Good morning from a sunny North Lincolnshire. A few clouds in the sky, lets hope that they drift on by and don't deposit their contents on our heads. Go and drop your rain elsewhere please, ha ha. I'm looking out of the front window as I write and see that the laurel bush needs a prune before it gets too big, got to keep on top of the job. Oh gawd, more jobs to do. I'll crack on with this post then, can't sit around here all day talking to you.
What's a sultana, was the question yesterday. I keep forgetting that people from the other side of the world might not know what I am talking about. If that is the case, don't be shy, feel free to ask. I see lots of people have answered the question for me, but here is a couple of pics of sultanas. Dried fruit like raisins. These are cheaper than raisins for some reason, and as far as I can tell do the same job, add fruit to the cooking.
I have found this definition, taken from British Food.about.com
There is often great confusion on the difference between dried fruits used in British cooking - the 3 most popular being raisins, sultanas and currants. All three are used extensivley in some traditional British cakes and puddings including a Christmas Cake or a Christmas Pudding
- Raisins are dried white grapes. They are dried to produce a dark, sweet fruit. The grapes used are usually Moscatel.
- Sultanas are also dried white grapes but from seedless varieties. They are golden in color and tend to be plumper, sweeter and juicier than other raisins. Also referred to as Golden Raisins in the US.
- Currants are dried, dark red, seedless grapes. They are dried to produce a black, tiny shrivelled, flavour-packed the grapes were originally cultivated in the south of Greece, and the name currant comes from the ancient city of 'Corinth'. These currants are known as Zante currants in the States.
No, I don't mush mine up, I leave the vegetables chunky so I can chew them and enjoy the taste, masked only by a mild curry flavour. I usually start off with cooking a chopped onion in oil, if I have one. This softens it. Then I add whatever veg I have available. If it's hard root vegetables I cut into smallish chunks and add them next as they need more cooking time. Also sultanas. I add the curry powder at this stage, usually a teaspoon or two. The Asian shop sells bags of all sizes at a reasonable price. I've had this one for ages, slowly getting down it.
I only simmer it for as long as it takes to soften the veg, because I want it to stay chunky. I sometimes add other spices. My cooking is very slapdash, chuck a bit of this and a bit of that in. I don't follow recipes, I use whatever I have in the cupboards, the fridge, and the freezer at the time. Just before serving I add some plain yogurt, gives it a creamy delicious consistency. I think the norm is to add coconut milk to curry, but I don't buy that.
The rice will be boiling in another pan. I only use wholegrain rice. I know how much curry powder to use to make it how I like it, so I don't bother tasting before serving. If you have made the curry too hot you can add a teaspoon of sugar to lessen the fire.
That's about it really. I sometimes make a big pan of curry flavoured veg stew, eat one meal out of it and freeze the rest in margarine tubs. Instant ready meals for when I don't want to cook. Saves time and gas.
If you are going to make curry, experiment, try different vegetables, there isn't anything you can't put in a curry. No fresh veg? Use tinned or frozen. Or you could soak dried pulses for the required time and use those. If your curry is too wet and runny, thicken it with porridge oats. If you don't want it chunky grate your hard veg and shorten the cooking time. You will have to experiment with different curry powders depending on how hot or mild you like it.
Have fun in the kitchen. The great outdoors is calling me to go out. Toodle pip.