I’ve been doing quite a lot of cooking recently, which has been great fun. As you probably are aware by now, I have a particular penchant for middle eastern cooking. It’s much to do with the wonderful spices which originated in many middle eastern countries. Given the current situation in that part of the world, it’s particularly fascinating to see the cross over with Israeli and Palestinian cooking. Try some sumac, za’tar, dried limes and the more familiar cumin and coriander seeds and bitter sweet pomegranate molasses. Large supermarkets now stock most of these products or you can google them and find the online, particularly at Ottolenghi.
I will be giving you some more recipe ideas which incorporate some of these wonderful ingredients over the coming weeks.
This week I moved to another destination and cooked some Indian dishes for a supper party at home.
As for Indian cookery, I have been particularly inspired by a book by Meera Sodha called Made In India. I urge you to buy this book if you enjoy Indian food. It’s jam-packed with wonderfully simple and flavoursome recipes. Meera has been influenced by family cooking, sometimes with a bit of an English twist.
Sorry but I’m not going to give you my whole dinner party menu here (but if you want any further detail, please contact me).
Top notch stuff, as far as my guests were concerned, were homemade naan bread and chicken and pistachio curry.
Don’t panic about making your own naan. They are simple to make and superior to supermarket ones.
- 500g Plain flour
- groundnut or rapeseed oil
- 4 tbsp full fat, Greek style yoghurt
- 7g packet dried yeast
- 2 tsp castor sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 275 ml full fat milk, warmed
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Place the flour in a large bowl
- Make a well in the centre and and 2 tbsp oil, yoghurt, yeast, sugar, baking powder, salt
- Mix with your hands to make a breadcrumb consistency
- Slowly add the milk and mix until it becomes a sticky dough
- Place the dough on a well floured board or surface and kneed for about 5 minutes until it comes together as a firm dough
- Place in a clean bowl and rub about a tsp salt over the dough
- Cover with a tea towel and put in a warm place, such as an airing cupboard and leave for at least an hour until it has doubled in size
- When you are ready, divide the dough into 12 pieces
- Roll a piece into a ball and flatten with your hands
- Roll out on a floured board until you have a flat naan of about 12cm x 20cm
- Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and when its hot and the piece of rolled dough and leave for no more than about 20 seconds and flip it over with a spatula and cook for the same amount of time. Repeat this process one more time but ensure, whilst nicely browned, you don’t burn.
- Repeat the process with your other pieces, keeping them warm as you cook them
In Meera’s book, there are some particular favourites of mine, such as Lamb and Spinach Curry and Whole Roast Masala Chicken, which is perfect for a slightly alternative Sunday lunch.
Pistachio and Yoghurt Chicken Curry (serves 4)
- 100g Unsalted and shelled pistachios and a little extra to serve
- 5cm roughly chopped fresh ginger
- 4 roughly chopped garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp groundnut or rapeseed oil
- 2 large onions, finely sliced
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 4cm cinnamon stick
- salt to taste
- 800g boneless, skinless chicken breast chopped into 2cm cubes
- 250ml hot chicken stock
- 4 tbsp greek yoghurt and a little extra to serve
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Grind the pistachios in a spice grinder or food processor until you have a fine powder and set aside.
- Bash the garlic and ginger in a mortar and pestle until it becomes a paste
- Heat the oil in a lidded frying pan on a medium heat, add the onions and cook for about 20 minutes or until caramelised.
- Add the garlic and ginger paste and continue cooking for about 3 minutes before adding the tomatoes.
- Put the lid on and soften the tomatoes for about 5 minutes
- Add all the spices and seasoning, followed by the chicken pieces.
- Seal the chicken pieces on all sides and add the pistachios
- Add the chicken stock and the lightly whisked yoghurt and stir well
- Place the lid on the pan and leave to cook for about 15 minutes
- Taste the dish and add more seasoning if you wish and add some water if you like a better consistency
- To serve – add a dollop of yoghurt, some chopped pistachios and a squeeze of lemon juice and enjoy with either the naan above or some basmati rice or both.
I am getting quite excited at the possibility of starting up a supper club at home and I would very much like to know what you all think.
The plan is that I prepare a 3 or 4 course meal here at home in Broadway around my kitchen table. The first evening will be a middle eastern themed menu, and the supper clubs will eventually evolve to include some guest chefs and invitees with a specialism in food and drink.
I can accommodate up to 12 people in my kitchen with full service. As supper clubs go, you would have to be prepared to share the table with others (unless you book for the whole table!). I would just ask for a suggested donation to cover my costs.
The important point is that it should be a relaxed (not for me, of course!) and fun evening.
The first supper club will take place in late February with the date to be announced to those who express an interest. So come on, get interested!
If you would like a supper at home or any food advice, I’d love to hear from you.
All the best for now