This recipe was Emma's idea. She suggested that a chicken Thai green curry might work well in a pie. I made a hot milk pastry, cooked a leek and a red pepper, opened a packet of sauce and chopped up some roast chicken.
It was a very good pie.
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This week's recipe was a bit of an experiment and not a 100% successful one at that. I'll discuss that at the end but first, the recipe.
I tossed some uncooked prawns in a seasoned flour mixture which contained paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne and mixed spice. I left them to sit for a few minutes while I chopped and fried a red pepper, an onion and a clove of garlic. Next I added a handful of diced butternut squash. When the veg had softened I added the prawns and more spices: half a teaspoon each of ground ginger, curry powder and garam masala. Finally I added a portion of cooked rice and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
The end result was something of a curate's egg. The spiced prawns were good - the seasoned flour had gone slightly crispy and created a good texture. The actual flavour of the biryani was also good. The only problem was created by the butternut squash. It was just too sweet and clashed a bit with the savoury flavours. I have used squash before and not found it a problem so it might have just been this squash was more sweet than I'm used to. It may be worth trying a sweet recipe, such as a variation on pumpkin pie, so that may be a future new recipe for me to try.
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The recipes this week came about because we had an assortment of vegetables which needed using up: a bag of potatoes we bought which were at their sell-by date, a butternut squash we bought last week but hadn't used yet, some frozen spinach from last year which we keep forgetting to use.
The Saag Aloo contained onion, potatoes, and spinach and was spiced with garlic, ginger, chilli, mustard, cumin and turmeric.
The Prawn and Squash curry was spiced with cumin, chilli, turmeric, ground coriander and curry powder. We had a pot of plain yoghurt open in the fridge so I used that instead of the double cream in the original recipe.
I served the curry with a mixture of plain and wild rice.
For tonights tea I made a Tuna Bhuna, using the diced tuna from Waitrose and based on a recipe from the internet.
I made some onion and garlic puree by chopping 2 small red onions and a few cloves of garlic and simmering gently in a small amount of water. When they had softened I put them in the food processor and mixed until everything became a uniform paste. I made a seed mixture by taking a pinch each of coriander seed, mustard seed, onion seed and cumin and crushed them in a pestle and mortar. I dry fried the seed mixture for a minute then added a tablespoon of oil and 2 finely chopped red onions and fried them until they started to soften.
I made a paste from ½ tsp powdered ginger, 2 tsp curry powder, ½ turmeric, ½ tsp chilli flakes and a little water. This was added to the pan then the tuna went in. I then mixed a generous squirt of tomato puree and a dollop of yoghurt (I didn't measure how much) with the onion paste. This went into the pan and everything was simmered for about 10 minutes or so, until the tuna was cooked through. I then added 1tsp of garam masala and cooked for a couple more minutes before serving it with rice.
We ate it before I realised I hadn't taken a photo for here.
I cooked a couple of new recipes this week. The first was a Chicken and Paneer satay-style curry.
The sauce was equal volumes of milk and chicken stock to which I added:
- 1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon each of curry powder and garam masala
- 2 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
I fried 2 chicken breast and one red onion and added them to the sauce, leaving them to simmer for a few minutes. Towards the end of the cooking, I diced the paneer and gently fried it in a small amount of oil, adding it to the pan just before serving.
The next recipe was a Cheese and Sausage Spatzle.
The Spatzle came from Lidl - we bought it because it was a bit different and we hadn't cooked with it before. While it was boiling, I fried a couple of red onions and a few sausages, and added a pinch each of salt, chilli flakes and thyme leaves. I also grated the cheese.
I placed half of the spatzle in the bottom of an oven-proof dish followed by a layer of the onion and sausage mixture, then a layer of cheese, then repeated the layers. I baked it in the oven for about 30 minutes at gas mark 4, until it had heated through and the cheese had melted.
It worked well for such a simple recipe. The rough texture of the spatzle would work better than a traditional italian pasta, which tends to be smoother, and wouldn't have held together as well.
Today is Pancake Day (or to be more traditional, Shrove Tuesday). Our pancake tea consists of Curried Chicken pancakes for main course followed by a couple of dessert pancakes which vary depending on what we have in the house but nearly always includes a traditional lemon juice and sugar pancake. This has been our tradition for at least the last 6 or 7 years.
The pancake recipe has varied but the one we usually do now came from Delia Smith's website (original link has gone off-line, this is similar) and is fairly reliable.
In the past we have often used a tin of chicken in white sauce and added some curry powder but this year I cooked it from scratch by finely chopping 2 chicken breasts and frying them in a little oil. I made a thick roux and added curry powder, cayenne pepper and a little turmeric before stirring in the cooked chicken. The pancakes were filled with a couple of tablespoons of the chicken curry mixture then sprinkled with grated cheese before being rolled up and rapidly eaten.
We shared three dessert pancakes this year. They were filled with chocolate coated raisins, traditional lemon juice and sugar, and golden syrup.
This is based on another recipe from the Oat Cuisine book. Again, I followed the recipe fairly closely but ended up increasing the amount of spice since the meal tasted a bit bland using the original amounts. I cooked it in a pressure cooker since whenever I cook lentils, they don't usually cook down soft enough for my liking.
I started by frying 2 diced red onions, 2 chopped peppers, and a couple of cloves of garlic. I then added 2 teaspoons of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin.
I then added 50g of porridge oats, 175g of pinhead oats and 1 litre of water, and simmered for half an hour. Next I added 225g of lentils (a mixture of red and green), a teaspoon of stock granules and a teaspoon of chilli flakes, and put the lid on the pressure cooker and cooked for a further half an hour.
The original recipe called for raisins and nuts to be stirred in just before serving. We decided to leave out the fruit but to add mixed seeds instead of the nuts. Unfortunately I forgot to add the seeds but the end result was still good. The lentils had cooked down soft and the pilaf had a slightly porridge-like texture. We served the pilaf with a piece of seeded breaded fish.
I might use a similar technique the next time I try to cook tarka dahl but I will probably need to buy the right kind of lentils first.
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The plan was to make a curry with cubes of chicken, sweet potato and butternut squash in a spicy sauce. I started off by making the sauce:
Dice one sweet potato and a similar weight of butternut squash and simmer in a little water for about 5 minutes. Drain and reserve the water.
Chop and fry 1 yellow pepper, half a courgette, 2 cloves of garlic and a chilli pepper until the vegetables have softened. Add 1 teaspoon of curry powder and ½ teaspoon each of powdered ginger and turmeric. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved water from before and a cup of passata then simmer for a few minutes before liquidizing.
Dice and fry 2 chicken breasts then add the squash and sweet potato. Add the vegetable sauce, stir to coat, then simmer for a few minutes. Serve with rice.
The sweet potato had broken down almost to mash, which thickened the sauce much more than I expected. The end result was very nice though. The vegetable sauce was originally a bit too fierce but the thickened sauce had actually absorbed a lot of the spiciness and improved the flavour.
The recipe was based on a Vegetable and Quinoa Laksa recipe from the BBC Good Food website. We sliced and fried an onion, a pepper, some leek and courgette. We added some chicken too. The curry paste, milk and quinoa followed according to the recipe.
We now have 2 recipes using quinoa, both of which are worth trying again.
We bought some gram flour with the intention of trying some onion bhajis. We actually made gram flour pancakes first, basing it on a normal pancake batter recipe. We made a chicken korma filling by finely dicing and frying some vegetables then adding a packet of ready made curry (I know that's cheating but we usually buy that sort of thing if we see it cheap in the supermarket. They're handy to have in when you need to make something in a hurry).
We made the Onion Bhajis tonight. The batter was made using 2oz of gram flour, 2fl oz of water, a pinch of salt, a pinch of crushed chillies, a pinch of ground ginger, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, and a heaped teaspoon of curry powder. I chopped 2 small-ish onions, mixed them in the batter and shallow fried them, turning them over when they started to look cooked on one side.
We saw the naan breads being made on the Saturday Kitchen on TV and it looked so easy we decided to give it a go. We followed the recipe from the BBC web site but needed to add a few extra tablespoons of water to get the dough to come together properly. We also found that gas mark 1 was a bit low so turned the oven up to 2 and gave them a few more minutes.
The naan bread tasted like 'proper' bought ones. The black onion seeds are vitally important and give the bread most of its familiar flavour.
We served the naan breads with our chicken korma, and washed it down with a glass of Indian wine. The wine was an Indage 'The Grey Count' chenin blanc and went rather well with the curry. The wine was ok on its own but the spiciness of the curry seemed to bring out more flavour if you take a sip immediately after a mouthful of curry.
This week's new recipe was inspired by another recipe on the BBC Good Food website. We only had a small amount of celeriac so our version ended up as a curried roast veg instead.
Cut the celeriac into 1/2 inch dice and fry in a teaspoon of vegetable oil. After about 5 minutes, transfer to a roasting tray in the oven (gas mark 7). Quarter a couple of onions and add them to the tray.
Cut a pepper into chunks and fry for a few minutes. Add to the roasting tray.
Add another teaspoon of oil to the frying pan. Add ½ teaspoon each of mustard seeds and onion seeds (the original recipe called for black mustard seeds but I only had yellow mustard so I decided to mix it with onion seeds). Gently fry the seeds then add 1 tsp of curry powder. Stir for a few seconds before mixing in with the vegetables.
Cook for a further 30 minutes.
The original web page had some negative comments where people didn't like the combination of curry and celeriac. The recipe called for 1 tablespoon of curry powder, which may be a bit too much.
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Normally when I make a curry, I usually fry the meat and vegetables and add the curry spices. I then add stock and sometimes tomato puree to make the sauce. Tonight I made a slight variation on the above recipe:
Dice and fry the vegetables (eg. onion, pepper, courgette, leek, garlic)
Remove half the veg. Place in a food processor with a splash of stock and mix to a smooth purée.
Add the meat to the pan and fry for a few minutes.
Add the curry spices and cook for a few more minutes before stirring in the puréed vegetables and some tomato purée.
Simmer until the meat is tender.
Serve with rice or naan bread.
The flavour and texture of the sauce was much better than our usual curries. It was similar to a Dopiaza recipe where half of the onion is puréed and the other half is chopped and fried with the meat.
We made this curry sauce earlier in the week and liked it so much we decided to make it again. It's very simple but increadibly tasty.
- Chop one onion and fry gently in a tablespoon of oil
- Add one teaspoon of chopped chillies and two teaspoons of chopped or grated ginger
- Fry for a few more minutes before adding a teaspoon each of turmeric and mild curry powder
- Stir to mix everything together before adding 2 tablespoons of tomato puree and 4 tablespoons of water
- Mix well then take off the heat
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, ¼ teaspoon of chilli powder and 8 tablespoons of yoghurt
- Mix well, then add 50g of creamed coconut.
- Return to the heat and stir until mixed thoroughly.
As soon as the sauce has started bubbling, it is ready to serve. Pour over chicken or anything you like really.