Roasted celeriac and potato curry

Here’s a basic vegetarian curry that doesn’t require a great deal of effort. Roasting the vegetables separately means they’re guaranteed to be cooked through when you’re ready to serve – there’s nothing worse than preparing to dish up a curry only to find that the spuds still haven’t started to break up properly in the sauce. The mild bitterness of celeriac is excellent with a nice sweet and sour chutney, but you could make this with just potatoes if you’re not convinced.
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Pastéis de bacalhau (salt fish croquettes)

This classic Portuguese dish traditionally uses salt cod, which is pretty hard to get hold of in the UK. Generic ‘salt fish’ makes an acceptable substitute, and I’ve added a coating of panko breadcrumbs for maximum crispiness. You can make these any size you like – bigger for a main meal or smaller for tapas-style snacks. Either way, they’ll be light and fluffy inside.
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Prawn, cashew, lemon and coriander rice

This fragrant rice dish is excellent with a nice vegetable curry. I guess it’s a bit like a biryani, but apparently a proper biryani has the rice cooked separately to the other ingredients, whereas this is all done at once, so I’m not sure what it should be called. Regardless of authenticity, it’s delicious and pretty much foolproof.
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Potato curry with fresh turmeric

I made this curry using fresh turmeric, an ingredient I’d been meaning to try for some time. Widely available at Thai, Chinese and Indian stores, it looks like small, orangey pieces of ginger root, and I can confirm that it’s every bit as fabulously delicious as I had hoped. Thanks, probably, to fresh turmeric, this turned out to be a triumph of home currying.

However, fresh turmeric is also the most astonishingly stainy stuff I’ve ever touched. From the knife I used to cut it, to the chopping board where it briefly rested, turmeric left a vivid reminder of its presence. Two days later, despite vigorous scrubbing with a pumice stone, my hands still look like I’ve had an accident with a fluorescent highlighter pen. Next time I’ll wear gloves, but if you’re looking for a substitute in this recipe, dried turmeric tastes absolutely nothing like the fresh stuff, so you might as well leave it out.
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Kipper fishcakes

Kippers are greatly underappreciated in cooking. They’re generally served whole, saving the cook the hassle of removing about 50,000 hairlike forked bones. I’d say the effort is worth it, though, because a de-boned kipper is the most intensely flavoured smoked fish for careful use in fish pies, soups or these excellent fishcakes. You need proper whole fresh kippers for this, not the bright orange boil-in-the-bag abominations of the same name.
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Seared scallops with tarragon salsa verde

This is a really luxurious and expensive starter. Since scallops are pretty amazing on their own, they don’t need much doing to them. I serve them with a fresh herb salsa verde, which is the perfect complement to the natural sweetness of the shellfish. And don’t cut the orange ‘coral’ off the scallops before cooking them – it’s the tastiest part.
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