Authentic Thai Green Curry


With the advent of ready-made sauces, Thai curry has become somewhat compromised. The sauces necessarily contain sugar as preservative, and commonly recommend the addition of coconut milk. The result is all too often sweet thick gloop.

However, it is not difficult to make your own Thai curry sauce (green or red) using raw ingredients. Forget the purists who insist that the ingredients have to be individually pounded in a pestle and mortar. Just chop ‘em up roughly and whizz ‘em up in a food processor, or with a staff mixer. The result will be a fresh and vibrant assault on your taste buds. The paste is a good way to use fresh chillies you might have grown.

I like to add coconut cream to the curry in place of coconut milk. Coconut milk from a tin I find has a slimy texture.

What you add to the curry sauce is your own choice. Traditionally a green curry calls for pea aubergines, but these can have the resistance of small golf balls.
I like to add some or all of the following:IMG_2503
• Cooked shelled prawns
• Sugar snaps
• Bean sprouts
• Deep fried cubes of purple aubergine (boiled I find is also too slimy)
• Toasted cashew nuts

Serves 3
1 tbsp chopped galangal (use ginger as a substitute if unavailable)
3 tbsp chopped lemongrass
1 tsp kaffir lime leaves
1 tsp chopped coriander stems
1 tsp chopped turmeric root
2 tbsp chopped shallots
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp shrimp paste
Chillies, either birdseye or mild

TIP: Because kaffir lime leaves, galangal and turmeric root are rather specific to Thai cuisine, I like to freeze these ingredients to avoid waste.

1 tbsp sunflower oil
5 tbsp coconut cream
1 tsp fish sauce
½ tsp palm sugar
200ml vegetable stock
2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
3 red chillies, de-seeded and finely sliced
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
½ tbsp of Thai basil leaves, chopped
Lime wedges
Extra fish sauce for serving


1. Blend the ingredients in a food processor, adding a little water if necessary, until you have a reasonably smooth paste.
2. Heat the oil in a wok, then add the coconut cream and curry paste. Fry over a medium heat until the spices are cooked and the oil begins to separate – this should take about 5 minutes.
3. Add the fish sauce, sugar and stock and bring to the boil.
4. Add the sugar snaps and aubergines, and simmer for a couple of minutes.
5. Add the beansprouts and prawns (if using) and allow to heat through.
6. Serve in deep bowls, with jasmine rice. Sprinkle with the herbs, chilli and cashew nuts.
7. Serve lime wedges and extra fish sauce on the side.


© DAVEggie

The Humble Fishcake

As I confess in my ‘about’, I occasionally eat fish. And one of my favourite fish recipes is the humble fishcake.

Probably just about everyone has their own recipe, but after many experiments I humbly present this as the best I have come across.

Traditionally, fishcakes are made with mashed potato. But the only thing I think that is nice to accompany them, is, well…potato and vegetables.

Therefore I decided to try crushed white haricot beans instead. The full recipe that I liked the best is:
Fresh tomato sauce
Carrots a la Forestièrre
• Baked fennel
I find humble fish such as such as panga or coley work perfectly well. You could also use tinned tuna.

For 3 people
300g white fish
250g cooked white haricot beans
Zest of half a lemon, finely grated
2tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 egg, beaten


If you are using raw fish, cook as follows:
1. Finely chop 1 shallot, and sweat in 15g butter until soft.
2. Add ¼ fish stock cube, ¼ bay-leaf, a small sprig of thyme and 50ml dry white wine.
3. Boil until the alcohol has evaporated, and the liquid is syrupy.
4. Add 100ml water, and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Add the fish and poach gently until just done.
6. Drain the fish, allow to cool.
7. Boil down the poaching liquid to a volume of about 2 tablespoons. Strain and reserve.

You can also soak and boil dried beans, but I prefer to use a jar of cooked beans.

1. Rinse, drain and dry the beans, add to a bowl and mash roughly.
2. Flake the fish into the bowl.
3. Add the lemon zest, chopped parsley, fish sauce, mix thoroughly and season to taste.
4. Add the egg, and set the mixture to chill in the fridge. If time is limited, then put the mixture in the freezer.
5. When the mixture has firmed, form into 9 cakes, and dredge each in flour.
6. Dip each fishcake in beaten egg, and roll in breadcrumbs.
7. Return to the refrigerator until ready to fry.


1tbsp olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
500g ripe tomatoes, skinned and de-seeded (save any juice)
1 small sprig rosemary
1 small sprig thyme
Reduced fish poaching liquid, if you cooked the fish from raw

1. Sweat the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft.
2. Add the herbs, and cook for no more than a minute.
3. Add the tomatoes, and fish poaching liquid if using, bring to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the herbs and liquidize.


© DAVEggie

Corn Chowder

Again, this is a recipe where humble ingredients combine wonderfully, lifted by fresh dill and  chipotle chilli powder. It is quick and easy to prepare, and while this soup is not the healthiest, it is and hearty and comforting.  You could also add about 100g of diced salmon if you wished. Serve with good bread to mop up the soup.

Serves 2
60g butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, cut into 1 1/2cm pieces
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
100g carrot, cut into 1 1/2cm dice
200g potato, cut into 1 1/2cm dice
½ tsp smoked chipotle chilli powder

260ml good vegetable stock
150ml double cream
1tsp fresh dill, chopped
200g sweet corn (fresh or from a tin)
100g grated strong cheese (Cheddar or Gouda)
(100g salmon, cut into 1 1/2cm dice – optional. Smoked salmon is even better if the budget will run to it. If you use it, omit the chipotle)



  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion garlic and celery and cook gently for about 10 minutes until the onion has softened but not coloured.
  2. Add the chipotle powder, potato and carrot and fry briefly.
  3. Add the stock and dill, bring to the boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and heat through.
  5. Ladle into deep bowls, and sprinkle with extra chopped dill and chipotle chilli powder. (available online from


© DAVEggie

Growing Chillies from Seed

First of March means, amongst other things, it is time to plant chilli seeds. I have had some bad experiences in recent years of ordering seeds on line (did not germinate, or were not the variety I ordered), but upon the recommendation of a friend, I ordered my seeds this year from ( I also collected seeds last autumn from my most vigorous plants.)


Chilli seeds are really easy to germinate, but you will need to start them in doors if you are growing them in Northern Europe, as they are not frost hardy. Once the risk of frost has passed (usually by mid May) you can move them outside to a sunny position. They will also grow perfectly happily in containers on a balcony.

I like to start the chilli seeds off in small propagators such as the one below, with sliding vents in the lid:


They are available from most garden centres.

I like to sow the seeds in peat-free soil substitute plugs:


Place the plugs in the recesses in the bottom of the propagator, with the recess for the seeds uppermost.


Water liberally .


Wait until the plugs have absorbed the water and expanded evenly (you may need to add more water.) This should take about 15 minutes.


Place 2 seeds in each plug.


Press into the plug so that they are covered.

Label the seeds (I stick labels onto the outside of the propagator)

Place the lid on top with vents closed, and move the propagator to a windowsill above a radiator.


After about 14 days, the first shoots should appear!



© DAVEggie