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A feast with the Contini family

Carina Contini comes from a family of British-Italian restaurateurs who’ve been feeding Scotland for generations. Four years ago they set about renovating an abandoned Victorian kitchen garden in East Lothian. Now it supplies fresh fruit and veg for all their restaurants. We joined Carina’s family and friends for an autumnal feast using some of her favourite ingredients picked straight from the garden


Parsnip, haddock and cardamom kedgeree

Beetroot, orange and parsley salad [v]

Slow-cooked beef shin in ale Creamy mashed potato with nutmeg [v]

Pear, vanilla and praline tart

"Our kitchen garden is looking beautiful. We’re now in our fourth year of growing and the plants are bountiful and abundant. Whatever the weather, sunshine or rain (and we do get a little bit of rain in Scotland), five minutes in the garden is energising. It’s our spa session in the country.

Nature not only looks gorgeous but it also feeds us so well. These recipes are a mixture of my favourite things. I love Indian cooking, and the spices in the kedgeree really deliver. The beef shin is slow food that works well for a dinner party."

Carina Contini


With husband Victor, Carina runs three restaurants in Edinburgh: Contini Ristorante, The Scottish Café & Restaurant and Cannonball. They also have cafés and an events company. Their kitchen garden has heritage varieties of fruit and veg, and an abundance of herbs. The chefs change the menus daily, depending on what’s on offer – and yes, they do still have courgettes in October (see p39).

Parsnip, haddock and cardamom kedgeree


“This kedgeree is lighter than most as it has more vegetables. You can grate the parsnips so they dissolve into the rice and give a delicate background favour, or cut them into cubes for more of a contrast.”

Kedgeree with an autumnal feel – and a good bit of spice

MAKE AHEAD This makes more curry powder than you need – it will keep for up to 2 months. Poach the haddock and roast the parsnips in advance. Keep the milk, haddock and parsnips separately in the fridge for 4-6 hours. Warm the milk before adding it to the kedgeree.

FOOD TEAM’S TIPS This is quite a spicy dish, so it’s good to serve it with yogurt. To make it milder, use only ½ tsp chilli flakes in the curry powder.

PER SERVING (FOR 6) 670kcals, 26g fat (12.2g saturated), 32.3g protein, 71.8g carbs (11.6g sugars), 1.9g salt, 8.4g fibre

WINE EDITOR’S CHOICE The soft texture and slightly sweet parsnip note of the kedgeree calls for a rounded, ripe white Burgundy – avoid anything too brightly fruity or acidic. The shin of beef also demands a soft, easy wine, this time a côtes du rhône or a southern Italian red suchas negroamaro. With the pear tart, serve a classic Italian dessert wine: cool, sweet vin santo.

• 4 parsnips, coarsely grated (see intro)

• 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

• 2 tsp ground cumin

• 600g undyed smoked haddock fillet, skin on

• 600ml whole milk

• 6 green cardamom pods

• 100g unsalted butter, plus an extra knob

• 1 onion, very finely chopped

• 400g basmati rice

• 600ml veg stock or light fish stock • Handful each fresh flatleaf parsley and coriander, coarsely chopped

• Cayenne pepper and lemon or lime wedges to serve


• 1 tsp cumin seeds

• 2 tsp coriander seeds

• 1 tsp chilli flakes (see tips)

• 1 tsp ground turmeric

• 1 tsp ground cardamom seeds

• ½ tsp ground cinnamon

• 1 clove

• 1 tsp whole black peppercorns

1. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. For the curry powder, toast the cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a dry non-stick frying pan until they start to pop. Add the chilli, turmeric, cardamom and cinnamon. Carefully heat for a few seconds, stirring (don’t let the spices burn or they will become bitter and unusable).

2. Put the toasted spices, along with the clove and peppercorns, in a pestle and mortar (or in a spice grinder) and grind to a fine powder. Set aside when cool and store in an airtight container (see Make Ahead).

3. Put the grated parsnips in a roasting tray with a drizzle of olive oil, the ground cumin and a sprinkle of salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes until tender and slightly golden.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the haddock. Put it in a pan, cover with the milk and add the cardamom pods. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the haddock from the milk with a fish slice and remove the skin. Flake the fish, removing any bones (discard the skin and bones) and set aside. Strain the milk and reserve.

5. Heat the butter and 2 tbsp olive oil in a large casserole over a medium heat. When hot, add the onion and fry for 6-8 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the rice and 1 tbsp of the homemade curry powder, then cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, to release the flavours.

6. Add half the fish-poaching milk and all the stock, then simmer for about 12 minutes until the rice is just cooked but still has some bite. It should be light and fluffy. Remove the pan from the heat.

7. Gently mix in the roast parsnips, flaked haddock, parsley, coriander and a generous knob of butter. The consistency should be thicker than a risotto but not dry – add a splash more of the reserved milk if it needs it. Serve with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and lemon or lime wedges to squeeze over.

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About delicious. Magazine

Ottolenghi is back! Find his new recipes in our October issue, along with the best things to eat this autumn including Hugh F-W’s cheesy gratin, Atul Kochhar's home cooking and easy one-pot meals. There’s also a Mexican chilli cook-off, proper bao buns and a foolproof beef wellington. On the sweet side, get stuck into John Whaite's rich chocolate cake, a frangipane crumble and our ultimate biscuit collection – better put the kettle on…