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Friday, 5 August 2011

Post the Fourth (in which our heroine ponders the free time paradox)

That sounds far more scientific than it really is.  What I am, in fact, pondering is the difference in how free time feels depending on how much money you have.  To wit; I've been out of work for a couple of weeks now, and am pretty much crawling the walls already.  Compare this to two years ago, when I was off work for three and a half months, and never wanted to go back.  The difference?  Fourteen grand in the bank.  The last time I was out of work, I had a nice, fat redundancy payment in the bank and basically lived the life of the proverbial Reilly for the few months.  This time, I'm pretty much destitute, and it turns out having absolutely shitloads of free time isn't half as much fun when you can't afford to do anything with it.  Who'da thunk it?

I didn't get the shitty money temp job in Tallaght either.  They said I was too experienced.  I'm not exactly sobbing my heart out, to be honest.  My lovely recruitment agency lady has, however, submitted me for a much better job, which I would very much like to get, so I'm currently waiting to see if I get called for an interview.  Fingers crossed, wha?

Anyway, onto more important things - food!  Last night's dinner was a Beef Calcutta Curry.  Yes, yes, I know cows are sacred in India, but they're not sacred to me, so I'll damn well have beef in a curry if it pleases me.  Here's a pretty photo of the spices that went into it:

I'm an artist, I'm telling you.

Anyway, this is a really, really mellow curry that really tastes far too good for the measly amount of effort that goes into it.  It's also a great stick-it-on-and-go-and-have-a-bath dish, and to be honest, those are my favourite ones.  If you fancy giving it a go, here's how:

Beef Calcutta Curry - serves 4

1 tsp salt                               1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground coriander          1 tsp ground black pepper
1.5 tsp turmeric                    1 tsp ground cumin
1 litre milk                            7.5cm piece ginger, peeled & crushed
1kg stewing steak, cubed     50g ghee or butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced   5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsp garam masala

1)  Put the salt, chili powder, coriander, pepper, turmeric & cumin into a large bowl and mix in just enough of the milk to make a thick paste.  Gradually whisk in the remainder of the milk, add the beef, cover and set aside for a few hours.  (How vague is that?  As long as you have, really.  Even overnight, if you're super-organised.)

2) Melt the butter or ghee (snigger) in a heavy-based frying pan or wok, add the ginger, garlic & onions and cook over a medium heat until soft.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3) Whack up the heat, remove the beef from the milk, add to the pan and brown.  Do it in batches if you have to.  Add the milk & onion mix back in, bring to the boil, then lower the heat right down, cover and simmer very gently for about 2 hours (go and have your bath here) until the beef is tender and the sauce reduced.

4) Just before serving, add the garam masala, increase the heat and boil off any excess liquid to leave a very thick, almost pasty sauce.  Serve immediately with rice/naan/whatever tickles your fancy.

I made flatbreads with it, but I confess myself too lazy to write out another whole recipe, so you'll just have to make do with something else until I get around to posting it.  Must dash, my sisters are on their way down to me and I'm like a knacker.  To the shower!

Oh yeah, almost forgot - here's a pic of the finished product.  And one of the flatbreads, cause I'm a bit mean like that...

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