Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Oh What a Curry Night......Part Two (finally!)

I need to apologise. You see I should have done this post 2/3 weeks ago (as this is continued from a previous post). I know, I know I'm pants....sorry. Anyway, this whole point of the curry night was to show Kim how to make a Chicken Korma from scratch.

It was great fun showing Kim how to make the Korma, and I need to give credit where it is due. I have made this a few times now, and to be honest this one that Kim done, tasted better than the others. Why? Who knows. There were a few slight changes to the recipe (its adapted from Jamie Oliver's 'Ministry of Food'), maybe that was it. Or maybe Kim had a great teacher :-)

In this Korma I have used chicken thigh meat, This if for two reasons: 1) It's cheaper (which means you can buy better quality and free range) and 2) It's much tastier than breast meat.

I also add in Creme Fraiche at the end to make it much creamier, and richer, like a good Korma should be. You will be amazed how much better, more fresh and flavourful it tastes when you make it yourself. Kim done an amazing job in making this......what do you want to do next Kim?

Korma Paste

2 cloves Garlic
Ginger, thumb-sized piece
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
2 tbsp Groundnut Oil
1 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 fresh Green Chilli
3 tbsp Desiccated Coconut
2 tbsp Ground Almonds
Coriander, small bunch
2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Coriander Seeds

1. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes until they are golden brown. Remove from the heat and put in a pestle and mortar and grind until fine.
2. Peel the garlic and ginger and roughly chop.
3. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz until you have a smooth paste.

Once the paste is made, we are ready to get on with the curry. If you don't want to make the paste, then use half a jar of shop brought Korma Curry paste.

Chicken Korma

800g Chicken, free range skinless and boneless thighs
2 Onions, medium
Ginger, thumb sized piece
Coriander, small bunch
1 x 400g tin Chickpeas
Groundnut Oil
Butter, knob of
Korma Paste (see above)
1 x 400 mil tin Coconut Milk
Flaked Almonds, 2 small handfuls
2 heaped tbsp Desiccated Coconut
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
4 tbsp Creme Fraiche

1. Firstly cut the chicken into around 3cm pieces.
2. Peel and finely slice your onions, peel and finely chop the ginger, pick the coriander leaves and finally chop the stalks.
3. Put a large pan on a high heat, and add a few lugs of oil. Put the chicken into the pan and brown lightly on all sides for around 5 minutes, then remove from the pan.
4. Add the butter, onions, ginger and coriander stalks. Keep stirring it frequently to ensure none of it catches and burns, but turns golden evenly for around 10 mins.
5. Add the chicken back into the pan, and cook for another 2-3 mins.
6. Put in your Korma paste, stir well and cook for around 2-3 mins to help cook the rawness out.
7. Pour in your coconut milk, handful of flaked almonds, chickpeas (drained) and desiccated coconut. Fill the empty Chickpea tin half with water and pour into the pan and give a good stir. Bring back to the boil, then turndown the heat and simmer for 30 minutes with a lid on. Check the curry regularly to make sure it is not drying out - if it does add a little water.
8. When the chicken is tender, season with salt and pepper and stir through Creme Fraiche.
9. Serve with fluffy Basmati Rice, sprinkle over the remaining almonds and coriander leaves.

When having a curry I aways like to have side dishes, my favourite is Bombay Potatoes.

Bombay Potatoes

3 tbsp Sunflower Oil
Butter, large knob
1 tsp black mustard seeds
tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Chilli Powder
6 Potatoes, peeled and par boiled, cut into 2 or 3 cm cubes
4 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
Coriander, small bunch roughly chopped

1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the spices for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the butter and once melted add the potatoes. Make sure they are all covered in the lovely spicy buttery mixture.
3. Cook for around 10-15 minutes. Add in the tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes and stir in the coriander.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Farewell Floyd: Food Blogging Event

I have had the pleasure of being able to team up with Julia from the fantastic 'A Slice of Cherry Pie', to create a food blogging event as a farwell and tribute to the late, great Keith Floyd.

The idea of the event is that we all cook a meal in tribute to this much-loved chef. We hope you will all want to be apart of it.

This is the idea:

Cook up either:

- a classic Keith Floyd Recipe
- an adapted Keith Floyd Recipe
- a recipe of your own design inspired by, and in tribute to, Keith Floyd

Then blog about it, with a link back to this post and Julia's post, then we'll do a round-up at the end.

Please email a link and a photo to .

Closing date: 17th October 2009

Have fun, and enjoy a glass of wine for Keith as you do it.

One Month In.....

It's now just over a month since I started 'Back to the Chopping Board' and I have to say, I LOVE it! I am totally gobsmacked at the amount of people of have visited in the first month. It's been a bit scary, a bit stressful and confusing, but most of all fun.

Now let me be honest, I thought at the beginning if I got 40-50 people to visit my blog in the first month, that would be absolutely brilliant. According to the stats from Google (not sure how accurate they are), there have been a freakin amazing 241 visits by 201 unique visitors. Truly unbelievable.

I was even more blown away from where people have visited from: UK, USA, Canada, Australia, India, Ireland, France, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Serbia, Turkey, UAE, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Maldives, Finland, Malta, Switzerland and Belgium.

I have had so much fun blogging, cooking and photographing. I have seen literally hundreds of recipes I want to blog, loads of recipe ideas I want to develop, and events and occasions to cover. There will never be enough time.

I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has visited, everyone who has left a comment, and everyone who has given feedback and help.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Keith Floyd 1943 - 2009

KEITH FLOYD 1943 - 2009

Yesterday one of the pioneers of television cookery has left us. Without a doubt he was one of the most charismatic personalities that graced our screens. I sure we all have fond memories of Keith, whether that be always having a glass of wine in one hand, his light-hearted banter with who he was cooking with, or directing Clive his cameraman with "don't look at me look at the dish" or "back to me".

I can always remember being entranced by his chaotic presenting and cooking. it grabbed you and made you keep watching. If he made a mistake, which he did quite a few times, he just carried on and made the best of it. He always made the best of any situation and kept going. I can remember an episode when he is cooking in the middle of a square in some foreign town. It is blowing a gale, hammering down with rain and a thunderstorm kicking off. He didn't stop, he carried on with the production crew holding umbrellas over him. In another episode he was cooking on a beach, but the tide was coming in fast and by the time he had finished the dish, the sea was almost up to his knees.

Keith was the first chef to take to the road, and leave the studio behind. To be cooking on trawlers out at sea. Being the first to travel around the world touring countries. He brought many different cuisines into our homes. For me Keith Floyd will always be a legend. One person who I would have loved to have the pleasure of meeting.

As I write this, I sit here with a glass of red wine in tribute and in the memory of Keith Floyd who will be sadly missed. Rest in peace.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Oh What a Curry Night......Part One

Sharing, talking, laughing and friends. Food and eating isn't just what we need to sustain life. It can be what makes life fun, enjoyable and fulfilled. Some of the best times you can have, is when you get great friends and family together. Prepare some great food, sit together and share.

So last week was one of those times when good friends where able to get together over some good food. Food that you can share is always best. Something you can all dip into. Something that is informal and relaxing. There are many different types of cuisines and foods that are ideal for sharing, and Indian is one of them.

It was also the ideal time for me to show Kim how to make a Chicken Korma...from scratch. None of this paste from a jar or ready made sauce. The real thing. But you can't just have one dish when sharing, so the question was what else to do. Lamb Rogan Josh is one of my favourite curries, especially when it is cooked slow and long so the lamb just melts in your mouth. So I couldn't resist but do that one.

Whenver I order an Indian takeaway, I always want to order lots of different dishes, but can't becuase there would be too much for me to eat. I always end up missing out on Bombay Potatoes, so these had to be a must. They are such a comfort food, especially on an autumnal evening or winters night. I always need to have naan bread with a curry. To mop all those lovely spicy juices and sauce. I currently have a 'thing' for garlic and coridaner naan bread - so I wanted to have a try at making those.

When ever you make a Lamb Rogan Josh there is one golden rule. It must be cooked long and slow. So that the lamb is ever so tender and melts in your mouth. Nothing can be worse than getting a bit of tough chewy lamb in a curry. This recipie is actually adapted from a Jamie Oliver one, from his Ministry of Food book. It's one of the best Rogan Josh recipes I have come across. Below is the Lamb Rogan Josh and Garlic and Coriander Naan recipes. I'll post the Chicken Korma and Bombay Potatoes ones tomorrow.

Rogan Josh Paste

2 cloves Garlic
Ginger, thumb sized piece
75g Roasted Peppers (from a jar)
1 tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
2 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Sea Salt
2 tbsp Groundnut Oil
2 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 fresh Red Chilli
1 tsp Turmeric
Coriander, small bunch
2 tsp Cumin Seeds
2 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Black Peppercorns

1. Toast the black peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes until they are golden brown. Remove from the heat, place in a mortar and pestle. Grind until fine.
2. Peel the Garlic and Ginger and roughly chop.
3. Place all ingredients into a food processor and whizz until you have a smooth paste.

Once you have made the paste, you can crack on with the curry.

Rogan Josh Curry

800g Shoulder of Lamb, boned
2 medium Onions
1 fresh Red Chilli
Ginger, thumb sized piece
Coriander, small bunch
Groundnut Oil
knob of Butter
4 Bay Leaves
2 tbls balsamic vinegar
1 x 400g tin Chopped Tomatoes
800ml hot Chicken Stock
Rogan Josh Paste (see above)
2 handfuls Red Lentils

1. Cut lamb into 3.5cm cubes. Peel, halve and finely chop your onions, finely slice the chilli, peel and finely chop the ginger. Pick the leaves from half the coriander and set them aside. Chop the remaining coriander including stalks.
2. Put a large casserole pan on a medium heat with a few tablespoons of oil and the butter. Add the onions, chilli, ginger, coriander and bay leaves. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and browned.
3. Add the lamb, season and cook until lightly browned.
4. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for two minutes, put the Rogan Josh paste in and cook for a further two minutes.
5. Pour in the tomatoes, stock, lentils and stir well. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down low and simmer for 1½ hours. Check regulary to ensure nothing is sticking to the pan or drying out (add water if necessary).
6. Serve when meat is tender with the coriander leaves sprinkled on top.

Garlic and Coriander Naan Bread

150ml warm Milk
2 tsp Golden Castor Sugar
1 x 7g sachet Fast Action Yeast
450g Plain Flour (you may need extra)
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil (plus a little extra)
150ml Natural Yogurt
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
Coriander, small bunch finely chopped

1. Add sugar and yeast to the milk, stir and leave for 5 minutes.2. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the garlic and coriander and mix with a fork.3. Add the yogurt and egg to the yeast mix. Pour into the flour gradually while mixing to form a ball of dough.4. Put the dough on a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes until it is smooth. This is where you may need to add some more flour if it is too sticky. Put ½tsp oil into a large bowl and roll the dough in it. Put clingfilm over the bowl and put in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
5. Preheat you oven to the highest temperature and place in a baking tray to heat up. Preheat your grill as well.
6. Knock back the dough and knead for two minutes. Divide into 6 equal balls. Take each ball of dough and using the palm of your hand flatten and shape the dough.
7. Take the baking tray from the oven, place the naan onto it and put immediately into the oven for 3 minutes. Then place the baking sheet under the grill (about 7-10cm away from the heat) for 30 seconds on each side until lightly browned. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.