Curing the Homesick Blues with Ostrich Nuts

12 April 2015

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What a simply perfect weekend!

I have been desperately missing the pleasure of cooking just recently, so while most the Kwantu volunteers spent their weekend in Jeffers Bay, and the remaining two (George and Heather, husband and wife from Canada) stayed in a nice hotel in Port Elizabeth, I took advantage of being the only person remaining in Port Elizabeth’s Albeit Lodge Hostel and decided to commandeer the hostel’s apparently untouched kitchen.

When I say untouched, I don’t mean something new and sparkling… I’m actually using a very polite term for something else altogether.

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Cooking with Auntie and Pria: Masala Tea

I was eased in gently with my impromptu cooking lessons in Jaipur, first being taught how to make masala tea. Now, keeping in mind I was taught to do this in a volunteer’s hostel, this is a recipe to make 30 cups! So if you follow it, do cut things down assuming you’re making tea for less!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 litres of milk
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • A good thick inch of ginger
  • 8 table spoons of sugar
  • 3 cardamons
  • A pinch of cloves
  • A dash of black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons of black tea leaves

1. Smash up your ginger good and proper

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2. Set this to one side, and in a large saucepan put your milk and water. Bring to a boil.

3. Once at a boiling temperature, keeps stirring and add the entirety of your ingredients

4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes

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5. Return to a boiling temperature. As soon as the milk reaches this temperature, remove from the heat.

6. Using a colander, strain your tea through into a serving pot, leaving behind and lumps and bumps

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7. Serve and enjoy!

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The cure for the common cold is closer than you think!

Well I have one doozy of a cold going on here, as (it seems) does most of the UK right now. The cure? Plenty of ginger, chilli and chicken, and whatever healthy veg you can get your hands on! This is the recipe for my cold-curing stir fry. It’s a vague recipe, but I feel terrible so unless you want me to keep moaning, I suggest you get on with it!

Mmmm-mm! It's enough to make you want the cold in the first place!
Mmmm-mm! It’s enough to make you want the cold in the first place!

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Garlic, chilli, ginger and ghee… What could that mean…

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I have had a deliciously naughty week! Hot wings and beer last night, felt lazy Wednesday and ordered Domino’s, had to work late on Thursday and so the office was given Domino’s (two nights in a row! Win!) and went to my Grandma’s on Tuesday, where I was treated to an outstanding duck in orange dinner. I could honestly eat that again 10 times over.

Then there was Monday. My Strawberry and Banana Breakfast Scones worked a treat in making my mornings easier and more productive, but when I got home that evening I wanted to make sure the Monday blues stood no chance of creeping in. What better shield than a Pathia, my all-time favourite curry! Here’s how to make a DELICIOUS Lamb Pathia, using a cut of lamb that is very cheap and, when cooked in this way, outrageously tender and screaming with flavour.

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Ingredients

  • Lamb breast roll (these normally come prepacked at any supermarket and are approximately 800g for which you will pay around £3!!)
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml of boiling water with two chicken stock pots stirred in. Or splash out on 500ml of actual chicken stock!
  • 2 white onions
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic puree/minced garlic (seen above)
  • 2 teaspoons of ginger puree/minced ginger (seen above)
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli puree/minced chilli (seen above)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of Butter Ghee. Start with 3 and play it by ear, no going back if you put too much in and oily curries suck! Lamb, and this cut in particular, is already pretty fatty so keep in mind that additional oil will come off that. Can’t track down ghee in your supermarket? Just use olive oil!
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
  • 4 teaspoons of mild curry powder
  • 1 teaspoons of chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons of garam masala powder
  • 100ml of tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 500g of plum tomatoes
  • Juice of half a lemon

So now you are completely surrounded by ingredients, it’s time to get cooking

1. In a bowl, combine the ginger puree, garlic puree, chilli puree, curry powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder and a little water. Mix up into a paste.

2. Get a large saucepan on a medium heat and add your ghee and your finely chopped onions.

3. Meanwhile, get a frying pan good and hot with no oil and sear the outside of your lamb breast
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4. Once your onions have browned, add the paste you made and mix them all round
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Fair warning: This is the point where the kitchen will start smelling so good, you’ll want to eat the furniture.
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5. Place your lamb in the saucepan and plop the tamarind paste on top. Then, in a food processor, smoothify your tinned tomatoes and add them to them pan. I then mixed my boiling water and chicken stock pots together in the food processor jug to get all the left over tomatoeyness! Add this to the pan and give a stir. Finally, add the tomato puree and stir everything in. You want your lamb to be submerged!

6. Now whack up the heat and put the lid on your pan. Leave for an hour and a half, stopping by to stir it and move the lamb about every 15-20 minutes. This has an outstanding effect- the lamb soaks up all the flavours you’ve put in there, gives out some mighty fine flavours of its own and, while it’s boiling away in all these juices, becomes very very tender.

7. Now the mouth-watering part. Turn the heat down, and remove your lamb from the pot and to a chopping board. Slice it up. See how tender it is!! That knife just falls through it! I told you!! Jesus. I miss that lamb. I want it back so bad. I wish I had it right now. I’M SO HUNGRY WHY IS THIS LAMB NOT HERE.
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8. Calm down, then return the lamb to the pot. Keep the lid off, but keep the heat quite high and stir regularly- you’re now aiming to reduce the liquid. Do this for about 5 minutes then reduce to a low simmer.

9. Quarter your tomatoes then add them to the pot and just leave it be for about 20 minutes. They turn into delicious baked-style parcels of joy, I can’t even explain.

10. Nearly there! Add the Garam Massala and stir continuously for exactly two minutes.

11. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and served. I enjoyed mine with rice, chapattis and Cobra beer!

As you can see from the pictures, this makes a very greedy amount of curry! I froze off a few portions for the near future, but also took some to work the following day for my colleagues Lord (Ben) Cook and James Abrams.

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It was extremely flattering to have my recipe deemed worthy by a Lord.

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And for it to receive such an intimate need for privacy!

Make it QUICK and TASTY with Chicken Pathia
If you fancy a pathia, but don’t have 2 hours to make one, simply make it with chicken! You will only need to leave it to cook for 20 minutes, rather than an hour and a half! You will also need slightly less water/stock for chicken pathia- use about 300ml. And use chicken thighs if you can! So much flavour.

Enjoy!

Hot Sausage Casserole

THE CASSEROLE!

Now that the weather is getting colder, it’s time to get thinking on some new cozy recipes to melt the icicles off our nose and ears when we get in from those long days at work. Being in an events based job, I usually get home around 9pm each evening, so I want something I can get ready fast. A great one for this is Sausage Casserole! It’s incredibly simple, you can cook it in bulk at the weekend and freeze off portions (also a great money saving trick) and I promise it’s just as good reheated as it is when you’ve just cooked it.

If there’s two things I find comforting, it’s sausage casserole and spicy lamb. After a little inspiration from watching Levi Roots make his Pepperpot, I came up with for a recipe for a lamb sausage casserole that will never fail to warm you up!

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