Seven bowls of Goulash


I went to Budapest to discover how the Hungarians really ate their Goulash. It turns out, it’s not what you think it is. It’s much better than that. I hope you like the film.

Tim Halket’s Seven Bowls of Goulash from Tim Halket on Vimeo.

My thanks as always to my brilliant producer Juliet Baird, and Alan Deakins, and Finn McCleave.

Donkey Sauce Recipe


Donkey Sauce – it’s been in the news lately. A potent name, certainly memorable. It simply tastes like a nice rustic version of Alioli, that’s lost it’s overly aggressive pungent punch. The garlic is mellowed by roasting, or a quick confit in olive oil as I’ve done here. Use it with almost anything that comes off the grill. Especially good on hamburgers.
Mine is a slightly mellower Euro-zone version of Guy’s. I use wholegrain Dijon mustard, he suggests “regular yellow mustard”, by which he means the mild American stuff, not English.

Make some mayonnaise by beating one egg yolk gently with a whisk as you add a slow drip, drip, drip of good olive oil. Add to this several crushed cloves of soft confit or slow roast garlic, finally season generously with wholegrain mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.

Here I’ve made a sandwich for lunch with hand cut ham hock, a slice of tongue, some leaves and a slathering of Donkey Sauce.

New York Times review,

Guy Fieri’s original Donkey Sauce recipe,

New movies page


I’ve just started another page on here called movies. Grandly titled, they’re more like videos. Some shaky home-shot stuff, and occasionally a real proper film.

This one is a beatifully made video portrait (of me) by Will’ Terran. My thanks to him and, as always, to Juliet Baird for being the best producer.


Video Portrait from Tim Halket on Vimeo.

Rocky Road crunch bar


I’m always trying to persuade my children that a proper apple crumble or steamed pudding is the thing to have for Sunday lunch. But it falls on deaf ears – when I ask them what they’d like me to cook, they unanimously scream Rocky Road. It’s their current crush. It’ll pass.

It’s a generic well-published recipe, with very few real variations. But, the top-tip I got from the Nigella Lawson recipe is to use rich tea biscuits. Most food writers suggest digestives, which are perfectly fine, but they’re not quite as crunchy and can become a bit too crumbly. I also like cherries in mine, my children do not – so instead of mixing them in, I dot them across one end (my end) before applying the final smothering of chocolate.

100g rich tea biscuits

100g little marshmallows

100g glace cherries

120g unsalted butter

3 tablespoons golden syrup

300g top-quality dark chocolate (aim for 70% cocoa solids)

Drip a little oil into the bottom of a shallow baking tray (mine is 12×8 inches and just 1 inch deep). Then cover with a large piece of cling film. The oil is there to get the cling to stick to the bottom, just a little, so it doesn’t slip about.

In a mixing bowl quickly break up the biscuits; the ideal texture is mostly shards, nothing bigger than a quarter of a biscuit, and not too many crumbs. Add the marshmallows and cherries, and mix it up a bit.

In a small non-stick pan gently melt together the butter, golden syrup and chocolate. Keep stirring it regularly with a plastic spatula. Once that has all melted, pour three quarters of the chocolate over the biscuit rubble and mix thoroughly. At first you’ll think there’s insufficient chocolate, but persevere and keep mixing – it’ll be fine.

Tip the chocolate coated rubble into the baking tray and smooth it down as best you can with the back of the spatula. Now pour the remaining chocolate over the top. Tidy up the top again. Place it, uncovered, in a fridge for a few hours, or overnight.

To serve, simply lift the whole thing out and cut into mean little slices (it is incredibly rich). Dust with a sprinkling of icing sugar or cocoa powder, if you like. Eat it as a cake with a coffee-shop sized cappuccino, or dress it up for pudding with ice cream, or crème fraiche, or perhaps some squirty cream.


Moules Mariniere


This particular batch of mussels was a bit barnacly. They needed cleaning; use the side of your potato peeler, it doesn’t take long. Honor took this photo below, as I was cleaning them.

For four people as a main course you will need two or even three kilos of mussels – a bit less as a starter. I doubt that you’d really want to cook this for more than four; you’d need a really big catering sized pan and a gas burner capable of getting it hot.

Finely chop two medium onions and crush a couple of cloves of garlic. Soften these gently (and completely) over a low heat with plenty of butter. Add just one good glass of dry white wine and bring it up to a ferocious boil with the burner on its highest available heat. Tip the cleaned mussels into the pan and put a tight fitting lid on top. Every minute or so remove the lid and quickly stir the mussels, or give them  a really good tossing-shake. You will find the ones at the bottom cooking more quickly – so mix them up a bit. They should take no more than two or three minutes, but are certainly done when the majority of the shells have opened and you can see the pale orange mussels inside. They will quickly overcook, so err towards speediness.

Using a slotted spoon take the mussels from the pan and dish them up into big deep soup bowls. It may seem a daunting number, but remember, the bit you eat is actually very small.

Now add a scant glass of double cream to the cooking sauce left in the pot. Taste it, and add a little lemon juice, salt and pepper. Keeping the heat on high bring it quickly up to the boil. As quickly as possible, ladle a little of this thin white broth over the mussels, using a sieve if you have a fear of any grit making it onto your plate. Pour the rest into a gravy jug, for pouring and slurping later.

I’d normally look for thick slices of crusty bread cut from one of those handmade, white loaves – but most recently had only soft white baps to hand. They were an amazingly good pairing. Either/or will be necessary for mopping up the soupy sauce at the bottom of the bowl.

Shopping for fish at Gurneys


Twitter reminded me about Gurneys. More specifically that it had been voted a very good fish shop. One of the best. It was listed, in a piece in one of those Sunday Supplement magazines. Raffi’s in our nearby hometown of Sudbury won a mention as the best place to go to for Indian spices in all of East Anglia (and is where I go). Gurneys got the gong for best fish shop in the whole rump of England.

When we’re up in Norfolk, we get some fish in either from Gurneys, or a little garage/shed on the coast road – mainly we go there for mussels and crabs, Gurneys for everything else. Years ago, Annie and I first lost our bowls of Moules Mariniere to the inquisitive children in one of the sheds on Mersea Island (we had to eat their children’s portions of Fish and Chips). Ever since then, mussels have been one of their favourite seaside dinners.

Another thing Gurneys do very well are the bits and pieces that come in pots. Things like potted shrimp, mackerel pate, crab pate, and dressed crabs, plain crab-meat, English fish cakes, and Thai fish cakes. And an invention – I think – of theirs; cray’n’aise. I think you can figure that one out. (I must say though, that the crayfish in the last one I bought were so overcooked everyone refused to eat them. Previously, it has been spot on.)

They have one counter for all those things, and another for wet fish. The wet fish is spanking fresh, and the shop certainly has the turnover to keep it that way.

There’s the full spectrum of smoked fish too. Inevitably, you can get all the extra bits and pieces for your fish frenzy: lemons, garlic, onions, homemade mayonnaise, pink sauce, tartar sauce, various exotica in jars and vast bunches of flat leaf parsley.

Gurneys Fish Shop, Market Place, Burnham Market, PE31 8HF, 01328 738967