Beef Madras

Beef Madras by The Fat Foodie

Beef Madras by The Fat Foodie

Now that spring is creeping in, with its sporadic sunny, but chilly days it’s tempting to get work done in the garden. However, I know fine well that if I’m going to be working in the garden all day the last thing I’ll feel like doing when I get in is cooking a decent meal from scratch. I think a hot bath to take the chill from my bones (helped along by a warming glass of wine or two) will be a much stronger calling. So it was with a great deal of foresight that I prepared this beef madras in the slow cooker before I headed outside the other day.

The beauty of using the slow cooker to cook a curry is that it allows the spicy flavours to permeate into the casserole beef throughout the whole day while the slow cooking process also tenderises the meat. As a result, you’ve got a wonderful meal to come home to after a hard day’s work with very little effort and minimal prep work involved.

Upon tasting this beef madras, I discovered that it was a bit on the spicy side for my family so I kept my (dairy-free) portion aside and added double cream into the rest. I don’t mind quite a generous amount of heat in my curries, but the addition of the cream seemed to be a resounding success with my family because it tamped down the heat of the chilli in the curry while adding a luxurious richness. Equally, you could omit the madras curry powder and use a garam masala curry powder instead, which will add flavour, but not heat.

If you like meals that involve very little work to prepare and curries with plenty of body and flavour then this beef madras is definitely one for you to try.

Ingredients:

450g Casserole beef
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2tsps hot Madras powder
1 tsp (heaped) ground turmeric
2 tsps Marigold stock boullion powder
1 tsp salt
2 peppers (diced)
1/2 packet coconut cream (grated)
1/2 pot Elmlea double cream
Serve with basmati rice
Method:
Set your slow cooker on low and put the beef, chopped tomatoes and coconut cream in.
Put the stock, Madras curry powder, salt and ground turmeric in a jug and add around 100ml of hot water to it and stir before adding to the slow cooker. Stir until everything is mixed together.
Leave the beef madras to putter away all day. About twenty minutes before serving add your diced peppers. Taste to see if you need to add any more salt. Make your rice.
When you’re ready to eat, serve as it is or add double cream (or a dairy-free cream) if you feel it’s a bit too spicy or if you just want to make it richer.
Serve with rice, naan breads or poppadums and fresh coriander.
Beef Madras by The Fat Foodie

Beef Madras by The Fat Foodie

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Potato and Cauliflower Curry (serves 4)

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Potato and Cauliflower Curry by The Fat Foodie

The other day I was looking for dinner inspiration in the fridge and I saw that we still had quite a lot of the cashew cream that I had made to go with refried bean quesadillas the other day. I figured I’d try to use it up in a recipe and was in the mood for a vegetable curry, so I decided to use the cashew cream as the base for a korma-esque potato and cauliflower curry.

This is a really tasty curry that’s rich and creamy due to the use of the cashew cream. The fact that it’s a vegetarian curry comprised of hearty chunks of potato, cauliflower florets and little sweet petit pois means that it’s not a heavy curry, as it would potentially be if it were made with meat in it. Really, you can make this curry with whatever vegetables you have on hand in your fridge, but I’d always tend towards using potatoes as your base vegetable because they are brilliant at absorbing the flavours of spices.

If you don’t fancy making the cashew cream to use in the potato and cauliflower curry, I’d advise using a tin of coconut milk instead. Equally, if you love cream and you’re not bothered about your cholesterol levels then you could be a devil and use single cream!

I often think that vegetable curries, particularly ones that are potato based, don’t really need rice to accompany them, but they are very nice to eat scooped up with some soft naan bread or crisp, crunchy poppadums. This makes quite a generous amount of curry so I took the leftovers in to work for lunch with some peshwari naan bread and all of my colleagues commented on how delicious it smelled. I’ll definitely be making this little gem of a curry again.

Ingredients:

4 large potatoes (cut into equal-sized pieces)

2 onions (diced)

1/2 a cauliflower (cut into small florets)

A large (thumb-sized) piece of fresh ginger (minced)

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

200g petit pois

200ml of non-dairy cream or cashew cream

1 tbsp turmeric

1 tbsp garam masala

1/2 tsp salt

Fresh coriander

Method:

Put the pieces of potato into a large pan of salted boiling water and boil. When the potato is almost cooked add the cauliflower.

Once the potato and cauliflower are soft, drain and leave to one side.

In a frying pan melt the coconut oil and add the onion. Fry until soft.

Add the garlic, ginger and spices and fry for 3 mins.

Add the potato, cauliflower and petit pois and coat in the spice mixture before adding the chopped tomatoes and non-dairy cream/cashew cream. Stir well and simmer for 15 mins.

Taste and check for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Serve with naan breads or poppadums and fresh coriander.

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Potato and Cauliflower Curry by The Fat Foodie

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Slow-Cooked Lamb Dansac

 

Slow-Cooked Lamb Dansac

Slow-Cooked Lamb Dansac

Yesterday morning, on what will probably be classified by meteorologists as the hottest day of the year so far, I decided to make a lamb dansac in my slow cooker. In my defence, I don’t think there’s ever a bad day to eat curry, even if the weather’s hotter than that found at Satan’s favourite holiday resort.

This is a really easy curry to make, requiring very little preparation for a hugely rewarding dinner. The slow-cooking process renders down the fat on the lamb which makes the curry sauce taste really rich and well-flavoured, but not oily in any way.

If you don’t already own one, I’d recommend buying a slow cooker to anyone who enjoys coming home to good, home cooked cheap, but tasty, dinners. I have a 6.5 litre Rachel Allen one (from when I used to cook for a family of five), but most people find that a 3.5 to 5 litre one suits the average family’s needs. You can pick up some really decent, but reasonably priced ones nowadays. And, if you need another excuse to treat yourself to a slow cooker, winter’s on its way. Okay, that’s hopefully not for a good while yet, but think of the stews, soups and casseroles that would await you after a hard day’s work. Or a rich, tender lamb dansac…

Ingredients:

1 green pepper (diced)
1 yellow pepper (diced)
1 onion (diced)
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
75g of creamed coconut
2 vegetable stock cubes
2 heaped tsps of madras curry powder
1/2 a pint of boiling water
350g lamb neck (cut into bite-sized pieces)
75g red lentils

Method:

Prepare all of your ingredients as directed above.
Put everything in your slow cooker.
If necessary, top it up with a bit more water until all of your ingredients are just covered.
Put on a low heat and cook from morning until evening.
Taste and add more seasoning if required.
Serve with pilau rice, naans or poppadums.

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Homemade Naan Breads (Makes 6)

Homemade Naan Breads by The Fat Foodie

Homemade Naan Breads by The Fat Foodie

Today I made some naan breads to accompany a vegetable coconut curry I made yesterday. Although I’ve baked a few different types of bread loaves before, I’ve never tried making naans so this was a first for me. The standard naan is generally just flavoured with nigella seeds (aka black onion seeds), but I wanted a variety of naans to serve with the curry so I made three types: standard; garlic; and sesame.

Homemade Naan Breads

Homemade Naan Breads by The Fat Foodie

In order to get the characteristic charred crust expected of a naan, Madhur Jaffrey (the queen of curry) suggests placing a heavy baking tray in the oven to heat up until the oven (and tray) are at their hottest possible, ensuring that the naans cook swiftly and with char, but without overbaking or burning. Not an easy feat. However, when I went in search of a suitable tray I came across a pizza stone that my aunt had generously brought over from Canada for us some time ago, which I figured would do the job nicely. It worked a treat and acted as a piping hot flat stone on which to throw my freshly risen naans, giving them crisp edges and a soft, pillowy texture inside.

I’m not going to lie to you, though. As tasty as they were, and trust me, they really were very good, it’s unlikely I’ll make them again simply because of the sheer amount of time and effort they took. When I’m lucky enough to be able to walk into my local Indian grocers and buy really good quality naan breads for a couple of quid, I’m not going to spend hours baking them myself. Life’s too short.

But they were a fun, interesting and tasty diversion from the usual shop-bought poppadums that would normally go with our curries.

Ingredients:

150ml hand-hot milk (I used almond milk)

2 tsps caster sugar

2 tsps dried active yeast (or one 7g sachet)

450g strong plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsps vegetable oil

For the flavourings:

4 tbsps melted butter or ghee

2 tbsps Nigella seeds (or black onion seeds)

2 tbsps sesame seeds

2 tbsps sesame oil

2 tbsps garlic powder

Method:

Put the milk in a bowl. Add 1tsp sugar and the yeast. Stir to mix. Set aside for 15-20 minutes or until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture is frothy.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.

Add the remaining 1tsp sugar, the yeast mixture, 2tbsps vegetable oil. Mix to form a ball of dough. If you need to add more milk, go ahead. It should be wet enough to just come together. If it’s too wet you can add more flour at the kneading stage.

Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and satiny. Form into a ball.

Pour 1/4tsp oil into a large bowl and place the ball of dough in it. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to its hottest temperature. Put your heaviest baking tray to heat in the oven.

Punch down the dough and knead again. Divide into six equal balls.

At this point I kneaded nigella seeds into two of the naan balls, sesame seeds into another two, and garlic powder into the last two.

Roll each ball of dough into a tear-shaped naan, about 25cm long and 13cm wide.

Cook one naan at a time, placing a naan onto the preheated tray.

Put in the oven for 3 minutes, it will puff up.

Remove the naan from the oven and (for the nigella and garlic naans) glaze with melted butter or oil.

Once you’ve cooked the sesame naans, glaze them with sesame oil and sprinkle them with sesame seeds.

Wrap them in tinfoil to keep them warm. Make all the naans this way.

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Homemade Naan Breads by The Fat Foodie

Homemade Naan Breads by The Fat Foodie

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A Vegetable Coconut Curry (Serves 4)

Vegetable Coconut Curry

Vegetable Coconut Curry by The Fat Foodie

Yesterday, in a determined effort to eat healthier, I made a cracking vegetable curry. The aim of the dish was to use up some mangetout I’d had sitting in the fridge, but sadly I forgot to add them. Although the curry lacked a bit of greenery (hence its overall orange glow!) it was still packed to the gunnels with mixed vegetables and was held together with the addition of coconut, making it taste really creamy and decadent.

There was plenty of leftovers so we’ll be having this for dinner tonight too. I’m really looking forward to it though, because the flavours will have been marrying overnight so it’ll taste even better today.

I’m also having a bash at making my own naan breads for the first time. The dough is rising in the kitchen as we speak (so to speak). I intend on making a garlic one, a sesame seed one, and one sprinkled with nigella seeds (aka black onion seeds). Sadly, as much as I’d love to give it a whirl, I think attempting a peshwari naan (a filled naan stuffed with a mixture of ground pistachios/almonds, raisins/coconut, and sugar) might be a little ambitious at this stage.

I’m sure you’ll hear in a future blog post how I get on, but in the meantime wish me luck!

Ingredients:

2 onions (diced)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (crushed/minced)

4 tbsps of oil

2 large potatoes (cubed)

1 large sweet potato (cubed)

2 large carrots (cut into bite-sized pieces)

1/2 a chilli (seeds removed and diced finely)

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 1/2 tbsps curry powder (I used madras)

1 tsp of salt (add more to taste if necessary)

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tin of coconut milk

1 sachet of creamed coconut

Method:

Put the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat and fry the chopped onions in it until they are translucent.

Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and continue to fry for 5 mins, stirring frequently.

(Have a good ol’ sniff at this stage because it smells fantastic!)

Add the tin of chopped tomatoes along with the turmeric, curry powder, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 5 mins, stirring frequently.

Add all of your prepared vegetables followed by the tin of coconut milk. Gently simmer until the potatoes are soft to the touch and cooked through.

Immerse the sachet of creamed coconut in a cup of hot water and once it’s melted stir it through the curry.

Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander and serve with rice, naan breads or poppadums.

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