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Category: Lamb

Consider The Mutton Curry


Today we are taking a huge step back in time and heading back to  the time of gas lamps, hansom cabs and thick London fogs.  How nice then in this cold inhospitable atmosphere to pop into the Oriental Club for a spicy mutton curry to warm your cockles on a cold winter’s night!  Just think, Arthur Conan Doyle could have tucked into this curry as he pondered the intricacies of the first Sherlock Holmes story.  

And now you can too!

19th Century Curry 2 Our mutton curry comes from  1861  from The Oriental Club’s chef, Richard Terry who made use of the ingredients from the first Asian grocery warehouse in  London to recreate a curry recipe he had learned from Indian cooks.  It is also indicative of Britain’s and Briton’s long-lasting love of curry! 

This is certainly not a curry in a hurry!  There are several parts to making this, which is time-consuming but if you have the patience, it is well worth the effort.  Also, whilst the original recipe called for mutton, I used lamb.  I could not find mutton anywhere – not even dressed as lamb.  Funnily enough though, my mum says that in Sri Lanka when any recipe called for lamb or mutton, what they actually used was goat so use what you can get.

19th Century Curry Powder ingredientsFirst up, you need to roast up some spices to make a curry powder.  This will make more than you need for one curry so you will have supplies if you want to make this again or you can use it in other curries. 

19th Century Curry PowderOne thing that is strange about this curry is that you not only need a curry powder but also a curry paste. 

Whilst we’re roasting and grinding those spices, let’s talk Sherlock!  I am a HUGE fan of the BBC series with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Andrew Scott because who doesn’t love a bad boy right?  And I am over the moon excited to see Series 4.  Tom Hiddleston! Colin Farrell! This series is  going to be AWESOME! 

19th Century Curry Paste IngredientsNow, a very weird thing about this curry paste is that it contains lentils which you grind up.  I have never heard of this technique before but…hey, if it’s good enough for the The Duke of Wellington, who was the President of the Oriental Club back in the day, it’s good enough for me!  The genius stroke is that they help to make the gravy lovely and thick. 

Mutton curry (maybe even one based on this recipe!) features as a clue in a Sherlock Holmes story.  In The Adventure of Silver Blaze, which not only contains the phrase”Consider the mutton curry,” the title of this post but also “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”, a mutton curry is doused with powdered opium, putting the stable boy meant to be guarding the race horse Silver Blaze into a stupor and hence rendering him unable to do his job. 

19th Century Curry Paste

The paste mix will also make more than you need for one curry but will keep in the fridge for months.

Sadly, Sherlock Holmes may not have been a fan of curry.  At least not according to the 1946 film, Terror by Night.  This however is not based on a Conan Doyle story so this is open for debate.  Terror By Night is also available for free download here.  Personally, I think Sherlock would have been a fan of this mutton curry…with or without a garnish of powdered opium. 

  19th Century Curry 2

The 19th Century Mutton Curry was delicious, dark and spicy, thanks to those lentils, the gravy was lovely and thick and the meat was tender.  This was a winner!  And hey, I’ve got paste and powder left so I’ll definitely be making it again!

Best served with an ice-cold beer! Whilst watching Series 4 of Sherlock!

Any leftovers?  A curry jaffle is THE best hangover food known to man.  Just sayin’. Tis the season after all!

Oh and by the way, the Oriental Club still exists and curries still feature on the menu.  I am adding to the list for a trip to London next year!

19th Century British Mutton Curry
A delicious mutton curry from the days of The Raj, Queen Victoria and Sherlock Holmes!
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19th Century British Curry Powder
  1. 2 tbsp ground turmeric
  2. 5 tsp ground coriander
  3. 2 tsp ground ginger
  4. 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  5. 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  6. 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  7. 1/2 tsp ground cardamom seeds
  8. 1/2 tsp ground cloves
19th Century British Curry Paste
  1. 4 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  2. 2 tbsp yellow split peas
  3. 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  4. 1 1/2 whole cumin seeds
  5. 1 tbsp whole brown mustard seeds
  6. 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  7. 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  8. 1 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  9. 2 tsp salt
  10. 2 tsp sugar
  11. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  12. 120ml cider vinegar
  13. 6 tbsp corn, peanut or olive oil
  1. 675g bones lamb, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  2. 2 tbsp 19th Century British Curry Powder
  3. 1 tbsp 19th Century British Curry Paste
  4. 200g onions, peeled and finely chopped
  5. 4 tbsp corn, peanut oil or ghee
  6. 3/4 - 1tsp salt
For The 19th Century British Curry Powder
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a jar. Mix. Cover with a tight lid.
  2. Store away from heat and sunlight.
  3. Makes 7 tablespoons.
For The 19th Century British Curry Powder
  1. Put the coriander seeds, split peas, peppercorns and cumin into a medium cast iron frypan and set on medium heat. Stir and roast until the split peas are reddish, the coriander has turned a shade darker and all the spices begin to give off a roasted aroma.
  2. Empty them into a bowl and allow to cool.
  3. Put the roasted spices and the mustard seeds into a spice grinder or food processor and grind as finely as possible. Place in a bowl.
  4. Add thee turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger, salt, sugar, garlic and vinegar.
  5. Stir to mix.
  6. Pour the oil into a small non-stick frying pan and set over a medium heat.
  7. Add the spice paste.
  8. Stir and fry for around 5 minutes or until it browns slightly.
  9. Cool, then empty into a jar.
  10. Cover tightly and refrigerate until needed.
For The Curry
  1. Put the oil or ghee in a heavy, wide, lidded pan. Set it over a medium high heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, stir in the onions and fry them until they are lightly browned.
  3. Add the curry powder and curry paste.
  4. Stir a few times then add the meat and half the salt.
  5. Stir and fry for a few minutes until the meat is coated in the spice mix.
  6. Cover and reduce the heat to low.
  7. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add 600ml water and increase the heat/ Bring to the boil.
  9. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for an hour until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick.
  10. Season to taste and serve.
  1. If the sauce is not thick enough, remove the lid and let it boil down.
Adapted from Richard Terry's Indian Cookery, 1861 via Madhur Jaffrey
Adapted from Richard Terry's Indian Cookery, 1861 via Madhur Jaffrey
Retro Food For Modern Times
Have a great week!  Enjoy your holidays if you are on them, enjoy Sherlock S4 if you are watching.  Let me know if you are, we can compare notes after!

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Inspired by 1989 – Lavender and Sparkling Rosé Mustard

Strike a pose!   Today we are Vogue-ing back to 1989 with part two of our look into the October / November 1989 edition of Vogue Entertaining.  And taking inspiration from the cover, today’s recipes all come from an article called Lavender’s Coup which mostly features those flowers as a key ingredient.  In fact they all did except for one random recipe for strawberry sorbet. 

lavender-sparkling-rose-mustard2My front garden is full of lavender and at the moment it looks glorious!  We are also in no danger of colony collapse disorder here because the garden is also full of bees. Kinda dangerous for me because I am highly allergic to stings  but thus far we are respecting each others’ space. 

lavenderProvençal Leg Of Lamb

This is not so much a recipe as a suggestion by Vogue Entertaining:

“Instead of inserting the usual garlic or rosemary into your leg of lamb before roasting try lavender instead.  Pat about 1 small handful or 2 level tablespoons of dried English Lavender all over the roast.  Season and bake as usual. 

The lavender will not flavour the meat strongly but with a lovely subtle herby taste and the perfume of the lavender will permeate the kitchen from your oven.”

I added some lavender to my usual rosemary and garlic for a roast leg of lamb and the result was divine.  The flavour was exactly as promised however no I think Vogue Entertaining may have been waxing lyrical with the lavender scent permeating the kitchen.  There was precisely none of that.  There was however the equally delightful aroma of roasting lamb so no harm done!

lavender-lambI went slightly Middle Eastern with my sides which were a roasted pumpkin salad with, feta, walnuts and roasted red onion and some sautéed broad beans and mushrooms with a tahini yogurt dressing.  The broad beans were also home-grown just not by me – they came direct from my bosses garden.  

lavender-lamb3Lavender and Sparkling Rosé Mustard

The original recipe for this mustard contained white wine.  I had some sparkling rose in the fridge and decided to use that instead and the result was lovely.  The mustard is both sweet and spicy, the ginger and cloves add depth and warmth, it’s loaded with herbs to keep it light and fresh. 


Slather  this liberally all over your favourite ham sandwich, over a chicken before it goes in for roasting or whip up a Croque Monsieur or use where ever else you would use mustard!


Lavender and Sparkling Rosé Mustard
A delicious and versatile mustard
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  1. 50g yellow mustard seeds
  2. 50g black mustard seeds
  3. 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  4. 1/2 tbsp fresh tarragon
  5. 1//2 tbsp fresh thyme
  6. 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  7. 2 cloves garlic
  8. 2 tsp chopped ginger
  9. 11/2 tbsp honey
  10. 1 tbsp salt
  11. 3/4 cup sparkling rose
  12. 1/3 cup olive oil
  13. 1 tbsp dried English Lavender flowers
  1. Combine the mustard seeds, cloves, tarragon, thyme, parsley, ginger, garlic, honey and salt in a blender.
  2. Process until all the ingredients are finely chopped.
  3. With the motor running, add the sparkling rose and oil.
  4. Remove to a bowl, cover and stand at least 8 hours.
  5. Add the lavender and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
  6. If you prefer a smoother mustard, blend a second time.
Adapted from Vogue Entertaining October / November 1989
Adapted from Vogue Entertaining October / November 1989
Retro Food For Modern Times




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Lamb Kebabs Without A Herbed Sauce

The original name of this recipe in The A-Z of Cooking is lamb kebabs with herbed sauce.  Except I needed a bowl to make the salad and in a moment of madness threw out the marinade so I could wash and reuse the bowl it was in. 

About ten minutes later I went to make the sauce…”Hmmm…better get started on that sau…..oh….oh….” The marinade which is the basis for the sauce…oh, who am I kidding, it is the sauce, heated up was at the bottom of my bin bag and now covered in onion skins, an empty can of cannellini beans and other detritus.  Oops. 

There was no yogurt to make some more and really, any sauce/ marinade I had made in the moment would have also lacked the lambiness that would have come from marinating those chops for a good 24 hours. 

Lamb Kebabs

Despite the lack of sauce, the chops had sat in the herby marinade for ages and I made not one but two of Sabrina Ghayour’s Salads from Persiana to go with the kebabs and they both had heaps of herbs, so I’m calling “H is for Herbs” done.  It’s just a shame I made these before the start of the Persiana Project so these will not count towards my numbers.

These lamb kebabs are delish!!!.  I used lamb chops instead of diced lamb because that’s what I had.  I also really wanted the meat to stay tender and I thought that rendering the fat off the chops as they cooked would do that.  Combined with the marinade, this worked a treat.  Even though they were fairly big chunks of meat the chops were incredibly juicy and tender.

Lamb Kebabs2The lamb kebabs were a colourful, fun meal and quick to cook and so pretty with all the different vegetable colours. I will definitely make these again. And maybe even make the sauce next time – I’ll keep you posted!

Lamb Kebabs3 The veg I used were mushrooms, red onion, red peppers out of a jar, cherry tomatoes and green olives because that was what I had on hand.  Zucchini would be nice here or eggplant or tiny par boiled potatoes – really whatever veggies you like could be used!

The marinade / sauce contained tomato juice which seemed weird to me.  I would have normally used tomato paste. 

And with the lamb kebabs we are done with H in the A-Z of Cooking! There was also H is for Home Baking but I already made the brioche here.

Here’s the recipe for the lamb kebabs, I would love to know if you make these with the sauce!

Lamb Kebabs 1970

The two salads I made from  Persiana were:

Turkish White Bean Salad

Tomato Salad With Pomegranate Molasses (PS,this links to an awesome blog which you should all be reading)

Have a wonderful week!

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Rolling, Rolling Rolling…Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Daring Kitchen & Spice Peddler recipe)

I’ve been doing some wicked multitasking over the last few weeks – moving house has taken up just about all the time, energy, patience  and sanity I had left…which, particularly in the case of the last two was not a huge amount to begin with.

So, how to get through the move, life in general,  and a couple of cooking challenges for the month? Multitasking is how.  November’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge had us on a roll! Olga from challenged us to make stuffed cabbage rolls using her Ukrainian heritage to inspire us. Filled with meat, fish or vegetables, flexibility and creativity were the name of the game to get us rolling!

The Spice Peddlers this month sent their Big 5 Pepper Steak Rub which consists of black, green, white, pink, Szechuan and Tasmanian pepper plus cardamom, garlic salt, nutmeg and cloves.  This is a delicious blend which should by no means be limited to Pepper Steaks…although, having said that, it would be pretty great used like that.

Cabbage Rolls 2

So, the basic recipe for the cabbage rolls can be found here along with a vegetarian and a fish version which I am just itching to try!

I made some changes to the original recipe.  I’m not a huge fan of pork so I used lamb mince as my meat of choice.  I also added a teaspoon of the Big 5 Pepper Steak rub into the lamb mixture.

DSC00278When I made my rolls, I had a quite a bit of the meat mix left so I made up some meatballs and lightly fried them up before adding them to the pan with the rolls.  As I was frying them up, I also sprinkled more of the Pepper Mix into the pan so the meatballs picked up the pepper mix and got a kind of crunchy peppery coating on them.  Delish!!!


Then into the oven with tomato sauce, another light sprinkle of the Pepper Mix and some salt to finish and a lovely hearty meal was had by all.

Perfect timing too because, whilst Melbourne’s weather cannot compare with the Ukraine, it has been an unusually cold summer and the cabbage rolls and a glass of red were the perfect accompaniment to a chilly night where we had to put the fire on!  The warming spices in the Big 5 Pepper Rub were a perfect blend for this hearty and warming dish.

Stufffed Cabbage Rolls
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This wasn’t the quickest of things to make as it has many moving parts – pre-cooking the cabbage, and the rice, making the filling and the tomato sauce, then the baking all takes time.  However, no single  part is difficult and it is delicious and was as good, if not better when re-heated for lunch the following day

Also, I used half the quantity in the given recipe and, as you can see, it made a huge amount….

Meantime, i was inspired by this recipe’s Ukrainian heritage to have a look at some of the great old posters produced in the Eastern bloc…

I think this is the one that insprisred the Franz Ferdinand cd cover:

1920’s Communist Poster
Franz Ferdinand

These are some awesome Polish movie posters:

Polish Movie Posters

And this is apparently an anti-drinking message…yep, I’ve had mornings where my head felt like that too…

Last month’s Bloody Mary was kind of a hit so I’m going to be spending the new few days thinking about how I can incorporate the Big 5 Pepper Steak Rub into a cocktail…stay tuned!

Have a great week!

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Artichokes – Delicious Vegetable or WMD?

Artichokes didn’t feature on the menu when I was growing up.  I’m also not overly fond of the ones you get in the deli which taste more of the vinegar they come in that anything else.  So, I had actually never eaten a fresh artichoke until last year…I‘m not sure what prompted me to buy some because let’s face it, they’re not an attractive proposition.

Water Lily Lamb Salad
Water Lily Lamb Salad

I don’t mean the way they look, that’s awesome  – the amazing colours, the gorgeous mix of purple and green and their sculptural shape…


They are almost like something that should be in should be in a bouquet rather than on your plate and, just to prove that point, here’s one I prepared earlier….



Gorgeous.  And functional.  If you get a little peckish…pull off a leaf and have a nibble.  Win. Win.

So, when I say they are unattractive, what I really mean is that they are hard work.

Imagine trying to explain the artichoke to someone from another planet…

“Well you’ve got to trim off the leaf tops with scissors, then brush them with lemon so they don’t go brown”

Yeah but if you didn’t cut them, you wouldn’t have to…

“Never mind about that.  Then you have to scrape out the choke…

Scrape out the what?

“The choke…it’s kind of a hairy bit at the bottom…”

It has a hairy bottom? And you EAT this?

Uh Huh.

Removing the Choke
Removing the choke

Why’s it called a choke?

Not sure but if you don’t remove it all sometimes the fuzz can get caught in your throat and apparently it can be very painful.

Oh my God.  This hairy bottom vegetable wants to kill you. You humans are bonkers.  Anyone else would run a mile from this thing…There’s no way I”m eating that.  Might come in handy as a weapon though…

Ok, so I”ll just dip these deliciious leaves in melted butter and eat them myself shall I?


That’s a traditional way of eating them.  You dip them in melted butter and then you drag ’em through your teeth…

Melted butter you say? Ok, I’m in.

Artichokes with Parmesan Butter Sauce

Why aren’t more foods dipped in melted butter?   As far as I can ascertain the only things that are regularly dipped in butter are artichokes and lobsters both which are pretty good anyway. Why aren’t we doing this with some of the revolting  stuff (beetroot springs to mind) to make it taste better?  I guarantee more people would like Brussels Sprouts if they came liberally doused in melted butter.  Just saying.

Anyway I digress.  You know what is also good?  Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…but a few more of my favourite things are mayonnaise, lamb and capers.

And all of these delicious things can be found in the Nancy Spain recipe for Water Lily Lamb Salad.  And this time, I really did prepare one earlier….


Water Lily Lamb Salad 2
Water Lily Lamb Salad 2

Apart from the cutest name ever, the Water Lily Lamb Salads are pretty damn good and would make a great starter for a springtime lunch.  It’s such a lovely way to present the meal as well…albeit, I cooked my artichokes for the full 25 minutes as recommended by Nancy and they kind of fell apart, hence my slightly awry water lillies in the photos!  Tasted great though.   Still, I’ll cook them a lot less next time.  You could sub in chicken for the lamb as an equally deliciious variant.  Or an egg salad would be incredible…

And, if you needed any further incentive to eat artichokes, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the Artichoke Queen Of California in 1947.  And look where it got her…

No, not dead of a barbiturate overdose  at the tender age of 36…wow, you people are cynical…

Marilyn Monroe - Artichoke Queen
Marilyn Monroe – Artichoke Queen

I”m going to be spending my week hanging around greengrocers, waiting to be crowned queen of something.

Then again…why limit myself to produce when I can crown myself


It’s your week, may as well make it awesome.

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