Sunday, 23 November 2008

The spice of life

It’s winter so I’m feeling the need to spice things up a bit. Add to that my Dad driving down here with the contents of my spice cupboard and I’m going a little nuts lately. Every other sentence is ‘oooh smell this paprika’, ‘cumin seeds are yummy’, ‘no I didn’t put chilli powder in there’, and so on.

To go with my veggie box and new found spice cupboard I bought a new book. Shocking, I know. India's Vegetarian Cooking. I was enticed by the aloo paratha recipe which I’m hoping might tempt Stephen to eat Indian food. The food is organised into regions with lots of fun facts about the cuisine of each one as well as the ingredients and explanations of the typical Indian kitchen. There are a lovely range of recipes that aren’t overly complicated but still stunning. Not everything is photographed but the photographs are wonderful.

The first recipe I tried was one of the more simple ones. Just two veg and my spice cupboard. One veg in the end, I omitted peas in an attempt to curb my food budget. This is Gujarati-style cabbage stir-fry. My Riverford cabbage, freshly roasted spices and freshly cooked roti. The perfect meal. Two minor regrets, one that I didn’t overcook the cabbage (I like it mushy) and the other that I ran out of chutney. Still a good, filling meal.

Tonight’s meal was just as simple. I had leftover portobellos around so I went for a not terribly authentic noodle bowl. The first one made the stock along with some parsnips, celery, spring onion, and button mushrooms. All leftovers apart from the celery. About a third of that was used tonight with a spoon full of chill bean sauce and some soy. The second mushroom was coated in hosin sauce shoved on the griddle. Noodles where cooked tossed in some toasted sesame oil, mushroom was piled on and stock scooped over. Some black sesame seeds made a more attractive bowl. I didn’t wait for it to stop steaming before I ate it or, indeed, took the picture.

If you’re looking for simple quick stuff both of these were cooked before Stephen’s food. A meaty thing made by Bernard Matthews and oven chips.

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