Alastair and I are going on holiday soon (Tuesday in fact). We're going away for almost four weeks, so last weekend I organised a catch up dinner with Dany, Ben and Lisa.
Randomly, Lisa and I have a couple of running jokes relating to cheese. One is about a travelling cheese salesman, and another one is about a cheese party. When I sent Lisa an email about dinner, she asked whether it was going to be the fabled cheese party.
Yes it will be a cheese party, I told her, but only if you bring the cheese. And I made sure to tell her that one cheese does not make a cheese party. Neither does two cheeses. In fact, for a cheese party, you need at least FIVE cheeses.
Lo and behold........ I don't know why I was surprised when Benisa arrived on Saturday bearing five cheeses!
And not only were there five labelled cheeses (what's a party without a name tag?), check out the flags Lisa made - the cheeses are partying! Have you ever seen anything like it?
For dinner, we veered away from the cheese party as I had prepared an Indian feast. I made a rogan josh, chicken saag, daal, (store bought) roti and basmati rice. I was pretty pleased with how things turned out, particularly the rogan josh, which was the star.
The recipe for the rogan josh I copied out of a cookbook a long time ago and I neglected to note down the source. I think it may have been a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook - I will have to try and find it so I can try the other recipes in the book. On first read the recipe seems like a lot of fuss with lots of ingredients. Once you get started though, you'll find that it's not so bad, and is well worth the effort. With all the yoghurt, the end result is a pretty mild curry which is aromatic and flavoursome. I have made it before, and will definitely make it again!
Oh! Our holiday! We are off to Japan and Hong Kong - in Japan for almost 3 weeks and HK for 5 days on the way back. Ooooooh the excitement!
2 x 2.5cm chunks of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tablespoons water plus 300ml water
10 tablespoons vegetable oil
900g boned lamb or beef
10 cardamon pods
2 bay leaves
2.5cm cinnamon stick
200g onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Put the ginger, garlic and 4 tablespoons of water into a blender and blend into a smooth paste.
Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in several batches and set aside. Into the same hot oil, place the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon. Stir it once and wait a few seconds for the cloves to swell and for the bay leaves to colour. Add the onions and fry for five minutes, or until the onions are medium-brown.
Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for 30 seconds. Add the coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and the salt, and fry for another 30 seconds.
Add the browned meat and any meat juices to the pot. Add 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and stir and fry for about 30 seconds until the yogurt is well blended. Add the remaining yogurt, a tablespoon at a time, in the same way. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Add the water and scrap down the sides and bottom of the pot. Increase the heat to high, and bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low, and simmer for about an hour or until the meat is tender. Stir the pot occasionally.
When the meat is tender, remove the lid, increase the heat and boil off some of the liquid, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thickened (I skipped this step - mine had lots of gravy!)
Mix in the garam masala and black pepper just before serving.