Orange, Olive, Walnut and Date Salad with Harissa Dressing

Dates lr

Serves 4 as a starter

This is a lovely salad to eat as a starter in summer. It is light and fresh with a slightly exotic flavour. The bad news is that it is so good that you won’t have any left overs.

For the dressing…
50ml olive oil
1 tablespoon harissa
2 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground
Salt to taste

Whisk together all of the ingredients.

Prepare the oranges…
3 to 4 large oranges, depending on size

Remove the rind from one or two of the oranges either with a zester or with a knife and slice into fine julienne. Set aside until ready to serve.

Cut the segments from the oranges, making sure to remove all pith. Save any orange juice in a bowl and store the orange segments in it until ready to serve.

For the finished dish…
Lime juice to taste
Crisp lettuce (Iceberg or Cos) roughly chopped into bite sized pieces
12 green olives, pitted and halved
12 walnut halves
6 dates, stoned and halved

Pour any orange juice from the oranges into the dressing and taste, adding some lime juice if it needs some sharpness.

Add the olives, walnuts, dates and dressing to the orange segments and stir to mix well.

Place some lettuce on each plate and spoon over a portion of the orange, olive, walnut and date mixture. Decorate with the orange rind.

Lime Mousse

limes lr Serves 4

This mousse is delicious served with kiwi fruit marinated in lime syrup.

½ a leaf of gelatine or ½ tsp powdered gelatine
Grated zest of 2 limes
Juice of 4 to 5 limes
4 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
175ml double cream
2 egg whites
50g caster sugar

If using gelatine leaf, soften it in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain it, discarding the liquid but retaining the softened gelatine. Heat the lime juice in a microwave and add to it the softened gelatine. Stir to dissolve. If using powdered gelatine, dissolve it in the hot lime juice.

In a bowl over simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks and 100g of caster sugar until the mixture is thick and pale and trails off the whisk in ribbons. This will take approximately 4 minutes. Sieve the lime juice/gelatine mixture into the egg/sugar mixture and stir in the lime zest. Place the bowl over a bowl of iced water and continue to whisk until the mixture is cold and starting to set.

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.

Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and then whisk in the 50g sugar until glossy and firm.

Fold the whipped cream into the lime mixture, then fold in the egg whites.

Pour the mixture into a large serving bowl and place in the fridge to set, at least 4 hours. Alternatively, pour the mixture into 4 individual serving dishes and chill until set.

Simple Pork Curry

Patak's Korma Spice Paste

Serves 4

Making a curry from scratch can be a labour of love, roasting and grinding whole spices, making and cooking off spice pastes and nursing the dish through the cooking process. This pork curry recipe is simple firstly because it uses shop-bought spice pastes and secondly, you cook it in a slow cooker. It’s packed full of flavour and the meat is as tender as you can imagine.

I use Patak’s spice pastes, simply because that is the brand that my local supermarket stocks but I’m sure other brands may work just as well. I find the mix of 2/3 Korma and 1/3 Madras is ideal.

Be careful not to add too much salt at the start. Shop-bought spice pastes are quite salty to start with. You can always add more salt later but you can’t take it away!

My slow cooker has three settings – low, medium and high. I find I get the best results if I start it off on medium for one hour and then turn the heat down to low for the rest of the cooking time. If you don’t have a medium setting, just cook it on low from the start.

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5kg pork neck (or shoulder), cubed (I get my butcher to do this for me)
3 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped or grated
2 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 very generous pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 x 165g jar of Patak’s Korma Spice Paste
½ jar (approx. 80g) Patak’s Madras Spice Paste
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (I use Mutti pulped tomatoes)
1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 100ml of boiling water
Salt to taste
Cayenne chilli powder (optional)

Heat the oil in a wide based pan then brown the pork in batches, using a slotted spoon to remove each batch to a bowl once it is browned. Once all the pork has been browned, add a little more oil to the pan if needs be then slowly soften and brown the onions, approx. 20 minutes. Add the garlic and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the ginger, cinnamon, chilli flakes and black pepper and stir fry for another minute, making sure the spices don’t catch.

Add all of the other ingredients except for the cayenne, return the pork to the pan and bring it all up to a gentle simmer.

Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. At the end of that time you may find a lot of oil has risen to the surface (the amount will depend on how fatty your pork was). Skim off and discard the oil, then give everything a good stir. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning adding salt if needs be and adding cayenne pepper if you want to crank up the chilli heat.

If the sauce is too runny, turn the heat on your slow cooker up to high and continue to cook uncovered until it has reduced sufficiently. I find this generally takes about an hour. Once the sauce is the right consistency, put the lid back on the slow cooker, turn the heat down to low and leave it to continue cooking until you are ready to serve. I typically cook this dish for about 10 hours in all.