Fisherman’s pie

They tell me it’s brain food. I remain unconvinced – I am absolutely no better at doing sums than I was before I cooked this, but I am deliciously full and thinking hard about marine biology.

This is a lovely take on fisherman’s pie, a thousand miles away from any variant you may have eaten in the school dining hall. Some of the fish is fresh, some smoked, and this gives it a deep, warm background without overdoing the smoky flavour. Sweet peas and prawns are balanced by a hit of lemon juice and nutmeg, and creamy mash makes a golden lid for the whole thing.

Although this is a fish dish, you’ll find it keeps well overnight in the fridge. This amount made two filling suppers for two greedy people with a sharply dressed green salad. I used frozen haddock fillets here, but you can use any firm, flaky white fish, frozen or fresh.

To serve four, you’ll need:

500g haddock fillets
200g smoked haddock
100g smoked salmon
100g peeled prawns, raw if possible
150g butter
50g plain flour
570ml milk
50g frozen peas
2 eggs
2 teaspoons capers in white wine vinegar
Juice of ½ lemon
A few gratings of nutmeg
1kg potatoes (choose a floury variety like King Edward)
3 tablespoons double cream
Cheddar cheese to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F).

Lay the haddock (defrosted if frozen) and smoked haddock in the baking dish you plan to make the pie in – it should have a capacity of between 1.5 and 2 litres. Pour over half the milk and dot with 25g of butter. Season with plenty of pepper and bake for 20 minutes. Pour the liquid from the baking dish into a measuring jug, top up with the remaining milk and reserve. Remove any skin or bones from the cooked fish and flake it into large pieces in the baking dish.

Hard-boil the eggs, and quarter them. Combine them in the baking dish with the flaked fish, drained capers, the frozen peas, the prawns (raw or cooked, but defrosted if frozen) and the smoked salmon. (I used Waitrose’s flakes of hot-smoked salmon – if you can’t find hot-smoked salmon use the regular variety and use scissors to cut it into bite-sized pieces.)

Peel the potatoes and set them to boil as usual for the mashed potato topping. While the potatoes are boiling, melt 75g of the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook over a medium-low flame, stirring, for four minutes. Add the milk and fish cooking liquid a little at a time, stirring well after every addition until the sauce thickens. Continue until all the milk mixture is incorporated, and bring to a low simmer until the sauce thickens again. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the lemon juice and a grating of nutmeg. Pour the sauce over the ingredients in the baking dish.

Mash the potatoes well with the cream, 50g of the butter, another generous grating of nutmeg and plenty of salt and pepper. Spread or pipe the potatoes over the ingredients in the baking dish, and sprinkle with Cheddar cheese.

Bake for 40 minutes, until the cheesy top is a golden brown.

Lamb casserole with apricots and preserved lemon

Moroccan lambLooking back over the last couple of weeks, it strikes me that I’m cooking an awful lot of orange stuff. (There are things you’ve not seen, too – I find myself repeatedly making potatoes mashed with swede and carrot as a side dish, and roasting butternut squashes for my lunch.) I am guessing that this has something to do with shortening days and a craving for sunshine, and that after we start getting more sunlight again after December 21, I’ll start moving towards yellow food and onward through the spectrum until we get back to the tomato season again.

This is another recipe for those of you who made the preserved lemons from a few months back. They’re smelling just wonderful now; all the flavour has been pulled out of the spices in the jar and has lodged itself in the flesh of the lemons. Strangely Christmas-y, via Morocco.

The other ingredients in this recipe are largely Moroccan (although I doubt that a real Moroccan would look very kindly on the flour-thickened cider sauce). A few companies in the UK produce harissa, but I only recommend one – Belazu, who also make preserved lemons if you don’t have your own, do a very fine, warmly spiced harissa made with rose petals. It’s available in most supermarkets. I’ve tried a few other brands, and they are nothing like as good.

To serve two greedy people, you’ll need:

2-inch piece of ginger
5 cloves garlic
4 shallots
12 apricots
500g lamb neck fillets
1 tsp harissa
½ a preserved lemon
1 litre cider
1 sprig rosemary
1 tbsp flour
Oregano to garnish
Olive oil

Cut the lamb into cubes and heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan (as always, Le Creuset pans are your best bet here for a really even heat). When the oil is hot, brown the lamb pieces a few at a time and remove them to a bowl when seared.

When you have browned all the lamb, look at the pan – if there is only very little oil left, add another tablespoonful. Bring the heat down to medium and add the shallots to the pan. When the shallots are beginning to take on some colour, add the sliced garlic, the julienned ginger, the lamb, the diced skin of the half-lemon (reserve the flesh) and the apricots to the pan. Cook, stirring well, for another five minutes, then add the flour to the pan, stirring to make sure the flour is coating everything.

Pour the cider over the lamb and add the diced flesh of the lemon, the rosemary and the harissa to the mixture. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and leave to simmer for two hours. When the two hours are up, taste the sauce. You may not need to add any salt (there is lots in the lemon), but I found an extra teaspoonful made the balance just right. Garnish the dish with oregano.

The cider will have turned into a sweetly fruity sauce, and the lamb will be extremely tender. I served this with mashed potato, but it’s also very good with couscous.

Golden winter vegetable soup with frizzled chorizo

Golden vegetable soupSoothing, sweet, buttery, winter vegetables are a real blessing when the weather’s cold. Plants keep a store of energy in the form of sugars in their tubers and roots, and those tubers and roots make for some surprisingly uplifting eating. This soup is passed through a sieve after being liquidised to ensure a silky, creamy texture. If you don’t own a food processor you can still make it – at the stage where the ingredients go into the processor bowl you can just mash them with a potato masher for about ten minutes, then pass the resulting mush through a sieve, pressing it through with the bottom of a ladle. You will end up muscular and with a very good pan of soup.

Because of all the plant sugars in these vegetables, you’ll find you need something salty to counter the sweet taste. I’ve cut chorizo into coins and fried it until it’s crisp and friable – a lovely contrast in texture with the silky, creamy soup. The result is a lovely sun-coloured dish at a time of year when the sun is a distant memory.

To serve four as a main course, you’ll need:

1 small celeriac
3 small sweet potatoes
1 small swede
1 small butternut squash
1 small onion
2 shallots
1 parsnip
3 carrots
1 leek
3 tablespoons butter
1 litre chicken stock (vegetarians can substitute vegetable stock and use croutons instead of the chorizo)
200 ml double cream
2 teaspoons salt
½ a nutmeg, grated
10 turns of the pepper mill
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Peel all the vegetables and cut them all into 1-inch chunks. Melt the butter in a large pan with a heavy base (this will help the soup cook evenly – I recommend Le Creuset pans, which are made of enamelled cast iron, and disperse heat beautifully) and sweat the vegetables, stirring regularly, until they begin to soften. You’ll find that the sweet potato pieces may brown a little. Don’t worry about it; they contain so much sugar that it’s hard to prevent a little of it caramelising, and it just gives depth to the soup.

When the vegetables are softening evenly, pour over the hot stock. It’s best if your stock is home-made, but some of the liquid stocks you can buy at the supermarket these days are a good substitute if you don’t have any in the freezer. Bring the stock and vegetables to a simmer, cover with a lid and leave for 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft all the way through.

While the soup simmers, slice a chorizo into pieces about the same size as a pound coin and fry over a medium flame in a dry frying pan, stirring and flipping the pieces occasionally. The chorizo will release its fat and the pieces will become crisp. After about 20 minutes, when the chorizo is crisp and dry, remove the pieces and drain on paper towels. Reserve the oil.

Transfer the vegetables and stock to a large bowl and liquidise in batches, passing each processed batch through a sieve back into the large pan. You will find you need to push the soup through the sieve with the back of a large spoon or ladle. Return the pan to a very low heat and stir in the cream, salt and pepper and the grated nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and serve with a drizzle of chorizo oil, some chorizo scattered over (keep some more in a bowl for people to help themselves) and a sprinkling of chopped chives.

Sardines on toast

Sardines on toastI suppose I should really be calling this recipe Sardines en croute or Petits poissons et tartine in order to stop you from recoiling in horror, but I am neither proud nor French. While some ingredients, particularly certain vegetables, suffer horribly from the canning process, sardines and other oily fish become dense and flavourful when tinned. They are all the better if the enterprising canner includes other flavourings. I particularly like Ortiz sardines, which are unadorned, but Waitrose Sardine Piccanti, with a couple of dried chillies lurking in-between the fish fillets are my favourites at the moment. And with five minutes’ quick chopping and some judicious spicing on your part, they can be turned into a perfect quick supper dish. Fantastic for those nights when you don’t get home until 11pm and have eaten nothing except peanuts.

To serve one, you’ll need:

1 tin sardines
2 slices white bread
1 large shallot
1 pinch paprika
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons soft butter
1 lime
Salt and pepper

Toast the slices of bread lightly and set aside. Slice the shallot finely and put it in a small bowl with the drained sardines and a teaspoon of their oil, the sherry, a pinch of salt and the paprika. Use the back of a fork to mush the ingredients together – the shallot should separate into delicate rings and the sardines should be reduced to rough chunks. Pile the mixture onto the slices of toast. The mixture will look very shallot-heavy (see the picture), but don’t worry; once they’re cooked, this will just give your toast a lovely sweet background to support the fish.

Dot each slice with the butter and place under a hot grill for five minutes, until the shallots at the surface are browning and the flesh of the sardines is bubbling. Remove to a large plate and squeeze over the juice of a lime. Grind a generous amount of pepper over the slices and eat while still piping hot and crisp.

Miso-glazed salmon

Miso-glazed salmon
This Japanese way with fish requires you to think ahead by a couple of days. Once you’ve slathered it with its thick sauce, the salmon needs to cure and marinate in the fridge for at least 48 hours, by which time its flesh will be delicately infused with the flavours from the den miso. Once it’s out of the fridge, it’s simplicity itself to prepare under the grill.

Marinading fish in den miso is a delicious, traditional treatment. Japanese grocers in the UK often offer fish ready-smeared and packed under plastic for you to cook when you return home. A den miso marinade is also used in Nobu’s utterly gorgeous black cod. I’ve never managed to find any black cod for sale, but salmon is just great here – try sea bass fillets too if you can get your hands on some.

To serve two, you’ll need:

2 one-person-sized pieces of salmon fillet, skin still on
200g shiromiso (white miso)
2 tablespoons sake (Chinese rice wine is good here if you have no sake)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons mirin

Most UK supermarkets seem to be stocking miso, sake and mirin (a sweet rice wine) these days, although the alcohols will be with the foreign foods section, not in the booze section. If your supermarket doesn’t carry miso, have a look in your local health food shop. I’ve noticed that for some reason, they almost all sell a good variety of Japanese kelps, soya sauces, and miso.

Put the miso, sake, sugar and mirin in a bain marie and simmer the mixture (which is now den miso) over boiling water for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the colour darkens. Remove the den miso from the heat and set aside to cool.

Put the salmon in a small bowl and pour over the cooled marinade, making sure everything is well-coated. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for between two and three days, turning the fish daily.

Grilled salmonWhen you are ready to cook the salmon, lay it with the skin side down on a rack over tin foil. Grill under a high flame for about four minutes, until the miso is caramelising and bubbling as in the picture. Turn the fish so the skin side is uppermost and grill for another four minutes, watching carefully to make sure the fatty skin doesn’t catch and burn.

The fish will be sweet and silky with a crisp and caramelised skin. Serve with rice and a green vegetable.


CarnitasCarnitas are one of my favourite Mexican dishes. This is a luscious way with pork, which brings out a deep flavour from the meat and gives it a superbly silky texture. Unfortunately, I can predict as I type this that some of you are going to balk once you’ve read the recipe – because all this deliciousness comes about because the meat is poached in nearly its own weight in pork fat, then drained. I know that the word ‘lard’ is about as popular as the word ‘anthrax’ in recipes these days. It’s a great, great shame – there is joy in good foods, and some of the very best are thick and unctuous with glossy animal fats.

We appear to have developed a terrible national neurosis about fat in general, and animal fats in particular. In moderation (after all, you’re probably not going to be eating carnitas more than a couple of times a year at the most), fat is just part of a balanced diet. It provides a vehicle for vitamins A, D, E and K, which are only made available to your body when dissolved in fat. Fat maximises flavour, creates exceptional textures (think of a lardy puff-pastry, a potato cooked in goose fat, a crisp slice of bacon), and, quite simply, fat can make you happy, which is as positive an outcome as I can imagine. Fat is, undoubtedly, fattening…but I encourage you to take a trip to the supermarket and look at the average size of the glum people stuffing their trolleys with low-fat spreads and low-fat ready meals. Worst of all, there have been reports recently that parents have been so worried by the dire messages we’re all getting about fat that they are feeding their children a diet unnaturally low in fats, resulting in deficiencies in those fat-soluble vitamins and, surprisingly, obesity later in life. If you’re worried about your cholesterol level, the best advice I can offer is to follow your carnitas up with a bowl of porridge for pudding.

So here is an unapologetically fatty recipe. Please cook it and enjoy it rather than worrying about it. To serve six, you’ll need:

1 kg lean pork, cut into 2-inch cubes
750g lard (this is best purchased from your butcher if he cooks on the premises – otherwise, a block from the supermarket will be fine)
1 onion
1 handful coriander
2 green chillies
Sour cream or crème fraîche, salsa and tortillas to serve.

Make sure the pork is well trimmed of fat. I bought a whole, boned leg joint and diced it myself, removing the skin – this can sometimes be cheaper than buying ready-diced pork. Put the pork in a large bowl and season it generously (use a little more salt than you think you will need) with salt and pepper.

Melt the lard over a medium flame in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Tip the pork into the lard and simmer for between 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. When the pork is ready it will just be beginning to brown, and it will be soft to the fork. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork from the lard, and put it in a baking dish. Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F).

CarnitasUse two forks to shred the meat well. Chop the onion into small dice, and slice the chillies. Chop the coriander finely. Mix the onion, chillies and coriander with the meat in the dish, then cover the whole lot tightly with tin foil.

Bake the dish for 15 minutes. The carnitas will be warmed through – the onion, not completely cooked, will be sweet, but will still retain its crunch. I poured some heated mole verde from Sol at Mexgrocer over the dish, but this isn’t necessary – I just felt like some delicious Mexican overkill.

Serve your carnitas with some salsas, soured cream and tortillas, (and watch this space for a pathetically easy guacamole). Summer might have finished, but if you eat like this you can almost convince yourself that your dining table is temporarily in Mexico.

Crispy Chinese roast pork

I am pathetically proud of having successfully cooked a strip of Chinese roast belly pork (siew yoke or siew yuk, depending on how you transliterate it) at home. This pork, with its bubbly, crisp skin and moist flesh is a speciality of many Cantonese restaurants. An even, glassy crispness is hard to achieve if you’re making it at home, but I think I’ve cracked it; with this method, you should be able to prepare it at home too.

You’ll need a strip of belly pork weighing about two pounds. Here in the UK you may have trouble finding a belly in one piece (for some reason, belly pork is often sold in thick but narrow straps of meat); look for a rolled belly which you can unroll and lay flat, make friends with a pliant butcher or shop at a Chinese butcher (you’ll find one in most Chinatowns). Look for a piece of meat with a good layer of fat immediately beneath the skin. The belly will have alternating layers of meat and fat. Try to find one with as many alternating strips as possible.

To serve three or four (depending on greed) with rice, you’ll need:

2lb piece fat belly pork
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon Mei Gui Lu jiu (a rose-scented Chinese liqueur – it’s readily available at Chinese grocers, but if you can’t find any, just leave it out)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2oo ml water
2 tablespoons Chinese white vinegar

Bring the water and vinegar to the boil in a wok, and holding the meat side of your pork with your fingers, dip the rind in the boiling mixture carefully so it blanches. Remove the meat to a shallow tray and dry it well. Rub the sugar, salt, five-spice powder, cinnamon, Mei Gui Lu jiu and garlic well into the bottom and sides of the meat, leaving the rind completely dry. Place the joint rind side up in your dish.

Belly porkUse a very sharp craft knife to score the surface of the rind. If your rind came pre-scored, you still need to work on it a bit – for an ideal crackling, you should be scoring lines about half a centimetre apart as in this photo, then scoring another set of lines at ninety degrees to the original ones, creating tiny diamonds in the rind. Rub a teaspoon of salt into the rind. Place the dish of pork, uncovered (this is extremely important – leaving the meat uncovered will help the rind dry out even further while the flavours penetrate the meat) for 24 hours in the fridge.

Heat the oven to 200° C (450° F). Rub the pork rind with about half a teaspoon of oil and place the joint on a rack over some tin foil. Roast for twenty minutes. Turn the grill section of your oven on high and put the pork about 20cm below the element. Grill the meat with the door cracked open for twenty minutes, checking frequently to make sure that the skin doesn’t burn (once the crackling has gone bubbly you need to watch very closely for burning). The whole skin should rise and brown to a crisp. This can take up to half an hour, so don’t worry if the whole thing hasn’t crackled after twenty minutes – just leave it under the grill and keep an eye on it.

Remove the meat from the heat and leave it on its rack to rest for fifteen minutes. Cut the pork into pieces as in the picture at the top of the page. Serve with steamed rice, with some soya sauce and chillies for dipping. A small bowl of caster sugar is also traditional, and these salty, crisp pork morsels are curiously delicious when dipped gingerly into it.

Honey-mustard roast chicken

Roast chickenThis is a very easy and totally delicious way to roast a chicken. The honey-mustard baste keeps the flesh moist and plump, and dribbles into a bed of roast onions which caramelises to a sticky sweetness. The skin on a chicken cooked like this is fantastic – crisp and honeyed with a lovely zing from the baste.

To roast one medium chicken you’ll need:

1 roasting chicken
1 lemon
5 onions
1 handful fresh parsley
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 heaped tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 heaped tablespoon whole-grain mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
2 heaped tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 190° C (357° F).

Remove any excess fat from the inside of the chicken and discard. Zest the lemon and put the zest aside in a bowl, then slice the lemon in half and push it into the cavity of the chicken with one halved onion and the parsley. Chop the remaining onions roughly and use them to make a little mound to stand the chicken on in the bottom of your roasting tin.

Add the soya sauce, both mustards and the honey to the lemon zest in the bowl and mix well. Put two tablespoons of the mixture inside the chicken and place the bird on top of the onions. Smear another two tablespoons over the outside of the bird. (Don’t worry about making sure the baste gets on the onion base – it will drizzle over them in just the right quantity as you baste the chicken.)

Roast chickenCover the chicken with foil and place in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting with a little of the honey-mustard mix every twenty minutes or so. After the 1 hour and 15 minutes, remove the tin foil from the bird and turn the heat up to 210° C (410° F). Continue to cook for another 15 minutes, checking that the skin browns but does not char (keep an eye on it and replace the tin foil if you feel it’s getting too brown). Remove from the oven, rest for ten minutes (the chicken will produce lots of savoury juices) and serve with the roast onions from the bottom of the pan, roast potatoes and a green vegetable.

Imam Bayaldi

Imam BayaldiI’m writing about Imam Bayaldi, a favourite middle-eastern aubergine dish (it means ‘the imam fainted’), specifically in order that my friend Martin, who has a vegetarian to entertain, has something new to cook. Sorry Martin – I’ve been meaning to get round to this for ages. I guess I just like meat.

It’s odd how many dishes from places all over the world have names like this, where religious men are felled by dinner. There’s Buddha Jumps over the Wall soup (a Chinese soup so good, apparently, that even the Buddha was driven to interrupt his meditation with worldly gymnastics – I wouldn’t know, because it’s so expensive I can’t bring myself to order it). There’s Strozzapreti, an Italian pasta which translates as ‘strangled priests’, apparently because they are so good a venal priest choked himself to death when gorging on them. The imam in the case of Imam Bayaldi has, at least, only been driven to unconsciousness rather than unseemly jumping or choking, so I suppose he wins.

There’s a lot of olive oil in this recipe. Aubergines are notorious for soaking oil and flavourings up; it’s what makes them so delicious. If you’re feeling bad about your waistline, go for a jog tomorrow. Life’s too short to avoid aubergines.

To make two stuffed aubergines you’ll need:

2 aubergines
1 red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 celery heart, chopped finely (make sure you get the yellow/green leaves here)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 small handful fresh oregano
1 small handful fresh mint
1 shall handful fresh parsley (plus extra to garnish)
250ml chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock if serving to vegetarians)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

AubergineBegin by slicing the aubergines in half lengthways and use a knife to carefully hollow them out, making them into boat shapes. Chop the flesh you’ve removed into 1cm squares, and put it in a large covered bowl. Use a serrated knife (like a tomato, the aubergine has a tough skin and soft flesh, so it’s easier to cut with a serrated knife) to remove long strips of skin from the outside of the boats (see picture). This will help the aubergines’ flesh take on flavour evenly from the stock and olive oil. Try as hard as you can to avoid puncturing all the way through to the inside of the hollowed out shells, but don’t worry; it’s not the end of the world if you do.

Imam Bayaldi fillingChop the onion, celery, tomatoes and the green pepper into pieces about the same size as the aubergine pieces you chopped earlier. Mix these with the aubergine flesh, the garlic and the herbs (apart from the bay leaves), a few twists of the pepper grinder and a teaspoon of salt. If you can find some flat-leaved parsley (which does have a subtly different flavour), use that – you can see from the pictures that all I had in the garden was curly-leaved parsley. Add three tablespoons of olive oil to the bowl and mix well.

Place the aubergine shells in a baking tin with reasonably high sides. Fill the aubergines with the mixture in the bowl, and tuck the bay leaves between them. Drizzle with some extra oil so the edges of the aubergines are well-lubricated, then pour the chicken stock into the bottom of the dish so it laps around the sides of the aubergines. Pour another five tablespoons of olive oil into the dish with the chicken stock.

Bake the aubergines, covered with some aluminium foil, for 45 minutes at 180°C (350°F), until they are soft. Remove from the dish and discard any remaining stock and oil in the pan. Serve immediately – the couscous from yesterday’s post is a fantastic accompaniment (and, like this dish, can be made vegetarian by swapping the chicken stock for some vegetable stock). You can avoid aubergines which (as in the photograph at the top of the page) look like a chia pet by the simple expedient of not garnishing them with way too much curly parsley. I blame the very large glass of retsina I was drinking at the time.

Spiced Chinese pork casserole

Chinese pork casseroleYou’ll need a slow cooker (sometimes called a crock pot) for this one. If you live in a university town, keep an eye on Facebook and Craigslist at the end of term; here in Cambridge, a lot of slow cookers, rice cookers and other equipment advertisements pop up at decent prices when overseas students return home. Mine came from a Singaporean student, and hadn’t even been used – the safety stickers were still glued to the bowl. Not bad for £10.

Slow cooking’s unbelievably easy – you just toss the ingredients in, turn the machine on and leave it for six to eight hours (an opportunity which I took to go shopping). The machine keeps the temperature low, at between 80° C and 90° C, and the food cooks for a correspondingly long time. You’ll find that meats cooked like this absorb a phenomenal amount of flavour from the ingredients they are cooked with, and these Chinese seasonings are excellent here, infusing the pork pieces with a dark, spiced softness.

To serve three to four people, you’ll need:

500g diced pork leg
2 star anise flowers
3 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
4 spring onions, tied in a knot
1 red chilli
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 piece of ginger the size of your thumb, sliced
50 ml Chinese rice wine
50 ml light soya sauce
50 ml teriyaki sauce
1 heaped tablespoon brown sugar
3 teaspoons sesame oil

This is hopelessly easy – just mix all the ingredients except the water well and place in the bowl of the slow cooker. Try to find relatively fatty pork – this will give the meat a moister finish. Add water to cover the meat, put on the lid and cook for one hour on high, then five hours on low. (Don’t allow the dish to cook for more than eight hours, at which point the meat will start to lose flavour.)

When you are ready to serve, remove the spring onions from the sauce (they will be unattractive and slimy, but they will have given up all their flavour to the rest of the dish) and dish up the casserole over rice. Garnish with fresh, diced spring onion and pour a teaspoon of sesame oil over each portion.