This is a longer post than usual, so make a cup of tea and sit back and (hopefully!) enjoy …
I had a request from Mary-Louise, who kindly left a comment a few posts ago, for my chicken curry recipe, so here it is:
Whenever I cook I always try to gather the equipment and ingredients together, empty the dishwasher so that I can add dirty pots as I go, and have a clean and tidy work surface upon which to work. This is simply good kitchen practice but I dare say I’m speaking to the converted. However, I do wish this was instilled in all those who participate in so many cookery programmes on TV.
The ingredients: this quantity makes four generous portions, or in our case, a meal for two people and then a meal for two in the freezer.
Approx 280 gr cold, cooked chicken, chopped into bite-size pieces (no gristle, no skin, certainly no bones.)
Sufficient oil for sauteeing, about 1 tablespoon
2 rounded dessertspoons of flour (for thickening, self raising flour or plain flour)
1 large white onion
2 heaped teaspoons medium curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
80 gr of pineapple chunks (or slices of a peeled and cored dessert apple; I use tinned pineapple)
1 pt vegetable or chicken stock (I use vegetable Oxo cubes but you could use boullion)
a pinch salt (I use Maldon sea salt crystals)
1 dessertspoon chutney (any kind; I use curried pineapple chutney)
1 dessertspoon tomato puree
80 grs dried fruit – I use sultanas and raisins
the pineapple juice from the tin in case you need extra liquid
Start by chopping and sauteeing the onion in the heated oil and cook until slightly softened.
On a low heat add the curry powder, cumin and coriander, then the flour and mix well. The mixture will feel quite dry at this stage.
Now add the stock, gradually, so that the mixture thickens but without the flour going lumpy.
Now add the tomato puree and the chutney and mix well. You can now turn up the heat, but take care to stir so that the mixture doesn’t ‘catch’ on the bottom of the pan.
Now add the dried fruit and chopped pineapple (as much or as little as you like) followed by the cooked chicken pieces.
Once the mixture has come to the boil, turn down the heat so that the curry gently simmers for approximately 1/2 hr. Cover with a saucepan lid, but remember to stir occasionally.
Adjust the seasoning if necessary by adding a little salt if you wish, and perhaps a little more liquid – I add the juice from the tinned pineapple – and if necessary, an extra vegetable cube or some extra boullion. Just keep tasting until you feel it is to your taste satisfaction.
While the curry is simmering, cook the rice – I use brown wholegrain Basmati rice – and once it is soft and fluffy, rinse it with boiling water through a sieve to remove any extra starch. This prevents any rice grains sticking together. It is now ready for serving with the curry.
I used ring moulds to arrange the rice neatly on the plate and a little parsley to set it off. (I read recently that you shouldn’t serve any ‘white’ savoury food without a little greenery.)
I would add that this is a very mild curry; after trying this recipe you might find you need to up the quantity of spice.
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After all that cooking, we need to relax a bit, so here are some flower photos for you. I bought these pink lisianthus on the 5th March and they are still looking good. They are almost like tissue paper, and each flower on each stem is a slightly different shade of pink.
The look even more wonderful in close up …
Yesterday, because I knew bad weather was again heading this way (as I speak we are having a light snow shower) I cut some hellebores in the garden so that we might enjoy the last of the flowers, for they’re going over now.
I was surprised when I saw that the colours in the rug ‘go’ with the plummy shades of the hellebore. And before you ask, yes that is a photo or husband and me, but taken many years ago.
And the plummy double tulips are gradually opening up and looking very pretty.
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While I was in the cooking mood, I thought it would be nice to have a home-baked cake this afternoon with a cup of tea, and so quickly assembled the ingredients for a lemon drizzle cake.
Only 7 cubes of cake here – this cake makes 16 such cubes, but of course you can cut larger pieces!
140 gr margarine (or butter, but I use margarine)
140 gr caster sugar (I use golden caster sugar)
2 large eggs, beaten slightly
The grated zest of 1 lemon
140 gr of self raising flour
For the drizzle:
The juice of the lemon
4 or 5 dessertspoons of granulated sugar (I use golden granulated)
Set the oven at 180C, 350F or Gas 4.
Prepare the tin – I use a 20cm square tin, which I grease lightly around the edges and then use a waxed paper cake liner.
Place the margarine and caster sugar in a mixing bowl plus the lemon zest and cream the ingredients together.
Add the beaten eggs, gradually.
Add the self raising flour.
Now tip the mixture into the prepared tin (I use a tin liner so that there is no chance of the cake sticking to the tin.)
Place on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes.
When baked, check that the cake has cooked through (I use a skewer for this) as although I’ve said 20 minutes baking time, everyone’s oven is different.
Place the tin containing the cake on a wire cooling rack and prick the cake all over with a skewer. Quickly mix the granulated sugar into the lemon juice and pour all over the cake while it is in the tin. Now allow the cake to cool completely before you remove the cake from the tin.
And after the cake had cooled, we enjoyed some with a small dollop of low-fat double cream and some raspberries, and a cup of tea …
I cannot take the credit for this recipe, it is from the book Afternoon Tea by Susannah Blake
On a quite different subject, I finished reading the third in The Seven Sisters sequence of novels by Lucinda Riley yesterday, The Shadow Sister. As the fourth, The Pearl Sister, hasn’t yet been published in paperback (I don’t use an e-reader) I thought I’d try one of Lucinda Riley’s other novels (I have read some of her early ones) and ordered this one (below). It arrived – which made me smile, considering the summer-time cover – in a slight snow storm, the delivery-van driver no doubt keen to get back into the warmth of his vehicle!
And the daffodils you can see here, lovely large doubles, are coming out in the warmth of the sitting room, bringing a ray of sunshine to an otherwise very dull day.
Wherever you are, I hope you are having a good weekend and, especially if in the UK, keeping warm during this cold spell.
Until next time.