Curry

Week 76: Scallops with Thai-scented pea puree

I have no idea what a baby leek is. I’m assuming it’s a really really young one, but I can’t seem to be able to buy one. So I cracked open half a kilo of frozen peas and cooked this instead. Take that Jamie Oliver.

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Week 70: Thai Vegetable Curry

Its a while since I did something for the vegetarians.  I’ve had a very meaty January, but I was making the Thai Chickpea Curry from the Cupboard Love book last week and this one is on the page opposite (and covered in curry) (more…)

Week 68: Mama’s Curry & Spiced Cauliflower

Don’t worry, it’s not my mama (the poisoner).  That would be terrible, and probably contain a lot of bran.  No this mama belongs to a lady called Anjie Mosher in the second Hairy Bikers’ Best-Loved Recipes book, and it’s delicious. Also, this week is a bit of a two-for-one – they’re separate recipes that are delicious by themselves but go together really well. (more…)

Week 63: Daal Curry, Warm Tomato Salad and Naan

I know, I know, I know. It’s December, cook sommat festive you fool. I wish I had actually, cos here’s a thing Mr Oliver didn’t mention: Fenugreek stinks. And lingers. I’m not even being a bit precious for my tiny flat here, it’s been two nights since I made it and it still scrapes at my eyeballs in the style of a chemical attack when my cold and I came back to the flat tonight. And I had a massive dirty three-pan fry-up last night which I thought would’ve got rid of it…

The moral of this pre-christmas story is: if you can’t find fenugreek, don’t start pounding the leafy streets of West London to find a fenugreek tree to harvest; shrug and forget about it – this curry is delicious and probably won’t miss it.

So anyway, to make this for for you will need: an onion, a clove of garlic, a thumb sized piece of ginger, 2 fresh chillies, a red pepper (de-seeded), a bunch of coriander, rapeseed oil (I couldn’t find that so I used sunflower), fresh curry leaves (I used dry), 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1tsp mustard seeds, 300g dried red lentils, 1 400g tin coconut milk, 200g baby spinach, and 700ml boilingwater.

That’s just for the daal, for the salad you will need: 500g ripe mixed-colour tomatoes, a lemon, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp mustard seeds, and two cloves of garlic.  Serve with naan bread and some yoghurt.

Somehow I managed to get this done in about 20-25 minutes, mostly by having a sous chef. It all took quite a while in the blender which definitely took me over the 15 minutes, I didn’t cut the bits up small enough.

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Turn on a large casserole pan high and the oven on 130c. Chuck the onion (peeled and cut up a bit), the garlic and ginger, the chillies, pepper, corriander stalks, and after seasoning with some salt and pepper blitz it until it’s all chopped up small.

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When that’s done put a tablespoon of oil into the pan with the curry leaves, turmeric, fenugreek (don’t) and mustard seeds.  Stir it up, add the blitzed veg and fry for a couple of minutes then add the lentils, the tin of coconut milk, and 700ml boiling water. Bring to the boil and stir regularly.

Naans in the oven and put the frying pan on low. Halve all the tomatoes, thinly slice half of the lemon (including the skin), and crush 2 cloves of garlic if you don’t have one of those fancy garlic crushers. Add 1tbs oil, the chopped lemon slithers, 1tsp mustard seeds, the garlic and squeeze the other half of the lemon over the mix. Toss the tomatoes round the pan and serve in a posh bowl.

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The daal should have thickened by now so add the spinach and stir until it’s wilted.  Get yer naans out and plate up your daal.

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I’m not entirely sure if I’d make it again, it was lovely but I hadn’t planned on it doubling as a chemical weapon – which has also given me a vicious pre-christmas cold.  I wouldn’t make the tomatoey bit again, it was OK – good for a different texture, but I wasn’t a fan of the lemony bits.

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So next week is Boxing Day – don’t even think about getting your bubble and squeak on until you’ve read new recipe night!  Merry Christmas!!

 

Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (Penguin 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15780-7)

jamie 15min

Week 51: Chicken Tikka (sort of)

So this week is a bit of double celebration – I’ve been making a new recipe pretty much every week for the last year (I started on Facebook then moved here later), and this week I had my 4000th viewer… They were probably disappointed that their search for “Nigella Breast” got my schnitzelly ravings.

This cheeky recipe caught me unawares, I was so busy being smug that I already had all the ingredients in the cupboard I didn’t notice that it needs to marinate overnight. So I started it off and then my lover whipped up an omelette.

This recipe comes from the Cupboard Love book, but is inspired by Vivek Singh’s Tikka recipe in ‘The Cinnamon Club Cookbook’ (which I’ve got my eye out for), and is a recipe I’ve had my eye on for most of the last year. What always worried me was having to make the masala, but I decided this time I would do without it.

To make Tikka for two you will need 2 boneless chicken breasts (book says skin on, but I could only get them skin off), half tsp salt, half tsp black pepper, 2 tbs lemon juice, 2cm fresh ginger (finely chopped), 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped), half tsp cumin seeds, half tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tbs yoghurt and 2 tbs olive oil.

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Firstly, with your trusty pestle and mortar grind up the cumin and coriander seeds, not too finely but it will smell amazing! Then chop up the garlic and ginger and add to the crushed seeds, then add the paprika.

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Pierce the chicken a few times and rub it all over with the salt and pepper. Toss into a bowl with the lemon juice, then add the crushed seeds, herbs, garlic and ginger, and then the olive oil and yoghurt and mix together with the chicken.  Cover the bowl and chill for at least 2 hours, but preferably over night.

When you’re ready to cook it crank your oven up as high as it will go, and heat a griddle to a medium high heat.  Line a roasting tin with parchment. Fry the chicken skin side down for 3 minutes, then the other side for 2 minutes (season the skin side with some extra salt). Any of the marinade left on the chicken falls off into the pan.

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Transfer the chicken to the tray and bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.  Rest for 5 minutes then slice and serve with rice and chutney.

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It was delicious. I’m not just saying that. I loved the dry-ness of it too, I’m not the biggest fan of masala sauce so this was ideal. It went really well with the brown rice and some mango chutney I fould in the cupboard.

Next week a veritable feast for week 52. Hurrah!

 

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

cupboard love

Week 40: South Indian Vegetable Curry

In a moment of vegetable deficiency I walked all the way to the veg stall and bought the world’s biggest cauliflower to make this veg curry I’ve had my eye on in Nigella’s kitchen book.  I’m pretty sure I was mainly attracted to it for the challenge of finding tamarind paste (which was only a challenge because I didn’t look in the bomb-shelter that is Hammersmith Sainsbury’s first).

To make this for four you will need: 2 x tbsp garlic oil, 1 onion, 1 green chilli, 2cm chunk fresh ginger, crushed chilli flakes, turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground ginger, 1 can of coconut milk, 600ml vegetable stock, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp tamarind paste, 350g cauliflower, 350g broccoli, 100g fine beans, 125g baby corn, and 150g sugar snap peas.  Serve with rice or a warmed naan bread.  Or both…

Firstly,  Break the cauliflower and broccoli into florets, trim and half the beans, half the baby corns, cut the ginger into fine strips, de-seed and finely chop the chilli, and peel and cut the onion into half moons (sort of like orange segments).  While you’re finishing this off start the oil heating in a thick bottomed casserole or a large saucepan.

Fry the onion – sprinkled with a pinch of sea-salt flakes – until the onion starts to soften, then add the chopped green chilli (I used a red one I had left over in the fridge) and the ginger strips.  Nudge it all around the pan for about a minute.

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Add half a teaspoon of chilli flakes, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, and 1 tsp of ground ginger and give it all a good stir to ensure the onion is coated in the spices, and cook for about another minute then pour in the coconut milk, the vegetable stock, a tsp of sugar, and the tamarind paste.  Stir again and bring to the boil.

Nigella says that at this point you can stop cooking to finish off the next day, or portion it up to freeze for another day, and I took half out to put in the freezer – but I had the hob on too high in the next stage and had to add it back to stop it boiling dry.  The flamethrower hob strikes again!

Once the sauce is boiling (either the first time round, or when its been reheated) add the cauliflower and the broccoli and cook for about 10 minutes, then add the beans and baby corns and cook for another 5 minutes.

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Once the vegetables are tender add the sugar snaps and serve when they’re hot.

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Again I’ve tried a new recipe in the summer and decided it’s definitely a winter dish.  It’s delicious, and very cozy, and I’d imagine Ideal for doing something different with the spare un-cooked veg at Christmas – or Thanksgiving if that’s your thing!

 

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)

Nigella Kitchen

Week 34: Squash, Coconut, Chilli

I once knew a girl who spent time working at a butternut squash farm, and I’ve never been able to look at them without smirking ever since.  However, I was flicking through the books looking for something simple to cook and found this recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘Three Good Things on a Plate’ on the page after the lentil curry that stank my flat out (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/week-20-lentils-spinach-potato/).

It meant getting over my squash-giggles, but this week I bought my first ever butternut squash.  It’s surprisingly difficult to buy a small one – small being 1kg.  Who knew?

The recipe makes enough curry to serve 4, I would recommend making it in the same quantities as the recipe and freezing half if there’s only two of you (unless you have half a tin of coconut milk handy).  To make this curry you will need: A Squash (800g-1kg, either a Butternut, Kabocha or Crown Prince Squash), Sunflower Oil, 1 Onion, 2 Garlic Cloves, 2-4 Mild or Medium Red Chillies, curry powder/curry paste, Coconut Milk, a Lime or a Lemon, Salt and Pepper.

Since making this I have found out that you can buy prepared chunks of butternut squash, and vegetarians have lots of hacks to make the preparation of them much quicker.  I had no prior Squash-knowledge, and spent ages wrestling the squash into peeled and de-seeded bite-sized chunks with my battered old 50p peeler.  While you’re at it, thinly chop the onion, garlic and chillies, and lay them out on your board as if you’re a Blue Peter presenter (see above).

Heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a large saucepan, and gently cook the onion over a medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and the chillies and after two more minutes stir in a tablespoon (or two) of curry powder/curry paste and cook for a few more minutes.

Toss in the squash, season with salt and pepper and stir it round for a minute or two to make sure the squash is covered in the rest of the mix:

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Pour in the coconut milk, stir, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes.  After 15 minutes I tossed in some fine beans like Hugh suggested.  Every so often I gently stirred it, as directed.

When the squash is tender, turn off the heat and stir in the juice of a lemon or a lime; I chose a lime.

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Just as I started cooking the squash my lover came up to me and asked if I thought butternut squashes were like pumpkins, which he is insanely allergic to… but what’s a meal without a spot of peril?

Luckily dinner didn’t kill him, and it has been requested again.  I put 2 chillies in but next time I’m going to put 4 in, or use stronger curry powder, or both.  A delicious curry which makes the flat smell lovely.

Yum!

 

Hugh’s Three Good Things on a Plate by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury 2012, ISBN 9781408828588)

three good things on a plate

Week 24: Beef Kofta Curry, fluffy rice, beans & peas

That processor has corrupted me, corrupted I say.  I’m power mad, and to prove it I cracked open Jamie’s 15 minute meals… one of the many recipes that requires electricity!

I know it irks you when I say these things, but I had no idea what a puy lentil was, or that it was a different thing to the orange art-class lentil.  I couldn’t get even a sniff of a puy lentil in Hammersmith and had to go searching.  But I had the rest of the ingredients.

To make this for four you will need: 1 x 250g pack of ready-to-eat Puy Lentils, 1 heaped tsp garam masala, 400g lean mince, 3 ripe tomatoes, 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, 2 spring onions, 1 red chilli, bunch fresh coriander, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp runny honey, 2 heaped tsp Patak’s Rogan Josh Curry Paste, half a tin of coconut milk, 300g basmati rice, 5 cardamom pods, 200g green or yellow beans and 200g frozen peas.  Jamie also says to use fat-free natural yoghurt, a lemon and 2 uncooked poppadoms, but I didn’t bother with those.  I’m not sure how big a bunch I was supposed to get, but Sainsbury’s sold me this:

I reckon it was too big.

After trying the last two recipes from this book I decided to ditch the frantic 15 minute malarky and calm down a bit.  To start with I scrunched together the lentils, garam masala, mince, with some salt and pepper.  It made a brain:

I had a whole Sainsbury’s fail and could only get a 500g pack of mince (the butchers was miles away in the other direction, I still feel bad cheating on him) so it made a much larger brain than was intended.  Once you have your brain, wet your hands and divide it in half and then mould each half into 6 fat fingers.  They look like mice at this point, which was the exact moment my squeamish lover chose to pop into the kitchen to see how I was going.  Oops.

At this point Jamie says you should put them in the pan, but to avoid burning everything I skipped that bit and skipped straight to the exciting blender bit.  Speed freak.

In your powerful yet sleek liquidizer put in the tomatoes, peeled ginger, spring onions, half the chilli, the coriander stalks (although not all of them if you’ve accidentally bought a tree of it) the tumeric, honey, rogan josh paste and half the tin of coconut milk.  It will look like this:

Blitz that mother down.  Vroom.  Now time to start cooking, calmly and serenely.

Put a tablespoon of oil in your large frying pan and turn the heat up high, then boil the kettle.  When the oil is hot stick the koftas in the pan, turning them when golden.  Put the rice, 2 mugs of boiling water and the cardamom pods into a medium lidded pan and the (pre-halved) beans on top.  Put the lid on.

After a few minutes, give the liquidizer another quick blast, because its fun, and then pour the mix into the frying pan with the koftas.  Bring it to the boil and then simmer.  My pans don’t have tight fitting lids, so I had to weigh the lid down to stop the bubbly rice water from going all over my hob… which looked like this:

By now, I reckon you should be about 5 minutes before the rice is done, so open the lid of the rice pan, put the frozen peas in and give it all a good stir round.  After this Jamie says you should microwave your poppadoms, but I don’t have a microwave and forgot to buy the poppadoms, so I skipped it to take pictures.

Slice the other half of the chilli and the coriander leaves to artistically scatter over the dish.  Next time I make this I won’t scatter the chilli because it was really hot and gave me the hiccups.

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This was the first recipe from this book that I have loved, and the first where my lover has said I can make it again.

The quantities are to serve four, and rather than mess around with halving all the quantities I made the curry for four and the rice for two (150g rice, 1 mug water, 100g beans & 100g peas) and froze half of it.  It froze, defrosted and re-heated really well (although the koftas fell apart and were more like chunks than mice) so I will definitely make it again.  As a bonus I can use the other half of the tin of coconut milk, the other half of the bunch of spring onions and the other half of the pack of fine beans for Nigella’s curry in a hurry (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/week-8-curry-in-a-hurry/) – no waste and I get to process stuff, Boom!

jamie 15min

Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (Penguin 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15780-7)

Week 20: Lentils, Spinach, Potato

Three is the magic number, yes it is, it’s the magic number.  This is also Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s mantra for his latest book: “Hugh’s Three Good Things on a Plate”.  For my twentieth week of new recipes (although it’s my 22nd new recipe) I decided to use a new book, rather than cook something fancy from one of the books I’d already used; so I reached for Hugh!

three good things on a plate

The recipe uses lentils, vegetable stock, cooked potatoes, garlic, curry powder, spinach and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and as usual it provided a number of firsts for me.

The first first, I had never cooked more than 25g of lentils before in one go.  My second first, I had never wilted anything – other than a bunch of flowers in my life.  It’s all go here.

I got the lentils on and they soon broke down into what the book calls a “dhal”.  I didn’t know what one was before cooking this – but I’ve got my eye on a few others already!  I fried the potatoes, added the garlic and curry powder and then added these to the lentils.

Then before serving, I wilted the spinach in batches and added it to the rest and stirred it round with some lemon juice (the second time I made it I used lime and I think I preferred lemon)

Served on some wholemeal pittas (as usual I completely forgot to buy in any salad) it was delicious.  I never though I’d like a plate full of lentils, but I wolfed it down.

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There is a sting in the tail though… it’s a really smelly dish to cook.  Casa-del-Crump is only a little apartment, and the whole place smelled of fried potatoes. I had to scrub everything down, febreze the soft furnishings and wash the towels to get rid of the smell.

Obviously it needs the crispiness of the fried potatoes, otherwise it would be like eating a strange leafy porridge, and suffer from “risotto syndrome”, which would be a shame.  Maybe I could sauté the potatoes instead, or use a different oil?  Until I’ve worked out a solution I’m not cooking it again, even though I really want to!

Hugh’s Three Good Things on a Plate by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury 2012, ISBN 9781408828588)