Sunday, 2 April 2017


I have been trying to eat at Dishoom for ages but I am not a natural queuer (is that a word?) and as I never seem to be in the right place at the right time the joys of their delicacies have been denied to me.  And then the stars aligned...

My good friend Buz and her man Euan had promised to buy Mr Redding and I dinner at Tom Kitchin (which was utterly delightful) and we thought this would be a good time to catch up with some of the people I was at Stirling University with - people I haven't seen for over *cough* 30 years.  So we had a big enough party to book a table!  O frabjous day!  Between the seven of us we got through four bowls of Dishoom's trademark black dal as well as their crispy okra, squid, chicken, lots of other stuff - it was all delicious.  I was very struck by the daal so began to try and find a recipe - this is my most recent version, and I thoroughly recommend it.  I use a pressure cooker, a utensil I am using increasingly to cook both meat and pulses.  Meat seems to retain more of its flavour whilst becoming beautifully tender and both meat and pulses take a fraction of the time.  The pulses you need are Urid beans - KTC Foods do them, I bought mine in Morrisons.


200g Urid beans
Twice the amount in volume of water
Tsp. grated ginger
Tsp. grated garlic
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
Tsp. ground cumin
Tsp. ground coriander
Tsp. turmeric
Knob of butter
Tblsp. cream
Tsp. salt
Good couple of grinds of black pepper


Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil. If using a pressure cooker it will take around 25 minutes, if conventional cooking probably a good hour.  Once the lentils are soft take off the heat and mash half the beans.  Stir together then add another knob of butter and maybe a splash of cream before serving.

This also responds well to being stuck in a low oven for further cooking - seems to add to its unctuousness!

Last night I served this with pork with garlic, vinegar and chilli (a vindaloo) from Madhur Jaffrey  and crispy fried okra. 

The okra are so delicious and so easy - just mix 1/2 teaspoon each of ground coriander, ground cumin, chill powder and turmeric with a couple of tablespoons of gram flour.  Cut the bhindi in four lengthwise and toss in the mixture.  leave for half an hour than heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and shallow fry in batch.  The finishing touch should be a sprinkle of amchur, dried mango powder, which add an amazing tartness.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


I am overweight.  I feel like I have always been overweight but when I look back at photographs I see I wasn't. It was all in my mind.  But I am now.  I am also in an extremely stressful job where I am having to make people redundant and the future of my organisation is in the balance - and it's a good organisation, it's been looking after charities in London for 110 years - but I digress.

Before Mr Redding and I got married we followed the Sirt diet for a few months - it did the trick. Almost no fat, kale juice deadening the appetite, and no carbs led to a gratifying but not silly weight loss.  We tried it again last month but suddenly swamp water wasn't cutting it for us.  So I have decided to off piste, inspired in some way by a fellow food blogger @thefoodjudge. Her plates of spiralised vegetables and protein looked interesting, delicious, and a fabulous antidote to Christmas food.  So I bought a spiraliser, looked to Sabrina Ghayour for some middle eastern flavours and set off.  I will say up front that I am not counting calories but I am avoiding carbohydrates and saturated fat.

First of my recipes is a soupy noodly prawn dish - it is deeply satisfying, a bit hot, very tasty. This recipe is for two people.


1 tblsp. oil
400g kings prawns, cut down the back and intestinal track removed
Tblsp. soy sauce

1 tblsp.oil
6 spring onions, white part sliced diagonally, green part shredded
Inch of ginger, sliced and shredded finely
Garlic clove, sliced finely
2 red birds eye chillies, sliced finely

2 stalks celery sliced
Tin of sliced water chestnuts drained
Handful of coarsely chopped coriander
2 medium courgettes, spiralised or cut into long fine strips
2 medium carrots, spiralised or cut into long fine strips
Chicken stock cube

1. Heat the oil and soy sauce together. When hot add the prawns and cook until they have just turned pink all over. remove from pan and set aside with juices.  Wipe out pan.

2. Add oil to pan, out on medium heat and add spring onion whites, ginger, garlic and chilli - sweat down until soft.

3. Add the celery, water chestnuts and the stock cube along with a mug of water. Bring to boil for five minutes.  Add the spiralised vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes, adding the prawns in the last 30 seconds to warm through.

4. Serve in two bowls, sprinkling over the green bits of spring onions and coriander.