The November dinner party has an Eastern European feel to it. People often ask me for recipes for the beetroot they have grown. This Beetroot Borscht is a super delicious soup that is very popular in Poland. It was Piotr and Pawel, twin Polish chefs, who first introduced it to my kitchen. The beef stock cubes deepen the flavour and make it a rich comforting starter. It keeps well in the fridge.

One of the first meals I learned to cook in catering college was beef goulash. It is a simple tasty recipe and delicious with rice or potatoes. For this version make sure to get Quality Assured pork. This is a lovely aromatic meal and not too spicy. The Worcestershire sauce gives it a bit of a kick and the honey sweetens. I now like to serve it with cauliflower rice, which has a similar texture to rice but a much lower GI.

Sacher Torte is a classic Austrian chocolate cake. I learned to make it when I was on a stage in a Berlin Hotel as a young chef. A Black Forest Gateau uses cherries and is sweeter. Sacher Torte has apricots, a more tangy or tart fruit. The key to both is good quality chocolate.

Happy Cooking!


Neven's Beetroot Borscht is zingy, earthy and sweet all at once / Phillip Doyle

Beetroot Borscht

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 leek, fine chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 275g (10oz) raw beetroot, peeled and finely grated
  • 100g (4oz) potato, peeled and diced
  • 150g (5oz) carrots, peeled and finely grated
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) vegetable or beef stock
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Soured cream and dill sprigs, to garnish
  • 1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and fry the leek and celery for about 2-3 minutes until softened but not browned, stirring occasionally. Add the beetroot, potato and grated carrot, stirring to combine.

    2. Pour the stock into the saucepan, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.

    3. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are completely tender and the soup has thickened slightly.

    4. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the vinegar and sugar. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.

    5. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish each with a small dollop of soured cream and dill sprigs. Serve immediately.

    Neven's goulash is a departure from the traditional beef version; instead using pork and serving it with cauliflower rice \ Philip Doyle

    Pork Goulash with Cauliflower

    Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) pork stir-fry strips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 green peppers, cored and cut into slices
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 120ml (4 floz) red wine
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) can of chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml (7fl oz) beef or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Cauliflower rice

    Serves 4–6

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1. Place the flour and smoked paprika in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

    2. Use this to evenly coat the pork strips, tipping away any excess flour.

    3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over a medium heat and quickly brown the pork on all sides. Don’t put too much pork in the casserole at once or it won’t brown – it’s best to fry it in batches.

    4. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.

    5. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the casserole, then sauté the onions, green peppers, garlic and dried oregano for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are just beginning to catch a bit of colour.

    6. Return the pork to the casserole and stir to combine. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble down, scraping the bottom of the casserole with a wooden spoon to remove any sediment.

    7. Add the tomatoes, stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée, honey and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper and bring up to a steady simmer.

    8. Place the lid on the casserole and simmer for another 20 minutes or so, until the pork is completely tender.

    9. Meanwhile, to make the cauliflower rice, cut the hard core and stalks from the cauliflower and pulse the rest in a food processor to make grains the size of rice.

    10. Line the base of a steamer with parchment paper, tip in the cauliflower and cook for 8–10 minutes, until tender.

    11. Season with salt and pepper, then fluff up with a fork. Divide the cauliflower rice among warmed plates, then spoon over the pork goulash. Garnish with the parsley to serve.

    Unlike a sweet Black Forest Cake, Sacher Torte has a tangy apricot filling \ Philip Doyle

    Sacher torte

    Serves 8

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 8 eggs
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 200g plain flour
  • For the filling and glaze

  • 250g apricot jam
  • 2 tbsp apricot liqueur or juice
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 170ml double cream
  • 70g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 200g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa content)
  • 25g butter
  • 1. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Alternatively, melt it in short bursts in the microwave, stirring between each burst.

    2. Set the chocolate aside to cool a little while you separate the eggs.

    3. Whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt using electric beaters until they form soft peaks, then gradually add 200g of sugar, continuing to whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

    4. Line a 24cm springform tin with baking parchment. Heat the oven to 170 C/150 fan/gas 3.

    5. Using electric beaters, beat the butter and remaining sugar in a large bowl until light and creamy and the sugar has dissolved.

    6. Gradually beat in the egg yolks and cooled chocolate. Fold about one-third the whisked egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

    7. Sift the flour over the mixture in two batches and fold each in. Gently fold in the remaining beaten egg whites using a spatula.

    8. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin, spread evenly and bake for about 1hr or until the cake is risen and springy to the touch.

    9. Put on a wire rack and leave to cool completely in the tin.

    10. Heat the jam and liqueur (or juice) in a small saucepan, then pour into a bowl through a fine sieve.

    11. Loosen the bottom of the cake tin, then slide off the tin and peel away the baking parchment. Halve the base horizontally. Place the bottom layer on a cake stand and spread with half of the jam mixture, then place the other half of the cake on top.

    12. Spread a thin layer of the remaining jam all over the cake and leave to dry.

    13. For the chocolate glaze, bring 40ml water and sugar to the boil in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool slightly, then stir in 2 tbsp of the double cream.

    14. Heat the remaining cream in a separate pan and stir in the butter until melted. Remove from the heat and gradually add the chocolate, letting it melt into the cream, and stir in the sugar syrup.

    15. Place the cake on a cooling rack over a tray to catch any excess glaze.

    16. Evenly coat the cake with the glaze by pouring it slowly into the middle, tilting the cake gently so it flows slowly over the edges. Don’t smooth it with a knife or it will look streaky.

    17. Best enjoyed fresh but will keep for up to three days.

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