Food from a Physicist who loves to cook

Tag Archives: garlic

I never thought I would love anchovies, I mean the first time I tried them on a pizza I thought they were overly salty and overpowered everything else. Someone should warn you, that anchovies on a pizza are not like anchovies in cooking, anchovies that you have cooked into a meal are silky smooth, tangy and add so much depth to a meal.

Plus they come in a gorgeous can

A gorgeous can of anchovies

I first used anchovies when making the spicy topping for Jamie Olivers cauliflower risotto (fantastic by the way), made by frying anchovies and bread with garlic and chilli, I knew I liked three of those ingredients so I thought why not. I loved it. This then grew into a pasta sauce, having bought anchovies to use with the risotto I then realised I wanted something quick, so using the three best ingredients from the topping, anchovies, garlic and chilli along with red wine and a tin of tomatoes I made a sauce that will knock your socks off. The anchovies and garlic give it depth and the chilli adds a fiery heat, and then the wine softens it back down. I cannot do it justice in writing all I can say is make it yourself.  My sister loves this sauce so much that when she once came to visit me in St Andrews, we went to every shop searching for them, we went to Aldi, Morrisons and Tesco, No Luck. We went to the delis, Mitchells, Butlers, Tail end, NO LUCK. Finally we went into kerachers fish and game shop, and there we bought a small Styrofoam cup of fresh anchovies! I’d never used fresh anchovies before but I persevered on and it made 5 Tupperware’s of fantastic sauce. So Laura this recipe is for you.

Anchovy pasta sauce


makes enough sauce for 2-4 people depending on how much you love it

  • one tin of anchovies, or about half a jar if you buy them like that
  • Three cloves of garlic crushed
  • Chilli flakes
  • A tin of tomatoes
  • one large glass of red wine (Something you might drink yourself)
  • Parmesan
  • Pasta tubes, or something with ridges that hold the sauce.
  1. Start off the pasta, the sauce takes as long to make as the pasta takes to cook.
  2. Tip the anchovies oil and all into a non stick sauce pan and separate, allow these to melt down to nothing, add the chopped  garlic and the chilli flakes as much or as little as you like. Be warned it may spit at this point.
  3. After the garlic has softened add the tin of chopped tomatoes and stir well. Allow to reduce slightly then add the glass of wine, stir again.
  4. Allow the sauce to reduce down by about a third or a half, if it seems too dry add more wine or some of the water from the pasta, it should coat the pasta with a thick layer of sauce.
  5. Serve by mixing with the pasta and adding a generous grating of parmesan. Enjoy.

Fish fingers! They’re not exactly gourmet but sometimes you just want something simple something relaxed, something to make you happy, and for me Fish fingers tick all those boxes. In first year when I used to have to do labs, I’d come home on a Wednesday and spend the evening frantically writing, I only interrupted this for food, sometimes chinese with my flatmates but more often a fish finger sandwich, it would be perfect for perking me up.

More recently I got a hankering for fish fingers, and had a bit more time so I thought I’d play around. Instead of trying to make my own, because who am I kidding, I’d never manage to get the balance right on the crumb, I tried to plate them. I present fish fingers like they were restaurant quality.

Fancy fish fingers

Fancy fish fingers

What you see before you is a fish finger stack on a bed of mustard and basil mash, with just a hint of garlic. I did play around a little with the mash I must admit, and I was surprised that the mustard and the basil went together so well, tangy and sweet at the same time with a soft undercurrent of roasted garlic as a pleasant aftertaste. There you have it though fancy fish fingers! If you’ve had fun playing around with plating, let me know comment with links or pictures!

Fun Plating

Fun Plating

A few days ago I had a very long day, so long, I was chewing dextrose tablets in an attempt to stay awake, and I’m pretty sure I was still falling asleep at my desk. So long, that the only thing I could do when I got home was watch Arthur. Ah Arthur, you funny looking aardvark, still as enjoyable now as you were 13 years ago. So once I was a little perked up I thought, what will really cheer me up?

The answer: CURRY.

Now I recently watched Gordon Ramsey’s trip around India- where he sampled the delights of traditional Indian cuisine- making my taste buds tingle. However, at the same time, he insisted that it is impossible to get an authentic curry in the UK. I disagree. I come from a small village, half an hour away from Bradford, and my parents lived for some years in Bradford, so I like my curries.
I feel that in a society where so many cultures come together, and where the concentration of one culture is so great, how can we not get that culture’s authentic food? You just have to look. Now I’m not saying there aren’t bad curry houses, The Balti House near where I live loads up their curries with cream and sugar, so much so I hate to go there, and if I do I eat vegetarian because it’s cooked for the locals. However in my area there are several great restaurants: The Aagrah, Akbar’s and The Muntaz to name a few. These are restaurants that provide excellent dishes, from specific regions, with their own special flavours that do not try to cater for a bland English pallet.

As for cooking at home, the number of Asian supermarkets has doubled, and in larger mainstream stores you will find aisles dedicated to food from other cultures. Where once curry ingredients were hard to find you can now find garam masala, coriander seed, mustard seed, turmeric, cloves, black sesame seed, cinnamon, and many packs of spices pre-combined for recipes. SO it is not impossible to cook a good curry at home – it just takes practice!

Our amazing spice cupboard, yes I know Marmite isn’t a spice.

So today I am going to show you my recipe for tandoori style chicken, I cannot guarantee I get all the ingredients right but I will try.

Tandoori chicken

  • Chicken on the bone – either a whole chicken or the breast with wing still attached is best (scale up amount of spice if a whole chicken).
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2cm chunk of fresh ginger or powder
  • pepper
  • 4tsp garam masala
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 3tsp coriander, powder or seeds
  • 2tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp black sesame seed
  • Oil, butter or ghee

The spice mix

  1. Chop the garlic and ginger into small chunks and add to a food processor with the juice of the lemon. Then add the spices and blend until you have a runny paste. If its too thick add some of the oil or butter.
  2. Rub this mix all over the chicken and let it marinade it in the sauce. While marinating set the oven to 200C and wait for it to come up to heat.

    Marinating the chicken, looks gross but will taste amazing

  3. Once the oven is up to heat stick skewers in the chicken and rest over a deep roasting tray. Then dry roast in the oven, leave it for 30 mins, and then check every 10 mins, till the chicken is cooked and the juices no longer red.
  4. Serve with rice and/or Indian breads. The chicken should be so tender that it falls off the bone. So there you have it – (hopefully) gorgeous tandoori chicken!

Brief side note about lemons: I never used to add lemon to my Indian food. I’m not sure why but I didn’t, recently though I have. Lemons work so well – they have a distinct flavour, cut the spiciness of the curry and give it depth. If you haven’t used lemon in curries before I suggest you do.

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