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13 December, 2013

Schnitzels and Chicken Fried Steak

Below is the transcript of my chat with a friend:

My friend James: Afternoon pal. Do you know of a traditional eastern european dish which is Steak then covered in batter - served at easter? Friend of a friend of mine said it was Polish.

Pete Thomas: I recall something like it, but it is American chicken fried steak.

Pete Thomas: It may have its roots in Eastern Europe, but I think it is from the American soul food tradition:

Pete Thomas: There is a long tradition in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Poland of eating schnitzels. These were traditionally made of either veal or pork, breaded or battered. 

Poles don't eat much beef steak compared to Western europe and the USA.

Pete Thomas:

Pete Thomas:

Pete Thomas: My fav:

Pete Thomas: Jaeger schnitzel is served with jaeger/hunters/chasseur sauce.

27 October, 2013

Pork Ribs or Shin Beef - No Contest!

Be careful what you buy, even from 'reputable' stores.

I was shopping in my local ASDA today and I looked at a pack of pork ribs which looked fine - until I looked closer. On the label it said 'Carefully prepared by our butchers'. Carefully? Not 'specially'. So I looked hard at the ribs. 

They were certainly carefully prepared, but the care was cynically applied as deceit; masking the low meat content by skillfully leaving just enough meat on the bones to make them look meatywhile removing as much meat as possible. There was more meat on a jockey's whip than on those 'carefully prepared' ribs. 

I may even start a 'Food Hall of Shame' blog - just to show these cheating bastards up.

Fortunately, shin beef was on a special, so I decided to hog out on beef instead.

Shin beef is unpopular with today's lazy cooks, because it takes about 2hrs and 30mins to cook tender; so it's bonus time for guys like me who like tons of meat that is cheap, and don't mind waiting.

I made a mouth-watering succulent beef stew instead.

Hooray for lazy-arsed cooks I say

26 September, 2013

Mai's Channa Daal

I have adapted this recipe from a recipe my friend Mai described to me. The curry powder and the tomato puree add another delicious layer to this excellent dish.


2 cups dry channa daal (or yellow split peas)
Plenty of water
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
3 shallots or a small onion finely sliced

3 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons of cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon of whole cumin (jeera)

1/2 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of mild curry powder
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 finely chopped fresh green chilli
Salt to taste


Wash the daal and rinse it, cover with at leat 2cm of water and bring to a boil. Boil the daal on high heat for 2 minutes then simmer until it is soft, stirring and adding more water as necessary. The daal will thicken naturally as it cooks, so adjust the water until you have the right consistency. I like mine quite runny. Once ready, remove from the heat and cover.

Heat the oil until it is hot then add the garlic, shallots, cumin, mustard seeds and chilli and stir. Take care not to burn the garlic or it will taste bitter. Once the onion is cooked, stir in the curry powder and stir-fry it for a minute, then add the tomato puree. Stir to mix and then add the whole lot into the pan of daal and mix well. Adjust for taste with salt and serve.

Serving: I like to serve daal with roti bread or plain steamed rice.

06 September, 2013

Lamb Koftes

The following is a dialog I had on social media with an old friend:

F: Making koftas later in case you know a good recipe

P: I do
You know me!
How much minced lamb have you got?

F: 800g

P: For 800g: Mix the lamb mince with a slack handful of very finely chopped spring onions, 2 carlic cloves mashed with 1 tsp salt and an egg.
You can add a teaspoon of dried rosemary and a finely chopped hot chilli pepper - both are optional. Other good herbs are marjoram, savoury and of course dried or fresh mint.
Chill the mix until it is stiff, then shape it round a chopstick to a 4 inch kofte, then grill or fry.
The hollow helps it stay moist and cook fast.
Serve with a rice or bulgar wheat pilaff, minted joghurt and chilli sauce, with a nice salad on the side.
For wine, something full-blooded like a Rhone red.
I prefer beer with it though.

F: Fantastic Thanks mate I have a lot of both ready.  Wish you were coming.   Next time 

P: you can freeze any excess shaped and raw. Cook from frozen.
I have a great recipe for veggy rice: 

F: I'm planning on making the koftas now then cooking them tomorrow or cook them now and eat cold tomorrow?  Thoughts?

P: I wish I was, it sounds like you are set for some yummy fun.
They take no time to cook, once shaped, and lamb gets too waxy when cold.
The egg helps them cook like sausages, so they hold together as long as you don't play with them
A cucumber and mint raitha would work well too. Mix cucumber chunks with greek yoghurt and english mint sauce! trust me it works.
Only pork kofte taste okay cold, but pork kofte are not authentic - even christian arabs don't eat much pork.
Can I paste this as a kind of novel way of presenting a recipe?
I will sanitise your name if you want.

F: Sure sanitise away

04 September, 2013

Beef and Pork Jerky - Chinese Style

I have eaten this kind of jerky in Hong Kong in the 80's, where it was often sold as a snack in cinemas. The taste is superb, like teriyaki only better:

17 June, 2013

Green Monster Smoothie Recipes

The Green Monster Movement has become a hit with those seeking a more healthy lifestyle, so I thought I would chip in with a couple of green monster recipes of my own:

green monster smoothies

Banana Hippie Green Monster

Dig it baby!

  • 1 cup of chopped spinach
  • 1 banana chopped
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of shelled hemp seed
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of hemp protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried wheatgrass
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried barleygrass
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried spiralina
  • 1 cup of apple juice

Waldorf Salad Green Monster

Made with real waldorfs!

  • 1 stick of celery, washed and chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped - seeds and all
  • 1 handful of walnuts
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of shelled hemp seed
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of hemp protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried wheatgrass
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried barleygrass
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried spiralina
  • 1 cup of grape juice

Blend, decant to a glass and enjoy!


These monsters are packed with wholesome goodness and they give a huge boost to your energy levels, so they are good for the morning or when your energy level begins to subside in the afternoon. It is best not to drink monsters before you go to bed, or you will have trouble getting to sleep.

09 June, 2013

Suki Noodles in Soup

This delicious soup noodle is easy and quick to prepare. The addition of Thai or Chinese Suki Sauce is optional, but gives the soup a nice flavour and a spicy kick. This is a vegetarian version I am posting for my friend Kerry, but you can add any cooked meat or seafood of your choice and use fish or chicken stock instead.

The noodles used are bean-thread vermicelli or cellophane noodles, and they soak up about 10 times their weight in liquid, so they make for a really substantial soup.

Serves 2


  • 500ml clear vegetable stock
  • About 2 slack handfuls of your choice of chopped or shreaded vegetables. Cabbage, carrots, beansprouts, mushrooms and green beans are excellent.
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced (optional)
  • About 2 slack handfuls of bean thread vermicelli
  • 1/2 tsp of good quality rock salt
  • Dash of light soy or mushroom soy sauce
  • Dash of hemp oil (optional)
  • Dash of sesame oil (optional)


  • Chinese or Thai suki sauce (optional)
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
  • A sprinkle of raw beansprouts (optional)
  • 1 tbsp of hulled hemp seeds (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of sprouted beans and seed mix (optional)


In a large saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a gentle simmer, then add the remaining ingredients. Return the soup to a simmer and continue simmering for a further 3 minutes, or until the noodles taste ready.

Add your choice of garnish and serve immediately.



Makes 25-30 small patties (serves 4 as a main course)

Adapted from Salwa Abuamsha’s recipe

Falafel are crispy fried chickpea or bean fritters, seasoned with herbs, cumin, and coriander seeds. Salwa serves hers with tahini sauce (1/2 cup tahini, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. minced garlic, and 1/2 – 1 tsp. salt) and tomato-onion salad. Falafel are delicious either on their own or in a pita sandwich. To make good falafel there are four important rules: 1. Don’t use canned or cooked chickpeas. 2. Soak dried chickpeas for at least 24 hours. 3. Process chickpeas until they’re very finely ground and easily hold together when formed into a ball. 4. Let dough rest before shaping it into patties. I like using a 1 Tbsp. scoop (size 60) to shape falafel, but some people prefer larger patties.

1/2 lb. dried chickpeas (1 1/3 cups) or peeled, dried fava beans
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. freshly ground cumin
1 tsp. freshly ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. cayenne (ground red pepper)
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Soak chickpeas in water for at least 24 hours. Rinse and drain chickpeas; spread out on dishtowel to dry while you prepare remaining ingredients.

Put chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, freshly ground black pepper, baking soda, and baking powder in food processor. Process until chickpeas are thoroughly puréed and ingredients form a very smooth dough; this can take up to 5 minutes of processing (remember to scrape down sides of bowl from time to time).

Let dough rest for 30 – 60 minutes. Scoop out tablespoons of dough; if using a 1 Tbsp. (size 60) scoop, fill scoop with dough, then level off. Form dough into balls and then flatten slightly to form small patties. Let rest for 30 minutes. (Falafel may be made ahead to this point).

Heat oil to 350°F. Fry falafel in four batches, turning them over when half done, until they’re golden brown (if you put too many in pan at one time, the oil’s temperature will drop and falafel won’t cook right). When done, place each batch on paper towels to drain; falafel cooks quickly so watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn. 

Serve immediately.

18 May, 2013

Green Fig (banana) With Cabbage & Saltfish.

I know, I know; you're gonna say this Pete guy is hooked on Caribbean food. Okay, I'm busted. So sue me! 

Anyone who isn't hooked on this awesome cuisine is not firing on all their cylinders! 

If you have never had this wonderful simple dish, you are in for a real sunshine Caribbean treat!

I will let Chris reveal the magic of this simple gorgeous dish for you in his own unique way:

In this recipe we'll use green cooking bananas, which are commonly known as green fig in the Caribbean, to make a wonderful one-pot dish with saltfish (salted fish like cod), cabbage and other flavorful ingredients. To prep the salted fish, you need to soak it in cold water, then place in a pot with water and boil for 25 minutes. Drain, rinse, squeeze dry and shred.

You'll Need...

2 lbs green cooking bananas
pinch black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
2 cups cabbage
2 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoon chopped parsely
3/4 cup salt codfish
1 medium tomato 

08 May, 2013

How To Make Grenadian Oil Down

I'm calling on Chris from Caribbean Pot to show you how to make one of my favourite recipes from the sunny Caribbean island of Grenada. 

Pig tails can be bought in specialist Asian and Caribbean stores, but you can use a small bacon joint in place of the pig tail if you so wish. Oil down is wonderful comfort food.

Breadfruit, green bananas, eddoes and other Caribbean staples are now commonplace in Asian and Caribbean grocery stores.

A hearty one-pot dish, this oil down will surely impress family and friends.


1 medium breadfruit, cut into 2cm cubes
1 large carrot, diced
2 cups chopped callaloo leaves
2 scallions, finely chopped
4 sprigs thyme
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon Saffron 
A generous grind of black pepper 
1 scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped
3 pimento peppers, chopped
2 cups pumpkin, chopped
4 green cooking bananas
2 lbs salted pig tail
3 lbs chicken pieces
3 cups coconut milk
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon chopped parsely
2 tablespoon chopped shado beni
6 eddoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon caribbean green seasoning for the chicken


You can personalize this dish by adding your favorite ground provision like yams, dasheen, cassava etc. 

It is worth the time and money to find a large breadfruit, because oil down is based on this wonderful vegetable, and cannot be authentic without it.