Family and food, the ultimate comfort, you just can't beat it!
It was DH's birthday on Saturday so a few weeks ago we thought it would be lovely if we could gather as many of the kids and their respective partners together. This sounds so easy! It is not. Bearing in mind we all lead busy lives, some working shifts and some living in different parts of the country it is no mean feat to try to make sure there is a date when everyone will be available.
Anyway, long story short...... this Saturday being All Saints Day as well as DH's birthday we tried and actually succeeded!
Now that we knew who was coming the planning had to start regarding food. Everyone is used to coming here and eating well. Some our our children are excellent cooks, adventurous whist others due to time constraints manage very well. I always wanted to instil the fact that as long as you can read you can follow a recipe. Once a week many years ago when the kids were young each had a turn on a Saturday to plan, prepare, cook, serve and eat a homemade meal. The only stipulation had to be that everyone would like the type of food. I would get their shopping list on the Friday so that Saturday afternoon, or earlier, each child would take it in turn each week to cook their meal. Some were naturals, others a little more challenged! One of them decided to create pizzas for us all. Lovely thought until I saw the mess in the kitchen created during the base making process and lots of flour. And so, we come back to today.
Since everyone might be arriving at different times a 'sit down' meal would not be practical so I decided on making a variety of curries plus a cottage pie (made with beef whilst Shepherd's pie is made with minced lamb) for anyone not too interested in eating curry.
Thursday I did the shopping whilst Friday was taken over with cooking. Nothing like making the curries the day before to allow the flavours to mature and mingle.
The curries I made were cumin scented chicken curry, prawn curry, Korma chicken curry. Rather than just cooking ordinary rice I made a large dish of vegetable Biryani rice full of a good Basmati rice, cauliflower florets, peas and onions. As accompaniments I added poppadams, plain naan bread over which I had sprinkled some cheddar cheese with sliced red pepper (the hot stuff) and then placed in the oven until the cheese melted. Obviously there would be the usual mango chutney and raita (cucumber, yoghurt and mint).
As you can see it was a tight squeeze getting all the dishes to heat up in the oven!
Afterwards for dessert we had creme caramel. Don't you just love licking the bowl from which the pudding was released; all that caramel which sits there ready for eating!
To accompany this we had a tarte tatin which, I have to admit, was shop bought but nonetheless had a lovely sharp lemon taste to cut through all the curry flavours that still lingered.
With both puddings I used a recipe I saw in a recipe booking called Autumn Fruit Salad. Basically, pears and apples cut up, dowsed in icing sugar and then placed in a very hot frying pan to caramelise the outside of the fruit thus leaving it nice and firm on the inside. Once that is done, add some blackberries which I still had in the freezer and add a little Calvados (apple brandy).... yummy. All that was missing was a touch of cream!
Once we had all partaken of this feast it was time to sit and play with our grand daughter who held court and enjoyed all the attention from her aunts and uncles. Now I know I am biased but isn't she cute?