Just before Christmas I bought Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries Volume 2, I love it! Not just the recipes, I’ve only cooked 2 things out of it, but the photography the layout, the fact that its seasonal – there is nothing I don’t like about it. I’m actually in the presence of reading it as a proper book, that’s how good I think it is.
So Mr Gem was away on a stag do last weekend, so I spent Sunday in the company of Mr Slater and happened across a simple ‘from scratch curry’ – so I cooked it!
Simple Salmon Curry
I have never made a curry of any form from scratch before so I was really excited to cook this dish, happily the recipe is available on The Guardian website and comes with 4 bonus salmon recipes for your perusal – handy if you have an excess of salmon(!)
I had most of the ingredients in stock except the tamarind paste – that’s one of the things I’ve loved most about doing this challenge this year and last year, my store cupboard is becoming very well stocked. I could not find tamarind paste anywhere that was open on a Sunday afternoon but Morrisons stock a block of dry tamarind, so I ended up buying this instead to make the paste myself (bad idea but more on that later).
In theory the recipe is simple, fry the onions and spices, add the tomatoes, water and tamarind paste, simmer for 10 minutes, add the salmon and simmer for another 15 minutes then serve with rice. Because I’d been unable to get hold of tamarind paste I had to prepare it which is an involved process to say the least.
This is what a block of dried tamarind looks like…
You have to soak the tamarind block in warm water for 30 minutes then force it through a sieve – but because it is kind of like a resin with bits of stone and skin in it is not the easiest process. In fact after an hour trying to force this block of tamarind through a sieve I gave up having generated just enough paste required for the recipe I threw the rest of the tamarind in the bin – I am now on the look out for a tamarind paste stockist!
That said, the curry was delicious and delicately spiced – possibly a bit too delicate on the spicing. I’d make it again but with a heavier hand when measuring the spices.
Also this week I revisited an old recipe from last year – Butternut Squash Risotto
I’ve made this dish a few times since I found the recipe and have built on it slightly. I now always cook it with chorizo and chilli, it just adds a nice spice and salt to the sweet flavour. I still haven’t served it in half a butternut squash because I don’t know how to cut a squash in half without using power tools! This week I made it with beef stock instead of chicken which actually complimented the meat and chilli quite nicely. This is a great little recipe and one that I cook quite regularly now. I’d recommend anybody try it!