Enough about my culinary skills (or lack of). It is Friday night and I am about to cook for 3 hungry men. Lewis, Duncan (brother) and Mike (uber friend). So I am going to make them my mum's amazing, hearty, comforting "Curry". It is not actually a curry (although it does have curry powder in it), it is more of a casserole or stew. We have always affectionately just called it "Mum's Curry".
This is a sentimental and favourite dish for my entire family. It is on my "death row last meal" list (a la, "Green Mile"), if I were ever to be on death row... highly likely, obviously. It's perfect for a rainy evening, feeds MANY (so a big family hit - believe me!) and is one that you kind of throw together and just... let it happen...
|My ingredients for tonight.|
Garlic - As much as you want. Tonight I have chopped up 3 garlic cloves.
2 x Onions - If you're anything like me, you will want to skip this one. I hate cutting up onions so much, that I ALWAYS make Lewis do it (I mean, ask him politely to). It really does add to the flavour, so find yourself a Lewis and get your onions in the mix.
Green Apples x 2 - add more if you like, but never less! Dice it up (you'll HAVE to do this one).
Carrots x... whatever - It depends how much you like carrots. I love carrots, so I always put a few in. With my company of boys tonight, I have added 4, peeled and chopped up.
Celery - again, as much you do or don't want. I have taken 3 stalks off and chopped it up!
(So I'm going to point out here that you can really add anything you want in the way of vegetables. Anything at all. I am just going to give you my version of tonights curry!)
Tin of Heinz Tomato Soup x 2 - definitely Heinz.
Keens Traditional Curry Powder - a dessert spoon size. More or less depending on how much bite you want it to have.
Golden Syrup - 2 tablespoons worth!
Cornflower - 2 spoonfuls.
Lemon juice - a few dashes!! I always buy lemon juice bottled - terribly lazy of me, I know.
Heat... well... whatever. Not too hot, maybe a medium heat to start off with. Put olive oil in your pot, add onion and garlic and stir it all in until it's sauteed and a tiny bit brown. Add diced meat, mix all together, cover and occasionally stir until all the meat is brown, which took mine about 10 minutes.
You then want to add all your vegetables and your apple. Mix it all together and let sit for 5 or 10 minutes.
Here, pour in both tins of soup and then fill one of those tins with warm/hot water and add 1, to 1 and a half of these. Mix again, turn up the heat a little, and let it sit and simmer for roughly half an hour. Add your dash of lemon juice and the 2 tablespoons of golden syrup.
A lot of this recipe is just letting it all sit and come together, with occasional stirring. I am doing some blog and website surfing while I wait. The boys are talking guitars.
Near the end, you want to mix the 2 spoons of cornflower in a cup/bowl/whatever with a little bit of water (start mixing it in the cup straight away, as the cornflower goes funny if you're not fast!). Add to this the spoon of curry powder, mix it all together and then pour into the pot with one hand, and mix it with the other. The curry will start to thicken and look delicious!! Leave for a bit, check and if it needs more cornflower, mix a tiny bit with some water and repeat the pour in.
I can't really explain how I know when it's ready. I guess the sauce is thick, the meat is all cooked and it smells AMAZING. This, from start to finish, took me an hour and 15 minutes.
Here I will say that THE best way to serve this is with mashed potato. You can chop up and add potato, but it would take longer to cook. Another way to serve is over white rice, brown if you like, but it really does taste better with white. Lewis and I are going through a crazy couscous phase (it takes 3 minutes to cook - we're fairly in love), so tonights will be over couscous. Definitely with warm, crusty, buttery bread. Or my family's favourite - normal white sandwich bread with butter, perfect for scooping up the sauce.
Coming to the end of my recipe post, I find myself full of memories of my family enjoying this meal together, loving them all a little bit more, a little bit teary, and hoping that those who read this, and then try it with their own family, will realise why it is so very dear to me....
|Here's one I prepared earlier (an hour and a half ago!)|