Currying favour

Three of my favourite feelings are: the joyful realisation that there is another layer in the chocolate box; the glee at discovering a cold spot in a too-hot bed on a cold night; and the familiar comfort of my mum’s voice on the phone.


The latter takes me right back to childhood.  Even though the words and tone may have changed along with our relationship, the melody of my mum’s voice remains the same and puts me right back at the kitchen table, listening to her and my nana put the world to rights, largely through anecdotes involving Mrs Muckybum who lived down the street.


I sincerely hope that wasn’t her real name – how unfortunate if so.


Anyhow, last night’s conversation covered pillboxes, Night of the Hunter and her upcoming flying lesson.  My side of the dialogue was nowhere near as smart or sparky.  She was on speakerphone as I chopped onions and I realised as we nattered, that I was no longer the child at the table, witness to the conversation, I was part of it!  We’ve both upgraded a role: I’m her and she’s nana!  I felt a great happiness at this and relaxed into my natural non-teacher idiom which, like my mum’s, is much more aside-based and riddled with inuendo.  We’re basically drag queens without the vibrance (me, not her.)


I’m hoping that this recipe will have a Proustian effect on you.  It was a real treat for me to make it as I listened to my mum’s voice, as pleasant an accompaniment as a glass of prosecco or a favourite playlist.  It’s a made up curry, and I apologise to anyone who knows how to make a serious curry.  This is an end of the week, let’s put everything in kind of recipe.  A ‘ let’s focus on the most important things’ dish: in this case,  a chat with my ma.


Made up curry

1 tin coconut milk

Curry powder

1 onion sliced

Chillis to taste, chopped

1 chicken stock cube

Any veg (potatoes/squash, cubed, carrots/courgettes cubed, peppers sliced, whatever)

1 handful red lentils



Gram flour


Bicarb soda (1/4 teaspoon)




For the curry,

Fry off the onions till translucent.  Add chillis, ginger and currry powder to taste.  Add coconut milk. And stock cube and water if necessary. Bring to a low simmer.  Add in your veg and lentils, according to general cooking time.  Let it cook.  Add tomato herbs or spinach about 5 minutes before end.  



Mix 1 cup of Gram flour with 1 cup water and bicarb soda.  Add in cumin and salt and mix together, till it makes a thin batter.  Heat oil or ghee in frying pan and pour in half the batter.  Let it fry through and then flip and repeat on the other side.  Serve with the curry and tell your mum afterwards how great it tasted.

Day 17 of my blogathon and i think, in fairness, there’ve only been a couple of days where I ‘ve surrendered to producing something meaningless and poorly crafted, and just blahhed on, like relaxing into a lovely piss.  Today is one of those days; I had a whole acupuncture session to dream up something pithy, poetic, or provoking and got zero return.  So I’m going to leave a recipe with you.

I’ve more or less given up carbs for a few months now.  I say more or less, because I lack the dedication and organisation to do this consistently.  There’s always the interim between shopping trips, when I realise how poorly planned the whole activity is and resort to eating the Ritz crackers that are stuck to the back of the cupboard.  But most of the time, I stick with it.  Not because I’m trying to lose weight, or be healthier.  It just strikes me that the best part of any meal is the protein and the veg part, so why not just have more of that?  Couple my thinking with the advent of brother-in-law’s health club based around a low carb diet, and it was a natural progression.  The food, and discussion of it evolved.  And here we are.

I genuinely feel better eating less processed carbs, and there’s a wealth of guidance on the web about it (my favourite being nomnompaleo).  The recipes that work the least well are those that imitate carb based food; so savoury muffins made with coconut flour are good, but why bother tricksying around with faux versions?  The best low carb meals are those that you would eat regardless of your dietary intentions, like this very simple take on a cassoulet.



Tin tomatoes

Garlic, 2 cloves, minced

1 onion

1 courgette

1 red pepper

1 leek

Sausages, browned in a pan

Cubes of pancetta


Olive oil

Red wine

White beans (if you fancy it)


Pre-heat the oven to 190°.  Fry the onion rings till translucent, add garlic, oregano and the rest of the veg and the pancetta.  Cook until it is smooshed together and then add the tomatoes, half a tin of water and a glass of red wine.  Let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain the beans, if using, and pour over the sausages in a casserole dish.  Add the tomatoes mixture and pop it in the oven for half an hour.

Who needs mashed potato, when you’ve got this bad boy?