Sunday, 23 February 2014

Spice it up!

Recently I have started experimenting with some new recipes, and re-visiting some old forgotten faves. A number of them required me to break out the mortar and pestle and it reminding me how much I love using fresh spices.

As I assume many of us do, I have a spice draw that is full of ground spices and when a recipe calls for it we add a little of this and a little of that. Never a huge amount of anything.

We the recipes I have been playing with require a whole bunch and call for table spoons not teaspoons. My initial reaction is always that it will be too much or too intense. I believe strongly in always following a recipe perfectly the first time and then after that I will play around with it. I have been delighted at how well bulk spices work together, in the right proportions.

This has inspired me to make batches of my own curry pastes. My plan is to freeze them in meal sized portions so I can simply fry up some meat, whip out a paste and be half way to a fantastic curry!

So I'm putting it out there... Spice up your life! Try some new recipes full of flavour. Let me know if you find any pearl-ers!

Here is our favourite at the moment...

(Peter's Lamb Curry - Jamie Oliver)

Hot Fragrant Rub
2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
½ tbsp fenugreek seeds
½ tbsp black peppercorns
1 clove
small piece of cinnamon stick
10 green cardamoms

Curry Paste Ingredients
thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
2 large red onions, peeled
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 red chillies

The Other Ingredients
fresh coriander & fresh mint
2 tablespoons butter/oil
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
300ml stock
1.5kg lamb, diced
fresh mint, handful
fresh coriander, handful
300ml natural yoghurt
salt and freshly ground black pepper
lime juice
salt and black pepper

- Toast the whole spices for a minute or two in a dry frying pan until they release their aroma.
- Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder and set aside.
- Put the curry paste ingredients and the Hot Run powder in a blender and process until you get a smooth paste.
- Heat a large cast iron pot and add the oil/butter. Gently fry the curry paste and ground spices, stirring regularly.  Add the tomatoes and the stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for one and a half hours to intensify the flavour. 
(This is the curry paste now finished you could at this point freeze it or continue on)

- Fry the lamb pieces in batches in the oil until golden before adding to the curry sauce. 
- Simmer for around 1 hour or until the lamb is tender, feel free to add other ingredients, potato, paneer, cauliflower, spinach, your choice.
- Stir in the chopped fresh coriander and mint, then stir in the yogurt.  
- Season to taste with some freshly ground black pepper and some lime juice.
- Serve with basmati rice and a cold beer :)

Serves 8.

1 comment:

  1. Soph you are SO inspiring! I love that you just DO things and do them PROPERLY rather than the packet variety - hallelujah!!