Ode to Nigella 15 – prawn and mango red curry

So my friend Bec dropped in the other day and brought with her a UK Good Housekeeping magazine with Nigella on the cover (Oct07). She doesn’t know I blog or that I was in the midst of my ode to Nigella. Cool, huh. Many of you are aware of my absolute refusal to do the whole fruit with savoury deal. Don’t do it. Like you don’t cook avocado. So this was really pushing the envelope and I probably would never ever have cooked it were it not for my month long Nod to Nige. Verdict? It was bloody delicious. And EASY. And QUICK. She says in the intro to it that its one of the easiest suppers and one that never ceases to amaze her how comforting this dish is. Indeed. I doubled the recipe below for me, Chef and three boys. It was way too much. I think if I’d made the recipe as is we would have just have had enough.

Red Prawn and Mango Curry

  • 1tbsp oil
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 11/2tbsp red Thai curry paste (or according to taste)
  • 1/2x400ml can coconut milk
  • 250ml chicken stock made from concentrate
  • 2tsp fish sauce
  • 350g sweet potato, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 200g frozen king prawns
  • 1tsp lime juice
  • 150g fresh mange, diced (1 small)
  • 3-4tbsp fresh coriander
  1. Heat the oil and fry the spring onion for 1 minute, then add the curry paste
  2. Mix in the coconut milk, stock and fish sauce and bring to the boil
  3. Add the sweet potato and cook until tender, about 15 minutes
  4. Drain the prawns under running water to remove excess ice and add to the pan (Nigella tumbles them into the pan) and let the sauce come back to the boil
  5. Add the lime juice and mango and cook until prawns are cooked through
  6. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with boiled rice or wide rice noodles.

Ode to Nigella 14 – heaven and earth mash

Seriously, I think the name of this dish is even OTT for Nigella. The nutmeg was also a really good idea and lifted the dish to a new level. With the zest I just put bit shaved bits of zest in and pulled them out when I was mashing the rest, the recipe was a bit unclear if that was right or if it was meant to be finely grated. I didn’t have time to dwell on it. In fact, I’d probably add another apple. The amount of butter and cream is just ridiculous and yes, it did taste lovely, but I’m not one for saturated fat just for the sake of saturated fat. Would I make this again? Most definitely. But I would at least halve the amount of butter and cream. At least.

Heaven and earth mash

  • 2.5kg floury potatoes
  • 3 eating apples (Nigella used Pink Ladies, I used Granny Smiths)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 150g butter
  • 175ml double cream
  • 1tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  1. Peel and halve (or quarter if they’re really large) potatoes and cook in salted boiling water for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the peeled, cored and quartered apples and lemon ride and cook for another 20 minutes or until soft.
  3. Drain and put through a ricer or mash back into the hot pan in which you have let the butter melt with the cream while you are draining the apples and potatoes.
  4. Add the nutmeg and season with some salt
  5. Beat everything together and serve.

In the recipe Nigella talks about the two critical components to good mash – one is to puree them and the second is to aerate them. So, even though it’s all been mashed, you have to give it a good beating with a wooden spoon before serving.

She talks about how never ever make mash in a processor as it does something to the potato starch that means you end up with glue. I went through a phase of making mash in the processor because I liked that claggy glue silken smooth mash that you got, so there you go. Take from that what you will.

This serves 10 – and I’d believe it.

Ode to Nigella 13 – Gingerbread stuffing

Now Nigella makes this to stuff into a turkey, so all you people about to eat the big bird, pay attention. This was absolutely sensational. If someone had served me this with a tugboat of gravy I would have been in food heaven. It’s got sweetness but subtlety, smokiness from the bacon and a texture that is both dense and light all at the same time. I don’t know how or why, I just know it was an absolute sensation. As I was cooking swine as opposed to a bird I cooked it in a loaf pan. I put it in the oven, which was on a low heat, for the last hour of cooking, then left it in there when I cranked up the oven to do the crackling for about 10-15minutes and then let it sit in its pan until everything was ready.

The photo below resembles a dog’s breakfast quite frankly (and a poorly photographed over-exposed one at at that) but that, in a way, reflects just how fantastic this meal was. That purple splodge is the beetroot relish I made last week and has only got better with (refrigerated) age and was just a great cut-through to the richness of the pork, gravy, mash and stuffing. The brown mass at the front of the plate with a dollop of mash sitting on it is the stuffing.
Gingerbread stuffing

  • 500g (3 medium) onions, peeled
  • 2 eating apples, peeled, cored
  • 45g butter
  • 1tbsp oil
  • 750g streaky bacon
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 450g good shop-bought gingerbread, crumbled
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • freshly cracked pepper
  1. Finely chop the onions and apples in a food processor
  2. Heat the oil and butter in the frypan and saute off the onion and apples for 10-15minutes
  3. Finely chop the bacon in the food processor
  4. Add to the onions and cook for a further 5 minutes
  5. Add the zest
  6. Take off the heat, let it cool a little and then mix in the gingerbread crumbs
  7. You can let this get properly cold and put aside
  8. Just before cooking the stuffing, add the beaten eggs and pepper and use it to stuff the main cavity of the turkey or in a buttered baking dish
  9. Cook in a hot oven with your turkey for the last 45 minutes
  10. (If the stuffing’s going into a very full oven – which it normally is at festive meal times – it might take longer to cook; alone it will take about 35-40 minutes)
  11. Let the cooked stuffing sit in its terrine for a good 10 minutes before turning it out and slicing it.


Ode to Nigella 12 – Gingerbread

Yes, another gingerbread recipe. Go shoot me. It’s for the stuffing. Which you’ll get tomorrow. While Nigella’s recipe for the stuffing says to use store-bought gingerbread, that is something in Australia I would have been very hard pressed to find. And, after the sublime experience of discovering the chocolate gingerbread I was curious to see if what Nigella’s recipe for “plain” gingerbread was like. It has an equally stunning dense moist texture but the chocolate version was the winner. Regardless, the upside of making this is that you only use half and you could serve the remainder warm with custard for dessert. Or ice and offer as afternoon tea as I have.


  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 125g dark muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 200g black treacle
  • 2tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1tsp bi-carb, dissolved in 2tbsp warm water
  • 300g plain flour
  1. Preheat oven to 170C and line a 30x20x5cm tin
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter along with the sugar, golden syrup, treacle, ginger and cinnamon
  3. Off the heat add the milk, eggs and bi-carb in its water
  4. Pour into the flour, it will be a very liquid batter, and pour into the tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour until risen and firm
  5. Let cool then ice.

Lemon icing

  • 175g icing sugar
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp warm water
  1. Whisk the lemon juice into the icing sugar
  2. Add enough water to make a stiff icing
  3. Spread over the cake with a palette knife and leave to set before cutting

Ode to Nigella 11 – Pork Cinghiale

Oh DUDES – I’ve had one magnificent day in the kitchen. It’s been me and Nigella all the way baby. I must go to bed as have been in the since about 10 this morning doing bits and pieces (it wasn’t just cooking) and as it’s now 10 at night I gotta rest these legs. But here’s what will be coming over the next few days:

Rolled loin of pork “cinghiale”
“Heaven and earth” mash
Gingerbread stuffing

Oy. So good, all so very very good.

Rolled loin of pork “cinghiale”

  • 1tbsp pink peppercorns
  • 1tbsp juniper berries
  • 1tbsp allspice berries
  • 1 clove
  • 4 cloves garlic, bruised
  • 1tbsp molasses
  • 125ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 80ml Marsala
  • 500ml red wine
  • 2.25kg tied pork loin, weighed without bones and rind
  1. Crush the peppercorns, juniper and allspice berries with the clove in a mortar and pestle
  2. In a large snaplock bag combine with all the other marinade ingredients
  3. Add the meat and marinade ideally for a couple of days or at least overnight
  4. Let the meat and bones come to room temperature
  5. Preheat oven to 200C
  6. Line a roasting tin with foil as the sugar in the marinade will make the pan burn
  7. Lay the bones in the bottom of the pan and place the meat on top of them
  8. Pour in about 500ml of the marinade, reserving the rest for making the gravy
  9. Be prepared for the meat to shrink enormously
  10. Roast meat for 13/4 to 2 hours, basting every now and then
  11. After the pork has been in for an hour, put the rind on a rack in a shallow roasting pan on the shelf under the pork
  12. When the meat is done, take it out and cover tightly with foil to keep warm and to rest
  13. Turn the oven up to as high as it will go and let the crackling get cracking
  14. For the gravy, pour any juices remaining in the pan into a small saucepan along with the rest of the marinade and a cup of water of water and taste to check it is how you want it.

Notes: – I used a boned shoulder of pork from Southern Highland Pork – the flavour was sublime
– I didn’t have and couldn’t find anywhere on the Northern Beaches in the timeframe we had pink peppercorns, so these were very regrettably omitted
– I used treacle instead of molasses
– I used dry sweet sherry instead of Marsala
– I cooked it in a low oven for four hours
– I didn’t add any water when I made the gravy and I drained some of the oil off the pan juices

Now, it’s probably best for the vegetarians to look away. I am not a big meat eater. But I adore the butcher’s and see such beauty in all those cuts of meat. To me, while my photography doesn’t do it justice, this is pure art: