I am increasingly becoming quite a fan of Nigella Lawson. No matter what people think of her silk clad midnight snacks there is no doubt that she is quite an inspiration and I’m sure her recipes have created many new foodies. By coincidence, her cookbook ‘Feast’ arrived today. I ordered it due to my growing curiosity about Nigella. The only other Nigella cookbook I have is her Christmas one but some how I felt I was missing out. I’ve had a quick flick though ‘Feast’ and I’m quite excited about getting into bed tonight to read more. Sad I know, but that is perfect bedtime reading for me.
The other reason I have become more interested in Nigella is of course is because I was been lucky enough to briefly meet her a couple of months ago when filming for Baking Mad. I’m also going to be hosting the Forever Nigella blog challenge in June run by Sarah who writes the fantastic Maison Cupcake blog which I am very excited about so watch this space for more details on that.
So for all these reasons I thought that featuring and reviewing one of her recipes on my blog would be very fitting.
This month Vanilla Frost is hosting Forever Nigella for Sarah and the theme is ‘spring’. So the other night I had a look through some online Nigella recipes and came across one for Red Prawn and Mango Curry. It was the addition of mango and the colourful ingredients that made it feel very springtime to me, and in my opinion a great curry recipe is worth it’s weight in gold so I thought I would give it a go.
I decided that I would review based on marks out of 10 for a few set criteria. Hopefully this will make it easier for you to quickly see what I thought of it.
The total cost of ingredients where I normally shop in Ocado was £17.56. Calculating the cost based on how much of each ingredient is used the cost was £10.74 and based on the dish serving 4 people it worked out at £2.69 per person. Cheaper than your average take away ruby, so pretty good value if you ask me.
Time required to make:
The prep took me about 30 mins, but most of this was peeling and chopping the butternut squash and mango. I did not have any sweet potato so I left it out, but peeling and chopping these would have added on an extra 5 mins the the prep I would say. If you are tight on time you can buy the sweet potato and squash in a prepared pack together and save yourself half the time I would say. The only other thing to mention is that in the recipe it suggests 15 mins cooking time for the squash and potato. Mine took about 40 mins to be soft enough.
Skill level needed:
This is a great recipe for beginners. After everything has been prepared it is really just a case of putting most if it in the saucepan and letting it simmer away whilst you get on with something else.
I like the instructions. They were easy to follow and nicely formatted on the webpage.
Visual appearance of completed dish:
I could not wait to tuck into this meal. Admittedly, I picked this recipe because I thought I would like it, but it really did look scrummy. This would be a great meal to serve friends and you could make it look even nicer by serving with a bit of mango chutney, cucumber raita (my favorite) and a naan or flatbread.
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this curry. It is sweet and sour, spicy and salty and I love having flavour contradictions in the same dish. When you get mango, butternut squash and prawn in the same mouthful, it is really quite something. I was tempted to close my eyes and say, ‘Mmmmm….” but then that really would have been a bit too much like Nigella, so you will be pleased to hear I did not do this, and instead started up conversation with my husband as distraction. The level of heat and spice in this curry will be down to the red curry paste you use. I really like the Thai Taste range of pastes.
Overall, I think it is fair to say that I loved this recipe. I will certainly be making it again, and can’t wait to make it next time we have guests.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to bed to do you know what!
I am also going to enter this curry into Fabulicious Food’s Family Friendly Fridays blog event. There are some great recipes entered this month so hop over and take a look if you get the chance.
Chilli is a regular feature in our household. It is quick and easy to make, everyone (yes everyone) in my family likes it, it is healthy and low fat, you can make a truck load in just about the same time as it takes to make a normal portion so perfect for when all the aunts and uncles come to stay, you can jazz it up by serving with a nice salad and some garlic bread, it can be made in advance and either kept in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen…and the list goes on. So why, I can hear you asking, am I messing about with something that is effectively a family dinner institution? Well, I guess the answer to that is quite simply that I love to put my own spin on recipes. This normally involves including more of what I like in a dish and creating an opportunity for myself to experiment with flavours. I have to admit, it is a bit scary at first, but now I pretty much do it all the time. The reward for being brave is creating a dish that you love which you might never have had otherwise. There are of course times when it does not go to plan, but after a few swear words and deep breaths, I’m normally able to put it down to experience and take it in my stride. I have every confidence that you will be able to do the same.
This recipe is the result of an afternoon of experimentation, and for want of a better expression, I think it has been a ‘roaring success’! It’s vegetarian, because I don’t eat meat. But fear not, I will also tell you how and where to add some meat because I know for some (my husband being one of them) chilli without meat is a crime.
Part of my motivation for this dish was in fact this months We Should Cocoa blog challenge set by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog. The theme is ‘savoury and vegetarian’, and as with all We should Cocoa challenges, chocolate must be included. I have got to say, this stumped me for quite a while, but then I remembered that special chocolate that had a whole TV series dedicated to it a couple of years back and which I have always wanted to try. A little bit of internet research later and I found out I was thinking of Willie’s Supreme Cacao. It’s 100% cacao and although it looks like chocolate, it is not something you want to eat raw. I tried!! The theory behind adding this to dishes, apart from it being cool, is that is adds a depth of flavour and chocolate compliments chilli beautifully. So the very special ingredient in this chilli is cacao, but for the sake of ease, lets call it chocolate! If you can’t get hold of Willie’s chocolate, some unsweetened cocoa powder will be a good alternative.
So go on, give this a go and impress everyone who will listen with your culinary knowledge (cacao, depth of flavour etc) and most importantly your willingness to try something a little bit different with splendid results.
What you will need:
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed,
- 1 tin of cannellini beans or leave this out and add a 500g pack of minced beef
- 1 tin of black beans (or kidney beans if you can’t get black)
- Half a medium pumpkin or 1 medium butternut squash cut into squares
- 200g chestnuts (I brought mine in a pack)
- 1 romano pepper chopped
- 1 tsp of ground cumin
- 1 tsp of cumin seeds
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp of ground paprika
- 1 tsp of ground cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp of grated cacao or 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 pint of vegetable stock
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 350g of tomato passata (about half a bottle)
- Pinch of pepper for seasoning
How to make:
- Preheat you oven to 180c/350f/gas 4. Put your cubes of pumpkin into a roasting tray, sprinkle with olive oil and cook in the oven for 30-40 mins. I like to roast pumpkin for most dishes as it brings out the sweetness and flavour
- Put your onions and garlic in a large saucepan and start to cook gently with a bit of olive oil. Once soft, add the pepper. Then add all the spices apart from the chocolate and cook for a further 5 minutes
- Now add beans/meat and cook for 5-10 mins (more like 10 mins if you have meat)
- Now add chestnuts, chopped tomato and passata and cook for 10 mins
- Add the vegetable stock and season with pepper. Cook on a low heat for about 25-30 mins
- Towards the end of this cooking time, add the roasted pumpkin, and right at the end stir in the grated chocolate
- Serve with plain basmati rice
PS: Willie did not sponsor me to write this post
PPS: There are still a few places left for my very first Bake Club evening, so if you live in the Sevenoaks area take a look at my Bake Club post for more info on how to book.