2 July 2010

GUEST BLOG: Hot ideas in the Something Spicy class

By guest blogger JULIET LAWSON

We had a great night on Tuesday cooking all sorts of spicy loveliness perfect for the glorious weather we were having. It was a lively evening, with 11 or so talkative and enthusiastic ladies led by Kate. We were at Chorlton High School again, in one of the domestic science rooms – sorry, food science labs (showing my age)! It’s a great space for cooking in a group but there are so many cupboards full of equipment, it can be a proper challenge trying to remember where everything is kept.

We got off to a good start with yummy spicy bean burgers. There was lots of chopping and grating to the soundtrack of foodie questions and chatter. Wonderful aromas of cumin and coriander began filling the room and very soon there were a lot of bright red hands (Kate varied her recipe with fresh grated beetroot because it’s in season) as we all shaped our burgers ready for the oven.

Next we moved onto the paste for the green curry, with lots of herbs and spices including galangal, garlic, lemon grass and all things pungent and savoury going in for a good old whizz up in the food processor. We were practically transported to Bangkok on the wafting smells. After adding lots of lovely veggies and coconut milk, a few more bits of sweetness and savouriness, the green curry sauces were ready. We made one with shrimp paste and fish sauce and the other without, as a veggie option, and they tasted so different, it was startling.

To go with the spicy bean burgers, Kate showed us how to make a gorgeous thick sauce using roasted peppers, tomatoes, garlic, roasted almonds, olive oil and delicious sweet hot smoked paprika - and one last mystery ingredient, bread! A great tip for using up leftover stale crusts. The peppers and almonds went into the oven to roast, while big cubes of bread were fried in a little oil, before adding the garlic and the paprika. Mmm, talk about the most delicious smelling big fat croutons - I could have snaffled the lot there and then! They went into the food processor with some oil and vinegar, the roasted peppers and almonds, and the tomatoes, and soon we had the most tasty and stunning looking orange sauce.

Keeping with colour, we cooked some red rice to go with the curry and rustled up another vivid explosion of a salad to go with our burgers – strips of yellow courgette, grated carrot, rocket and chunks of fresh juicy tomatoes.

A quick bit of ‘interim’ washing-up and we were ready to feast. We may even have had our ‘five a day’ in one meal, and every mouthful was scrumptious! After a good old clear-up, it was time to go home to digest and rest, most people with a little parcel or two of curry paste to cook at home, or leftovers for loved ones. All in all a very successful and enjoyable evening.

There is a second Something Spicy session tomorrow (Saturday 3 July), at 11am-2pm at St Ninian's Church Hall. Cracking Good Food classes cost just £15 for three hours (£10 concessions). To book your place, simply call 0845 652 2572, email adele@crackinggoodfood.org or pop into Hickson & Black's deli.

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