Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

Although the last bauble was plucked from the tree yesterday, carefully bubble wrapped, boxed up and sent back up to the attic for the next eleven months I am still eeking out the last vestiges of Christmas.

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

Turkey curry is the only way to usher in the new year. This curry feels so happy, healthy and hearty that it is encouraging me to take a running jump into January. I have been making the same resolution to throw off all my excess baby weight every month since June last year so I refuse to make yet another promise to myself that is let down by exhaustion and lack of time.

Instead I will be focusing on falling back in love with food. It is no secret that I haven’t posted here much, of course I barely have a second to myself but since it is also true that we will always make time for the things we really want to do I have to confess that food has not been my friend of late.

I have been tired and hungry, stopgapping my energy loss with sugar and letting Deliveroo do all my heavy lifting at mealtimes. However times are achanging and I have definitely been feeling a little of my trusty spark back. These past 6 weeks I have begun to wean Cole and he has been taking to food as if he has been waiting for this moment the whole of his tiny little life. His unparalleled enthusiasm is reminding me how excited I used to get about mealtimes. We are doing baby led weaning which basically means we are foregoing purees and diving into the main event, it’s absolutely wonderful to see him polishing off fishcakes, turkey and brussel sprouts and omelette and he is inspiring me to find myself again in my love of food.

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

I have cooked from scratch more this past six weeks that the whole of the last seven months put together and I am relishing every minute of it. Thanks to Cole I have finally managed to perfect falafel, houmous and cornbread muffins, rekindle my love of swiss bircher museli and start every meal with a fat wodge of melon (– it’s teething time!)

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

However, this curry is not for my little one, there is only so much under seasoned food mummy and daddy can subject themselves to so this is one for us grown-ups. I make a curry every year on Boxing Day and this year’s was so particularly good that I dug out another tupperware of turkey from this year’s stash in our freezer and re-fashioned it slightly for a lighter month (goodbye double cream and roast potatoes!) but I have to say it has lost absolutely nothing in the translation. This turkey, kale and peanut curry is so deeply flavourful and the rough earthy kale which is tucked into the curry at the last minute is not merely a nod to trends but a necessary backdrop to the whole affair.

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

The accompanying cucumber and coriander raita is so alive and refreshing that it sparks a complete contrast to the comfort of the curry and the two pair admirably together. If you can take it you must sprinkle on some more chilli, a further crumble of peanuts and a smattering of coriander. This flavour of this curry will knock you for six then pick you up and give you a wonderful cuddle.

Bring it on 2016, I am so excited about the year – and the food- to come!

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

Serves 4 with rice and 2 without rice

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion (about 250g), peeled and diced
¾ teaspoon fennel seeds
¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
¾ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
¾ teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons curry powder
¾ teaspoon turmeric
½ red chilli, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch ginger peeled and grated
1 teaspoon mango chutney (or any other chutney you have hanging around)
200g tomatoes (about 4), quartered
50g peanuts, roasted and unsalted, roughly chopped
275g leftover turkey
400ml coconut milk
160g kale (I used cavolo nero)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat a large flat bottomed pan with the coconut oil then add the diced onions. Fry on a very low heat for about 30 – 40 minutes until the onions have caramelised.
  2. Pour the fennel, cumin, mustard and coriander seeds into a small frying pan over a low heat for one minute, keeping a close eye so they don’t burn. Tip them into a pestle and mortar and pound until they have completely crushed.
  3. Add the toasted spices into the caramelised onion along with the curry powder, turmeric, chilli, garlic, ginger and mango chutney. Stir in then add the tomatoes.
  4. Cook on a gentle heat for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes have reduced to a pulp.
  5. Add the peanuts, turkey and coconut milk then simmer on a low heat for a further 15 minutes until the curry has thickened.
  6. Meanwhile prepare the kale by removing the stems of the kale and discard, then slice the kale leaves finely.
  7. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil then blanch the kale for a 3 minutes. Drain and squeeze the kale to remove the excess water.
  8. Stir the kale into the curry then remove from the heat and serve with the cucumber and coriander raita.

Cucumber and Coriander Raita

100g cucumber
200ml natural yoghurt – the best you can find
Handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon caster sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

  1. Cut the cucumber in half and remove and discard the seeds by scooping out with a teaspoon. Then grate the cucumber into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined and the sugar and salt has dissolved into the yoghurt.
  3. Leave to chill in the fridge until needed.

Tomato and Coconut Curried Mutton Chops

Tomato and Coconut Curried Mutton Chops
My favourite kinds of Saturday evenings are spent cooking as a family. My husband on gin and tonic and chopping duty and the puppy on getting under the feet duty. One cat is usually spread out as lazily as it can in the middle of the kitchen floor and the other is probably surreptitiously batting around a clove of garlic or pouncing on some devilish coriander. I bring it all together, navigating through the monsters and in prime position stirring the pot. It’s a small kitchen but the hustle and bustle of a Saturday night seems to provoke grand imaginations and generate a frisson of excitement for our dinner. This is when we go extravagant, cooking the kind of meals we wouldn’t necessarily have time to bother with during the week, perhaps experimenting from a new cookbook and usually involving a lot of different ingredients to juggle.

Mutton Chops  |  Stroud Green Larder

Spice Mix  |  Stroud Green Larder Curries are a favourite Saturday night tradition. Yes, you can whip one up quickly in the weekday and I do so occasionally. However, it’s the slow cooked spices, the melting sauce which time has allowed to mature in the cooking pot which result in the truly luxurious curry. By starting the dish in the morning, toasting the spices and infusing the mutton chops with the dry rub, the anticipation for the evening meal is carried through the day. The aromatics permeate the kitchen with promise as you duck in to make a cup of tea mid-afternoon and every hour is a count down to when you consider your chops to be ready for action.

Mutton Chop Curry  |  Stroud Green Larder

I treat the mutton chops not dissimilar to lamb chops so you can interchange the meat if you find mutton difficult to get hold of. Most butchers will stock it if you ask and it’s a much cheaper meat than lamb. The bold flavours of mutton are happy to be included in a curry, standing up to and showing off in front of the spices. The curry is not highly saucy when divvied up between all the chops but it can get a little messy towards the end of your dinner when you decide enough is enough and you need to pick up the chop when all the easy to find meat has been eaten. Don’t let that stop you, we are all family and sometimes it’s rather good to get down and dirty with your dinner.

Tomato and Coconut Curried Mutton Chops  |  Stroud Green Larder

Tomato and Coconut Curried Mutton Chops
Serves 4

1 kg mutton chops
2½ tsp coriander seeds
1½ tsp cumin seeds
2 black cardamom pods, seeds removed
6 black peppercorns
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
6 garlic cloves, finely diced
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 red chilli, finely diced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tin plum tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk

  1. Place the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds and peppercorns in a small saucepan and heat gently for 1 minute until the spices are toasted and aromatic.
  2. Pour the spices into a spice grinder and whizz them up, or obliterate them by hand with a good pestle and mortar. Mix these toasted spices in a small bowl with the ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, garlic and plenty of salt and pepper.
  3. Split the spice mix in half and rub one half all over the mutton chops. Set aside for a few hours or overnight for the chops to take on the flavours.
  4. When you are ready to cook them, heat up the coconut oil in a large casserole pot on the hob. When hot, add the mutton chops and brown them for a couple of minutes on all sides. Remove the chops and set aside.
  5. Add the onion, chilli and ginger and cook slowly for 10 minutes until the onions are turning translucent.
  6. Mix in in the rest of the spice mix and cook for a further minute.
  7. Pour in the coconut milk. Chop up the tinned tomatoes then add them in as well along with the juice. Fill up half of the tomato tin with water and swirl around to dislodge every last bit of tomato then pour all the water into the pot.
  8. Bring up to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 1 hour until the curry is thick and creamy.
  9. Add the mutton chops back in and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  10. Serve with plenty of fluffy basmati rice

Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney
This is my first chutney of the year.  I managed to divest my laden larder with a good majority of pickles, jams and chutneys over the festive period but now it’s about the time where I start to build up my stores again.

If I am honest I made this chutney a few weeks ago when the calls of our local Fruit and Veg man hollering outside Finsbury Park asking us to ‘Taste the mango’ got the better of me.  I did want to taste the mango.  Then it reminded me how long it’s been since I had a good cheese and mango chutney sandwich.  Since I didn’t have any mangos in, I put the abundance of mangoes on the stall to good use and stirred up a very quick and fragrant chutney that afternoon.  I followed Diana Henry’s advice on mango chutney but did not carry through the hotness of her recipe, instead toning it down as I wanted to create something more subtle.

Cheese loves a good mellow chutney or jam; please see my earlier obsession with cheese and peach jam.  Mango chutney is a perfect partner and I particularly like a softly spiced version so that the delicate mango flavour isn’t powered out, bedding down nicely a good crumbly cheese.

Mango Chutney

This classic sandwich combination always reminds me of my mother who at the mere mention of mango chutney will without fail wax lyrical about a good mango chutney and cheese sandwich.  And with good reason, a generous dollop of sticky chutney oozing out a toasted sandwich filled with gooey English cheddar is truly a magnificent lunch and reminds me a lot of my childhood.

I don’t eat as many sandwiches as I used to but this doesn’t mean my chutney consumption has calmed down.  My current favourite use is to add a delicate amount to a salad of nutty emmental, cucumber and iceberg lettuce.  All you need then is a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper to finish it off.  The mango chutney adds a lovely balance of sweet and sourness to this simple salad.

And of course, it would be remiss not to discuss how a lovely tablespoon of this chutney added to a homemade curry can provide its own dimension to the recipe, adding a mellowed sweetness to counteract your spicing.

Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney
Adapted from Diana Henry’s Very Hot Mango Chutney in ‘Salt Sugar Smoke’

6 mangos
¼ tsp cloves
8 cardamom pods, deshelled
1.5 tsp coriander seeds
4 black peppercorns
1 tsp black mustard seeds
500g onions, diced
500g granulated sugar
600ml cider vinegar
3 green chillies, deseeded
nutmeg
30g fresh ginger, diced finely
zest and juice of 2 limes

  • Peel the mangos and cut the flesh of the fruit from around the middle stone. Chop the fruit into cubes, there might not be much uniformity from the flesh cut close from the stone. Set aside.
  • In a large preserving pan toast the cloves, cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns and mustard seeds over a low heat for a minute or so to release their fragrance.
  • Add the diced onions, sugar, vinegar and chillies to the pan, bring to a gentle simmer and cook through for about 10 mins.
  • Add the mango, nutmeg, ginger and lime zest. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 mins until the mixture is jam like.
  • Stir through the lime juice for the last couple of minutes of cooking, then decant into sterilised jars.
  • The chutney is best left for at least 4 weeks for the flavour to mature.