Thursday 21 June 2012

Supper Club in St Albans - An Indian Feast :)

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a Supper Club right here in St Albans.  I'd never heard of a Supper Club before but what a fantastic idea.   You pay a reasonable price to go to someone's house and enjoy a variety of food of your choice.

This one was run by Sheba of Absolute Indian and we were going to be treated with authentic South Indian cuisine.   When we arrived the smells that greeted us were to die for and the hospitality outstanding.  We were greeted with cocktails and got to know the other diners as they arrived.   Considering we were all relative strangers we all got on like a house on fire, and it was a really fun night.  Another couple that we met there had been to numerous other Supper Clubs, mainly in London, and I shall certainly be looking out for some more! 

When we looked at the menu, and realised it went over 2 pages, we were amazed at what was to be served up for us, and it was all done so effortlessly though am sure it wasn't!  I know if I presented anywhere near this kind of menu you'd find me sweating and swearing in a steamy kitchen a bottle of wine down - but then you knew that :)

The closest I can describe the evening to being like was a little Come Dine with Me but with a hostess and menu unsurpassed :)

The menu is below, and my pictures don't really do it justice!  Sheba also offers cookery classes as you can see from her website, that's where I'll be going next :)  The next Supper Club in St Albans is on the 21st July, I urge you to go, you will not be disappointed :)

Welcome cocktail

Parippu Vada (Kerala)
Lentil & shallot fritters served with coconut chutney
Bonda (Kerala)
Spiced potato balls with mustard seeds & curry leaves

Rogan Josh (Kashmir)
Aromatic lamb slow cooked with cardamom, cloves & fennel seeds

Kozhi Kuruma
Home style chicken cooked with poppy seeds, coconut and cashews

Payar Thoran (Kerala)
Green bean sautéed with a delicate combination of spices

Coconut Rice (Andra Pradesh) tossed with garlic, red chillies 

& cashew nuts

Jeera Rice (Basmati rice with cumin seeds & ghee

Carrot & coriander raita (North India) seasoned with cumin

Ethakya Porichathu (Kerala)
Caramelised plantains with lime, nutmeg & coconut milk

Masala Chai
Sweet tea infused with cardamom and cinnamon

I was due to go into hospital the next day, and the lovely Sheba let me take some food home with me, which Chris had the next evening when he was left home alone.  Big thumbs up from him too :)

 Disclosure:  Dinner was compliments of Absolute Indian Cookery

Saturday 9 June 2012

Slow Cooker Nepalese Lamb Curry with Cauliflower and Peas

Kauli Matar Ra Masu
(Lamb Curry with Cauliflower and Peas)

In 2001 Chris and I travelled to Nepal.  It was a fantastic place, we did some great trekking, and throughly enjoyed their local fayre.   Unfortunately our holiday was cut shot by the killing of the Nepalese Royal family.   As the news spread, all the men shaved their heads and we even saw the funeral pyre, as it is custom to burn the bodies immediately.   We basically got the last flight out of the country!   I feel for them as tourism has been majorly effected, but I would definitely be back in a heartbeat!
Whilst there I picked up a Nepalese cookbook.   I hadn't looked at it in years, but decided to have a thumb through recently.  I thought I'd have a go at converting one for the slow cooker, and this is the result :)

Tbsp Oil                                                                                           4 garlic cloves chopped
1 cinnamon stick                                                                               Pinch of black pepper
2 bay leaves                                                                                     150g peas, fresh if possible
4 cardamom pods, bruised                                                                1 tbsp ground coriander
1kg lamb                                                                                         1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp fresh ginger sliced                                                                  1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste                                                                                     2 red chillies (to taste)
1 tsp turmeric                                                                                  Fresh chopped coriander to garnish
1 small cauliflower

Preheat the slow cooker to low.  Heat oil in a large frying pan, add all the ingredients - APART FROM CAULIFLOWER AND PEAS - and ensure lamb is sealed and coated well in all the other ingredients.   Add to the slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours.   As you can see from my pic I added the cauliflower from the start too, but although it tasted lovely, it was mush having cooked too long, so I would now add the cauliflower and peas after the 6-8 hrs, stir well to coat, and then cook for a further 45 mins to an hour.

I will also add a further chilli next time - but then I do have a cold so it might have affected my taste buds :)

Annie x