Wholegrain Brown Rice

Yo, Dear Reader, last recipe without a photo, I promise, though it might be the last new recipe for a while, I haven’t much to work with any way and the garden might be taking up more of my time, still I wanted to share this as I’ve posted a lot of rice recipes over the years, but knowing how to cool fluffy, soft rice isn’t something that’s all that well known where I live, mostly because all the packets suggest cooking it like pasta, instead you can cook it the proper way. This is pretty much emulating what a rice cooker does, or maybe it’s the other way round, I don’t use rice cookers, Dear Reader, it’s all single servings for me. Handily there’s no need to wash this, I did give it a quick rinse through, but unlike the hulled rice this retains the hull and doesn’t wash and stays firmer when cooked. It uses more water as here’s no soaking either. I personally prefer the wholegrain basmati, but I have been eating that for so long I’m probably biased. Still, worth a shot even if you dislike rice, when it’s coked well every grain is discernible, but tender, not sticky, but holds just a little. Never thought I’d talk so much about plain rice, but here we are, Dear Reader. I’ll be back again soon, until then stay safe and take care.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup of Brown Rice
250ml Water

Method

  1. Add the Water and Rice to a flat bottomed pot. Put the pan on high heat. Wait until the water boils and starts bubbling then turn the heat down to medium (3 on hob) cover and let it just sit there for 20 minutes.
  2. After the 20 minutes is up, turn off the heat open the lid and place a folded tea towel over the pot and return the lid. Let it stand for another 10 minutes or so. After 10 minutes, lift the lid, remove the tea towel and take a fork and fluff the Rice.

Colombo Powder

Yo, Dear Reader, can you believe it, I have a new recipe to share, it’s been, well it’s been a while, this is just a quick and simple curry blend from here, very slightly changed, I always look for he most authentic recipes from other countries, which means more often than not I can’t eat them or can’t adapt them and still call them by the same name. I find it’s important to respect he original recipes, there’s a reason they’re made the way they are even if you’re unfamiliar with them. This is a pretty simple curry blend, but the rice adds a beautiful nutty flavour and functions as a thickener, I’d post a photo, though it was just a simple curry, but I ended up ill with a stress headache and could about just eat it. But you know me, Dear Reader, I’d never post anything I didn’t consider up to standard and if I get the chance I will update this with a photo. I have a simple brown rice recipe too, I haven’t made wholegrain long grain rice in years, only wholegrain basmati, so I’ll pop that up for anyone that may need it soon. It’s the usual recipe, with the tea towel tip added, no need to wash the brown rice at least. Funny how these two recipes will combine to make a self thickening curry and a quickie rice that syncs up its cooking time with the curry. Which isn’t a fluke, I mostly planned things out that way, it’s helped over the years. I’ll be back to myself soon, Dear Reader, for now I hope you’ll find a use for this in some way or other, until later, stay safe and take care.

Ingredients

45g Brown Rice
1/2 Tbsp Ground Mustard Seeds
1/2 Tbsp Ground Fenugreek
1/2 Tbsp Black Pepper
1 Tsp Turmeric
1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 Tsp Ground Coriander
1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Ground Cloves

Method

  1. Add the Brown Rice to a saucepan and stir over a high heat until an even golden brown colour and fragrant. Be careful not to burn. Remove from heat and pour in a bowl to cool.
  2. Grind the Rice when cool and mix together with the Spices and place all everything into a jar. Shake to combine. Store in an airtight jar.

Same Old, Same New: Carrot Curry Refill

 

I did wonder why some purple carrots were listed as being purple all the way through, now I understand.

(A Dear Reader was kind enough to send a donation, I won’t mention their name, but I did want to thank them here and I hope they see this, thank you again, it meant a lot to me.)

Yo, Dear Reader, this post is an ungodly mess as it’s been updated a few times, there has been a huge bathroom renovation and I’ve had to fill, sand and paint a couple of doors, so I’ve been a bit all over the place, heh, I hope you’ll forgive me this because there is something worth sharing, alongside the carrot curry recipe rework. I did this in he middle of filling spice jars and replenishing blends, filling a door, scratched by the Late Naru over thirteen years of letting herself in, so it isn’t all that fancy a rework of Pumpkin Curry, but it is a delicious delivery of fresh onion and carrot, that never lost the taste despite all the processing. I used a curry blend, that is a variation of Nightshade Free Curry Powder where, no I never leave anything be, why do you think I’m plastering a door?, I add whatever else I see in the spice rack. You can add too much and mar the flavour, but a little pinch here and there does wonders for a very mild flavoured blend. The rest is just subbing carrot for pumpkin, carrot and curry powder really go well together, it was just sweet enough and really creamy, I just had to sit in the middle of the mess I myself created, nothing new there, Dear Reader.

There is currently so much happening that I’m only just certain I ate this today.

So, today I received a call, that to my poor torment brain sounded like the direst of news until I took a moment to think, there is a time-frame for the surgery, they hope to have it done before the end of the year, but it may slip into next, before Christmas is the latest they’re hoping for, but is wishes were horses etc, I will hopefully get a consultation in the coming months and start this terrifying merry go round all over again, if everything stays to the plan this will be the last surgery, a grouping of three procedures, so Jack will be knocked for a loop, it shouldn’t be as severe as the first, hard to beat that, but still I’ll be ready. I hold onto hope so carefully, Dear Reader, it’s a fragile, sharp thing when broken and I know the hurt this can bring, I’m far too familiar with it, but the idea of an end of the year finish would be incredible. The gardening has been bad this year, a cruelty as I was hoping to use it as a distraction from the wait, but if I could get the most of my healing done in the Winter months, best not to think too much on it, it’s a positive turn, Dear Reader, I’ll take small steps towards hope, it’s all I can bear right now. Sorry for this being messier than usual, I’ll be finished with the big DIY work soon and will be back in top Jack form, as good as that ever is. Until later, take care.

Bonus: Impromptu Rough Shepard’s Pie

I can still make a decent roux, who knew?

This will need to be adapted, I haven’t done anything with free-from flours in roux so you’re on your own, Dear Reader, it just seemed a shame not to share it. I meant to photograph the entire thing, but I went and painted a door instead. As you do. I made this from scratch, with no recipe to follow, mostly due to the fact the package version seemed terrible and I had a rough idea of what I had to do and a friend recommended some parts too, as I say, it just seemed a pity to not share it, you never know what could be useful to someone. Head over to Twitter for the recipe…the rough recipe.

Update: Turns out this was really good, even for a finicky eater, the recipe needed typing up so, for the gravy at least here you go, again you’ll need to figure the allergens etc, I’m just sharing it rough not as a recipe proper.

Gravy

Ingredients

450g Lamb Mince
30g Butter
30g Plain Flour
1 Medium Onion
2 Medium Carrots
1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
1/2 Tbsp Brown Sauce
1 Beef Bullion/Stock Cube
1 Tsp Dried Thyme
1 Tsp Dried Parsley
A Few Leaves of Fresh Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Method

1. Dice the Onions and Carrots and fry in some Olive Oil and Butter until Carrots are soft and the Onion has browned.

2. While Onion and Carrots are cooking steep the Thyme in Boiling water for a few minutes, remove the Thyme and add the Stock Cube, Dried and Fresh herbs, Salt and Pepper and mix. Add a little to a blender along with the Carrots and Onion mixture blend until smooth. Set aside.

3. Heat the Butter in a pot on a medium high heat until melted and just starting to bubble, remove from heat and whisk in the Flour, return to the heat, whisking constantly, until the Roux has started to become fragrant, add in the Tomato Puree and Brown Sauce and whisk for a minute or two.

4. Reduce the heat slightly and add the Herby Stock to the Roux base and whisk until there are no lumps, add in the Onion and Carrot Puree, adding a little water to the blender to loosen and whisk everything together. Heat for a few minutes until thick.

5. In a closed pan fry the Mince in a little oil with some water and let it steam on a medium heat until Mince has been cooked through. Drain and stir into Gravy.

Sweet Potato Curry

Considering I was just trying this out it seemed best to have everything ready.

Actually as creamy as you’d hope.

You hear that, Dear Reader? That’s the sound of me scraping the bottom of the barrel. All joking aside I really am running out of combinations, I just have so few ingredients and only so many ways they can be combined. I’m still without amaranth and now eating quinoa twice a week, well for dinners, I eat it everyday puffed. I’m saying that I racked my brains to make something new, Dear Reader and I failed. Then while finding no squash in the supermarket, all that have appeared since are tiny, I had to make Cottage Pies with just sweet potato which always ends up slightly stodgy, so I decided to blend the sweet potato with some butter, that I had none of, so milk was used, the gravy was left thinner and the pies were absurdly creamy and delicious. So, I went ahead with the idea of using pureed sweet potato with extra water, accidentally stumbled on something useful: Reducing the coconut cream to cook the sweet potato stopped the whole being too much sauce and had to make this again, but better. So, I ended up browning the onions, slow work, but oh so buttery, letting the chicken cook to give it a firmer texture so it wouldn’t be lost in amongst the creamy rich sauce, the maple syrup and spices bringing just the right complimenting flavour to the sweet potato and the whole dish became a decadent rich and flavoursome wonder. It really takes like sauteed sweet potatoes and caramelised onions, without containing either, the onions are only browned, the garlic too which is where the taste comes from even more.

Blended sweet potato looks like melted cheese, doesn’t taste like it, but people like to pretend it does so you’ll follow them.

The onions melt and the sauce darkens.

So, a little more time consuming, but worth taking the time to enjoy while consuming. The curry powder would be a sticking point in another recipe, the variable flavours of every blend out there might clash, but as sweet potato works so well with any blend, most containing common spices and herbs and many of the more unusual ones being perfectly matched to sweet potato, you have no problem getting the flavour just right. The sauce is really velvety and though richly flavoured isn’t in any way heavy or too filling, it’s mostly empty vegetable and taste. You know how it often goes, Dear Reader, a nightshade diet brings out the nomato recipes that without flavoursome vegetables will never really satisfy, here they keep the flavours from overpowering everything. All things in cooking and baking are balance, Dear Reader. I’m glad to finally have a new recipe to share, though I’m nearing five hundred, the majority being originals. I’ll be back with a garden post sooner rather than later, Dear Reader, until then take care.

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts, Chopped
160ml Coconut Cream
150g Finely Cubed Sweet Potato
1 Yellow Onion, Chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, Diced
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

For the Spice Blend:

1 Tsp Curry Powder
1/4 Tsp Ground Cumin
1/4 Tsp Ground Turmeric
1/4 Tsp Ground Coriander
1/8 Tsp Ground Fenugreek
1/8 Tsp Dried Parsley

Method

1. Add Coconut Cream and Sweet Potato to a pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Then cover and cook until Sweet Potato is tender and Coconut Cream has reduced and thickened. Remove from heat and pour into a blender, blend until smooth, adding Water as necessary, until a thick pourable puree has formed. Set aside.

2. Wipe out the pan and add Butter, let melt on a high heat and add Onions and Garlic, cook on a high heat, making sure they don’t burn, until Golden Brown. Will take about 15-20 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and add Chicken and Spices and stir to combine, cook for a further 10 minutes.

4. Add Puree and Maple Syrup and stir everything together, turn the heat to low and let the sauce gentle simmer until it has warmed through and thickened. Serve with Rice.

Same Old, Same New: Coconut Milk Omission

The Original is here.

I did say I haven’t been doing much differently, Dear Reader, but as I was making a rough curry ramen just yesterday, a simple curry, but I just heated the coconut milk and left the sauce looser, it was actually really good, but whether I could emulate it exactly again is hard to say and a second try might make it forgettable, lets let it stay legend. As I was saying, sorry Dear Reader! I do ramble occasionally,  I had a coconut curry already so I decided to go for another “dry” curry, I say “dry” in quotes because there are curries known as dry curries if I’m not mistaken and I’m not claiming this as any free-from variation, these are just playful, fun reworks on old recipes and this is a very old recipe. It must be my second ever nut butter curry, which was special once as nut butters were new to me and as they were, still are, expensive I hated to waste them in uncertain recipes, but without many trials and tests I wouldn’t be where I am today, Dear Reader, so this recipe, simple in flavour and execution in both the original form and this version, has a special place in my heart, or stomach perhaps.

So, with he basic recipe in mind I left out the coconut milk and added some sweet potato chunks. I just mixed the spices, almond butter, some water and a little honey into a paste, coated the chicken and set that aside, I fried the onion and garlic until just starting to brown and added the sweet potato, I time it all by the rice so the whole thing takes about half an hour, a little more for the onion and garlic, the sweet potato can be tricky to cook alongside anything else in my experience, too little, even just a hair, and you end up with hard pieces, too much and you end up with mush, take it nice and slow and low and you’ll be fine, after ten minutes or so I added the chicken on the same low heat, adjusting as necessary, none of this is exact, nor does it need to be, and just let everything cook away. I use a little more spice when doing it this way, but the taste is still mild and pleasant, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but it is a useful way to make an old recipe new again for a dinner. That’s it for today, Dear Reader, I’ve mostly been out in the garden these last few days and next week looks to be the same, but perhaps better, so I should get my dose of Vitamin D and fresh air. I hope wherever you are the weather is pleasant and the food is tasty. Until later, Dear Reader, take care.

Same Old, Same New: Kind Words Curry

Everything can look like a white sauce if you try.

Yes, you to can make a simple white sauce with just a parsnip and coconut milk! Hah! Scared you there, Dear Reader, you thought I’d succumbed to the temptation to write up descriptions of my recipes that don’t reflect the truth, didn’t you? No? I appreciate your staunch faith in Jack, but really it shows how easy it is to present a recipe disingenuously and how unlikely you are to be called on it. I’m just me, Dear Reader, I never think of anything I eat beyond myself and you, the Dear Reader of every post, if I’ll eat it and you might too then you deserve absolute transparency in every post. Today I was playing with my Pumpkin Curry recipe, a great Winter warmer thanks to the spices, it’s May first, but still: Curry! I have done this format with this recipe before, but today I’m using Parsnip. See the title does make some semblance of sense. Why? Because I’ve been curious as to the texture of blended parsnip in a curry for the longest time. You have no idea how much I think about food, Dear Reader, there’s a very good reason I grow tired at times.

Oil and Sunlight make for glistening curry.

I’ve made this curry with pumpkin, squash, freshly harvested too, and sweet potato, but the sweet potato makes it too thick, this is where parsnip is useful, squash isn’t very good this year, it’s been on a decline and I have to hope it improves, it helps thickens the sauce, but lets it retain a measure of looseness, it coats the chicken and the spices mask the strong flavour of the parsnip well, but it doesn’t feel heavy. I sauteed the parsnip in butter first, I keep it in the freezer so I thought I may as well while I was going to need to cook it before blending anyway, it blends smoother than carrots which I often find lumpy, but then again it was blended with a lot of liquid. This curry could work with any vegetable, but some are just naturally more suited, the spices overpower the vegetables unless they’re sweet, like Uchiki Kuri, so you can toss in cheap vegetables and never notice. I blended the parsnip and coconut milk, but left the onions as is, I like the texture and never thought I’d say that. A simple curry, one that freezes well, has a really warm taste profile, but isn’t hot and does heat you up on a cold day. Whether you use pumpkin, parsnip or sweet potato you’ll find it a velvety, smooth curry. That’s it for today, Dear Reader, I’ll have to root through my own recipes to see where I’ll diverge next. Until later, take care.

AIP Chicken Korma

Original Recipe here. You can figure out the servings for yourself, this is what I usually eat as one.

A recipe that I didn’t make, Dear Reader, how novel. Rare at this stage, but Jack is ever curious, or bored rather. I went hunting recipes and though I know about the AIP diet, I know about most diets both practical and snake oil, I haven’t read all that extensively about it. I intersect most dietary plans with my own, but as some of the AIP is forbidden to me, too much really, and cutting out more to match it would be absurd and pointless, for me you understand, no disrespect to the diet, which seems useful to those who require it, safe too which is essential. But we have the no nightshades, and the ever ubiquitous nomato sauce, which I don’t care for all that much, it just feels dull, in common. Will I have further AIP friendly recipes? Maybe, I may already have, but to be truthful I have tagged recipes, taking painstaking hours to help people who diets I don’t follow, taken such care as to make no mistakes and haven’t heard a word of thanks. I’m no longer pushing or punishing myself like that for the blog, as I often said, Dear Reader, what good I do now will suffice, I’ve more than paid my debt of gratitude.

Still, I like the anti-inflammatory aspect of this recipe. With the ever fluctuating weather my histamine intolerance is rearing up unpredictably, I counter it as best I can, add more to those counters I use regularly when this happens and generally ride out the storm. You can see it’s a fairly basic recipe, I have tweaked the preparation to line up more with my own methods, but this doesn’t change the recipe in any meaningful way. I skipped the cauliflower rice, I’m currently fighting my apathy toward cauliflower in my own way, I still prefer broccoli, but variations keep a diet interesting. It’s a reduced, not thickened, sauce, since it’s in a pot it won’t reduce greatly, you could do it in the pan, but I don’t know if cooking the onions too much would ruin the AIP safeness. The spices are a curt down curry powder, it’s fairly salty, but that cuts through the turmeric, to works well enough and doesn’t feel too plain. I left off the cilantro because I can’t seem to tolerate it. I have a lot of curry recipes, they’re just so adaptable, and may have many similar to this, but as it was AIP and I was tired of the usual I gave it a whirl and it was fine. Nothing to vow you, but as you know, Dear Reader, any recipe made exclusively for a free-from diet often needs us to be accepting of its limits.

So, I will be searching around sometime, depending on the weather, if it’s fine then it’s a gulp and run kind of day, if it’s dreary it’s a brooding and planning day, not a given it’ll produce recipes, but the chances are better. If you are on an AIP diet then I’ll tag any recipes from here on out and if you know of any recipes here that are suitable please let me know in the respective comment section and I’ll update the tag. Until later then, Dear Reader, take care and wish for finer weather.

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts, Chopped
160ml Coconut Cream
1/2 Yellow Onion, Chopped Fine
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tbsp (30ml) Olive Oil
1 Tsp Honey or Maple Syrup

Spice Blend:

2 Tsp Ground Turmeric
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

Optional: Cilantro leaves, to garnish.

Method

1. Heat Olive Oil in a pan and when hot add Onion and Garlic, mix and cover. Let cook for 5-10 minutes, on a medium heat, or until soft.

2. Add Spice Blend and add Chicken then stir together and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add Coconut Milk and stir. Then let simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes, uncover, add the Honey and cook for a further 10 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce slightly.

Same Old Same New: Mild To The Max

Mix it all up and just slather it everywhere.

I never actually run out of much because, Dear Reader, I write the shopping list, do the shopping and that will never happen. I don’t like hunger and outside of the set things I eat daily and weekly there isn’t anything I can just grab so I never let it happen. I do occasionally run low, I buy a lot of fruit and vegetables that wouldn’t stay fresh if I buy too many, so sometimes I’m left wondering what I’ll make with what I have. Today I wanted something mild tasting, not to be mistaken for bland, something warm, since the weather is miserable, filling and just gentle. So I took this and this and smashed them together.

I found a shallot, so add shallots.

The carob chicken is intense due to the prevalence of aniseed flavours, I mitigated that by using garam masala as the spice instead of the Five Spice, just a rough teaspoon this all rough, Dear Reader, I used a tablespoon of honey and carob syrup, surprisingly this isn’t noticeably sweet, the honey cuts the tahini’s sharp taste, I mixed all that with a little salt, pepper and garlic granules, it’s just a thick paste, but I rubbed it all onto the chicken anyway, you’ll have to scoop it all into the pan when frying, but it cooks better when mixed first.

I’m sparing this carob syrup, so much that I forget to use it.

I used an onion, garlic, I love garlic, and a shallot, fried in olive oil this time, rather than butter. Tossed the chicken into the pan on a low heat, keeping it from caramelising too much, again: mild, left that to cook for a while, this was being cooked alongside the rice so times vary, I love this post format as this is how I often cook, Dear Reader, rather than he methodical posts you often see accompanying recipes, I do that for my Dear Reader who wants to learn, but you can lean here too, just in a less structured way.

Coconut cream because it’s all I had.

I tossed in the coconut cream, which was thickened by the tahini and peanut butter, about half a tablespoon each. There can be an issue getting the sauce to reduce when using nut or seed butters, you’re better to let the coconut cream or milk residue first and then add them, otherwise you’ll have to crank up the heat and potentially spilt the cream, which isn’t bad, but it can be very oily and might not be that pleasant. The whole thing just simmered away, I occasionally tossed the chicken about, more for something to do than for any real purpose, though flip it at least once to ensure and even cook.

Anything like this ends up either Golden Brown or Sunny Orange.

As for the taste? It was just a gentle, warming dish.It is funny how you can add too much to a dish and destroy the balance and here there was a very simple flavour, that tasted just right, if there wasn’t enough it’d be noticeable, but it isn’t so strong that you notice the flavour all that much either. I’m no great expert on spices, Dear Reader, I’ve learned a lot over the years, but I still add too much, forget to taste. There are so many useful spices and I try to vary it, there are many health benefits to everything I use, it’s why I eat what I eat, I just no longer think of that as I cook, I just do it and enjoy it. Hopefully I’ll have something new soon, Dear Reader, I did make scones and quinoa bread, I used teff and buckwheat and it is very tasty as a combo. Worth thinking of for future recipes. Until later, take care.

Same Old, Same New: Almond Curry In A…Well, Just a Pan.

In all honesty, Dear Reader, I haven’t enough content to fill two posts so once again I’ll do double duty and just ram all of this into one.

You’ll forgive me because you’re so kind-hearted…surely…I hope.

An oldie, but a goodie. Original Here.

My curries all spawn from my own recipes, the earliest are the Peanut and Almond, when I first went nightshade free after only just learning how to make Thai curries, a sad loss as they’re delicious, there wasn’t really an recipes beyond the most basic and bland curry sauce, naturally I couldn’t stick at a diet that was just bland food over and over, I had to learn and learn fast, there was no preemptive planning with any of this, it was all terrifying seat of the pants stuff and I never once went backwards. Which is crazy when I think of he resolve that that took. The almond curry was originally a almond crumbed chicken recipe with Indian spices, my first introduction to garam masala if I’m not mistaken. It hasn’t yet been nine years yet that was another life and another me, Dear Reader. It is a simple recipe, still it had the benefit of having spices that were very distinct from the usual curry powder and it used almond butter sparingly, always a bonus at the cost, without losing the taste. Yes, Dear Reader, I worked out a recipe based on rough approximations, almonds became almond butter, spices that seemingly paired with that flavour became a part of my pantry and I jammed all these new ideas into the basic curry recipe that has stood me all these years.

Rich colour thanks to so many browns.

The garlic is up.

Extreme close up. They’re going back now. Hope the last until next year.

Now there are really just two ways I do curries, in a pot, where there is a lot of sauce and very tender meat, and vegetables if using, if not and they appear you’ve done something wrong, this is naturally due to the steam, it can cause too much sauce if there’s a lot of moisture present, like if you’re adding fruit and as nut butter will thicken and stop sauce reducing too much you can end up swimming in curry, which sounds great really, no, Dear Reader, I will not take any of this seriously, I know too much that if I speak seriously about it it sounds stuffy and arrogant, so I sometimes use a frying pan instead, it helps with quick reduction and does cook everything quickly. Today i decided to enhance the flavours a little, I fried the onion and garlic in a little butter and olive oil, on a nice high heat, but not letting them burn just brown, butter helps this as it browns too as it heats, I then added a little honey and let it caramelise a little, then I added the usual spices, with a little extra asafoetida powder, still unsure how to use it outside curries, and a little Chinese Five Spice, mostly the same, in went the chicken, almond butter and the spices to be coated and cooked through, to keep the chicken firmer. The whole mixture cooked away on a lower heat for a while so the coconut milk wouldn’t split when added, I warm it on the range to melt it and save myself scraping the tiny tin, and the whole pan turned the golden brown colour you see above. It’s all the browns in the recipe combining. It doesn’t guarantee it’ll taste good, but it did this time, I reduced it a lot and the taste was intense. It’s a really great recipe and I love the health benefits that the spices and ingredients bring. I think about it a lot, but understand no ingredient is a magical cure and by itself rather useless. Eat all the good you can, Dear Reader that’s my motto.

A little less chaos next year…I hope.

Finally the juice is loose!

I’m still cleaning stones, there must have been three or four tons taken, all for free thanks to a friend’s kindness in thinking of Jack, Dear Reader, but the work is mostly done. The rose garden has been roped in as has the dahlia patch, the first I suppose I have to say now as there is a second, which will need some fencing too, have to keep making work for myself to get through the Winter after all. The eyelets let the rope run smoothly and kept it tight so that worked, hopefully it’ll stop the inevitable sprawl of the roses. I feed my plants well, and as I sit here typing this I’m reminded I have a bucket of comfrey tea that has been there for a month or two, maybe three, that might need to be emptied and soon, it’ll be smelly, which is avast understatement, I’m scared, Dear Reader. I have undiluted, no rain to wash the worms in the greenhouse, shocking I know, it doesn’t rain indoors, write that down, worm…worm juice? Worm…feed? No idea, there are crude options here, but this is a family blog so shush. Supposedly you can store the run off from both the worms and the rotting vegetable matter, it’s lost in the composters, no way to save that and with the volume of rain it’d be heavily watered anyways, if it helps then it’ll be great, should be useful it’s every thing from coffee to banana peel, all the nutrient rich waste that people, er, waste. I just need a rain cover when the wormery travels back outside in the Spring. Growing food is exciting if you’re interested, probably dull if you’re not. Ah, well, Dear Reader, you can’t please everyone and if they complain I’ll throw comfrey tea at them. Until later. Take care.

Same Old, Same New: Pumpkin Curry

The sunlight refused to stop obscuring the sauteing squash.

Pumpkin Curry.This isn’t a huge variation, but a really interesting look at the importance of each ingredient and its effect on the flavour balance of a dish. It’s funny, Dear Reader, I used to post quite a few variation posts when I was creating new recipes, but over time the variations have become set and what’s left is, well, this. Wildly varying changes to recipes that due to the inexact nature can’t be recorded the same way. This is why I’m playing around with the new post style. So, pumpkin curry, a very Wintery dish, very warming and slightly spicy. What I used today was an sweet dumpling squash and two things happened: It obtained a much richer, more velvety texture. It was just so thick and creamy, amazing what a fresh squash can do. The problem is usually that squash can be watery and if you used a sweet potato it’d become too dense and stodgy. Naturally the ingredient is tricky, but that’s what these posts are for. More education and elucidation than straight forward recommendations.

I rarely change plates, but when I do it’s just the same dishes. Again and again.

The second thing, you thought I’d forgotten! Hah! Er, the second was that the sweet flavour of the squash, also the Roscoff onions, slightly caramelised by mistake, again not a recipe, just me cooking, brought out a missing element. It cut through the strong spices, really balancing the whole dish better than I’ve ever had it, if the squash’s taste is weak or watery the whole isn’t at the level this was. Naturally that’ll be hard to do when the squash run out, I’ll have to freeze some of this sauce sans meat, but it’s interesting to see the best version of a dish. You can’t always get one hundred percent from a dish, but when you do it’s amazing and a pleasure to eat. Yeah, I see it, I sauteed some of the sweet dumpling, they crisped up lovely, had a sweeter, melting centre than the honeybear. The only issue is you need to cut them into segments and then chop away the skin as the shape is very awkward, you can roast, but I like it this way. I’m wondering if this is one of the mystery squash’s parents. Butternut and sweet dumpling look like they could make this. Who knows, I’ll enjoy it while I have it. I’ll be back again later, Dear Reader, take care.

Probably the last big chilli pepper harvest. I’m not even eating them, but I like harvesting them.