Have a Feast Tonight:Great Recipes for the Foodie in You

-Brian Whyte Singh

Plum Pudding (make this in advance)

Soak 1 cup raisins, 2 cups chopped dates, 1 cup black currants, and1 cup chopped mixed candied
Peel in 1 cup of rum for about a day.

Sift one cup of flour with 1 tsp baking soda and1/2 tsp salt.

Stir in the marinating fruit, adding 1/2 cups finely grated apple or carrot, 1 /2 cups chopped walnuts, 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 molasses (or dissolve a piece of dark ‘chaku’ in a little hot water), 2 tsp cinnamon powder, 1/2 tsp each clove and nutmeg powder, and 1/2 cup sliced almonds.

Mix thoroughly, spoon into a large bowl, cover with aluminum foil, tying it down over the edges, place the bowl on a trivet in a large pan of boiling water, cover and cook on low heat for 5 hours. If you’re in a hurry, cheat: forget the alu foil but cover the top with double layer of muslin cloth, tying it down and place it in the microwave, cooking for 1 /2 hours on low heat.

To serve, re-heat and turn out onto serving platter, pour over 1/2 cup brandy, and set alight.

Serve with the traditional brandy sauce–1 /2 cups sugar blended with 1/2 cup butter, 3 tbsp cognac, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp grated lemon rind. Process in blender till smooth and fluffy. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

OR – make Sikarni
Hang curds for about and hour till drained, turn into a bowl, add cream, ground sugar (or honey, and a generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
Whisk till smooth.
Keep in the fridge till ready to serve.

Roasted Chicken with Trimmings

The Chicken:
Get a largish broiler chicken (about 1 /2-2 kg), have the butcher scorch the skin.

Take it home, wash it well and hang out to drip dry as far as possible.

Meanwhile, make up a marinade of 1 tbsp each of ground garlic and ginger, 1 tbsp mixed herbs (I use Herbes Provencal), soya sauce, and enough sunflower or soybean oil, add 1 tsp ground black pepper, salt, and a pinch of MSG (optional).

Remove the liver and heart from the body of the chicken, then rub it inside and out thoroughly with the marinade.

Place a trivet in a large cooking pot and place the chicken on it, leaving it to marinate at least overnight, better 24 hours. In cool weather, one need not refrigerate.

Next, place it on a low fire, add about 2 cups of water, cover, and cook it till tender. Raise the flame if there is too much water left and cook it down to a thickish gravy.

Remove the trivet and turn the chicken well in the gravy. Reserve.

Vichy Carrots:

Get small carrots, peel them, remove the tops, and carve the tops to round the edges.

Place in a saucepan and cover with orange juice (Real or any other will do) and cook till tender and the juice is almost dry. Remove, cool.
Using a toothpick or skewer, make a hole on the top of each carrot and insert a sprig of parsley or celery.

Buttered French Beans:
Top and tail about 3 handfuls of French beans, break into 2” lengths and boil in a little salted water till al dente. Drain.
While still warm, add a little butter and black pepper and allow to melt. Toss.

Get about 1/2 kg of smallish potatoes (say, 1 /2” across?), wash them well, and set to boil in their skins till tender.
Cool, remove the skins, and deep fry the potatoes in oil till golden brown.

Sprinkle over salt to taste.

Safari Stuffing:
1/2kg pork or mutton mince with about 1/2 packet of finely chopped bacon.
Mince an onion, some garlic, and add a sprinkle of mixed French Herbs. Grate a carrot.
Wash and reserve about 1/2 cup raisins. Chop about 1/2 cup cashew nuts roughly.
Reduce 3 slices of bread to crumbs.

Heat a little oil in a wok or kadai, add the onions, garlic, and herbs, saut one minute, then add the minced meat with the bacon and saut about 2 minutes before adding the grated carrot and the breadcrumbs.
Add a dash of soy sauce, taste for salt, add black pepper to taste, and cook till done.
Mix in raisins and cashew nuts with 1 tsp of sugar, stirring well to combine.

To Serve:
Place the Roasted Chicken on a platter lined with lettuce leaves, surround with the carrots, beans, and potatoes.
Pour any gravy over the chicken and the potatoes.
Place the Safari Stuffing in a separate bowl.

Serve with a fresh salad:
This could be greens, a Russian or Waldorf salad (made with apples, walnuts, and mayonnaise), and a basket of sliced brown bread, rolls, croissants...

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