Monday, 21 May 2012

Chicken Korma

Quickest korma I've ever made from scratch!  Recipe is for 1 portion

Chicken Korma

1 chicken breast, cut into cubes
1tsp oil
1 portion curry paste (straight from freezer)
about 100 ml water
2 tbsp coconut milk powder (or creamed coconut)
150ml natural yoghurt (or cream)

Fry chicken until browned and add curry paste and water.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 mins until chicken is cooked.
Stir in yoghurt and heat gently for 2 mins.

Serve with rice or naan.

Curry paste

This is the all purpose curry paste recipe I found.  All I know is that a lady called Geetha from London shared the recipe with a friend and it's been passed on and on.  I've included her original recipe but with my own tweaks.

Curry Paste

1kg onions, finely chopped
25ml oil (I used a large tablespoon of ghee)
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
4cm piece of ginger, finely chopped (I grated mine)
3-4 chillis (I used 2 tsp of dried crushed chillis)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
250ml water
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander (I used all the leaves on a growing pot)

Brown the onions in the oil/ghee until really brown (even bordering on burnt) It took about 20 mins to get to the above colour but could have been browner.

Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 2 mins.  (The fresh chillis should be added at this stage)

Add the dry spices and salt and carefully fry for 2 mins.  DO NOT BURN THE SPICES.

Add the tomatoes and water and bring to the boil.  Then simmer until you have a thick pulp.

Add the fresh coriander for the final minute of cooking.

The original recipe says now divide into portions and freeze.  The first time I made this I did that.  But I decided to get out my trusty stick blender and blitz it into a smooth paste.

Then divide into 12 portions and freeze.  I used a muffin tin.

Use 1 portion per person for each recipe straight from the freezer, no defrosting required.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Prawn bhuna

I recently discovered a recipe to make a basic curry paste that could be used to create many different types of curry.  It was developed by a busy working Indian mum so is pretty authentic.  You make a big batch and freeze it in small portions.  Perfect for me as I'm the only curry eater in the family.

Unfortunately I didn't take any pics while I was preparing it so I'll make a new batch over the weekend and post it.  Meanwhile here is the prawn bhuna recipe.

Prawn bhuna with home made naan

1 onion, finely sliced
4 tbsp of curry paste (home made or jar)
1 tsp crushed cardamon seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
200g chopped tomatoes (half a tin)
about a cup of water

Gently fry onion in a little oil until soft. 
Add dry spices and fry for 2 mins without burning
Add curry paste then tomatoes and water.  If paste is from a jar check if it needs to be fried before adding tomatoes.
Simmer for 10 mins keeping an eye on the consistency.  It should be like a thick tomato gravy.

Add cooked prawns and stir through until warm.

Serve with naan, yoghurt, pineapples and mango chutney.

This could easily be made with chicken.  Add cubes of raw chicken to brown before the dry spices then continue.

Home made naan

I use a breadmaker but to make by hand just add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead for 10 mins until smooth and elastic. Then leave to rest for 10 mins.

280 g  strong bread flour
100 ml warm water
4 tbsp natural yogurt
1 clove of garlic – crushed
1 tsp black onion / nigella / cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
2 tsp honey
1 tsp melted butter
1 tsp yeast

Put wet ingredients in breadmaker and add the dry ingredients.  Use dough setting.

When done, remove and leave to rest for 10 mins.  Heat oven and put a baking tray in to heat up.

Divide in 4 and shape into teardrop shape.

Put on hot baking tray and bake for 10 mins until puffy and starting to colour.
Brush with melted ghee if you're not watching calories!
Serve with curry.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Split pea and lentil soup

It's the middle of May and I'm still making winter soups!!  This is one soup I don't blitz until smooth as I like to see the peas.  Grating veg into soups is great if you don't have a blender. 

Split pea and lentil soup

85g of dried split yellow peas, soaked over night in cold water
50g red lentils
2 onions
4 carrots
1.5l veg stock

Drain and rinse peas in cold water.
Add to pan and cover with cold water.
Bring to the boil and boil hard for 10 mins removing any scum that rises to the surface.

Grate carrots and onion and add to pan with lentils and veg stock
Bring back to the boil and simmer for 25 to 30 mins until peas are soft.

Tasty served with home made crusty bread :-)

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Mud Cake with chilli cherries

This is a slightly adapted recipe from a Marks and Spencer book called Chocolate.  It's hugely calorific and not cheap to make but utterly delicious!  There are quite a few stages so set aside plenty time to make it.

Mud Cake with chilli cherries

Mud cake

250g butter, chopped
200g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
440g caster sugar
250ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
80ml whisky
225g plain flour
35g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
2 eggs

1.  Grease and line a deep 22cm cake tin
2.  Combine butter, chocolate, sugar, milk, vanilla and whisky in a medium pan.  Stir over a low heat until smooth.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool for 15 mins.
3.  Whisk in sifted flours and cocoa.  Then add eggs.
4.  Pour mixture into tin and bake for about 1 and a half hours.  I have an Aga baking oven but other oven temp should be 170C/150C fan assisted.

Meanwhile make chilli cherries.

Chilli cherries

500ml water
165g caster sugar
1 small red chilli, halved lengthwise
1 star anise
6 black peppercorns
10cm piece orange peel
300g frozen black cherries

Add all ingredients to pan except cherries and stir over a low heat until sugar dissolves.  Bring to boil and boil for 2 mins.  Add cherries and simmer 5 mins.  Remove from heat and leave to cool.  If syrup isn't thick enough for your liking, remove cherries and boil syrup for further 5 to 10 mins.  Return cherries to syrup.

Remove cake from oven and stand for 5 mins.  Turn out onto wire rack to cool.

Make the chocolate ganache.

Chocolate ganache

80ml cream
200g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Bring cream to boil in small pan and add chocolate.  Remove from heat and stir until smooth.

Spread cold cake with ganache and leave to set.

Serve with chilli cherries

The cake should be gooey and squidgy in the middle.  Yum!!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Asparagus Soup

Oops, didn't mean to wait this long before updating.  The ladies lunch went well and raised just over £100 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.  Thank you so much :-)

It was a lot of hard work, made even more difficult having a young pup around.  For this reason I'm delaying a full opening of the supper club until the summer when she'll be more trained.

Last night I picked up some reduced asparagus in the supermarket.  I wouldn't normally waste it in soup but it was slightly wilting and it wasn't English so perfect for making soup.

Asparagus Soup

2 bunches of asparagus
2 small onions
2 tsp ghee
2 tsp flour
750ml veg stock
250ml milk

Chop onion into dice and soften in the ghee for 10 mins.
Trim ends of asparagus and chop finely.  Add to pan and cook for 5 mins.
Add the flour and stir for 1 min
Add stock and milk and bring to the boil.
Simmer for 10 mins
Blitz until smooth and creamy.

I used ghee simply because I found a tin lurking in the back of my cupboard.  I use skimmed milk in everything but it still tastes creamy.  You could add some cream if you want a cream of asparagus soup. Would be nice sprinkled with chopped chives.

The cranberry gin and blueberry vodka were ready for drinking so I strained them through a jelly bag and filled 2 clean bottles.  Since they're pure alcohol and sugar there's no need for sterilisation.  The gin has already been gifted but the vodka is still up for grabs ;-)