Monday 30 July 2012

Loving with all the pieces

There is a secret about this blog. Well, it is not that secret. If you were an observant reader, you might already know it. 

The beginning of this blog does not appear at the last point of the timeline. I have back posted old reflections from Lourdes, and topic indexes into that space. No, the beginning of this blog begins with a prayer by St. Alphonsus Liguori. 

I titled the post 'Prepare', and then made a subtitle, 'Beginning a journey into the unknown'. Then there is that prayer, that prayer that haunts me, the one I do not understand, the one I said could only be 'Practiced. Walked. Done. Felt. Definately not understood.'  

For over a year all I wrote about was the stations of the cross, led by St. Alphonsus Ligouri and lit by the shell of St. James. This blog started out as a journey to find out about and understand the road to calvary and beyond. What was it that fascinated the saints, drew them close? 

I couldn't walk, physically, on pilgrimage anymore - I had to work and do other things - but, I could walk in my mind and see events around me as part of a pilgrimage. I could try to see with the eyes of the saints. Everything here is a kind of an homage to the 1st reading of the Feast of St. James, 2 Corinthians 4: 7 - 15.
We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure.... power comes from God and not from us. We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted, but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus.... may be openly shown. 

After 11 months of exploring, looking and listening I wrotethe stations of the cross have a capacity to show people what it means to love with a wounded heart. I stand by that. Christ loved people at their cruellest and most unthinking. People are called to do the same. We may well be responsible for  our actions, but sometimes we cannot and do not see what it is we do. Often we are looking at some other goal and forget to see those closest to us. Everyone seems to suffer this blinkered vision. It gives rise, of course, to those conversations: 'I didn't know you felt that way'; 'I didn't mean to hurt you'; 'It wasn't meant to happen like this'. Heroism, it has been pointed out by someone much wiser than me, is living forgiveness. 'Let's journey on, together...' 

We often hear people declare that they love 'with their whole heart', and indeed, that is the command of the Shema: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind', 'love your neighbour as yourself' (Matt 22: 37 - 40). But, to me at least, hearts that have really loved  have risked enough to be broken - the trick is to love with all the pieces.

August 1st is the feast of St. Alphonsus Ligouri, Doctor of the Church, and an opportunity to raise a glass to him for his challenging, impossible to understand, provocative words. I love him, and his writing because I so often find what he says perplexing and worth mulling over, visiting and revisiting. He holds my attention, not because he is easy, but because he is hard, and I suspect he says things which are true.

As it happens, Alphonsus is also the patron for the year of one of my very good friends, although I am sure he may not even recall his name appearing on a screen at the turn of 2012. Today, I will remember him, his journey and his intentions, and thank him for being my friend. As a scholastic philosopher, theologian and patron of confessors and moralists, he and my friend make good company.

Now, a some food fit for a life long journey, what should it be?

Smoky Pimento Goulash for 8 
(Alphonsus, forgive the fact this is not Italian, but it is good)

1.1kg (2 1/2lb) braising steak
3tbsp olive oil
16 shallots
225g (8oz) chorizo, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
3 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp smoked paprika
700g tomato passata
100ml hot beef stock
salt and ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 170C. Cut the braising steak into large cubes, slightly larger than bite size. Heat the olive oil in heavy casserole pan until very hot. Brown the beef a few cubes at a time until it is deep brown all over. Remove and set aside.

Reduce the heat under the casserole, add the onions, chorizo, chilli, bay leaves and garlic. Fry for 7 - 10 minutes until the onions soften and turn golden brown. Return the meat to the casserole and stir in the flour and paprika. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes, stirring. Add the passata, season, cover and cook in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, or until the beef is meltingly tender. Check halfway through cooking - if the beef looks dry, add hot beef stock.

Serve with minted sour cream: 1 tbsp chopped mint mixed with a small pot of sour cream, and drizzled with olive oil to serve.

Hunky fresh bread is essential and deep red wine. Enjoy the journey.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Pilgrims Walking through time

Hear it echoing down the paths and trails, across the centuries, recorded in the 12th Century Guide for Pilgrims, the Codex Calixtinus.

"God, Father of all mankind, King, ruler of the world
Gave to his apostles dear,
lands, each to their own just care
James in his own land of Spain,
Shines out with a holy flame
First [to be martyred] amongst Apostles now!
Martyred at Jerusalem!
James became the holiest
by illustrious martyrdom!
Lo! James’s Galicia calls out for our pious toil,
Marching on the holy way, road over her glorious soil.
Blending all our prayers in one harmony of endless song:
To Lord St James! To God’s St James!
And Onward! And Upward! God speed our way!"
– translation of 'Dum Pater Familias', a pilgrim song for the Camino to Santiago de Compostela.

My James

James, the son of Zebedee, and brother of John. Without delay He called him, and he left his father in the fishing boat with the hired men. 

Jesus always takes with him Peter, James and John. He takes them when he heals Jairus' daughter; they 
climb the mountain with him and witness his transfiguration; Peter recognises Jesus as the Christ, James and John ask for the best seats in heaven; it is Peter, James and John who pray with him near the end, at Gethsemane, and run away when things get tough.

James, at least my James, is not a quiet Apostle. Jesus names him, and his brother John, 'Boanerges', 'Sons of Thunder'. I am guessing that is not because they were meek, quiet and retiring. They followed, yes, but they questioned, and fought,  and battled to understand. Sometimes they didn't understand, sometimes they were wrong, sometimes they ran away. And, that was okay. They kept listening.

James, of course, is said to have travelled to the Iberian peninsula to preach during his lifetime. After his death in Jerusalem (he was beheaded), his remains were carried by boat back to Galicia, where he was buried at the city now named in his honour: Santiago de Compostela. Last year I was sad to report that a very precious document, the Codex Calixtinus had been stolen from the Cathedral. This year, however, I am happy that, in answer to many prayers, it has been found again - in a garage. I hope it is restored to its rightful place soon. The Codex Calixtinus is a 12th Century guidebook for medieval pilgrims following the Way of St. James. It is a practical document that gives advice to those making the journey to his tomb. It also contains homilies and sermons in his honour. It is simply beautiful, a testament to the many millions of people who have followed in the footsteps of James - battling their way to faith and understanding, seeking answers to the many questions, queries, confusions and doubts that rise up along the way.

There was an elderly priest on the camino, near San Juan de Ortega, I think. Everyday, and on the day I walked up the hill to his church, he stood, watched and waited for all the pilgrims of the day to arrive. I arrived in the middle of the afternoon, in the heat of the day. He invited me to drink water from the cold fountain, and sit in the cool of the Church. He was tiny, very tanned, dressed in a dusty black soutane. He had small round glasses which framed his elvish features, and wore brown sandals on his small dusty feet. He smiled and was gentle in his approach, but you did what he asked, and he made clear what he wanted. Others arrived after me, and all the while he stood and waited until at last he could see no one travelling up the hillside. It was early evening when he gathered everyone together in the Church, welcomed them and announced that he was going to hear confessions. He spoke Spanish, but said that God spoke every language - just do your best, he said. A rather surprised group of pilgrims arranged themselves, and took their turns. It was a lengthy process, but the priest did not mind, he was not in a rush. He did the same thing everyday - helped people fumble through confession in Spanish. When everyone had received absolution, he came out and announced, 'Now, Mass'. He celebrated a short, simple mass, gave the final blessing and looked up to say, 'You are hungry. Go outside, and there will be soup and bread.' His sister, also well into her 80's had prepared garlic soup and fresh bread, which we ate on benches at long tables underneath the trees; the priest brought wine, and served it to each of us in clay brown cups. He brought a bowl of hot soapy water out, at the end of the meal, and washed each of the dishes, laying them on the table to dry. As each group approached with their crockery he said, 'Come to night prayer, then take your rest'. At around 9.30pm everyone filed back into church, and after compline, laid out their sleeping bags on the floor of the old church hall and took an early nights rest. No one minded, everything seemed to be under control. That was one of the stranger evenings I had one time I walked with St. James. I often wonder about that priest, it is many years since I walked the camino now. Is he still there? He would be in his 90's now, at least. I wonder if he is still alive, or has he reached the heaven he worked so hard for. I would love to go back there, but am frightened I would find the place changed.

I could make any number of things in honour of St. James, and would take great delight in doing so. One of the things I remember most fondly though, are the little Magalenas I used to have, very early in the morning, in quiet cafes. The night shift workers would be drinking little beers. It would be that darkest dark before the dawn, around 4am, and this, just before the sunrise, would brighten up the day.

Honey Magdalenas

120g unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing
50g Spanish honey
3 medium eggs 
100 caster sugar
100g self raising flour, plus extra for dusting the tins
25g ground almonds

I make these in Magdalene Tins, the scallop shell shape a the symbol of St. James, and a reminder of how they looked in the cafes, but you can just as easily make them in an ordinary fairy cake shape. 

Place the butter in  a small pan and melt it gently. Allow it to cook so that it begins to brown slightly. As soon as it turns a light caramel colour, remove it from the heat and stir in the honey to halt the cooking process. Set aside to cool.

Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy with an electric whisk. This will take 10 - 15 minutes. Sift the flour and ground almonds together and fold them into the mixture with a large spatula. Fold in the honey and butter mixture also.

Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Grease the Magdalene tins with butter and dust them lightly with plain flour. When the batter has chilled, divide the mixture up between moulds. Let it rest for 10 minutes at room temperature whilst you preheat the oven to 160C.

Bake for 10 minutes until light and golden and springy to touch. Allow them to cool for 2 - 3 minutes in the tin, and then place on a cooling rack. They store in an airtight container for up to 4 days (if they last that long).

Serve in the morning with cafe con leche. Do it properly, with hot milk, strong coffee and sugar.

Monday 23 July 2012

Weavers, winegrowers and wanderers

Of the list: weavers, winegrowers and wanderers, I am, despite my ambitions, most certainly a member of the last group. I have never had a chance at a loom, I drink well enough, but I have never made wine. I have, however, wandered. Indeed, wandering is part of who I am; it is part of my identity. I wandered to Santiago de Compostela twice, just to see where my thoughts would travel (but more on that later in the week); I wandered away from teaching, a solid and fruitful career, just to see what academia might bring, and, when disappointed by the academe of Oxford, I wandered away, back to my home in the classroom, teaching other people to always be brave enough to wander. It is only in wandering, it seems to me, that people find out anything about themselves.

I missed the feast of St Ulrich of Augsburg on 4th July. I am very sorry about this. He was the Patron I picked this year, with the help of electronic magic. He has been added to the intercessors I call upon, and I was sad to have missed his feast. Mea culpa.

Ulrich was born in 890AD. He was unsure of whether he should become a priest, serving the people in the diocese, or a monk, serving the people through the religious life. He was consecrated to the priesthood in 909, by his uncle, Bishop of Augsburg. Later, after the death of his uncle, he would become Bishop of Augsburg himself. He was said to be strict but gentle in his role as bishop, and he spent much of his time trying to improve the moral standards of the clergy.

Ulrich was the first saint ever canonized by a Pope, just twenty years after his death in 973, Pope John XV declared him to be in the company of the saints. It is said that pregnant women who drink from his chalice had easy deliveries, and thus he has been in charge of 'easy births' ever since. The touch of his pastoral cross is said to heal people bitten by rabid dogs. Earth from his grave is reported to repel rodents, and over the centuries, much has been carried away for that purpose. But, most of all, he is charged with bringing people a good death. Ulrich prepared for his death, he strew ashes on the ground in the form of a cross, blessed them with holy water, and died laying upon them on July 4th, 973. He was buried in the Church of Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg.

Now, all of that might seem irrelevant to me, but I would love to weave, do anything to have the opportunity to make wine, and hope one day to have an 'easy birth' or two, or three, or four..... Eventually, with a tribe of family around me, I hope to die a good death, around the age of 99 or so...

Ulrich is my Patron for this year, and I ask his intercession, and in his honour, belated as it might be, I offer a simple supper, the meal I had with my flatmate this evening.

We had baked camembert on toast, with asparagus. I know it sounds simple and expensive, but it was delicious. I cut a small piece out of the centre of the cheese and filled it with white wine before baking it. The asparagus I just blanched in salted water, and served on buttered brown bread toast. We covered the lot with melted cheese, and a little red currant jelly, drank the remainder of the wine and experienced a little taste of heaven.

Friday 20 July 2012

Holy Faced Holidays

I am in a holiday mood and thus my mind is wandering around the stranger and more amusing stories from saintly hagiography. Today is the feast of St Wilgefortis, the daughter of a Pagan King in Portugal. Do not ask when she lived, that would only spoil the fun  - she became popular with the faithful in the 14th Century and that is all you need to know. 

Wilgefortis, whose name is a variation of Virgo fortis (strong virgin) or Hilge Vartz (holy face), for reasons which will soon become abundantly clear, was one of those pious and holy young women of times gone by who made a vow of chastity. Of course, her father was not having much to do with this, her marriage to the nearest nobleman being worth a pretty penny or two, and he decided she should marry a pagan prince of his choosing. That's the way things were back then.

Not to be bullied, Wilgefortis prayed earnestly for God to deliver he from her unwanted wedding day. She grew a beard. Her suitor suddenly changed his mind about the engagement and, horrified, her father had her crucified (as you do). Rumour also has it that, whilst she was still hanging on the cross, a passing fiddler was so moved to pity that he stopped to play a lament. She appreciated his music so much she kicked off her golden boot! He was arrested for theft and was condemned to death. In order to prove his innocence he asked to play before Wilgefortis a second time. In the presence of all, a now presumably deceased Wilgefortis, kicked off her other golden boot, establishing his innocence and gaining peace and quiet for all eternity.

I might come back to this post with a proper recipe later on, but for now I'll let you in on a holiday secret. Today a friend of mine came round for lunch, and I laid out Port Salut, Camembert, tomato, mozzarella and basil salad, prawns fried in a hot pan with chilli, garlic, olive oil and a little wine, olive bread, french bread and bottle of cold Riesling. It was yummy. #Friday Fast Day

Sunday 15 July 2012

St Swithun

Today is St. Swithun's day. It has not rained on me all day. To be fair, I think we have already had 40 days of rain and more. 40 days of a little sunshine would be most welcome.

St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mare

St Swithun was Bishop of Winchester in Saxon times, renowned for his philanthropy and for his dedication to building churches. Legend has it that on his deathbed St Swithun asked to buried outside, rather than in his cathedral. It was his wish that his body 'be subject to the feet of passers-by and to the raindrops pouring from on high. This last wish was granted 9 years after his death, when the monks of Winchester built him a shrine within the cathedral walls and moved his remains there. The legend states that during the ceremony that marked the removal of the bones, the heavens opened and there was a huge downpour, which gave rise to his famous saying. 

Friday 13 July 2012

Accepting a gap

Vaughan Williams married for the second time in 1953. There was a 40 year age gap between he and Ursula. They loved each other deeply and traveled the world together. A poet, one day, when he was reaching his mid-eighties - she sat watching him and wrote this:


Sleep, and I'll be as still as another sleeper
holding you in my arms, glad that you lie
so near at last.
This sheltering midnight is our meeting place,
no passion or despiar or hope divide
me from your side.
I shall remember firelight on your sleeping face,
I shall remember shadows growing deeper
as the fire fell to ashes and the minutes passed.

The couple set the poem to a piece of music called The Last Four Songs. He died in 1958. She lived until 2007. She never re-married and always loved her husband.

Benedict's Saintly Sister

This week saw the Feast Day of the brilliantly beautiful St. Benedict (480 - 543), founder of Christian monasticism. There are so many things I could say about Benedict - he wrote down 'The Rule' around which many Christian communities choose to live their lives today.  St. Benedict founded over 40 monasteries with no long term intention to create an 'order' as such. He just sought that individual simplicity through which individuals and individuals living in common could seek the presence of God. And, well, people liked his ideas and followed him.  Here is one of his prayers: 

Gracious and holy Father,
please give me:
intellect to understand you;
reason to discern you;

 diligence to seek you;
wisdom to find you;
a spirit to know you;
a heart to meditate upon you;
ears to hear you;
eyes to see you;
a tongue to proclaim you;
a way of life pleasing to you;
patience to wait for you;
and perseverance to look for you.

My favourite story about St. Benedict though, is not really about him. It is about his twin sister, Saint Scholastica. You wouldn't want to mess with Scholastica, even if you did found a religious order. Benedict established his monastery at Monte Cassino, and Scholastica founded a convent in nearby Plombariola, about five miles south of her brother. The convent is said to have been under the direction of her brother, thus she is regarded as the first Benedictine nun.

The siblings were close. However, the respective rules of their houses prohibited either entering the other's monastery. They met once a year at a house near Monte Cassino monastery to catch up and talk about the things which most interested them, mostly prayer and God, but other things too, one imagines. The last time they met, Scholastica and Benedict had been at one of their yearly meetings together, and had spent the day together. As nightfall approached Benedict made to leave, but Scholastica asked him to stay and continue their chat.  Benedict sternly refused because he did not wish to break his own rule by spending a night away from Monte Cassino. He was a very serious and holy man. Scholastica was a holy woman too though, and she loved her brother. She responded to her brothers' determination to leave by crying openly, laying her head upon the table, and praying that God would intercede for her. As she did so, a sudden storm arose. The violent rain and hail came in such a torrential downpour that Benedict and his companions were unable to depart.

"May Almighty God forgive you, sister" said Benedict, "for what you have done." (I told you he was serious)

"I asked a favor of you," Scholastica replied simply, "and you refused it. I asked it of God, and He has granted it." (Touche!)

After his return to Monte Cassino, Benedict saw a vision of Scholastica's soul departing her body, ascending to heaven in the form of a dove. She died three days later. He placed her body in the tomb he had prepared for himself, and arranged for his own to be placed there after his death. The two siblings loved each other very much, but it was Scholastica was the one who saw clearly that God loved the love that was between them.

Simplicity is the key to St. Benedict's Rule. With that in mind, I have to offer a simple vegetarian meal in his honour. It celebrates the humble carrot. I was grieved this week to hear that in the UK root vegetables cannot be harvested because the fields are too wet, flooded in some cases. Too much of our national food will rot in the ground this year, and as a consequence, no doubt we will be importing the produce we eat. Perhaps, perhaps, if we all lived a little more simply we would help to reduce the effects of climate change that  have been seen so clearly recently. Maybe we all need to live a little more of the simple life.

Afgan Carrot Hotpot (Qorma e Zarak)
(Serves 4 - from Veggiestan)

2 medium onions
oil, for frying
2 - 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 scotch bonnet chilli
1 cm of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
pinch of ground cloves
600g baby carrots (make them local)
300g yellow split peas
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3 large tomatoes, chopped
salt, to taste
2 teaspoons vinegar
500ml vegetable stock
Really tasty naan bread

Fry the onions in the bottom of a big saucepan, and add the garlic, chilli and ginger. When the onions have started to soften, add in the spices, carrots and split peas, followed by a couple of minutes later by the paste and fresh tomato chunks. Sprinkle in some salt, add either the vinegar, and then add enough water to cover all the ingredients. Bring to the boil and then set to simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the carrots and peas are cooked through. 

Serve with yogurt and bread (you could have rice too).

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Smiling Foods

Hallo All,
I have an impressive collection of cookbooks. I have said before that I have a habit reading them, thinking about loved ones, friends and family. I put post-its in them and write things like: 'When babysitting Joseph' next to the cheesy shepherds pie; 'Stephen home in winter' next to the meat pie on a plate; 'breakfast treat with family' next to fluffy crumpet pancakes with raspberries and honey. Sometimes I just write a name: Gemma; Dan; Clare; Anto; sometimes an initial C in summer; cosy night in with G; sometimes a mood or event - re-energise on a rainy day; cook with friends; party at the flat; home; bring to a party.

The thing about it is, I need some help. I love, more than anything else, to hear about the favourite foods of the people I love. I want to know what they look forward to eating, what can bring a smile to their face, what they fancy when they are tired, after a long walk in the outdoors, for breakfast on a lazy Sunday. I long to know what people think is best for a party, how they like to cook on a weekday, favourite food in the rain.

I mention the rain, of course, because of the weather here in England. It looks like this summer we are going to have to make our own smiles. We are forecast floods and rain until September. It is time to put our wellies on and continue with summer walks and outdoor activities regardless, walking and hiking in the deluge; taking picnics in the car; making friends with waterproof trousers again; learning to love the damp. This means my usual summer menus have been made rather redundant. If you read this, could you do me a favour? Drop me a comment and tell me what foodie delights light up the end of a long day for you. You can leave an anonymous comment, I won't be judging! I just need some inspiration to help me back to my cooking and blogging. I have read these books twice over and I am season and taste bud confused!

I would be very grateful for your thoughts, no matter how short. Write just one word! Write a sentence! Write an essay or a paragraph. 


Tuesday 3 July 2012

My Saint - The Doubter

Today is the Feast of St. Thomas, the doubting twin. I've always identified with him. He has some sense. He was not there when Jesus appeared after the resurrection. And, sensibly to my mind, when he heard his friends and companions stating that they had seen the Risen Jesus, he thought them to be talking nonsense. For this reason Jesus had to appear once again, and invite Thomas to touch his hands, his feet and his side. A very sensible man. I think that St. Thomas disbelieved to help us to believe. He doubted and tested, giving us the courage to do the same. A faith untested, after all, is no faith at all.

St Gregory the Great has some excellent comments around this theme: 

...the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ's wounds. becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection. Touching Christ, he cried out: My Lord and my God. Jesus said to him: Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Paul said, 'Faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen'. It is clear, then, that faith is the proof of what cannot be seen. What is seen gives knowledge not faith. When Thomas saw and touched, why was he told, you have believed because you have seen me? Because what he saw and what he believed were different things. God cannot be seen by mortal man. Thomas saw a human being, whom he acknowledged to be God, and said 'My Lord and my God'. Seeing, he believed; looking at the one who was true man, he cried out that this was God, the God he could not see......
Sometimes I think that people try to make faith into something it is not, some sort of certain knowledge or complete certainty. I reckon that's all wrong and a bit dangerous. That is making things up. I have complete knowledge of nothing, and I do not like to say things which would make it appear as if I knew anything for certain. However, I have complete faith in many things, most of all in a God I have never seen. I have always been taken by the fact that, in the rite of Mass in Ireland, at least when I was younger, one of the options for a Memorial Acclamation was St. Thomas', 'My Lord and my God'. I only ever heard it once, in Dublin, but it left an impression. I often still greet the Eucharist that way.

I had better put some food in this post. I have been neglecting my cooking recently - too much dashing about camping, exploring Warwick Castle and day-tripping to France with students. It's a hard life. 

I reckon that all you hardened meat eaters out there need to have a little faith in veggie food, so I am going to suggest little triangles of goodness in the form of samosas for this evening. Have a little faith and you will discover a whole world of tasty deliciousness. Trust me.

1tsp sunflower oil
1/2 onion, peeled and finely diced
1/2 clove of garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
100g mushrooms
100g chick peas, slightly crushed
1 red pepper, finely diced
100g peas
100g rice
soy sauce, to taste
16 tortillas
1 egg

Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and the garlic until softened. Stir in the turmeric and chilli flakes and fry for another 2 minutes. Then add the mushrooms, chickpeas, pepper and peas and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the rice. Add about 250ml of hot water, bring to the boil and cover the pan. Simmer until the rice is cooked. Splash on soy sauce to taste. 

Cut the tortillas in half, then cut each half into long strips the width of four fat fingers. Put the smaller side of the tortilla next to you and place you finger in the middle of the bottom side. Keeping your finger in place, diagonally fold over the bottom right side to the top to make a kite shape. Do the same with the other side. Brush egg onto the folds of the tortilla to help stick the sides together. Life up the tortilla and make a cone shape, then add some filling.

Lay the tortilla down, brush the flap at the top with beaten egg and fold it over to make a triangle. Turn it flap side down onto the work surface and gently press to seal. Pinch the points of the tortilla to make sure the filling does not come out. Continue filling the tortillas until all the filling is used up.

Heat some oil in a large pan. Fry the samosas for a couple of minutes until they are golden brown on each  side. Only cook 3 - 4 at a time, they do not like to be squashed. Eat and enjoy!

(PS: You have to see this recipe work to believe it).