Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I decided not to plan a menu this week and therefore took no list with me on my food shopping trip; I wanted to stay within the budget and see what I could make with the ingredients I found.   A leg of lamb, reduced to approx. £4-£5 per kilo was tossed into the basket as was braising beef at £6 for 4 huge steaks.   A few trays of free range chicken breasts were added too, along with fresh coriander, chillies, ginger, potatoes, pasta, yoghurt and other substance and sundries.

The chicken was made into a tasty Green, Creamy Chicken Curry which I served to my friends on Thursday night with some home made flaky pan bread.   I was rather pleased with how it had turned out; a good bit of spice but not too hot, the coriander and lime juice coming through the creamy sauce and mixing pleasantly with the rice.   I had had a very busy day baking cupcakes for a launch night which I attended with Anne before our other friends arrived at my house; add to that, making the curry as well as painting decorations for the school fair and, in my rush, I forgot to have dinner.   On arriving home, the curry, which was meant for a late supper was instead heated right away, the rice cooked and the bread re-warmed in the pan and served with no photograph as my stomach couldn't stand to wait.   We all enjoyed it.

We had leftovers tonight along with a quickly prepared lamb curry using the leftover leg of lamb we had on Sunday, rice and pan bread.

 Slow roast leg of lamb...
rubbed with a paste made from garlic cloves, fresh thyme, olive oil, soft butter, ground cumin, sea salt, black pepper and smoked paprika.   Rub all over lamb.  Put oven to 180 degrees, gas mark 3.5 for 20 minutes, then turned down to150 degrees for 2.5 - 3 hours; at this point, pour a cupful of stock and white wine into roasting dish.   Check every hour to ensure stock/wine gravy doesn't burn away.   Add some water if needed.   Throw in potatoes, carrots and a quartered onion as well as garlic cloves in the skin for the last 45 minutes-hour.   Let the meat rest for at least 20 minutes.  If veg not ready, turn up oven and keep cooking during the rest period.

Served with peas cooked in stock and leftover mash.

 Green, Creamy Chicken Curry
 Ok, so one thing you should always, always do when you are making up a recipe is take notes.   Me, I like to think my brain is the size of a planet when actually a pea is more accurate so the retention of information will stay with me until I get to a computer, right?   Wrong.   I remember all the ingredients but since I tend to work in 'dods', especially the first time, all these measurements are approximate.   Stick with the basic guidelines, and ye cannae go wrong!

 For the chicken:
8 chicken breasts....half the amount or use whatever is required
Marinade the chicken in the following mix:
Small tub creamy yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoons curry powder
Lemon juice (toss the lemon in there too, once juice extracted)
Sprinkling of turmeric
Grinding of black pepper

Once marinated...overnight or at least 4 hours....place onto a baking tray and bake in oven, 180 degrees (medium) for 20 minutes.   No need to turn.   Remove from oven and add to sauce when ready.

For the sauce:
1 25g packets/ 2 large handfuls coriander...if you dinnae like the green stuff, ye'll no' like this curry!!
Juice of 2 limes and zest from 1 lime
2 garlic cloves
Approx. teaspoon of cumin, half teaspoon coriander,quarter teaspoon fenugreek seeds, 2 cardamom pods, half cinammon stick, 1 clove, a few black pepper corns, ground turmeric all ground together in a pestle and mortar
Big dod of ginger....i.e. approx. 3 inches
2 green chillies, deseeded plus one whole chilli, slit a little down the middle
Small tub double cream
Thick Greek style yoghurt, approx. same amount as double cream
3 tablespoons coconut milk
2 good handfuls ground almonds
1 red chilli, deseeded and very thinly sliced into strips

Blend together: the ginger, garlic, chillies (not the whole one) and coriander.   Add the spices, blend and then the lime juice.   This should make a nice paste.

Melt some ghee or a mix of butter and oil in a deep pan over a medium heat.   Add the paste and cook for 10 minutes, making sure it doesn't burn.  You may want to turn the heat down after the first five minutes and add a few drops of water if necessary to stop the mix catching.

Add the cream and stir into the mix.   Then add the yoghurt and the coconut milk.   Add the whole chilli.   If you want the sauce a bit thinner, add a little stock.   A teaspoon of sugar and a good sprinkling of salt should be added although you could omit this.   Leave the sauce to simmer with a lid partially on.   Add the chicken when ready.   Thrown in the thinly sliced red chilli and the almonds.

Simmer gently together with the chicken for at least 20 minutes; the chicken should be cooked through (obviously) and will be tender.   Add the juice from a lime or lemon if you prefer and another good handful or two of finely chopped coriander.   Taste, season if necessary and serve.

Boiled rice, lamb and potato curry, green, creamy chicken curry and quick pan bread

 Curry close up!

The Lemon Madeira Cupcakes for the new product launch were frosted with a mix of pale pink and pink vanilla butter icing and topped with flowers, leaves and butterflies.   They tasted yummy.

250g softened unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
210g self-raising flour
90g plain flour

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy.

Grate the lemon zest into the bowl.

I made a double batch so I grated the first lemon and used a zester for the second to give longer strips.

Add a tablespoon of flour with one egg and mix together; repeat until all eggs are incorporated and add the remaining flour.

Add the lemon juice and mix until combined.

Place paper cases into a cake or muffin tray.

Add approx. a large tablespoon of cake batter to each paper case.

Bake in oven 170, gas mark 3 for approx. 20-25 minutes or until golden; use a skewer inserted into a cake to check they are cooked; it should come out clean.

Make frosting by mixing sieved icing sugar with soft butter, a little at a time until fully incorporated and creamy, adding colour of choice and vanilla to taste....a few drops at a time!

Frost cakes and decorate.


I made thai fishcakes;
The Thai green sauce was delicious but I totally mucked up the cake; it tasted nice but not great, far too greasy and in need of much simplification.   Back to the drawing board; I'll keep you updated.

Aww...except look at the expression on Lucy's face.....*shiver*


aladdinsane12 said...

i loooooooove green curry, but last time i had one, it was so hot that i was sweating like a pig and had to leave the restaurant because i thought i would die of heatstroke...

and i love the butterfly cupcakes! so pretty!

Helen McGinn said...

aladdinsane, *LOL*!

Unknown Mami said...

It's nice to know you are not perfect!

Helen McGinn said...

Perfect I'm not! x

mel said...

did you discover i've never been to scotland? unfortunately.
i'd really love to go someday to take landscape photos!
this green curry looks great - it's one of my fave foods :)
oh and i thought i'd let you know, when i went to your blogger profile from your comment, your blog wasn't listed in the profile. i had to track you down through sits, it looked like you didn't have a blog at all :S
have a great day!

Jayne said...

I smiled about writing down recipes. I'm a 'flamboyant' cook, chucking stuff into recipes and when it produces tasty results I'll often remember ingredients but don't have a clue on quantities used - it was only ever 'what felt right at the time'!

beagle said...

The cupcakes are adorable! MMMM Lemon!

Anastasia said...

That looks fantastic!

gaelikaa said...

I shouldn't come here hungry, but I do. I'm going mad for chicken curry now and I live in a vegetarian house......sigh!

Shelle said...

yum, my recipe is for red curry, so i can't wait to try this one...so easy too. Do you have the bread recipe on your blog...i still don't have an oven so i can't back those awesome looking cakes.

hope you had a Happy Mother's day!

Jenny said...

The curry looks amazing. My husband cannot eat curry for some reason so I rarely make it, but I'm saving this recipe for the next time we have company and I'm making several entrees! I would love the recipe for the flaky pan bread. That sounds quite different. Thank you for a lovely and amusing post!

Helen McGinn said...

Anastasia & beagle, thank you! :O)

Jayne, I do that far too often! ;O)

mel, maybe one day I can show you around! It seems ok now, thank you for letting me know. x

Jenny, flaky pan bread to follow!

Shelle, I've never tried red curry yet, I want to though. Bread to follow in the next post. :O)

gaelikaa, do you find that hard sometimes? I love vegetarian food, especially Indian recipes but I'd miss a wee bit of chicken or lamb from time to time.

Kristin said...

You had me at cupcakes...and curry for that matter. It all looks AMAZING!

Melissa B. said...

Curry, coriander and cupcakes...I'm loving the combo!

SILVER said...

Hi.. I noticed that a number of the people i am following has been deleted from my list even though i have not done anything to it. Some of the blogger friends also told me that happened to them too. So anyway, I will be signing in again so that i can receive your delicious looking pictures and i hope that's ok with you ;)


Babcock said...

i loooooooove green curry, but last time i had one, it was so hot that i was sweating like a pig and had to leave the restaurant because i thought i would die of heatstroke... and i love the butterfly cupcakes! so pretty!