Mushroom, Spinach & Chickpea Curry

chickpea_curry

This is a tasty, wholesome curry that is quick to make and very satisfying. It can be made from storecupboard and frozen ingredients which is great when you don’t have much fresh food in the house. I serve it with yellow cardomom rice or warm naans. I’m not a vegetarian but sometimes – especially after a few days of heavy meals – I love a plate of something meat free and healthy.

In this instance I used frozen whole leaf spinach but you can just as easily use fresh – just stir a few handfuls in right at the end. Makes 2-3 servings.

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil (or whatever tasteless oil you have)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger or 1 teaspoon of ginger paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic or 1 teaspoon of garlic puree
  • A pinch each of mustard seeds and cumin seeds (optional)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes or passata
  • A couple of handfuls of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 400g can of chickpeas
  • Around 5 cubes of frozen whole leaf spinach or a few handfuls fresh
  • A few sprigs of fresh, chopped coriander

Start by heating the oil in a frying pan and then add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds if you are using them. Once they start to sizzle, add the onion and fry until soft, stirring constantly. Now add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute.

Next, add the mushrooms and remaining spices and fry for a minute or two before adding the coconut milk, tomatoes and chickpeas. If the sauce is very thick, add half a cup of water and simmer for ten minutes.

If you are using frozen spinach, add this now and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring until the spinach has separated. Once the spinach is cooked, stir in some chopped coriander and then serve.

Lamb Meatball Kebabs & Roasted Vegetables

kebabs

This is a very simple and very tasty meal with plenty of healthy vegetables. You could add any vegetables you like to the kebabs or the roasting tray but I like this colourful mixture. You could also serve it with some mushroom fried rice and raita to make a more substantial meal. I used ready made lamb meatballs which already have a slightly minty taste. You could make this with any meatballs, chunks of meat or chunks of halloumi.  Serves 2.

  • 12 ready made lamb meatballs
  • 1 pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 large courgette
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Chop the tomatoes into quarters and slice the courgette into 1cm chunks. Lay these vegetables on a baking tray. Now assemble the kebabs, alternating chunks of red onion and pepper and the meatballs.

Mix the oil, lemon juice and oregano. Brush the kebabs and vegetables with the mixture and then season with salt and pepper.

Bake all together for 25-30 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are browning at the edges.

Simple Chicken Curry and Mushroom Rice

curry_cooked

I love Indian food and make quite a lot of it but this one doesn’t follow any particular recipe. You can add more chilli if you prefer it hotter but it is very nice without any chilli at all if you have children to feed or you don’t like your food too hot and spicy. I tend to add whatever vegetables I have lying around too.

This is best served with the mushroom rice but is also lovely with plain basmati rice. I almost always use a rice cooker so that I can put it on to cook and leave it while I get on with everything else and not worry too much about getting everything ready at the same time.

This will make two adult portions and some for a toddler and you can always add more chicken if you want it to go further.

For the curry, you will need:

  • 2-3 chicken breasts (depending on size), cut into cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 3 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 2 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp crushed dried chilli (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • Small handful chopped fresh coriander

For the rice:

  • 200g basmati rice, washed
  • Drizzle of sunflower oil
  • 3-4 mushrooms, chopped
  • Half an onion, finely chopped
  • Pinch turmeric
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • Pinch cumin seeds
  • Salt, to taste

Start by gently frying the onion for the rice with the cumin seeds. Once the onion is soft and translucent, add the rest of the spices, salt and mushrooms and fry for 1-2 minutes until the mushrooms start to look cooked. Add you rice to your rice cooker with the correct amount of water and then tip the contents of the frying pan in and start it cooking. If you don’t have a rice cooker you can stir this mixture into a pan of rice part way through cooking.

For the curry, start by gently frying the onion for 5-10 minutes, being careful not to let it brown too quickly. Once it is lightly browned, add the ginger and garlic and continue to fry for another minute or so.

Now add the chicken and all of the dry spices and salt. Keep frying for another minute to seal the chicken and then pour in the tomatoes. I like to fry this mixture quite hot until it dries out and then add and enough water to cover. At this point, bring to the boil for a minute or so and then turn the heat down. This will need to simmer for around 15 minutes minutes, stirring regularly.

curry_cooking

If the curry starts to dry up, add more water and stir.

Once the meat is cooked through, add the yoghurt and chopped fresh coriander. Simmer for another few minutes and then serve with the rice.

Butternut Squash and Crispy Bacon Risotto

There has been a beautiful large butternut squash sitting on my kitchen worktop for a couple of weeks now and I couldn’t decide what to do with it. I used to love risottos but for some reason I haven’t made one in quite a while as I’m the only one in the house that really likes them. As the days are now seeming so autumnal I wanted to make something that reflected the season and this is what I came up with. This is quite a simple risotto and has no wine in it as I wanted my toddler to eat it but you could add a splash of white wine or marsala along with the stock. I find the amount of liquid is never particularly exact when I make a risotto so if I run out of stock and the rice still isn’t done I just keep adding hot water, it doesn’t affect the flavour at all.

IMG_0696

This is what you will need. It served two generous adult portions and some for my toddler.

About half an average butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes

  • 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
  • 200g arborio rice
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Pinch smoked paprika
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 small onion
  • About 30g parmesan, finely grated

Firstly, lay out the squash cubes on a baking tray and drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle about half a teaspoon of smoked paprika over them and add a little salt and pepper. Mix it all to make sure the squash is covered and put in the oven at 180°C. It will need about 30 minutes to become soft and lightly browned.

Chop the bacon into slices and fry in a good splash of oil until crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a plate and leave the oil and bacon fat on the heat and add the celery and onion. Fry these over a medium heat until they are lightly browned. This will take 5-10 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil, onion and celery. You now need to start gradually adding the stock, about a cupful at a time. Keep this bubbling over a low-medium heat and stir constantly. The aim is to get the rice to soak up the stock bit by bit so as soon as it the stock has been absorbed, add more. You need to keep doing this until the rice is almost cooked which took 25 minutes for me.

Once the rice is almost cooked, add the oven baked squash, mashing some and leaving some cubes whole. Continue stirring, adding stock or water if necessary until the rice is completely done. Risotto rice should still been a little firm in the middle.

Finally, stir in your crispy bacon and about half the parmesan. Serve with the rest spinkled on top.