June 2, 2015 — Family Food
‘…it’s a real treat to have curry at home. You might not have all the spices you need, but Dad is all in favour of using Indian curry powders and pastes.’
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For the koftas
6 pork sausages – good quality with high meat content
1/2cup bulgur wheat
1 egg – beaten with a fork
1/2 a small onion chopped very finely
Handful of fresh coriander chopped finely
4 large leaves of mint chopped finely
1/2 green chilli deseeded and chopped finely
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of lemon
1 1/2 small onions – chopped finely
1/2 a stick cinnamon
3 bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic lightly smashed, cut in half and green shoots removed
5cm piece of peeled ginger chopped roughly
1/2 green chilli de-seeded and chopped roughly
2 tablespoons wet madras sauce – or equivalent
1 large tomato cut in quarters or 2 medium tomatoes cut in half
250ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
For the rice
1 cup basmati rice
4 green cardamom pods
Handful of chopped fresh coriander
For the raita
300ml Greek yoghurt
3 large leaves of mint chopped finely
For the dal
¾ cup split red lentils
2 ½ cups water
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seed,
2 small dried red Kashmiri (or other dried) chillies – deseeded
2 garlic cloves – gently bashed with the side of a knife cut in half and any green shoots removed
For the parathas
1 large stack of ‘parathas’ supplied by a friendly neighbour. Or use any other Indian flatbread.
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Our wonderful neighbours have brought round a warm stack of homemade parathas…
I was told they’re Mrs Y’s special recipe and use three types of flour. They were delicious: as were the unannounced onion bahjis, or the surprise vegetable samosas and even the unexpected complete curry meal. The time we might predict next-door’s edible tidings is at Eid (the end of the Ramadan fast), the bell rings and we open the door to a beautiful smile and a dish of a traditional and celebratory sweet semolina.
These neighbourly offerings are not altruistic deeds of faith or charity – they’re just everyday acts of sharing and kindness. Such gestures, seem out-of-place in an age of self-interest and the individual. You might assume that neighbours would rather disturb us with loud music, grow light-sucking leyandii, or block our shared drives.
But not our neighbours. We are blessed with their consideration and friendliness. And the feeling is mutual. We watch out for each other, keep dialogues open and share local and personal news. We look after each other’s houses, feed each other’s pets and mow each other’s lawns.
Happily for me, this friendliness helps inspire my cooking. Our neighbours share their fruit and veg with us – and I turn them into cooked food. I’ve made R’s roasted tomato sauce and heritage tomato Japanese salad, Mrs Y’s pear tarts, Mr X’s quince frangipane, Mrs T-K’s mebrillo and D & A’s crab apple jelly. We return the favour with our own beans and when I can, cooked dishes and my posted recipes and stories.
I have a confluence of ‘use-by’ expiration dates in the fridge – sausages were not eaten over the weekend, a pot of Masala paste should be used and a tub of cream is just about to turn. Meanwhile, our wonderful neighbours have brought round a warm stack homemade parathas, so I decide to make a creamy kofta curry to go with the bread – all I need is a cucumber.
The kofta meatballs are a ruse to smuggle sausages past Mrs WDC. She likes sausages in an Italian style pasta dish with sausages and peas (which she calls ‘al giardiniera’) or dishes made with Luganega sausages – but otherwise, sausages tend to get pushed to the side of the plate.
I’ve recently taken to de-skinning sausages and using the mince in sauces. Here I use the same principle to make meatballs but have been inspired by Sabrina Ghayour‘s Persian bulgur wheat ‘meat-less’ meatballs – it occurs that I could make my koftas less meaty by adding bulgur.
A perfect winter warmer – Cassoulet!
Try Dad’s loaded low-fat salsa quesadillas with The Laughing Cow Lightest x8 cheese.
An excellent way to turn a popular Italian slow food standard into an easy and quicker family classic.
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