Thursday, 6 January 2011

Carpe Diem

As 2011 rolls in I am at home on Summer holidays with my brood.

Five little lovelies.

At the moment I am ever so aware of how quickly they grow.  My eldest will enter his teen years in the middle of the year & my youngest has just turned 2.  Both at opposite ends of the early years.  Both delightful & de-lovely.

So as I watch my eldest about to enter his early adult years I am watching & therefore reminded constantly of how true it is that they grow so fast.

I remember vividly when my eldest was just born & we ventured out to the British Museum for an outing (living in London then) & an older lady wandered past Hubby wearing our first proudly on his chest in a frontpack and she said to him wistfully "He'll be off to school with his bag before you know it!"

To us it seemed utterly ridiculous as he was probably only 2 weeks old at the time.  My parents were visiting at the time & were with us.  They smiled & nodded in agreement knowing all too well that she was ABSOLUTELY right.  We get it now......

I am watching my little one engage in all the same types of play that my eldest seemed to be doing only weeks ago.

So as I watch my eldest continue to develop into the wonderful young man he is becoming I am trying to make an effort to remember & embrace the wonder of the early years of all of my children.

Summer holidays is a perfect time.  Lots of home days playing ol' fashioned games, listening to music together, dancing in the kitchen, telling jokes & stories, cooking together, making lego creations, digging in the sandpit, climbing trees, dressing up & make believe.  Most of all laughing & loving.

I don't want to miss a moment....because if we do we miss magical moments like this one - My magnificent 4yo came out with his headband on ready to "do his exercise" ....Jump stars (as he calls them!  PURE GOLD.
Luckily i managed to capture it....he's doing it to some fave music- a track called "Wild Mountain Berries"by KORT (Kurt Wagner & Cortney Tidwell).

I am also reminded of how as Parents we don't ever really get off our Learner plates so to speak.....each and every stage of parenting whilst being exciting and fabulous is equal parts terrifying & nerve wracking.  I have put an L plate on my fridge to remind myself that I am still a beginner!

And we have been enjoying lots of favourite slow meals together.

Curries are a family fave.  Once you delve into the fabulous world of curries there is no turning back! And you will soon discover that there are literally 1,000's of different types to enjoy- you are sure to find at least a few that you love.  The local Indian restaurant will have only a small smattering of what is really out there in the big curry world.  And curries are not unique to India but are from many countries- each offering unique flavours from their regions.

My recipe for Rogan Josh is a great family friendly curry as it is not a hot curry (my recipe has no chili - to ease the kids in-but you are of course WELCOME to ad in however much you want) but is packed full of flavour.  My kids LOVE it.

You may find it a little fiddly but I promise you it is worth the effort!  And once you have done it a few times it won't seem so complicated after all.



  • a good 7cm chunk of ginger
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 3 onions
  • 2 tblsp canola oil
  • 1kg lamb ( i like to use organic lamb leg chops- meat cooked on the bone will give your dish SOOO much more flavour). Cut them into halves. I like big chunky pieces in my curries.
  • 10 whole green cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 15 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200g organic plain greek style yoghurt 


Blitz the onions, garlic & ginger to a paste.

I dry roast & grind my spices.  You can skip this & use pre-ground spices but once you have done this once you will NEVER go back as the depth of flavour is second to none!  I bought an inexpensive coffee grinder 20 years ago that is still going strong for this very purpose. 

 If you are dry roasting for the first time, this is all you need to do:  Place all spices into a heavy base pan with NO OIL and heat to a slow heat.  Swish the spices occasionally.  When you smell the magnificent aroma waft from the pan they are done! Simple really. 

Then grind.  This is where we need the wonders of smell-o-web to really give you an idea of the heavenly magic of this step! The heady perfume is intoxicating.

Now in a heavy pan place the oil.

I cooked this dish in my new fave pot given to me by a very special friend for my bday- a beautiful hand made Colombian ceramic pot.  Check it out...isn't it STUNORAMA!   I love it's straight to the table elegance apart from the way it cooks beautifully and can go directly on top of stove or into the oven. Lucky gal! 

 But any HEAVY pot will do- Le Creuset are perfect.

Put your pot on the stove & put flame on medium.  Add oil & garlic, ginger & onion paste.  Now you want to cook this till the mix starts to go brown & the oil is clearly separating from the paste.  I learnt from reading Charmaine Solomon as a teenager that this is what she believes gives the curry it's richness and complexity.

Once your paste is at this stage (it could be up to 15 minutes) add the spice mix & stir through well. 

Cook this mix on low for about 3 minutes or so.

Now you are ready to add your lamb.   Stir through very well so that all pieces of meat are coated in the spice mix.

At this stage add yoghurt.  Do not add all at once but by large dollops and then mix through before adding next lot.  

Once all yoghurt is amalgamated it should look something like this.

Now cook gently on stove till the curry reaches simmering point.

I then moved my pot into the oven to cook gently at 170 degrees for an hour.

It is then deliciously red and rich & ready to serve!

I served mine with Basmati rice, pappadums &  a couple of veg curries that  are quick & easy.....I will post those recipes another time! 

This week I have been enjoying this.....seems to fit the pensive mood:


  1. I absoloutely loved this post! I tend to get a bit sentimental around Christmas. It's the perfect time to reflect on the year gone by, catch up with loved ones and take just a second to breathe in and appreciate everything we have in life. As your kids grow up, I'm sure they will come to appreciate this family time more and more!

    And the looks fantastic. Perfect with an ice cold beer and some garlic naan! I'm so glad you recommended the bones on - the marrow in the bones (be it lamb, chicken, goat) makes a world of difference to the flavour. I'm going to give this one a go on the weekend if I get a chance.

  2. Looks delish!! When I get back I need to show you the Seychellois way of making a curry. My favourite is fish curry. Yum. Eva x

  3. ... and, by the way, I fully agree with the growing up bit. We just looked at our eldest (nearly 11) the other day and cannot believe that we are parents to a young man already. I remember the day so well we brought him back from hospital. I cannot possibly be that old to have an 11-year old!! Haha. Eva x

  4. Oh YUM EVA!!!!
    I love Fish Curries! I have a fave Sri Lankan style (lots od fennel seeds & fresh curry leaves) but am super happy to learn the Sychellois way!
    Especially if you are cooking! xxx

  5. I just love everything about you actually.

  6. yum. YUM. Y U M. We'll be cooking this one. Well at least adding it to our list of Ruth dishes to create (as well as meals from Karen Martini's Feasting and Damien Pignolet Saldes...!!) Only problem is that lately the girls are asking why we eat lambs - they're so cute and it's not fair we eat them. I find this tricky, especially cos I love meat! Any suggestions GG?

    Also have to agree with you on time flying with the kids. Tonight Alice came down with the frog toy thing that makes talks etc - Baby Tad. She told me it kept making noises and it has to go into the too small for Alice box (which is for clothes)!! Also Miss Lucy has posters around our house at the moment declaring it's Family Games Day on Friday 7th January, with a list of x8 games we're up for tomorrow :-) I am making sure we do it. I start imagining it won't be long before she thinks playing board games with mum and dad all day is not her idea of fun!

    PS; Happy wonderful, spanking new year to you!! Just what you needed!

  7. love the star funny (brilliant) - i am going to practise to make mine like that. xxx

  8. please post photos too, Nubrey!

    I'm secretly practising mine too - definitely no photos. My downward dog is still looking OK though. I know Mr 4 is brilliant at that too. xxxx to all. Joma


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