The lovely Hugh and his lovely shroom recipes…

Hello lovelies, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Here is my picture of Saturday dinner. I don’t often Instagram my dinners, but when I do….

 

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This is the lovely Hugh FW’s Mushroom Tart from his River Cottage Everyday cookbook, which is one of my favourite books in the world.

The puff pastry was on the reduced counter of Tesco for 5p, so I bought it to freeze.

The mushrooms were on offer in Lidl. It would be nice to add wild mushrooms, but I am nowhere near an accomplished or confident enough forager. Besides, it’s not the season.

The parsley is from the garden and, soon, the garlic will be too.

The breadcrumbs are from the scrag ends of loaves it’s too easy to just throw away.

Parmesan is just something we always have in the fridge because, like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it’s an investment that goes a long way.

We added some Gorgonzola to the adult part because it was in the fridge and we had it to use up .

I served it with a rocket salad. It was absolutely amazing. It would be great for those mushrooms you have languishing in the fridge that have maybe gone a bit sticky and you’re not quite sure what to do with them. USE THEM! They are fine!

If you find supermarket mushrooms rather bland, consider buying some mushroom ketchup , it is, frankly, something your pantry should not be without. Link is for Waitrose, we got ours from Sainsburys’s. Honestly, invest in some. It’s adds amazing depth to so many dishes.

(It’s also nothing like ketchup in consistency, more like a Worcestershire Sauce or gravy browning.)

Unfortunately, we were unable to add said ketchup to the above dish because hubbie dearest had used it all in his various dishes (it works beautifully with meat) but fortunately, it was still amazingly tasty.

Definitely one to try, and one that won’t break the bank; particularly if you can buy your frozen pastry on the reduced/whoops counter or if you are confident enough to make your own ruff-puff, advice on which is included in the above link.

I’m sure it would also be lovely on a pizza base, which can be made easily in a bread machine or with this yeast free easy thin pizza base recipe.

Hope you love it as much as we did!

 

Bon appetit!

 

 

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Self Care September

 

I was mooching around on Twitter this morning, as I do, and I came across the hashtag #selfcareseptember . I will confess right now that it’s the first time I had heard of it, but it immediately struck me that a) this is a fabulous idea and b) I have been subconsciously using September as my own self-care month.

OK, I am getting married at the beginning of October; and part of this urge for self-care is, quite frankly, to stop me getting so stressed that I’m an absolute wreck and on three bottles of gin a day by the big event and also, in a rather uncharacteristically girlie way, a chance for me to feel and, hopefully look, the best I can. Although, let’s face it, given my usual look is slept-in-a-hedge chic, just having my hair brushed and no dirt on my face will be a vast improvement.

Just a quick disclaimer: I don’t have any medical training, though I’m very good at putting randoms in the recovery position, and I’m not squeamish about blood. I’m not trying to say that a bit of self-care is going to solve all your problems and ‘cure’ mental illness. It would be a gross and insensitive underestimation of all our intelligence to even imply that this could be the case. What I can attest to, however, is how various things I do at this time of the year personally help me.

For those of you who don’t know me, I suffer from a delightful combination of clinical depression and severe anxiety. I am currently on Citalopram for the depression side and beta-blockers and mindfulness for the anxiety and, touch wood, I have been pretty stable with only fairly minor peaks and troughs for the past few months. So yes, having lived with this for at least the past thirty years, I do get mental illness. I also appreciate that we are all totally different, and what helps some will not necessarily help others. Always remember that mental illness is a spectrum, and all of us are on it somewhere, and wherever we are can be massively traumatic and confusing – do try not to compare your emotions with those around you.

There are times where you might like to try some of these. There are times where you might be too scared to leave the house, or too wired to concentrate, or too sad to get out of bed. Don’t worry, there will be other days to try, if you want to. Don’t add to your troubles by feeling you somehow fail because you can’t always manage self-care. That defeats the purpose.

“Autumn casts a spell
and dying never was so beautiful.” – Amelia Dashwood

September is a strange time of the year for me. It is undoubtedly breathtakingly beautiful, with the myriad colours and early frosts and morning mists; but also tinged with sadness. It has always represented, for me, an ending of things. The close of summer, the death of warmth. I’m not sure why I was always so pessimistic about the changing of the seasons, I can only put it down to the fact that I love hot, sunny weather and, as a naturally outdoorsy type I love the long days and the buzz of nature.

Last year I decided to do my best to get a grip on how I dealt with the colder, darker months. I was already unwell, I knew that, and understood that I needed to knuckle down and deal with getting through that without being bogged down with additional seasonal depression; and the best way I could think to be proactive was to find things that I really enjoyed doing and fit them into a self care routine as a way of treating myself whilst my poorly brain rested and recovered.

Here are a few things that work for me:

Walking It Out

They say there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. They have obviously never spent November in Scotland. Nevertheless, there is a lot to be said for a stroll, whatever the weather. Some of my favourite stomps have been on the dreichest of days where I have sloshed through mud, felt icy rain batter my face, and watched the rippled circles from raindrops dance on the Clyde. Coming home and drying off and putting on my cosiest clothes and indulging in a cup of tea in front of the fire is a treat in itself. I also find frosty mornings when it is so cold your jaws ache hard to beat.

My pro-tip here would be to always carry your phone or a camera; and invest in a pair of small binoculars and take every opportunity to stop and investigate your surroundings, and notice things you might never have noticed before. I’m going to write more about this, and the concept of Awe Walks in a later piece, else I ramble on forever.

Cosy Crafts

Autumn and Winter are perfect times to curl up with your favourite crafts and get stuff done in front of the fire with plenty of tea on the go. As you know if you’ve read my blog before, I am an avid crocheter and spend much of the colder months working on longer projects – last year I worked on my Hebridean Islands ripple blanket (you can find Lucy at Attic24’s pattern and tutorial here).

Another really worthwhile thing I was able to do was to stay involved with the local craftbomb club, and we organised a Christmas craftbomb in the village – it wasn’t an awful lot of work, but it kept me in touch with friendly faces and I enjoyed our meet-ups and discussions very much. Craftbomb / yarnbomb groups are popping up all over the country and often meet in local cafes and libraries so it is worth checking out your local community noticeboards.

Emma Mitchell, blogger at the lovely silverpebble blog has a whole book on beating the winter blues coming out next month.

You should probably buy it, like I will be doing the moment I can get my grubby paws on a copy. (Actually seriously cannot wait!).

Kitchen Witchery

 

Once you’ve burned all those calories with a good, bracing walk; why not indulge yourself with cooking something wonderful? I can understand that many people work really long hours and have other responsibilities such as caring for relatives, but if there is any way at all you can lose yourself in a recipe, you won’t regret it. When I am feeling particularly anxious, there is something incredibly soothing and comforting about just pottering in the kitchen, radio on, prepping and planning and taking time to concentrate on every aspect. I will confess I am not a very good baker and can destroy a Victoria sponge with a single glance; but I love making main meals for my family and experimenting with flavours and modifying recipes; and I have a particular love for making jams and chutneys. There is something very zen indeed about leaning over the jam pan, and something deeply satisfying about seeing all those lovely jars of hot preserve cooling on the windowsill.

 

Also, did anyone mention rhubarb gin? Quite ridiculously easy to make….

 

 

Over to Facebook

I thought I would ask my friends on Facebook how they liked to prep for the colder months, and what they would include in their personal September Self Care packages:

“Make time for yourself every day. You’re allowed to. It’s not selfish” – EO

“I get my SAD lamp out around about now and read by it most evenings. I also batch cook on the Sunday after pay day and freeze healthy meals for myself and my daughter – great for those nights you come in late and/or knackered after work.” – AG

I let things go – coming up to winter and going into summer are the two times of the year where I get rid of unnecessary things that weigh me down. Declutter of everything really – people, stuff, worries. A wonderful fire purge around Winternights/Halloween/Bonfire night is always welcome. It’s done almost subconsciously I think now. For winter its preparation for all the fabulous Christmas/Jul things. But also…you don’t want dead weight following you into a hard winter and a new year.
I feel similarly about spring into summer – shed the layers of clothes and any unnecessary baggage.” – CMcH

“I make a point of watching the sunrise from the swimming pool/sunset while I walk by the river. I make sure I stop and stare at everything beautiful that catches my eye on my walks – from a dramatic sky to a tree bending beautifully to catch the light.  I write those moments down for my memory jar too – a lot of repetition to others reading them but each one is memorable to me and makes me smile. Listening to music and TED talks too. Classical tunes, folk music etc for quiet relaxation and proper rock songs to lift my mood.” – CM

 

“I walk, a lot. It’s worth it to pay more attention to the changing seasons. Even in the rain, the sounds and scents change. I also have a clear out and rearrange where I can. An organised space definitely brings me a call mind. I try to do seasonal crafts with the kids.. I’m lucky they are going enough to still be interested. If not, we bake.. and have our treats for movie afternoons. Reading is a must too.” – LH

Wise words from some very wise women, I think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flapjacks for complete idiots

So the boys have decided that they want to start having packed lunches for school. Whilst Smol was getting his dinners free of charge, they had school lunches; but now he moves into P4 we are going to have to find an extra £1.60 a day; so I went along with their notions and agreed that we would try packed lunches. It might be as the weather gets colder we will go back to hot dinners, but my two seem to savour the cold food choices anyway.

I found myself in Tesco clutching two very impressive looking bento box contraptions with lots of little compartments and tubs for yogurt or hummus or whatnot; I have since spent sleepless nights wondering how I am going to fill these things with cheap and interesting lunches that, I hope, will also generate less waste packaging than crisp packets and chewie-bar wrappers.

As a Beaver leader, I am also keen to add to my repertoire of ‘easy for small children to weigh out and mix together and let the adults do the hot bits’ recipes that we can use for our Cooking badge, using ingredients (oats and dried fruit) with proven health benefits that we can discuss as part of our commitment to healthier food choices. I have reduced the sugar and syrup in these considerably in comparison to most recipes – and certainly in the shop bought ones – but as with all treats they should be eaten in moderation. My boys will take a 5cm or so square in each day that they can either have as a playground snack at 10.30am or save for their lunch dessert alongside some fruit.

Ingredients

175g butter or sunflower spread type stuff.

150g sugar (I used demerera but any is fine)

150g golden syrup (you can get it in Asda in a squeezy bottle, which is probably easier than the old fashioned tins that always manage to drip syrup over you, the floor and every conceivable surface for the next three weeks)

350g porridge oats – just the cheapiest cheap ones are fine.

1 handful (sorry to not be more specific, I just did it by eye) of dried fruit – I used dates (finely chopped), and chopped mango and apricot pieces; but feel free to use anything – sultanas, coconut, seeds, nuts*, dried berries etc.

You can also add a teaspoon of spice such as ginger or cinnamon; or a dash of lemon juice. Be creative!

*our school is a nut-free environment so we don’t use nuts in ours.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 150c / Gas mark 2

Now you have your first decision. Are you going to live on the wild side and just line the bottom of your 8 inch square baking tin with baking parchment, or are you going to throw frugality out of the window and use enough parchment that it comes all the way up at the sides (see photo below for what I mean)?

My preference is to have the parchment overlap each side of the tin, as it’s easier to lift out of the tin if you don’t have a push-up removable base; but if you prefer to just line the bottom of the tin, you go on your bad self – just remember to grease the sides of your tin, or this badboy ain’t budging for no man.

In a large saucepan on the hob, melt your butter/spread over a low heat, and once melted add your sugar and syrup and stir with a wooden spoon. Once the sugar as dissolved, add your choice of fruits, nuts, spices etc and stir well.

Then add your porridge oats and continue to mix well until all the oats are well coated and moist (urgh, I hate that word).

Tip the moist (shudder!) mixture into your tin; and press down firmly with the back of a spoon, ensuring it’s pushed into all the corners and the top is nice and flat and as smooth as you can get it – this stops it just falling apart when you cut it.

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Check out our landlord’s comedy grouting, tho.

Cook in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes; then remove and leave to cool for 15 minutes before lifting out (this is when my parchment technique comes in handy!) and cutting into cubes / lengths of your choosing and banishing nosy children from the kitchen. Store them (the flapjacks, not the children) in an airtight box where they should last a week, but won’t, because they are delicious.

Don’t forget to test your creation with a nice cup of tea (we can celebrate Afternoon Tea Week ) and remind everyone on social media what a talented, homely little creature you are.

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Vegan sweet potato and chickpea curry stew sort of thing.

We were incredibly lucky a few weeks ago to meet, and host, the wonderful Matt of A Human Love Story. Lucky Matt got to try my cooking. He survived, so that’s a positive sign. He also said he really liked it, and I promised to send him the recipe.

Hormones, stress and summer holidays meant that I completely forgot about it; but as I do love to brag about my occasionally edible dinners, a few other people have asked about it so I thought I would post it here.

It is basically a bastardization (that’s a technical term) of a vegan recipe on the Deliciously Ella website; but it has been tweaked a bit and things left out and a few measurements changed to make it more like a creamy curry.

It’s one of those things that, once you have the base, you could add all sorts of things into – butternut squash, pumpkin, some of your courgette glut – whatever you have lurking around, I’m sure. Do play around with the spices too, find what you like.

It freezes brilliantly too.

This apparently feeds 4, but I would say probably more like 6 (and my three malefolk have hollow legs, so….)

What you will need:

2 cans of tinned tomatoes (400ml each)

1 can of coconut milk (400ml)

2 – 3 large sweet potatoes

1 can of chickpeas (400g)

4 tablespoons of tomato puree

4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

4 teaspoons of turmeric

4 teaspoons of cumin

2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

4 cloves of garlic

fresh coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

Rice or naan to serve (naan is not vegan, I don’t think)

Method

Peel and cut the sweet potato into small chunks (inch or so) without removing fingers, steam these for 15 minutes. (The sweet potato pieces, not fingers. You’ll need your fingers)

Once the sweet potatoes have cooked put the tomato puree, vinegar, garlic, spices and salt in a hob-friendly casserole dish or fairly deep wide-based pan with some olive or vegetable oil, heat for a minute or two until happily bubbling away

Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, salt and pepper to the pot and stir really well to ensure the tomatoes and coconut milk are all blended together nicely. It may look at little lumpy and curdled at first, but it will be fine, I promise you.

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Wallop in the sweet potato, taking care to ensure you splatter both your new t-shirt and every inch of your kitchen with orange forever-staining liquid. Bring to the boil, then drop to a simmer once it starts bubbling into your eyes.

Allow the pot to simmer for about forty minutes, then add the drained chickpeas and start to brag to your friends that you are now, like, a proper vegan chef and could host dinner parties and all sorts. Continue to cook for another 15 minutes or so (stop before boring your guests to sleep with all this talk about your cooking prowess)

 Finely chop the coriander. Then serve the curry with whatever you fancy, and sprinkle the coriander on the top. DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE A PHOTO AND SEND IT TO INSTAGRAM.

 

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Magical two minute stir-fry sauce recipe

It’s been a while since I posted any of my kitchen experiments with you, dear reader. There is a very good reason for this – my cooking is generally somewhat underwhelming. I can occasionally create something worth telling you about but, whilst I’m actually a pretty competent cook, I don’t tend to cook things that are particularly interesting.

I think I’m probably guilty of being stuck in a rut dictated by things the children won’t turn their noses up at, and trying to be as frugal as possible with the grocery shop and I do like to cook from stratch as much as I possibly can. I don’t mind using tins of things like mixed beans, chickpeas, tomatoes and coconut milk; but I find that your pre-packed sauces (think Blue Dragon / Sharwoods / Dolmio and their ilk) are just far too cloyingly sweet and chemical tasting.

Now, I’ve never bought pasta sauces because I’ve always made my own, and thanks to the awesome Jack Monroe I can whip up a fairly decent curry – it makes a massive difference having spices that aren’t *ahem* five years out of date, I have discovered; but I have been looking for a sauce that would be good with a stir-fry – it’s the Chinese style sauces that I find particularly sweet and artificial tasting.

 

 

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We’d been up the community garden this afternoon to harvest some of our broad beans and our rather spectacular peas for a stir-fry with some peppers and mushrooms and some of last night’s leftover chicken (our Sunday chicken lasts us three meals); and I really wanted a sauce that was as fresh as the beans and peas were, something nicely zingy and not the same tooth-aching sweetness that you get in a jar or a pouch.

So I started to experiment. I even got my blender out, that’s when you KNOW I mean business.

 

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I dragged all my jars and bottles out of that kitchen cupboard, and set to work….

I chucked the following in my bad- boy shiny red blender:

1 teaspoon of nam pla

2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce

4 tablespoons of runny honey

A rough 3cm x 6cm piece of peeled fresh ginger, chopped

6 garlic cloves, chopped

8 spring onions, chopped

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

3 tablespoons of white cider vinegar

Generous handful of fresh coriander, stems included

Half a teaspoon of brown sugar

Pulsed it until it looked like it was doing something mixxy-choppy-uppy; then poured that into the lovely glass bowl you see in the photo above, a bowl I’m sure I liberated from one of my less rewarding living-with-strangers houseshares from my days in that London.

After you’ve chopped all your veggies and whatever protein you want in your stir-fry and you’ve got your rice or noodles on (do they suit you? Do they?), you can commence with your stir frying – I added a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the starter oil because I didn’t have a fresh chilli to add to the mix. Just before you add your sauce, just squeeze in the juice of a lime. Have a little taste, and add a bit more of whatever you fancy. I was tempted to add gin, but held back. I’m such a hero.

Family loved it, and I didn’t even have to bribe them. It tasted really fresh, but multi-layered and – with a few tweaks – would make a fantastic marinade and even a salad dressing; and it’s definitely something that could be played around with, adding different combinations and new ingredients to suit your own tastes.

 

Introducing…Soup of the Week!

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Admittedly not my photo. Definitely not my kitchen. As if I’d have a cocktail in my kitchen

I was such a good girl last year that Father Christmas decided that I was worthy of some lovely new kitchen gadgetry and, alongside the fancy-shmancy sandwich press toastery wotsit and the super-dooper spinny churny juicer blendermebob, I got this shiny beast – a VonShef soup maker.

Now, those of you who know me well will know that I can just about hold a butter knife without severing a major artery, and am so accident prone and (understandably, some might say) paranoid that I cast a very wary eye over anything that has that evil and potentially doom-laden triumvirate of electricity, liquid and things that spin around very very fast by way of a motor.

It has taken me quite a while to pluck up the courage to use the Beast on my own, without a responsible adult to watch and make sure I didn’t need saving and I dutifully read the rather interesting instructions thirty six times to ensure I was of the mental capacity of to be using of this food cookering machine of the most safe and sensible of manners.

It actually couldn’t be simpler. Cut things up (not fingers), bung them in the Beast. Add liquid and whatever else the recipe calls for. Make sure you are above minimum level and below maximum level. Put on lid. Choose whether you want your soup smooth or not. Press start. 30 minutes later – soup!

So, the next step was to try and find something to actually make soup with; but a cursory glance inside the bottom cupboard of doom soon revealed a rather sad looking leek and five forlorn carrots. On the search for red lentils, I fought bravely past the 546 packets of half-empty Aldi Everyday Cheapness pasta shapes to reach what I optimistically call the ‘pulses shelf’ (actually fourteen Chinese takeaway tubs harbouring a pathetic selection of long forgotten soup thickeners and some oatmeal); I discovered that Holy Grail of the frugal house-frau’s larder – the can of coconut milk which was, no doubt, bought in a moment of utter madness when it was on a BOGOF or some kind of half price offer.

Looking over at the windowsill, I was thrilled to see that I could still almost class as bourgeois because I still had half the growing coriander from the spicy lamb rice thang flopping helplessly and rather pathetically over in one of my window pots.

And a plan was hatched.

Carrot and Coconut Milk Soup with Coriander and Chilli

Serves 2 and a stupid small amount that’s too small to give to one person for dinner but too big to actually justify throwing away so it sits on the ‘good intentions’ shelf on the fridge labelled ‘healthy lunch’ until you realise you’ve forgotten about it and you could relabel it ‘potential cure for Ebola’.

Ingredients:

1 leek, finely chopped (saute this if you’re cooking it in a normal, bog-standard, boring, old fashioned saucepan rather than a trendy soup making beast)

5 or 6 carrots, finely chopped (see above, cretins. If you’re all fancy like me with ma soup maker you can just bung these bad boys in raw)

400ml can of coconut milk

150ml passata (or equivalent in tinned tomatoes with a wee squirt of ketchup, that’s what I used because I was keeping it real and – c’mon – who on a cooncil scheme buys bloody passata?)

600ml vegetable stock. (I use Aldi’s own vegetable stock cubes)

Good dod of cayenne pepper / chilli powder. You know your limits.

Generous sprinkle of cumin powder (brings out the taste of carrots lovely).

Small handful of chopped fresh coriander (I’m sure a good dod of dried would work almost as well).

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In a pan: Bring the lot together and cook, you know, like soup. Then faff about with a stick blender, or laboriously ladle soup from pan to jug blender and blend.

In a Beast: Press button for ‘smooth’. Leave for 30 minutes to do its magic.

I forgot to take a photo of the finished soup, but it looked like the sweet, shining happiness tears of mating unicorns; only slightly more orange. Taste-wise (and I’ll admit now after nearly 700 rambling words), I will confess to not being much of a fan of soup (not my soup, anyway), but this was lovely. It was sweet and rich, with a deep, warm spiciness that I wasn’t expecting to work as well as it did. Other than any salt and pepper in the stock, I didn’t add any extra into the jug and I only added a tiny bit of salt at the table (more through habit than necessity). Even Captain Calamity gave it the thumbs up, so that’s high praise indeed.

A perfect spicy, filling soup for dunking bread into on cold evenings when you need something a comforting but with a wee bit of zing, because you have stupidly given up wine for charity and your life now lacks any kind of substance or meaning……

 

Leftover Lamb Ricey Spicey Thing with me, your Slapdash Contessa

As many families do at Easter, we were a bit naughty and spoiled ourselves with a leg of lamb for Easter Sunday lunch. I must admit, my domestic goddess skills came to the fore once more and it was utterly gorgeous. I basically bastardized a Jamie Oliver recipe, threw in a bit of a BBC Food recipe, looked in the cupboards and realised I didn’t have everything I needed anyway, couldn’t be bothered to go back down the shops and just improvised with stuff I did have. It was basically an olive oil, fresh rosemary, garlic and lemon juice rub followed by a thorough Nigella Lawsonesque massaging of sea salt and freshly walloped black peppercorns. I cooked the lamb uncovered at 170 degrees C for just fifteen minutes per 500g plus and extra ten minutes at the end, with a fifteen minute rest before carving.

We served it with steamed broccoli and roast spuds, carrots, red onions, parsnip and swede which we put in a serving dish rather than straight on the plates so that any veggie leftovers (there wouldn’t be any lamb leftovers, not with my little carnivores) wouldn’t be hideously maimed with hurriedly tipped-on gravy.

There was, as I expected, rather a lot of vegetables leftover afterwards for today, alongside another two meals’ worth of lamb; so today I thought I would rustle up a sort of ricey, lamby, fruity, spicy, Middle-Easterny type of thing. So, here we go – Middle Eastern ricey spicy sort of thing.

Ingredients (all approximate, in true Slapdash stylee):

Serves 4, including two boys with hollow legs

300g cooked lamb

300g uncooked basmati rice

600ml stock of whatever you like (I used OXO lamb stock cubes)

1 leek (or 2 medium onions would be fine)

4 cloves of garlic

12 dried dates

12 dried apricots

Whatever leftover root veg you have kicking about

1 tsp (or thereabouts, yanno, just chuck it in as you see fit) of ground coriander, tumeric, cinnamon

1 tbsp that really lazy as anything ginger you can buy in a jar and then leave lurking in the back of the fridge for three years. If you are the sort of unbearably middle-class person who actually has fresh ginger, use about half. If you, like me, usually just has ground, wallop a load in.

Juice of a lime.

Flaked almonds and fresh coriander leaves, if you’re feeling extravagant.

Method

  1.  Gently toast almonds, set aside until later.
  2. In a large hob-friendly pan, fry up the spices (including the ginger) in your preferred oil (I used olive) on a medium heat until your kitchen smells lush, and add in the leeks or onions and garlic and cook until soft.

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3. Add in the lamb and your leftover vegetables, apricots and dates and stir well to coat with the lovely spicy oil.

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4. Add your rice and stir well to coat, stir for a good minute or two until the rice becomes translucent.

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5.Add the stock and stir in well, then pop on a lid and reduce the heat to a medium low (3 or 4 on an electric hob) and leave.

6. Go and sit down. Stress about it burning, get up again and check it. Taste the rice, notice it’s still uncooked. Sit down again. Imagine you smell burning and return to kitchen. Notice mess on hob, worktop and floor. Wipe it up. Stir your creation. Test rice again. Go and sit down again.

7. Repeat step 6 every minute for around 12 – 14 minutes, paranoidly adding more stock if needed. Wash some dishes, wonder when your life came to this.

8. Scream at children to get from underneath your feet, wonder where you put the knife that you have in your hand, wonder about what filter to use on your Instagram of your upcoming dinner.

9. Chop some coriander, if you have some.

10. Dollop into bowls, sprinkle with toasted almonds and coriander. Squeeze over the lime juice with your bare hands like a boss because you’ve misplaced the juicer. Throw pan with gay abandon into sink full of cold, greasy water and slip on an escaped apricot. Drag children away from Minecraft, ponder why the very moment you serve up dinner and could use a hand is the ideal time for man to disappear upstairs for a wash, shave, shit and complete change of clothing.

11. Sit down. Get up again to get salt. Sit down again. Scoff. Feel smug.

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