Monthly Archives: June 2008

Curry Monday – Mushroom Korma

As we’ve been away for the weekend I haven’t had the opportunity to get to the butchers so tonight was a veggie curry. Knowing Hubby can be a bit reluctant when it comes to veggie dishes I was shocked when he came home and announced he had been looking forward to Mushroom Korma all day!

It wasn’t like a thick super-creamy korma as I know it, but was still delicious. A quick googling of the word “korma” teaches me that a korma is just a pale, creamy and mild curry dish. As I’m getting better with different curries and their techniques I’m beginning to understand how I can create other curries. In the next couple of weeks I’m going to try a Chinese curry. The recipe below is based on a recipe from 30-minute Indian cookbook.

Mushroom Korma
Serves 2-3

1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
400g button mushrooms, halved
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander seed
2 tsp ground cumin
1 small can (220g) tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp single cream
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

1) Heat oil then grntly fry onion until soft. Stir in ginger, mushrooms then saute for 5 min.

2) Add spices, tomatoes and sugar. Cover and simmer for 10 min.

3) Stir in cream and coriander. Serve.

Cider, Campfire & Cake

We have just returned from a fab weekend camping in Oxfordshire to celebrate a good friend’s birthday, whilst eating far too much cake and in good camping tradition consuming vast quantities of cider.

We stayed at Britchcomb Campsite which turned out to be a great place and one of the few campsites who still allow to to have a proper campfire (which we obligingly toasted marshmallows over later). We were in a field with lots of other groups. It had a great atmosphere. There was also low light pollution along with a clear warm night allowing us to watch the starry sky.

No birthday can be celebrated without cake so I made some Nutella & Peanut Brownies along with some Malt loaf (another camping staple!). It seems the other guests had the same idea and on top of my baking we also had banana loaf, toffee cake, blueberry muffins and fairy cakes. Who said you can have too much cake…scarily us 8 had scoffed most of the cakes by lunch today.

Before the BBQ on Saturday evening most of us climbed White Horse Hill. As soon as we got back the cider & wine was cracked open…quickly followed by cake for “starters” while we were waiting for the BBQ to cook.

This afternoon after a late breakfast of bacon butties and in an attempt to walk off the cake & cider, 4 of us went to Buscot park. Well what a beautiful place. The garden were amass with stunning flowers. We spent a few hours just wondering around the gardens. The house also had a great art collection. I would highly recommend the place to anyone who is out that way.

Although I now stink of campfire smoke and have a burnt nose due to the glorious sunshine, for me it was the perfect summer weekend with friends.

Curry Monday – Rogan Josh

This is the first curry in the history of Curry Monday which I haven’t tasted. I’ve been off work today with an odd bug leaving me feeling tired, dizzy, nauseous and lack of appetite so today, for me, bland foods are the game. Hubby however was greeted by the aroma of beef rogan josh as he came home. I had already defrosted the beef and wasn’t going to waste it. He’s secretly pleased I didn’t eat my portion as he can take it to work tomorrow for lunch.

I used Serena’s @ Rock Cakes recipe. I had to make the odd alteration as I didn’t have any yogurt in so used creme fraiche instead and I totally forgot the almonds. Hubby enjoyed it and said it had just the right chilli kick.

Strawberries & White Chocolate – 2 ways

For the last few weeks I’ve been driving the people around me mad with my excitement over the impending Strawberry season. There is a fantastic PYO strawberry farm a short skip and jump from the house and I’ve been waiting with baited breath for it to open. I was determined not to buy supermarket strawberries as they don’t taste anywhere near as good as the PYO ones. Friday was S-Day (Strawberry Day). Strawberries are only just coming into season here and only early varieties were available but they were still just as luscious. They are a bargain, we ended up getting 1.25kg of strawberries for just over £2. I can’t wait until their raspberries are ready. At this rate I’ll be coming out in Strawberry Rash in the next few days.

With In The Bag this month being Strawberries & White Chocolate and today being Midsummer’s Day (though you’d never believe it with the horrible weather) I decided to celebrate with Strawberry & White Chocolate Mousse plus White Chocolate dipped strawberries. The mousse was as result of me experimenting, but it worked really well. The freshness of the strawberries helped cut through the sweet creaminess of the mousse.

Strawberry & White Chocolate Mousse
Serves 2-4

100g double cream
100g white chocolate
100g creme fraiche
punnet of strawberries, hulled

1) In a food processor blitz all of the strawberries until you have a chunky puree.

2) In a bain marie gently melt white chocolate. White chocolate is melting whisk together double cream and creme fraiche for about a minute until it begins to thicken. Fold in melted chocolate until combined.

3) Layer the strawberry puree and white chocolate mousse in a glass. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Curry Monday – Achaari Chicken

Apologies for the brief nature of my posts recently. I’m currently trying to fill in the mother of all applications forms for a job I really want. Not only is the application form long with a detailed supporting statement I also have to submit my CV and covering letter. It seems to be taking forever!

I’m so glad tonight’s curry was nice and quick as I wasn’t in the mood for anything fancy. Achaari contains similar ingredients to chutney and unsurprisingly resembles chutney in taste. It tasted like a light and spicy sweet & sour curry, Perfect for a summer evening. The original recipe has onion seeds (I couldn’t get my hands on any) and a great deal more chilli powder. The only change I’ll make next time is to maybe grate the onion to give the sauce a thicker texture.

Achaari Chicken
Serves 2

1 tbsp sunflower oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp tomato puree
100ml water
1 onion, finely sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
sprinkle of chilli powder
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 chicken fillets, diced
1 small red chilli, sliced

1) Heat the oil in a wok. Fry all whole spices for 1 min to re lase the flavours.

2) Stir in tomato puree, water, onion, garlic, chilli powder and ginger. Fry for a further minute.

3) Add chicken, cover and simmer for 7 min until chicken is cooked. Stir in chilli slices then serve.

Melting Marshmallow Cake

This weekend has been the first weekend we’re had free in a long time. It’s been a well earned lazy weekend. Sometimes I need just a few days to loaf. I haven’t baked for just the two of us for a while so handed Hubby my Cookie & Biscuit Bible and asked him to choose a recipe.

According the cookbook the base should have a soft cookie texture, but it turned out as a thick light sponge. This probably has something to do with the recipe stating a 9×9 inch pan, whereas I used an 8×8 thinking “ah a few inches won’t make a difference”, where in reality that extra inch each side adds up to an extra 17 inch square of pan. The end result is very sweet, almost too sweet for me and you certainly need a cup of tea with it. It very much reminds me of the kind of cakes you used to have with school dinners.

Melting Marshmallow Cake
Makes 12

130g unsalted butter, softened
75g vanilla caster sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 dsp vanilla extract
75g ground almonds
1 egg
115g self raising flour
150g raspberry jam
200g marshmallows, cut in half
icing sugar, for dusting

1) Preheat oven to 180oc. Line 8×8 inch (or 9×9 inch if you want thinner base) baking pan with baking parchment.

2) Beat together butter, sugar and lemon until creamy. Beat in vanilla, almonds, egg then finally flour.

3) Spread evenly over tin base. Bake for 20 min until golden. Allow to cool in tin for 10 min.

4) Spread jam over base then arrange marshmallows, cut-side down, in a chequerboard fashion. Grill for 2 min until marshmallows have melted and turned golden brown. Leave to cool. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Basic Hard Cheese & Charity Jailbreak

Hubby’s latest edible project, basic hard cheese, has been a month in the making. He found out how to make it on the Creative Living forum. I never realised cheese making involved such a basic process. It was very interesting to see the milk curdle then the emergence of thick curds that could be sliced like jelly and the whey in which the curds floated. I did try to get a picture of this process, but it just didn’t work out. I challenge anyone to make curds & whey look photogenic! To help him mould the perfect round of cheese Hubby made a fancy looking cheese press.

Yesterday was tasting day, and I have to say it looks, smells and tastes like basic cheese. It has a slight eau d’sweaty socks…mmmm. He has some Penicillium Roqueforti, so the next challenge is to make blue cheese.

I promise the next post will not be about cheese making!

My brother is currently in France somewhere. He’s taking part in a “Jailbreak” for charity where the aim is to get the furthest away and back from the starting point in 60 hours. No money is allowed. It’s a case of blagging/begging/hitching as far as possible. So far they have blagged various train journeys within the UK, a night in a 4* hotel, food from KFC & McDonalds and a trip on the Eurostar. As far as I know his team are the only ones who have managed to leave the country. I think he’s mad! The map below is tracking their progress.

Curry Monday – Paneer

A few months back I tasted paneer in a curry for the first time and enjoyed it. Paneer is a non-melting, unaged cheese that is made by curdling hot milk with an acid (usually lemon juice). It has a mild flavour and like tofu has the ability to take on other flavours. For all you fellow science geeks out there, this is also the same process in which you make milk plastic

I used the curry base from Cashew Chicken, but replaced the chicken with paneer and chicken stock with water. It worked really well. Next time I will use Hubby’s cheese press so it won’t end up as thin, which in turn should mean it won’t break up as easily during cooking. Interestingly different different parts of India have thier own paneer methods.

This Thursday I’ve been given the job of teaching some of the Junior kids all about Indian food. With only 2 hours and a microwave to hand I’m thinking of taking my range of spices in so the kids can smell them and we may make something like chutney or riata.

Makes around 150g

1 litre of whole milk
2 tbsp lemon juice

1) Heat milk in a large saucepan until it is boiling. Add lemon juice and keep stirring. Eventually the milk will begin to curdle leaving you with curds (the solid) and whey (the liquid).

2) Sieve contents of saucepan through a fine sieve or muslin.

3) Turn out curds onto clean chopping board. Sandwich with another clean heavy chopping board and leave to set for 1 hour.

A bad weekend for cooking and meme

I’ve had a bit of a dodgy cookery weekend. This explains why there is a beautiful photo my husband took the day after our wedding and not a food picture at the top. Friday I made a Lemon Drizzle Cake, a cake I’ve made loads of times before with no problems. I was confident it was as good as previous versions. My confidence was shattered when a relative slice the cake open to reveal it hadn’t cooked properly. Everyone assured me it was still delicious, but I think they were just being polite!

The second culinary failure of the weekend involved some rhubarb from the garden that had been begging to be picked for weeks. I’m not a huge fan of rhubarb so had been putting it off for a while. I decided to make a rhubarb syllabub. The syllabub worked perfectly, but the roasted rhubarb was horrible. We might have well been eating celery it was so stringy. I’ve learnt my lesson from leaving stuff for too long in the garden.

The lovely Hannah from Hannah’s Country Kitchen has tagged me for a Meme

Here are the rules…

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their Blogs.

1) I saw the Berlin wall fall down…not that I really understood the significance back then.

2) Our wedding is featured in this months Wedding Ideas magazine.

3) Apart from food, my other passion is the great outdoors. There is nothing more invigorating than waking up snuggled inside a tent and hearing the dawn chorus then climbing to the top of a hill/tor/munro/mountain to admire the view. For me it’s pure escapism.

4) I can be very indecisive.

5) I would love to run a quaint little tea shop in the Peak District or Lake District.

I tag 5 of my most recent additions to Google Reader
Rock Cakes
The Hungry Houswife
Green Gourmet Giraffe
Jam and Clotted Cream
Whipped Dreams

Spicy Peanut Chicken Stir Fry

As the weather is slowly getting better we are trying to eat more quick, light(ish) dishes. This dish is based on a recipe in this months Delicious. We both really enjoyed it. Next time I may add a bit more chilli to give it a better kick.

I was unable to find skinless peanuts in the shops so set about skinning some red skinned ones. It took for flippin ever and as soon as Hubby came home from work he commented how I should have just blanched them, we live and learn!

Spicy Peanut Chicken Stir Fry
Serves 2

25g of unsalted peanuts or 3 heaped tbsp of crunchy peanut butter
1 garlic clove
1 red chilli, deseeded
2 tsp ginger, grated
3 tbsp coconut milk
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
2 chicken fillets, diced
1 small head of brocolli, cut into florets
2 sheets of noodles
1 tbsp lime juice

1) Blitz the peanuts, garlic, chilli, ginger, coconut milk and soy sauce until you have a paste.

2) In a wok, fry chicken in a small amount of oil for around 5 min until golden. Stir in the peanut paste and cook for a further minute.

3) Add the broccoli to the wok and stir fry for a further 3 min (or until brocolli is tender) Stir in noodles, cook for 2 min. Add lime juice then serve.

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