First things first – I know that this post is LONG overdue, and I am so far behind in my reading that I will need to set aside two days to catch up. But I have been VERY busy settling in to my new, if temporary environment, buying essentials, but mainly adjusting to the reverse ‘culture shock’ of moving back to Liverpool from Paris, and most importantly spending lots of quality time with family and long neglected friends.
First the culture shock – while I am loving just switching on the tv and watching without the effort of concentrating on the language, and I am enjoying the excellent period dramas as documentaries, I am dumfounded at the amount of programmes featuring auctions and people scouring antique shops for bargains to sell at them…….’Antiques Roadshow’, Bargain Hunters’, ‘Celebrity Bargain hunters’, ‘Cash in the Attic’ to name but a few.
Also I am boggled by the advertisements for cosmetic surgery – in France there was the odd advert for slimming pills, but to be honest most were for cheese or crème fraiche or some other dairy product! One ‘clinic’ advertising on tv uses the slogan ‘Make yourself Amazing’ I have just moved back from a country that values wit, conversation, intelligence and political views over the size of your boobs – so maybe I am on the wrong side of the channel……….
Rather than ‘Making myself Amazing’ I have been ‘Making do’ and using whatever I have at hand to fulfil a variety of functions, as the utilisation of a spaghetti jar and empty soup carton to serve as vases when my lovely friend Sue, brought me a bouquet of flowers and a vase was not on my list of essentials…….likewise, using a ‘pint’ milk bottle as a measuring jug – and another to rinse the bath!!!!!
But undoubtedly the biggest change of all is the existence of THE FISH AND CHIP SHOP or the Chinese take-away in my case, the sheer luxury after a busy day when you just don’t feel like cooking (yes this even happens to me!!!) to be able to go and get a Chinese take-away… Personally I prefer an Indian, which leaves me to curry. Curry to the British is like cheese to the French, so it goes without saying that one of the first meals that I cooked for friends was a delicious, fragrant, no holds barred, veggie curry…..
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium sweet potato cubed
½ small butternut squash cubed
2 medium parsnips cubed
2 medium carrots cubed
½ small red onion finely chopped
1 medium clove garlic grated
½ green chilli finely chopped
2 handfuls of mixed shredded cabbage and leek
1 good handful of red lentils
1 tablespoon of desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon of cashew nuts broken up
½ pint of vegetable stock
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of dried cumin
1 teaspoon of dried powdered coriander
1 teaspoon of dried coriander leaves
5 cardamom pods
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
A ‘pinch’ of curry powder
Freshly ground sea salt, black pepper and chilli flakes to taste
Heat the oil in a large saucepan
Sauté the onion until soft but not brown, add the sweet potato, butternut squash, parsnips and carrots for 3-5 minutes over a gentle heat
Add the garlic, chilli, turmeric, powdered cumin and coriander, curry powder, cardamom pods salt, pepper, chilli flakes and red lentils and stir together for 1-2 minutes
Add the vegetable stock and desiccated coconut, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the lentils disappeared.
Add the lemon juice, cashew nuts and cabbage and leeks and simmer for a further 5 minute until the cabbage and leeks just begin to cook, but retain their ‘crunch’
Add the dried coriander leaves and simmer for 1 minute before serving with brown rice or/and pitta bread
The fragrance as this dish is cooking is surpassed only by its taste e- but don’t take my word for it – try it and see………