Butter Chicken Curry

 

Like leftover turkey at Christmas, my favorite way to use up leftover chicken is to make a punchy and comforting curry.

Although I am a great fan of hot and fiery curries, It was about time I cooked something milder. Cold weather calls for creamy, hearty food. Butter chicken fits the bill perfectly. Beautifully rich (laden with butter and double cream) with sufficient heat to entice. Perhaps my version is a little creamier than traditional butter chicken, but you can play around with the balance of butter and cream to tomato.

Butter Chicken Curry
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Marinade: Approx 500g Leftover Chicken, 1 Garlic Clove Grated, 2cm Ginger Grated, 1/2tsp Hot Chilli Powder, 1tsp Garam Masala, 1/2tsp Turmeric, 1tsp Cumin, Juice of 1/2 Lemon, 4 tbsp Natural Yogurt

To Finish: 50g Unsalted Butter, 2cm Ginger Grated, 2 Cloves Crushed, 1 tsp Hot Chilli Powder, 1 Cardamom Pod Seeds Crushed, 1 tsp Ground Coriander, 1 tsp Turmeric, 1 tsp Garam Masala, Juice of 1/2 Lemon, 200ml Passata, 125ml Double Cream, Handful Chopped Coriander

Method:
1) Combine the chicken with all the marinade ingredients and store in the fridge, covered for at least 2 hours.
2) Once marinated, remove the chicken from the fridge. In a large saucepan or wok: fry the ginger, cloves, chilli powder, cardamom, coriander, turmeric and garam masala in the butter for 2 minutes over a medium heat.
3) Add the chicken and marinade and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Add the passata and lemon juice and cook for a further 5 minutes.
5) To finish, stir in the double cream and chopped coriander.

Serve with poppadoms, mango chutney and basmati rice!

Flourless Chocolate Praline Cake

 

On the odd occasion that I do have a crack at baking, the ingredients are predictable. A variation of chocolate and praline almost always ensues with varying degrees of success!

Now that we are firmly into autumn and the weather is horrendously cold (in Scotland at least) I was searching for something comforting and laden with chocolate to eat by the fire. Yet it couldn’t be too heavy – that is to be saved for the depths of winter.

Flourless cakes have always intrigued me – light and airy and still magically holding themselves together without the addition of flour. The lack of flour also intensifies the flavour of the ingredients. A flourless chocolate and praline cake it was to be!

Flourless Chocolate Praline Cake

Ingredients:
100g Dark Chocolate (Good Quality)
100g Milk Chocolate (Good Quality)
100g Hazelnuts, Toasted with the outer layer roughly rubbed off.
125g Unsalted Butter
125g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract

Method:
1) Pre heat your oven to 180C. Grease and line a medium-sized springform cake tin.
2) Melt the chocolate and the butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water in the usual fashion.
3) Finely chop the hazelnuts in a food processor.
4) Combine the melted butter and chocolate with the hazelnuts and vanilla in a large bowl.
5) Whisk the eggs with the caster sugar until thick and very fluffy – around 5 minutes.
6) Carefully fold the whisked eggs and sugar into the chocolate mixture until fully combined.
7) Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the oven for around 45 minutes or until ready.

Best served with a big spoon of crème fraîche and a cup of tea!

Country Pork Terrine

 

I was always afraid of cooking terrines! The endless preparation, the risk of collapse – there was much which could go wrong.

I have never been a great fan of smooth terrines or pâté (unless it is a big hunk of foie gras) – believing they can hide a multitude of sins. I favor course, rustic terrines with big, punchy flavours.

Typically French, country pork terrine (or pâté de campagne) benefits from a big splash of cognac. Certainly not refined, but all the more delicious for it. It is surprisingly simple to prepare, ensure you leave it to settle in the fridge overnight to allow the flavours to develop. Best served with toasted Boule and homemade chutney (gooseberry is great). Here is my take on the classic country terrine.

Country Pork Terrine
Serves 6/8

Ingredients:
For the Base: 200g Minced Pork Belly, 400g Minced Pork Shoulder, 400g Minced Pigs Liver, 1tsp Ground Allspice, 2 Crushed Garlic Cloves, Large Swig Cognac

For the Onion Mixture: 2tbsp Butter, 2 Medium Onions Finely Chopped, 1 Bay leaf, 1 Thyme Sprig Leaves Removed

To Finish: 250g Streaky Bacon, Handful Shelled Pistachios, 1 Egg (optional)

Method:
1) Combine the base ingredients in a bowl and allow to marinade in the fridge for a few hours.
2) Meanwhile, prepare the onion mixture. Sweat the onion, thyme and bay leaf in the butter for around 10 minutes until tender. Do not allow to colour. Remove the bay leaf and leave to cool.
3) Combine the base mixture with the onion mixture and the pistachios. The mixture should be quite wet – if a little dry, add a whisked egg.
4) Preheat your oven to 160C. Line the middle of a loaf tin with a sheet of baking parchment. Line the loaf tin with the streaky bacon slices horizontally. Leave an overhang of bacon on each side.
5) Spoon the terrine mixture into the loaf tin, smoothing the top. Cover the top of the terrine with the overhanging bacon.
6) Prepare a bain-marie by filling a large roasting tin half way with boiling water. Place the loaf tin in the middle of the roasting tin. Cook in the oven at 160C for around 2 hours or until cooked.
7) Allow to cool then place in the fridge overnight before serving.

To test if done – spear the middle of the terrine with a metal skewer and hold for 10 seconds – if it comes out piping hot it is ready. For those with a thermometer – ideal internal temperature is 82C.

Enjoy!

Review: Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, London

Four days, 10 Michelin stars – Part 3!

Supper at Marcus Wareing has been on my to-do list ever since he left Petrus and set up on his own at The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge. With an abundance of restaurants from which to choose in London, staying at The Berkeley provided the impetus to visit for dinner on a Monday evening.

Access to the opulent dining room is through the hotel’s caramel room (not ideal). The restaurant is warm and inviting, decorated with deep reds and chrome accents. Tables are well spaced; however, there is a long walk to the hotel toilets. Service was formal but friendly. Most diners are offered the opportunity to visit the kitchen once finished their meal – I urge you to do so, it is a wonderful environment and the sight of the chef’s table made me green with envy!

After a week of fine-dining our waistbands were at breaking point and it was doubtful if we could have given a two star tasting menu the justice it deserves. We opted instead for the seasonal À La Carte, but still managed to sneak in an optional cheese course! The food was delightful. Classic technique and beautiful marriage of flavours.

Portland Crab Salad

Portland Crab Salad with Radish and Cucumber was deliciously light and sweet. Accompanying ‘toast’ provided good texture against the soft crab. The crab was definitely the star of the show, the cucumber surprisingly did not wash away any flavour. The only negative was a little bit of shell which had slipped through the net, an excusable mistake.

Mackerel with Greengage and Onion

Charred Mackerel with Greengages and Onions was an outstanding dish – most definitely the dish of the evening. The mackerel skin was beautifully blackened yet the flesh perfectly cooked. Long forgotten greengages were an inspired addition maintaining a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. The accompanying onions were sweet and moreish, putting me in mind of a summer barbecue. A little cream which was slightly soured rounded off a stunning plate of food. We should all eat more mackerel.

Grouse with Blackberry and Apple

Grouse with Blackberry and Apple was well executed. The grouse was well cooked and the skin on the leg deliciously crisp. The blackberries and apples offset the rich, sweet jus well – the apples maintaining their bite. The accompanying bread sauce with chives was a triumph – a real kick of oniony chive and deliciously smooth, perfect. This dish was very satisfying and I have since recreated at home with Venison.

Lamb was also well executed – the lamb evenly pink. Perhaps the jus was a little strong for the sweet lamb, but this was somewhat curtailed by the accompanying vegetables and cubes of bacon.

Lemon, Meringue and Ice Tea

Lemon, Meringue and Ice Tea – three of my favorite things, all in one dish! Lemon curd was sandwiched between two impossibly thin sheets of pastry. Two large slices of curd was a little rich but was delicious. Crisp meringue was very sweet, which helped dampen the lemon a little. The ice tea granita (sprinkled over table-side) was very good – a delicate floral flavour.

Petit Fours (Round Two!)

The first round of petit fours were amazing – you must try Marcus’ egg custard tart at least once! After visiting the kitchen I was given a little birthday treat! Although I was at bursting point, I had managed to save a little room – the hazelnut ice cream was delicious as were the little cakes!

Marcus Wareing most definitely deserves two stars. The service and surroundings were professional and welcoming and the food was faultless. Beautifully precise cooking and perfect marriage of flavours old and new. Most definitely worth a visit, I only wish I had room for the tasting menu!

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

www.marcus-wareing.com

Food (For Four): £345

Dress Code: Smart

Reservations: Essential

Recommend: Yes

Toad in the Hole

 

Toad in the Hole is the ultimate in British comfort food. Glorious Yorkshire puddings and sausage – what could be finer on a cold windy night? Nearly everyone I know gets excited at the prospect of a crispy Yorkshire pudding.

Best served with butter laden mashed potatoes and rich onion gravy with your feet up in front of the fire! I make my Yorkshires in a muffin tin – making them super crispy and portion sized.

Use the best quality sausages you can get your hands on and ensure your oil is super hot and they will come out perfectly.

Toad in the Hole

Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 Good Quality Pork Sausages
1 1/2 Cups Plain Flour
1 1/2 Cups Milk
3 Eggs
Sunflower Oil
Sea Salt

Method:
1) Pre heat the oven to 220C. Fill the bottoms of a 12 cup muffin tray with a little sunflower oil. Place in the oven to pre heat for at least 10 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, brown the sausages in a large frying pan on a medium heat for around 5-10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cut in half.
3) Make the Yorkshire Pudding Batter by combining the flour, milk and eggs with a little salt and whisk well – try to incorporate as much air as possible into the mixture.
4) Remove the muffin tray from the oven and quickly pour the batter amongst the 12 cups. Place a halved sausage in each cup and return to the oven.
5) Cook for around 20 minutes or until well browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little.

Enjoy!

Review: The Gardener’s Cottage, Edinburgh

 

I have been itching to visit The Gardener’s Cottage since its opening in June. My less than subtle hints finally paid off – my friends kindly treated me to birthday brunch this afternoon!

Nestled in Royal Terrace Gardens, the cottage is co-owned by chefs Dale Mailley and Edward Murray, who both have  commendable and illustrious backgrounds. First impressions don’t get much better – the quaint listed cottage is flanked by rows of fresh herbs and vegetables. Inside is a true treasure – diners are communally seated at great wooden tables in two small dining rooms, the room on the left commanding a front row view of the small kitchen. Decor is simple and charming.

Great emphasis is placed on integrity and quality of ingredients – the simple but satisfying cooking reflecting this ethos. The restaurant operates a daily changing set menu for lunch and dinner, with a limited choice for brunch.

Homemade Tagliatelle with Black Pudding and Walnuts was delicious. The pasta beautifully light (no mean feat) and the crumbled black pudding not overpowering. The wonderful flavour of charred walnuts was joined by the faintest whiff of leek.

 

Dressed crab was traditional and simple but satisfying – save for the few pieces of shell astray in the fresh meat. The quality of crab was second to none, gloriously sweet. Perhaps this would have benefitted from a big chunk of the lovely bread I spied in the kitchen. Mutton stew was equally as good.

Pear tartlet with cinnamon custard was light – the pastry perfectly thin and crisp. A touch more cinnamon wouldn’t have gone a miss.

The Gardener’s Cottage is refreshingly simple. The service informal and the food satisfying. Expert sourcing of the best ingredients is commendable and should be highlighted on the menus. Communal dining may not be for everyone but it is perfectly suited to the small and relaxed space. The Gardener’s Cottage is a welcome addition to a city with a glut of pretentious restaurants. For a comforting lunch or supper, you would be hard pressed to find much better in the Capital.

The Gardener’s Cottage

www.thegardenerscottage.co

Dress Code: Casual

Reservations: Recommended

Recommend: Yes

Review: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Covent Garden, London

Four days, 10 Michelin stars – Part 2!

I first ate at Joel Robuchon around two years ago and vowed to return. The two Michelin starred restaurant is spread over three floors – operating two dining rooms and a bar/lounge.

We dined in ‘La Cuisine’ on our first visit – a beautifully appointed room on the first floor, decked out like the kitchen from your dreams, diners sit at traditional tables and have a clear view of the small finishing kitchen. This visit; however, saw us dining in ‘L’Atelier’ – a red and black japanese inspired wonder with a choice of counter or high table seating which backs on to an open kitchen full of busy craftsmen. We had a fantastic visit first time round so expectations were high.

Firstly, praise must be given to front of house. You are made to feel instantly welcome, as if dining in your local. Service is professional and attentive yet relaxed – the perfect balance. The sommelier is a character and offers some excellent recommendations.

In addition to the usual A La Carte and Tasting menus, we were offered a ‘Potato’ Tasting menu – showcasing the versatile tuber at the height of its season. Three opted for the traditional tasting, one for the potato. The food was, as expected, fantastic. A beautiful mix of classic preparations and modern flavour combinations with an asian influence. I truthfully struggled to find any fault – the food more than lived up to expectations. I could write all day about the beautiful food we ate so memorable dishes follow.

Lobster Salad, Artichokes, Citrus Vinaigrette

Scottish Lobster Salad, Artichokes and Citrus Vinaigrette was delightful. Perfectly cooked and seasoned lobster tail and braised artichokes. The citrus vinaigrette was very tart but did not overpower. Chicory helped offer texture. The lobster was not quite as well cooked as that at Alain Ducasse, but this is nit-picking.

Cherry Gazpacho, Ewes Milk Ice Cream, Pistachio

Cherry Gazpacho with Ewe’s Milk Ice Cream and Pistachio was a substitution course on the Potato Tasting Menu (one of our party has a poultry allergy). Decadently covered in gold leaf, the ewe’s milk ice cream was beautifully smooth and fresh, tempering the prevalent cherry flavour. A well-balanced and refreshing dish.

Sea bass, Lemongrass & Fondue Leeks

Sea bass, Lemongrass and Fondue Leeks was perhaps a little on the salty side for some – but perfect for me. Beautifully cooked fish which held up against the strong sauce.

Gnocchi with a Fricassée of Mushrooms

Another dish from the Potato Tasting Menu, Gnocchi with Fricassée of Mushrooms. Perhaps the lightest and most flavoursome gnocchi we had ever tasted. The fricassée not overpowering with a subtle aroma of wild mushrooms. The accompanying ‘tuile’ was so light it all but dissolved on the tongue.

Quail stuffed with Foie Gras, Truffle Potatoes

Free Range Quail Stuffed with Foie Gras and Truffle Mashed Potatoes was decadent. The quail perfectly cooked, remaining moist from the chunk of pink foie gras nestled in the centre. The truffle mash was strong with truffle. As the dish was so simple, these three flavours (with the help of a little jus) were matched to perfection, not one outshone the other and the quail was rightfully the star of the show.

Confit Veal Cheek, Spiced Thai Jus, Crunchy Vegetables

Saving the best until last – Confit Veal Cheek, Spiced Thai Jus, Crunchy Vegetables. Quite possibly the best plate of food I have ever had the good fortune of eating. The veal cheek was meltingly tender, but still retained its structure – real depth of flavour without overpowering, somewhere between pork shoulder and beef shin. The spiced thai jus was to die for – a big punch of chilli but with subtle undertones of lemongrass and ginger. The crunchy vegetables had been perfectly julienned and gave fantastic contrast against the soft veal. It is not possible to sum up in words how truly delicious this dish was.

Joel Robuchon was an amazing experience and I feel I will extol its virtues forever more! They have hit the nail on the head – perfect service matched with perfect food in wonderfully eclectic surroundings. Words cannot do the quality of food justice. It is refreshing to dine in a restaurant once every so often that raises your expectations of dining out and forces you to question food you have eaten in the past. I cannot recommend enough.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

http://www.joelrobuchon.co.uk

Food (For Four): £470

Dress Code: Smart Casual (Jackets not required for gentlemen)

Reservations: Essential

Recommend: Yes

In Search of the Perfect Fries

 

I’m going to stick my neck on the line here – McDonald’s fries are good. So good in fact that I just had to attempt to recreate them at home.

Fries just don’t get much better – crisp and fluffy with a big smack of salt. Not only do they retain their crispness for a commendable time after frying, they are heavenly moreish. For me, they are the perfect fries.

I am making a big distinction here between fries and chips – it is best not to get the two confused. Fries are the skinny ones, chips the fat. Fries are best with a burger and chips (especially triple cooked) best with a steak. Nothing will ever beat the satisfaction of tucking into a large bowl of chips. Sometimes; however, fries are the best option.

First and foremost, the star of the show – the potato. With a myriad of varieties on offer it is sometimes impossible to choose. But, of course, only certain varieties are perfectly suited to ‘chipping’. We need a potato which is widely available and has a fairly high dry matter content – meaning there is less moisture in the potato which may turn the fries limp! Maris Piper fit the bill. For those that are interested, The European Cultivated Potato Database is a fantastic online resource.

Now that we have the potato, it is all down to the cooking. Searching for those elusive McDonalds fries, it struck me, why not do as they do? A quick search and all questions were answered. Firstly this article, in part by a former McDonalds employee, explains the factory procedure the french fries go through before reaching the restaurant freezers. Daunting at first, until I found this little gem – an article by Serious Eats’ J. Kenji López-Alt. An amazing step by step guide on creating the perfect McDonalds french fries at home – if you haven’t already read, I urge you to.

The perfect fries, much like the perfect chips, is a three-step process. First the cut potato must be poached in water for 15 minutes at 76.5C – the perfect temperature to par-cook without breaking down the starches. After being dried, the chips are then fried at 182C for 50 seconds. I then froze the chips at this stage before the final frying. Before serving, fry at 190C for 3 ½ minutes, then drain and salt.

Stage One Complete

I am fortunate to have a Sous Vide Supreme in the cupboard to poach the chips at exactly 76.5C. However, I revert you to the Serious Eats article for a more conventional first step! Don’t scrimp with the salt (I doused mine in Himalayan pink salt) and you will have the perfect batch of french fries to savor.

Why not make a big batch to stage 2, freeze, then pull out the freezer for their final fry when required!

French Fries
Serves 4
Ingredients:
750g Maris Piper Potatoes, Peeled and Chipped
Vegetable Oil
Sea Salt

Method:
1) Store the fries in cold water between peeling and chipping. Poach fries in a water bath (loose) at 76.5C for 15 minutes. Remove and drain.
2) Pat the fries dry with kitchen towel before frying in vegetable oil at 182C for 50 seconds. Probably best to complete this stage in batches. Drain the fries.
3) Freeze the fries at this stage for use later. Alternatively, continue to the next step.
4) Fry in 190C oil for 3 ½ minutes, or until very lightly browned. Drain and season liberally with salt.

Enjoy!

Review: Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, London

Four days, 10 Michelin stars – Part 1!

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is the most recent UK restaurant to be initiated into the three star club. Under the direction of the iconic Ducasse, expectations were high.

The restaurant is situated slap bang in the middle of the Dorchester hotel, and with this comes some drawbacks. Accessing the restaurant involves trekking nearly the full length of the grand corridor – whilst being glared at by eagle eyed tourists and their minders. This arduous trip must be made every time nature calls – the toilets are adjacent to the front door.

The dining room is beautifully appointed, with tables very generously spaced. However, it is impossible to shake the ‘hotel effect’. Everything feels rather clinical (service included) and you can’t help but feel on edge.

(Apologies for the poor photos. Light was low and frowns ensued whenever the flash went off!)

Amuse-bouche consisted of pumpkin soup served in what resembled a giant easter egg. Ok, if a little uninspiring.

Amuse-bouche

A ‘signature’ dish of lobster, truffle chicken quenelles and pasta was chosen to begin. The homemade pasta was delicious and cooked perfectly. However, the quenelles contained little flavour of truffle and were hopelessly bland. The accompanying bisque overpowered the delicate lobster and was a tad cloying. It must be noted, however, that this was the most tender and well-cooked lobster we had eaten for some time.

Lobster

Another ‘signature’ starter of raw and cooked vegetables, olives and tomato syrup was distinctly unsatisfying. The vegetables, both raw and cooked, were bland – many tasting terribly acidic. There was barely a whiff of the dubbed tomato in the tomato syrup. The accompanying crisp (which resembled a spiced poppadum), although beautiful, had little taste and was not quite crisp enough. If only this dish had tasted as beautiful as it looked.

Raw and Cooked Vegetables

Tournedos Rossini is definitely in my top 10 dishes – when done perfectly. There was nothing terribly wrong with the version served at Alain Ducasse; however, it failed to truly impress. The beef was cooked well and was tender, but lacked flavour. The slab of accompanying foie gras was too large for the size of steak and thus overpowered – it was also slightly overcooked. Unfortunately the charred lettuce washed away what little flavour there was. Altogether quite an unsatisfying dish.

 

Scallops with citrus and swiss chard was nice. Scallops were cooked and seasoned well, although the portion was too small for a main dish. The citrus element was overpowering and acidic (and I love citrus). The swiss chard was well cooked and retained some crunch. Perhaps ‘nice’ is an adjective which should not feature in cooking of this level.

Scallops, Citrus, Swiss Chard

Rib and belly of Denbighshire pork with black pudding and calvados jus failed to impress. The belly was undercooked and the rib was overcooked, dry and lacked flavour. The homemade black pudding was overly fatty and salty and the calvados jus too heavy. Veal with girolles and fresh almonds was palatable if unexciting.

The cheese course was a pre-chosen selection of french cheeses with accompaniments. The cheese was fine – the same cannot be said for the accompaniments, which at best were bizarre.

Cheese

Raspberry soufflé had risen spectacularly and was perfectly cooked with a strong hit of raspberry, a great success. Unfortunately, this was not the case for composition of apples – the granny smith sorbet tasting too acidic and the apple tart purely of sugar.

Rum baba was a delightful way to finish a meal, if a little heavy. A choice of rum was offered which then drowned the perfectly cooked and satisfyingly sweet baba.

Soufflé

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester promised so much, yet failed to truly deliver. Front of house were unnervingly efficacious – you felt that they would have been chastised if they so much as cracked a smile. The food was at best uninspiring and appeared to lack effort and finesse – certainly not what is to be expected of a 3 star restaurant. You cannot even begin to compare the restaurant with other 3 star establishments (and many 2 star). For a true 3 star experience visit Royal Hospital Road or The Waterside Inn and give the overhyped hotel food a miss.

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

http://www.alainducasse-dorchester.com

Food (For Five): £453

Dress Code: Smart

Reservations: Essential

Recommend: No

The Perfect Chilli

 

I have been eating my way around London for the last week (reviews to follow) hence the lack of posts!

When I returned home, stuffed and bleary-eyed, all I wanted was a big bowl of comforting chilli. Since the publication of ‘Heston Blumenthal at Home’ my chilli has been subject to extensive alteration. No tinned tomatoes here – fresh tomatoes are cooked down to impart a wonderful richness, aided by the addition of spiced butter.

I have adapted the recipe to make it easier for a mid-week supper. Many of the elements can be prepared in advance then added to the chilli before serving. I usually make everything a day in advance – allowing the flavours to develop overnight.

 

The Perfect Chilli
Serves 4 (Healthy Appetites!)

Ingredients:

For the Chilli: 500g Finely Minced Beef, 1 Large Onion Diced, 1 Star Anise, 1 Large Carrot Diced, 2 Cloves Garlic Crushed, 1 Green Chilli Diced, 1tbsp Tomato Purée, 500g Cherry Tomatoes, 3 Large Tomatoes Diced, 350ml Red Wine, 500ml Beef Stock, 2tbsp Spiced Butter

For the Spiced Butter: 125g Unsalted Butter Softened, 1tsp Tomato Ketchup, 2tsp Ground Cumin, 1tsp Hot Chili Powder, 2tsp Smoked Paprika, 1tsp Worcestershire Sauce

To Finish: 1 Can Red Kidney Beans Washed, 2 Limes Juice & Zest, 3 Red Peppers (De-seeded, Roasted, Peeled then Chopped), Spiced Butter, Salt & Pepper, Grated Mature White Cheese, Soured Cream

Method:

1) Cook the cherry tomatoes in a little water in a covered saucepan on a medium heat for around 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down. Remove the lid and cook on low until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

3) Meanwhile, make the spiced butter. Fry the ground cumin and chilli in a little olive oil for a minute. Add all the ingredients to the butter and combine thoroughly. Wrap the butter in cling film and shape in to a log. Store the butter in the freezer.

3) Place a large saucepan (I used a Le Creuset casserole pan) on a high heat. Brown the meat thoroughly in a little olive oil. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with a little water.

4) Sweat the onion, carrot, garlic and green chilli in a little olive oil for 10 minutes. Add the star anise and tomato purée and cook for a further 5 minutes. Turn the heat up high, pour in the red wine and allow to reduce by two-thirds. Remove the star anise.

5) Add the browned mince, beef stock, cooked tomatoes, diced raw tomatoes and spiced butter. Cook uncovered on a low heat for around 2 hours, stirring occasionally. It is ready when most of the liquid has evaporated. You can now store this in the fridge, ready to be finished the following day.

6) To finish, add the kidney beans to the chilli mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and zest and red peppers. Add more spiced butter and seasoning to taste.

7) Serve with grated cheese, soured cream and some long grain rice.