Tag Archive: Starter

  1. Restaurant Style Saag Aloo courtesy of Jagruti’s Cooking Odyssey

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    Known in most curry houses in the UK as a classic vegetable vegan side dish, Saag Aloo remains a firm favourite. Two quite ordinary ingredients, spinach and potatoes are married together with a blend of fragrant spices to create something delicious!

    To find out what Hayley thought of our copper tri ply pans and lots of tips to help create this Restaurant Style Saag Aloo click here

    Recipe by Hayley Dhanecha

    Serves: 4-6

    Preparation Time: 5 minutes

    Cooking Time: 25 minutes



    • 1kg fresh spinach
    • 500g baby potatoes
    • 5 TBSP oil
    • 1 TBSP panch phoran
    • 1 TBSP whole spices (green cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon)
    • 1 big  finely chopped onion
    • 2 TSP. ginger-garlic puree 
    • 1 TBSP kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
    • 1 TSP turmeric powder
    • 1 TSP garam masala
    • 1 TBSP kashmiri red chilli powder
    • 5-6 TBSP blended tinned tomatoes*
    • 2 big fresh tomato roughly chopped into big chunks
    • 1 TSP lemon or lime juice
    • 1 TSP sugar
    • Salt to taste

    Cooking Method

    1. In a large pot add water, salt, and little turmeric powder. 
    2. Add potatoes and cook it till 70% done.
    3. Remove it and let it cool a little, peel the skin and leave it aside. 
    4. Discard the water, rinse the pan and add more water to it.
    5. Add a pinch of sugar and bring it to boil, add spinach.
    6. Blanch the spinach for a couple of minutes. 
    7. Remove the spinach and add it to the ice-cold water. 
    8. Squeeze out all the water and keep the spinach aside. 
    9. In a saute pan, heat oil.
    10. Add whole spices and panch phoran.
    11. Once they crackle add chopped onion.
    12. Saute the onion till it’s translucent.
    13. Add the ginger-garlic paste and keep cooking and stirring the mixture. 
    14. Now add kasoori methi, and ground masala (turmeric, red chilli powder and garam masala) along with salt. 
    15. If masala sticks to the pan, add a couple of spoons of water.
    16. Add blended tomatoes and keep cooking the mixture.
    17. Turn the heat to high and keep stirring the mixture, until you see oil separating the pan.  
    18. Add squeezed spinach and parboiled potatoes, mix everything but make sure not to break the potatoes. 
    19. Sprinkle some water and let the curry cook. 
    20. Turn the heat to medium and add fresh tomatoes.
    21. Let the curry cook for another 3-4 minutes, add lemon juice and mix well.
    22. Sprinkle some water to prevent sticking the curry to the pan.
    23. Cook another 4-5 minutes on high heat.
    24. Add sugar, mix and turn off the heat.
    25. Serve hot.


    If you are using a concentrated tomato puree instead of tinned tomatoes, use ONLY 2 TBSP and add 5 TBSP water to it.

  2. Polenta Chips with Baby Artichokes and Sauce Vierge By Mark Dodson

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    We are delighted to share this wonderful starter recipe with you by Mark Dodson. If you’re looking for something different these crispy Polenta chips are the new taste sensation. They team up beautifully with the soft texture of baby artichokes and accompanied with the French inspired sauce vierge we are truly on to a winner!

    Recipe courtesy of www.greatbritishchefs.com

    Serves: 8 as a starter

    Cooking Time: 60 minutes, plus cooling time




    • 185g polenta
    • 750ml whole milk
    • 70g butter
    • 100g Parmesan, finely grated
    • Sea salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Oil, for deep-frying
    • 200g spinach
    • Edible flowers, to garnish
    • Parsley leaves, to garnish

    Sauce vierge

    • 200g tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed and diced
    • 8 basil leaves, finely sliced
    • 1tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
    • 240ml extra virgin olive oil
    • ½ lemon, juiced
    • Sea salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper


    • 12 baby artichokes
    • 1 lemon, halved
    • 1 dash of white wine
    • 1 dash of olive oil
    • Sea salt

     Cooking Method

    1. For the polenta chips, place a saucepan over a medium heat and add the milk and butter. Bring to the boil, then whisk in the polenta and cook for 2–3 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the Parmesan and whisk well, then season and pour into a deep tray or dish (but don’t allow the mixture to be spread too thin). Cover with cling film and set aside to cool.
    2. Pick the outer leaves off the artichokes with your hands, then trim and shape the stalk with a sharp knife. Run the knife around the artichoke, removing the remnants of the outer leaves, then cut the top of the artichoke flat. Place the artichokes in a pan of water with the halved lemon to prevent discolouration.
    3. Once all the artichokes are ready to be cooked, add a splash of white wine and olive oil to the pan. Season with salt and bring to a simmer, cooking gently until a knife can be inserted without too much resistance (about 10–20 minutes, depending on size). Leave to cool in the liquor.
    4. For the sauce vierge, mix together all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to gently warm through before serving.
    5. Heat a deep-fat fryer or deep pan of oil to 170°C. Unmould the cooled polenta and cut into thick chips, then deep-fry until golden (about 5 minutes) and keep warm.
    6. While the polenta chips are frying, wilt the spinach in a dash of olive oil and keep warm.

    Mark Dodson Recipe Polenta Chips Baby Artichokes & Sauce Vierge

    To serve

    When ready to serve, gently warm through the sauce vierge in a pan. Drain the artichokes, halve them and reheat in a pan with a little olive oil to give them some colour.


  3. Minestrone Soup by Jane Devonshire



    We are delighted to share this recipe from Jane Devonshire which also features in her debut book. It’s packed with 100 easy to follow, tasty recipes designed for gluten intolerance and sufferers of coeliac disease but have been thoughtfully created with the whole family in mind. Everyday feel good dishes that are inclusive, suitable for family suppers and sharing with friends and which take the hassle out of catering for different dietary needs. 

    Recipe from Hassle Free, Gluten Free (Bloomsbury Absolute £22) which is out now

    I love serving soup, especially when the kids came home from school, as it stopped them snacking on rubbish until the dinner was ready. I have adapted classic recipes to my family’s tastes – this soup is packed full of vegetables, and I use canned pulses instead of pasta to add substance.

    Serves: 6



    • splash of olive oil
    • 200g chopped pancetta or smoked bacon
    • 1 leek, chopped
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 3–4 sticks celery, chopped (approx. 150g)
    • 4–5 carrots, chopped (approx. 150g)
    • 1 chilli (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons dried mixed herbs
    • 1 litre passata
    • 1 litre gluten-free chicken stock
    • 3 large kale leaves, stalks removed
    • 1 x 400g can cannellini beans, drained
    • 1 x 400g can green/puy lentils, drained
    • freshly grated Parmesan, to serve
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Cooking Method

    1.  Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot with the chopped pancetta, leek, onion and garlic, and sauté gently until translucent.
    2. Add the celery, carrots, chilli and dried herbs and sauté for another 5 minutes.
    3. Add the passata and chicken stock and cook for a further 5 minutes, then add the kale, beans and lentils and simmer for 7–8 minutes, until the vegetables are just cooked.

    To serve

    1. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a really generous grating of fresh Parmesan.

    Jane’s Tip: I always have a stockpile of different types of canned beans and pulses in my store-cupboard. I use them in minestrone soup instead of pasta and I think it’s an improvement. The pasta in the original version can go soggy, whereas with beans the soup can be eaten over a couple of days if kept refrigerated. Beans can also be added quickly to stews and curries to bulk out the ingredients and make them go further if you suddenly get more people for dinner – and the bonus is that they are a healthy addition.

    Photography © Mike Cooper, 2018.

  4. Chilli Pork Spare Ribs by Jane Devonshire

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    We are long time admirers of MasterChef Champion Jane Devonshire and we were lucky enough to meet her at a Foodie Festival in 2017. Jane has since become a wonderful supporter of ours and we were thrilled when she released her debut cookbook in 2018. The book is published by Absolute Press, in association with Coeliac UK and it contains a wide range of delicious, practical, easy to follow gluten-free recipes that cater for all the family. 

    Recipe from Hassle Free, Gluten Free (Bloomsbury Absolute £22) which is out now

    We eat these all year round, often as starters or nibbles, but sometimes with the Egg Fried Rice for a light supper. They pack a real flavour punch and are so easy to make – everything is prepared straight into one pan on the hob.

    Serves: 4


    • Large wok or non-stick pan with a lid
    • Measuring spoons
    • Spatula


    •  1 x 750g rack of baby back pork ribs, chopped into individual ribs
    • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
    • 1–2 red chillies, finely chopped
    • 1cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 3 tablespoons golden syrup or runny honey (I prefer syrup as it gives the stickiness without the distinctive honey flavour) *
    • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or rice wine
    • 140g tomato purée
    • 4 tablespoons gluten-free dark soy sauce (I use Clearspring tamari soya sauce)
    • finely sliced red chilli and spring onion, to serve (optional)
    • sea salt

    * check for gluten content or cross contamination

    Cooking Method

    1. Place the ribs into a large wok or non-stick pan with a lid. Measure out the 3 tablespoons of oil (don’t wash the measuring spoon) and add to the pan with a good pinch of salt.
    2. Add the chillies, ginger and garlic, and use the oily measuring spoon to measure out the golden syrup or honey (this stops it sticking to the spoon and makes life much easier).
    3. Finally, add the sherry, tomato purée, dark soy sauce and 125ml water, and use a spatula to mix all the ingredients together until the ribs are well coated in sauce.
    4. Put the lid on the pan, place it over a low heat and cook for around 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes to ensure the ribs are evenly coated; check more regularly towards the end of the cooking time to ensure they’re not burning. The ribs need to be a dark red caramel colour with a thick sauce; when tested with a knife the meat should be really tender so it comes away easily from the bone.
    5. Leave the ribs to sit, covered, for 10–20 minutes, then serve directly from the wok or pan, or transfer to a serving platter, sprinkled with finely sliced chilli and spring onion.

    Jane’s Tip: To test the heat of a chilli, I cut the green top off and put it to the tip of my tongue; I can usually ascertain the heat from this touch. Another method of controlling the heat of chillies is to leave the chilli whole, just slice down the middle, and place it in the dish while cooking; as soon as the dish is the right heat for me, I remove the whole chilli.

    Photography © Mike Cooper, 2018.

  5. Polish Gnocchi with Bacon and Mushrooms by Ren Behan

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    This recipe has been taken from Wild Honey & Rye: Modern Polish Recipes – Author Ren Behan. Published by Pavilion Books and image credit to Yuki Sugiura.

    Kopytka translates as ‘little hooves’ and they are sometimes described as Polish gnocchi because they are similar to Italian gnocchi. Some Poles also call these paluszki, which means ‘little fingers’. I sometimes experiment with gluten-free flour and I like to make these with almond flour. These can be served sweet, too, with melted butter and a sprinkle of sugar, drizzle of honey or maple syrup – even for breakfast. If you add twaróg, Polish soft cheese, to the dough, you end up with leniwe, ‘lazy dumplings’. In the Ukraine, these are made simply with cheese, egg and flour and called halushky.

    Serves: 4

    Cooking time: Gently boil for 3-4 minutes


    • Large frying pan
    • 20cm Saucepan


    • 500g/1lb 2oz potatoes, such as Maris Piper or a heritage variety, peeled
    • 250g/9oz/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting (or use almond flour for a gluten-free version)
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    To serve

    • vegetable or olive oil
    • 1 tsp butter
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 100g/3½oz Polish bacon, boczek, or pancetta
    • 200g/7oz fresh chanterelles, or porcini or chestnut mushrooms
    • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

    Cooking Method

    1. Boil the potatoes in a large pan of salted water until very soft. Drain and set to one side to steam dry. Once cool and very dry, mash until smooth. Leave the potatoes to cool completely or chill in the fridge.
    2. Put the cold mashed potato into a large bowl. Add the flour, beaten egg and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Using a metal spoon, bring the mixture together, then tip it out onto a lightly floured board or work surface and knead until all the flour is incorporated into the potato. The dough should be fairly soft and springy, but not too sticky.
    3. Sprinkle a little more flour onto the board and cut the dough into quarters. Roll each piece into a long cylinder and cut the dough at an angle into 2.5cm/1in pieces. Repeat until you have used up all the dough.
    4. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and drop a few dumplings in at a time – it’s best to cook them in batches. Gently boil for 3–4 minutes; they will rise to the top once cooked. Take them out with a slotted spoon, drain in a colander and continue until you have cooked all the dumplings. Set them to one side.
    5. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan and cook the onions for 4–5 minutes until soft. Add the bacon and fry until golden and crisp. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Add the kopytka to the pan, stir everything together and cook until the kopytka begin to turn golden, then serve.






    Published by Pavillion Books.

    Feature image credit to Yuki Sugiura.