Home made Baklava

Cambridge Foodie Gerry makes his blog debut by sharing his Baklava recipe. Gerry has been experimenting with this recipe at home for a while now and I have tried this myself and it’s well worth a go – Simon


• Chopped up pecans, almonds, and dried mango mixed with honey.

• 250g of Ghee (butter which is melted and strained).

• 200ml water with roughly 250g brown sugar and half teaspoon cinnamon.

• 300g pastry in 30/40 sheets.

Spread ghee on the pastry then layer it.

Halfway, add your sweet nuts mixed with honey.

Once finished, cut to portion. Careful not to disturb the layers then warm oven to 150c.

Bake for 20min, then lower to 130. Make syrup.

Warm syrup till dissolved then boil for about 10 min. Reduce heat to simmer.

Once baked pour the syrup on and allow to cool. I do this in the oven after I have turned off as the residual heat reduces the syrup further, while keeping it fluid longer. This gets it into all the layers.

I love making it, it’s so therapeutic.

Spice Up Your Life with Sri Lankan Pork Curry & Coconut Roti

Dear Foodies! Get ready to take your taste buds on an exotic and flavourful adventure with Sri Lankan cuisine! From aromatic spices to succulent meats and fresh seafood, the culinary traditions of the island nation are a feast for the senses. But be warned, the mouth-watering aromas and bold flavours might just make you forget your table manners and dive in headfirst! So come hungry and get ready to experience the explosion of flavours that is Sri Lankan cuisine.

Sri Lankan cuisine is a unique blend of spices, flavours, and textures that are heavily influenced by its geography and history. Located in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is an island nation that was colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, each of whom left their mark on the country’s cuisine.

Today I am presenting the iconic and irresistible Sri Lankan pork curry and roti. This dish is a perfect example of the rich, complex flavours that Sri Lankan cuisine has to offer. It brings together tender chunks of belly pork, simmered in a rich and fragrant curry made from a tantalising blend of aromatic spices and creamy coconut milk. Paired with soft and fluffy coconut roti, this dish is the ultimate comfort food that will warm you up from the inside out. So, get ready to indulge in this mouth-watering delight that will transport your taste buds straight to the vibrant streets of Sri Lanka!

Pork Curry

To make the pork curry, you will need:

  • 500g of belly pork and/or shoulder, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Pinch of Curry Leaves and Pandan leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5g of Tamarind and/or Garcinia
  • 2 full tablespoon of roasted Ceylon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 black pepper powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon chilli powder (to your taste)
  • 3 to 4 Cloves
  • 5g of grated Ginger
  • 5g of Lemon Grass
  • 2 to 3 Green Chillies
  • 300ml of thick coconut milk (can be prepared with Maggi coconut powder)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Coconut/Vegetable oil


  1. Mix salt, pepper, and tamarind/garcinia with pork cubes well and leave at least 45 minutes to marinate.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pork and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. This will get the meat tender, warm, and absorbent.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Now sauté the onion, garlic, cloves, cardamoms, curry leaves, and mustard until soft and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Mix the curry powder to the mix and heat for another 1 minute.
  4. Add the pork back to the skillet and stir to coat with the spice mixture.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet. Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the pork is tender and cooked through.
  6. Add grated ginger and lemon grass in the last 10 minutes and test for salt and adjust accordingly. This will preserve their fragrances and flavour in the curry. Now it’s done!

Coconut Roti

To make the coconut roti, you will need:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grated/shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coconut/vegetable oil


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and shredded coconut.
  2. Add the water and vegetable oil and stir until a dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Divide the dough into 8-10 equal portions and shape it into balls.
  5. Flatten each ball into a thin, round disc.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of oil and cook each roti for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Now serve the pork curry and coconut roti together for a delicious and satisfying meal. The creamy, spicy pork curry pairs perfectly with the sweet and savoury coconut roti, making for a truly unforgettable taste experience.

Simon’s world famous chicken (on the bone) vindaloo!

The chicken vindaloo has to be my all time favourite dish.

For me, it has the perfect balance of fiery spices and delicious flavour.

Here is a step by step guide on how to prepare it at home.


A pack of 6 chicken thighs (with skin removed).

1 table spoon (or more) of Kashmiri chillies.

2 tea spoons of garlic & ginger paste.

1 table spoon of chilli powder.

1 table spoon of curry powder.

A liberal sprinkle of Garama Masala.

A couple of medium sized tomatoes chopped up into quarters.

1 1/2 chef spoon of oil.

1 chefs spoon of tomato paste.

1 1/2 table spoon of yogurt.

1 chicken Oxo cube.

Step 1 – Create the paste.

Fry the 1 1/2 chefs spoon of oil in a pan on a medium to high heat.

Add the garlic and ginger paste and stir in the oil (If the heat is on too high then this may spit so please make sure it is on a medium/high heat).

Add the table spoon of Kashmiri chillies and stir together with the paste (you cant really add too many Kashmiri chillies to this dish, this is where a lot of the flavour comes from. I often add more).

Once the Kashmiri chillies have turned a light brown then add the curry powder and stir for a minute, then add the chilli powder and stir for another a minute.

Add the tomato paste to the frying pan to create a thick paste (I recommend turning the heat down to medium to prevent burning the paste at this point).

Add the chicken.

Make sure to peel the skin off the chicken thighs first.

Fry the chicken in the pan with the paste and keep stirring on full heat (this will singe the flavour of the paste onto the chicken giving it a lovely colour).

Boil some water and pour into a small plastic jug then add the chicken stock and stir. Add a chefs spoon of chicken stock into the chicken and paste and continue to fry until it cooks through.

After a few minutes add another chefs spoon of chicken stock.

Once the stock has given the paste a chance to moisten up, spread the paste around the chicken evenly, and cook through – add a sprinkle of Garam Masala over the dish and continue to stir.

Add the quartered tomatoes and continue to fry.

Add the 1 1/2 table spoons of yogurt to the dish and stir it through (this will give the vindaloo a nice colour and more of a creamy sauce).

Slow cooker

Put your dish into a slow cooker on a low heat for a couple of hours (This really brings out the spices and gives the dish a chance to marinade and cook through the chicken in the middle).

Garnish with some coriander if you wish. (This is more to give the dish a visual pop more than anything).

At your discression.

The best thing about this dish is its versatile enough to make it your own. I always add a can of potatoes which soaks up the sauce nicely in the slow cooker. I also like to add Scotch Bonnets or any other hot chilli I can find. This is better done at the same time as adding the tomatoes at the end of the frying or as you put it in the slow cooker.

I hope you have enjoyed my vindaloo recipe. For those of you brave enough to give it a whirl then I would absolutely love to hear your feedback on the Cambridge Curry Community or Cambridge Foodies Facebook groups!

Easy paella.

I don’t know about you but overly complex meals are something I cook once or twice then never do again. I like recipes that are simple, easy to remember, and readily available in the local supermarket. This way, I enrich my daily diet by cooking it more frequently without wasting a lot of time and money.

Paella is one of those dishes which works well no matter how much detail you put into the dish and the best thing is, you can make it your own. If you don’t like something, remove it. If you want something extra, add it. This is my everyday paella dish.


• 2 onions.
• A few cloves of garlic (or an entire head, whatever)
• 2 peppers.
• 1 whole chorizo sausage.
• Chicken stock.
• Paella rice (one small bag).
• 5 medium mushrooms.
• 1 bag of defrosted pawns.

• Add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers and fry in a pan with olive oil for a few minutes until the onions start to colour.

• Add the paella rice and fry with the onions and garlic for a further few minutes to toast it. Sometimes it is a good idea to add some extra oil at this point to give the Paella rice a nice golden colour.

• Make a chicken stock by adding boiling water and chicken cubes together. Chuck it into the dish and fry until the liquid is soaked up in the paella rice. This will need frequent stirring.

• Add the mushrooms and chopped spicy chorizo sausage and fry a little longer.

• Add a pinch of turmeric for colouring.

• Squeeze a lemon over the dish while frying.

• Add king prawns and cook for one or two minutes and turn off the heat and leave under a pan for a few further minutes (this keeps the prawns very juicy).


Ollies curry base gravy

The Cambridge Curry Community moderator Ollie has been kind enough to share his base gravy recipe for all you readers.

Indian restaurants frequently use base gravy to speed up the cooking process by creating a curry stock, which can be turned into any curry from the common ingredients shared by all curry types.

It’s a great thing to have laying around, so you can use any left over meat by turning it into a curry. Throw in some chicken, use the stock, and then add any extras which will then turn the stock into a Madras, vindaloo, or Jalfreizi sauce.

You’ll never have an excuse not to have a curry again!


• Veg oil

• 100g cabbage

• 1 pepper (I’d have used green but I only had yellow)

• 1 carrot

• 700g onions

• 1L stock (ideally chicken, I only had beef, used 2x pots)

• 6 cloves garlic

• Thumb size piece of ginger

• 100g potato

• Tin chopped toms

• Half tube tom puree

• Half block of creamed coconut

Tbsp each:

• Sugar

• Garam masala

• Ground cumin

• Ground coriander

• Ground turmeric

• Mustard powder

“Chop all the veg up coarsely, chuck all of it plus the sugar and minus the potatoes in a large deep pan with the oil on medium heat, stir it about for 15 mins or so until it softens then add the stock and potatoes and simmer gently for an hour.

Add all the spices, tomato puree, tinned toms and coconut plus a load of water, bring back to boil and cook for another half hour. Blend with hand blender until smooth. Done.

Ready to portion up and freeze for use when needed with any “BIR curry base style” recipes.”

Don’t forget to check our recipe page for more recipes from our Cambridgeshire foodies!

Update: Ollie made butter chicken with this base and it looks utterly fantastic!

“I made this butter chicken using my base gravy.

The hours spent making a base gravy at the weekend and the chicken tikka I prepared the other night means I was able to knock up one of the best curries I’ve ever cooked in a little over half an hour on a week night.

I love the base gravy method!”

Butter chicken recipe here:

Chettinad chicken curry

• 1.2kg of whole chicken or chicken pieces

70ml of veg oil

200g of sliced onion.

20 curry leaves

1tsp of chilli powder and coriander powder.

one can of coconut milk.

100g of chopped tomatoes.

2tbs of chopped coriander.

The spice paste:

• 1tbs of chopped root ginger

• 2tbs of chopped garlic

3 cloves

10 black pepper corns.

1 1/2tps of fennel stick

2.5cm of cinnamon stick

Step 1: Remove skin on chicken.

Step 2: Put all Spice Paste into blender with 3tbs of water. Wizz into fine paste.

Step 3: Heat oil in pan and fry onions until brown. Add curry leaves and spice paste.

Step 4: Fry on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in ground spices.

Step 5: Add chicken and fry on low heat until golden.

Step 6: Add coconut milk and chopped tomatoes with salt. Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 7: Sprinkle with coriander leaves.

Step 8: Nom!

Simon’s ‘hootin tootin’ EXTRA HOT fenland-style chili con carne!

I have been utterly blown away by the response of my previous post about my “hootin tootin”chili con carne, with half a dozen people already in the midst of cooking their own versions!

Here is an example of Callum’s version of the recipe.

I really love this dish because it’s a completely different take on the traditional chili con carne we all know and love. Its primary focus is on the flavour over the heat and moves towards a better cut of meat from minced beef.

That said. Being a chili con carne, it would be rude of me not to do a spicy version, so here you go!

Strap yourself in! 🔥🌶️ Let’s embrace the best of both worlds!


One whole supermarket brisket (this one was bought from Morrisons for a tenner!)

One pack of smoked bacon (6 rashers)!

2 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon of cumin, and 1 tablespoon of paprika.

One tablespoon of thyme.

2 cans of chopped tomatoes.

2 large white onions and half a head of garlic.

Scotch bonnet chilies.

Garlic and onion salt

1 can of kidney beans.

1 Oxo cube.

First, the brisket: During my last post I used a Sainsbury’s brisket which came to £15 and was a disappointing quality. This time I went for a Morrisons equivalent which was not only cheaper (coming to £10.45) but was a much better cut of meat.

I cut the brisket up into cubes and covered them in garlic and onion salt. I then placed the diced brisket into a dish and put it to one side.

I chopped the bacon into small pieces and fried it all with a very small amount of oil. I fried the bacon until it was crispy and had got most of the fat out of the rations. I then took the bacon out and left as much oil in the pan as I could. The reason for this was to fry the onions and garlic in the oil to give them a smokey flavour.

While the bacon was frying, I chopped up the two onions and garlic and threw them in the pan with the bacon. The fat turns them a lovely golden yellow, which really adds a smokey flavour to the dish.

I then added the chopped brisket covered in garlic and onion salt, which I prepared earlier.

Two tablespoons of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of paprika and 1 tablespoon of thyme.

Once everything has been cooking together for ten minutes or so, I added the spices and thyme. This gives the dish that really nice chili con carne colour.

Make sure to really cook the spices into the meat and singe it into the edge of the brisket, otherwise it will just wash off when the broth is added next nd it will lose that flavour in the meat.

Once the spices have REALLY cooked into the meat nicely, add the beef broth. I use an Oxo cube with two mugs of boiled water.

Let that simmer down for 10-15 minutes. This can take a varied amount of time but you do not want it drying out too much or having it too watery, so be careful!

It’s chopped tomatoes time! Two cans will do it. Add them in and let them also cook through to lose some of the liquid.

This is a good time to add the kidney beans and scotch bonnets too. I like to use Scotch bonnets, mainly because they are easy to get but I feel that they are a great balance between heat and flavour. Naga chillies would also be a good option.

Once the chopped tomatoes are thoroughly cooked through, add the bacon from earlier. Stir them in then let them cook into the dish for a few minutes.

Stick it in the slow cooker!

During my last post I put the dish in the oven for several hours. You may risk drying out the dish in the oven if you don’t check it frequently, so this time I used the slow cooker as it is a better option for keeping in the moisture.

If you feel the dish is too watery then use the oven, if you have it roughly how you like it then use the slow cooker. Generally speaking, I will use the slow cooker.


Thanks for reading!

Simon’s ‘hootin tootin’ fenland-style chili con carne!


• A whole supermarket brisket chopped up into cubes.

• A pack of 6 bacon slices (smoked).

Two large onions and a half head of garlic.

• Chili powder (2tbs) cayenne powder (1tbs), paprika (1tbs), and cumin (1tbs).


Garlic and onion salt.

Beef stock (or one Oxo cube).

Optional: Hot chillies, kidney beans, and jalapenos.

I have been quite ill the past couple of days and for some bizarre reason I have a strange compulsion to cook a chili con carne every time I feel under the weather. So today, I thought I would keep up my little tradition by experimenting with something I’ve been playing around with in my head for some time.

This chili is a little different from my usual spicy mince beef and jalapenos. This aims to be more like a spicy beef stew which focuses on tender meat, deep flavour, and getting as much out of your ingredients as possible.

You are welcome to make this as hot as possible, so factor in whatever chillies you like throughout the recipe (if that is your goal). The fundamentals of this dish however, are very basic, and you’ll be pleased to see a short list of ingredients and measurements which you can pretty much eye ball – it really doesn’t matter if the measurements are slightly off. It’s an easy going recipe which is fun and lazy.

First, I start with frying a pack of smoked bacon on a low temperature to release all the smokey bacon fat into the pot. You don’t need much oil, in fact, I didn’t use oil in this example.

Once it’s fried, I take out the bacon and add the onions and garlic together into the bacon fat. This makes the onions a really nice golden colour as the fat is soaked up.

While the onions and garlic are frying in the pot, I rub my chopped brisket with garlic salt. I wanted to use onion salt too but could not find any in the supermarket, so I had to make do.

Once the onion and garlic is nice and golden with bacon fat, I throw in the brisket and fry them together to seal in all that flavour. A table spoon of golden sugar can be a good addition here but is not essential.

Once the meat is thoroughly golden I add chilli powder, cayenne powder, cumin, and thyme. Let it fry for a bit longer to spread across the pan and seal more into the meat. Make sure the meat of thoroughly singed.

After, add some beef broth. Personally, I like to use a beef Oxo cube which comes to about 2-3 mugs worth of water. Let that cook for 5-10 minutes.

I then added two cans of tinned tomatoes. I prefer not to use chopped but peeled plum… But either will do.

Let that cook for another 10 minutes.

I then add the bacon which was put to one side earlier. The bacon really makes a big difference in this dish. It not only makes that lovely smokey fat to fry the beef and onions but doubles up the smokiness at the end which brings out the smokiness and makes the dish pop.

Leave to simmer for 30-45 minutes. Once its lost some liquid I recommend putting it into a slow cooker as it will make the meat very tender, bring out the flavour, and is a good way at keeping in the moisture.

In this example I used it in the oven for 2 hours, which can also work, but be careful as it can dry out the dish.

Take it out after an hours and stir then put it back in. I will often add some chili powder in at this point and stir further depending on the colour.

Enjoy! This can easily feed a family of 4 with very generous portions and only needs some rice to go with it.

Don’t forget to visit the Cambridge Foodies and let me know how you got on with this dish!

Thanks for reading.

DIPS Sauce – Mac N Cheese

Time to upgrade your Mac and cheese with jalapenos, chorizo, sun-dried tomatoes and coriander leaf, finished with Dips chipotle + Lime for that added kick.


2 ltrs milk

1 medium white onion

2 bay leaves

6 cloves

150g butter

150g plain flour

250g Barber’s grated mature cheddar

salt & pepper to taste

1 tbsp English mustard

1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder

800g raw Macaroni pasta

30g grated mozzarella

50g Barber’s mature Cheddar, grated.Toppings

300g raw chorizo, diced and roasted

100g squash diced diced and roasted

45g jalapeños

50g sour cream – in sauce bottle

10g finely chopped coriander

50g sun-dried tomato’s

10g olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste.


Pour milk into a saucepan on a low heat.

As the milk warms, pin the bay leaves down into the onion using the cloves = 3 cloves per leaf.

Add the boullion powder and studded onion to the milk to infuse.

Melt the butter in another pan on a low heat.

Once melted, add in the flour to make a roux, continually mixing so that the flour does not catch and burn.

Cook out the flour for 3-4 minutes or until the flour no longer tastes raw.

Don’t allow the roux to brown.

Slowly add in the warm infused milk, whisking as you go until you have a smooth, silky sauce.

Now melt in 250g grated cheese, add the mustard powder and check for seasoning.

Pass the sauce through a fine strainer.

Serve and garnish evenly with toppings above.

Enjoy the recipe? Make sure to check out DIPS Sauce.

Butter bean bake with cous cous.

Who says vegetarian food cant be exciting?

This butter bean in a tomato sauce recipe has been one of my favourite dishes to cook for years. Its high in protein, has several of your 5 a day, and is incredibly cheap. Better yet, its so versatile that you can make it your own by making it spicy or adding other ingredients such as mushrooms.

This dish comes in two parts, the butter beans in a tomato sauce and the cous cous. As the butter bean dish has to be baked, it is always better to start there, so you can prepare the cous cous while it is cooking.

Ingredients – Butter bean bake in a tomato sauce

2 onions finely chopped.

1 pepper finely chopped.

A few cloves of garlic finely chopped.

2 cans of butter beans.

2 cans of chopped tomatoes.



Mixed herbs.

Chicken stock also works well in the cous cous, if you aren’t looking to keep the dish purely vegetarian.

I know what some of you are thinking…CANNED BUTTER BEANS? You are more than welcome to buy fresh, though I have found that soaking them for 12-24 hours can be impractical.

One of the best things about this dish is that the ingredients keep for a long period of time (especially the canned items) so it is something you can always heave ready to cook when you need it.


Finely chop the onions, pepper, and garlic and fry in a pan with olive oil for several minutes.

Drain the butter beans and add to the pan. Be careful not to fry for too long as butter beans can lose their structure and disintegrate. 

Once the beans have fried for a few minutes you will want to add the tinned tomatoes to the pan. I always try and buy high quality tinned tomatoes as they don’t contain as much water.

I will usually add some mixed herbs, pepper, and a sprinkle of paprika, though this is down to personal preference.

Let the beans cook for 5-10 minutes on a medium heat and simmer for a while.

Add to a baking tray and sprinkle a layer of cheese.

Put in the oven for 30 minutes on the centre tray to avoid the cheese getting burned.

The oven should be on around 180 degrees.

While the beans are cooking it is time to do the cous cous.

Cous Cous ingredients.

1 mug of cous cous.

2 onions finely chopped.

1 pepper finely chopped.

A few cloves of garlic finely chopped.

Chicken stock with some boiling water (or vegetable stock if you are looking to keep it purely vegetarian)



Mixed Herbs.

Fry the onions, pepper, and garlic in the pan for several minutes.

Add the cous cous and fry for a little longer.

As the cous cous mixes and cooks with the onions and garlic, add some chicken stock to a jug of boiling water. Cous cous doesn’t need much water and the less water you use in the jug the more flavour you will get with the chicken stock.

Pour the chicken stock in with the cous cous a little bit at a time until the texture feels right. Remember, too much water will cause the cous cous to go soggy.

Fry while stirring for several minutes.

Sprinkle a pinch of paprika, mixed herbs, and some pepper into the cous cous and stir then you are finished. I will sometimes pour over a small amount of olive oil too.
Once the butter beans are finished in the oven, take them out and let it sit on the side with some foil on top.

This is a dish which keeps in the fridge really well for a few days. It is great to reheat and is something I use for lunches at work. Being 6’4 and 230 lbs I often have trouble with finding a healthy lunch which sustains me throughout the day but my butter bean recipe will always keep me full until dinner time without fail.

This is a versatile dish which can be changed to stay fresh too. I occasionally add chickpeas, spices, chillies, or have it with rice or pasta instead of cous cous.

Sometimes I like to change it up. Here is an example of my butter beans with some chickpeas and rice.

I hope you enjoy my recipe. Please let me know how you get on cooking it in The Cambridge Foodies group.