Today I thought I would share with you my theory as to where I got my cooking/food obsession, and that is the good old family do's that I have been attending ever since I was a young'en. The women in our family are notorious for being able to polish off as much or if not more than the blokes, and we are damn proud of it. And, thus, we have all been blessed with some pretty awesome cooking skills.
A typical family get together for a birthday or celebration very rarely happens at a restaurant, unless it is on a weeknight or there is a particular restaurant one of us loves. For as long as I remember our family has spent many a Sunday afternoon celebrating one birthday or another with a kind of 'pot luck' lunch or dinner where everyone brings a dish. Today was one of those days, celebrating my older cousins birthday.
Over the years the dishes have changed from the standard lasagne or bolognaise, casseroles, fried rice etc as our palates have moved more into the 'gourmet' genre. (That said, I would give anything to have fried rice at our gatherings now as my Nan used to make the very very best fried rice and to have that, and her, at our family gatherings again means I would give up all the gourmet food in the world!)
Todays spread was particularly good, with arancini balls, stuffed mushrooms, sausage rolls, pastry pinwheels, gourmet pizza, gnocchi bolognaise, marinated chicken wings and lamb rogan-josh. I guess I don't really need to discuss how sick I feel right now after consuming such a wonderful array of foods ;)
I think there's something really special about these celebrations, as we all bring a dish to share with those that we love, and the get togethers seem much longer than a restaurant visit, and really, probably cheaper. Plus there is the joy that is LEFT OVERS also. It is a wonderful tradition that I hope to carry on when I have kids one day- and lets face it, I am going to groom them to be such Masterchef Juniors that they'll probably be contributing to the spread before they can even ride a bike ;)
Anyway, I thought today I would share with you the recipe I made today for Lamb Rogan-Josh with chickpeas which everyone seemed to enjoy... I have to admit that it is 'inspired' by Jamie Oliver's vegie rogan-josh recipe.
Lamb Rogan-Josh with chickpeas
Feeds 4-5 with rice
500 grams 'heart smart' diced lamb
4 tablespoons Pataks Rogan-Josh paste
1/4 of a cauliflower, chopped in medium pieces
one onion, sliced
large handful chopped pumpkin (small cubes)
can of chickpeas
250 grams natural yogurt (I used low fat- this is a great substitute for cream or coconut milk, and makes the whole dish a lot better for you!)
bunch of fresh coriander
large handful baby spinach
dash of oil
In a large pot, frypan or I used a tagine pan, heat the oil and add the sliced onion and a teaspoon of crushed garlic. Saute until the onion softens, then add the lamb and the four tablespoons of rogan-josh paste. (Try 2-3 if you like your Indian food more on the mild side, or more if you like it very spicy... I'm a medium girl). Mix so that the lamb is covered in the paste and cook for five minutes or until the lamb is browned. Then add cauliflower pieces, pumpkin pieces, can of chickpeas (including the liquid, this makes up the sauce) and about half a bunch of coriander, shredded. Simmer for about 30 minutes or longer if you have the time. If it seems to be getting too dry, add some water. Just before serving, mix in spinach leaves and the yogurt. Garnish with the rest of the coriander and serve with rice and naan bread. Yummo!
*** More yogurt will make it less spicy, and a nice addition is a can of tomatoes when you add the vegies. It makes it a little bit richer and saucier.
Until next time,