Venison Pizza Medieval Arabic Dartmoor Style

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Post-Christmas holidays and the supplies are getting thin.  I fancied making an Ottolenghi Turkish pizza recipe but, due to our remote location and lack of holiday shopping opportunities, I had to change a few ingredients – no tomatoes, no beef mince, no pine nuts, no eggs for his particular dough. But yes, I always have a bottle of pomegranate molasses in the store cupboard and tender venison mince in the freezer as deer abound on Dartmoor.

This spiced meat pizza appealed to me as the recipe has echoes of medieval cookery AND is topped with crunchy salad vegetables, including the much under-rated radish Sounded interesting.

It was. The family pounced upon this one.  The spiced meat is made tangy with pomegranate molasses and the hot bite of finely sliced radish topped with tahini dressing (to which I added yogurt and minced garlic) made a delicious and unusual combination.  The pizzas were wolfed down with complaints that I should have made more, so I’ll be making this again and doubling the quantity.


I have a bread machine which produces awful bread but makes serviceable speedy pizza dough which helps when I have these whims and a hungry family are baying for dinner.


500g white flour, plus extra to dust

½ tbsp salt

7g fast-action dried yeast

½ tbsp caster sugar

60ml sunflower oil

300ml lukewarm water

Use the bread machine on the dough setting which takes 1 ½ hours. Meanwhile make the topping.

Image 2250g venison mince (or minced beef)

1 medium onion, finely chopped (180g net)

1¼ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1½ tsp ground allspice

½ tsp flaked red chilli

25g flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

1½ tbsp sumac

Put all of the topping ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands until well combined. Wash your hands.

Preheat the oven to 210°C

Divide the risen dough into 2 or 3 balls, depending on the size of pizza, and roll each into a thin disc, about 2mm thick. Brush each disc lightly with olive oil on both sides and place on floured baking trays. Cover and leave to rise for 15 minutes.


Now make the salad topping

1/2-cucumber, cut into 1cm dice (190g)

2 small tomatoes, cut into 1cm dice (150g) OOPS RUN OUT

10 radishes, thinly sliced (75g)

½ red onion, thinly sliced (65g)

10g parsley, roughly chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and black pepper

To make the salad, mix together the vegetables and add the parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Stir gently and set aside.

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To make the pizzas

Divide the filling between the pastries and spread it evenly so it covers the dough fully. Sprinkle over the pine nuts if you have them and place in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until just cooked. You want to make sure the pastry is just baked, not over-baked; the topping can be slightly pink inside and the pastry golden when you look underneath. I have an Aga so I like to pop my pizzas on the hotplate for a few moments to get the base crisp as my old iron oven is rather temperamental in the crispness area.Image 7

Remove from the oven/hotplate, spoon the salad on top and finish with a sauce of

3 tbsp tahini paste

2 tbsp lemon juice

But I also added 4 tblspns Greek Yoghurt and minced fresh garlic to make a thicker sauce.

Finish with chopped fresh green chilli. Enjoy.

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Pork Momos

Steamed fragrantly spiced dumplings, served with fresh hemp seed chutney, eaten at Yak Yeti Yak Nepalese restaurant in Bath. Fragrantly yum.

a recipe here –

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momo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christmas Salad

Image 1The festive season is upon us, and with it comes my expanded waistline. Much as I love rich Christmas fare at this time of year I also begin crave fresh, crunchy, tangy salads to help lighten the load.  I saw this one on an internet magazine called and made it for my friend Martin’s birthday party last night.  The mixture of fruit and salad works really well with the sharp dressing. I think it would make a wonderful fresh accompliament to our Chrstmas meal and it only  took 10 minutes to make!

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To make a bowl of Lemon and Dijon Dressing

This is our favourite standby for adding some punch to veggies, not just salads. It works with just about everything so it is worth making up a jar of it and keeping it in the fridge. For this salad, I added a dollop of Greek yoghurt and some poppy seeds.

5 tblsp  75ml                                      freshly squeezed lemon juice

13 tblsp  195ml                                    Sunflower oil

2 heaped tblsps                                   Dijon mustard

3/4 tspn                                                salt

1/2 tspn                                                freshly ground black pepper


3 tblsp                                      Greek Yoghurt

1 tsp                                         poppy seeds

Place all the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake vigorously.  The ingredients may separate if left to stand for some time so always give the jar a shake before using it again. Pour into a bowl.

ImageSalad ingredients

1                                  crunchy round lettuce

1 pack or three           mixed salad leaves (rocket, spinach, mustard leaf, lambs lettuce….)

3                                  green apples cored and sliced

3                                  hard pears, cored and sliced

1                                  punnet  strawberries

1                                  punnet blueberries

250g                            caramalised salted nuts (easy to find at Christmas)

150g                            Gorganzola cheese

Add other ingredients you like such as: grapes, kiwi, pumpkin seeds, crispy bacon pieces, other cheeses, asparagus, pecans, roasted cashews, whatever is your bag.

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Place the bowl of dressing in the centre of a large platter with a ladle.

Break up the crunchy lettuce and spread around the bowl and over the plate as a base.

Next cover that lettuce with interesting and tasty salad leaves. Place the apple on one side and the pear on the opposite side. Sprinkle the fruit with broken up Gorgonzola.

Fill the remaining sides with stawberries and blueberries.

Sprinkle the caramelised salted nuts over all.

Place the spectacular, colourful platter on the table and your guest can take their salad and ladle the dressing onto their own plates.

Merry Christmas.

Guinea Fowl with pancetta, thyme, shallots and red wine

IMG_0073I love Guinea Fowl, a game little bird that is tastier than your average chicken but not as dry as pheasant.  I pan fry to brown the bird then bake it in a closed casserole/Dutch oven to achieve a tender result.  Serve with dauphinoise potatoes and carrots with roasted carraway seeds.


A Guinea Fowl

A knob of butter and a splash of olive oil

Maldon Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

150g               pancetta or unsmoked bacon in the piece

30g                  butter

300g               shallots, chopped roughly or kept whole if very small

1                      carrot choped finely

1stick              celery chopped finely

4 cloves           garlic, kept whole with skin on

1/2 bottle       good red wine + 3/4cup (200ml) of water

10g                  sprigs of lemon thyme (plain will do)

2                      bay leaves

10                   pepper corns

salt and pepper to taste

Place the pancetta pieces in a iron fying pan or cast iron casserole and heat until it begins release its fat. Saute for about 3-5 minutes or until the pieces start to brown.

Drain the excess fat, and put the cooked pancetta in your casserole and wipe out the frying pan with some kitchen paper.

IMG_0071Place the butter and oil in a iron frying pan or cast iron casserole and heat until it begins to sizzle. Season the guinea fowl with salt and pepper and place it in the hot fat. Using tongs and wearing an oven glove (as it can spit) turn the bird unil the skin is honey coloured rather than brown. Remove to a plate, sprinkle with half the thyme leaves, stuff the rest and the thyme twigs into the cavity of the bird, season again with salt and pepper and place on top of the pancetta in your casserole.

In the same frying pan as you browned the bird, add the vegetables and herbs from the marinade and sauté about 10 minutes or until they start to turn golden, you may need to add a little more fat.

When ready, add the wine, it will sizzle, count to ten, then pour the mixture into your casserole. Add the bay leaves and water and close the lid.

Cook in a medium oven. Check the guineafowl after 40 minutes to see how tender it is. It should be soft but not falling from its bones. It will probably take about an hour, depending on the size of bird and your oven. Lift the guineafowl out and into a bowl and cover with foil and a dishcloth while you reduce the sauce.

Place the casserole on direct heat, turn up the heat under the sauce and let it bubble enthusiastically until it has reduced by a third. As it bubbles down it will become thicker – though not thick – and will become quite glossy.  If you wish for a thicker sauce, stir in a teaspoon of cold butter and a teaspoon of cornflour mixed to a runny paste with cold water. Whisk in speedily into the sauce. Taste and season to your liking.IMG_0072

To serve, debone the (now rested and not too hot) bird with your bare hands and pour the sauce over it.  Serve with potatoes, carrots, maybe shredded cabbage or broccoli.  Great for Sunday lunch.IMG_0075


English: "Guinea Fowl", oil, 28 x 30cms

English: “Guinea Fowl”


Devonium & Kitchenalia


I’m moving – follow my new Lao Food site

Jaew is pounded sauce or rough paste, the main ingredient of which is chilli: it is essential to a Lao meal.  My favourite is Jaew Bong, a specialty of Luang Prabang made with buffalo skin (don’t be put off, it’s delicious).The varieties are endless, ranging from simple blends of chilli, salt and fresh herb leaves to unctuous condiments whose recipes are handed down through families. The secret of a really good one is to sear one or more of the ingredients on a charcoal fire.  It is served in a separate bowl and everyone dips food into the communal dish rather than scoop a personal portion onto their plate.


In the North of Laos, jaews are so hot that when I first tried one it felt like someone had sneaked up behind me and slapped…

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Thai Prawn and Mango Salad

IMG_0147I usually serve this refreshing salad on a large platter for everyone to help themselves. However, today I thought I’d try serving it in glasses like a prawn cocktail as  I might make this as a starter for our Christmas meal. If serving in glasses you can to layer the salad rather than mixing it all in the bowl, then I spoon the dressing on top. I had ripe mangoes in the house but I personally prefer to make this with greener mangoes, but what can you do, in a wood in Devon? It’s still good.  Enjoy.

IMG_0140Ingredients serves 4-6

2 mangoes, peeled and cubed

4 spring onions

250 g Bean sprouts

300g Cooked king prawns

A generous handful of coriander leaves

10 Basil leaves (Thai basil or Italian if you can’t get it)

A half  handful of peanuts

Fresh chilli finely chopped

Serve with Nouc Cham sause as dressing

This is a dipping sauce that has many variations. Some are sweeter or more sour than others. You have to find your own balance. This makes 150ml so you will have some left over for another time.

1                      chilli split and seeded

1 teaspoon       of fine white sugar or more to taste, dissolve in hot water if necessary.

2                      limes juice of  (30ml)

60ml                rice vinegar or mild low acid vinegar like cider vinegar

60ml                fish sauce


To make the dressing, finely chop a red chilli and combine with fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar and caster sugar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.

Peel the  mango  and dice the flesh, cutting around the stone. Take a large mixing bowl and place the chopped mango in it. Add the beansprouts.

Roughly chop coriander and basil and add this to the mango.

Finely slice the spring onions and add to the salad.

Add some cooked king prawns, then add the dressing a little at a time to taste.

Roughly pound some peanuts in a pestle and mortar. Slice the chilli

Serve  topped with chopped peanuts and some extra fresh chilli.

( It works well using mint instead of basil, too)