Food writer Mark Diacono has turned his attention to the taste of sour in his latest cookery book

Halloumi, mango, shallot and rocket salad with spicy tamarind dressing

Serves 2 as a lunch
Ingredients
2tbsp olive oil
125g halloumi, sliced 5-7mm thick
70g rocket
1 medium mango, peeled, stoned and cut into wedges
1 eschalot or other long shallot, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
12 mint leaves, very thinly sliced
pinch of Aleppo pepper
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the spicy tamarind dressing
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
2cm fresh ginger peeled, finely chopped
1tsp Aleppo pepper
pinch of ground coriander
4tsp tamarind paste
juice of half a lemon
4tsp honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
For the tamarind dressing, pound the garlic and ginger in a pestle and mortar with a little salt until it becomes a smoothish paste.
Add the Aleppo pepper, coriander, tamarind paste and lemon juice and black pepper. Stir well. Add the oil and whisk into an emulsion and taste. Whisk in honey if you like it sweeter.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Once shimmering, add the halloumi slices and fry until mottled golden on both sides. Lift out on to kitchen paper to drain.
Arrange the rocket in a large serving dish, lay the mango slices around fairly evenly spaced, and – tearing each slice in two as you go – dot the halloumi over the dish.
Break the shallot slices into individual arcs and scatter them over the top. Use the tips of your fingers to agitate and gently disturb everything – you’re aiming to combine a little but mostly just introduce a degree of pleasing dishevelment.
Sprinkle both the shredded mint and pinch of Aleppo pepper over the top, and grind a little salt and pepper across the ensemble.
Dot the tamarind dressing over the dish and serve.

Pork vindaloo

Serves 4 generously
Ingredients
800g pork shoulder, cut into 3cm chunks
4tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
500g onions thinly sliced
75g tamarind block or 5tbsp paste from a jar
12 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 medium-hot chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
400g tin chopped tomatoes
16 curry leaves
3tsp black mustard seeds
1tsp salt
For the masala paste
2tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder or hot paprika
10 green cardamom pods, seeds only
1tsp black peppercorns
6 cloves
1tbsp cumin seeds
1tbsp coriander seeds
1tbsp ground turmeric
6cm cinnamon stick
80ml banana vinegar or cider vinegar

Method
Using a pestle and mortar or coffee grinder, reduce the masala spices to a rough powder. Stir in the vinegar to create a loose paste and tumble the pork through. Leave to marinate for three hours minimum, ideally overnight.
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the onions until soft, 12-15 minutes at least, stirring regularly.
While they are cooking, break up the tamarind block (if using) and stir into twice its weight of boiling water – if you love tamarind as much as I do, it’s useful to prepare more than you need for this recipe, so that you have more to use in dressings, cocktails and so on.
Add the garlic, ginger and chillies to the onions, and cook for five minutes or so, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes and curry leaves and use the back of a wooden spoon to encourage the tomato pieces to break down and soften into the sauce.
Add the pork, mustard seeds, salt and tamarind and bring back to a lively boil before lowering the heat to the laziest of simmers. Cover and cook for an hour or so, stirring once in a while.
Uncover and cook until the meat is really tender and the sauce has thickened nicely – this should take 30-45 minutes.
Serve with basmati rice and/or flatbreads.
If you are the sort of excellent person who likes to look forward to what you’ll eat later in the week, you can make this well ahead.
Marinate overnight, and then allow another 24 hours once everything is cooked to allow the flavours to develop. Warm through slowly and thoroughly.

Sour cream, apple and blackberry tart

Serves 6-8
Ingredients
225g cold butter, diced
250g plain flour, plus more for rolling
4tbsp sugar
120g sour cream
5 Bramley apples
100g (3½oz) blackberries

Method
Place 200g of the butter, the flour and one tablespoon of the sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. By all means, rub the ingredients together in a bowl using your fingertips instead, if you prefer. Add the sour cream and pulse or mix until the dough starts to come together, stopping just before it forms a ball. If it is still crumbly and does not bind add a little cold water.
Form the dough into a flat disc, wrap in baking parchment and chill for 20-30 minutes before using.
While the pastry is resting, core, peel and dice three of the apples. Place them in a pan over a medium heat with the blackberries, the remaining 25g of butter, two tablespoons of the sugar and one tablespoon of water and cook for 5-7 minutes until the apples are tender. Remove from the heat and mash everything roughly with a fork. Roll the pastry on a surface dusted with flour to about 3mm thick. Line a 25cm tart tin with the pastry, leaving about 5mm hanging over the edge of the tin, then allow it to rest for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Cover the base of the pastry with a circle of baking parchment and fill with baking beans, then bake for five minutes. Remove the baking beans and parchment and return the tart case to the oven for five minutes until lightly golden and dry to the touch. Trim the edge of the pastry to make it neat, or leave it rough and ready if you prefer.
Core, peel and thinly slice the remaining apples. Spread the apple and blackberry puree over the base of the tart, then arrange the apple slices over the top and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the apples are just golden brown at the edges but not collapsing.
Remove from the oven and serve with whichever form of cream or yoghurt takes your heart’s desire.
Sour by Mark Diacono is published by Quadrille, £25.

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