chose to travel by train as it worked out faster than driving to Ely at that time of night. So a snatched cold cheap mince pasty and a boost bar from the Tesco adjacent to Ely station were all that I was sustaining myself with for a night with Nigella. Not the best start.

I’d promised myself that every meal on that day was to be from At My Table…breakfast was the Turkish Eggs, albeit without the key ingredient of Aleppo pepper (I must order some soon) instead with paprika and chilli flakes; lunch was the pasta with anchovies, tomatoes and mascarpone; and dinner the aforementioned traybake with apple gingerjack for dessert….it almost worked out – I just reheated a large portion of traybake when I arrived home that night and I still have some of the gingerjack left over. But anyway, I digress.

Thankfully I managed to not fall asleep during what was a very engaging talk (I’d worked a night shift Monday night and had stayed up all day owing to a doctors’ appointment at 1:30); though admittedly I was focusing more on the fact that I WAS IN THE SAME ROOM AS NIGELLA at times…and as soon as Nigella announced she wanted to hear from us…I made a beeline to join the small throng of fans.

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This was a surreal moment. In front of me is the aforementioned vintage-attired food writer whose name I’ve forgotten (I’m so sorry!). I was petrified I’d lose my nerve…

I had to really bite my tongue and hold my side-eyes when the first person to speak, an American woman, decided to criticise Nigella for how much salt she uses in her cooking (yes, I know. Some people). Nigella’s response was perfectly gregarious yet meticulously tore apart this ridiculous criticism  – salt is always to taste and most with half a brain should know that. The others, including a very glamorously-vintage-attired food writer, thankfully had much more interesting things to ask and say. I was panicking as the line shrunk – had I thought this through and what the HELL should I ask her? I’m not as well read as I should be….and I really could not think of an original question regarding food….at last…heart racing…I gingerly looked across the ornate cathedral aisle at the lady whom I’ve idolised, been inspired and captivated by since the age of 12; fiercely defended against yawnsome detractors….tweeted frequently…and all in all, the main reason I’m even in this game….and introduced myself as the guy who cooked her late sister Thomasina’s favourite food (hear more about it in this interview and trust me, you should try it. It’s a killer breakfast, especially if you, like me have a severe umami tooth)

I had indeed made this two weeks prior and tweeted it to Nigella…who replied that it moved her (and made my entire weekend in the process).  Her spoken response to me couldn’t have been better….I did feel a bit of an idiot though…like I’d used this time to inflate my own ego and get that prized ‘recognition’. I now understand why meeting a public figure means so much to folk…I wanted to tell Nigella without being creepy or cliched just how much she means to me and the sheer impact she has had on my life, and cooking this dish that was deeply personal to her own past was in my mind, the best way of thanking her….much like my fervently making of her chutney recipes in 2013 when the entire world seemed fiercely determined to demonise her. And because this combination of taromasalata, crispy bacon and sharp scallions on a soft doughy pitta bread is KILLER. It may not be gourmet or refined but boy does it taste good. I’d even recommend it as a hangover cure.

Then came the long glacial queue to get my book signed. All the time I was quivering and shying up. I wanted to get in one final chat with her as I may not ever get the chance to again. I was one of the tail end of the line and I was worrying about getting the last train from Ely but I knew if I left too soon, I’d always regret it. It was time. I handed my cracked rose gold iPhone 7 to a very friendly lady who was taking on photography duties for the fans and shuffled over to the radiant Ms Lawson (who incidentally is absolutely exquisite in person and every bit as warm as you think). She thanked me again and I knew that it was time to be the cliche and tell her just how much she means to me; that I first saw her on Bites in 2001 when I was 12…and how she’s the reason I’ve remained so interested in food and cooking. I also dropped what could be seen as a clanger by some and told her I was an aspiring food blogger and should she wish to, she could read it…and gave her the name of this blog.

Her reply?

“The cooking petrolhead? I will never forget that!”

Accompanied by that luminescent smile.

Well Nigella, I will NEVER forget meeting you. My life was made. And should you decide to read this insignificant blog updated with appalling irregularity….thank you. For everything.

T x

Curry In A Hurry: Lamb And Pea Keema

This is essentially mince curry. You can call it what you like, but that’s what it is.

The mere notion of of ‘mince curry’ conjures up 1960s horrors made with stale curry powder and garnished with hardboiled eggs, but, if you peel off the mask of stubborn ‘authenticity’ for a minute, you’ll realise that this has as good a place at a south Asian table as any – because the term curry simply implies a gravied dish. And this is stewed minced lamb served in a spiced gravy with peas. Admittedly if one was to use beef mince then we’re back in the Sixties, as of course beef isn’t eaten in India (the cow is sacred), but calling it keema satisfies the culture-appropriating food snob within us. But nobody’s going to sue you if you do use minced beef.

This originated from Delicious magazine’s website and I combined it with my own recipe for chicken balti to make it a bit more worthy of talking about. It won’t set the world on fire and it’s certainly not Instagrammable, but it is imperative for the middle of the miserable working week when the extra step of making mash for shepherds’ pie just seems like climbing Everest in the fog.

 

Lamb and Pea Keema

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250g lamb mince

1 tbsp beef dripping

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp garam masala

100g frozen peas

1 tbsp tomato puree, diluted in 200-300ml boiling water

Lemon juice

  1. Heat dripping (or oil) in a saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and fry until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so.
  2. Add lamb mince and turn up heat – fry until browned, and then add all ground spices except the garam masala. Reduce heat back to medium and allow to cook out for 5 minutes.
  3. Toss in the peas and cook just until the frozen look leaves them before pouring in the tomato ‘stock’.
  4. Bring to boil and simmer rapidly for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. You want some left but not much. Think shepherds’ pie base.
  5. Taste for seasoning and then squirt in a good dash of lemon juice and the garam masala and stir through.
  6. Serve with naans, boiled rice and whatever your heart desires.

Cupboard Love: Chorizo and Pea Pilaf

It’s becoming a dangerously repetitive maxim on here, but honestly, its amazing what you can make by just scrabbling around in your fridge, freezer and store cupboard and applying a little knowhow.

I appreciate that this looks like an Eastern Mediterranean zig-zag; we begin in Spain and end up in Persia – this is not me purposely being globetrottingly eclectic in the kitchen, but merely hunting for a fast supper which creatively used some leftover chorizo sausage that was too little to do anything else with. It has some roots in a couple of Nigella’s recipes, but really, most of us will have these things in these days. I didn’t weigh the chorizo but it was the ends of two sausages that I’d bought and used for Nigella’s Chorizo and Chickpea stew and refused to waste.

It’s super easy and fast to make, one pot as well, so it’s perfect for anyone so harried in the middle of the miserable working week when the idea of cooking just makes you want to shriek. These measurements serve one, but you can of course double or quadruple. Just remember it’s one part rice to two parts stock.

I suppose you can also add chopped dried apricots (or indeed ANY dried fruit) to ramp up the Scheherezade exoticism of this dish but it’s perfectly good as is. Indeed you could also add saffron to the stock…..

Chorizo And Pea Pilaf

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approx 80g chorizo, cut into small chunks

80g frozen peas

100g basmati rice

200ml chicken stock

Splash (1tbsp) dry sherry

 

  1. In an oilless pan over medium heat, fry the chorizo pieces until the orange oil runs out.
  2. Remove from heat and add sherry, it will sizzle a bit.
  3. Add peas and cook until frozen look leaves them.
  4. Add rice and stir until slicked in the orange-tinted oil and sherry remnants.
  5. Pour over stock and bring to a bubble.
  6. Clamp on a lid and reduce heat to very low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Once the rice is cooked, stir briefly (with a fork) and don’t panic if there’s any crispy bits – in Persian cooking this is very desirable and known as the tahdig. Serve immediately into a waiting bowl.