The results came in as follows:Noah loved it and had more, so I won the carrot halwa war that no one else was fighting.Maya spat hers out in the bin and asked for a yoghurt instead.Read More
Kevin, our plumber, has buggered off to France on the proceeds of our unfinished boiler. This has, however, led to the discovery of an unopened tin of ghee beneath the fuse box in the cupboard. It may not be quite the same as finding a Rembrant in the attic but still, it's a nice surprise.For many years I've been bored senseless by potted shrimp. And recently in Devon I swore that if I were to ever have another crab sandwich it would be under circumstances of extreme duress. And as for fish and chips, there is only one acceptable situation to eat them, and that is in winter on a cold and blowy beach. There, and only there, can you eat hot, salty, vinegar laced chips and pearly, soft white flaking fish. Even then it's still rubbish.However, I believe most things can be improved by the judicious application of spice. I'd add spices to anything, possibly even my toothpaste to pep it up and excite me. Wars and empires have been fought and forged over them, so the least I feel I can do is use them. And this recipe is proof why. I've swapped prawns for crayfish, clarified butter for curry leaf infused ghee and replaced nutmeg, Cayenne pepper and mace with garam masala. (The nutmeg, Cayenne and mace have, in a nod to the original, gone into the bread).It's a pretty quick dish and a real flavour hit. Serve with the butter still slightly soft but deep yellow and translucent.Ingredients160g crayfish tailsA small handful of curry leaves, ideally fresh, the dried ones are a load of rubbish1tbsp garam masalaA pinch of salt and pepper2 spring onions2 green finger chillies, slicedA load of ghee (about 250g)2tbsp coconut oilA few coriander leavesFor the bread2tbsp chickpea (gram) flour2tbsp wholemeal flour150ml waterA good grating of nutmeg1tsp Cayenne pepper1tsp powdered maceA pinch of saltA few twists of pepperMethodMelt the ghee and coconut oil and add the curry leaves, garam masala and season well with salt and pepper. Leave to cool a little and skim the surface of any impurities.Divide the crayfish between two pots and add the spring onions and chilli.Pour the butter over the crayfish and leave to chill in the fridge until fairly set, but still spoonable, a bit like a melting mango sorbet. If serving later, you'll need to remove them about half an hour in advance to soften unless you want to practice your spoon bending.Make the bread (although it's more like a sort of pancake-type affair) by mixing the ingredients together to form a fairly thick, spreadable batter.Heat a cast iron pan until very hot then spoon on half the mixture and start to spread it around the pan, almost as if you were painting it on. As it cooks, this will become easier and you should be able to form a circle, but don't worry, make it whatever shape you like, as long as it is an even thickness.Leave it to cook until golden on one side, then flip over and finish it off. Repeat with the remaining mix.Serve the bread with the pots of crayfish, a sprinkle of coriander leaves and some Bombay mix, which I suggest you buy. If you think I'm making my own, you can think again.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. And while this is not pudding and I have nothing to prove, the only way you're going to understand how delicious this dish is, is by making and eating it. I urge you to do this as soon as you can.Read More
I had a couple of packets of baby turnips in the fridge. I always struggle with them, as in, what is their point? I've always thought of them as a bulbous, soft crunch of flavourlesness. A little like eating a toasted tennis ball.To give them a chance, I threw some of my favourite flavours at them, knowing that whatever I did would be an improvement. It's hard to improve upon slowly caramelised onions, and the thought of draping them over the turnips once they had been roasted in some chilli oil was enough to get the oven on first thing this morning.Three quarters of an hour later and I had a delicious mid-morning snack with enough chilli punch in it to finally get the day going after having survived my children's joint birthday party with no fatalities and I think all children safely returned. We may yet find one or two in the bushes.So turnips are safe, for now. This would make a splendid accompaniment to spatchcocked, grilled tandoori-spiced chicken or roast coriander and cumin slow-roast lamb shoulder. Now there's an idea for next weekend.Ingredients:A few packs of baby turnips2tbsp chilli oil1tbsp chilli flakes1/2 white onion1/2tsp ground coriander1/2tsp ground cumin1/2tsp ground turmeric1tsp ghee or vegetable oilSalt and pepper to seasonMethod:Heat the oven to 180c and roast the turnips, drizzled with the chilli oil for about 45 minutes.While they are cooking, finely slice the onion and slowly sauté in the ghee with the spices and a little seasoning. Cook slowly until they are golden and starting to ever so slightly caramelise.Spoon over the turnips, drizzle with a little more chilli oil and scatter with chilli flakes.Serve immediately, being careful to not burn your tongue on the onions like I did.