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Posts in 'Inspiration'

Aloo Keema Recipe
A brilliant recipe for spicy lamb mince! For more Indian spiced dishes, why not attend our Indian Cookery Classes...



500g minced lamb

1 medium onion finely chopped

2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 cardamom pods

1 giant black cardamom

2 cinnamon sticks

4 cloves

2 tsp salt

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp roasted ground cumin

1 tsp hot chilli powder

½ tsp garam masala

2 tsp finely chopped garlic

2 tsp finely chopped ginger

2 medium sized potatoes cut into chunks

200 g chopped tinned tomatoes

8 strands of fresh coriander

200 ml hot water

1 tsp lemon juice


Cooking Instructions:


  1. Heat the oil in a non stick pan, when hot add the whole dry spices; cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, giant cardamom.  Sizzle for a few seconds then add the onions and fry, stirring for a few minutes until their just turning brown.

  2. Add the tomatoes and cook on a low to medium heat until the water has evaporated and the oil is separating.

  3. Now add the minced lamb, use the back of the wooden spoon to break down the morsels of meat to prevent it from being lumpy.

  4. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli powder, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, and salt.  Stir well to ensure the spices blend into the lamb and cook for 10 minutes with the lid on the saucepan.

  5. Add the potatoes and the water to the pan stir well, cover with the lid and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

  6. Remove from the heat, garnish with the freshly chopped coriander and lemon juice and serve with chapattis or naan bread.


Cooks tip 1:  The potatoes can be optional and omitted if preferred, however the flavour of the potatoes cooked in the meat is very tasty.

Cooks tip 2:  If you want a very thick consistency reduce the level of water.
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Bacon & Gruyère Cheese Tart with Spring Onions & Thyme


For the pastry

250g plain flour

140g cold butter, diced into small pieces

2 egg yolks mixed with 3-4 tbsp ice cold water

Pinch of salt


For the filling
15g butter
6 very thin rashers smoked streaky bacon
6 spring onions, finely sliced
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
250ml double cream
4 eggs
75g grated gruyère
30g grated parmesan


Preparation instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. First make the pastry. Pulse the flour, salt and cubed butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and turn into a mixing bowl.

  2. Add 2tbsp and 2 tsp of the egg and water mixture and draw into the crumb with a round bladed knife to create large flakes, bring the pastry together with your hands and form it into a round flat circle. Roll out the pastry and lay it across a 23cm flan tin, pressing the dough well into the corners, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes until firm.

  3. Cover the pastry with baking paper and baking beans, and bake for 15-20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and return the tart case to the oven for five minutes longer, until pale golden and sandy to the touch.

  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the bacon and fry until crisp and golden on both sides, then remove and drain on kitchen paper.

  5. Add the spring onions and thyme to the same pan, and cook for a few minutes, until the onions have softened, then take the pan off the heat and leave to cool.

  6. Whisk the cream until slightly thickened, then whisk in the eggs and gruyère. Season the mix with only a little salt as the cheese and bacon are quite salty and a sprinkling of white pepper.

  7. Break the bacon pieces into halves or thirds, and lay these and the onion mixture over the base of the tart. Pour in the egg mixture so it fills the tart case right up to the edge, and scatter over the parmesan.

  8. Put the tart on an oven tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden on top and set with just a slight wobble in the middle. Leave to cool and firm up a little before serving.

#tartrecipes #baconrecipes #baking #cheeserecipes #worklunch# lunchideas
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Fruity Pavlova
We are firm believers in the phrase 'Waste Not Want Not' here at The Cooking Academy, so we transformed our unused eggs into a crisp meringue, a perfect base for our fruit pavlova. For more delicious dessert recipes, why not join our Desserts & Pastry Cooking Class? 


For the meringue:

3 large egg whites

175g golden caster sugar

For the filling:

600ml double cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

1 small pineapple cubed

1 papaya cubed (and seeds removed)

1 mango sliced

1 kiwi fruit cut into fan shapes

Pulp from 3 passionfruit


Cooking Instructions:-

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150c/gas mark 2

  2. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

  3. For the meringue: place the egg whites into a large, clean, grease free bowl and whisk them until they form stiff peaks (do not over-whisk the egg whites because they will start to collapse)

  4. Now start to whisk in the golden caster sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture looks thick and glossy. Secure all four corners of the baking paper with small blobs of the meringue mixture.

  5. Now take a metal tablespoon and spoon the meringue mixture on to the prepared baking sheet, forming a circle about 20 cm in diameter. Make a well in the middle of the meringue to make room for the filling.

  6. Place it in the oven, then immediately turn down the heat to 140°C , gas mark 1 and leave it for 1 hour.

  7. Then turn the heat right off but leave the pavlova inside the oven until it's completely cold (or overnight). The pavlova is cooked when it lifts easily off the baking paper.

  8. When you are ready to serve the pavlova whisk the cream with the vanilla essence until it is just holding it’s shape. Pile the cream onto the meringue base and top generously with the chopped and sliced fruits. Finish by drizzling the passionfruit pulp over the top.

  9. Enjoy!

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Baked Banana Oatmeal Cups
Perfect as a healthy breakfast or snack for anytime of the day! For more healthier recipes, have a look at our Nutritional Cookery Class.

Makes 12


250g rolled oats

2 tbsp honey

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

3 mashed bananas

2 tbsp olive oil

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

500ml skimmed milk – soya/almond work well too

Chocolate chips – optional


Preparation Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C, 350 F. Line a muffin tray with muffin cases.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Mix together.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, eggs, oil, vanilla and honey until well combined. Then whisk in the milk.

  4. Poor the milk mixture over the oats and stir well until both have combined. Add the chocolate chips if using. The consistency will be very soupy.

  5. Fill the muffin cases all the way to the top, ensuring there is an even amount of oats and liquid.

  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

  7. Allow to cool slightly and serve. Alternatively they can be kept in an air tight container and eaten cold.

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Mystic Middle Eastern Cuisine
The Mystic Middle East, home of Arabian nights and the Eastern promise, belies the true nature of the simple honest food of the region.  Far from ‘exotic’ as the Persian names suggest, this cuisine is so much more about simple and uncomplicated flavours and often overlooked.  Middle Eastern dishes principally originate from Lebanon, Morocco, Turkey, and Persia.  It is also the birthplace of wheat, barley, pistachios, dates, figs and of course the jewel in the crown – pomegranates.  The practice of fermentation of dough for bread also started in this region and led to the creation of the earliest form of leavened bread.

There is a common misconception that Middle Eastern food is ‘spicy’ yet this region of cooking uses no or little chilli in food, instead relying on black pepper and garlic as the heat form.  Non heating bearing spices are an important part of Middle Eastern cooking, especially Cardamom, saffron, Cinnamon and cumin, as these are responsible for giving the food its depth of flavour.  Nuts are also used extensively, particularly almonds, pistachios and walnuts, adding texture but also providing plenty of nutrients, vitamins and good fats (perhaps not so much in the deliciously sweet treat Baklava)

Dates are widely known for aiding digestive problems.  They are rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, often consumed to help relieve constipation.  Yet did you know that dates have many other health benefits?

  • Dates are full of potassium which is brilliant for our nervous system. They are cholesterol free and help to lower our cholesterol. This in turn keeps our heart healthy and reduces the risk of stroke.

  • They are a natural energy booster, as they contain natural sugars. When having an afternoon ‘slump’ snack on some dates for a low calorie snack.

  • They are loaded with vitamins such as vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B5 along with vitamin A1 and C. This means you get receive your daily dose of a number of vitamins just from eating a few dates.

  • Dates contain iron, so brilliant to treat and prevent anemia.

When added to a chicken tagine, cooked on a slow heat, they provide a delicious subtle sweet flavour into the dish, giving you that melt in the mouth texture and gentle aromatic finish.

Our Middle Eastern cookery class is a brilliant way to learn how to blend an array of aromatic spices to create authentic dishes such as Moroccan Couscous with Apricots, Lebanese Kibbeh, and Chicken Tagine with Dates and Almonds.  The class will teach you the perfect menu to create a feast for friends, a dinner party, or even simple mid-week suppers, creating a wonderful sense of occasion.  Middle Eastern cuisine is amongst my favourite food, the use of such simple spices, yet produces an array of enchanting flavours unlike any other that are incredibly tasty and flavoursome.  Come and join us on our next class and be prepared to celebrate such beautiful flavours from so many cultures in one simple menu.
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