Sunday, 15 April 2007

Last day of the Easter Hols - let's COOK - Indian, Italian and maybe French!

Yesterday was fun. We made pizza (the kids won!), naan bread (I won!), Indian food and a banana tarte tatin, shown left... (The tarte inspired by the Waitrose April recipe.) I'm fasting next week!

Little Foodies Indian Spice Mix
5 tablespoons ground coriander, 2 tblsps ground turmeric, 3 tblspns ground cumin, 1 tblspn ground chilli powder, 5 tblspns garam masala
Purists and experienced Indian cooks would say you should really make your own garam masala so that you know exactly what has gone into it. But it wont kill you to use shop bought. I'm lucky my best friend mixes mine for me. For a Brit she makes a fine curry, one my Indian sister in law would be proud of.

I make this basic dry spice mix often which I use when I want to make anything remotely Indian without following a specific recipe. I usually make quite a bit and store it in an airtight container. It lasts for months.

Indian chicken with spinach & coconut (low fat)
Serves 4-6

1 medium size organic free range chicken
Medium size onion chopped
4 large handfuls of washed fresh spinach
I 400ml tin of coconut milk (I used Barts low fat)
2 Tablespoons of Little Foodies Indian Spice Mix
Tablespoon of tomato puree
2 Teaspoons of ginger (fresh grated or I used Bart's ginger in sunflower oil from a jar)
2 Tablespoons of oil (olive or vegetable)

First roast chicken whole for required length of time for size. (No celeb big brother arguments about how long you cook a chicken for please). If I'm cooking a chicken to be broken down and used in a sauce (not served in all it's glory) I cook it upside down as this makes it more juicy.
When the chicken is cooked take it out and leave covered on the side. When your hands can take the heat strip it of all the meat, tearing into small to medium size bits. Keep to side.
In a heavy bottom pan sweat the chopped onion in tablespoon of oil for 5 mins
In the meantime make a paste with the spice mix by mixing 2-3 tblspns of the spice mix with the ginger, tomatoe puree, tblspn oil & tablespoon of water (you may need more water - you want it to be the consistency of thick greek yogurt.)
Add the spice mix paste to the pan with the onion in and cook for about 5 mins. Keep stirring frequently. If it starts to stick on the bottom add a tablespoon of water at a time to keep it loose.
After 5 minutes add 100ml boiling water (or stock if not using chicken cooked on bone) and boil hard for a further 5 minutes.
Add tin of coconut milk and the pieces of chicken - cook for 10 minutes. When everything else is ready add the spinach and stir it for a minute or so until it wilts.

This is quite liquidy, you could always thicken it if you wanted. We served ours in large pasta bowls with Basmati Rice and Naan Bread.

Naan Bread (I used the recipe on video jug by Manju Malhi). It was okay, I've tasted better. I must have done something wrong. I'll try a different recipe see how it works out to compare. If anybody has any good Naan bread recipes to share please do.

Will post how we made the banana tarte tatin soon. We used Jamie.O's recipe for pizza dough.

Can't wait for the May half term. All that lovely food that will be in season... pick your own, picnics, etc.

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