Almond lamb curry: Atul Kochhar
This dish derives its main flavour from a spice blend called vadagam, which can be a little tedious to make. In this recipe, I have simplified the flavours by using whole spices, with equally good results.
sunflower oil 2 tbsp
cinnamon sticks 2
green cardamom pods 3
curry leaves 8
onions 2 medium, chopped
tomatoes 2 medium, chopped
ginger-garlic paste 2 tsp (tsp of each, minced)
turmeric powder ½ tsp
powder 3 tsp
red chilli powder 2 tsp
lamb, boneless 400g, chopped into 2cm cubes
potatoes 150g, cut into wedges
blanched almonds 200g, soaked then blended into a paste
poppy seeds 2 tsp, mixed into almond paste
tamarind pulp 1 tsp
coriander leaves 8 sprigs
sliced almonds a small handful, toasted
Heat the oil in a pan, add the whole spices and curry leaves, sauté until the aromas are released and add the chopped onions. Fry gently until the onions are golden brown, add the chopped tomatoes and cook until the sauce is a uniform texture. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste and the powdered spices, add a splash of water, then continue cooking gently for half an hour. Add the diced lamb, the potatoes and 200ml water, then simmer gently until the lamb is nearly tender. Mix in the almond and poppy seed paste and simmer. Add tamarind pulp and continue simmering until the lamb is tender. Add a little more water if the sauce is too thick. Garnish with coriander sprigs and toasted almonds.
Chicken with potatoes: Jill Dupleix
medium all-purpose potatoes 800g
red onion 1, cut into wedges
olive oil 2 tbsp, plus extra to drizzle
dried oregano 1 tsp
thyme leaves 1 tbsp
sea salt and pepper
dry white wine 200ml
poussins (small chickens) 4, about 450g each
cherry tomatoes on the vine 12
oregano and thyme leaves to serve
Heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
Peel the potatoes, halve lengthways and slice thickly. Toss with the onion, olive oil, herbs, sea salt and pepper. Scatter over the base of a large, oiled, roasting pan. Pour over the wine and 200ml water and roast for 20 minutes.
Cut each poussin in half, firmly down on one side of the backbone, with a strong knife. Add them to the roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes, shooshing the potatoes around once or twice to prevent them sticking. Add the tomatoes and roast for another 20 minutes. Strew with oregano and thyme leaves and drizzle with the pan juices. Serve with a rocket or watercress salad.
From Lighten Up: Light, Fresh, Modern, Healthy Food by Jill Dupleix (Quadrille, £12.99)
Bacon and egg pie: Margot Henderson
This is an old school pie from New Zealand: you are not a proper mother if you don't pack your kids off with a bacon and egg pie for their sports day. I found it was also very successful on a cold sandy bank in Scotland after the children had spent a night camping. Peas can be added – always good to get a bit of green in.
streaky bacon 250g
butter 30g, plus extra for greasing
flour for dusting
frozen puff pastry 375g, defrosted
egg yolks 2
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
You will also need
a rectangular baking tray about 30cm long
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Put the strips of bacon on a baking tray with a few knobs of butter and cook in the preheated oven for 5 minutes or so. Take the bacon out but leave the oven on.
Using a little more butter, grease a rectangular baking tray, 30cm long.
Flour your work surface and roll out the pastry. Cut it in half, then, using a rolling pin, roll out one half until it is large enough to line the baking tray and let the pastry come halfway up the sides of the tray – this is important to prevent the egg leaking out later.
Cover the pastry with the streaky bacon – you may need to break it into strips to make sure that the pastry is evenly covered. Slice the tomatoes and lay them over the bacon. Crack the eggs evenly on top.
Roll out the rest of the pastry, and cut it into thin strips, placing it over the eggs in a lattice pattern.
Beat the egg yolks with a little salt and pepper and glaze the pastry with the mixture, using a pastry brush or your fingers.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Set aside to cool slightly, then cut into pieces and serve with Steinlager.
From You're All Invited by Margot Henderson (Fig Tree, £25). To order a copy for £18 with free UK p&p go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop
Stir-fried minced beef with chillies and holy basil: David Thompson
The secret to the dish, I think, lies in the tempering of the wok, which imbues this simple stir-fry with a smoky tinge. I find a rather coarse mince yields the best result – ideally done by hand, and using a cut of beef with some fat attached, such as flank, rump or shoulder.
garlic cloves 4, peeled
bird's eye chillies (scuds) 4-10
salt good pinch
vegetable oil 3-4 tbsp
coarsely minced beef 200 g
fish sauce about 2 tbsp
white sugar a large pinch
stock or water 4 tbsp
holy basil leaves 2 large handfuls
chillies in fish sauce (see below) to serve
For the chillies in fish sauce
fish sauce 4 tbsp
bird's eye chillies (scuds) 10-15, finely sliced
garlic cloves (optional but desirable) 2, finely sliced
lime juice (optional) 1 tbsp
chopped coriander good pinch
To make the chillies in fish sauce, combine the fish sauce, chillies and garlic in a bowl and set aside. It keeps for some time – in fact it becomes richer and milder as it settles for a day. Make sure it is covered if you are making it in advance – and if the fish sauce evaporates, add an equivalent amount of water to refresh it. Just before serving, stir through the lime juice and coriander.
To prepare the chilli beef, coarsely chop the garlic with the chillies and salt. Heat a well-seasoned wok over a high heat then turn down the heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Crack in one of the eggs and fry gently, shuffling the egg to prevent it from sticking, until it has cooked to your preference – I like mine with a runny yolk but with crispy, frazzled edges. Spoon some of the hot oil over the egg to ensure the yolk cooks evenly. Carefully lift out the egg with a spatula and place it on a warmed plate, then fry the other egg. Keep the eggs warm while you cook the beef.
Add more oil – you'll need about 4 tablespoons of oil all up in the wok. When the oil is hot, fry the garlic and chillies for a moment, but don't let it colour. Add the beef and continue to stir-fry for a minute until just cooked. Season to taste with the fish sauce and sugar but be careful not to make it too salty.
Add the stock or water and simmer for a moment. Don't let it boil or stew for too long, otherwise the meat will toughen and too much liquid will evaporate – there should be enough to form a sauce. Stir in the holy basil and as soon as it is wilted, remove from the heat. It should taste rich, hot, salty and spicy from the basil. Serve on two plates with plenty of steamed jasmine rice, a fried egg on top and a bowl of chillies in fish sauce on the side.
From Thai Street Food by David Thompson (Conran Octopus, £40). To order a copy for £29 with free UK p&p go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop
Chicken with morels and sherry sauce: Raymond Blanc
Plan ahead – the dried morels need to be soaked for at least a couple of hours. You can prepare the chicken half an hour in advance and warm it through in the morel sauce to serve.
dried morels 30g, soaked in 250ml water for at least 2 hours
organic/free-range chicken 4 breasts (180g each), skinned
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
unsalted butter 15g
firm button mushrooms 250g, washed quickly, patted dry and quartered
dry sherry or Jura wine 120ml
double cream 400ml
For the leeks
medium leeks 2, trimmed, cut into 2cm pieces and washed
boiling water 200ml
sea salt a pinch
unsalted butter 15g
To prepare the morels, drain them, reserving the soaking liquor, and squeeze to extract as much of the liquor as possible. Rinse the morels, drain and squeeze dry. Cut larger morels into smaller pieces; set aside. Pass the reserved liquor through a muslin-lined sieve to remove any sand or grit and save 100ml.
To cook the chicken, season the breasts with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat until it is foaming. Add the chicken breasts and colour lightly for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and reserve.
In the fat remaining in the frying pan, soften the soaked morels and button mushrooms together, for 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the sherry or wine in a small pan for 30 seconds. Add the sherry or wine to the mushrooms with the reserved morel liquor and a pinch of salt. Pour in the cream and bring to the boil.
Place the chicken breasts back in the pan, making sure the sauce covers them. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until they are just cooked through.
Meanwhile, put the leeks in a pan, pour on the boiling water and add the salt and butter. Cover and cook at a full boil for 5-10 minutes until tender.
Using a slotted spoon, lift out the chicken breasts and place in a warm dish; keep warm. Boil the sauce rapidly to reduce until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Place the chicken breasts back in the sauce to reheat for 2 minutes.
Lift the leeks from their liquor with a slotted spoon and arrange on warmed plates. Sit the chicken breasts on top and pour the morel sauce over and around.
From Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc (Bloomsbury, £25). To order a copy for £12 with free UK p&p go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop