It’s been quiet on the blog for a while. Spain was hectic and by the time we got back to England just over four weeks ago we made a conscious decision to take things a little more slowly for a while. Old favourites were made in the kitchen, lots of comforting chickpea stews and delicious bowls of Spanish style lentils.
There was time for me to relax a little finishing off my summer quilt. It will have to wait to be used until next year as it’s enormous but thin. Not warm enough for the cold winter weather that has moved in here on the English South Coast.
Totally hand made, Every. Single. Stitch. And I loved making it!
Then I moved on to making my first proper socks for Big Man to keep cosy in. Thanks to Evie at Pendle Stitches for sending me this great pattern.
I know the heel looks a bit odd, but it is a proper one, I promise! It’s just a dodgy photo.
And now, as we are one day away from December (some of my pals on the other side of the world are already into December!), I am allowing myself to tentatively think about Christmas menus. But we also have another very important celebration on 27th December. Best pal Ria’s birthday, and I have the honour of cooking a meal for a group of us. Nothing remotely Christmassy, so we’ve chosen a curry menu. A mix of different curries, some old favourites like Monkfish and Prawn curry. And a new one. A Rendang Style Beef Curry.
I say Rendang Style and not Beef Rendang as I don’t think the method of cooking it is entirely authentic. I’ve also been told that if the curry is saucy, it’s not a Rendang. So, a curry cooked differently, with plenty of sauce – but well worth the time it takes to prepare and the longish list of ingredients. I had a trial run with it and (she says humbly) it was amazing! Fantastic flavours, meat that melted in your mouth, second and third helpings and clean plates all round. I’ll post some of the other recipes in the coming week. Lemon and Cashew nut rice, potato and spinach curry and Keralan parathas to follow soon.
Ingredients (Recipe from Sainsbury’s Oct 2015 Magazine) Serves 6
- 1 piece of brisket or silverside about 1.7kg cut into bite sized cubes
- 1 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
- 8 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 3 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 cloves
- 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander, hot chili powder
- 1 beef stock cube
- 1 400ml tin of coconut milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons of palm sugar or soft brown sugar
- 1 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 2 tablespoons of Thai fish sauce
- 8-10 kaffir lime leaves
- 4 stalks of lemongrass, lightly “bashed”
- juice of 2 limes
- Chopped coriander, toasted dessicated coconut and red chili slivers to garnish (optional)
For the Spice Paste
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, peeld
- 20g root ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 20g galangal peeled and finely chopped (or use paste)
- up to 6 birds eye chilis, stalks removed (I used a couple of my super hot, Bexhill grown chilis)
- 3 tablespoons lemongrass paste
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
Make the paste by blending all the ingredients in a food processor with about 50ml water to make it smooth. Add to the beef and marinate overnight in the fridge.
I used a slow cooker but this can also be done in the oven which you will need to preheat to 160C, (fan 140c) or gas 3. Otherwise preheat your slow cooker.
Heat the coconut or vegetable oil in a large pan or your casserole dish if it can go on the stove top. Add the cardamom, star anise, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, cloves and ground spices and stir fry until fragrant.
Add the beef and marinade, fry for a few minutes but you don’t need to brown. Then add the crumbled stock cube, coconut milk, tamarind paste, Thai fish sauce, lime leaves and lemongrass and bring to the boil.
Cover and transfer to the preheated oven for about 3 hours – I cooked mine in the slow cooker on low for about 8 hours. Return to the hob and simmer, uncovered until the sauce has thickened and reduced. When you are ready to serve, stir in the lime juice and garnish.
I made mine ahead and found that when it has chilled there was a layer of oil from the cooking which solidified and was easy to remove. Of course, you don’t need to do this!
We drank this with a delicious sauvignon blanc, but I think an ice cold beer would be great too.