Can’t Cook – Won’t Cook

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It was a toss-up today in terms of blog posts, dallying between Can’t Cook-Won’t Cook and Food Porn. Needless to say, I was leaning towards Food Porn until I received a text from a fellow slimming enthusiast, politely requesting a recipe for Slimming World curry. I figured this was a sign! I’ve lost count of the number of times people have asked me for recipes, usually after the ‘how did you lose the weight’ conversation, and I have to say, I’m pretty lax at giving them over! Not because I don’t want to spread the wealth by the way, but more because I fear that people won’t like them! Everyone has their own particular style of cooking, mine being a slightly schizophrenic one. I doubt I ever make a dish the same way twice. I don’t measure unless I really have to, and portion size is usually dictated by the amount of core ingredients I have bought (i.e. the portion sizes are usually huge). So to sit down and actually write a recipe is pretty difficult. At the beginning of people asking for tips etc, depending on the person, I did spend some time writing out suggestions and meal ideas. One such example sticks out. A very good friend of mine asked me to write out a week’s worth of menus for them, as they were finding it difficult to understand the plan. Now, as much I love this person to bits, she is not a cook. She has no heed in it whatsoever, and when she does try, she is poor at best (by her own admission). She is one of these people who thinks they won’t understand Slimming World, and therefore doesn’t.

So I got a little notebook and wrote out seven days worth of meal plans, allowed for syns based on the treats I knew she liked, and included all the recipes needed to fulfill the daily menus. Simple stuff like soups and stews, nothing too taxing. I also wrote the plan ‘rules’ out in extremely layman’s terms, essentially making it foolproof! Alas, after a week of following it (where she lost five pounds), that’s where it ended. I was livid. I had spent time and care thinking up and writing out the stuff, and she couldn’t be bothered to stick to it – even though she knew it worked. Too busy, too tired, too lazy. Very annoying. This poisoned me against wasting time giving detailed recipes to people I know either won’t like it, or can’t be arsed to make it, so I tend to ignore requests for meal inspiration. Especially requests made via Facebook! GOOGLE IT YOU LAZY HOOR! You’re already online ffs! There are more forums than I can count where their contributors seem to spend their entire lives online sharing recipes, tips, stories about their weightloss journey, picture of their old selves vs their new selves……it’s all a tad self indulgent at times for me, and they mostly turn into platforms for bitchiness and one-up-manship; so I usually don’t contribute, but you can read over the threads and pick up wee things that you’d maybe never thought of, or even stuff you had forgotten about. So use these resources! Don’t waste time asking douches like me!

In conclusion, today’s request came in at 08.39 this morning – I haven’t compiled anything resembling a curry recipe as yet, so I shall do so now. My blog post today is dedicated to @fionap1985, here is your curry recipe. If you can’t be arsed making this after me writing it out, then you’re a tool. I apologise in advance for the lack of traditional recipe structure.

SLIMMING WORLD CURRY – INDIAN STYLE (because it’s my favourite and it’s easy)

You will need:
Fresh chicken fillets (or thighs, but prepare to spend hours trimming fat and ick off these)
A large sweet potato
A large courgette – cut in half lengthways, then chopped up into semi-circles
A large red onion – cut into ignorant chunks
A small white onion

Six/eight fresh tomatoes (or a tin of chopped tomatoes – whatever)
Six decent sized cloves of fresh garlic, chopped as finely as you can
A piece of fresh ginger roughly the size of your thumb
A red chilli and a green chilli
A chicken stock cube and a vegetable stock cube (Knorr Stock Pots also good)

A variety of spices to include:
Garam Masala
Cumin
Tumeric
Cinnamon
Ground Coriander
**Ground Cloves** (This is your secret weapon to creating a semi-authentic Indian curry. Do not omit this)
Star Anise – this is a wee spidery looking, hard, star-shaped thingy that smells of aniseed

To finish:
Fresh coriander (This is essential. Your curry will be a mere spicy stew without this. It tastes nothing like ground coriander, so don’t even think you can get away with just using it. Fresh stuff is about 90p for a bunch. Go get)

METHOD

I am writing this assuming the reader has no vast cooking experience. For those of you who do, feel free to bask in how superior you are to these plebs, but always remember – nobody likes a smartypants. Continuing on:
First off. Have a sharp, clean knife and a clear, clean working area. Use a heavy chopping board, or put a tea towel underneath flimsier ones to stop it scooting over the worktop. Always remember, keep tasting as you go; and when it comes to flavours – you can always add, but you can NEVER take away. Be cautious with all herbs, spices and seasonings (especially salt) until you become familiar with the dish and how you like it. This rule applies neatly to chillis!

Right!!

Put a saucepan of water on to boil. Throw in a vegetable stock cube and one of the star anise.
Wash, then chop the sweet potato into respectable cubes. Throw this into the aniseedy stock that is currently boiling in the saucepan. This will take around 20 minutes to cook – it will not be dry and fluffy like regular potatoes, so don’t panic.

Whilst all that is going on, finely chop the white onion and throw into a heavy bottomed saucepan with the garlic. Use Frylight to stop the ingredients sticking. Keep this on a low heat, and allow to sweat. When the onion is starting to brown, throw in a wee shake of tumeric – this will turn everything a currylicious colour! Throw in the chopped up chillis. Seeds in – burny hot. Seeds removed – not so hot. Add more Frylight, or a little water if it starts to stick. Also, this point is very important, add a pinch of the ground clove. Seriously, this stuff will blow the head off you, approach with serious caution and respect or your dish is ruined. I use the tip of a sharp knife to lift a tiny amount out of the tub and that does me. The smell when this combo comes together is amazing.

Keep letting this sweat, and keep a good eye on it to make sure it doesn’t stick/burn.

Throw in the courgette and the onion. Give a good stir around, coating everything with the spicy mess already in the pan. These new ingredients will introduce moisture into the dish, so keep stirring and enjoying the aroma. Whilst you’re enjoying the whiff, cut the chicken into rough chunks. When you’ve got it all chopped up – turn up the heat and add the chicken. You will need to keep adding water (or the stock from the sweet potato which is cooking away) to stop this sticking. Once the chicken is sealed and starting to brown, your sweet potato should be pretty much ready, so drain off the stock into a jug and throw out the star anise. Transfer this saved stock into the chicken and vegetable mix, and turn the heat down ’til everything’s at a gentle bubble. Then, throw in the tomatoes and begin adding spices. First up, a good shake of the Garam Masala (it’s basically a curry powder), followed by a more cautious sprinkling of cumin, the same of the ground coriander, and a cautious dusting of cinnamon. Stir this all around and taste. A good idea before adding spices is to smell them first so you know what you’re getting into. So add, taste, add, taste etc until you get to where you can’t to be.

When you’re done spicewise, add the already cooked sweet potato. This will give a different texture, add sweetness, and help to thicken the curry a little. It means you don’t need to spend syns on using cornflour to thicken it! What joy! Now, you can let this all simmer away for as long as you want. The longer it sits, the more the flavours develop. Just before serving, chop up a handsome handful of the fresh coriander and toss it in. Stir, serve with rice, enjoy.

Experiment with the spices in terms of amounts, but make sure and use them all. If the dish has no flavour, it will be bland and you won’t enjoy it. If you spend time preparing all the ingredients well, use fresh stuff, and cook slowly and gently, you will reap the rewards. Remember, all the ingredients are FREE. You can eat as much as you like. You can save some for the next day. You can share it with a partner (ugh) or whatever, and you can be sure they’ll enjoy it too.

This has been incredibly difficult to write, I hope to God is is semi-easy to understand, and I hope at least one person tries it. For those of you who have a superior recipe – good for you. This is how I roll.

I’m away for a cig. This has been stressful. Comments welcome, in moderation.

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