Pineapple Curry

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! This is one of my top favourites, plus it’s quick and easy to prepare.

Peel and dice a nicely ripe pineapple Not a hard green one as you so often see. Choose one going yellow and where one of the bottom leaves on the top pulls out easily. Sniff it, it should have a strong pineapple aroma. Find a perfect one and it will make all the difference. The best come from the Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritius and Southern Africa all available in French supermarkets (at a small premium) while the UK offers no alternative to the inferior Costa Rican pineapple. Moan over, back to the recipe.

In a bowl mix:
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/3 tsp turmeric
1 – 2 tsp sugar (1 if the pineapple is nicely ripe, 2 if not)
Pinch of salt
Splash of water

Add the diced pineapple and stir thoroughly to coat and leave to marinate for 30 minutes if you have the time.

Heat your cooking pot, I use a kadai but a frying pan or wok would suffice. When hot add:
2 tbs cooking oil
Pinch of black mustard seeds, after they splutter add
12 Curry Leaves, stir then add
a few crumbled dried red chilli flakes.
Finally add the pineapple and cook for around 10 minutes

Meanwhile:
Dissolve 75g creamed coconut in 300ml boiling water
Stir in a very finely chopped green chilli 1/4 tsp mustard powder and 1/2 tsp salt

After the 10 mins add to the pineapple and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Serve with boiled basmati rice. Naan, chapatis, parathas etc. don’t go well with this curry.

Jerk Chicken, Rice and Peas

Firstly you’ll need a Nutribullet type blender in order to make the jerk paste quickly and easily.

For 4 pieces of chicken, thighs drumsticks or a mix put the following into the blender (for 8 pieces of chicken just double everything, for 12 pieces use triple etc.)

  • 3 chopped spring onions
  • chopped knob of peeled root ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli, chopped
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • juice of 1/2 lime

Blend everything into a paste.  Do not add any water!

Slash the chicken pieces a couple of times and then rub the paste into them very thoroughly and leave for several hours.  Finally cook in the oven at 180C for 45 mins.

To make the rice and peas put the following into a saucepan

  • 250g basmati rice
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 3 or 4 sliced spring onions
  • 300ml water
  • salt

Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, then add a drained and rinsed tin of kidney beans.  Stir the beans in and then turn off the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes.

Tartiflette

I made this on a day when we had heavy snow and ate it imagining being in a mountain restaurant in the French Alps! It provided more than 4 generous portions.

1kg waxy potatoes, I used Charlottes
1 Reblachon cheese quartered
250g smoked bacon lardons
1 onion
100ml white wine
150ml double cream

Keep the skin on the potatoes, leave whole, and boil. Finely slice the onion and fry in a little oil until just beginning to brown them remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve. In the same pan fry the lardons until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and add to the reserved onions mixing them both together. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and virtually boil away and then add the double cream. Give it a good stir.

Thickly slice, or just halve, half of the potatoes and make a layer in the bottom of a buttered dish. Add half of the onion and lardon mix and 2 quarters of the Reblachon. Slice the remaining potatoes and add to make another layer together with the last of the onion and lardon mix. Pour over the cream from the pan and finally add the last 2 quarters of Reblachon making sure that they’re not above the first 2. Put into a hot oven at 200C and cook until the cheese has melted and bubbles a bit, 20 – 25 minutes should do it.

Three Fruit Marmalade

1 grapefruit
2-3 oranges
1 lemon
(total weight of fruit approx. 1.2 kg)
2.2 litres water
1.5 kg white sugar

Quarter the fruits and boil for about 1 hour until the peel is soft. Remove the fruit and allow to cool so that the flesh can be scrapped off. Shred the peel and return to the water in the pan. Run the flesh from the fruits through the finest plate in a Mouli Legume and add the resulting puree to the pan. Add the sugar and gently bring the pan to the boil making sure that all the sugar dissolves. Boil until setting point reached at 104C, allow to cool for 10 minutes then bottle into hot sterilised jam jars.