Rick Stein’s Lightly Curried Crab Mayonnaise with Lamb’s Lettuce

Serves: 4

We’ve booked our first holiday since the the government announced we could travel within the state: Rick Stein’s Bannisters at Port Stephens.

And we’re excited for plenty of reasons.

It is out first holiday since February. And we love holidays.

It’s Bannisters. We have loved staying at the two Bannisters at Mollymook and based on recommendations from friends, Port Stephens is just excellent.

We’re leaving the kids in Sydney. Love ya kiddies, though don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

And finally… Rick Stein. Enough said.

Obviously, first thing we did after booking the room was to book the restaurant. Because you just can’t beat Rick Stein at his best: fresh seafood, simplicity, from Indian to French.

So, for lunch today we chose a Rick Stein theme and kicked off with this number.

I was a little suspicious because a quick scan of the ingredients tells you it is possibly a little too simple, though the incredible simplicity is the point.

As we ate it, we couldn’t stop talking about just how wonderful it was. How simple, how French.

You could do a whole lot worse than whipping this up as a quick Saturday lunch. Or as a starter to a longer weekend lunch.


3 – 4 truss tomatoes
5 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
500gm fresh white crabmeat
50gm lamb’s lettuce (I used Cos though much closer substitute is baby spinach)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh wholemeal bread, to serve


  1. Skin the tomatoes by plunging them into boiling water for 20 seconds. As soon as the skins split, remove and cover with cold water to prevent further cooking. Peel off the skins, slice off the top and bottom and slice thinly.
  1. Put the mayonnaise in a bowl and stir in the curry powder, lemon juice and Tabasco. Fold this mixture lightly through the crab meat and season with a little salt.
  1. Overlap a few slices of tomato into the centre of 4 small plates and season them lightly with salt. Spoon some of the crab mayonnaise on top. Toss the lamb’s lettuce (or substitute) with the olive oil and a small pinch of salt and pile alongside.
  1. A crack of pepper and serve with some wholemeal bread.

Rick Stein’s Everyday Pilau Rice

Serves: 4

I did a cooking class 15 years ago with David Thompson, inarguably the world’s best Thai chef (and ironically, an Australian).

He covered a lot of ground on the day including 15 seconds on rice where he said the only technique anyone needed was the trick where you measured the water above the rice – however much rice, whatever the cooking dish – to be the distance between the top of your thumb and the first joint.

If you did this, this was all you needed to know.

I’ve lived by this rule since and I’ve cooked plenty of successful rice since.

Though jeez I love it when I find a different technique. A technique that works too!

Thanks Rick Stein. Loved it!


315gm basmati rice
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 cloves
3cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 green cardamom pod, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
350ml water


  1. Wash the rice and then soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the spices for 30 seconds until they smell aromatic.
  3. Drain the rice and add it with the salt; stir a little.
  4. Add the water and bring to the boil, then cook on a very low heat with the lid on for 10 – 12 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.

Rick Stein’s Pickled Onion and Pineapple Salad

Serves: 4 – 6

This is a really simple, colourful, Rick Stein Indian salad that perfectly cuts through fatty Indian dishes such as pork curries.


1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sugar
300gm pineapple, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
A few fresh coriander leaves


  1. Toss the onions together with the vinegar, sugar and salt and leave to marinate for an hour.
  2. Strain off any excess liquid, then toss the onions with the pineapple chunks, scatter with coriander and serve.

Rick Stein’s “Amma’s” Pork Curry with Green Chillies and Tamarind

Serves: 6

It’s getting cold at night.

Which means we light a huge outdoor fire. Decant a cracker red:

And dial up the curries, braises and stews.

Last night we cooked this wonderful Rick Stein curry. Pork shoulder cooked down for a few hours, a salad of pineapple and red onion to cut through the richness and a pilau rice at the side.


Honestly, sitting by the fire with Nat on an autumn Saturday night with a bowl of this and a glass of red, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.


For the curry

6 large banana shallots (eschallots) sliced
20 cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped
6cm ginger, finely chopped
6 green chillies, roughly chopped with the seeds
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves
4cm piece of cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1kg boneless pork shoulder cut into 4cm chunks
1 tsp salt

To finish

2 tsp coriander seeds
75ml tamarind liquid
3 green chillies, thinly sliced lengthways, without seeds
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Flash pickled onion and pineapple salad to serve
Pilau rice to serve


  1. Put the eschallots, garlic, ginger and chillies in a food processor with a splash of water and blend to a rough paste.
  2. Fry the mustard seeds, cumin, cloves, cinnamon stick and peppercorns in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a minute until toasted and aromatic. Add the turmeric and fry for another 20 seconds. Cool, then grind to a coarse powder.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the pork, in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned. With all the pork in the pan, add the eschallot, garlic, ginger and chilli paste, the ground spices and salt, and fry for a further 5 minutes, adding a splash of water if the paste starts to stick.
  4. Pour over enough water to just cover, turn the heat down to low and put on a lid and simmer for 2 hours until the meat is tender. Remove the lid, turn up the heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens to a gravy.
  5. To finish, fry the coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a minute until toasted, then grind to a powder. Add the tamarind liquid, green chillies and garlic to the pork and cook for a further minute, then stir in the ground coriander.
  6. Serve with pilau rice and salad at the side.

Rick Stein’s British Beef Raj Curry

Serves: 4 – 6

This is a really great, Colonial-style curry.

The sultanas and coconut speak to the simplicity and innocence of the British influence – and love – of Indian curry. Something that is so wrong that it is right.

This was one of our many Sunday night curries and it’s spicy, sweet, moorish and just so good.

It has to be done with white rice and a glass of vino – we had a Pinot – and done right, it is the best way to end the week and start the next.

Rick Stein remains one of our favourite curry heros and this is why.


25gm butter
750gm chuck steak, cut into 4cm pieces
2 medium onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 ½ tbsp garam masala
1 ⅔ tsp salt
600ml beef stock
50gm desiccated coconut
100gm sultanas


  1. Melt the butter in a large, sturdy pan over a medium heat. Add the steak, in batches, and fry for a few minutes until browned and then remove to a plate. Add the onions to the same pan and fry for 10 minutes, or until softened and golden-brown.
  2. Add the garlic and fry for one minute, then return the meat to the pan, along with any juices on the plate. Stir in the chilli powder, turmeric, one tablespoon of the garam masala, and the salt, and cook for one minute.
  3. Add the stock, followed by the coconut and sultanas. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes to an hour or until the beef is tender. Stir in the remaining garam masala and serve.

Rick Stein’s White Lamb Curry

Serves: 6 – 8

Otherwise known as Safed Maas – ‘safed’ meaning white in most North Indian languages – this curry is literally the opposite of rogan josh.

Aromatic, mild and off-white. Fragrant and luxurious.

Historically, this recipe is a royal dish from the region of Rajasthan, a region famous for its upper-class cooking.

So background aside, why would you consider this.

It’s hard to know where to start!

It is a brand new curry! After a billion rogan joshes and so forth, this is like finding out you have a tail!

It tastes extraordinary. With some rice and chapitas, it is so moorish and – second time I have used this word – luxurious, you will pause to take it all in. Heaven.

And it is from Rick Stein, a man who gets it right almost every time.

If you like curry and you like Indian, I present to you your new tail.

Start wagging. It looks great!


For the spice blend

2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp green cardamom pods, seeds only
1 black cardamom pod, seeds only
1 tsp cloves
4cm cinnamon stick
1 Indian bay leaf

For the lamb

100gm cashew nuts
1 tbsp boiling water
1gk boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 4cm cubes
4cm fresh ginger, finely grated
5 cloves garlic, finely crushed
100gm Greek-style yogurt
150gm ghee (or oil)
1 small onion, sliced
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom (seeds from 30 green pods)
40ml double cream

To serve

Pilau rice


  1. Fry the spices in a frying pan over a medium-heat for 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted and aromatic and then blend to a powder using a grinder or a mortar and pestle.
  2. For the lamb, tip the cashew nuts and water into a mini food processor and blend to a paste. Set aside. Put the lamb in a large bowl and mix well with the spice blend, ginger, garlic and yogurt. Set aside and marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the ghee in a large pan over a low-medium heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the meat and its marinade and pour in enough water to just cover the meat. Add the salt, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour or until the lamb is tender and the sauce is thickened.
  4. Stir in the cashew nut paste, ground cardamom and a splash of water if needed to give the sauce the consistency of double cream. Heat through and the stir in the cream and serve.
  5. Close your eyes.

Rick Stein’s Escalopes of Salmon with a Champagne and Chive sauce

Serves: 4

Got you at Champagne right?

Classic Rick Stein at his best, Nat and I served this at a lunch with our parents and it was a homerun; ditto the meeting of parents.

Apart from the delicacy and taste of this recipe, best is that you can make most of the sauce in advance, giving plenty of opportunity to fend off the continual barrage of humiliating stories being gleefully shot across your bows by parents:

“I remember when Robert wrote off a car…”

“Ha, that’s nothing, I remember when Natalie wrote of a yacht…”

“Tiny compared to when Robert…”


750gm salmon fillet
2 tbsp sunflower oil

Champagne and chive sauce

30g unsalted butter
1 French shallot, finely chopped
100ml champagne + 1tbsp
600ml fish stock
½ tsp caster sugar
50ml double cream
2 tsp chopped chives


  1. Cut the salmon fillet into 12 escalopes; slices length ways, around half a centimeter thick. Brush each one with oil, season with a little salt and lay on a slightly oiled tray.
  2. Melt 10gm of the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 1 finely chopped shallot and cook gently without colouring, until soft. Add 100ml of champagne and boil for 2 minutes. Add the fish stock and the sugar and boil rapidly until reduced by three-quarters. Add the double cream, bring back to the boil and then simmer until it has reached a good sauce consistency.
  3. Keep warm (whilst defending your reputation).
  4. Whisk together another 50ml double cream with 1 tbsp champagne and the chives until it forms soft peaks.
  5. When you are ready to serve, pre-heat the grill to high and bring the sauce back to the boil, whisk in 20gm butter, then the whipped cream mixture.
  6. Grill (or pan fry) the salmon for 30 seconds per side until just firm.
  7. Overlap the escalopes in a center of each warmed plate and pour the sauce around. Sprinkle with a few chopped chives and serve immediately while the sauce is still foaming.

Rick Stein’s Chicken Passanda

Nobody can complain and if they do…

 Serves: 4

Rick Stein’s ‘India: in search of the perfect curry; recipes from my Indian odyssey’ has absolutely become my go-to, easy-curry tome.

Every curry I have attempted has been spot-on and this simple, aromatic chicken curry is no different.

I cooked it for the boys as part of a bigger Indian feast and so I needed something with a hint of fire, though not too much more. This is the elegance of this curry, where it is the soft spices that carry the dish rather than some whack of heat.

Oh, and the boys loved it – and it is pretty healthy to boot!

P.S. Rick asks that the chicken breasts are merely cut in half and cooked that way. I cubed the chicken to make it easier for the boys and I am not sure I wouldn’t do that again.


3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
5cm cinnamon stick
2 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised with a rolling pin
1 small onion, finely chopped
3cm piece of ginger, finely grated
3 cloves garlic, finely crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
4 small chicken breasts, each cut in half
200gm Greek-style yoghurt
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 tsp salt
100ml water

To finish

Handful of flaked almonds, toasted
Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Heat the ghee or the oil in a large sturdy pan over a medium heat, add the cinnamon and cardamom and fry for 30 seconds before adding the onion and frying for 10 minutes until golden.
  2. Stir in the ginger and garlic and fry for 2 – 3 minutes, then stir in the ground coriander, turmeric and chilli powder and fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the chicken and stir well, then add the yogurt, ground almonds, salt and water. Bring to simmer, reduce the heat slightly and simmer gently for 15 – 20 minutes until reduced to a thick, rich, almost dry sauce that coats the chicken.
  4. Scatter over the toasted almonds and coriander to serve.

Rick Stein’s Roast Pork


Thank you Aaron. I still have it and I still cook from it. oooxxx

Serves: 8 piglets

As Rick Stein puts it, ‘to write a recipe for something as everyday as roasting a joint of pork might seem the ultimate in teaching your grandmother to suck eggs but, while on the subject of eggs, I never thought it was arrogant of Delia Smith to go back over how to cook them properly.’

I cook a great pork roast and am often asked how I get the crackling – the ultimate reason you cook a pork roast – so good. Good crackling is crisp, aromatic crackling of a delicacy and crisp airiness that words can’t describe.

Which means the enemy of this is moisture.

So – and I refer to this advice from Rick Stein in his book Food Heroes: another helping, a gift from my fine flatmate of many years back, Aaron – the steps which I have adapted are:

  • Try and find a joint of pork with as thick a layer of fat between the skin and the flesh as possible. The fat slows the moisture from the flesh getting to the crackling.
  • Try and avoid pork that has been shrink wrapped.
  • Pat dry the skins with paper towel and then let sit on a wire rack for at least 6 hours; Rick says 24 and no less. Pat dry again.
  • Score the skin though don’t go too deep and cut the flesh.
  • Pat dry one more time.


1.75kg bones and rolled spare rib of pork (shoulder, not the belly)
Sea salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Heat the oven to 250c or higher.
  2. Combine seasoning and a tablespoon of olive oil and rub all over the skin and flesh.
  3. Put in the hot oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  4. Lower the oven to 180c and continue to roast for 30 minutes per 450gm; a 1.75kg roast will take a further two hours.
  5. Make your gravy, potatoes, whatever.
  6. Remove the pork from the oven. A meat thermometer should read 75c in the centre of the pork. Let sit for 10 minutes and this should rise to 80c.
  7. To carve, cut and remove the string, slide a knife under the crackling, lift it off and break into pieces. Resist eating.
  8. Slice the pork removing the layer of fat and sit back and take those compliments. Hand out the crackling like a drug dealer.

Mr Singh’s slow-cooked Lamb Curry with Cloves and Cardamom

Serves: 4 – 6

From India by Rick Stein really is a beautiful cookbook. It feels as bright and colourful as Rick himself and the stories behind each recipe are inspiring and wonderful to read.

You really appreciate the origin of what you are about to cook and it really does take appreciation of the dish to the next level.

And appreciate you will this excellent curry from Rick – or Mr Singh – a talented and well-kept cook he met in India.

The pureeing of the base ingredients changes the texture and makes the whole thing simply feel as one. There is a nice lingering heat and of course after all that time cooking, the lamb is starting to fall apart.

As far as solid, homemade winter curries go, you could do a whole lot worse than this one.


(I have changed the ordering and wording of the method versus Rick’s recipe. With an hour and a half of cooking time up your sleeve before you need the powdered spices, you would be mad – or with plenty of time on your hands – to do the recipe in reverse as per its original writing.)


½ tsp cardamom seeds (for about 8 green pods)
4 – 6 cloves
3 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
10 garlic cloves roughly chopped
4 cm ginger, roughly chopped
75ml vegetable oil (or ghee)
100ml Greek-style yogurt
1kg lamb shoulder (or leg), deboned, trimmed of excess fat, 3cm pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tbsp cream


  1. In stages, using a mini food processor and rinsing out in-between, blend the onions to a puree with a little water; puree the tomatoes; blend the garlic and ginger with a tablespoon of water to a slack paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion paste for 15 minutes until golden; add the ginger and garlic and fry for an additional 3 minutes. Stir in the yogurt, meat and salt and cover over a low-medium heat stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until browned.
  3. Stir in the garam masala and chilli powder and then pour in just enough water to cover the meat. Simmer, covered for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, grind the cardamom seeds and cloves to a fine powder. (This, in my experience, needs a glass of wine.)
  5. Stir in the cream and pureed tomatoes followed by the cardamom and clove mix. Seal the pan by first covering in foil and then the lid. Cook over the lowest heat for 40 minutes until the lamb is tender.
  6. Remove the seal and quickly cook off any remaining liquid until you have a good gravy.
  7. Enjoy with rice and more wine!