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The Spring egg glut situation is still going on.  The goose eggs have started hatching (three babies today and another egg or two to go)  and the ducks have slowed down laying.  But the chooks are still laying four or five eggs a day (even though some of them are well into chook middle age).  So I made an egg curry on the weekend for a curry night feast for about twenty people, and it turned out so well that I made it again for just us.  It’s fast and easy and healthy enough to qualify as a  Tuesday Night Vego Challenge recipe but glamorous enough to make a good curry night feast dish too.

The Recipe

Serves 4 as a main dish.  This is a mediumly spicy curry but if you keep the  the chili, mustard, ginger and turmeric on the low side,  kids are likely to find it not too spicy. Like most curries from scratch it looks like a lot of ingredients, but they are all common spices and it is actually very quick and easy to make.

In a heavy pan, sauté 2 onions (chopped) in some olive oil until they just start to soften.  Then add:

  • 2 scant teaspoons of coriander seeds
  • 2 scant teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • seeds from one or two cardamom pods

Cook for a minute or two until the seeds start popping, then add

  • a small amount of chili or chili powder (depending on how spicy you like your food and how hot your chilis are, but it doesn’t need much. I used a scant half a teaspoon of my homemade chili powder)
  • one or two cloves of garlic,
  • two teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
  • two teaspoons of grated fresh turmeric (or one teaspoon dried)
  • pinch of  cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • little pinch of cloves
  • good pinch of salt
  • grating of black pepper

Cook for a minute or two, then add a jar of crushed tomatoes, a couple of bay leaves, and enough water to make a thick sauce.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, just to let all the spices mingle.

While it is simmering, hardboil and peel 8 eggs and chop them in half.  You will find this much easier if you use slightly older eggs.  People tell me that putting the eggs in ice water helps if the eggs are too fresh to peel easily.

Take the sauce off the heat and add a good handful of finely chopped fresh coriander and stir through.  Then add the eggs and stir gently to cover them in sauce.

Serve with rice and/or naan bread.

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It’s not as photogenic as it was delicious.  Green beans in a creamy, nut based mild curry sauce. I quite like creamy curries but most are based on coconut cream or real cream.  Both are a bit too high in saturated fats (and kilojoules) for everyday, mid-week eating.  Fresh coconuts are also well out of my “locavore” range, and canned coconut cream is oily and BPA is oil soluble.  All reasons why curries with coconut cream are eating out special occasion foods in my world.

Luckily for me, you can make korma style curries using nuts and yoghurt to make them creamy.  Traditionally it is cashew nuts, but macadamias are just coming into season here and my first pick is dry and ready to use.  Further south, almonds are also now in season. As well as loads of nutrients, nuts have monounsaturated, good fats, and there’s good evidence that macas work as well as the “clinically proven to lower cholesterol” margarines.

The Recipe:

  • In a large pot, dry roast:
  • ½ cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Shake the pot to toast them evenly, and as soon as the seeds start popping, add
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 big teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
  • 1 big teaspoon of crated fresh turmeric (or half a teaspoon turmeric powder)
  • 1 to 3 fresh chilis, (depending on how hot your chilis are and how hot you like your curry) roughly chopped
  • Cook for a couple of minutes, then tip the lot into a blender or food processor.  Wash out the  pot with ½ cup water and add that to the blender.  Blend on high for a few minutes, till it is really smooth and creamy.
  • Meanwhile, add a little olive oil to the pot and saute one diced onion until translucent.
  • Top and tail and chop 300 grams of green beans, (my Blue Lake french beans work really well in this), add to the onions, and pour in the sauce from the blender.  Use another ½ cup of water to rinse out the blender and add it.
  • Simmer gently for around 20 minutes until the beans are tender. Taste and add salt to taste.
  • Take off the heat and stir in ½ cup of low fat Greek yoghurt and ½ cup chopped coriander.
  • Serve over rice with a little coriander to garnish.
Did you do the Tuesday Night Vego Challenge this week? Links welcome.

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The fishing hasn’t improved.  He’s still catching mostly Australian salmon.  Luckily, the recommendations are  to eat oily fish at least a couple of times a week, and Australian salmon are one of the best oily fish.  And they’re one of the few on the list that are sustainable – gemfish are a threatened species, blue-eye trevalla are often long-line fished, Atlantic salmon are all farmed, and canned tuna is overfished, threatened, and fished in wasteful and destructive ways.

Australian salmon may not be a prized eating fish, but you can make a dinner from them that people will go back for seconds.  Which is just as well, because they’re a big fish – you get a lot of meals from one. The tricks are: they must be very very fresh, filleted to remove the dark  “blood” meat, the skin and the fat just under the skin, and used in recipe that includes some acid (tomato, lemon) and involves flaking them.

The Recipe:

With a mortar and pestle, mash together to a paste:

  • 1 dessertspoon of chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 small dessertspoon of chopped fresh turmeric (or a teaspoon of powder)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Fresh or dried chili depending on your chili and your taste, but not too much. I use ½ teaspoon of dried chili
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass

In a little olive oil in a large pot, saute a chopped onion till translucent.

Add the spice paste, and continue cooking for a minute, then add

  • 700 grams of fish fillets chopped into bite sized pieces (white meat only, skin removed)
  • 700 grams of vegetables (broccoli, snow peas, cauliflower)
  • 1 jar of tomatoes
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • scant teaspoon salt
  • a cup of water

Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender and the fish is flaked.

Take the pot off the heat and stir in 5 good dessertspoons of plain low fat yoghurt. If you bring it back to the boil at this point, the yoghurt will curdle.  It will still taste good but it won’t look as creamy.

Serve with rice and chopped fresh coriander to sprinkle on top.

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It’s the very end of the chilli season, and though it’s early in pumpkin season for everyone else, the turkeys have discovered ours. So the challenge is on to find just how many ways you can use pumpkin.

This pumpkin and chick pea curry is a good one – tasty, easy, healthy, low fat, using the pumpkin and the chilli, and also the other seasonal glut of the moment – lemons.  It also has turmeric in it, and the more I hear about the health benefits of fresh turmeric, the more I like using it.

The Recipe

This serves two generously, but the recipe doubles easily.

The recipe uses 1 cup of cooked chick peas, and chick peas need pre-soaking overnight and then take a long time to cook  (about an hour simmering or 20 minutes in a pressure cooker). So although the recipe is quick and easy, it does need some pre-thought.

I like using a mortar and pestle to grind spices. Grind together:

  • 1 thumb ginger
  • 1 thumb turmeric
  • 1 chili
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, or 2 leaves culantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Fry  a chopped onion in a little olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot till is just begins to brown, then add the spice paste and continue to cook it for a couple of minutes.

Add 2 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes or so, then add:

  • 1 cup of cooked chick peas
  • 3 cups of raw pumpkin chopped into bite sized pieces,
  • 3 desertspoons of lemon juice
  • half a desertspoon of honey.

Simmer until pumpkin is cooked. Taste and add salt and more lemon juice and/or honey to taste. It’s good served with rice and a yoghurt, cucumber and mint raita.

 


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I had to do this recipe.  I like the rhyme just too much!  Vindaloo is a hot curry though, whichever way you look at it. You can reduce the chili and pepper a little bit in this recipe, but if you don’t like spicy food, probably best to go for a different curry entirely than to try to mellow it out too much.

Kangaroo is my choice of red meat, mainly because kangaroos don’t chew the cud, so they don’t contribute to  greenhouse gases.  They are also better adapted to the Australian environment, and they are truly free range meat.  And kangaroo meat is very lean.

It may seem a mission to make your own curry paste, but it is really very easy and worth the effort.  If you are a gardener, you probably have many of the spices for this growing in your garden. Cumin, coriander, mustard, bay, chilies, turmeric, ginger and garlic are all easy to grow in my climate.

Fresh, home-made curry paste also has the advantage of being much more aromatic and those aromatics are exactly what makes curry so healthy. Fresh turmeric in particular is really worth growing just for its health benefits (let alone the recipe options it opens up!)

The Recipe

Cut 500 gm kangaroo steak into 1 inch cubes.

In a heavy bottomed pan, dry roast your spices just for a few minutes:

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 heaped teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 heaped teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 heaped teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds

Tip them out into a mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder attachment to a food processor.

Keeping your pan hot, add oil or (more traditionally) clarified butter, and sear the the kangaroo, then remove it from the pan.

Grind the roasted spices together with 2 cloves garlic, 1 heaped desertspoon dried or fresh turmeric, and one (or more) fresh red chili. Add a teaspoon of brown sugar, a tablespoon vinegar and the juice of half a lemon to make it into a paste.

Toss the seared kangaroo pieces in the spice mix to coat the cubes.

Now, still keeping the pan hot, (or reheating it) add a bit more oil or ghee if you need to and saute an onion, sliced thin, and a thumb sized knob of ginger peeled and sliced very thin. Add the kangaroo and cook for a few minutes, then add 1 ¾ cups of hot water.

Simmer very gently for about an hour. About 15 minutes before the end, add 1 desertspooon Garam Masala powder and salt to taste.  I also break with tradition to add vegetables – about a cup full altogether – at this time of year pumpkin, snake beans, and  capsicum.  But you could also go for peas, potato, or sweet potato.   Serve with rice, a cucumber raita, and mango chutney.  Makes 4 yummy serves.

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