Trio of curries

I felt┬álike curry last Monday, with Owen going to be home late, I had an hour to myself to kill but hadn’t been shopping luckily we had lentils, potatoes and eggs so I made tarka dhal, egg curry and bombay potato curry.

Curry

Before making a curry it’s best to make up some masala – a mixture of chilies, garlic and ginger all finely chopped and mixed with a ratio of 2 chilies to 1 garlic clove and small knob of ginger.

Scrambled Egg Curry – this is one of my favourite my curries and only takes 10 mins to make

  • Sliced Onions
  • Eggs x 2
  • Masala
  • Turmeric (pinch)
  • Cumin powder (pinch)
  • Coriander powder (pinch)
  • Coriander Leaves

Fry the onions slowly, once they are translucent and browning add the chopped chilli, garlic and ginger and the dried spices. Fry for a minute or two while stirring, then break in 2 eggs and scramble until the eggs are cooked well. Once cooked stir in some fresh coriander leaves.

Bombay Potato – another of my favourites

  • Potato x 3
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard seeds – pinch
  • Masala
  • Chili powder – pinch
  • Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • salt – pinch
  • Coriander leaves

Quater the potato and then finely slice, each piece about 1cm thick, its best to try and get all the slices to be the same size and thickness so they cook evenly, rinse in cold water.
Add the oil to a frying pan then the mustard seeds. Once they start popping add in the sliced potato and stir (be careful as the oil will spit). Add the masala, spices and salt and stir. Leave to cook on a low heat till the potatoes are soft, if they start to stick to the pan add a little more oil. When the potatoes are nearly cooked add some coriander leaves.

Tarka Dal – I use a recipe from ‘Easy Indian’ by Das Sreedharan. Serves 4-6. This a good curry to make as you just add all the ingredients to the pan and leave, its also a good curry to freeze.

  • Red lentils – 200g
  • Yellow split peas – 50g
  • Sliced Onions x 2
  • Diced tomatoes x 2
  • Garlic cloves chopped x 2
  • Green chili sliced x 2
  • Chili powder 1.2 tsp
  • Turmeric 1 tsp
  • To finish – 4 cloves of garlic sliced & 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds

Add all the ingredients to a big pan and then add about 2 pints of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and leave to simmer with lid on for about 20 mins or till the lentils begin to soften. I find the red lentils cook quicker than the yellow. Leave uncovered for 5 mins. If very watery then I tend to pour some of the liquid out as I prefer my dhal to be thick. Before serving, fry a little oil in a small frying pan and add some cumin seeds and the sliced garlic, once the garlic starts browning pour into the dhal.

Focaccia

This is another bread recipe from Dough by Richard Bertinet. It starts with his basic olive oil dough which is:

  • 500g Strong White flour
  • 20g Coarse Semolina
  • 10g Salt
  • 15g Yeast (fresh if possible)
  • 50g Extra virgin Olive oil
  • 320g water

Make up the dough and knead it well (it will be quite sticky at first, but should get firmer as you knead). Rest the dough for an hour in a covered bowl. Oil a baking sheet, and turn the rested dough out onto the sheet. Spread out the dough on the sheet by pushing it with your fingers (don’t roll it out or stretch it). Drizzle some olive oil over the top and spread it across the dough (easiest to do this just with your hands)

Cover the dough to rest for 45 minutes. I find that putting it in a plastic bag is the easiest thing, and doesn’t stick (the first time I made it, I used a tea towel, and ended up scraping half the dough off the towel). After it has rested use your finger tips to make dimples across the whole dough – just push your fingers into the dough. Then cover again and leave for a further 30 minutes.

Finally sprinkle some good quality sea salt (e.g Maldon Sea Salt) over the top (you want salt flakes, rather than granules), and bake in the over at 220 degrees C for 25-30 minutes. The original recipe adds rosemary at the same time as the salt, but we’ve been out of rosemary every time I’ve baked it so we haven’t tried it yet.

After it comes out of the oven, but while it is still warm, brush with more olive oil.

We absolutely love this bread – probably a bit too much. Delicious dipped in more olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

We’ve tried the same recipe as a pizza base – 500g flour made 3 medium sized bases when stretch out more thinly. They were still pretty thick, but good flavour.

Picture of a loaf of focaccia

Picture of a loaf of focaccia

Long time, no posts

Haven’t posted for ages, so thought I should. I’ve also updated our current reading – we don’t really read that slowly!

I wasn’t very well today – first time I’ve been off work for ages. I slept until 1 o’clock – but I’m still feeling a bit tired now.

We spent last weekend in Bristol. We had a really nice time – we went to see The Incredibles on Saturday – which I’d really recommend – and then ended up in a pub called The Old Duke, which has live jazz every night. We saw a singer called Beth Rowley and her band. The keyboard player was really good, as was the singer. Some really good stuff, including a jazz interpretation George Formby’s "I’m leaning on a lampost" – which sounds strange, but was really good.

On Sunday, we saw the ‘Earth From the Air‘ exhibition, and also went up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, before meeting some friends for a drink, then heading home.

Unfortunately we forgot our camera, so no pictures of our weekend.

This week we’ve had a couple of pictures framed – one that Damyanti took, and one of an Indian print on fabric. This second one is quite large – don’t know where we are going to put that – perhaps somewhere in the corridor.

We’ve hopefully got a quiet weekend coming up. We’ve got some Christmas shopping to do. We did buy one Christmas present last weekend – which is probably the earliest I’ve ever bought a Christmas present – but still quite a few to go, and less than a month before we go to India!

We are also meeting some friends tomorrow in Richmond, so hopefully we should have a nice afternoon.

Kitchen Makeover

After decorating the living room and painting the hallway we have now turned our attention to the kitchen.

We had started talking about the kitchen even before we moved in, and we actually started some serious thinking, and sketching out designs around Easter – so in some ways it seems to have taken us a while to get to this point. However, it all seems to have happened really quickly. We looked in three places seriously – Moben, MFi and Homebase.

It was quickly obvious that Homebase were simply not offering the same service as the other two – and really going to this ‘consultation’ was a waste of time. The MFI offering looked pretty good, but we decided that the Moben kitchen was what we wanted.

The style is Shaker Maple, with a Butler sink, and a solid beech block work top. At the moment the kitchen is completely bare, as we had it plastered last week. We now need to paint, so we thought we’d take a ‘before’ picture to remind us.

January

It’s been a busy January for us. By the 8th January we’d already been in 4 countries in 2004. Well, we’ve now planned our 5th – yesterday we booked flights to Seattle for Easter.

For Damyanti’s birthday we went to the Cotswolds for the weekend. We stayed in the lovely Three Ways House, home of the ‘Pudding Club’. The hotel was small and friendly, and the food (especially the syrup sponge and custard) was delicious.

On the house front, we had an offer on our flat in early January, and we are in the process of doing the paperwork now. The buyer’s solicitor is being extremely thorough, which created a long list of questions for us and our solicitor. However, we think we’ve answered all those now, and yesterday our solicitor (Emma) sent a large package back to the buyer’s solicitor. I’ve got a few loose ends to follow up (I need to make sure we are paid up to date with both our ground rent, and service charges), and hopefully then we can start talking dates!

Damyanti says ‘yeah’ ­čÖé

Work is going pretty well. It was pretty difficult to get back into it after such a long break at Christmas, but I think I’m back into the swing now. (Damyanti says ‘boo’ as I’ve started doing work at the weekends again). We’ve got some interesting stuff coming up – the whole e-learning area is moving slowly forward, and I’m also involved in the college ‘Portal’ project, and ‘Content Management’ solution. The college is in the process of buying a new Student registry system, and although I won’t be involved directly in that implementation, it looks like some other software we are getting as part of the deal will touch on all three of the areas I’ve just mentioned.

Damyanti has started to look at her ‘chartership’ stuff. Apparently it’s horrible. In order to become a chartered librarian, she needs to record her professional development over the current year, and the first thing is to write a ‘training plan’ which lays out what she is going to do in 6 specific areas of her work. The odd thing is that when she submits her final report, she can only include experience from the current year. So, although one of the work areas is related to the use/implementation of electronic resources, she can’t write about the 2 years worth of experience during which she wrote and implemented an e-journals database, and also was part of an implementation team for MetaLib – our e-resource management system and federated search engine. It’s this kind of stupidity which reminds me why I get so irritated by CILIP.

Anyway, by the wonders of wireless, I’m writing this from the comfort of bed, which probably means it’s time to get up (although when we were in the hotel, we got a taste for breakfast in bed)

Ballet Day

We went to the ballet today (to see the Nutcracker), and ended on an unexpected high when we made took an impromptu ride on the London Eye. I’ve added a few photos to the Christmas collection – some of them are a bit shaken because they needed such a long exposure (the flash was no good). I thought some of them came out quite well.

I think Grandma had a good day – she enjoyed the ballet, and it was her wish that took us to the London Eye.

Christmas is here

Well – actually it’s been and gone. We had a lovely day yesterday – pancakes for breakfast, guinea fowl or salmon for lunch depending on your inclination, and christmas pudding to finish it off (after a few hours and a walk). You can see the pictures if you want to catch the highlights!

Today we’ve had a really quiet day, spending most of it hiding from the bad weather in the flat. Then we went into Richmond for a quick look round the shops, before going to see ‘Love Actually’ – which we enjoyed.

Tomorrow, its the Nutcracker, which we are looking forward to. In the meantime we have a jigsaw to finish!

damn those maintenance payments

Lebanon court lived up to the photos and more, it’s really light and spacious with good sized rooms. The kitchen door led out to a firescape with potential for hanging baskets, the living room had a great bay window and all in all was just a funky flat, unfortunatley it comes with expensive maintenance charges which we can’t afford.

On our return home we checked the details of the Berkley Court flat and worked out that although Lebanon Court had an extra room there was little difference in floor space between the flats. The price of Berkley Court will also leave us with some spending money for decor etc and fills all our criteria and is also a nice flat but I think I would rather decide between two pairs of boots!

On the plus side we made a delicious pasta dish tonight (spaghetti, tomato sauce and chilli prawns, cooked in a bag of tin foil)