Bread and butter

Well the summer hols are finally over. And I have packed kiddo off to primary which gives me more time for cooking. This week I joined an Introduction to Breadmaking course. The first lesson was fun – the teacher was informative and the mix of people in the class was a good so we were getting lots of different information.

Unfortunately, we did so much chatting that we got to the baking part late. This meant I went home with a bag of wet dough to put into my fridge to prove (bread fermentation/rising). We did however, make some gorgeous fruit scones – hubby and I scoffed some when I got home.

Tuesday morning I opened the fridge to find the bread dough had risen rather well. Feeling chuffed I got it out, cut it up into 7 segments and squished out some balls. At this stage I was squishing out the air. Then the condensed (?) balls were put on a tray and left in the warm conservatory to prove/rise again.

After baking and then waiting half an hour, I greedily scoffed one. And you know what….it was SALTY! Argh after all that effort, I must have put in too much salt. Gutting. Hubby who loves salt happily ate one at dinner but I think I’m going to bin this batch and maybe try again. Or maybe I’ll just go down to the supermarket…it’s bleeding hard work making bread innit!

Sharkarkand nu shak – sweet potato curry

Sweet potato curry

I made this last Friday but haven’t had time to post it up….too busy gobbling. It is defo on my list of fave dishes. Friday in our house is Pizza night for Mr Plummy. For a while, I’ve been indulging in pizza too but I cannot eat the same thing every week for weeks on end. Too boring.

The colour of this curry is gorgeous, like sun on a plate. I’m sure it’s super good for you (Vit c, vit A, betacarotene) and extremely easy to make. I keep a very light hand on the spices as the vegetable has a delicate taste that is greatly enhanced with the kalonji seeds. Normally in Asian stores the red skinned white flesh sweep potato is available. But in your high street supermarket, you will also be able to get the orange fleshed brown version. I find the latter has the better taste.

For those not familiar kalonji seeds, they are small black seeds taken from the nigella plant. If you have had naan bread, they are the black seeds that give naan flavour. They are NOT the seeds of an onion though they are often labelled black onion seeds. If in doubt, get them from an Asian grocer.


  • 2 tbs ground nut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp kalonji
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1 small fresh green chilli finely sliced
  • 8 or so black peppercorns
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 450g sweet potato (this is the cleaned, peeled and diced weight)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cumin coriander powder
  • 250 g tomatoes finely diced
  • 8 or so curry leaves
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Coriander to garnish


  • Wash the sweet potato thoroughly. Cut the ends off. It’s purely a matter of taste whether you leave the skin on or not. It’s healthier if you leave skin on – in which case give it a good scrub with a brush and just cut out any roots.
  • If you want to peel the skin, just take a very thin layer off. You will soon come to the flesh
  • Dice in 2 cm pieces



  • Heat oil over a medium flame in a large saucepan
  • Add the kalonji and as soon as it starts to sizzle, add the onion
  • Fry onions until they are caramelised. This can take some time.
  • Add the ginger, peppercorns, cloves and chilli. Stir for about 10 seconds
  • Add the sweet potato and spices. Mix so that the spices coat the pieces thoroughly
  • Turn down the heat slight, cover the pan and let it cook. Funnily, the white flesh version takes longer to cook than the orange. It’s a dry curry so don’t add water but give it a stir frequently to stop it sticking to the pan.
  • When you can put a knife through the potato easily (but before it’s become mush!) add the tomatoes and curry leaves. Add lemon juice to taste. I usually just give it a little squeeze of lemon – about 2 tsp
  • Cook for about 5 minutes more until the tomatoes are cooked through.
  • Garnish with coriander and serve with freshly cooked basmati rice. Goes very well with a kingfisher or cobra beer!