Peanut Butter Banana Curry

 photo WP_20170610_002_e_zpspxqosq28.jpgUpdate, 10 June 2017: I changed up the recipe so the sauce reduces more.

 photo WP_20170315_001_e_zpswumcr1ns.jpgSadly most curries are the same hue and make for pretty dull photos.

You thought it was a smoothie when you read it first, didn’t you, dear reader? Nope. Nyeh. Nah. It’s another peanut butter curry! Why? Because peanut butter is vastly cheaper than other nut butters. So, can I speak freely for a moment? Slough the shacks of time and go back, back to the bitter early start of, well, me? One problem I often face in these recipes is the portions. They’re suitable for me, but what of theoretical you? What if it’s too much? What if, what if, what if? Which makes me think of those angry early days, when there wasn’t a recipe that didn’t need a tweak and there was no one to hold my hand and guide me. So, I could stay bitter and angry, I could also think too much of the potential eater of these recipes, but now? Well, now I balance it out. I post the recipe, helping as much as I can, but I leave the adapting to you, if you need help I’m here of course, but the fretting and panicking isn’t there now, because I remember the struggles I had. I’m here as the person I needed then, offering recipes that cover so many allergies, especially the nightmarish nightshade intolerance, that’s enough of a burden for anyone. So, you get these, maybe not great, but certainly decent, recipes, a good bit of understanding from yours truly and I just get a break here and there. I put enough effort in to help, but never enough to hurt. It might sound silly, but that’s who I am, was perhaps, a helper until it hurt, but never getting the same back. Balance s important, your mental health is important and let’s face it, dearest reader, I do have a huge range of curries and if someone can’t tweak them it’s their loss. Now, in all that being said, I’m not attacking anyone passively aggressively, just venting to clear my own head. You’ve all been really amazing, all of my dear readers mean the world to me. It’s why I do all I do, it’s not much, but I hope it helps. Now, onto the curry and get that look of disgust off your face! Fruit and Nut curry is a great idea!

This recipe is slightly different in that I’ve grouped together the ingredients to make it easier to prepare, if it looks daunting then have no fear it’s really simple, just a bit more organised. I had the idea of a fruit and nut curry as I have plenty of either, but none of both combined. Banana and peanut butter are a pretty common combination, I coupled them with the usual add-ins. The lime, salt, sugar etc have all been used time and time again. The whole comes together really easily, the end result is a smooth, rich curry, with a refreshing taste with a little pop of sweetness and banana flavour. It can be reduced if you’d rather use less coconut milk, I just don’t want to waste the tin so I use it all. If you wanted a vegan version you could just omit the Chicken and replace it with vegetables, I’ve found all work well, but squash takes longer. You could even make this as a pour over sauce, I don’t know what it is about banana curries, but they remind me of “chip shop” curry. I imagine having a little to dunk your sweet potato fries in would be delicious. Not much to say, I wish there were other nightshade free recipes I could work from and create even more, but my limits are there and I can only work with what I have. Still, I do okay. Better than when I started with nothing at all, having to learn how to make a base curry that could make a wealth of others, but I learned and you can too. See you later.

Ingredients

First

1 Chicken Breasts, Chopped
1 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
1/3 Chicken Stock Cube
100ml Hot Water
Juice and Zest of 1/2 a Lime

Second

1/2 Large Yellow Onion, Roughly Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Cut in Half
1 Tbsp Sized Piece of Ginger, Peel and Chopped
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Third

160ml Coconut Milk or Coconut Cream
1 Large Banana, Chopped
1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Nightshade Free Hot Curry Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Parsley

Optional: Fresh Parsley to Serve.

Method

1. Mix together everything from the first list, but the Chicken, until a paste has formed. Set aside.

1. Heat Olive Oil in a pan and when hot add Onion, Garlic and Ginger then stir and let cook for 5-10 minutes, on a medium heat, or until soft.

2. Add Coconut Milk, Banana, Curry Powder, Brown Sugar, Salt and Parsley then stir together and heat for  5 minutes, then pour into a blender and blend until smooth, return to the pan and bring to the boil. Add in Paste and stir until everything has combined then add in Chicken, reduce heat and let it simmer on a medium heat for 20 minutes.

Butternut Squash Gravy

I Tried to make it fancy…Really.

I’ve seen a few vegetable thickened gravies around, but the problem was  either a vegetable I couldn’t eat or there was just too many ingredients or, rather, too specific ingredients. So I decided to tackle it myself. This is pretty loose as ingredients go, you could take out the herbs here and replace them with what ever you’d prefer. Add a bay leaf, toss in fresh meat juices, whatever you like. I really was surprised how little this tasted like Butternut Squash in stock, the taste is there, but it’s not over powering, the herbs really shine through and the squash gives it a rich, thick texture without being heavy. I’ll be honest, gravy for me was usually just packaged stuff so I don’t really have any tricks or secrets to share. Fresh herbs are a game changer, but dried are fine too.

It’s stupidly simple, but a really tasty gravy.

The problem with being a single cook is that a squash leaves a lot left over. I had some Sautéed Squash with this and I still have three servings of gravy in my freezer. It’ll be fine, I’ve had a similar recipe in my Squash Pasta and that heats as well after being frozen as it does when cooked fresh. You could conceivably use any vegetable, but you may be best to stick to something that wouldn’t over power the dish. I remember seeing a recipe for white sweet potato gravy, somewhere. Sadly I can’t get a wide selection of vegetables where I am, but the squash works well. If you needed a nut free, flour free, vegan etc option this would be great for the holidays, or any day. I have one more recipe, hopefully it works out, incoming, but that should end the deluge of posts. Back to normal next week or as normal as this posting schedule gets. Until later. Goodbye and good gravy!

Ingredients

300g Butternut Squash, Peeled and Cubed
600ml Stock (Chicken, Beef, Vegetable etc)
1/4 Tsp Sage or 1 Tsp Fresh Sage, Chopped
1/4 Tsp Thyme or 1 Tsp Fresh Thyme
1/4 Tsp Parsley or 1 Tsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Makes 4 Servings. If making individual servings portion it out (About 200ml each) after blending and freeze it. Defrost when wanted and use as normal.

Method

1. Add everything to a pot and bring to the boil, stir it up, reduce to a simmer and cook until squash is tender.

2. Pour into a blender and blitz until smooth or use a stick blender. Return it to the pot or a pan and cook on a medium heat until gravy has reduced to desired consistency.

It’s not soup. Well, it is, kinda. Let’s call it gravy.

Banana Curry Sauce with Chicken

There actually quite a bit of sauce, it’s just that I dug out a hollow in my rice to fill with the curry. I really have no reason as to why, just the rebuttal: “Why not?”

Tweaked from: Chicken With Banana Curry Sauce

I honestly have no idea if this really is Caribbean, I assumed there’d be more chillies if it were, but maybe it is. Either way it’s a really wonderfully simple and tasty recipe. There are two things to note: Firstly the colour differs because, I’m assuming (Lot of that out today, lots of asses being made out of all of us) that in the original the curry powder had paprika and me being nightshade free means mine lost some of the colour that spice imparts the sauce with. Secondly, I did make this in a saucepan for convenience sake, it’s been quartered, I only had ordinary chicken breasts and, honestly, my gut says it wouldn’t affect it to enough of a degree to change the dish.

Cooking is instinct, baking is science and this is one messed up smoothie.

Okay I should probably address the yellow elephant in the room. Yes, there is indeed a banana in this and yes I thought it sounded disgusting too. Now maybe you’re better informed on the whole banana curry debate, I’ve never once had a banana in a curry, nor even in a savoury dish, but there’s a part of me that never got to try so much different kinds of foods so now I’ll try anything once that I can eat. You’ll probably want to know how this tastes, right? Yeah….I’m going to start a new paragraph just to mess with you.

You got your raw chicken in my smoothie! You got your smoothie in my raw chicken!

So the taste, right, well, the smell is actually really pleasant (Sorry! Not Really!). The taste reminded me of something, it was a mild curry taste, a slight hint of sweetness from the banana, you might be best to go for a slightly ripe one, err on the side of green, too sweet may throw off the rest, but it reminded some part of my brain of former times. You see back in the fat-days I used to eat this thing called take-out, yeah, someone would cook food for me and I would pay them. Wild times. One of the things I remember fondly was this cheap Chinese shop curry sauce, it was probably just spices, wheat-flour and water. Cheap as chips and on chips (I vaguely remember those!) that’s what this was like! Yeah, strange I admit, maybe the coconut milk I usually use drowns out the taste of the curry powder, but here it came out in all its glory.

Flat leaf parsley would be preferable, but his came back from the dead. All new growth in Winter. How could I not use it?!

So, yup, this is a really nice simple curry sauce. You could ditch the chicken and just pour it over whatever suits, even replace out the butter for a vegan option. One thing I will say is that you should swish out the blender with the remaining water, that way there’s no waste. Sure it’s a simple trick, but it is useful. I’m just using a single serve smoothie blender, but a food-processor would work too. If all else a fork and some elbow grease would maybe work. It’d be lumpy, but edible. I’ll definitely come back to this recipe in future. This one’s a keeper. Oh yeah, for the banana look for a large, look for a small and go for one in-between, there’s no point weighing it, just eyeball it.

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts, Chopped
1 Medium Banana
200ml Water
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Lime Juice
Pinch Lime Zest
1/2 Tbsp Curry Powder
1/2 Tsp Ground Coriander
1/4 Tsp Ground Yellow Mustard Seed
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/8 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Optional: Fresh Parsley to serve.

Method

1. Add everything, but half the Water and Chicken, to a blender and blitz until smooth. Add more Water if needed to facilitate blending.

2. Add Sauce, Chicken and remaining Water to a large saucepan, stir it all together and heat on hight until sauce starts to bubble, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and sauce has reduced to desired consistency.

Turkey and Quinoa Meatballs

I thought it’d be an even pound, but nope. I still had to fiddle with the recipe.

Adapted from: Baked Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

You know what’s funny? I can’t ever remember making meatballs and I only remember eating them once. My memory is a little fuzzy thanks to the coeliac disease, amongst other things, so maybe I have had them more often, but I certainly haven’t made them while on this dietary regime (Sounds better than diet, right?). So what better when turkey mince (Or ground turkey, which sounds like you dropped it to me) pops up on special offer? Although, I’ve never even seen it in-stock before. As with all things I have to go with the flow and ebbs of the supermarkets stock so I decided why not?

I’ll try a full batch later on. I did try one as a test, but my diet is like clockwork and I can’t gum up the works by eating things out of order.

As you can imagine I needed to find a recipe that not only adheres to my dietary needs, but also one that matches up to my current pantry (Er, cupboard) stock. Once I remember quinoa as a substitute for breadcrumbs I lucked onto a recipe that could be adapted. The mixture seemed a tad soft, but I persevered and tossed a meatball in the pan and it firmed up wonderfully as it cooked. It has a nice herby taste that works well with the turkey and you can’t even notice the quinoa. These would be best in a sauce, but I’m not one to tell anyone how to eat. You can do as you will with them, like that book of Steinbeck’s once said: Thou Mayest.

One restaurant sized portion…*Sniggers*

Ingredients

350g Turkey Mince, Lean
1/2 Cup Cooked Quinoa
1/8 Large Yellow Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Grated
1 Small Egg
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1/8 Tsp Basil
1/8 Tsp Oregano
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Method

1. Add Everything to a bowl and mix together, by hand, until fully combined. Mixture will be soft, but will hold if squeezed together.

2. Scoop out 1 Tbsp worth of the mixture and form into a ball, repeat until all the mixture is used up. If not using all the Meatballs, place on a lined tray and freeze, when fully frozen transfer to freezer bags.

3. Heat some Olive Oil in a pan and then add the Meatballs, cook until browned then turn over to brown the other side, takes about 10-15 minutes. Make sure Meatballs are cooked through.

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

I took a decent photo! Ye…I forgot to add the pasta before adding the parsley…

Adapted from: Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

It’s funny how much this was changed in one day. I whipped up a single serve to test it out and I liked it so much I then decided to make the full recipe and freeze it for future dinners. This involved typing up my handwritten recipe (Best way to visualise a recipe) and then retyping it again later in the day. I haven’t changed the original much, I used stock instead of water, vegetable stock would work just as well as chicken. I’ve also listed the amount of Water, the original didn’t specify, you could reduce it if you aren’t freezing, you can just let it reduce down in the pan while you re-heat it if it is too thin. I found it didn’t reduce much whilst cooking the Squash and I just had to let it boil off some of the water when re-heating in a pan. It’s practically a thick soup so there plenty of leeway to add more water when blending or cooking.

Stupid pasta, hiding in the sink. I finally got a bigger pan! No more spilling for me! (Well, less spilling)

It was a really filling sauce, I’ve grown to really love Butternut Squash and it goes wonderfully with onion and garlic in soup so it’s no surprise it works well here. The fresh parsley add an additional layer of flavour, you could probably skip it if you can’t get your hands on it. Thankfully my herb garden is thriving in spite of the atrocious weather. I just added the sauce to chicken and pasta and it made a great dinner. It’s filled with so much good it’ll be taking the place of my other pasta dinner, the Coconut Alfredo as I’ve been wanting a change. Even better is the fact I can prepare it ahead of time and just cook up some pasta and chicken and have a quick dinner. Lord knows I need more of those. Simple and nutritious can’t be beat.

Ingredients

800g Butternut Squash/Hokkaido Pumpkin/Harlequin Squash, Cubed
1 Large Yellow Onion, Chopped
12 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
500ml Water/Chicken Stock
Olive Oil for Frying
Salt and Pepper to Taste

1/2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped, to Serve

Can be frozen.
Makes 4 Servings.

Method

1. Heat Olive Oil in a pot and add the Butternut Squash, Onion, Garlic, Salt and Pepper. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes or until Onion is soft.

2. Add Stock to pot and bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer and let cook until Squash is soft.

3. Add the contents of the pot to a blender and blend until smooth. When using add to a pan and heat until warm, cook for a while if sauce needs to reduce and thicken, then toss Pasta in sauce, add Parsley and serve.

Variations:

Curried Squash Sauce: Mix the Chicken with 1 Tsp Curry Powder and a Pinch of Salt and Black Pepper, then cook as normal.

Indian Spiced Squash Sauce: Mix the Chicken with 1 Tsp Garam Masala, 1/4 Tsp Turmeric and Ground Ginger and a Pinch of Salt and Black Pepper, then cook as normal.

Sweet Parsley: Add 1/4 Tsp, Dried Parsley, Light Brown Sugar, 1/8 Tsp Cumin, Coriander, Dried Oregano, Sea Salt, Garlic Powder
and a pinch of Black Pepper to Chicken and cook as normal.

Sweet Cinnamon: Add 1/4 Tbsp Sea Salt, Brown Sugar, 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon and 1/16 Tsp Ground Ginger, Ground Nutmeg to Chicken and cook as normal.

Savoury Cinnamon: Add 1/4 Tsp Salt, 1/4 Tsp Cumin, 1/8 (Heaped) Tsp Ground Ginger, 1/8 (Heaped) Tsp Cinnamon, 1/8 Tsp Garlic Powder and 1/16 Tsp Cloves to Chicken and cook as normal.

Tahini Sauces and Dressings

Mix everything together unless otherwise stated. Add Water or Other Liquids after mixing Tahini, Olive Oil and Lemon as they may prevent emulsification).

Roast Pumpkin Spice Dip

1 Tbsp Light Tahini
1 Tbsp Roasted Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Tbsp – 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1-2 Cloves Garlic, Grated or Equivalent in Garlic Paste
1/4 Tsp Pumpkin Spice
Salt to Taste

Sweet Almond Tahini Sauce

1 Tbsp Light Tahini
1/2 Tbsp Almond Butter
1/2 Tbsp – 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup or Honey
2 Cloves Garlic, Grated or Equivalent in Garlic Paste
Salt to Taste

Tahini, Honey and Cumin Salad Dressing (From: Here)

1 Tbsp Light Tahini/Dark Tahini
1 Tbsp Water
1/4 Tbsp Honey
1/4 Tsp Cumin
1 Clove Garlic, Grated or Equivalent in Garlic Paste
Salt to Taste

Optional: Add Fresh Chopped Parsley.

Tahini Maple Sauce goes great with Sautéed Sweet Potato.

Tahini Maple Sauce (From: Here)

1 Tbsp Light Tahini/Dark Tahini
1/2 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Sea Salt to Taste

Tahini Sauce

1 Tsp Garlic Paste or 1 Garlic Clove, Grated
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Tbsp Light Tahini/Dark Tahini
Pinch Sea Salt
Water as needed

 photo WP_20170117_007_e_zpswmlami4e.jpgTarator Sauce over Jerk Chicken.

Tarator Sauce

1 Tsp Garlic Paste (Add Salt to Garlic Clove and Crush in Mortar) or 1 Garlic Clove, Crushed and Chopped Fine
1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Light Tahini/Dark Tahini
Pinch Sea Salt
Water as needed
Optional: Chopped Fresh Parsley (Add at end of mixing)

Pesto

Pistachio Pesto (A personal Favourite)

Ingredients

2 Cups/50g Basil Leaves (No Stems) or 2 Cups of any Herb/Leafy Greens
125ml Olive Oil (Use less for a thicker Pesto)
1/4 Cup/35g Toasted or Raw Pistachios/Pine Nuts/Walnuts/Almonds
or
1/4 Cup/15g Dessicated Coconut
or
1/4 Cup/35g Hempseed
4 Cloves Garlic (More or less to taste)
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

65g is average serving weight. Usually yields four servings.
Top with Olive Oil when Freezing.

Method

1. Blitz everything unless otherwise stated.