Monthly Archives: April 2009

indian family dinner


My mother is here for a visit and she and Chris made a lovely indian dinner. We had chicken curry, rice, daal, tomato sambal, dry okra curry, parathas and some indian sweets for dessert.

The recipe is from my great-aunt Cynthia who just turned 86. The measurements are definitely approximate as my mother “cooks by taste and eye”.

chicken curry

  • 2 serious glugs vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 19 oz. chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 lbs (approx 1 kg) bone in chicken, chopped into pieces
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp garam masala

for the masala spice paste (all spices should be ground)

  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 3 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp red chili powder

Heat vegetable oil in large heavy pan on high heat. Sear individual chicken pieces until browned. Set aside on a plate. You may have to do this in small batches, it is important to not overcrowd the pan.

Heat oil in large heavy pot on medium heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger and cook approx 5 mins. Meanwhile, mix masala paste with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water.

When onions are translucent add masala paste and fry until water evaporates and oil comes to the surface (this will look red/orange-ish and glossy). Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water and repeat until oil comes to surface again. Then do it again (that’s right, do it 3 times).

Add canned tomatoes and sugar. Feel free to ‘mush’ together with spices. Simmer for about 10 mins, if you like you can turn the heat down.

Add yogurt and coconut milk and put chicken in (don’t be scared of the chicken juices on the plate – pour them in too). Give the whole thing a good stir and add chopped cilantro and curry leaves. Turn the pot down to a slow simmer, sprinkle in garam masala.

Let the whole thing cook covered for about 30 minutes. If the curry is looking runny, leave the lid off until the sauce has thickened.

Serve with chopped, fresh coriander and lime wedges. You are welcome.



a bloody beginning

Not actually bloody but definitely raw. I’ve been wanting to try this carpaccio recipe ever since I got Jamie at Home for Christmas. It is a pure protein delight, and the beans are delicious.



  • 1 lb beef tenderloin
  • 500 g green beans
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • smallish handful thyme sprigs
  • extra virgin olive oil

for the marinade:

  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • big handful fresh soft herbs (chevril, parsley, inner yellow celery, tarragon) leaves picked and chopped (I used tarragon and celery)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Steam the beans. While beans are cooking prepare marinade. When (and not if because this was a total success), I make this again, I will use lemon juice for acid instead of vinegar because I think its fresher/nicer. It was my first time using inner celery leaves for flavour and it was delicious. Once beans are cooked (careful not to over-do and get limpies), toss in marinade and put to one side to allow beans to cool and take on flavour.

Place beef on cutting board and season generously with salt and pepper. Strip leaves from thyme sprigs, chop roughly and sprinkle over beef.

Get a heavy frying pan seriously hot and add a splash of olive oil. Put meat in pan and turn every few seconds to sear and encrust flavourings on to it. Turn it around just until all sides are seared. Put the beat back on the board and let it rest for at least 1 min.

Use a big sharp knife to cut the beef as thinly as you can. Don’t worry if you can’t get the slices super thin, you can lay the slices out and use the side of the knife to flatten them further (works surprisingly well).

Lay slices on plates, place beans on top being sure to spoon over extra marinade. Dress with some good quality olive oil, feel proud and enjoy.