Sunday, 11 January 2015

Vicar's Kitchen: Spice Up Your Life!

Sorry, I am a child of the 90s. I couldn't resist that title! And what better way to introducing you to my New Year's resolution, to learn to cook curry.

I'm not really one for serious or praise worthy New Year's resolutions because quite frankly life is full on enough without burdening myself with yet more requirements. Instead I prefer to take on something that I have been wanting to do. Something that lightens the dark nights of January and gives life a bit more oomph.

I particularly favour resolutions that lead to good food. What's not to love with a resolution that involves eating? Particularly when everyone else seems to be entering into the sheer madness that is attempting to diet in the darkest and coldest month of the year. People, we need the promise of a nice biscuit mid afternoon and a glass of wine of an evening to get us through. Stop the madness!

Here, for your reading pleasure, are my lessons from this particular culinary adventure. Let's start a curry revolution...!

Lesson 1: One ransacking of Tescos = quite a lot of curries

I kicked off my year of curry making on New Year's Eve with a trip to Tesco's and what probably seemed to the staff to be a ransacking of the spice aisle. I brought about ten different spice but have found that they do the job for a massive range of curries and, so far, I haven't had to buy any new ones. I've been reading a fab book by Malika Basu called Miss Masala - Indian Cooking for Busy Living (buy it, it is fantastic) and her top list of spices to buy corresponded pretty neatly to my supplies and what I have found most useful for a whole range of curries.

One Splendid Spice Cupboard - Bay leaves, Black Peppercorns, Cloves, Green Cardamom Pods, Cinamon sticks, Cumin seeds, Ground Coriander, Ground Cumin, Turmeric, Hot Chilli Powder, Garam Masala.

Easy peasy and the jars look cute too. Bonus.

Lesson 2: All Korma need not taste like Ice Cream Chicken

We once went to an Indian restaurant and had a Korma that, no word of a lie, tasted like chicken swimming in vanilla ice cream. It was dubbed the 'Chicken Ice Cream' night and has put me off most takeaway Korma for the rest of my life. I do love a good homemade Korma though because, shock horror, it actually tastes of something. Deep, spicy, creamy loveliness to be exact.

 I'm pleased to report that my first Korma bore no resemblance to chicken ice cream and to my mind is well worth a go. I got the recipe from the Hairy Bikers Curry book, another great purchase (and currently a fiver in WH Smiths for you Brits!).

Korrr...what a lovely Korma!

Lesson 3: Making curry is a great excuse to drink beer

Another excellent facet to the cooking as New Year's resolution is that you get to spend a lot of time in the kitchen playing around with ingredients which nearly always requires a nice beverage of two. One for the cook and all that! Turns out making Lamb Kofta curry is much assisted by a Budweiser. One handy tip from my kitchen to yours.

Lesson 4: Making curry is a great excuse to buy new plates

Amidst all this curry making I also managed to do some charity shop shopping (I'm an addict, what can I say?) and couldn't resist these beauties which make all food look splendid and none more so that these fantabulous curries I am whisking up.

So all in all I can heartily recommend a foodie resolution. And hey, we're not picky here you can start now even though we are 11 days into January. Put down the lettuce, pick up the cream and have yourself a delicious January!

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