Well, I said I’d put all the recipes up and these are the last two – neither soups nor salads!
Would-be Thai Curry
I love Thai green curry – it’s irresistible. Sadly I am not often in the vicinity of a shop selling galangal and I never remember to buy lemongrass. So, this is my made-up approximation of a thai curry. It perhaps doesn’t exactly tick that box but its pretty nice anyhow!
1 ear fresh sweetcorn (only if its in season, not really necessary)
1 green pepper
1 head broccoli
curly kale/cavalo nero – about 6-8 good sized leaves
Optional additions: some diced aubergine, some courgette, some
1 inch fresh root ginger
juice of 1/2 lime plus squeeze lemon (add more if necessary)
3 cloves garlic
large handful of roughly chopped coriander leaves
1 tin coconut milk plus about a tablespoon of solid coconut cream
1 hot green chilli
light soy sauce – shoyu is good
block of smoked tofu
First things first, dice up the tofu and place between 2 clean tea towels or some kitchen roll if you must (horrid stuff, such a waste of trees). Leave to drain while preparing the rest.
For the curry, chop everything up first as this recipe cooks pretty fast. Sometimes its important to chop things in a different shape – for me, this recipe needs to have leeks chopped into thin oblongs about 2 or 3 inches long. A quick way of doing this is to slide a sharp knife into the leek near the root end and cut towards the leaves – do this repeatedly until you have something that looks like a cheerleader might wield and then rinse out any grit from between the leaves. Lay flat, bunched back into a leek shape, and you can simply cut across at intervals to make a sort of julienne effect. Cunning. So, I chop the pepper into thin strips too. Cut down the sides of the sweetcorn to get the kernels off and put aside. Chop the garlic, ginger and chilli finely. Also cut the greens into thin ribbons and dice aubergine and cut thin oblongs of courgette if you want to include these.
Heat sunflower oil in a large frying pan or preferably a wok. Add the leeks. A few seconds later add the ginger, garlic, chilli mix and the green pepper. (Add the aubergine and courgette in a few seconds if using). Keep stirring. Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper. Add the broccoli after a couple of minutes and then the greens. After another couple of mins, pour in the coconut milk and crumble in the solid coconut cream. Stir in well. When all the veg are just cooked enough to eat, stir in the lime and lemon juice a good slug of soy, and the fresh sweetcorn. Taste and adjust if necessary. Take off the heat.
Meanwhile you should be heating up another frying pan or skillet very hot with a little sunflower oil and some salt and pepper. Place the tofu in here and turn over when golden on underside – keep turning until most sides are crisp and golden – only takes a few minutes. When done the tofu’s done, stir the fresh coriander into the curry and serve on rice or noodles with the tofu scattered on top.
Damson and Apple Upside-down Cake
(although below is pictured an orange, raspberry and ginger version!)
I love this recipe – its my stock in trade looks great, tastes great, can be made any season with any fruit and the most basic of cupboard staples… Perfectly quick and stress free.
You will need a shallow pyrex or similar oven dish for this…
Fruit – probably about 1 apple and 8-12 plums depending on size (don’t use the trad tiny damsons for this, more the table variety, or sub with a different larger plum such as victoria if you can;t find any of these… or, indeed, any other fruit you fancy quite frankly – pineapple is a classic, nectarine is delicious, fig an exotic option, orange works surprisingly well and is one of my favourites…)
4 oz plus 1 extra oz butter (or soya margarine)
Couple tablespoons light brown soft or muscovado sugar
4 oz light brown soft or caster sugar
6 oz self raising flour
Couple dessert spoons of stem ginger in syrup, chopped small
a little milk
Butter the dish well – with at least an ounce of butter, concentrating on the base – and sprinkle with light brown or muscovado sugar. Halve and core the apple, and cut into slices. Halve and pit the plums. Arrange the fruit prettily on the base of the dish – fan the apple slices in a wheel perhaps and place the plums skin side down. Sprinkle on some cinnamon and bits of chopped stem ginger. Mix up the sponge by creaming the butter and light brown or caster sugar, beating in the eggs and gradually sifting and folding in the flour. At this point, add about a 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a dessert spoon full of chopped stem ginger.
The resulting mixture wants to be at ‘dropping consistency.’ I was very thoroughly taught what this was from the age of about 3 while making Christmas cake annually with my granny who was in her nineties and about as short as me. We used to have the cake mix bowl balanced on the folded down grill door of the cooker and she would hold up the wooden spoon and make me watch to see how the mixture would drop off the spoon – ie if it doesn’t then its not right! So, to ensure your mixture is right, add a little milk (plain or soya) until the mix will slowly fall from your spoon when held over the mixing bowl – viscous but not actually liquid. Pour/spread this over the fruit and bake in the oven until golden and a skewer comes out clean (approx 180 C for 20 minutes).
When cooled a very little, turn the dish over onto a serving platter and give it a good smack – I enjoy that bit – and lift it off as if peering into pandora’s box – if lucky a golden light will come beaming out from under the dish as the majesty of your cake is revealed. With any luck you should have an artful and tasty cake which is just as good cold with a cup of tea or hot with your choice of those evils such as custard, cream, greek yoghurt…. etc