I don't necessarily mean building a whole new kitchen. Although I would love some new hobs. The hobs we have, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, are those electric ceramic ones where it's incredibly hard to control the temperature. I just want my gas flames back!
Anyway, off track a bit. Our landlord is quite nice in that he understands we'll be here a while and we'd like to make it home so he let's us treat it like our own flat. We have pictures up on the walls, our own curtains and lampshades... all that jazz. I even have a couple of pictures up in the kitchen. Ones that were painted by my grandad. They're nice and foodie, they're of still life vegetables. Although if I had moving life vegetables I would be worried.
What I mean by DIY in the kitchen pretty much follows on from my last post. I know I went on a bit of a rant about shop bought sauces and things but we really do take for granted how much sugar isn't in things. One of the reasons they have such a long shelf life (only one, mind you) is because of the amount of sugar in them. What else goes in so that we don't taste the sugar so much? I shudder to think.
Now, I've never used a jarred curry sauce myself but I have friends who love it. And why the heck not? I bet the mild ones are just as creamy and buttery as you'd get in a take away. But again, my dear, dear readers... the SUGAR! Please step away from the jars. Be adventurous. If you really are nervous about mixing spices - and that's really ok until you get the flavours down - use the paste instead of the sauce. The paste gives you a foundation of spice which you can make your own sauce around. It's a lot of fun.
I'm going to give you a recipe that is a foolproof, works every time and is so satisfying that you can either eat it with rice or the Indian bread of your choice.
Chicken and Spinach Curry
3 chicken breasts, diced
1 tbsp plain flour
125g fresh spinach
1 lage onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green chilli, finely chopped
5cm piece of ginger, grated
1 tbsp coriander seeds
3 cardamom pods
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp madras powder
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
Sunflower or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
It looks like a lot of ingredients but it's really no hassle to make.
First, coat the chicken with the flour. This will stop the chicken juices making the pot really watery and it will give the chicken a nice colour. You can omit the flour just fry the chicken for longer to get it nice and brown.
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan. Cook the chicken until it's a nice golden brown colour. I's ok if it's not completely cooked because it will cook again in the curry. Remove the chicken from the pot.
Add a little more oil to the pot, turn up the heat and fry off the onions until soft. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli until they're nicely cooked, stirring every so often. Add the coriander seeds and fry them well, then add the powdered spices. Stir everything together well.
Add the chicken back in and coat it completely with the spice mix you have just made. Add the spinach and when it's almost completely wilted, add the tin of tomatoes. Half fill the tin with water and add it to the pot. Stir in your bay leaves and a teaspoon each of salt and pepper and bring the curry to the boil. Leave it to simmer covered for 15 minutes.
Taste the curry and add more seasoning if needed. Ta.Da.