Chicken, lentils and vegetable stew

This was a ‘it’s in the cupboard’ recipe. It’s cheap and makes enough for 6 serves.


5 chicken wings
2 sticks of celery diced
2 carrots peeled and diced
1-2 onions peeled and diced
several cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped
tin of tomatoes, crushed if not already
a cup of red lentils, washed and picked over if necessary
water or stock of some sort
ghee (or oil for frying)
some sweet paprika (I used 1 teasp)
some roasted and ground cumin (I used 1 teasp)
some chilli powder (I grind mine and it’s superhot, so I didn’t use much)
salt and pepper to taste.


Fry onions until softening, add celery, carrots and then after a few minutes the garlic. Keep stirring. Low enough heat that nothing burns, especially the garlic. Add the paprika, cumin and chilli powder to taste. Next the tomatoes, perhaps two cups of water and the lentils. Stir thoroughly to make sure the lentils aren’t clumped together, bring to the boil and simmer, covered. I’d say quite a strong simmer, but less than brisk. Stir from time to time and add more water as may be necessary. I wanted something thicker than a dahl, which is why I started with only 2 cups of water. I added a bit more water at some point.

Cook all this for a couple of hours. Then debone the chicken and return to the pot.

Leave for a day.

Good with rice, with mash, stirred into pasta. Obviously one could vary this to make it more Indian-like or more European….I would be curious to see what happens if you use green lentils or chickpeas, if it comes to that.

If you want this meatier – it is a small amount of chicken, 5 wings, you can add more chicken. Maybe later in the cooking process, since wings appreciate long cooking the most.

Pasties Adelaide style

Some years ago I was in Civic in Canberra and asked if the pasties at the ‘award winning bakery’ were nice. She said ‘yes’ as I was continuing on to explain that I was from Adelaide. ‘Oh no,’ she corrected herself. ‘You won’t think they are nice if you are from Adelaide.’ She went on to wax lyrical about Adelaide pasties and I felt like asking her ‘So why don’t you just make them like that?’ Outside Adelaide it is hard to get a decent pasty in Australia – in fact, you can even add Cornwall to that. Not that I haven’t had a good one there, but I’ve had ones I wouldn’t feed to a dog too.

Adelaide pasties

Ingredients as available in Switzerland

puff pastry bought as I couldn’t find shortcrust that wasn’t sweetened

5 medium sized potatoes
2 medium sized carrots
2 turnips, medium sized
mysterious small yellow root vegetables that I used in place of a swede
300-350g minced beef


While the oven is heating to about 170/180C, moderately hot, at any rate, finely chop the vegetables. I do mean finely as they are going into the oven uncooked and you need them to cook as quickly as the pastry.

Mix well with the beef mince, salt and pepper to taste. Salt is important.

Make pasty shapes to taste, this time I used round pieces of pastry, wet the edges, add the mix in the middle, don’t overdo it as they may burst. Crimp firmly closed. Prick tops a few times, brush with milk and pop in the oven.

If you are eating them straight from the oven, give them close to 30 minutes – but check after 20 minutes to make sure they aren’t burning. You can put a bit of alfoil on top if you feel like they need longer but the pastry’s there.

If you are going to be reheating these – I usually freeze them – then undercook them a bit as they will finish cooking when reheating.

If you are reheating and they are frozen, they make take up to an hour, keep an eye on them.

One of the things I really miss when I’m not in Adelaide. They are great cold – maybe better cold – so they can be picnic food.

Carrot soup

The very best thing about leaving home when I was a teenager was not having to eat cooked carrot anymore. I truly hated the overcooked stuff whether boiled or roasted. Ugggh. Sweet mush.

But you grow up, don’t you? And although I still grumble about it, I do cook it one way or another. Not to hardsell the following.

Roasted carrot soup, after trawling the internet for opinions


about 750g carrots, peeled, cut into chunks and roasted at 180C with butter dotted here and there. It’s ready when it is starting to caramelise – or to taste.

2 onions chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped

2 sticks of celery chopped

ghee or olive oil (or your preferred something or otherĀ for frying)

generous amount of ginger – at least a tablespoon chopped

chicken stock

a tin of coconut milk (optional)

Snipped spring onion greens and finely chopped chilli on top when serving


Fry the onions on medium heat, add the other uncooked vegetables, keep frying, add the carrot towards the end of that process. Add the water/stock. Simmer until you feel like it is all cooked enough. Puree.

Add coconut milk or more water to desired thickness.

This is enough for a soup course for at least six people.





Simple things to do with carrots

I wanted something simple to do with carrots, something that involved no going out into the snow in search of ingredients. It’s snowing here! And it was to go on the side of gyozas, so something Japanesey.

I ended up making Just Bento’s carrot salad. Lime instead of lemon (did I mention not leaving the house until it stops snowing?)

Another one I’ve taken note of for when I want a hot version is her carrot kinpara.

Marcia’s scones

In Australia I’m fixed in the perplexing position that everybody else’s scones are better than mine. Given there is an adjustment that must be made for not having had to make them, the fact is, mine don’t stack up. That’s despite all the research and practising and experimenting I can muster.

Marcia is a case in point. The first time I tried her scones she was in a caravan making do and produced scones as good as any I’ve ever eaten. I demolished them by the dozen. Much later I asked for, and was given, the recipe.

In Europe and the UK it is impossible to get good scones. At best they are heavy, dense, with an overly sweet biscuit-crumbly texture. I’m less inclined to be disappointed by my own efforts here as they are so much better than the options. Most recently I tried Marcia’s recipe, noting that it takes away the messy labour of rubbing butter into flour.

Marcia’s Scones

4 cups sifted SR flour
1 teasp salt
300 mls pouring cream
enough milk to make a damp mixture

Mix ingredients, place on well-floured surface and knead/fold to smooth dough, adding flour if necessary.

Roll to 1/2″ or 3/4″ thickness and cut into scone shapes. Baste with milk.

180C oven 15-20 minutes. They don’t need to be touching.

Other than needing a bit more salt than I included, these were great. Lower heat, longer cooking time is the main difference from the method of cooking scones made with butter. Whether this is necessary, I don’t know. A half portion of this makes about 8 scones.