Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Worth buying or Worth Making?

While I mention the Indian meal - Chicken Tikka Masala with Rice and Pakoras, Mango Chutney and a spicy Tomato Chutney and the above mentioned Raita as side dishes (plus a banana sliced (Beloved likes to add this), it is perhaps worth mentioning that I had only enough diced chicken really for one good helping (I needed to feed four), so in the morning I defrosted a couple of chicken joints and took as much meat from those as I could to add to the diced chicken, then bulked out the meal with 3 onions, thinly sliced, and two large carrots thinly sliced which were first lightly fried in a large pan, adding the chicken meat, when that turned white added a can of chopped tomatoes and one can of Tikka Masala Curry Sauce. Popped on the lid and let it simmer for a couple or so hours. Then re-heated later.

The rice I put to soak in the morning, with four bay leaves and some crushed green cardamon pods (seeds only but sometimes I add the husks). The chutneys came out of bottles, but the Raita was home-made using Greek Yogurt, some finely chopped mint, a little caster (or icing) sugar, and some finey chopped and de-seeded cucumber. That I also made in the morning and kept in the fridge to allow the flavours to develop.

The Pakoras were much enjoyed. They are very easy to make but best made with Besan (chick-pea) flour, which is stocked in supermarkets. I used about one third of a small cauliflower broken up into small florets, five largish button mushrooms cut into five wedges, and one red onion thinly sliced. To 9 heaped tblsp of the Taking hot metal dishes to the table needs oven gloves etc, but hot dishes are also difficult to pass around the table and no-one wants to keep putting on gloves, so I unearthed some smallish round baskets (I collect baskets, the big ones hang from beams in the kitchen), into which the round metal bowls fitted reasonably well. This meant hands were protected from the heat of the dishes.
So - if you have any baskets, see if they fit any of your casseroles or serving dishes. They don't have to be a tight fit, just high enough so the dish won't topple out. If you are really clever, you could make little pads to fit under and between the sides of the dish and the basket and that would help to keep the food hotter for longer (if there is room a folded tea-towel would do).

During the afternoon I decided to whip the cream by hand instead of using my electric whisk. As it was whipping cream, not double, I knew it would take a little longer, but because I was using a small bowl it didn't thicken at all. After nearly 45 mins of beating I transferred the cream to a large bowl and from then on it did thicken, even so it took me nearly an hour overall. Why do it this way you ask? Well, I am supposed to burn off energy to lower my blood glucose the book says. This seemed a 'sitting-down' way to do it, by the open back door, in the sun, letting my neighbours know I was back in action so to speak. I don't think 'sitting down' to work is what my advisors meant by burning off energy. I like sitting down, I can do a lot sitting down: watching TV, painting pictures, reading books, preparing meals, chatting to you via the Internet. Thinking up excuses.

So today you again have a 'warts and all' taste of the Goode life ( as it was this Monday at least). The highs, the lows, the sudden inspired thought to use baskets, (that was my best bit), the wasted time beating cream by hand (but it taught me that I should have used a larger bowl), I bet Delia would have done it all much more efficiently. But would life then be as interesting?