Diwali recipes & takeaway competition

Liz Nicholls

marlow

November is Diwali month so what better time to shine a light on these recipes from Atul Kochhar…? You can also win a takeaway from one of his Bucks restaurants

Diwali is one of India’s most important festivals – a time to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.

Mattan (meat) pepper fry

This curry – a common recipe among the Christians of Kerala, where it is most likely made with mutton or goat – has very little gravy.

Ingredients:
• 600g boneless lamb rump or neck fillet
• 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger
• Four garlic cloves
• Two onions
• Two teaspoons of black peppercorns, to taste
• Fresh coriander leaves
• 200ml water
• Two teaspoons of white wine vinegar
• One heaped tablespoon of coconut oil
• 5 fresh or dried curry leaves
• Two teaspoons of onion paste
• ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
• Sea salt

Method:
1. Assemble all the ingredients and equipment before you begin. You need a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, a large heavy-based saucepan with a lid, a sieve and a large sauté or frying pan.
2. Cut the lamb into bite-sized pieces, trimming and discarding any fat, then set aside. Peel and finely chop the ginger. Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onions. Put the peppercorns in a spice grinder, or use a pestle and mortar to finely grind or crush. Rinse and chop enough coriander leaves to make about 1 tablespoon.
3. Put the lamb, water, vinegar, ½ teaspoon of the freshly ground pepper and ½ teaspoon of the salt in the saucepan. Cover the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave the meat to simmer a to a slow boil for 8 minutes. Strain the meat, reserving the cooking liquid.
4. Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil over a medium-high heat in the sauté pan. Add onions, curry leaves, ginger, garlic, a pinch of salt, and stir until the onions are lightly coloured. Add the onion paste and turmeric and stir in for 30 seconds.
5. Add the meat and stir in half the reserved cooking liquid, which will be absorbed and evaporate quite quickly. Add the remaining liquid a little at a time, stirring, until it mostly evaporates. With the last addition, the gravy should almost be like a thin paste coating the lamb and the lamb should be tender.
6. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the freshly ground pepper, adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary, and continue stirring until all the liquid evaporates. Sprinkle with about ½ teaspoon of the ground pepper and the chopped coriander leaves just before serving.

Panch Phoron Gobi Aloo
(Bengali cauliflower & potatoes)

Here’s a variation of the curry house favourite, gobi aloo. This is from the coastal region of Bengal; you might have never have had this classic combo with pickling spices and final finish of fresh ginger.

Ingredients:
• 12 well-scrubbed small new potatoes (see Atul’s tip, below)
• Two thin short green chillies
• Two garlic cloves
• Two tablespoons mustard oil
• 1¼ teaspoons panch phoron 
• 2 teaspoons ground coriander
• ½ teaspoon red chilli powder, or to taste
• ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
• 425ml water
• ½ head of cauliflower, about 400g
• One lemon
• 2cm piece of fresh ginger
• Fresh coriander leaves
• Sea salt

Method:
Assemble all the ingredients and equipment. You need a large sauté or frying pan with a lid.

1. Quarter the potatoes lengthways. Remove the stalks from the chillies, if necessary, then halve lengthways. Peel and thinly slice the garlic.
2. Heat the mustard oil over a medium-high heat in the pan. Add the garlic and stir around to flavour, it doesn’t need to colour. Add the chillies and panch phoron. Stir until the seeds crackle.
3. Add the potatoes, coriander, chilli powder and turmeric. Season with salt and stir for 30 seconds to cook the spices so the potatoes get coated. Watch closely so the spices do not burn.
4. Stir in the water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pan and leave the potatoes to bubble for 12 minutes, or until they are three-quarters cooked.
5. Meanwhile, cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, discarding outer leaves & core. Squeeze one tablespoon lemon juice. Peel and finely chop the ginger. Rinse and chop enough coriander to make about 1½ tablespoons. Set all these aside separately.
6. When the potatoes are almost cooked, stir in cauliflower and cook over a high heat for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until both are tender, but the cauliflower is still holding its shape.
7. Stir in the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the ginger and 1 tablespoon of the chopped coriander, and add salt, if necessary. Sprinkle with the remaining ginger & coriander just before serving.

Atul’s time-saving tip

I buy well-scrubbed small new potatoes when cooking this dish, so all I have to do is quarter them. If your potatoes are larger, however, cut the potatoes into 1cm dice so they cook quickly.

Hyderabadi Sour Fish Khatti Machhi (Serves four)

This is a very simple recipe, and one of the quickest to cook in the book. I’ve deliberately left the skin on the sea bass fillets. I know a lot of cooks would be tempted to remove the skin, but I enjoy eating fish with the skin, and it saves you time when preparing the ingredients. In Hindi, khatti means ‘sour’, and the sharpness of this recipe comes from the tomatoes and a little lemon juice.

Ingredients:
• 4 large sea bass fillets, skin on
• 1 lemon
• 2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste
• ½ teaspoon red chilli powder, or to taste 
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• vegetable oil
• ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds 
• 350ml passata
• 10 fresh or dried curry leaves
• sea salt
• fresh coriander sprigs, to garnish

Method:
Assemble all the ingredients and equipment before you begin. You need a non-reactive bowl, a saucepan and a large non-stick sauté or frying pan.

1. Cut the fillets in half, then place them in the bowl. Squeeze in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and add the ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder and turmeric. Season with salt and use a spoon to gently stir together so all the pieces are well coated with the paste-like marinade. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the gravy.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat in the saucepan. Add the fenugreek seeds and fry until they become darker in colour. Add the passata and curry leaves. Season with salt, reduce the heat to medium and leave the gravy to simmer while you fry the fish.
3. Heat enough vegetable oil to thinly cover the bottom of the frying pan over a high heat. Add the fillets coated in the marinade, skin side down, and fry for 2 minutes, or until the skin is browned.
4. Turn the fillets over and reduce the heat to medium. Pour the gravy into the pan around the fillets and leave to simmer until the flesh is opaque and cooked through. Take care not to over-cook them. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary. Garnish with coriander sprigs and serve.

Atul’s time-saving tip

If I hadn’t included passata in this recipe, it would have been necessary to blanch, peel and de-seed the tomatoes before puréeing and sieving them. This is a much quicker way to achieve the sour tomato gravy.

Atul’s restaurant & takeaway competitions

Each of Atul Kochhar’s award-winning Bucks restaurants’ styles are reflected through the takeaway options, cooked in the restaurant kitchens to the same exacting standards as the dishes eaten in the restaurant experience in the comfort of their own homes. Takeaways are ordered for online via each website for collection only – but they will also be available via Deliveroo too.

Vaasu, Marlow

Known for its stunning pan-Indian food, Vaasu’s takeaway collection is available to collect from the restaurant, comprising a selection of highlights from the a la carte menu. Choose from the likes of Kashmiri chicken tikka marinated with fennel and saffron, finished in the clay oven for results impossible to achieve at home; Goan fish or prawn curry; braised lamb Parsi curry with sweet apricots, brown onion and coriander korma; and much more.  

A selection of sweet treats are also offered, including crispy apple jalebi scented with cardamom and saffron, Atul’s special cheesy chocolate fondue, chocolate brownie with fresh berry salsa and vanilla cream, gulab jamun and rice pudding crowned with lemon jam and raspberry dust. 

Hawkyns, Amersham

A destination Indian restaurant in the picturesque town of Old Amersham, Hawkyns offers sensational cuisine to takeaway, available for collection. Here the takeaway menu comprises a broad selection of highlights plus a concise drinks selection and set menus especially devised by chef Atul Kochhar. Set menu bundles include a meat bundle for two, a veg bundle for two and a vegan bundle for two, all featuring a generous selection of starters, mains, sides, breads and desserts. Expect the likes of butter chicken and railway lamb curry; paneer tikka masala and Bombay aloo; or vegetable jalfrezi and carrot and beans foogath.  

Riwaz, Beaconsfield

Celebrating the culinary history and traditions of India, Riwaz’s takeaway menu is available to collect from the restaurant. The menu features a broad selection of menu highlights, including tandoor-grilled king prawns in Ajwain, chilli, garlic and mustard oil; saag gosht with Welsh slow-cooked lamb; Dum biryani with chicken, vegetables or lamb, and much more. Various set menu bundles are also available, including a meat bundle for two, a veg bundle for two and a vegan bundle for two, all featuring a generous selection of starters, mains, sides, breads and desserts.  

We’ve teamed up with Atul’s team to offer five lucky winners a takeaway. NB you must be local to Bucks for collection. Click here to enter

For more info about Atul Kochhar & his award-winning restaurants please visit Atul Kochhar.

Perfect roast at The Oarsman Marlow

Liz Nicholls

marlow

Meat-lovers (and even secret carnivores) are sure of sublime old-school classics & service at this perfect bistropub which is hosting a series of special guest chefs

With the weather still stubbornly wintry, and mojo levels decidedly lacking, the perfect roast is exactly what the doctor ordered. But where to find this mythical beast?

I had heard amazing things about The Oarsman, right in the heart of Marlow (the foodies’ favourite, with its pick of delicious delicatessens and boui bistros) and was delighted to find myself here last Sunday, with a leisurely lunchtime at my disposal as well as a similarly food-obsessed pal.

The indulgent interior of this gastro gem does not disappoint, with its arse-friendly banquettes and copper details glowing with promise at the pass. Last month saw the launch of The Oarsman’s special guest chef series creating one-off collaborative menus with head chef Scott Smith.

I had left my (mostly) vegetarian household far behind me for the day to indulge in some hearty doses of fresh meat… and it more than lived up to the hype. One of Scott’s classics (which apparently won the hearts and minds of the pub’s gaffers Nigel Sutcliffe and James McLean, and has stayed on the menu ever since) is bacon & trotters which we just had to try. This savoury joy more than delivers on its promise, as did the simply stunning classic fish soup with rouille and lacy cheesy croutons. After a refreshing marmalade martini, the main event, the holy grail of the perfect roast was then delivered not once but twice.

The perfectly pink entrecote of beef was matched by a towering Yorkshire pud and layered fondant tatties and spiced carrot that sang with the rich meaty gravy. Gina was genial enough to go swapsies halfway through, and it was a toss-up as to whether the porchetta, wrapped in the crispiest crackling of your foodiest dreams and cabbage (with a ladylike wodge of that dreamy potato again) was even better.

The staff seem rightly proud of everything served here and it was their warm praise of Scott’s Ecclefechan tart (a festive, fruity Scottish fave) with an impossibly gleamy and creamy artisan cheese that persuaded us to take a swerve from our usual chocolate choice that served us well.

I had to have a lie down after our feast – I haven’t felt that indulged since my post Christmas game-induced meat sweats. Hearty, old-school and satisfying, the Oarsman deserves a whole afternoon and a designated driver to do its offering the full justice.

The next star chefs to take the pass in the series are Simon Bonwick, Ben Tish and Daniel Smith. To book, call 01628 617755 or visit theoarsman.co.uk to find out more and check out the menu.

Chilterns Walking Festival October highlights

Liz Nicholls

marlow

Enjoy walk, foraging, local & literary history, cream tea, garden tours and more as part of Chilterns Walking Festival, 15th-30th October.

The tenth Chilterns Walking Festival features a programme of more than 50 walks and local events to help you enjoy the autumn splendour, the golden beech trees and hedgerows bursting with colour.

Highlights include Pipsticks walks on the day before All Hallows Eve for a spooky walk along the River Thames and lots of ghostly tales from the riverbank! Or take a Walk on the Dark Side with an exhilarating stroll through Bones Wood and Crowsley Park, tuning into the sounds and sights of the night, and ending at the pub for hot chocolate.

50 walks and local events to help you enjoy the autumn splendour

There’s also a foraging walk among the magnificent sweet chestnut trees to learn about and enjoy the bountiful autumn fruits of the forest. Literary walk discovering” in south Oxfordshire including the house where he once lived.

Discover and walk some of the ancient routes which criss-cross the Chilterns, exploring Drovers routes and the Slow Ways historic routes. There’s a nature walk at Aston Rowant to celebrate the 70th anniversary of National Nature Reserves. Join the rangers to see the wildlife that makes them so special, finishing with tea & cake.

Tour guide Bobbie Latter will take you on a guided walk around historic Marlow, followed by a hands-on lace-making experience and a delicious afternoon tea. Plus there are map reading courses, pub walks, local produce tasting, historic garden tours and much more.

Find out more

For full info please visit visitchilterns.co.uk/walkingfest

Join Tom Kerridge’s Pirate Ship

Round & About

marlow

There’s working in the hospitality industry and then there’s working for Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge in the hospitality industry, if you’re looking for an opportunity to work alongside one of the best in the business then hop aboard the pirate ship!

The Tom Kerridge Group includes The Hand & Flowers, The Coach, Lush by Tom Kerridge and The Butcher’s Tap & Grill all in Marlow, as well as Kerridge’s Bar & Grill and Kerridge’s Fish & Chips (both London) and The Bull & Bear (Manchester), and with vacancies ranging from bartender through to front of house and all manner of chef and kitchen roles available you’re sure to find one that will help you in your career.

When you join the ‘pirate ship’ you’ll be joining a band of pirates all contributing to the success and growth of the Tom Kerridge Group. Clear lines of progression mean some of the team have forged thriving careers over 20 years and with a policy of promoting from within and nurturing talent you can be assured you’ll get all the support you need.

Tom says: “Working in hospitality is a way of life. At the top level it’s hard work, but the rewards you can get out of it are huge. It’s not just a job, but the chance to learn new skills, travel the world, meet amazing people and be involved in amazing events, for us, it’s a long-term career. Come and join our pirate ship!”

To find out more about the opportunities on offer visit https://careers.tomkerridge.com/

Tom Kerridge set lunch for £15

Karen Neville

marlow

Enjoy two courses for £15 at The Coach in Marlow, Tom explains the idea, how it came about and what diners can expect

Back in 2008, when the country hit a recession and people were very worried about the money in their pockets, I was deep in the kitchen trying to work out how to strengthen and lay the foundations for a young business.

Beth and I came up with what sounded like a ludicrous idea but could be fun…’why don’t we do a set lunch menu that’s price feels like it is too good to be true.’ So, we launched a one choice lunch menu that made absolutely no money but filled the pub with noise, excitement and laughter. It was incredibly motivating for staff and the team and it felt like the guests were having such a great time as it was such value for money.

It was incredibly motivating for staff and the team and it felt like the guests were having such a great time as it was such value for money.

Now, in 2022, it feels like those times are here again. You can’t turn on the TV, look at social media or read a newspaper without the grim news of the cost-of-living crisis. So, it is time to bring back the ‘too good to be true’ offer.

Cottage Pie
Tomato Soup
Crème Brûlée

We are very excited to launch a set lunch £15 menu. Yes, that is right, £15 for two courses (a third course can be enjoyed for an additional £7.50), running across three of our sites. Kerridge’s Bar & Grill in the heart of London at The Corinthia, the one Michelin starred The Coach in Marlow, and the beautiful Bull & Bear in Manchester.

The same menu will run concurrently in all sites, headed up by Nick Beardshaw, Sarah Hayward and Connor Black and launches this week. The dishes will champion classic pub favourites or even school dinners, so expect cottage pie, lasagne and caramelized onion sausage with mash followed by old school desserts of spotted dick, jam roly poly and crumble and custard. The aim is to get the excitement and buzz back into restaurants without guests having the fear of spending too much money. A taste of the good times at a fraction of the price.

Please come and join us

The set lunch menu at The Coach, West Street, Marlow is available Wednesday to Friday, book at www.thecoachmarlow.co.uk

Summer dining at The Oarsman, Marlow

Karen Neville

marlow

The perfect place to enjoy lunch or dinner in the sunshine

The Oarsman, the recently-opened Bistro-pub situated in the riverside town of Marlow is looking forward to welcoming you to enjoy its new outdoor terrace and summer menu.

The Oarsman is a contemporary Bistro Pub & Wine Bar on Spittal Street which serves bistro-style seasonal dishes from the open kitchen and small plates from the charcuterie and larder counter for lunch and dinner.

The stunning new  terrace is now open for drinks, small plates and dining every day which you should be able to enjoy now enveloped in sunshine.

A strong environmental ethos and pledge to support local suppliers where possible will ensure The Oarsman will serve the finest, seasonal produce.

Heading up the kitchen is chef Scott Smith (previously Head Chef at Sugar Boat, Scotland) who has created a menu which honours the very best of British, giving the occasional nod to Scottish and Mediterranean influences and using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients that champion small producers.

Smith’s menu brings his Michelin-starred training to bear – diners can expect elevated bistro-classics such as Potted shrimp, crumpet & pickled cucumber, Trotters, bacon & beef dripping or Moules marinere with fries.

If you like your wine, there’s an extensive list of fine & rare wines, as well as a wide range of wines by the glass.

A strong environmental ethos and pledge to support local suppliers where possible will ensure The Oarsman will serve the finest, seasonal produce.

Find out more

Visit The Oarsman’s website (theoarsman.co.uk) for more details.

Marlow Best Kept Village

Liz Nicholls

marlow

Congratulations to Marlow, Best Kept Village!

Marlow has been awarded a certificate of merit in Buckinghamshire’s annual Best Kept Village Competition — “fully deserved” according to the competition’s administrator.

The judges’ comments included: “Excellent floral displays – strong community effort – in Jubilee colours”, “Areas around shops and pubs were to a very high standard” and“Good evidence of community effort in the town”.

“Excellent floral displays – strong community effort – in Jubilee colours”, “Areas around shops and pubs were to a very high standard” and“Good evidence of community effort in the town”.

Mayor Richard Scott said: “We’re delighted with the merit for Best Kept Village — the competition is fierce. I’m particularly impressed with the judges’ comments about community effort and would like to thank residents, businesses and Council workers for keeping our town clean and beautiful.”

Founded in 1957, the Best Kept Village Competition’s objective is to encourage entrants to work together as a community, involving all age groups, to make villages and towns more attractive places, not only for residents but also for visitors. The winner was Stony Stratford, with Wendover the runner-up.