So today morning, while helping my beautiful Mummy with some errands, something happened. I kept running into friends and neighbours telling me how much they enjoy reading my blog and about the recipes they like. Neighbourhoods change, but visiting my parents feels like going back home. People there are mainly very friendly and many of them know me from when I was a child. I love feedback, and before you roll your eyes at me (I can see you) I appreciate all kinds. Done properly. You know what I mean. I love writing on here. I don’t get too personal, mostly because I don’t want to make my friends and family uncomfortable or make them feel uneasy in any way. I want people to talk to me at the end of the day!
This week will be a stay-in week. Lucky you, I hear you say. Honestly, I would love to be out and about though, instead of being stuck with a very painful ear and throat infection that’s really making me lose both my patience and hours of precious sleep. I wasn’t even going to post anything for the next few days, but C&T really needs some love, care and attention right now, so here I am. I love being here, sharing recipes and cooking tips, and writing. Also I learn so much by reading comments and blogs by my favourite people. It’s totally worth being here. Even if half of my face is a mess and telling me to rest. Now.
However it’s going to be a rainy week they say, and what better excuse than to spend some time in the kitchen and bake. A very good friend of mine and her daughter gave me a couple of cake recipes which are the bomb. They are so good that I plan to share very soon. I just love it when people share their favourite recipes with me and in turn allow me to share them with you. I will give them a mention of course when I do just that, because that’s my style and I like to keep it that way. Come back for more later, but in the meantime onto today’s dish.
Among the most popular recipes you can find here on C&T is Baked Rice. Yes, it’s already up and has been up for quite some time now. The feedback has been so good – you cannot imagine how pleased I am at how it turned out. Although the photos on that post are decent, I still have a few more I want to show you just because they turned out better.
I could have sworn I posted this curry recipe before. But as it happened I was browsing C&T earlier today and realised that I didn’t. It has been some time since my last one and I still have to get back into the gist of things. We are really busy at the moment, with a move to Malta coming up shortly in just a few weeks at my end. I am still getting used to the idea, not to mention preparing myself for the killer summer months ahead. Unfortunately I don’t have many summer recipes lined up, and this move threw me more than I could have ever imagined. So please forgive me if you see a few typos scattered here and there. I’m too distracted and preoccupied these days, which is not a good thing. (Seven years in Surrey flew by in an instant but what an experience it was!) I don’t feel organised at all and I’m trying to schedule as many posts, photos and recipes as I can. What I must do though is to take an August break. But more on that in future posts.
Autumn is my favourite time of year. Not only because I get to snuggle up in coats and scarves, but also to cook loads of seasonal dishes. I love butternut squash with everything; even it’s orangey-yellow colour reminds me of the autumn leaves falling from the trees. This recipe is for a home-made curry. It is warm, with plenty of depth from the spices, especially the cumin, which I don’t use often. I used whole or seed spices whenever I could and crushed them with the salt and garlic just because I happened to have them in my pantry. Of course, feel free to replace them with powder. Some say that it’s not the same, and although I believe that whole spices in general taste better (because they seem to stay fresher for longer in proper storage), I use powder all the time. The more you use your spices the more you replace them, so the fresher they will be for your cooking. Remember that you can use pumpkin and even sweet potato instead and if you want this to be a vegetarian dish all you have to do is to use vegetable stock. I prefer to use chicken stock here but please use whatever you want. Serves 4-6. I know this is quite a long list of ingredients but I love this curry and thought you might like to try it. You will need:
- 900g butternut squash, peeled and cubed (approx. 1)
- 250g carrots, peeled and cubed same size as the squash (approx. 2)
- 250g potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
- 2 teaspoon peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons course salt*
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 400g tin polpa di pomodoro**
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chilli flakes, to taste
- 1 large tin of coconut milk (approx. 400g)
- Fresh coriander for garnish and freshness (optional)
- Rice and naan bread to serve
Before you start: crush the garlic, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, salt and coriander seeds in a bowl with a little drizzle of olive oil and mix well. Although I’m not a fan of too much salt, here you do need this because of the sweetness of the vegetables and the coconut milk which you will add later. If you think you will need less, then use just a teaspoon and add salt later during your final tasting just before you serve.*
- In a large shallow pan heat the olive oil and add the onion. When this is slightly softened add the vegetables and the crushed spice mixture. Stir well. Cook for around 5 to 10 minutes and add the stock.
- When the stock comes to a boil, turn the heat down and leave to simmer for around 30 minutes until the vegetables are completely cooked (though still whole and not a mush) and the stock has been slightly reduced. Add the tomatoes. (You could throw in some fresh cherry tomatoes cut in half.)**
- At this stage add the chilli flakes or chilli powder, mix and taste the curry. Pour in the coconut milk and taste it again. Don’t let the curry come to a boil again. You just need the coconut milk to heat through. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve immediately with rice and naan.
I won’t say that this is better than the stuff you get in jars at the store. I use them for convenience myself when I need to cook something really fast. But something made from scratch is so much more satisfying when I have the time. So, take your time, enjoy and tell me what you think.
Also I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, especially to my American friends. I’ll bring out the cranberry sauce just for you.