left overs

Lamb curry & chick peas with spinach

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetThere was some lamb left over from Easter. My mom said “we need to make lamb curry this week” and so we did.

The curry was super easy Rogan Josh from Jamie Oliver. For a non-meat dish we had Spinach & Chick Peas from Smitten Kitchen. We found the chick peas to be not super exciting on their own, but amazing when salt, peppered & topped with some of the chopped, fresh coconut, mint and cilantro that we had for serving with the lamb curry.

The lamb passed muster with the 7 year old, so I’m giving this recipe a big, fat thumbs up. Also/especially for not wasting leftover meat.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

• Rogan Josh Lamb Curry •
from Jamie Oliver
Serves 4   Approx time: 2.5 hours

3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
1 kg quality lamb shoulder, cut into big cubes
5 medium-sized red onions, halved
2 red peppers, halved and deseeded
4 fresh red chillies, deseeded
1 tablespoon green cardamom pods
½ tablespoon whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
4 small dried red chillies
1 splash vegetable oil
2 teaspoons paprika
600 g tinned chopped tomatoes
½ tablespoon salt
sliced chilli, to serve
coconut shavings, to serve
chopped cilantro, to serve
chopped mint, to serve

Mix your ginger and garlic together. Put them in a bowl that’s big enough to fit all the cubed lamb in. Add the turmeric, yoghurt and black pepper to the bowl and mix together. Tip the lamb into the bowl and stir it around until it’s well coated with the yoghurt and spices. Cover and leave overnight in the fridge to marinate. 

Preheat your oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3. Chop your onions and peppers roughly and whiz them in a food processor with the fresh red chillies. 

Put the pan you are going to cook the curry in on the medium heat and add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and coriander. Toast until they go a shade darker in colour, then pour into a pestle and mortar and grind up with the dried red chillies. 

Keep the pan on the heat and add a splash of vegetable oil. Add the whizzed onion, peppers and chilli paste from the food processor with the ground up spices and paprika. 

Cook over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes. By now, lots of delicious curry smells will be coming out of the pot. Add the tomatoes, the marinated lamb and half a pint of water, and stir well. When the curry comes to the boil add the salt, cover tightly with a lid and place in your preheated oven. You can basically forget about it now, as all the hard work is done. Just wait 2 hours and carefully take the pot out of the oven. 

Taste it, and if it needs salt, add a little; if it’s too hot, add a little yoghurt to cool it down. You can garnish with extra chilli, coconut and herbs. Serve with rice, your favourite Indian bread such as parathas, naans or chapattis, and loads of cold beer – you’re going to need it!


Turkey tacos and a soup-off

TurkeyTacos_SoupOff_IMG_2265We had dinner at our friends the Blanco’s place tonight. They had a lovely spread, as always, with turkey tacos (clever!) and a butternut squash soup-off. A good time was had by all, even still-pregnant me.

Let’s go back to the turkey tacos. What a great idea for Thanksgiving leftovers! When you take tortillas, cheese, seemingly any leftover thanksgiving dishes and top it with mole sauce, it’s delicious. The kids can skip the mole if they want.

James’ quick mole sauce really pulled everything together. He pointed out that you can make the kind of mole that takes days, or you can do a quick version in the blender. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a quick blender version, but it was really good!

James and Fiona each made a batch of butternut squash soup, and we did a blind taste test. The results were—and have been, when tested on others—pretty much even. Which means to me that they both make a really good butternut squash soup. Fiona’s was classic, subtle and butternutty, and James’ was spicy and appley.

For dessert I made Martha Stewart’s Banana Bread with coconut, toasted pecans and chocolate chips. the recipe doesn’t actually call for chocolate chips, but I think they’re a great addition. Recipe after the photo.

• Banana Bread with Coconut, Pecans and Chocolate Chips •
from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook 

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups canola oil
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups ripe mashed bananas (about 3 medium)
1 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts or 1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped (I prefer pecans)
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup chocolate chips
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat pans with cooking spray; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and oil on medium-low speed until combined.
4. Beat in the flour mixture. Add the vanilla, banana, coconut, nuts, chocolate chips and buttermilk and beat just to combine.
5. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth with an offset spatula.
6. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the centers come out clean, 60-65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove laves from pans and let cool completely.
7. Bread can be kept at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months.


When the cat’s away

Cats_Away_IMG_9714Rose ate dinner at a friends house tonight. What that meant for me was total creative freedom in the kitchen. No need to hold back on the spice, or cilantro, no leaving green bits out, no thinking about whether any of what I’m making is something she’ll be willing to eat. Hallelujah!

So did I whip up a nice spicy Indian feast for the hubby and I to knock down with a couple of beers? Hell no! I don’t have energy for that kind of thing. I took a nap, and then made glorified leftovers.

You might recall that Shane is not a leftover person. This has not changed. However, the Patriots lost today, which means Shane is depressed, which means he wasn’t that hungry, nor was he in the mood to complain.

I made black bean and goat cheese quesadillas with the beans left over from Friday’s dinner. Some roasted CSA peppers went well over greens with leftover creamy cilantro dressing. I made a spicier version of Friday’s pico de gallo. And we each got a nice bright orange olive-oil fried egg, from Sawkill Farms, which represents at our local greenmarket.

When Rose arrive home, she was not only fed but bathed as well, and we were quite relaxed.

Happy Sunday!

Pretty good leftovers

Leftovers_IMG_6147This is a bad photo. Rose had Thursday’s Penne alla Vodka. I had last night’s polenta (without the shrimp and tomatoes), sliced, warmed, and topped with Gorgonzola Dolce and sauteed crimini mushrooms. We both had a pretty decent not-much-in-the-fridge salad.

On another note. Remember my post about all the compost, or as Shane calls it “your trash,” that accumulates in our freezer? Here’s the 30 or so pounds I toted off to the compost pickup this morning. You’d think I don’t want to use my freezer for food.


Salad & stuff

IMG_5647After a day of snacking, as folks departed, we decided on salad for dinner. Plus a few more leftovers, of course.

Bouillabaisse and baby

Bouillabaisse_IMG_5633Tonight we had leftover bouillabaisse, among other Christmas leftovers, and an adorable baby boy on the table. The food was great, but the most delicious thing was the babe. Not a one of us could keep our eyes off of him.