Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Recipe for Lamb Curry for a Diwali Feast

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

We are in the middle of the diwali festival, the Festival of Lights.  This is a 5 day festival with the main celebration being on the 17 October this year.  I love diwaali, even though we are not Hindus here.

I love what it stands for, its legends and the idea of having a fun festival rather than the sobre festivals of British christianity (even if we all go home after church and indulge a bit).  I love the practicality of being able to pray for wealth and making puja to Lakshmi, rather than the embarassed about wanting to pray and hope for profit.

We always celebrate diwaali with friends – none of us are Hindu – but we like the smells and the food and the music of India.  We have got some traditional Indian decorations including icons of my favourite Ganesha with his large tummy and his delight in the finer things of life.  My granny gave me an old ivory Ganesha from colonial India as well as a buxom Lakshmi, both of which I treasure.  My maternal grandmother, Gromi as I called her, was German and the Lakshmi was the only item that she retrieved from her bombed house after the war; the Russian troops had used it as a candle stick and it was covered all over in wax, so the looters had thought it of no worth.

Then we have the wall hangings, door hangings and bells and lights and candles and lamps and so on.  And there is the food.

I have been cooking every evening this week.  We will be having Keralan fish and prawn curry, homemade chicken tikka, Punjabi lamb curry, dhal, saag aloo, Gujerati green beans, as well as breads, samosas, bhajis and sweets galore.

But the best part is friends.  They are the flowers in the garden of life.  We are celebrating with our dearest friends in our village, and we can all let the light, food and light shine in and home the gold will glister our futures.  It is a time to forget the hassles of life, throw off the stresses and strains of the daily grind and overindulge and believe that love conquers all.

Thank you and praise to Rama and Sita, and Hanuman, Ganesha and Lakshmi.

Here’s how I made the lamb curry:

20g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
8 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped finely)
3tbsp organic vegetable oil
2 whole organic green cardamoms
2 whole black cardamoms (optional as a bit harder to get, but see https://steenbergs.co.uk/)
5 curry leaves (or 1 bay leaf)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped finely
750-800g diced lamb
½tsp organic Fairtrade turmeric powder
1tbsp organic coriander powder
1tsp Fairtrade organic garam masala
½ tsp sea salt
4 medium tomatoes, pureed, or a tin of chopped tomatoes
500ml water
Handful of fresh coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped finely

Put the ginger and garlic in a pestle, with a teaspoon of water and mash to  a paste with a mortar.  Alternatively, you can use a small coffee grinder.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Add the cardamoms, curry leaves (or bay leaf) and stir fry for 15 seconds, then add in the onion.  Turn the heat down a bit and fry the onions until translucent and just turning brown at the edges; this will take about 7 minutes.

Now add the lamb cubes and stir fry for 3 or so minutes, then add the ginger-garlic paste, spices and salt.  Cook until the mixture is dry; this takes about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the water, bring to the boil, then lower the heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally to ensure it does not stick, and add any water if you need to.

Just before serving, add the chopped coriander leaves and stir in.

The Healing Powers of Home Baked Cakes

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I (Sophie)  was recently convalescing at home and by about the second week (apart from getting frustrated about not being out and about and having very little voice) I was very privileged to receive three delicious home made cakes.

The first was a delicious rich chocolate cake.

The second a dark chocolate pavlova  from Forever Summer by Nigella. This was incredibly light and delicious and just disappeared in seconds – although I had to fight my seven year old for the end – apparently convalesence is no argument for getting the last piece!.

The third was the delicious carrot cake – already mentioned in our recipe section, under Sally’s carrot cake – this one was made with angelica rather than orange but the effect was wonderful and generally improved family health.

Flowers are fantastic and those received were certainly much appreciated but the unexpected delights of a home made cake cannot be surpassed – just a little slice here and there I’m sure did wonders for my speedy recovery!  Many many thanks to the cook, Sally – I have to say there was absolutely nothing left over. 

(Whilst I was contacting my friend Sally for the recipe information for the blog – she admitted that the feel good thing wasn’t just one way – “the whole thing about making and giving someone a cake has a real feel good factor too”.)

So if you know of anyone not feeling 100% – it’s worth thinking about…

Afterthought:

I’ve just read Rose Prince’s article in the Telegraph Magazine (Saturday 27 June 2009) where she’s talking about Picnic Perfect – her comment on home made cakes? “remember that a homemade cake is a love letter to everyone”.