Easy Recipes for the Geeky Cook


OK, it's been a while since Nick's curry thread... the Threadwatch Recipe Box is getting a bit quiet. I've got this fantastic lamb recipe that comes out tasting absolutely restaurant-quality outstanding, but is stupendously easy to make... ante up! What's your bestest, favoritest, easiest recipe?

Neuroscientist's Lamb (as annotated by Duncan Ellis)

Sez my step-uncle, the aforementioned Mr. Ellis: "This recipe was given to me by a neuroscientist, who's lab I worked in for a while, and who got it from a BBQ recipe book. I've included my own comments with each step."

- 1 butterflied leg of lamb, 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 pounds. (I usually de-fat the lamb as much as possible to allow better marination and prevent flare-ups. The lamb will probably try to fall apart into two or three pieces. This is good and can be encouraged, because it makes the meat easier to handle on the grill and allows you to remove the parts that cook faster than the others. Also, you can cut partly through -- butterfly -- thicker bits to achieve a more uniform thickness.)

- 1 cup dry red wine. (Reasonably drinkable so as to be acceptable for the basting of the chef during the cooking procedure.)

- 1/3 cup soy sauce. (I use Kikkoman Lite, which reduces the saltiness but still gives good flavor and helps the meat retain moisture.)

- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves. (Pack the measuring cup reasonably tightly.)

- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, slightly bruised, or 1 tablespoon dry rosemary. (The fresh are preferable, don't be afraid to bruise them, it's therapeutic.)

- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed. (I think this is wimpy and usually go for at least 8 cloves and chop them a bit as well as crush them.)

- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper, freshly ground.

Combine all (non-lamb) ingredients in a non-reactive pan -- Pyrex is good.

Add the lamb, spooning marinade with herbs etc. all over.

Cover with plastic, refrigerate.

Marinate for at least 6 hours, basting frequently. (I usually put the lamb and the marinade into a one-gallon Zip-lock bag, which makes the whole process easier and less messy. Just knead the bag occasionally to ensure proper marination.)

When ready to start cooking, reserve the marinade, scrape off excess herbs from the meat (they'll return during the basting), grill the lamb over hot coals or low flame about 4 inches above the coals for 20 minutes on the first side, basting frequently (every 5 minutes or so) with the marinade (you will use it all by the end).

Turn over the lamb, cook for 10 minutes, again basting frequently, and begin checking for doneness. (Internal temperature of the thickest parts should be close to 150ºF on a digital thermometer for medium doneness. This will give juicy, tender meat, but little pink to turn off those more squeamish than hard core carnivores. [mivox's note: I prefer cooking until the temp of the thickest section is 135º-140ºF. Let the squeamish suffer!])

When done, remove from the grill and carve immediately, slicing thinly across the grain.

Note: You can also cook this indoors... Try to butterfly the lamb to an even thickness, and cook it in the broiler (grill) of your oven/range, following the recipe directions. At the end of 30 mins., the thinner areas will be medium (for the squeamish), and any thich sections will range from medium rare to rare.

If it's not done enough to your liking, putting it in the oven at 325degF for another 20mins. should bring the thickest areas up to medium doneness.


Oh Robyn, I'm sorry.

Although I'm probably more sorry for the chief nappy changer :(

Instead of more girlie chilli then here's a slightly manly cake.

Chocolate and guinness cake

225g butter
350g soft dark sugar
4 eggs
225g flour
100g cocoa powder
2 teaspoons bicarb of soda
150g very dark chocolate, grated
400ml guinness (just less than a can)

line a springform cake tin (mid sized) with greaseproof paper, oven at gas 4 (180C)

cream butter and sugar, add eggs.
sift dry ingredients, add chocolate.
alternate adding flour mix and guiness to egg/butter until it's combined
bake for 1-11/2 hours. If it browns too much put a bit of foil on top after an hour or so. Leave to stand for 15 mins before turning out.


Yes. Best to skip the curries as well, in that case.

First-born huh?

No doubt. Good luck with that.

P.S. stay away from the raw goat as well. "Runny botty" doesn't even come close...


It's best not to do the chilli spagetti if you're breast feeding. Poor Robyn has had a runny botty for 3days now :)

It doesn't seem to bother her, but it can't be comfortable heh.


I can't cook without it period....

No such thing as too much: garlic, onions, vanilla, chocolate. The four major food groups....


...that sounds good, Mrs. MrMackin. :-) I just don't know if I could actually cook chicken without putting in garlic. I'm sure that's against my religion, or something. I may have to try it though. (Sounds like it could be used to make fish picatta to good effect as well, with slightly reduced cooking time.)

Chicken Piccata

This one is from Mrs. MrMackin. She thought you might like something besides Goat Curry and Spam Sandwiches.

4 skinless/boneless chicken breast (AKA chicken tits-yeah I threw that in)
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup butter or margarine
white pepper
flour for dredging

Pound chicken breast between plastic wrap to approx. 1/8 inch thickness.
Dredge lightly in flour. Melt butter or margarine in large skillet over
med./low heat.
Add Chicken and cook for 5 min. on each side. Add wine, lemon juice and
white pepper.
Bring to boil and reduce heat and simmer until chicken is completely cooked
(only a couple
minutes). Remove chicken from pan, turn off heat and add capers to taste.
Pour sauce over

what's a cowberry?

stock >> squish the tomatoes a bit more!

girly >> nothing wrong with girly food. You're lucky I didn't add chocolate.

tamarind >> http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=tamarind&btnG=Search+Froogle&cat=616
I do love Froogle :)


mivox, you can try varying quantities of lemon if you can't get tamarind but it doesn't give as rich a taste. You should be able to get dried blocks from your Asian grocer, though.

Chilli Spagetti

Gurtie, Ivana cooked that yesterday, and it was 'ing superb!

Did have to add a little stock to the sauce, but man, it was really, really good. Like a girly chilli dish heh...



...I'll have to check there. Everything in Fairbanks is "in my area," relatively speaking. ;-)


How many Cardmom pods and cloves, and how much ginger? (And can I find Tamarind in Fairbanks?)

I'd say about 5 or 6 cardamom

I'd say about 5 or 6 cardamom pods, about 5 - 10 cloves, about a desert spoon of ginger (the nicotine coating on my taste buds takes some getting through). I usually do quantities by eye, so it may need some tweaking to get it just right.

> can I find Tamarind in Fairbanks?
hehe, well it'll be almost as tasty without it, but maybe the Asian Food Market's worth a try?
1616, South Cushman St, Suite 1A Fairbanks, AK 99701 Tel: 907-455-7814
Probably coals to newcastle that though. Or snow to Alaska, or something. Is that in your area?

Dhal Recipe (looks more complicated than it is)

>my indian curry recipes really don't count as "easy,"
Try this one - easy, cheap tasty and very very good for you:

1 inch of a cinnamon stick
Grated fresh ginger
Chopped chilli
2 or 3 cloves chopped garlic
Chopped onion
1 tsp ground cummin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 - 2 tsp home made garam masala
About 10 handfulls of red lentils
Salt & pepper
Some tamarind (out of a jar is easiest)
1 tin coconut milk
1 chopped red pepper
Chopped corrinder

Fry the cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, chillis and ginger in a couple of tablespoons of oil.
Chuck in the onion, garam masala, cummin and turmeric and fry till the onions are soft.
Chuck in the lentils and fry for a couple of minutes.
Chuck in everything else along with a litre or so of water, bring to the boil and simmer on a low heat for half an hour

Serve it all up with some rice and chopped corriander.
Do a big pan and it'll feed you and your loved ones all week for next to nothing, getting more tasty every day.
Fart continually for the next few days whilst sniggering like Beavis and Butthead.

Salsa Picante

Ingredients for one 1 big bowl: (in ths order)

* 10-12 good sized tomatoes (the best and tastiest you can buy!) coarsely chopped
* a healthy pinch or two of salt
* a pinch of lemon pepper
* a pinch of sugar (enhances the flavour of the tommies)
* fresh Coriander (Cilantro) finely chopped (add amount to own tastes)
* 2 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
* 6-8 spring (salad) onions - coarsely chopped
* 1 white onion - coarsely chopped
* 1/2 lemon or lime - juice squeezed - no pith or pips!
* 3-4 fresh jalepenos or, depending on your lust for heat, 1 habenero

To get the best from the chilli's burn the skins until black over a naked flame and while hot, put in a bowl with a lid to 'steam' - leave for 20mins and the the skins/seeds should scrape off easily leaving the flesh (leave seeds in for more heat)

Mix well (never use a blender) then leave to sit/refrigerate for at least an hour before serving with tortilla chips, guacomole, and plenty of cold beer.....

No, surely...

...you've forgotten the take-out curry?

Brits seo's live on crisps, burgers, pizza delivery and Diet coke.

Unfortunately, my indian curry recipes really don't count as "easy," but so it goes.

So, how many posts does this thread need before the official Threadwatch Cookbook comes out? :-D

My favorite simple recipe

Put milk into a chilled glass
Add chocolate
Stir lightly.

If you like Chillies you'll like

Hog Wild on a Harley

sadly not many recipes online this is good though (haven't tried it with the nails).

and the other Briish great 'on toast' - mashed banana.


We're going to cook that tomorrow! Sounds wicked, and just my kind of thing! (anything with chilli!) Im also bang up for the quck Cajun, thanks..

Sardines on Toast
A british lunchtime classic.

1 tin of sardines
Some malt vinegar
bit of mayonaise

Drain off some of the oil, but dont go mad. Dump the sardines in a bowl with a good helping of vinegar (you can just add to taste) and a half tbsp of mayonaise.

Mash it all up really well, cook some toast, butter one side, layer on the sardines and grill the top side.

Easy peasy, and one of my favorites...

you boys bored

Brits seo's live on crisps, burgers, pizza delivery and Diet coke.


DIY Cajun seasoning...

Yeah, yeah... don't anybody in the Southern US pop up telling me how horribly inauthentic this is. ;-)

OK, so you can use this seasoning mix as a heavy coating on pork chops (which must then be panfried on medium-high heat with a *little* oil), or you can toss some shrimp with a light coating of it and saute them in butter, or you can coat fish fillets with it (works well with tilapia and halibut... prob. any other mild-flavored fish as well). It's pretty damn versatile, for anything you want spicy.

For best results, used powdered/ground ingredients, so they'll mix evenly...

8 parts paprika
4 parts oregano
4 parts garlic powder
2 parts salt
1 part cumin
1 part cayenne (double this if you like SPICY food)
1 part black pepper (fresh ground is best)

...ah! It's also fantastic sprinkled on hot buttered popcorn!

I usually mix up a batch using a 1/4 cup measure (1/4C = 1 part), and store it in a large shaker jar.

chilli spaghetti

enough spaghetti for 4
4 big cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 fat chillis (use more of the milder ones rather than the birdseye ones - you need to spread the taste out), chopped
punnet of cherry tomatoes, leave whole
couple of good glugs of extra virgin olive oil
loads of fresh parmesan

1. put spaghetti on to cook
2. bribe someone else to grate parmesan
3. heat oil in pan and add cherry toms, when the skin starts to split reduce heat a little and add garlic and chillis (goal is to flavour oil and soften garlic, not to fry the chillis)
4. drain spaghetti, dump in pan with chilli mix and toss well
5. serve with the parmesan and warm bread to mop up the juices

Black beans for multiple dishes

1 c black turtle beans
1 medium onion
olive oil
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1 can corn
1 can tomatos

1. Soak beans overnight in 4 cups water in the fridge until they are twice their size.

2. Place onion, pepper, salt, 4 cups water and beans in a slow cooker (crock pot) and let cook for 8 hours on low heat. Drain.

3. Heat frying pan. When hot, put olive oil into pan. (Heating pan first keeps things from sticking more effectively than heating up the pan with the oil at the same time.) Add cilantro, fry for 30 seconds. Add beans, corn and canned tomatos. Fry and stir for 15 minutes.

Now, the cool thing with this recipe is you can do several things with it:

-- Put it over rice for a beans & rice dish.
-- Put it tortillas with lettuce, fresh tomatos, sour cream and cheese for delicious vegetarian tacos.
-- Roast red bell pepper halves on the grill and put the beans into red bell pepper cups.
-- Or, serve as a side dish with other things.

And, since it is mostly cooked in the crock pot, it is relatively simple to cook.


If I soaked it in buttermilk, that would be part of the recipe, silly! Anyhoo, I never noticed a problem with any 'gamey' flavor, so you'd have to try it yourself and find out what you think, I guess.

Or hey, you could take a page from MrMackin's cookbook, and try it with spam if you don't like lamb. ;-) (Or use beef instead?)

Hey Mivox...do you soak the l

Hey Mivox...do you soak the lamb in in buttermilk first if you don't like gamey flavor, or does the marinade pretty much kill gaminess.

SPAM® & Jam Layered Sandwich

- 1 (8-ounce) can reduced fat refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
- 1 (12-ounce) can SPAM® Oven Roasted Turkey, thinly sliced
- 4 slices Colby cheese
- 4 slices Swiss cheese
- 1/3 cup raspberry preserves
- Maple Mustard Sauce
- Powdered sugar
Heat oven to 375ºF. Separate dough into 4 rectangles. Place each rectangle crosswise on 1 large or 2 small ungreased cookie sheets. Firmly press perforations to seal. Rectangles should not touch when baking. Bake dough for 8-12 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown. Cool on pans for 5 minutes. Top one crust with half of the sliced SPAM® and Colby cheese. Place second crust on top of the cheese. Top evenly with the other half of SPAM® and Swiss cheese. Place third crust on top of the cheese; spread evenly with the raspberry perserves. Top with the fourth crust. Return layered sandwich to the oven and heat for 15 minutes or until filling is hot. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle sandwich with powdered sugar, if desired, and slice into 1-inch pieces. If desired, serve with Maple Mustard Sauce. *Maple Mustard Sauce: 1?2 cup light mayonnaise 1?4 cup Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons maple syrup 1?2 teaspoon Creole seasoning In small bowl, combine all ingredients. Serve as a dipping sauce with sandwich. Tip: Classic SPAM® may be used in place of the SPAM® Oven Roasted Turkey or in combination.

Serves 6

Grilled Goats Cheese

Here's one i particularly like for lunch - good as a starter too..

Grilled Goats Chease and Cowberry Sauce


  • Some goats chease
  • Bread
  • Cowberry jam, or cranberry, redcurrent etc


For the bread, just use whatever you think would work - i like baguettes cut lengthways or ciabatta.

Grill the bread, dont grill it too much on the side your going to put the chease on - sprinkle a little olive oil on the chease side - put 1/2inch slices of goats chease on it and grill til golden - put a little jam on the side - maybe some fresh rocket - and you're done!

Realy tastey, and very very simple :)

Oooh YUM.

Now if my husband only ate lamb *sigh* And I'm with mivox on rare meat: I always want mine screaming for mercy.... Now as to easy but delicious, here's one of my personal favorites:

Roasted Red Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs

Coat a 13x9x2 inch [33x23x5 cm] baking pan with cooking spray (or butter or olive oil - whatever....) Preheat the oven to 375ºF [190.6ºC].

Scrub but do not pare a dozen larger or two dozen tiny red potatoes (sometimes sold as "new potatoes"). If you have the larger ones, halve or quarter them. Dry them well.

In a zip sealing plastic bag, place 1/4 cup [60ml] extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves garlic finely minced (or to taste, or if you get it jarred the way I do, a teaspoon or to taste). Add a selection of your favorite fresh and dried herbs - this is mostly according to what you have available and what flavors you like (I use around a tablespoon total marjoram, thyme, parsley, basil mixed), a 4 inch sprig of fresh rosemary, and fresh ground pepper to taste - sometimes I add a bit of Italian red pepper or allspice (depends on what main dish is planned).

Muddle the herbs etc. around in the oil, put the potatoes in the bag, muddle it around some more so the potatoes are all coated well, then dump the whole shebang into the prepared baking pan and place the pan in the oven on the middle shelf.

Stir every 15 minutes. Should be crispy brownish outside and soft yummy on the inside in about an hour.

[To our UK and European friends here: my recipe program isn't installed right now, and these were the closest I could come on the web.... Hopefully somewhere close!]