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Malaysian curry with a twist

11 May

My cooking style is quite experimental. I’ll often create a dish that the boy and I savour every mouthful of, knowing that I’ll never remember quite how to create it again. I’m hoping that regular blogging will change all that. Last night I cooked a curry which I was told was “one of the best I had ever made,” an accolade indeed. So, here’s the recipe, partly to share with the world and partly for my own benefit. Maybe we’ll eat it again one day!

It’s a take on a Malaysian, coconut based curry:

For the curry paste: Fresh ginger, 1 x tbsp coriander seeds, 1 x fresh green chili, 1 x tbsp cumin seeds, 2 x garlic gloves, 1 x tbsp turmeric

For the curry:4 x Chicken breasts, 1 x carton coconut cream, 2 x tbsp tomato puree, 1 x green pepper, 2 x tbsp peanut butter, 1 x onion

Grind the ingredients for the curry paste in a pestle and mortar whilst the onion and green pepper are frying. Then add the paste and stir. Add in the diced chicken until the meat is cooked through. Finally, add the tomato paste and peanut butter for that extra flavour. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, then serve with rice.

Apparently one of the best I've ever made (that might say more about previous meals than this creation!)

One Big Cook-a-Thon

5 Apr

 

I love my dishwasher

Two Mother’s Days + a good catch up with old friends = a three-day cook-a-thon Chez Jules.

I didn’t quite realise how much work I’d taken on when my other half  and I between us agreed to host three separate meals at our place this weekend, but myself and my good friends Jamie, Delia and Ernst and Julio Gallo (just to keep a spring in my step) managed to pull off the cooking bonanza. I’ll not bore you with each individual menu, but I want to outline a couple of successes for you to try should you find yourself in the same situation.

Success number one: Jamie’s chocolate ganache

You may recall from a previous post that I love Jamie’s book 30 minute meals, but never has one been completed in under and hour and a half in my house….until now. The secret…don’t attempt the full meal, just one course! Ditch the spaghetti and silky salad which Jamie suggests to accompany the ganache and instead, couple the dessert with a simple pasta dish and voila! A 30 minute meal!

Success number two: delicious dauphinoise potatoes

Not a dish I had been able to master until now. But a bit of dabbling with the recipe…and I’ve done it! Slice your potatoes to the width of a £1 coin and layer up into a baking tray or roasting dish. Generously season. Then, boil some double cream, milk, loads of garlic and nutmeg (forgive the lack of measurements – I didn’t use any!) Pour over the potatoes and add a final layer of cheese on top. I used parmesan but today my boss suggested that gruyere is the way forward, so I’ll be trying this out next time! Simply bake for an hour and a half and that’s it. I also found that they can be prepared in advance and just warmed up as required which is very useful indeed when a trip to the pub is on the cards before the guests arrive.

Said potatoes served with stuffed chicken and green beans...on rather large plates

Jamie’s not quite 30 minute meals

7 Feb

Don’t get me wrong, I love Jamie Oliver and his latest book 30 Minute Meals is my new favourite. The tapas recipe is particularly spectacular. However, we’ve had a number of debates in the office about these culinary delights being possible to create in half an hour so this weekend I decided to set the stop watch (well, keep an eye on the microwave timer) and put this to the test.

Being a Friday night I set to work on his recipe for Cheats Pizza which I was pretty nervous about having never made a pizza from scratch before. I’ll not repeat the recipe here, but do check it out and give it a go, the results are fab. The whole process from start to finish took me 64 minutes, worth the wait – but certainly not the half hour breeze I was promised. For your benefit I will outline here some of the challenges which Jamie did not foresee:

1. Making a very sticky dough in the blender and needing to clean out this stickiness in full in order to be able to use the blender again to make the tomato topping

2. Your kind-hearted but heavy-handed other half actually breaking your beloved blender trying to clean it because the dough is so sticky

3. Digging out receipt and warranty for said blender to be able to make pleading phone call to blender company in the morning

4. Flipping the pizza base in the frying pan is a two-man job and takes a while after a few Friday wines – I’d say this added at least 8 minutes

With these hurdles out of the way I then set to work on the ‘super simple’ salads and accompaniments which are delicious, but I guarantee Mr Oliver has an army of choppers and slicers to help with his prep which a normal girl from Leeds just doesn’t have.

That aside, the pizza was yummy and I’ll be trying it out again just as soon as I get my blender fixed.

My delicious pizza

Reclaiming the weekend

31 Jan

This weekend I made a pact with myself. No longer will my spare time be dictated by hours upon hours of reality tv. I will instead watch the best bits in fast forward (can’t go cold turkey just yet) and spend my previously lost hours cooking delicious dinners for my loved ones. Seriously, could they draw out those shows for any more hours? They’ve turned into a full evening’s committment!

So, this Sunday I bypassed Dancing On Ice (a former favourite) and cooked a variation on a theme of lasagna.

Pork and pancetta lasagna

Fry red onions, garlic and mushrooms in some butter and then add the pork mince. Fry until browned and add chicken stock, white wine and fresh parsley, then cook until it reduces. Then make a traditional white sauce, and add nutmeg and a good few spoons of ricotta cheese. Then, layer up the lasagna, alternating mince, pasta, pancetta slices and white sauce. Top with breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, more parsley and bake.

Ok, I never said these recipes would be healthy. It’s one guilty pleasure for another.

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