Friday, 31 May 2013

Fusion Curry

I apologise I haven't posted in a while - finally my exams are over and my third and final year of my law degree is done! I am currently packing up my room and getting everything organized for my imminent departure to Bangladesh next week for a 3 month internship. I have no idea what and when I'm going to be able to post there but I will try hard and I am hoping to learn how to cook bangladeshi food. 

I made this curry for my parents when I was back home a couple weeks ago and it was very well received. Called the 'best curry of your life' by Adam from Amateur Gourmet, (and originally from April Bloomfield’s cookbook, A Girl And Her Pig), this curry is exactly that. As he explains, it is not a traditional curry and I'm not even sure which country's curry it is most like, but it is the most flavourful curry I have ever tasted in my life. I recommend you invest in all of these spices because you WILL want to make this curry again. It is so worth all the ingredients that go into it. Yum, thank you Adam, I cannot wait to make this again. 

I actually didn't put in fenugreek or the cardamom pods as I made this when I was in France and it's very difficult to get ingredients there. The curry was great without but Adam recommends using all the ingredients so if you can, go the full mile!

Fusion Curry
Serves 4
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds, toasted (to toast these three, just add them to a dry skillet, turn up the heat and toss around until fragrant)
10 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
3 green cardamom pods
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon crumbled dried pequin chilies or red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more for lamb)
2 cups thinly sliced shallots (or yellow onions)
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 small cinnamon stick
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh ginger 
3 cups drained, trimmed, and chopped canned peeled whole tomatoes
1 tablespoons flaky sea salt (changed from 2 according to my taste)
8 coriander/cilantro with 2 inches of stem attached, washed well and finely chopped (save the leaves for garnish)
A 5-inch strip of orange peel, any white pith cut away
A 5-inch strip of lemon peel, any white pith cut away
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces 

Combine the toasted spices, cloves, star anise, cardamom, lime leaves, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, and turmeric in a spice grinder or blitzer until you have a very fine powder.

Heat a large Dutch oven/large heavy ovenproof saucepan over medium high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil just begins to smoke, add the shallots (or onions) and cook, stirring often, until they’re deep brown, about 10 minutes. When browned, add the garlic.

Add the spice mixture, cinnamon stick, and ginger and, stir constantly, for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, stirring frequently until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture looks quite dry - about 15 minutes.

Stir in the cilantro, citrus peel and juice, and pineapple juice, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. In a large skillet/heavy bottomed saucep, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat until smoking; meanwhile, season the lamb with lots of salt. In batches so the meat does not touch eachother, brown the meat all over, (12 to 15 minutes per batch). Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the pot with the curry mixture. Brown the following batches in the fat remaining in the pan, transferring the pieces to the Dutch oven as they are done, and then discard the fat.

Give the lamb pieces a good stir to coat them in the curry mixture, cover the pot, and put it in the oven. Cook the lamb 1 1/2 hours, stirring now and then.

Reduce the heat to 120C/250F and let it go until the lamb is fork tender but not totally falling apart, another hour or so. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro leaves, if you like.

I have no doubt this curry can be made vegetarian - I will be trying this at some point as I have recently turned veggie! I will post results.  


Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Liebster Award

I am very happy to say that I have been nominated for a Liebster award by who has time for the gym. It is awarded to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers to help promote their blog and translates to dearest from German. Thank you!

When nominated for a Liebster award,  you must: 
- List 11 random facts about yourself
- Answer 11 questions from the person that nominated you
- Nominate 11 new bloggers and tell them on their page
- Write 11 random questions for your nominees

11 random facts about myself: 
1. I play trumpet, piano and drums.
2. I wanted to join the territorial army when I was 12 but we moved to Switzerland.
3. Scallops are probably my very favourite food.
4. I love horses and desperately want to be able to ride well but am a little bit nervous on top of one going faster than walking pace..
5. I really really want to live in Africa sometime. 
6. I've always wanted a pet tortoise.
7. I've been skydiving and bungee jumping (go skydiving - I do not however recommend bungee jumping!)
8. I really want to go scuba diving and get my PADI. 
9. I am doing a Tough Mudder this year and the Brighton half marathon early next year to raise money for charity:water and to get fitter.
10. I don't particularly like cats.
11. I'm working in Bangladesh for 3 months this summer on prison reform.

These are my answers to who has time for the gym's questions.

1. What is your favorite song?
I have a lot of close seconds for this question but I've got to go with a song I loved since I first heard it when I was about 8; 
I'm going to make you love me - The Jayhawks. 
2. What is your favorite movie?
This one changes a lot, but I have always really loved The Squid and the Whale and Children of Men. Oh, and Avengers.. 
3. What is one place you want to travel to that is off the beaten path?
I want to travel EVERYWHERE off the beaten path! Anywhere in South America or South-East Asia is at the top of the list to go next.. but if I had to pick one country I'd probably start in Nepal.. do some horse trekking.
4. What is your favorite way to get exercise in?
I play Ultimate Frisbee for fun and competitively and I love it. It's a really great game for all ages and fitness levels and teaches great sporting spirit as it is self refereed and has a spirit of the game aspect to it. Plus it can be tough!
5. What is your favorite book?
I've probably most enjoyed the Africa House by Christina Lamb or Twenty Chickens for a Saddle by Robyn Stewart.
6. If you could change your career, what would you be?
I don't yet have a career as I'm a student but if I don't end up going in the direction my studies are taking me I would love to become a fine-dining chef.
7. What would you tell your 7 year old self about your future?
Not to give up dance! One of my biggest regrets.
8. If someone offered you a free trip to the moon would you take it?
I probably couldn't turn down an offer like that but I'd be absolutely terrified. Planes are worrying enough.
9. Name one person who you would most like to have lunch with. Famous or not, alive or dead.
My grandad who died when I was 9. I never got the chance to know him but have heard what an interesting person he was. I'd like to tell him about what I have done.
10. What is your favorite animal?
It's a close call between dogs and monkeys/apes. I've had a slight obsession with monkeys since I was a kid but dogs are just amazing.
11. Who is your favorite blogger?
Adam Roberts - the amateur gourmet. He's kind of who I would love to be in a few years time. His cookbook is amazing, I got it recently and can barely put it down. Highly recommended.

I am nominating the Liebster award to:

My questions to them are:
1. What's your favourite flavour of ice cream?
2. What country would you want to live in most for one year?
3. What is your favourite season?
4. What is your favourite flower?
5. If money were no object what restaurant would you eat at?
6. Countryside or city?
7.  What is the worst Christmas present you have ever received?
8. What is your most prized possession?
9. What is your biggest regret?
10. What is your happiest memory?
11. What food can you just not say no to?

My first exam of my final year is tomorrow! Wish me luck..

Friday, 10 May 2013

Foodie Penpals - April

Last month I stumbled upon the concept of Foodie Penpals - every month you are paired with someone in Europe (or the US if you are in the US) who you send a box of goodies up to £10 worth and you get a box of goodies sent to you by someone else. You are meant to post about your box on the 30th of the month but I've been home in France until today and so came back to a lovely box from KayTea's Cakes

She sent some shortbread, wasabi peas, dark chocolate, ramen noodle soup and tomato and cheese oven baked crisps which look really nice. I love wasabi peas and everything there really so very happy with my box, thank you KayTea!

If you want to see what other people recieved here is the reveal day for April. You can see what I sent my foodie pen pal in Holland Tamara at her blog

I think it's a great concept and will sign up for another month in September when I come back to the UK!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Morris Dancing on May Day

Happy May Day everyone. This is an ancient Spring Festival and a public holiday in many countries. In Britain traditionally it is celebrated with maypole celebrations, folk music, crowning a May queen and morris dancing

I am home in eastern France for a week or two before my exams start and early this morning we went up to the castle in the hills behind our village with the Morris Dancing group of the area, a collection of British men and a woman who dance together regularly at ex-pat and British events in the area to begin the day.

It was a really foggy morning (and week!) and I snapped a picture of them up by the castle as they danced bringing in the morning and 'spring' (?). The photo is available for purchase in my etsy shop along with my other photographs from various places in the world. 

On with the studying.. I hope everyone has a wonderful May Day.