As is often the case after a week in another country, on return from Australia all I wanted to eat was something comforting and familiar. Curry it was, and it was good. Just hot enough to for the body to respond with sweat and serotonin, without you having to bury your face in the freezer.
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
10 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp mustard seed
A few curry leaves
1/4 tsp asafoetida
2 dried red chillies
1 tsp onion seeds
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tin coconut milk
1 tbsp tomato puree
4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
A couple of large handfuls of spinach
– Start by toasting the whole spices (cumin, coriander, cloves) in a dry frying pan until their scent tickles your nostrils. Some recommend toasting separately but life’s too short. Tip them into a pestle and mortar and grind with the cardamom.
– Heat a little oil in a saucepan over a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds and, once they start to pop, chuck in the curry leaves, asafoetida, dried red chillies and onion seeds. Keep stirring until the chillies char and wilt, then throw in the onion and garlic. Lower the heat and soften for 10 minutes before banging it back up and stir-frying with the ground spices, chilli powder and turmeric.
– Add the coconut milk and tomato puree and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes until thickened, then add the chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes then stir in the spinach. Cook until wilted and serve with rice and a handful of coriander.
I’m in Australia this week so will most likely be unable to blog. Don’t you go having too much fun without me.
Government food policy ‘inadequate’
A report has concluded that the government needs to put in place tighter measures to define and tackle food poverty. Despite the consistently rising cost of food and static wages, our government currently has no strategy for addressing these challenges, which are every bit as pressing as climate change.
A pill to make food less tempting?
We know that if something smells good we’re more inclined to want to eat it, Subway of course being the exception that proves the rule. Scientists in America have now come up with a pill that hinders sense of smell, meaning fattening goodies like chips and popcorn lose their allure.
Junk food and celebs
The latest edition of the Lonely Planet has described Britain as a country of celebrity-obsessed junk food troughers. Any indignation is largely unjustified. We eat more ready meals and junk food than the rest of Europe put together, and this is a country that has allowed Katie Price to publish four – FOUR! – autobiographies. Shame on us.
Other food news this week:
* Diet Coke knocks Pepsi to third place in soft drink stakes.
* Insects to be a major part of diet in 2020.
* Daily Express runs deeply misleading headline about a salt ban in chip shops.
* Satsumas, kumquats and Jerusalem artichokes trend as health foods…
* …and a woman eats sofas. Really.
Piece to fill in a bit of space before the video:
* Top 10 picnic spots in Britain.
A funny picture…
April Fool – who says Germans don’t have a sense of humour?
Get hold of some wild garlic, roast a chicken, and make this sauce. It rocks. Actually it would go terrifically well with most things, particularly a steak, being (if I say so myself) miles better than the ‘secret’ recipe at Le Relais de Venise.
And don’t be put off by the chicken liver part – it’s not at all offally, this sauce, but the liver adds richness and depth and general meatiness. By all means leave it out if liver ain’t your bag.
Makes enough for 4
A shallot, peeled and finely chopped
A chicken liver
A big handful of wild garlic, washed and roughly chopped
Roasting juices from a chicken or steak or just a splash of white wine
A small handful of chervil, finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
– Melt the butter and add the shallots, gently frying with salt and pepper until softened. Bung in the chicken livers and cook for 4-5 minutes before mashing thoroughly.
– Add the roasting juices, white wine or whatever, and simmer for a couple of minutes until thickened. Now add the wild garlic and chervil, stirring until wilted. Squeeze over half a lemon and serve over the meat. If you’d like to refine the sauce then whiz it up and pass it through a sieve, but who wants refinement on a Sunday night?
I’ll be honest folks. It’s been a bit barren this week. Sure, there’s been news with a vague food edge to it, but in between war breaking out in Libya, continuing horrors in Japan and some weasel with a red briefcase financially pistol-whipping us it all seems a bit, well, so what.
So like the cool teacher used to do on a Friday, I’m going to give you all a video to watch instead, making you think I’m dead laid back and really nice to you, when in fact it’s just because I can’t be arsed to teach. Or write. Or whatever. Have happy weekends, one and all!
If you’re in London, try and get to the London Jam Festival, details here:
I’ve written a piece about food’s role in comedy for the Guardian. Read it here.
Cumberland sausages get E.U. protection
Following on from the Cornish pasty last month, today the Cumberland sausage becomes the 44th British food and drink product to get a PGI status. This means that the sausages must be made to a standardised method – 80% or more meat, at least 3/4 inch thick, and made in Cumbria – to merit the name ‘Cumberland’. How do you like yours?
Burger King boss insults British food
Bernardo Hees, the new boss of Burger King, has described British food as ‘terrible’ and our womenfolk as ugly in a gaffe that has enraged at least seventeen people. Marcus Wareing said it was ‘an insult to British gastronomy’. These days I immediately write off anyone who says British food is bad as an ignorant moron. And our laydeez are all dead gorgeous, too.
British food exports top £10bn
Last year Britain’s food exports increased by 11.4% to (said in Alan Partridge voice) £10.8bn! Not being an economist, I thought this was good news, but really it’s just a reflection of how weak the pound is. Though it also shows that British products are becoming more popular abroad, particularly in Asia, where they seem to be lapping up shortbread and sausages.
Other food news this week:
* Eating cheese is good for your teeth.
* Berlusconi has a pasta sauce named after him.
* Cox pipped by Gala as our favourite apple.
* Noma misses out on third Michelin star.
* Heineken to cut alcohol content in one of its beers.
Piece of the week:
* A very good look at why we all queue for restaurants: The Crowded Restaurant Conundrum (via @marinametro)
Recipe of the week:
* I actually emitted somewhere between a growl and a groan when I saw this incredible-looking recipe for a corned beef and kimchi burrito. Who says multiculturalism isn’t working?
Video of the week:
* Delightful ripping of the locavore evangelist (via @patnourse):