I was sad to hear that David McCallum has gone to that Hollywood in the sky.  I remembered that I had a draft post about his curry, written by the beloved Mr Rathbone, so thought it would be apt to share it today for all David’s fans out there.  This was a test cook for the Murder, She Cooked book. 

David is in two episodes of Murder, She Wrote, one in series 5 and one in series 7.  I’m just revving up to start work on volume two of the Cabot Cove cookbooks so David will feature in them both.  If anyone fancies testing his Irish Stew, just let me know!

For now, here’s his curry recipe, with an excellent test cook report from Mr R.

David McCallum’s Landlady from India’s Curry

2 large onions

2 tablespoons cooking oil

4 pounds leg or shoulder of lamb, cut up in small cubes (about an inch)

1 tablespoon curry

6 cloves

Dash of cayenne pepper

1 heaping teaspoon sugar

Handful of raisins

1 teaspoon salt

Chop the onions as fine as you can and fry in the oil. Add the lamb cubes and brown. Mix all the other ingredients in a one-cup measuring cup and fill the cup with water. Add this spice mixture to the lamb. Watch out for spattering. And then simmer – that’s low, with just a few bubbles around the edge of a pan until the meat is thoroughly cooked – about half an hour. Serve with lots of boiled rice and bottled chutney. You can also serve a dish of peanuts, a dish of coconut, a dish of chopped onions if you’d like.

Serves 8

Mr Rathbone’s testing notes

This was a mild but tasty dish with a decidedly ’70s homemade curry’ vibe (right down to the raisins!) which would suit someone not especially fond of spicy foods. I halved the ingredients which made four generous portions and also opted for shoulder of lamb which I prefer to leg where Indian cuisine is concerned.

Regarding a few of the more vague and somewhat minimalist cooking instructions, I took ‘1 tablespoon curry’ to mean curry powder and used a generous half tablespoon of a medium supermarket brand in my scaled down version. You could add more if you wanted to spice it up a little, or indeed use a hotter powder. 

For the ‘dash of cayenne pepper’ I used just under a quarter of a teaspoon (double this if making the full recipe) and the ‘half a handful of raisins’ (ditto) were of the large, juicy variety as I didn’t think your regular littluns would survive the cooking process. Go easy if you have particularly large hands!

Regarding the instruction “mix all the other ingredients in a one-cup measuring cup and fill the cup with water”, a half cup measuring cup proved too small and the amount of water too little to properly mix the ingredients, so I opted for most of a full cup. Bear this in mind if you make the full amount, you’ll probably need at least a cup and a half of water for a proper blending.

Crack open a bottle of Cobra, pop a classic Bollywood soundtrack on the stereo (I heartily recommend one of R.D. Burman’s fine ’70s soundtracks) and enjoy!

Cheers David!


These are links to the UK Amazon – switch to your own country for correct postal costs if not in the UK.

Books can also be ordered via your local bookshop or possibly from your local library.

Cooking With Columbo Murder, She Cooked Supper with the Stars Cooking With Joan Crawford


Dinner and a Movie Murder, She Wrote Episode Guides and Recipes

Monthly movie star menus direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!