My name is Emma Faraone, and I am owner of Laboro Marketing Solutions, and Michael’s partner. I am the chef in the family, mainly because I have the time to do it, but also because it is a huge passion of mine. There isn’t anything quite like cooking a good meal that is then devoured by your nearest and dearest!
I was the one that bestowed Mike with the gift of an allotment for Christmas last year; I’ll be honest, I use to detest gardening and growing vegetables, generally being too close to any creatures that could crawl and getting dirty were not things I enjoyed. Now, I’m happy doing the lot… Minus the creatures. It has been an immense pleasure thus far to plant and cultivate our own produce, to the point where I have considered trying to squeeze a pig, ducks and chickens into our garden so we could become as self-sufficient as possible. So it was a great honour for me to be asked by Mike to be a part of his blog and write up some of the recipes I’ve used to incorporate our vegetables.
I shall begin with Jamie Oliver’s Roasted Vegetable Vindaloo. His recipe also includes grilled chicken skewers, however, I decided to bulk out the curry to such an extent that the chicken wasn’t needed, and I also did Bombay potatoes as a side. Be aware that I have changed this recipe, so you have two ways of doing this dish, though both equally delicious 🙂
For the Vindaloo paste:
1 whole garlic bulb, peeled and separated
1 tablespoon of turmeric and garam masala *
2 tablespoons of raisins
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
2 dried chillies
1 red onion
2 tablespoons of sesame seed oil
For the curry:
1 tin of tomatoes **
Salt and pepper
1 tin of chickpeas and 1 tin of kidney beans
Roughly 500g of broad beans
A large handful of frozen spinach
1 tin of coconut milk
For the Bombay potatoes:
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of soaked paprika
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
Roughly 6-7 large potatoes
Small handful of frozen spinach***
So firstly, you put all the Vindaloo ingredients into a blender and whazz it till it’s a nice thick paste. The recipe then goes on to say that you should roast the cauliflower for 40 minutes with half the curry paste, however, I am extremely impatient and also have a tendency to forget to plan things to time. That being said, I chopped up the cauliflower placed it into a large wok with two tablespoons of sesame seed oil and I gently cooked it until it began to go slightly golden. At this point, I added two large tablespoons of the Vindaloo paste and a little water to stop it all sticking. Once the cauliflower had started to cook, I slowly added the rest of the vegetables and the rest of the Vindaloo paste. I should note that technically, sesame seed oil isn’t mentioned at all in the original recipe, but as I said, I like to change things… And I also didn’t have any other oil to hand at the time! The broad beans had been picked from our allotment a few weeks earlier; we had at least two kilos and the freezer desperately needs to be defrosted, so this recipe was a great excuse to use some. I think some people would have preferred that the broad beans be removed from their first layer of shell, but to me it still has that amazing taste you only get with home grown vegetables. However, if you prefer them peeled, just make sure you allow time for it because it is really fiddly!
The garlic and onions used in this recipe were again home grown; this has saved me so much money because I am obsessed with garlic and onions. To the point where it could be considered a little crazy but there we are, that’s the Italian in me. I am 100% that again! there is a difference in taste though so worth doing if you can.
For the potatoes, peel them and chop them into small chunks and boil them until they’ve just started to turn soft. Drain and put to one side. As I was only cooking for two adults and a child, I did a much smaller amount than the recipe states, so adjust to your needs. Put the oil in the frying pan and once hot, add he mustard seeds. *BE AWARE* I have never cooked them this way before so I nearly died of shock when the mustard seeds started popping everywhere! So make sure you keep it covered or risk being burnt and scared to death. Add the smoked paprika, turmeric and finally the potatoes. Once the potatoes have started to fry, add the spinach and serve with the curry.
* I watch a lot of cooking programmes,
most recently Rick Stein’s India. Along with him voicing it, a few other chefs have made an interesting remark when it comes to the use of turmeric. The message is don’t over use it. You should not be able to just taste the turmeric once the dish is cooked. Jamie does say heaped, but I made sure it wasn’t quite a tablespoon. As I say, do what suits to your taste though.
** The recipe states one kilo of fresh tomatoes. Now, I know that within Indian cooking, they live by using fresh tomatoes in a lot of their dishes because of the natural sweetness and the colour they add. However, at this point in time, our tomatoes have not yet ripened so I cheated. But use what you have to hand and if you can use fresh tomatoes then I urge you to!
*** I am pleased to say that I have been extremely successful with growing spinach this year, not one attack by slugs or snails was made! So you can imagine my annoyance as I went to collect some spinach for this recipe and remembered I’d cut it recently for a previous dish! That being said, there is nothing wrong with frozen, so if you haven’t got any fresh in the garden or your pot, cheat 🙂
One final note; it’s a vegetable Vindaloo, key word being vegetable. So add any vegetable you fancy! Experiment and use as much of your home grown produce as possible because it will honestly make a huge difference to how things taste.
Happy cooking and happy munching!