Home made lemon curd

Look at that gorgeous jar of golden yellow. It’s a rainy, miserable day here today. So to cheer myself up, I finally got round to making that lemon curd that I’ve been planning for weeks (lemons been sitting in the fridge for a week).

There are so many recipes out there, and some of them use an enormous amount of eggs and sugar. In the end, I plumped for the very easy Delia lemon curd recipe. I halved the quantities as I  really don’t need 3 jars of the stuff. Even then, my eyes were watering at the amount of sugar and butter that is used.

The curd was easy to make. The end result is a little bit runny but I didn’t want to end up with scrambled eggs. It’s thickened as it’s cooled so perhaps that’s how it should be. And it’s ever so very delicious.

The hardest thing by far was sterilising the jar. What a palaver. I got the jar yesterday and wished I had just used an old jam jar. I washed it and then put it into the dishwasher. I hardly use the dishwasher so was panicking a bit as it was taking so long to wash the jar and the Delia recipe says you should put the stuff in the jar as soon as it’s cooked. Well it’s all done now. Phew. Now all I have to do is stop my kiddo from nicking it all, and then make a lemon curd pie. Then we will be jogging and dieting for months to work off all those calories.

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Fenugreek and aubergine shak (methi, ringan nu shak)

CPC fenugreek aubergine shak with rotlis

As mentioned in my last post, I grabbed a couple of bunches of fenugreek from Amma Spices this weekend. I should have prepped them on the same day as they tend to quickly wilt so please excuse the rather sad looking pictures below. If you want to see more chef-fy type pictures go here.  Luckily, I was able to rescue quite a few of the leaves. I’ve saved one bunch’s worth for theplas which are a Gujarati spicy bread that I LOVE. The leaves of the other bunch went into another childhood fave of mine – the recipe I’m sharing tonight.

Fenugreek is used extensively in Indian cooking. The seeds which are hard little yellow stone looking things will be combined with mustard seeds at the start of many vagars (base sauces). I use it sparingly as the seeds are so strong but if I miss them out, the dish is definitely lacking. And as stated above, the leaf is used in theplas and curries both vegetarian and non. In Gujarati, it’s called “METHI”. These days it’s possible to buy frozen methi but in truth, I prefer fresh. It’s like the difference between frozen and fresh spinach – the former is convenient but the taste of the latter is infinitely superior.

The quantities in the recipe below make enough for one. I like to delicately spice this as I want the focus on the vegetables. If cooking for more people, double the quantities. Alternatively serve it as a side dish.

The taste can be bitter but I enjoy that bitter undertone that can come with some vegetables.

It’s meant to be really good for women who are breastfeeding but if you are preggers, best to keep away as it apparently induces labour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs ground nut oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 green chili chopped finely
  • 2 -3 cloves garlic minced very finely
  • Leaves of bunch of fenugreek (see prep below)
  • 1 medium dutch aubergine or 2 – 3 small round indian aubergines (brinjal). Washed, then cut into very 2 cm small cubes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander, cumin powder

Prepping

When buying fenugreek, look for bunches with bright green leaves. Then prep them asap. Don’t leave them like I did to get yellow!

  

  • The stems of fenugreek can be quite thick so I don’t use it in my cooking. I am not sure it’s got much taste say compared to coriander.
  • For this reason, I pick off the green leaves and discard any yellow or mangy looking ones. If the stem attached to some leaves is thin/fine then I won’t pick that off.
  • Luckily, it’s very easy to pick the leaves off just using your fingers and thumb.
  • Rinse the leaves thoroughly until all the mud is removed. Else you are going to have really gritty food. The amount shown in the 3rd picture about is what I harvested from 2 bunches but for the recipe above, I only used half the amount. I put the other half into a freezer bag to use later.

Cooking:

CPC fenugreek aubergine shak

  • In a medium sized sauce pan, heat oil over medium flame
  • Once oil has heated up, add the mustard seeds (tip: add one seed to see if oil is ready, it should start to fry/splutter. Mustard seeds sitting in oil can end up really horribly bitter)
  • As the seeds splutter, add the chili and garlic. Cook for a few seconds, then add aubergine, fenugreek and spices.
  • Stir everything over a medium heat until the vegetables are well coated with spices
  • Turn flame down to low, cover the saucepan and cook until the aubergines soften and the fenugreek wilts. You may need to stir occasionally to stop the food from sticking to the pan.
  • Serve with hot, ghee smeared rotlis.

Tip:

If you cannot get fresh fenugreek, look for the frozen stuff in your local Indian grocery. Alternatively, you could try to grow your own…I’m going to have a go following the tips in this post Growing Methi once I figure out the right time of year to plant them. Or does that matter if I’m growing them indoors????

Amma Spice Edinburgh

 

I’m as happy as a happy Guju girl can be because AT LONG LAST, I have found a place in Scotland that sells the veg I like. I’m hoping that unlike the local Morrison, that this find will continue to do fresh veg (shame on you Morrisons for leaving out rotting food…fresh market my ****).

We were in Gorgie road in Edinburgh to visit the city farm and noticed a couple of Asian supermarkets on the road. The first two were absolutely disappointing (one didn’t even have any groceries despite it being on their hoarding!). I nearly gave up and was a bit put off by guys hanging around, but I’m so glad that I went into the tiny shop Amma Spice because it’s full of heavenly delights.

I came away with my favourites guvar and valor as well as tindora, methi, raw mangoes, frozen theplas and parathas, ras malai that was so delicous and a box of barfi for the hubby. The bill came to £16. I would have spent a whole load more but would prefer to go back and get more when needed. Luckily they accept debit cards as I had limited cash on my person have just been to the farm cafe.

The guy running the place was friendly and helpfully pointed out veg I hadn’t noticed. He was from dahn sarf so we had a chinwag about some of the areas we both knew.

I will post about how to prepare with methi which is called fenugreek in English in the next day or so.

The shop is South Indian and sells Sri Lankan food too. I’m looking forward to getting to know about more ingredients and sharing the recipes here.

A tip – if you are going on Sat or Sun you can park at the council offices down the road for free for 2 hours.

 

Amma Spice

267 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, EH11

Tel: 0131 629 6847

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amma-Spices

Really fried beans

Refried beans is a mistranslation of refritos. A closer meaning is “really fried” beans as in very well cooked beans. Every now and again, we have mexican wraps using tofu, peppers and onions cooked in a texmex mix. However, I’ve wanted to try home made beans for ages. And gosh, they take ages to do but we were pretty pleased with the result.

Like a bit of an idiot, I didn’t seek out a Mexican recipe but instead picked the Refried Beans recipe on the Savvy Vegetarian site. I made a few amendments to the recipe.

Starting the night before, I washed a cup of dried beans and then soaked them in 5 cups of water. I left these overnight then drained away the water, put the beans in my pressure cooker with 2 pints of water and cooked them for about 20 minutes. I wanted them really soft. I drained that water (which was a dumb thing to do, should have kept some for cooking later) and then mashed the softened beans to a pulp. Kiddo was meant to help but she said the beans stank and ran out of the room as fast as her legs could take her. She’s fussy. They didn’t smell more than any other boiled bean. Here is the amended list of ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp ground nut oil
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 minced fresh garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. gr. cumin
  • 1 tbs paprika (I misread and put in a tablespoon instead of teaspoon, but they weren’t spicy at all)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • A glug of soy sauce – stated as optional. Next time I will defo leave this out as the result was too salty

Cooking

  • Fry the onions and garlic in the oil until caramelised
  • Add the beans, tomatoes and spices
  • Cook for about 20 minutes on a low heat stirring frequently
  • Once cooked serve with taco shells, salsa, sourcream & chives, lettuce and cheese. We forgot the cheese but it was fine without

I enjoyed this dish very much. Unfortunately, the tacos were horrid – El Paso ones that were weirdly plastic-y. I am going to have a go at making my own next time.

Kiddo refused to eat the beans. She’s not very keen on new things or on things that look “stinky” but likes falafels and I think this paste would make a good base for falafels. So I’m going to try to make it again and persuade her to eat little falafels (devious parenting I know but I have to be inventive to get her to try new stuff!)

Hooking for chareedy

Blimey it’s been ages since my last post. I have been busying with the crochet hook and have now used up quite a bit of my stash on making charity hats which I will pass onto my mother in law. Her church puts boxes together at Christmas time to send to various people in need worldwide. I do feel a little guilty that some of the yarn is very cheap acrylic but I think something is better than nothing. The number of colours and balls  I have left are dwindling but where possible, I’ve tried to add some nice details like stripes on beanies or crocheted flowers onto hats. Once I’ve given them a wash, I’ll post up a picture.

Another charity group I’ve become interested in is called SIBOL which stands for Sunshine International Blankets of Love. The charity makes lap blankets for elderly people. The group makes fun blankets too – Challenge blankets where crafters from around the world send in knitted or crochet squares based on a particular theme. The blankets for these either go to the elderly who like to talk about the different squares or special ones are auctioned off to raise money for Alzheimers.

Another part of the group also do swaps and I’ve decided to join in with this. My goodness,the first swap was so, so, SO hard. The lady I was to send squares to is very talented and experienced. I spent ages looking for something suitable and must have made at least 8 squares before deciding on two that were about right. The other part of the swap is a small gift. No rules on this one as far as I could see. I hate not having rules as the possibilities are endless! The group make a lot of butterflies so I eventually decided to make some only to see the swap lady had sent in loads to the group in the very pattern I was using. ARGH. Ah well, in the end I made a jute basket. Hubby is from Dundee which had a thriving jute industry so that’s my connection.

Here are some picture….what do you think?

   

Of course, not everything I make is for charity. Here is a project using some polypropylene I found at the local Tiger store. A simple project done in the round through the front loop for the most part. The strap was HDC and the flap was SC. It’s perfect for my kid who played with it for about 3 days. Sigh…like so many of the projects I make her. I am not keen on the pink but have loads of the purple left so will be making one for myself because as everyone knows, purple is just fabulous. If you decide to have a go have some glue or nail varnish nearby to seal any cut ends else they will fray. Do you like the button? It’s so old fashioned from a stash my mother in law gave me…kiddo picked it and would not be persuaded to change her mind.