Goan Fish Curry

Goan Fish Curry

Did you know there are some people in the world that have NEVER eaten a fish curry?  I know, I, too, am flabbergasted.

Fish curry, for those of you uninitiated in the experience, is one of the most delightful curries you will ever devour.  Providing, of course, you love a curry and are partial to fish.  I have noticed, coming from a fishing family, that those who have not been lucky enough to experience variable types of seafood from a young age and typically live inland, are not very good with fish.  By which I mean they pull an ‘oh no’ squirmy face when I mention fish and begin to jibber on about bones etc. at which point I have to change the subject.

That aside, if you tick the aforementioned boxes, you will find this irresistible.

The wee boy and I decided it would be a lovely thing to eat fish curry on Friday evening, so we bought all the ingredients we didn’t have in, including a bag of frozen Talapia from the Continental supermarket down the road.  Sadly, for one reason and another, this didn’t come to pass on Friday.  Undeterred, Saturday became designated as fish curry day.  However, according to the wee boy, it was puppet Dave’s birthday on Saturday, so I made a lovely batch of brownies which we all enjoyed enormously.  So much so, that when I tentatively suggested fish curry for dinner no-one, including myself, really had the appetite for it.

And so it was that we eventually ate this glorious curry on Sunday as, quite frankly, had we not done that, it would have been shelved for at least a week.

So what is in this now infamous curry, I hear you cry.  Well…

Whizz up a 4cm chunk of fresh ginger with 2 cloves of garlic, 2 deseeded long green chillies, and 2 onions.  Fry in a little oil until translucent then add 2 teaspoons of cumin, ground coriander, garam masala, and turmeric.  Stir for a couple of minutes before adding 6 large chopped tomatoes, one tin of coconut milk, 2 bay leaves and 2 cardamon pods, cut into two.

Allow it to simmer for around ten minutes.  In fact, I actually made this sauce the night before, but it’s not necessary.  Then add approximately 600g of meaty fish.  I used Talapia and salmon, but choose whatever you fancy.  Allow this to cook in the sauce then add a few prawns.

Just before you serve this delight, have a cheekie taste as you may want to add a little salt. Add a shake of lime juice (the juice of one if you’re going fresh) and sprinkle with fresh, chopped coriander.

Serve with whatever takes your fancy.

Midway through finally eating the curry, I remembered that I had forgotten to add the lime juice, which does give it a little extra kick, but is not, it turns out, the end of the world if you forget.  Also, as a little tip for those of you who like a curry with spicy heat in it, you could consider adding a couple more green chillies.

The important thing to remember here is, however you like your curry, making it with fish instead of meat, is a wonderful, dare I say healthy, alternative and one I can guarantee you won’t regret.

 

 

 

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Key Lime Pie

Key lime pie

I have a confession to make.  This is a Nigella recipe filched straight from ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’.   I haven’t altered a thing.

You see, as with everything that has a structure, be that science, language, music, etc. I believe you need to understand the fundamentals in order to play around with the concept.  That’s my excuse anyway.

The other thing is, I have never made Key Lime Pie before, although I have flicked through this book many times.  I think probably one of the things that has made me scan over this recipe and not really consider it before, was the almost nonchalant way she describes how to make it.

There is non of that oozing flamboyance here.  Unlike further along in the book, when, in the preamble to the recipe from her friend Joe Dolce regarding his Italian Cheesecake, she quotes directly from his email, ‘Eat it and weep’.  Still one of my favourite cookbook quotes of all time.

However, we had some limes that needed using up, and a tin of sweetened condensed milk which didn’t actually need eating up but was there – very similar in my book – so I decided to give it a bash.

As with many cheesecake style recipes, this one starts with the digestive biscuit (200g) and butter (50g) combo, whizzed up and squished into a 23cm lined springform tin.  Normally this would be a round one, but we have a 20cm square one which I have only used once so felt it needed an outing.

Invariably with recipes that use a biscuit base such as this, the recipe insists, or as near as damn it, that you have a food processor to ‘blitz’ the two ingredients together.  I don’t have one of those which is, perhaps, why my biscuit base, despite being bashed to billie-o, never manages to hold itself together.  It does often give me false hope though as there are always parts of it that initially look pretty good and my heart punches the air thinking that, at last, I have managed to make a cohesive biscuit base.

It’s a short lived story.  As soon as I move the blighter, it moves with me.  In all directions.

I’m thinking it may be to do with my impatience not allowing it to linger in the tin enough, not cooling it enough, not letting it be.  Next time.

Meanwhile the filling consists of 5 large egg yolks, 3 egg whites, zest of 3 limes, 150ml lime juice and a 397g tin of sweetened condensed milk.

In Nigella’s recipe blurb she talks about key limes and how it is unnecessary to use actual key limes.  She uses ordinary ones.  I’m afraid I have to hold up my hands and say I am completely lime ignorant.  I have never had a key lime so therefore wouldn’t be able to advise anyone on their importance, or not.

Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks then fold into the yolks (which have been beaten), lime and condensed milk mixture.  Pour on top of the biscuit base and cook on a baking tray which has been lounging in the centre of the oven, gas mark 3. Leave it there for around 25 minutes or until the filling is firm.

Pop onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

Chill well – Nigella’s advice, and who am I to argue?

*pops off to make a margarita*

Courgette Cake

Courgette Cake

Having sampled this cake a coupe of years ago, made by one of my many talented and lovely friends, the memory of how wonderful it tasted has stayed with me, although I have never, until now, managed to rustle one up.

Turns out it is the simplest thing to make, and although I am still not eating sugar so therefore won’t be able to sample my goods, it will be going to the wee boy’s Kindergarten Spring Fayre, which is happening on Saturday so hopefully will all be eaten.  Actually, there is enough mixture to make two of then which, in my book, is a result.

This is what you will need:

3 eggs, 275ml sunflower oil – I used vegetable oil as I didn’t have any sunflower oil and I figured there can’t be that much difference – 350g caster sugar, 350g courgettes grated, 165g plain flour, 165g buckwheat flour – once again, I didn’t have any so I used wholemeal plain flour – 1tsp baking powder, 2 tspns bicarbonate of soda, 1tsp cinnamon, 175g raisins – I used sultanas, see previous excuse – 150g walnuts chopped.

Now then, here’s a thing with putting nuts into a cake.  I absolutely love them but the wee boy and his friends are going through a phase of ‘being allergic’ to things, which roughly translates as not liking them, so I have left the nuts out of this recipe as it has the ‘I’m allergic to nuts’ foray written all over it.  Instead I replaced them with a handful of chia seeds, for texture.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4. Then, either grease and line the base of two 900g/2lb loaf tins or, if you’re like me, you will have purchased, for absolutely no other reason than the thought that they might come in handy one day, a packet of paper loaf tin liners.  I was beginning to think they may have to be used for something to paint onto, but now I am completely absolved from buying ‘just in case stuff’, as they fit the tins perfectly.

Put all the ingredients together and mix to make a thick batter.  Pour into the cake tins.  Bake in the pre heated over for about an hour until the loaves are firm and a skewer comes out clean.  Sadly, I couldn’t remember what time I put the cakes in as I was ‘multi-tasking’.  However, I went by the smell of the oven and actually, although when I first tested them they weren’t quite done, I left them in a little longer, turning up the heat ever so slightly, and there was no dip at all.  Which has given me a completely disproportionate belief that I know what I’m doing.

Cool the cakes a little before turning out on a wire rack.

I have left one of the cakes without anything on top but the other now has a glaze made up of lime juice and granulated sugar. Of course I am unable to tell you what that will taste like but I reckon it should compliment the cake well.  I will be able to tell though, because when you sell cake at a Fayre, people never come back for a second slice if it’s not palatable.

I’ll let you know what happens.

Plum Jam

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I have, for the last few days, been trying to ignore the pot of plums that have been idling away the hours in our temperamental fridge.   Thankfully, the fridge tends to somehow suspend any type of rotting process for a good few days, which has allowed me to go away and return without having to open the fridge and deal with an ominous odour.

Today, though, became cook or compost for the last remaining plums.  So, I diligently took them out of the fridge and washed them but couldn’t quite face de-stoning them as my finger nails still haven’t quite recovered from the last lot, so I threw caution to the wind, weighed them and bunged them in the pan.

Of course, the thing with plum jam especially is that you need to match the weight of the plums with that of sugar, which I duly did, completely forgetting to take account of the stones, until I had put the whole lot onto the stove with heat underneath it. So, in my attempt to rectify the situation I opened the fridge door to look for the lemon juice.  ‘Give it a tang, and counterbalance the sweetness’, I thought.

And then, a flurry of I don’t know what came over me, and I reached for the lime juice, whipped off the lid, and shook a good splodge in.  Bearing in mind the plums and sugar already had some vanilla extract in there, I was slightly concerned at the amount I had splattered about, but decided that, as it was the last few plums, I could relax and just see how it worked out.

Well let me tell you, this jam tastes absolutely amazing.  Firstly, I need not have concerned myself over the stones as they merrily popped up to the surface and although there is a slight chance that one may be lingering with intent, you can normally tell with jam can’t you?  So, gaining in confidence, the wee boy and I treated ourselves to some fresh bread and slightly warm jam.

I have to say, if you enjoy your plum jam and are not averse to the taste of lime, you will be blown away with this little number.

May I recommend you try it, and give me your verdict?  Alternatively, pop round to mine and have a taste of ours.  Best not leave it too long though, eh?

Red Thai Curry

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I do believe we are officially experiencing summertime.  It’s glorious.  And with this season comes a whole array of foods to eat which compliment the heat.  In my head I have time to flick through recipes, buy new ingredients and potter in the kitchen, presenting my boys with yet another piece de resistance.  The reality is, there is never really enough time, and I end up, most of the time, falling back on old faithfuls. Things which I have the ingredients for, that don’t take too long to cook, and that I know everyone will enjoy.

When I was growing up, the summer staple was always some sort of food, with salad.  And every time we had salad, big Dave would exclaim something along the lines of,

‘Rabbit food again then?’

As a friend of mine once said, ‘I don’t do greens.  I don’t do anything with fibre’

There’s nothing quite like the soul destroying feeling of someone’s dinner disappointment.

So, with this in mind, I have incorporated a red Thai curry into my repertoire, which I believe ticks all the summer food boxes, without instigating the ‘summer salad’ conversation.  And it’s a doddle to make.

I usually use either a meaty fish (cod), pork or chicken strips, but sometimes I break the mold and just use vegetables.  Oh yes, living on the edge.  Anyway.

What I start with is a teaspoon of Mae Ploy Red Curry Paste, bought in a tub from my local supermarket which cuts out the faff of mixing together all the things I don’t have, and it keeps in the fridge for an eternity.  I think.  I add this into a wok with a splash of oil, a teaspoon of soft brown sugar, a splash of fish sauce and a dash of lime juice.  Mix together, warm through and add the meat.  If you’re using fish, skip this stage and add the fish in with the coconut milk as otherwise it breaks up too much.

Cook for five minutes or so.

I then add sliced red onion, orange, red and yellow peppers if I have all three, if not I put in whatever I do have, stir around for a wee while, and add a tin of coconut milk. Next I add mange tout, sugar snap peas, green beans, (once again, whatever I have in), and let them all cook in the milk until they look as though they’ve seen some heat**.

And that, my friends, is it!

If we’re eating it with noodles, I also add them, if we’re eating it with rice, I cook that alongside the curry and serve the two separately on the plate.

I do like to add some fresh chopped coriander right at the end, but more often than not, if I haven’t bought some that day, the stuff I have has either wilted or been semi frozen by my temperamental fridge.

It may not be totally authentic, but it tastes devine.

** Just a final thought, the peppers, beans, whatever you fancy veg really could do with having a crunch to them otherwise it does taste like ‘old people’s home’ food.