traditional Rogan Josh as Madhur Jaffrey has it

<h3>Rogan Josh</h3>

This was one of the first curries I learned to make. MJ made me look like I knew what I was doing, even though I didn’t feel like that was the case. I can’t say enough good things about her books.

Rogan Josh

2 1″ chunks fresh ginger, peeled, coarsley chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups water
10 tablespoons ghee or grapeseed oil
1.5 kg boned lamb shoulder or leg cut into 1″ cubes. Please include some bone, it makes all the difference.
10 whole cardamom pods
2 whole bay leaves
6 whole cloves
10 whole black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
2 medium onions, peeled, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seed — ground
2 teaspoons cumin seeds — ground
4 teaspoons red paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
6 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon garam masala (see elsewhere in this chapter for this)
1 dash fresh ground pepper to taste

Put the ginger, garlic and 4 tablespoons of water into the container of an electric blender. Blend well into a smooth paste.

Heat oil in a wide, heavy pot over a medium-high flame. Brown meat cubes in several batches and set aside in a bowl. Put the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon into the same hot oil. Stir once and wait until cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on color. This just takes a few seconds.

Add the onions. Stir and fry for 5 minutes or until the onions turn a medium-brown color. Put in ginger-garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and the salt. Stir fry for another 30 seconds. Add the browned meat cubes and the meat juices.

Now put in 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and stir and fry for about 30 seconds until yogurt is well blended. Add the remaining yogurt, a tablespoon at a time in the same way. Stir and fry for another 3-4 minutes.

Now add 1 1/4 cups water and bring the contents of the pot to a boil, scraping in all the browned spices on the sides and bottom of the pot.

Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour or until meat is tender. Every 10 minutes give the pot a good stir to prevent burning.

When the meat is tender, take off the lid, turn the fire to medium high and boil off some of the liquid, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thickened.

Sprinkle the garam masala and black pepper over the dish and mix them in just before you serve it.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Kashmiri Rogan Josh

When I looked for my Rogan Josh recipes on this blog recently, I discovered I’d never put them up. Several posts over the next few days!

Kashmiri Rogan Josh

This is an incredibly delicate dish, I guess that is obvious from the ingredients. MJ explains that in Kashmir they do not use fresh ginger. Hence the very – for this part of the world – unusual addition instead of powdered ginger.

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 1/4 pints natural yoghurt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1.5 kg stewing meat (with bone) from lamb shoulder and neck , cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 4 teaspoons bright red paprika mixed with 1/4 -1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala


Grind the fennel seeds in a spice grinder until fine.

Place the yoghurt in a bowl and beat with a fork until smooth and creamy.

Heat the oil in a large pan and ,when hot ,add the cinnamon and cloves.

Add the lamb and salt. Stir and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes. Add paprika and cayenne and give the meat a stir.

It is really important to add the yoghurt a spoonful at a time, and beat it in thoroughly before adding another. It is this that stops the yoghurt curdling. Keep cooking on a high heat till liquid is absorbed and meat is well browned.

Add fennel and ginger and stir, then add 500 mls water, cover but leave the lid slightly ajar. Reduce the heat and cook for half an hour. then cover completely and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes or until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Make sure there is always some liquid in the pan.

Remove the lid and add garam masala. You should have a thick reddish-brown sauce. Reduce by boiling with the lid off if the sauce isn’t thick enough.

Chocolate mousse vegan style from Fleurieu Pantry

Or let’s just call it a yummy chocolate cream dessert that can be made in a few minutes and doesn’t have to set.

Ingredients for two

  • 3 tblesps cocoa powder, I used Cadbury’s premium
  • flesh of 1 ready to eat avo
  • 1 very ripe banana, peeled
  • 1 tblesp maple syrup: I used honey
  • 1 teasp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teasp ground cinnamon

You can puree if you want it smooth, but I don’t think mashing is so bad.

We had it with plain yoghurt and that would have been cream if we’d had any….but we aren’t vegan.

Thanks, Fleurieu Pantry which shared this online yesterday.






Chicken stew with fennel and olives

What I had on hand…..I though fennel and olives sounded weird, but it tasted good.

Not so much soup as soupy.


  • 4 pieces of chicken, not breast, free range/organic if you can afford it
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, discard the coarse outer layer. Dice the rest.
  • a few carrots, peeled and diced
  • a few zucchinis washed and diced
  • potatoes peeled and diced, I used some kipflers
  • a large onion peeled and chopped finely
  • a few cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • white wine
  • olives: I used good quality black olives, stone them
  • ghee or some other frying substitute


  • fry the onion until soft, add the garlic and stir a few times
  • add maybe a cup of dry white wine and burn off the alcohol
  • add everything else and water to cover

We had three meals from this, two with chicken and one with the vegetables left in the stock. It was more or less soupy with the chicken, we had fresh bread with it. When we were down to the vegetables, I added slightly underdone short pasta, covered the pan while the pasta soaked up some of the stock. Served with spoons, parmesan and salt/pepper to taste.

This got a yum rating from us.

On the tactility of listening and reading

I want to make a note of two articles.

The first is ‘Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound.’

Karin Littau and Andrew Piper have noted another dimension: physicality. Piper, Littau and Anne Mangen’s group emphasize that the sense of touch in print reading adds an important redundancy to information – a kind of “geometry” to words, and a spatial “thereness” for text. As Piper notes, human beings need a knowledge of where they are in time and space that allows them to return to things and learn from re-examination – what he calls the “technology of recurrence”. The importance of recurrence for both young and older readers involves the ability to go back, to check and evaluate one’s understanding of a text. The question, then, is what happens to comprehension when our youth skim on a screen whose lack of spatial thereness discourages “looking back.”

and the other is an interview with David Sax in The Technoskeptic:

This was a point of time when I really moved most of my music collection, which was largely CDs at the time, and iTunes. I had got rid of all my physical music and moved to streaming. And then as a consequence of that, almost stopped listening to music. When it wasn’t there as a physical thing, music just kind of disappeared. And then shortly after that, a couple months later, my roommate at the time got his parents’ old record collection, and we started listening to this stuff and I became really sort of intrigued at what it was about, the records were pleasurable and it wasn’t the sound quality. And it wasn’t that it was such a great record collection, because it wasn’t really.

It was around the time that everybody I knew started getting their first smart phones. And really seeing the behavior of people changing in such a fundamental way, people suddenly ignoring you in the midst of conversations. Going out for dinner and everybody was just there with their heads down, responding to messages, which is something we now take for granted…. But at the time, it was just really stark, stark change. And also, at this time there was sort of the green shoots of what I was writing about, which is that these supposedly obsolete analog things were starting to see kind of new life and find new audiences and find a different sort of value in what they were, compared to what they were in the past.


notes for spinach and white bean soup

To begin….

Started out with lots of silverbeet from my sister’s garden. Fried an diced onion in ghee, added some garlic and chilli and about a tablespoon of tomato paste and continued frying until the tomato paste looked ‘cooked’. Added about a litre of chicken stock, two tins of white beans, drained and rinsed, and a big pile of silverbeet. Brought to the boil and then simmered for an hour. Season to taste. Cooked small soup shaped pasta separately, drained and put in bowls with the soup on top. Parmesan at the table.

This could be vegetarian by using suitable stock.

Oz movie #28 The Furnace and #29 Dirt Music

The Furnace
Director Roderick MacKay

I want to be critical of this, but compared with most films which get financed and make it to the screen, it’s definitely worthy. As my reasons are to do with the genre and the way in which its stories are typically told, maybe they have no relevance except to me. The cinematography will make all those who think that’s sufficient for a movie happy. As the first effort by MacKay, one expects he has some good stuff for us in the offing. And it’s got a grumpy dying gold prospector – I mean David Wenham, what can’t he do? Like Babyteeth a year earlier, it premiered in Venice. I hope that bodes well for it.

For a detailed discussion setting the film in its local genre and for more on Ahmed Malek, the lead, go here and here.

Dirt Music
Gregor Jordan

This is not a Tim Winton book I’ve read, but I dashed out to buy it after the movie, just to see what went wrong. Are the flaws in the novel too? It’s on my to-read list but that gets longer, not shorter. It seems these days like we have two types of movies: the franchise ones based on special effects and the ones based on cinematography. Why those who invest enormous sums into them don’t understand that script, dialogue and story are all important – far more so than good sunset captures or CGI – is a mystery to me. But apparently the viewer in general is prepared to put up with this, so why pay on top of 50M that extra 200K for a decent writer? Let’s economise where we can. Sigh.

I can’t say I was as angry with it as one elderly gentleman at our screening who vented his rage loudly as he exited the cinema. Judging by the sentiment and the fact that he stayed to the end, I’m guessing he was a critic. Somebody panned it in the local press the next day.

I’m disappointed partly because David Wenham, as usual, is sensational. He gives everything, but I wish the movie stepped up to that. And partly because Gregor Jordan can surely do better. Even if the book was flawed, here at the movie stage, is just the chance to fix that. I was left full of regret that the Weinsteining of Jordan is something from which he may never recover.

There are a lot of Oz movies premiering just now. High Ground and Dry Run are next.



Meatballs for spaghetti

I have no reason to think that mine are anything other than average, but this is what I do….


  • 1.5kg mince, I like a combination of beef, pork and veal, if available.
  • c. 5 slices white bread, no crusts, soaked in milk and squeezed to remove excess moisture
  • finely chopped onion
  • finely chopped garlic
  • finely chopped lemon rind (no white)
  • a little Worcestershire sauce
  • a few drops of Tabasco
  • freshly ground pepper
  • parsley finely chopped, if available

Mix all these together thoroughly. Hands does the best job. Now divide up into small meatballs. Roll in seasoned flour, or shake in a bag of seasoned flour.

There are probably various ways you can proceed next, depending on whether you want a clean or dirty sauce. I want dirty.

Heat a large deep frying pan and add a generous amount of ghee. You are using ghee because it has a high burning point. A bit before it starts smoking, gently place the meatballs into the fat. Don’t crowd the pan. One reason you made the meatballs small is because you want a lot of surface area relative to meat as this will make the taste of them better as they interact with both fat, and later, sauce.  I’m happy for these to get a caramelised, burnt aspect to them, this is what makes the sauce dirty and dirty tastes good. Really…good. Gently turn them at some point. You don’t need them to cook right through, this will come later. So, take the first lot off with a slotted spoon, add more ghee, do the next lot and so on.

Don’t wash the pan, you are going to use it for the sauce.


  • 5 tins tomatoes pureed
  • 1 or 2 cups of white wine
  • finely chopped onion and garlic

I like the sauce for this to be smooth, hence I puree the tomatoes. If there is a lot of ghee left in the pan, drain it off, but don’t clean the pan! Add a generous amount of olive oil, heat gently until it is able to sizzle and add finely chopped onion and garlic. Fry on LOW heat for a minute or two and then add quite a lot of dry white wine, maybe a cup or two. Raise heat to high now, bring to the boil, and while it is reducing to practically nothing, deglaze the pan. Dirty and yummy. Add the pureed tomato and stir, bring to the boil and then down to a simmer for maybe one hour. Then gently add the meatballs and simmer for at least another thirty minutes.

Not surprisingly, best prepared the day before and left to sit in the fridge overnight.


Next day, prepare the spaghetti, reheat the sauce, grate lots of parmesan and this is what will happen. A table of people who had been making a lot of noise go quiet. There is a particular sort of quiet, I think, that you only find at the dinner table and it signifies blissful contentment.

2020, 2019, 2018 Movies seen

2020 – this can’t be a complete list even given how things are. But it’s a start.

In the Name of the Land – five star, harrowing, compulsory to watch and then pay properly for your food dudes.

Dreamland – probably perfect, but to what end?

Misbehaviour – much better than I expected.

Memories of Murder – worse than I expected, but I didn’t realise until subsequently that it was a first movie. Also, that the story being told was every bit as messy as the movie and more.

The Secret Garden – apparently didn’t stick to the story the way fans need. What on earth did Colin Firth think he was doing applying for that part? He must have slept with somebody.


Babyteeth (Australia) Splendid job, saw it at the Zurich Film Festival and the mainly Swiss German audience was highly appreciative, which given that the most common word in the film was likely ‘fuck’ was very tolerant on their part.

Chambre 212 (French)

La Belle Epoque (French) fascinating that it has such a similar premise to Chambre 212 and yet it is a really good movie, whereas Chambre 212 is dire.

Parasite (Korean) Terrific

Alice and the Mayor (French) Very French

Burning (Korean) Too stylish

Never Look Away (German)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (US) good, but we saw it the night before….

Little Forest (Korean) ….and this basically said the same stuff as Once Upon, but on a budget of almost nothing.

Karate Kid (US) – the attitudes to being bullied – basically ‘man up’ are absolutely shocking and would not be allowed now.

When Harry Met Sally (US) – hadn’t seen it before, I see why it’s been such a stayer.

Muriel’s Wedding – awful if it was supposed to be funny.

Avengers: Endgame (dire)

Claire Darling (French) – I was not taken by it.

Robaix Une Lumiere (French) Highly recommend

Sorry We Missed You (Ken Loach) – the world would be a vastly poorer place without Loach telling us how it is.

The Humorist (Russian at GIFF) Liked this a lot.

The Lighthouse – a dud, but I can see that it’ll appeal to some.

Joker – fantastic, should have won best movie at the AA.

Fast Talking (1984 Australia)

Partisan Film Festival Austria


Redoubtable (Le Redoutable) (French)

See You Up There (Au revoir là-haut) (French)

Madame Hyde (French)

Leto (The Summer) Russian


I, Tonya – inspired

The Shape of Water

Killing of a Sacred Deer – hard act to follow his first movie, but succeeds.

The Post – not as bad as I expected it to be.

Sweet Country – Do see if you can

The Death of Stalin

Isle of Dogs – this movie was a mystery to me. I was ready to leave after the first 15 minutes. All the dogs are rounded up and trapped on an island. Happy ending. Let’s leave. But it turned out this was only the prelude to its being an escape movie. I went grumbling all the way and I haven’t stopped yet.

The Rider – wonderful movie, which I tried to get everybody in Australia to see but I’m not even sure it was released here.

Greek Egg and Lemon soup

Greek Egg and Lemon soup

Not quite white, more the palest, lightest lemon colour. This is another soup I haven’t made for ages, but used to love.


  • About 1.5 litres or 7.5 cups of good quality chicken stock.
  • Half a cup of long grain rice, washed and soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained for 30 minutes. Sorry, folks this is effective, don’t think it is just a waste of time.
  • 4 eggs
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • finely chopped parsley


Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and add the rice. Simmer over low heat until rice is tender, maybe 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on it.

Break the eggs into a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk until light and fluffy. Gradually add the lemon juice, beating constantly. Add a few spoonfuls of stock, a little at a time, beating constantly until it is well mixed. Take care with this. You do not want to curdle the soup. Carefully stir this mixture into the saucepan containing the rest of the stock. Continue to cook over low to moderate heat for a couple of minutes. It MUST NOT come to the boil or it will curdle.

Add pepper, parsley, serve.

Ingredients from The Best of Supercook Soups and Stews Text mine.