Pork Vindaloo

Where to start with the Vindaloo, the much maligned curry that is linked to drunks on a Saturday night ordering the hottest curry.  This pork Vindaloo bares little resemblance to the mismatch of curry house sauces with added chillies to create the Vindaloo.  An authentic Goan vindaloo does have heat but it is the depth of flavour from the spice mix and the vinegar that creates this curry.  The word vindaloo is a garbled pronunciation of the popular Portuguese dish carne de vinha d’alhos (meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic), which made its way to India in the 15th century along with Portuguese explorers.



  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 5-10 dried red kashmiri chillies (or 3–6 hotter dried red chillies), halved, seeds shaken out
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 2cm cinnamon stick
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic 
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fengureek seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp. good-quality white wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 400 g pork shoulder with some fat, in 1″ cubes
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • Sugar, to taste

vindaloo spices

vindaloo spices

Diced Pork

Diced Pork



In a heavy based pan place your dry seeds over a low heat to toast and release their oils, while the seeds toast place half the garlic, ginger and chillis in a food processor and blend to  paste, add the vinegar.  

In a pestle and mortar or spice grinder grind the cooled toasted spices to a fine paste, add to the garlic and ginger past and rub all over the diced pork, cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

In a large oven proof casserole heat the ghee, add diced onion, the remaining garlic, ginger and onions and cook until caramelised.

Add the pork and its marinade, cook until just coloured.

Add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and 1 can of water. Place in covered casserole in preheated oven at 150 c, stir occasionally and add water if it looks to be drying, cook for two hours until pork is tender.

I serve mine with spicy sautéed potatoes.

spicy saute potatoes

spicy sauté potatoes

This Goan pork vindaloo is not like takeaway or many restaurant curries and I hope you enjoy it.

Pork Vindaloo

Pork Vindaloo



Chicken Mogul Curry & Tarka Dal

So another curry post on the blog, another that is not of the bastardised recipes that have no relation to authentic Indian cuisine.  This is Chicken Mogul Curry & Tarka Dal.

chicken mogul curry & tarka dal

chicken mogul curry & tarka dal

Mughal cuisine consists of dishes developed in Medieval India at the centers of the Mughal Empire. It represents a combination of the cooking style and recipes of Central Asia and North India. 

Chicken Mogul Curry



  • 2 tbsp Ghee , for frying
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into thirds
  • Half tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 Large tomatoes finely diced
  • 1 x 165ml tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 165ml tin coconut milk
  • 10-15 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 whole green chillies , finely chopped
  • Half tsp ground green cardamom


1. Heat the ghee in a heavy based pot.

2. Add the cumin seeds and stir. Let them sizzle for a few seconds before adding onions and ginger cook until the onions start to caramelise but not burn, add the garlic and cook for a further few minutes.

3. Add the cut chicken thighs and fry in the spices until a brown colour is achieved.

4. Add the turmeric, diced fresh tomato and tinned tomatoes, diced green chilli, salt  and curry leaves. Simmer on a steady heat until the chicken is cooked through.

5. To finish add the coconut milk, curry leaves and finish with green cardamom powder and a little fresh chopped coriander.

Tarka Dal

Dal is a very important aspect of Indian cooking, an excellent source of protein for the continents many vegetarians


  • 250g yellow dried split peas, rinsed until the water runs clear
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 whole green chillies, pricked with a knife
  • 2cm/¾in piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 3 tomatoes
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¾ tsp garam masala
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • handful chopped fresh coriander leaves


  1. Place the lentils and 900 ml pints of the water into a pan, stir well and bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the water with a spoon. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, stirring regularly, for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender, adding more water as necessary.

  2. When the lentils have cooked through, remove the pan from the heat and use a whisk to break down the lentils. Set the mixture aside to thicken and cool.

  3. Meanwhile, heat the ghee in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds.

  4. Add the onion, chillies and ginger and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until caramalised.

  5. Blend the garlic and tomatoes to a paste. Add the paste to the pan and stir well to combine.

  6. Add the ground spices and 100 ml of water to the pan and stir well to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

  7. Add the cooked lentils to the sauce and stir well, adding more water as necessary to loosen the mixture. Bring the mixture to the boil and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the chopped coriander just before serving.

The best burger bun

The Best Burger Bun

So as things happen this week has had national burger day, it seems that every week it is national something or other day.  So to go with my homemade burger I needed the best burger bun I could make.

There are so many opinions on what makes the best bun for a burger, you see brioche everywhere but for me a lot of them are far to sweet and make a better bread and butter pudding bread than a burger bun, then you have the mass-produced white pappy buns, sesame seed buns, the argument goes on and on.

You need a bun that will hold up to the juicy burger without falling apart and becoming a mush in your hand.  In the end I decided on potato bread rolls.  In the past I have been spoilt with potato bread rolls by Alex Gooch a local award-winning, world champion baker.  I like to set myself high bars.

I think the secret to this recipe is supply smooth creamy mash, the only way to get smooth mash in my eyes is to use a potato ricer, no more lumpy mash that takes you back to your childhood.  

I use organic strong white bread flour for the dough, as with all cooking the best way to get good results is to use good produce to start with.

Here is my recipe for my version of the best burger bun.

The best burger bun
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
The best burger bun
  • 500 g Strong white flour
  • 1 or 2 large Maris Piper potatoes – at least 200 g.
  • 100 ml warm water
  • 10 g dried yeast
  • 20 g sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 more for a glaze
  • 100 g butter
  • 150 ml warm milk
  • Good pinch of Sea salt.
  1. Peel and cut potatoes ready to make your mashed potato. Bring the potatoes to the boil and simmer until soft enough to mash. I use a potato ricer to get the smoothest mash that I can, to the potatoes add around 25 g of butter to make it smooth and creamy.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking place the yeast and sugar in the warm water and set aside, this will activate the yeast.
  3. In your mixing bowl add the flour, 175 g of your mashed potato, the yeast and water liquid, an egg and your salt.
  4. Start to mix together and add the softened butter.
  5. I use a stand mixer with the dough hook to mix the dough together, you can of course need by hand.
  6. Set the dough to one side in a lightly oiled bowl for around one hour until doubled in size.
  7. After one hour knock the dough back and on a buttered baking tray divide the dough into eight even sized balls, form into rolls and place on the baking sheet, allow to prove for a further 45 minutes.
  8. Pre-heat your oven to 200 c.
  9. Place the buns into the centre of your pre-heated oven, in the base of your oven add an oven proof bowl of cold water, this creates steam that makes for a better crust.
  10. While the buns have their first 15 minutes mix the other egg yolk and a desert spoon of milk to make your glaze.
  11. After 15 minutes remove from the oven glaze with the egg wash mix and place back in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until golden brown on top.

potato bread rolls dough

The best burger bun

The best burger bun

The best burger bun


So there we have my version of the best burger bun, with my version of the best burger.

Pork three ways

So another post about pork I hear you say, yes pork three ways, I admit that over the years I have done one or two posts on all manners of pork from a slow roast to trotters and terrines.  I have been very lucky over the years in having access to some fantastic local pork, all free range and generally native breeds.

When i seen a post on Twitter from Martha Roberts who breeds and rears her own pigs on the local hillside saying she had some pork available I dropped her a message and placed an order for a shoulder joint, a belly joint and a loin.  

As always when I know I am  going to be getting hold of some good quality meat my mind goes into overdrive about what I am going to do with it. 

pork three ways

The shoulder and belly were destined for long slow cooks, the choice was traditional oven, wood oven or smoker.  The loin I had already made my mind up on that and it was destined to be bacon, dry cured traditional bacon.  I do not often cold smoke at this time of the year so no smoked bacon this time around.

So Sunday came around and it was destined to be pork Sunday, old smokey was set up for the shoulder and belly.  I had two very different rubs set for the two joints.  For the shoulder I was going for a Memphis style rub, in Memphis the rub is all important as they tend not to use sauces as much as other areas.  The recipe below is my go to pulled pork rub.

  • 1/2 cup / 8 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup / 4 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup / 4 tbsp mild chili powder(use medium or hot to kick up the heat)
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons celery seeds
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice

pork shoulder

For the belly I went with the rub below, I make this in batches and keep it in a shaker for all things from chicken to steak.

  • 1/2 cup / 8 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup / 4 tbsp kosher salt, finely ground
  • 1/4 cup / 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup / 4 tbsp chili powder ( I use a fairly mild one )
  • 1/4 cup  / 4 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup  / 4 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne

pork belly

The skin was taken off both joints and set aside to make pork scratching, I will be doing a separate post on the method I use to make the best scratching in the world.  The two joints were liberally covered in the rub and set aside while the smoker was set up and the charcoal lit.

bbq pork, chicken and steak

For all my BBQ cooking i use a ProQ, they are superb tools for the job be it direct, indirect, hot smoking or cold smoking.

I set the smoker up to 110c using lumpwood charcoal, i only use high quality lumpwood, no instant light chemical laden rubbish that taints the food.  I had a few lumps of beech wood that I like to use with pork and chicken as it does not overpower the meat.

While the belly and shoulder were happily sat in the smoker getting a nice low and slow cook I was sorting out the loin that i was curing for bacon.  I use a very simple cure that consists of sea salt, dark muscovado sugar, cracked black pepper and fennel seeds.  I do not use pink salt or any other “cure”.  The act of curing is to use salt to draw out moisture from the product that you are curing.  My number one tip for anyone curing pork for bacon at home is to get the very best pork you can, free range, not factory farmed meat laced with antibiotics and who knows what else.

pork loin for bacon

Once covered in the cure the loin is placed into a container and placed in the fridge, turn daily for around about a week, a small amount of liquid will collect in the container, this is the process of curing at work, drawing out the moisture from the meat.

So that is my pork three ways, i shall update the post with more pictures once the bacon is cured and i slice it for some awesome bacon sarnies and a good fry up.

Once again I have to thank Martha for the pork which is reared with love and the end product shows that,  If you want to know more about Martha’s fantastic produce follow the link and drop her a line.

Until next time remember cooking is not difficult when you have fantastic produce to use.

The Perfect Steak

Cooking Perfect Steak

There is not a lot out there that beats cooking perfect steak, local, grass-fed, well aged.  All sounds very easy and when you look at the basics it is.  Unfortunately over the last few decades meat has become the realm of supermarket and so many local butchers have gone by the way side.  The meat in supermarkets does not compare to the meat you buy from a good butcher, supermarket meat on the whole is grain fed, fed growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics and never sees a blade of grass.

When your butcher tells you not only where your meat is from but how it is raised and how it has been treated after slaughter then you know the meat is good, for many knowing the provenance of the food they eat is becoming more important all the time.  There is simply no way that the mass factory farming of meat is sustainable going forward.  Eating locally sourced, grass fed and free range is the only way we can carry on eating meat, and to eat good meat well sourced less.  I will happily pay more for good quality and eat less of it.  I am very fortunate to live where I do and to know the people I do be they farmers, butchers or producers.

Recently and old school friend who has now been a butcher for 30 years offered me some T-Bone steaks, Mark is the owner of Palfreys butchers in Newport. Mark has many awards to his name and has carried on the excellent tradition of traditional butchery at Palfreys.

I visited Mark and collected some fantastic 55 day aged Longhorn cross Hereford T-Bone steaks.  As you can see in the image below the colouring and marbling of the meat is fantastic and as it should be not the bright red you see at the supermarket.


T-Bone Steak

T-Bone Steak

When it comes to cooking perfect steak of this quality there is no messing about.  The steak is removed from the fridge and all packaging removed to allow the meat to bloom and get to room temperature, never ever place a steak straight from the fridge on to a hot griddle or grill.  Around twenty minutes will  have the meat ready for cooking.  Seasoning is purely salt, i never season with pepper as the heat i cook at purely burns the pepper leaving an acrid taste, season with pepper after cooking.  Preheat your griddle or pan, I use a cast iron griddle and use this whether cooking in the house or when using the wood oven.

Cooking Perfect Steak

T-Bone Steak

I use what has now become known as the Heston method for cooking perfect steak, with the griddle smoking hot place the steak down away from you, the heat will sear the meat instantly and seal it. if the pan or griddle is not hot enough when you go to lift the steak to turn it it will stick to the pan, I do not use oil when cooking steak of this quality the natural fat in and on the steak does the basting for me.  After 20 seconds turn the steak and continue turning every 20 seconds, I use a meat thermometer for all my meat cooking and for a medium rare steak I remove the steak when it reaches an internal temperature of 50c and place on a grill rack next to the cooker and rest for at least the time I have cooked the meat for.  If you do not have a meat thermometer I highly suggest that you get one.  If you like your steak rare the internal temperature to remove the meat at should be 47c for medium aim for 55c, I will not give temperatures for well done as to me that is ruining good meat. After the meat is rested serve with triple cooked chips and a good béarnaise sauce, you can of course have a sauce of your choice be it Diane, mushroom or peppercorn I like to keep it simple and classic.

Cooking Perfect Steak and triple cooked chips

T-Bone Steak and triple cooked chips

As I say cooking is not difficult and when you have fantastic produce you do not need twenty processes and 30  ingredients to get the best from it, keep it simple.  Support your local butchers and farmers and eat meat of a far higher quality than mass-produced supermarket produce.

Any questions please do not hesitate to leave a comment and I will get back to you.  Enjoy your meat and live happy.