Tasty Thursday : Curry from scratch

I love curries.  There I said it, it’s not a secret anymore.  If like me you have been watching the amazing Rick Steins “India” series on the beeb recently you may well have also been a little curry obsessed.  But, but I do have a dirty curry secret, I have never made one off the bat no recipe I was always too scared to just wing it.  My Dad makes amazing curries from scratch and in all my life I have never seen him use a recipe for a curry and my Father in Law is another amazing cook owing to a job that meant a lot of travel so hopefully they will be proud of me!

 

Anyway, a few words before I launch into the recipe; I always use chicken thighs if I am doing a chicken curry, they are sweeter, don’t dry out as much as breast and they are higher in protein so I can rest safe in the knowledge that it is extra good for my girls, who are both big curry fans.  I have put the Rick Stein book on my birthday wish list so lets hope it appears!

So here we go:

  • 4 skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1/2 sweet potato, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1/2 Green pepper, cut into bite sized chunks
  • Small red onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Good grating of ginger ( I tend to freeze mine on purchase and break off / grate what I need as I go…no need to peel then!)
  • Can chickpeas
  • Can tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 3 – 4 mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Heaped teaspoon ground coriander
  • Heaped teaspoon ground cumin
  • Heaped teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Heat you oil (veg / sunflower not olive oil) in a big frying pan and brown your chicken (I tend to coat mine in a bit of flour first but feel free to leave this step out) remove and let it rest on a plate. Add your onions, ginger and garlic.  Keep it moving so not to burn and once it gets that smell that only onions frying have just before they get soft add in your spices (the seeds might POP), again keep it moving so not to burn anything and getting that horrid acrid smell.  When it does smell delicious and spicy add your chicken back in along with the potato, pepper and mushroom and give it a few minutes to colour up a bit before adding in your drained chickpeas and the tomatoes.  Let it simmer with the lid on for the first 15 minutes then turn up the heat with the lid off for the last 5 – 7 minutes to let it thicken up.

Curry

Tada…fancy plating ain’t my thing unfortunatley

 

Serve with rice, naan bread or rotis, lime pickle (why is this SO good?!) and chutney.  I was really pleased with this and as it makes such a big quantity hubby took it to work for lunch and received lots of looks and sniffs from two of his Indian colleagues, they were very impressed with my efforts – I was so chuffed you can’t believe!

Anyway the moral is, step away from the pastes and jars of sauce and give it a go I think you will be pleasantly surprised.  And thanks to Steph @ Imcountingufoz for the virtual kick up the arse I needed, there’s no going back now.

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The week that was instagrammed : Week 5

Phew, this week has been a BUSY one. Thursday night I actually went to bed at 9pm and my husband reliably informs me that he came to see if I wanted tea at 9.15pm and I was asleep, now that is living the dream right there!

Linkign up with Hannah

Linking up with Hannah

Sunday

After a late night Hog Roastin’ we were ready for a chilled out day, we headed to the ford (river crossing) down the road from us, had a nice stroll nosing at all the über houses and a play in the park.  I deposited the hubby and children at home before picking up my friend for a quick mooch about our local antique / second-hand place,a tea and cake and for once a uninterrupted child free chat! Then it was home, in the car and off to a local pub we hadn’t tried for an early dinner and then a good run about in the pub garden for the girls – they loved it, although I am worried Bean is something of a ring leader after she managed to gather all of the kids there into a sports day style racing game which had us and Bites in hysterics.

Monday

As usual my lovely Mum watched the girls for a few hours for me, she isn’t 100% at the minute but insisted on having them as she misses them otherwise, typical Nanny! So I made her lovely egg mayo rolls for lunch as a thank you, then it was home and back to wrecking the front room and garden…business as usual then.

Tuesday

Hello rain!  Our planned morning stroll was cancelled in favour of cookie making with our besties…sprinkle central is all I can say, great fun was had by all. Lunch followed by a trip to good ol’ Sainsbos where I treated my girls to a puzzle and dinosaur coloring book (Bean) and Besty the Bee (chosen by Bean for BItes). Home and back to wrecking the house, Beans room this time.  Great fun, I could watch the for hours they interact in such a lovely, funny and sometimes a bit to boisterous!

Wednesday

My beautiful but feisty Nan of 82 came down to visit with her equally beautiful and feisty sister (Great Aunt @ 80) we had a lovely morning and lunch time walk into the woods, they left early to miss the traffic bless them…and no doubt bicker all the way home.  I made Lorraine Pascals sweet and sour balls for dinner and I cannot say who loved them more, me, Hubby, Bean or Bites who ate THREE aswell as rice and sauce followed by pudding. Youch.

I also submitted a picture to Clemmie @ GasandAir blog as she was writing a post on out Post Partum Tummies, something we rarely if ever mention let alone show, but after the disgraceful behaviour of a certain magazine over Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s appearance 26 hours post baby I felt compelled to shake my stick in their direction – the post is now up so please read it, spread the word, and comment…we need to stop this degradation of women and our figures at all times in our lives. (I have written about how cross the media & toy manufactures annoy me before…)

Thursday

Not sure what I was playing at today as I decided to go on a mission…Food Shopping, new sunglass shopping (I lost my beloved but ancient D&G’s) home for lunch then back out to get Bites weighed (18lbs 7oz) Park, met friends hunted for new fairy doors, dragged ourselves to the village shop for ice cream – BIG mistake sharing with Bites, it looked like she had a beard by the end of it and I was wearing more of it than I ended up eating. Back to the car, dinner, bath and bed for the babes…instead of just chilling out I went on a mexican food mission and cooked up a little feast, and then passed out.

Friday

Bit more work for me, then home to address the issue of my extremely messy house and huge pile of clean washing to be sorted whilst the girls slept, naturally they had other ideas and instead of doing it around them i thought ‘Stuff it, it can wait a few more hours I NEVER get to do fun stuff just me and them’ so we hot footed it to Wellington Country Park for a stroll to find the Dinosaurs, look for ducks and had an early tea. Lush.

Saturday

No baby sitter means Hubby is Hog Roastin’ solo tonight.  Chilled out day really, bit of housework, bit of family play time, Beans first hair trim by a pro (yes, i butchered her fringe once and never again) and a solo trip for me to a Nearly New sale for a mooch…picked up a few bits and bobs. Ready to recharge now for the next week…

Thanks again to Hannah for this fab linky!

Tasty Thursday : Mexican style Jambalaya

You know when you have something in your fridge that needs to be used and your lacking ANY inspiration?  Well, this is where this dish was born from.

The delicious chicken I roasted needed to be used and it was definitely not chicken noodle soup weather, but weirdly I was craving a bit of stodge. So after having a rummage to find out what else needed to be used, this is the random creation that is Mexican Style jambalaya!

One pot mexican style jambalaya

I do however need to apologise as the recipe itself is also a bit on the random / vague side…

  • One courgette diced
  • Cup of rice
  • 2 Tablespoon chipotle chili paste
  •  Tinned tomatoes
  • Boiled water (enough to cover rice by about two cm)
  • 2/3 Sliced spring onions
  • Tin of kidney beans, drained
  • Cooked & shredded chicken
  • Grated cheese & sour cream to serve

What it lacks in specific quantities it makes up for in pack a punch flavour and ease.

Heat some oil and fry your courgettes for a few minutes til they soften, add the rice and stir so it gets nicely coated, add the tinned toms, water and stock cube/powder if you have to hand, once simmering add the 1st spoonful of paste.  Let it simmer, lid on until the rice is almost done then add the rest of the paste and the kidney beans and chicken.  Once it all heated few, serve it up and add your toppings – spring onions, cheese and soured cream. Yum. Next time, I will use chorizo too adding instead of oil and cooking with the courgette. mmmmm. I think it would translate to veggie easily too, no meat, mixed peppers and mixed beans, uber yum.

 

Mexican style jambalaya

Tasty Thursday : Braaied Chicken

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Yep, that is a word, when you marry a South African you can stop saying Barbie and BBQ and just say Braai.  Thankfully having already fallen in love with South Africa before I had even met my husband I had abandoned BBQ’ing forever!

Braai!

Braai!

So, Sunday rolled round I was hankering for a Roast Dinner, without the fuss faff and melting in the kitchen.  There was only once answer, my take on a summer roast.

First up, a lovely rub for the chicken, whilst Hubby got the fire going I had a quick rummage and this is what I came up with:

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Tarragon
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 Heaped Teaspoon Hot Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Heaped Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Heaped Teaspoon Swiss Boullion Base stock powder
  • Then add enough sunflower oil to make a runny paste.

Stuff one lemon (pricked to let the juice out) handful fresh thyme and lavender into the cavity and drizzle the rub over your chicken.

We have the separators for the bottom of our Weber BBQ so we separated the coals equally, put a tin with water and another handful of herbs in and then put the chicken onto the grill above with foil scrunched round the sides, lid on and away you go!! You will need to keep adding coals to keep the temperature up but depending on the size of your bird it will take between 2/3 hours all in all – But keep checking! Keeping with the summer theme I raided the fridge for a suitable veggie side and settled on roasted veg, always a winner in this house!

Red and yellow peppers, 1 1/2 courgettes, whole red onion, mushroom and sweet potato all chopped into big chunks seasoned liberally with more Oregano, pepper and drizzled with some lovely Balsalmic vinegar.  My top tip for roasted veg is to put your oil in your roasting tin and bung it into the oven to heat up while you chop and season (much like roast spuds I guess) when your ready tip them all in and 4/5 whole skin on garlic cloves squashed a bit and stir it about, then leave them to cook on high (200) for about 40mins, giving them a good shake after 20 mins or so.  And the last accompaniment was Couscous, again super super easy.

  • 200 grams couscous
  • 2 big squeezes tomato puree
  • Salt
  • Stock
  • Grated clove of garlic
  • Pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn to shreds (7 / 8)

Put all into a bowl with a  good drizzle of oil and splodge of butter, when everything is almost ready to go pout in some boiled water to about 2cms above the level of the couscous, give it a mix and cover with a tea towel and when your ready to serve give it a quick fluff up.

Easy peasey, and if your kids are anything like mine they will love it!!

Not the most beautiful plate of food, but it was so gooood.

Not the most beautiful plate of food, but it was so gooood.

Things I NEVER seem to get round to doing.

Sigh.

Its not just me is it?  I have a stack of books gathering dust beside my bed, countless recipes slowly but surely passing through the holes in my brain like flour through a sieve to only be remembered via instagram, forms becoming more crumpled and dog eared and lets face it toddler fodder before I actually get round to filing them away or taking them to their destinations, photos printed but never hung and blog posts that never leave my internal notepad.

Why?

I’m tired.  Lazy and decidedly unmotivated once my youngest is asleep I just want to vegetate on the sofa but by the time I’ve made, eaten and cleaned up dinner, sorted washing (blergh) tidied toddler mayhem and attempted some quality time with the husband its into bed I collapse exhausted and a stretch to have a made 10pm, I know rock and roll!

How do I find that elusive balance so I can get some me time? I always start with such grand plans but every eventuality ends up with me lying in bed frustrated because I’ve

failed

again.  Or as seems to be the case more and more over the last fortnight feeling like a terrible mother.  I find myself being short and angry, which obviously doesn’t help when dealing with little people, I’d go so far as to say it actually makes the situation worse…big time.  And yet I struggle to stop myself and at the end of the day berrate myself to the point of loathing.

I can’t stand to feel like this anymore my children deserve better and think I do to.  I am going to try my utmost to get that balance, I need it and ultimately my family need me to find it to so I can get back to being a good Mum.

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Look at them? They deserve a good Mummy.

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And these recipes need writing!!

Meal plan – w/c 4th March

So, back on the wagon this week!

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Jambalaya – with sausage, prawns and left over roast chicken
Beef Curry
Pork & spinach pasta with creamy sauce
Harrisa turkey burgers
Steak
Mushroom rissoto

We had the Jambalaya last night So GOOD! I tweaked the recipe from…Jamie’s American cookbook, one of my favourite books it has so many hearty comfort food recipe in, I love it.

What’s Bean Eating?

So, a chance for me to look back at what I’ve made over the last month to see what I made for dinner that Bean loved…coz I’m guessing one day soon she will go through a really fussy eating stage…

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mmmmmmmm

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