Friday 31 October 2014

Winter warming lamb curry

For NaBloPoMo November 2014 my challenge is to upload a post every day thoughout the month. That's 30 days and 30 posts. The more page views I get per day the more money I will donate to the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT). Help support my challenge by logging on daily and donating directly 

I never make lamb curry. It takes too long and I know N will say it's too heavy for a week night dinner. But winter's coming and it's time for comfort food. Yes, I know that last statement is debatable. This has so far got to be the warmest October I can remember. There were trick or treaters last night with sleeveless tops on! But the nights are drawing in and there is Christmas In the air (or in the shops at least) so in my mind winter is here. I had some diced lamb in my Ocado shop this week and I just couldn't decide what to do with it. I usually make a lamb casserole or a hotpot but I fancied something a bit different. So lamb curry it was. And my two concerns were unfounded. Firstly my mum gave me great tip. She suggested simmering the curry in the oven rather than on the hob which meant that although it still took a while to cook, I didn't have to watch over it. I managed to sneak in a shower and put the washing about a good use of time. And secondly, N loved it, there were no complaints whatsoever! 

Lamb Curry
(serves 2 | prep time - 20-30 mins | cooking time - 45-60 mins)

- 300g diced lamb shoulder or leg 
- 1 finely chopped onion 
- 3 garlic cloves - finely chopped
- 2 inch piece of ginger - finely chopped
- 1 heaped teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 heaped teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- pinch of garam masala 
- 1/2 chilli - finely chopped
- small tin (227g) chopped tomatoes
- Tablespoon chopped coriander
- salt to taste 
- oil for frying (e.g sunflower or rapeseed) 
- Approx 200ml water

- Heat the oven to 160 degrees fan
- Cut off any extra fat from the lamb
- Heat some oil on the hob in an deep dish suitable for use on the hob and in the oven. Don't worry if you don't have one you can always transfer it to a different dish part way through
- Fry the onions, garlic and ginger until softened and golden brown
- Add the lamb and fry until sealed (outer edges are cooked). Stir often
- Add the cumin powder, coriander powder and turmeric 
- Stir regularly and cook for approx 5 mins
- Add the chopped tomatoes, coriander and chilli and still well and cook for 5-10 mins. Keep stirring regularly
- Add water and salt to taste
- Place in the oven for 45-60 mins
- Return to the hob to dry out any excess water until you get the gravy consistency you like. If it is too dry you can add some water 
- Add the garam masala and stir through 

Sunday 26 October 2014

A Challenge for November

November is a month of challenges. Firstly there’s Movember. What a great challenge and for such a great cause. I’ve been encouraging N to take part for ages but he is surprisingly resistant. Perhaps he’ll read this post and get some motivation! But back to me…

November is NaBloPoMo — National Blog Posting Month —which sets a challenge to post once every day for the entire month of November. No theme, no word count, no rules;  just you, your blog, and 30 new posts. I’ve decided to take on this challenge.  Yes I know it will be a hard push, particularly because I am averaging about one post a month at the  moment and it’s not helped by the fact that it has taken me an hour and a half to update, reboot and generally ‘fix’ my laptop so that I can even write this post - gosh I hate computers sometimes! But if it’s not a challenge then where’s the challenge (if you know what I mean)! So I’m going to do it. And to make sure I don’t wimp out I’ve decided to post for charity. Depending on the number of page views I get per day I will personally donate money to a charity very close to my heart.
As a hospital based optometrist working with children we encounter a number of cases of children with eye cancer. The most common of these is one called retinoblastoma which affects 40-50 newly diagnosed children per year. Sadly if retinoblastoma is detected late it can not only cause the loss of vision but also the loss of an eye and sometimes tragically the loss of a life. However with improved screening an early detection retinoblastoma can often be successfully treated. The Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) provides support to families affected by retinoblastoma (Rb), promotes awareness of this rare form of cancer to the public and health professionals and supports research into the disease. For the first 100 page views I receive per day I will donate £1 to charity, for 200, I will give £1.50, for 300, £2, for 500, £3 and for 1000 page views or more I will donate £5 per day to the charity. Please can I ask you to support me in this challenge and help raise money for a worthy cause. Should you wish to you can also donate directly to the charity by going to

So that’s the last you will be hearing from me now till the challenge starts. I look forward to seeing you on 1st November for 30 days of glorious food!

Monday 6 October 2014

Finally a great tandoori chicken recipe!

I love it when I get requests for recipes.  It makes me finally put a post on (yes I know it's been a while)! My friend Laura asked me the other day if I have a good recipe for tandoori chicken and I can finally say yes I do! It has taken a while to work this one out. N and I have tried many attempts at every BBQ we've had but it's never right. I think the key thing is making sure you don't use too much yoghurt in the marinade otherwise the flavour gets diluted. And smaller chicken thigh pieces work better than large leg pieces otherwise you will end up with rather bland tasting meat in the centre as the spice won't get all the way through. However the biggest secret for tandoori chicken is to marinate it for as long as possible. 4 hours is a minimum but overnight is preferable. I've tried this recipe a number of times now and it works perfectly every time. Those of you that are particularly observant will notice that the colour of the chicken is a bit less red than the versions you get in restuarants. This is because I have used my own blend of spices rather than a tandoori powder mix, which generally has red food colouring in it. To be honest a tandoori mix would have made my life a lot easier but then where's the fun in that! 

Coming up.... November is National Blog Posting Month and I've set myself quite the challenge. More will be revealed in the next post...

Tandoori Chicken
(Serves 2 | total prep and cooking time approx 1 hour 10 mins + marinating time)

4 skinless chicken thighs 
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
Pinch of garam masala
Pinch cayenne pepper
Juice of half a lemon

- place the yoghurt into a large bowl and add all the spices and lemon juice to it.  Stir well. 
- remove any skin from the chicken and prick all over with a knife 
- add the chicken pieces into the marinade and stir so the chicken is evenly covered
- cover and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours but preferably overnight 
- heat the oven to 160 degrees fan
- line a baking tray with foil and place the chicken pieces on it
- cook in the over for approx 35-40 mins or until cooked and the top of the chicken looks crispy. Make sure the chicken does not dry out
- serve with naan bread, salad and cucumber yoghurt