Fight off the winter blues
Lentil and Coconut Curry with Mini Pork Meatballs
Is this a stew or a soup? I’m not sure, but with all these aromatic spices in it, one thing is for sure – it’s delicious!
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large celery sticks, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 small red chillies, thinly sliced, plus extra to serve
250g split red lentils
400ml reduced-fat coconut milk
1 litre fresh chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g pork mince
40g mint leaves, finely chopped
4 tsp fish sauce
Toast the coriander seeds in a large pan over a low heat for about 4 minutes until fragrant, then lightly crush in a pestle and mortar. Tip onto a plate and set aside.
Heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat. Add the celery, garlic and chillies and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the toasted seeds and lentils and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, stock and 100ml water, then season and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
Meanwhile, mix the pork mince with half the chopped mint and fish sauce and shape into 20 meatballs, about 2 tsp each, then chill for 20 minutes.
Lower the meatballs gently into a frying pan over a medium-high heat and turn every few minutes until their outsides are brown and slightly crisp.
Add the meatballs to the lentil mixture and simmer for 10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Add the juice of one of the limes and stir through.
Serve topped with the remaining mint, extra chilli and fish sauce with the extra lime on the side.
When I bake this for my family, they think Christmas has come early. The aromatic mix of clove and cinnamon that wafts through the kitchen is amazing.
150g butter, either salted or unsalted
75g caster sugar
25g demerara sugar
3 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced
6 Cox apples or other eating apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 dates, roughly chopped
½ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 large sheets of filo pastry
4 tbsp pecans, chopped
Hot custard, to serve
Place 75g of the butter and the caster sugar into a heavy-based pan and heat until the butter is foaming and the sugar is beginning to melt. Add the Bramley apples and cook for a few minutes until tender. Stir in the Cox apples, dates, sultanas, cloves and 1 tsp of the cinnamon and continue to cook until the apples are just cooked and beginning to soften.
Transfer the apple mixture to a dish and either allow to cool at room temperature or place in the fridge.
Preheat the oven 190C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Once the filling is cool, begin to layer up the strudel. Melt the remaining butter in a pan, then lay a sheet of filo on the prepared tray and brush with a little of the butter. Place the next sheet on top and brush with more butter, repeating until all the sheets are buttered and layered.
Spoon the filling along the length of the pastry and roll the pastry around the filling to form a long parcel, tucking in the ends as you go. Brush the top of the strudel with any remaining butter and sprinkle with the demerara sugar and half the remaining cinnamon.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then sprinkle with the pecans. Return to the oven for 10 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with the last of the cinnamon. Serve in slices with hot custard.
Tonia Buxton has written four cookbooks and is a well-known TV celebrity and chef. For more information visit toniabuxton.co.uk