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Tonights dish is a simple to prepare Japanese meal.

Nikujaga is a home-cooked dish, of meat potatoes and onion stew cooked in sweetened soy sauce. It is served with a bowl of rice and miso soup. It was invented by chefs of the Imperial Japanese Navyin the late 19th Century. The story that Tōgō Heihachirō ordered naval cooks to create a version of the beef stews served in the British Royal Navy was devised as part of an ongoing campaign beginning in 1895 to promote the city of Maizuru, Kyoto, as the birthplace of nikujaga.

The meat used in Japan for this dish varies from region to region. Beef is usually used in western Japan, while pork tends to be more popular in the east. You can use which ever meat you prefer but avoid meat that is too lean. When using lean meat, slice to a medium thickness or cut into cubes.

I have incorporated the miso soup into the main dish using it instead of dashi. Dashi forms the base of miso soup.

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g sirloin beef, cut into thin strips
  • 750ml of miso soup
  • 100ml Japanese soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 400g small new potatoes, cut in half
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges and separated
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 15mm thick pieces

METHOD

  1. Add everything except the beef to the inner pot.
  2. Bring to the boil.
  3. Add the beef and bring back to the boil and skim off any scum that forms on the surface.
  4. Turn off the heat and put the inner pot, with its lid on, into the insulated outer container.
  5. Shut the lid and leave to thermal slow cook without power for 2-3 hours.
  6. Serve with rice cooked in the top pot if you have one. If you don’t have a top pot cook the rice separately.

Using Coca Cola is an interesting way of cooking gammon and it is certainly worth a try.

I have done this a number of times and it has been always very well received.

The idea of using Coca Cola for cooking gammon has been published by a number of cooks and chefs including Nigella Lawson.

The only difference with my version is using a thermal cooker which I find the ideal way of cooking a gammon joint.

INGREDIENTS

  • Gammon joint, to fit snugly in your thermal cooker
  • 2 litre bottle Coca Cola (real not diet)
  • 1 onion, sliced in half

METHOD

  1. Wash the gammon and then place it into the bottom of the inner pot.
  2. Add the onion the cover the ham and onion with the Coca Cola.
  3. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  5. Place the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  6. Shut the lid and leave to thermal slow cook with out power for a minimum of 5 hours.
  7. Remove the gammon and either serve immediately with new potatoes and vegetables of your choice or leave to cool and serve cold with salad.



Liver I know is not enjoyed by everyone but it is really good for you as it is rich in iron and vitamin A. You can choose whichever type of liver you like for this recipe.

I have used ox liver but lambs or pigs liver will work just as well.

To make this dish will take no time at all.

INGREDIENTS

  • 350g ox liver, cut into strips
  • 3 tbls plain flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, skinned and chopped
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • 400g can haricot beans, drained
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 150 ml cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

METHOD

  1. Dust the liver with seasoned flour.
  2. Melt the butter and olive oil in the inner pot.
  3. Add the liver, onion and mushrooms quickly until brown.
  4. Add all the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.
  5. Turn down the heat, put on the lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Place the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  7. Leave to thermal slow cook without power for 2 hours.
  8. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  9. Serve with rice.

Vietnamese cuisine is a perfect blend of fresh ingredients, pungent fish sauce, tart limes and a wide variety of familiar and exotic herbs. Pork, chicken and fish are popular, but there is also a well developed vegetarian culinary tradition.

Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua (pork Stew with coconut juice) is a very popular dish in Vietnam but like so many recipes there are many variations. I was unable to get a fresh coconut for the juice so I used a tin of coconut milk diluted with one tin of water.

Although this is a very easy recipe it has four main steps.

First step is the marinading of the pork which needs to be done at least one hour before cooking.

Second step is hard boiling the eggs. Hard boiled eggs are used in many Vietnamese recipes.

Third step is the main cooking and the fourth step is adding the beansprouts and eggs before serving.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg lean pork, cut into big pieces

Marinade

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

Main Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 coconut, fresh coconut juice
  • 4 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • ½ cup rice per person

METHOD

  1. Put the marinade ingredients into a bowl and add the pork. Stir well to make sure it is all covered then put in the fridge for at least one hour.
  2. Heat cooking oil in the inner pot and stir fry pork for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in coconut juice and bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on then turn off the heat and put the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  5. Shut the lid and leave to thermal slow cook without power for a minimum of 2 hours.
  6. 30 nibutes before you want to serve remove the inner pot from the outer insulated container and place it on a medium heat.
  7. Add the eggs and bamboo shoots. Bring to the boil.
  8. Put the inner pot back into the outer container and leave to thermal cook for 30 minutes. Longer will not hurt.
  9. Before serving check the seasoning and adjust with salt and fish sauce if necessary.
  10. Serve with rice.

 I just love sausages but I am always careful to buy the better quality ones. This is based on a recipe from Waitrose is very simple to put together and is ideal for anyone on the move in their motor home. I have used pork sausages in this recipe but you can use what ever type you like. The potatoes should be small and there is no need to do anything but wash them and if they are a little large cut them in half.

When I am making a casserole such as this I prefer to roughly chop the onions leaving them not to small. Frozen peas are perfect unless you are making when it is possible to buy fresh. You could use other vegetables if you liked such as beans or carrots. The choice is yours.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 454g of sausages of your choice. I used pork
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml of water
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 500g baby potatoes, halved
  • 250g frozen peas
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. Put the olive oil in the inner pot over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and the garlic. Cook until the onions are soft.
  3. Put the sausages in the pot and cook them until they colour slightly.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, the chicken stock cube, the wine, the Worcestershire sauce, the potatoes, and the frozen peas. Give everything a stir, making sure that the stock cube has mixed in, and bring to the boil.
  5. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  6. Put the inner pot into the insulated outer container and shut the lid,
  7. Thermal Slow Cook without power for a minimum of 3 hours.
  8. Before serving check the seasoning and adjust.
  9. Serve with crusty bread.

Vintage photograph of Gurkha soldiers from the british army on parade. 1920's 30's India.

Last week I had a great lunch in a restaurant near Wareham, Dorset. The restaurant is called Gurkha and does a lunchtime buffet of Indian, Nepalese, Thai and Chinese food. It is run by Captain QGO Asbahadur Gurung formerly of the Brigade of Gurkhas.

Apart from the Tom Kha Seafood soup, which incidentally was the best I have ever tasted my interest was in the cuisine of Nepal. One of the dishes on offer was Gurka Lamb curry and it was so good I though that I should try and make something similar. Having some lamb shanks in the fridge they were the obvious choice for the lamb part of the dish. The rest of the ingredients I found in my store cupboard.

Before we get on with the recipe here is a little history about the Gurkhas. The Gurkhas who come from Nepal in the Himalayas have served in the British Army for many years. They have fought alongside British troops and proved themselves to be the most disciplined, fearless, brave fighters in the world. As a fighting force they are feared all over the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 lamb shanks, slashed with a knife to allow the marinade to penetrate the meat
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 250 ml natural yoghurt
  • 125 ml vegetable oil
  • 10 cardamom pods, seeds removed
  • 25 g fresh ginger, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 7 cm of a cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 350 ml cold water

METHOD

  1. Add garlic, ginger, yoghurt, cardamom, chopped ginger, chopped garlic, fennel, cayenne and ½ the onions into a blender. Blend the mixture into a smooth paste.
  2. Sprinkle the lamb shanks with a little salt, then pour over the masala mixture, and allow to marinade for at least an hour.
  3. Heat the oil, in the inner pot and add the cinnamon, cloves and rest of the onion. Cook until the onion is golden brown.
  4. Add the marinaded lamb shanks to the inner pot along with all the marinade.
  5. Bring to the boil, you should see oil slowly rising to the surface. At this stage add the cold water, stir and bring the mixture back to the boil.
  6. Turn down the heat. Put on the lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Put the inner pot into the insulated outer container and shut the lid.
  8. Thermal slow cook without power for a minimum of 4 hours.
  9. Before serving check the seasoning and adjust if needed.
  10. Serve on a bed of plain, pilau or saffron rice which you could cook in the top pot if you have one.

 Originally the recipe was designed for ox tail but as I was unable to find any at this time of the year I decided to use shin.

This dish is ideal for the thermal cooker as it needs long slow cooking.

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg shin of beef, cubed
  • 5cm of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • green spring onions, sliced

METHOD

  1. ½ fill the inner pot with water and briong it to the boil.
  2. Carefully place the beef in the boiling water and bring back to the boil.
  3. Drain the beef and return to the inner pot.
  4. Fill with enough water too cover the beef and add the ginger, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, sugar and ground pepper.
  5. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  7. Turn off the heat and put the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  8. Shut the lid and thermal slow cook without power for a minimum of 3 hours.
  9. Garnish the beef with the sliced spring onions.
  10. Serve with rice and stir fried vegetables.