November recipes: food with heart

Round & About

The White Hart

A new cook book Food & Kindness is raising funds for Oxfordshire’s Sobell House hospice with help from local restaurants

Two of those featured are Oli’s Thai in Magdalen Road, Oxford and The White Hart in Fyfield.

Oli’s Thai is a neighbourhood restaurant with a well-deserved reputation for fantastic food, the Aubergine Curry has become the most popular dish in the restaurant and they say, don’t be scared to burn the edges, that’s where the flavour is

Aubergine Curry

from Oli’s Thai


For the paste
• 1 tbsp coriander seeds
• Small pinch of cumin seeds
• 1 tbsp dried Dutch chillies, some seeds removed
• 75g lemongrass, cut thinly across
• 25g galangal, cut thinly across
• 1 tbsp table salt
• 1 tsp ground white pepper
• 35g garlic, peeled
• 25g shallots, roughly chopped
• 40g big red chillies

For the curry
• 2 aubergines
• 8 tbsp vegetable oil
• 190ml coconut milk
• 30ml water or stock
• 80g fine green beans, halved
• 2 spring onions, cut into 3cm chucks
• Handful of Thai basil
• 3 lime leaves, torn up
• 20g caster sugar
• 80ml coconut cream
• 50ml soy sauce

PREP: 15 minutes

COOKING: 30 minutes



For the paste
Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan over a low heat until golden. Once cool, put them in a spice grinder with the dried Dutch chillies and blitz to a fine consistency. With a pestle and mortar, pound a small quantity of the lemongrass and galangal together until smooth, adding more until you have used them all. Add the salt and pepper, then the other ingredients one at a time, pounding the mixture to a fine consistency before adding the next. Finally, add the blitzed dry spices and mix well. If you are using a blender to make the paste, add all the fresh ingredients and blitz until fine. Then add the coriander and cumin seeds, chillies, salt and pepper.

For the curry
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Prepare the aubergines, cutting each one lengthways into 10 or 12 wedges. For each wedge, cut along the flesh making a deep incision nearly reaching the skin and repeat, leaving 1 to 2cm gaps between each cut. Put them onto a baking tray and drizzle with five tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until soft but still holding their shape. Don’t be alarmed if the edges burn slightly, this will give the finished curry extra flavour.

Put the remaining vegetable oil into a large pan on a low heat and add the curry paste. Cook the paste for a couple of minutes until you see the oil separate. Increase the heat and add the coconut milk, stock, green beans, spring onion, basil, lime leaves and sugar then cook for about 2 to 3 minutes while stirring continuously. Turn the heat down low, add the coconut cream and soy sauce, then simmer gently until the beans are cooked, which should take about 3 to 5 minutes.

Place the roasted aubergine wedges in a bowl and pour over the sauce. Garnish with basil leaves.

The White Hart in Fyfield is a charming country dining pub that puts great food and hospitality at its heart and what could be better than trying their Elderflower Crème Brûlée with Gooseberry Compote and if you’re feeling adventurous try the doughnuts too

Elderflower Crème Brûlée with Gooseberry Compote

from The White Hart, Fyfield


For the crème brûlée
• 400ml double cream
• 35g caster sugar, plus a little extra to brûlée
• 120ml elderflower cordial
• 6 egg yolks

For the gooseberry compote
• 400g gooseberries
• 6 tbsp caster sugar
• 2 tbsp elderflower cordial

For the doughnuts (optional)
• 210ml tepid milk
• 50g unsalted butter, softened
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 100g caster sugar
• 10g fresh yeast (or 5g dried)
• 300g plain flour
• ½ tsp salt
• Vegetable oil, for frying

PREP: 15 minutes (plus 2hrs prooving)

COOKING: 30-40 minutes



For the crème brûlée
Preheat the oven to 150°c. Place the cream, sugar and cordial in a pan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Briefly beat the egg yolks in a bowl, then pour in the cream mixture while still beating. Pass through a sieve into a jug. Pour the mixture into ramekins (approx. 70ml in each) and place in a deep roasting tin. Fill the roasting tin with boiling water halfway up the ramekins. Place on the bottom shelf of the oven and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until just set. Remove from the oven and let the ramekins stand in the water for 10 minutes, then take them out and leave to cool.

For the gooseberry compote
Place the gooseberries, sugar and elderflower cordial in a pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 3 minutes, just until the gooseberries start to soften. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

For the doughnuts (optional)
Combine the milk, butter, eggs and 40g of the sugar. Place the yeast in a small bowl, then add a little of the milk mixture to form a smooth paste. Add this paste to the remaining milk mixture and whisk to combine. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Gradually pour in the milk mixture, whisking until smooth. Cover the bowl with cling film and place the dough in a warm spot to prove for approximately 1 hour or until doubled in size. Take the dough out and knock it back to remove the air, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge until cold. Roll the cold dough into 15g balls and place them on greaseproof paper squares to prove for a final 30 minutes.

Place a large saucepan, one third filled with vegetable oil, over a medium heat until the oil reaches 170°c. Place the dough balls in the oil and cook for about 4 minutes, turning often, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove and drain on paper towels. Once cooled slightly, roll the doughnuts in the remaining caster sugar.

To serve
Sprinkle a little caster sugar over the brûlée then heat with a blowtorch (or place under a hot grill) until the sugar bubbles and forms a caramel. Arrange the compote and the doughnuts artistically on the plate and we serve ours with raspberry ripple ice cream and fresh raspberries. Enjoy!

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