Category Archives: Recipes

Thai vegetarian green curry

My thanks to Robin, Lewes Community chef for teaching me this recipe – adapted for school use. Instead of fresh curry paste, I’m using Thai green curry paste as it’s easier for students to bring to school.

The dish is a soup and served with rice.

Serves 2-4



2 tbs Thai green curry paste

400ml coconut milk

200ml vegetable stock made with boiling water and stock cube

200g sweet potato, washed and cut into cubes

1 medium aubergine 150g cut into cubes

100g green beans washed and chopped into 2cm lengths

1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks

100g spinach washed and chopped

1 dessert spoon sugar (10g)


  1. Put the curry paste into a large saucepan and heat gently for 1 minute.
  2. Add half the coconut milk and sugar and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, sweet potato and aubergine and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the beans and red pepper and the rest of the coconut milk and boil.
  5. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Serve in large bowls and garnish with coriander leaves – or if possible shredded kaffir lime leaves and Thai sweet basil.
  7. You can serve some sticky rice as an accompaniment.

Thai green curry paste

1 shallot

4 cloves garlic

4 green chillies

1 bunch fresh coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 lemon grass stalk

5 cm peeled ginger

juice of 1 lime

2 tbs fish sauce


Chop the shallot, crush the garlic and ginger and put in food processor which chunks of lemon grass and chopped chilli.

Put the washed, chopped bunch of coriander into the processor and blitz until smooth paste.

Add lime juice and fish sauce and put in tupperware pot to use within next 2 weeks.



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Mini potato and red pepper frittatas – Serves 2
Makes 6 small frittatas – change the vegetables to your choice.


100g potato unpeeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon oil 30g
¼ small onion 30g, finely chopped
¼ red, yellow or green pepper 30g, finely chopped
3 eggs
salt and pepper
chopped chives or parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
  2. Fry the finely chopped potato in the oil in a pan with the finely chopped onions. Put a lid on the pan to speed up cooking.
  3. When soft – about 7-10 minutes – stir in the finely chopped pepper.
  4. Grease and line a deep muffin tin with non stick parchment paper.
  5. Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper.
  6. Put a little of the potato mixture into each muffin tin lined with baking parchment and pour over the egg.
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes until well risen and golden. 5 minutes before the end of cooking, sprinkle over the chopped herbs.
  8. Take out and cool then lift out the frittatas.

The science bit

The potato starch softens and gelatinises as it is fried.
The potato starch cells burst when heated and the uncooked starch mixes with the water in the potato.
The protein in the eggs changes state, denatures, coagulates and solidifies, setting the mixture.
Air trapped in the frittatas rises with the heat as it expands.

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Tuna pasta bake

Tuna pasta bake – Serves 4-6
This recipe combines pasta with a creamy sauce, mixed with tuna, sweetcorn and peas.

150g dried pasta – such as fusilli
20g plain flour
20g butter
400ml semi skimmed milk
salt and black pepper
Fish sauce
4 spring onions, chopped – 100g
100g frozen peas
100g frozen sweetcorn
2 x 120g tins tuna, drained
100g grated cheese – Cheddar or mozzarella


  1. Cook the pasta in lots boiling water until it is soft – read the pack to get the exact cooking time. Fusilli can take 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and put in a bowl.
  2. Make the sauce. Put the milk, butter and flour into a small saucepan and whisk over the heat until the sauce thickens. This is the all in one method.
  3. For the roux sauce method, melt the butter and stir in the flour and cook until lightly golden. Slowly add the milk to make a thin sauce. Season well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/Gas 5.
  5. Mix together the spring onions, peas, sweetcorn and tuna in a large bowl.
  6. Mix in the pasta, sauce and vegetable and tuna mixture and pile into an ovenproof dish.
  7. Cover with grated cheese. Bake until golden brown for 20 minutes.

cornYou can use fresh sweetcorn and remove the kernels with a sharp knife. Cook the sweetcorn with the pasta for 5 minutes before using.

The science bit

The starch in the pasta swells, softens and gelatinises as it cooks and changes texture.
The proteins in the pasta – gluten from the flour, and egg if used – coagulate.
The softened starch is trapped in the protein, giving a firm texture which is called al dente.
Gluten free pastas do not have the same firm texture as wheat pasta.
The starch in the sauce also gelatinises and thickens the milk.
The cheese turns golden as the protein denatures, coagulates when baked and crisps due to the Maillard reaction.

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Swiss roll

This recipe includes a banana in the filling but you can fill this rolled up sponge with jam, peanut butter or mashed banana.


2 eggs

50 g caster sugar

50 g self raising flour

40g jam

1 banana, mashed

Sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C/ Gas 6.
  2. Line a Swiss roll tin 20 x 30 cm with baking parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar for about 10 minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy and you can leave a trail in the mixture. This forms a foam.
  4. Sieve in the flour and fold in gently with a metal spoon – figure of eight shape.
  5. Spoon into the tin and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and the cake springs back to touch.
  6. Turn onto a sugared greaseproof paper which is on top of a tea towel. Trim the edges to help with rolling up.
  7. Spread with warm jam and mashed banana and roll from the short side. Hold in place until firm and sprinkle with a bit more sugar to serve.

The science bit

Eggs and sugar whisk to a foam. Albumen is the protein in the egg and this extends and traps the air bubbles.
On heating the air expands and pushes up the egg, sugar and flour mixture.
Flour contains gluten which is a protein which sets when heated.
The egg protein denatures, coagulates and sets with the gluten and forms the sponge structure.
The cake changes colour as the starch changes to dextrin and the Maillard reaction takes place.
The lemon juice protects the banana from changing colour due to enzymic browning.

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100g self raising flour
1/2 level teaspoon baking powder
30g butter or margarine
60 ml milk – you might need a bit more to mix to a dough

Add 50g sultanas for sweetness.


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.
  2. Rub the butter or margarine into the flour and baking powder with your fingertips, to form breadcrumbs. Or use a food processor.
  3. Put this mixture in a bowl and stir in the milk with a table knife until the mixture forms a dough. Add sultanas at this stage.
  4. Quickly work the dough smooth with your hands and pat out onto non stick paper until it is 2.5cm thick. Avoid rolling out the dough.
  5. Cut with a 5 cm cutter or small glass.
  6. Remove excess dough and make into a ball.
  7. Brush each scone with a little milk and sprinkle on some sugar.
  8. Bake in the hot oven for 12 minutes – use the oven timer to check.
  9. When golden brown, remove scones onto a cooling rack.
  10. Best eaten within the day or frozen.

Different flavours – you can add grated cheese, sultanas, raisins, herbs to this mixture.

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Tomato sauce for pasta recipes

I’m afraid that in the 1970s I used tomato ketchup and water to make a tomato sauce, but nearly 50 years later I know better.  Thomasina Miers showed me how to burn the tomatoes in their skins to give more flavour and this really works. The skins caramelise and give a smoky, sugary flavour to the sauce and when you whizz it up, the black bits don’t show.tomato sauce large

Serves 2-4 as a sauce


350 g tomatoes

1 red pepper 100 g

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil 15 g

2 cloves garlic 12 g, crushed

1/2 small onion 70 g

1/2 tsp dried oregano or mixed herbs

a little sugar, salt and black pepper


Cut the tomatoes in half and deseed and chop the pepper.

Put the oil in a large frying pan and add the tomatoes and pepper pieces.

Heat and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring all the time until the skins begin to blacken.

Remove the tomatoes and pepper and in the juices lightly fry the garlic and onions.

Put the tomatoes, pepper, onion and garlic into the food processor and whizz until smooth.

Season with sugar, salt, pepper and oregano. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Add water, milk or cream to the sauce when it is ready to heat up and use in other dishes.

Skills – knife skills, cooking accurately, tasting, consistency

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We never made moussaka in the 1970’s. It was an exotic dish only found in the Greek restaurants in Camden town or in tavernas on the Greek islands. Traditionally made from layers of aubergine, minced lamb with tomatoes and topped with a buttery white sauce thickened with egg and flavoured with cheese.

Aubergines and lamb mince were impossible to buy in the 1970s, and cinnamon was only used at Christmas time. Nowadays aubergines inexpensive and not bitter, so there is no need to salt them before cooking as shown in traditional recipes. I’ve sprinkled the aubergine slices with olive oil and baked them – this controls the amount of oil and saves the hazard of frying.

This recipe serves 4-6 which may seem like a lot. But when buying the minced lamb, it is often sold in 500g packs. Canned tomatoes are best value in 400g tins, so shopping is easier from the supermarket.

Serves 6


2 large aubergines cut across into 1 cm slices (aubergine weighs about 260 g)

4 tbs olive or vegetable oil

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 large onion, finely chopped ( about 200 g )

2 cloves garlic, crushed

500 g minced lamb

1 heaped tbs plain flour (25 g)

400 g can chopped tomatoes

1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried oregano

salt and black pepper


50 g butter

50 g plain flour

400 ml milk

grated nutmeg

salt and pepper

1 medium beaten egg

50 g Parmesan or strong cheese



  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Put the aubergine slices on a baking tray and sprinkle the slices with oil. Bake for 20 minutes until soft and slightly golden.
  3. Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, garlic and minced lamb and stir and fry for 10 minutes to cook the meat. Stir constantly to break up the meat pieces.
  4. Stir in the flour, tomatoes, cinnamon, oregano and cook for 20 minutes with the lid on the pan. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  5. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour to make a paste. Gradually stir in the milk to make a thick sauce. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and leave to cool.
  6. Layer the slices of aubergine on the base of an ovenproof dish and season with pepper.
  7. Pile the minced lamb mixture on top.
  8. Mix the beaten egg into the sauce and spoon the sauce on top of the lamb mixture. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  9. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until thoroughly hot and golden on top.
  10. Serve with salad.

Skills – knife skills chopping vegetables, sauce making, layering, flavouring



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