Monday, September 28, 2009

Take 2

This is Jan's Chickpea Curry and Steaming Rice Take Two!

Jan's Menu for the YamDaisy Cafe is:
SOUP: Hearty Pea and Ham with Crusty Wholemeal Bread
1ST MAIN: Chickpea Curry and Rice
2ND MAIN: Lambs Fry and Bacon with steamed Potato, Carrots and Broccoli
FRUIT DESSERT: Baked Apples filled with Sultanas and Dried Apricot and served with Greek Yoghurt.

Yesterday I put up a post with a Chickpea Curry recipe, but I have to admit that I knew there was more information from Jan about her idea and I couldn't find it.
Somewhere I had her Chickpea Curry recipe, and somewhere else I had the notes of a discussion we had about rice.
I did find the notes about the rice: Turmeric Rice.
O dear, I couldn't edit my post because Turmeric Rice with a Saffron Infused Chickpea Curry just is wrong!
Then Jan kindly resent me her recipe.
Instead of feeling ashamed of my disorganisation, I will celebrate with this Take 2 Blog just how wonderfully different are these two ways to serve Chickpea Curry and Rice, Enjoy!
(And the Lamb's Fry one will be coming next!)

JAN'S CHICKPEA CURRY - with help from her lovely granddaughter Melanie!
"I fried up an onion, a couple of garlic teeth, and a nice knob of fresh ginger,
added and stir fried the carrot and broccoli,
added in the red pepper,
then the precooked chickpeas,
and a bottle of chunky garden vegetable pasta sauce,
and let it simmer for 5 or 10 minutes.
I think I added some black pepper that Melanie had ground up for me too."

When I asked about rice to serve with the Chickpea Curry Jan immediately suggested Turmeric Rice, because of its beautiful colour and flavour, but also because of the nutritious properties associated with it.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a nutrient researchers are interested in for its anti inflammatory properties and the use it may be in fighting cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
As part of my Take 2 on this menu dish, I made Turmeric Rice taday, which is why there is a photo to go with the blog!
A lot of spiced rices are called Turmeric Rice, I guess because its colour is so assertive. But i chose a very simple rice to accompany the robust curry.

1 cup basmati rice, washed and drained.
1 tbsp oil (I make one teaspoon of it ghee for added deliciousness) heat in a small saucepan
1 small onion finely sliced, fry gently until transparent.
1/2 tsp of turmeric (any more can start tasting bitter) - add
Then add the drained rice and a good pinch of salt
Cover with water: (in my saucepan I cover it by about a centimetre) and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Place a clean, folded, teatowel over the top of the pan, put the lid on top and let it steam for another 10 minutes.

The rice should then be soft and a little bit glossy and glowing a gentle gold. The flavour is very subtle, the only way I can describe it is to say it has a comforting taste. Delicious, and comforting!

Eat your way to good health!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jan's Menu

Wonderful Jan has provided a menu for the YamDaisy Cafe Project.
The YamDaisy daily menu consists of just four choices to please its customers. A soup, two mains, and a fruit based dessert. The menu is seasonal, delicious and cooked from scratch. Find more about YamDaisy menus here.
This is the last of this years Winter Menus, after all, it is Spring here now! But we have had wintry weather the last few days, so this menu would be most welcome! (And it was during Winter that Jan gave me her menu!)
SOUP: Hearty Pea and Ham with Crusty Wholemeal Bread
1ST MAIN: Chickpea Curry and Rice
2ND MAIN: Lambs Fry and Bacon with steamed Potato, Carrots and Broccoli
FRUIT DESSERT: Baked Apples filled with Sultanas and Dried Apricot and served with Greek Yoghurt.

Part One

Jan chose this because it is such a satisfying meal, it is easy to make and it reheats well for those people want it for takeaway to have later.
Pea and Ham soup is a classic, and may well be one of those dishes for a prize: Best YamDaisy Pea and Ham Soup! Imagine the battle as different chefs present the Pea and Ham Soup that stars with their customers which one gets the prize for that year!

Yum! There are so many chickpea curries, I have several favourites in my books. I have also, quite recently, discovered just how lucky we are in Australia to have beautiful large fresh chickpeas grown up by the Ord River in the Kimberleys. They are delicious and notably easier to cook. But, ofcourse, any chickpea is delicious with its comforting, nutty, satisfying flavour. The stew I made (so that I could illustrate this post!) is based on a Moroccan Recipe called "The Chicken that flew". The idea is that this is what you make if you haven't got chicken.
This is such a great dish for the YamDaisy Cafe, tasty, conforting, and full of all the norurishing things to keep people going through the day. It is a straightforward recipe for the Chef/Manager and would please most people with food restrictions.
Here is the recipe for trying at home:
150g (1 cup) of dried chickpeas, soaked
Boil in a litre of water with a pinch of crushed saffron filiments until just cooked: 35 minutes, or 8 minutes in a pressure cooker.
Add a medium onion, sliced,
500g of cubed vegetables: sweet potato, potato, carrots
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tsp of spice mix: I use Ras Al Hanout but you could use your favourite curry powder and also as much as you want. Infact, this is delicious without the extra spices.
Salt to taste.
Stir and simmer a further 15 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked (sweet corn can be addeed five minutes before the finish) and the water has evaporated to leave a lovely gravy.
Serve sprinkled with chopped coriander on steaming rice.

Part 2 of Jan's menu is coming next and will cover her final two dishes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Comfort Food, Stress and the YamDaisy Cafe

An interesting piece of research caught my eye. I have been using the idea of Comfort Food to get people thinking about the wonderful food a YamDaisy Cafe could provide. I ask: You come home tired, hungry and miserable and the Fabulous Food Fairy says "Put your feet up and I will cook you whatever you would like to eat right now". What would you ask?
And people have chosen the familiar, nostalgic and delicious foods that would comfort them.

So I was interested to read this:

It begins: Most of us can name our favorite "comfort foods" and believe that we are most prone to seek them out during times of stress and upheaval - like moving to a new town or starting (or ending!) a job. Contrary to this well-ingrained belief, this research shows the surprising result that our choices of old favorites happen at the opposite times that we predict. The data here show that when peoples' lives are characterized by high levels of change and upheaval, they are less likely to choose favorite "comfort" choices and more likely to choose new, unfamiliar products…even though they predict just the opposite! This common mis-prediction can lead to negative consequences for consumers in that it suggests people may choose the wrong timing for making positive new changes in one's life.

What could this mean for the YamDaisy Cafe? Well, I think it is all good! The YamDaisy Cafe provides the delicious nostalgic foods that are nourishing and comforting but, of course, not every ones comfort foods are the same. The menu will always be a bit of a challenge, with new dishes, unfamiliar ingredients and slightly changed versions of old favourites. This is especially true for someone coming to the YamDaisy cafe for the first time: possibly because their life is stressed, perhaps because they are new to the area.

So, they will find new and exciting food at the time of stress, and as their life settles down so the food will become more familiar and comforting.

If life gets stressed again, they can try that dish on the menu they have never been tempted by before.

The YamDaisy food is the lovely mix of familiar and comfort, and new and exciting, that life should be!