26 June 2013

GUEST BLOG: Spicing things up

By guest blogger TRACEY

Kim delivered a bumper packed session at Barlow Hall Primary School last Wednesday. The 10 participants welcomed Kim’s tips on how to create a deliciously nutritious chicken and vegetable Madras curry and some were introduced to new spices and cooking methods.

Firstly the chicken thighs were sprinkled with salt and placed onto a tray for roasting. Kim explained that thighs on the bone were a cheaper cut and often tasted better too. So while the chicken was roasting, the participants set to chopping and slicing all the veg. A great discussion took place about the spices, as each holds many medicinal benefits and unique flavours and Kim wanted to highlight the beautiful visual effect these spices have, as of course the mix of turmeric and paprika result in a vibrant and enticing orange. A participant made an excellent time-saving suggestion of weighing out the required spices ahead of use, a bit like your very own garam masala mix! Kim stressed the advantages of using vegetable oil, sunflower oil or rapeseed oil, as these are lightly flavoured oils which will not taint the taste of the dish when heated. They are also cheaper and withstand being heated to higher temperatures as opposed to olive oil and some nut oils.
The group was surprised by how few spices were used to make the curry - just three! I think people are often put off making curries for fear they’re going to have to hunt out a plethora of spices, hence jars can seem more convenient. Not true, plus another benefit when cooking from scratch is that the sugar and salt content is far less than that used in jars. I've noticed that Kim really likes using dried crushed chillies and at 60p a 100g bag, I’m not surprised - it's a tempting bargain!

While the vegetables, spices and shredded roast chicken were simmering and blending their flavours, the group shared their many different ways of cooking rice, a simple dish with what appeared to be many complex methods! I’m glad they opted for the failproof method of 1cm of water above the rice line. All agreed the rice looked perfect as Kim added some turmeric to the water, so it took on a golden glow.

The group are definitely on board to the benefits of slow cookers and were delighted that Kim has added another recipe to their collection! Thanks guys, for a tasty and informative session.
See our Facebook page for more pictures from the session.

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