Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Chicken, Apricot and Spinach Curry

Chicken, Apricot and Spinach Curry
Feeds 4

Ingredients
Seeds of 2 cardamon pods
5 whole peppercorns
5 cloves
3 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 thumb of fresh ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder and garam masala
400g chopped tomatoes
4 chicken breasts, sliced
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 handfuls of soft, dried apricots
100ml water
1 large bag of spinach
Fresh coriander
Salt and pepper

1 - In a frying pan, toast the seeds of 2 cardamom pods, 5 peppercorns and 5 cloves. Remove then crush with a pestle and mortar.
2 - Heat up the oil and fry the spices for 30 seconds. Add the chopped onion and cook until golden, then add a thumb of grated fresh ginger and 3 crushed garlic cloves.
3 - Stir in one tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder and garam masala. Cook for a minute then add a tin of chopped tomatoes. Bring to the simmer.
4 - Add 4 sliced chicken breasts. Stir in 2 tbsp brown sugar, 4 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar and a couple of handfuls of chopped soft dried apricots. Pour in 100ml water. Bring to the boil then simmer gently for 30 minutes with a lid half on.
5 - Whilst the curry is cooking, put a large bag of spinach into a colander and pour over a kettle of boiling water to wilt the spinach. Allow to cool then squeeze out the water and roughly chop. Put aside.
6 - Taste the curry for seasoning, stir in the spinach and serve with boiled rice and fresh coriander.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Salmon and Crab Chowder

The weather has taken a distinct turn for the worse this past week and after having images of a scorching hot end to May, I'm resigned to the fact that it's typical British weather again.

Far from being the pessimist I actually prefer it when it is a little cooler anyway. Exercise and sleep become easier and I can put my legs away for another year, which is always a plus for family and friends.

Food becomes more sustainable too and I love a good homemade soup or broth. A chowder is more of a complete meal than a soup, a kind children's food for adults if that makes any sense, what with chunks of half processed solids floating in a liquid.

They can take on many forms, using a multitude of vegetables but generally always containing sweetcorn. Smoked fish works particularly well with a chowder, as does shellfish such as clams, mussels and crab.

So if it is feeling a tad nippier where you are in the world, warm yourself with good chowder. It is simple to make, perfect for the whole family and makes you feel a little bit better if you are British and you suspect that sun catching is over for another year...

Salmon and Crab Chowder

Feeds 4

3 rashers of smoked bacon, sliced (optional)
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large potatoes or the equivalent in new potatoes, cut into 2 cm chunks (skin on or off)
1 medium tin of sweetcorn or the fresh kernels of 2 cobs
500ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
100ml crème fraiche or double cream
2 pieces of fresh salmon, skinned and cut into chunks
The brown and white meat of 1 crab
A handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper

1 - Heat the oil in a large pan and add the bacon if using, the onion and celery. Cook for 10 minutes until softened and beginning to colour. Stir in the garlic.
2 - Add the potatoes, sweetcorn, bay and stock. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
3 - Take a handheld blender and blend for a short while until you have broken up some of the potatoes to thicken it, or remove half to a blender and do the same before adding back to the pan.
4 - Stir through the salmon and crabmeat and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the cream or crème fraiche and taste for seasoning. Serve with fresh parsley and some good crusty bread.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Tandoori Turkey Sticks with Mint Raita


Tandoori Turkey Sticks with Mint Raita

1 tsp each of ground cumin, ground turmeric, ground coriander and chilli powder
4 ground cardamom pods
Salt and pepper
200ml natural yoghurt
Juice of half a lemon
500g turkey breast cut into chunks
4 wooden skewers, soaked in water for a couple of hours, or metal skewers


For the Raita:
3 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
Half a cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
200ml natural yoghurt
Salt and pepper

1 – Put the yoghurt into a bowl and stir in the spices along with a little seasoning and the lemon juice.
2 – Thread the turkey onto the skewers. Put the turkey skewers into a shallow dish and pour over the marinade, ensuring that it is covered. Leave to marinade for 2-3 hours or overnight in the fridge.
3 – To make the raita, mix everything together in a bowl with a little seasoning.
4 – BBQ the turkey skewers for 10 minutes, turning regularly, until golden and charred in places.
5 – Serve with chapattis or naan breads, plain or lemon rice and the raita.