Christmas starts here …

I feel pretty well organised for Christmas – my edible presents are almost finished, the Ocado shop is due to arrive tomorrow, and we are collecting the turkey and meat from Frank Godfrey butcher on Monday. Today is my last day to relax before the cookery onslaught, and we’ll be having a nice simple meal tonight of homemade chicken curry and tarte tatin for pudding.

I ‘invented’ the chicken curry recipe when looking for a weightwatchers friendly meal, and now I prefer it to coconut milk-laden curries – it’s lighter and also much simpler to make. Not that I would ever say no to a chicken korma, but this is a good everyday curry which is very forgiving of being overcooked / reheated.

All I do is bung the following ingredients into a heavy based saucepan with a lid, and boil, then simmer for around 40 minutes. You could also add butternut squash / sweet potato / spinach (at the end) depending on what you fancy, and I reckon this curry would also work well with pieces of salmon, although you would need to cook the sauce first and then just drop the fish in at the end.

Chicken thigh fillets (no skin) cut into bite sized pieces
Chopped onion
Chopped garlic, chopped chilli, garam masala, chilli powder, tumuric, cumin, cardomon pods and salt / pepper to taste
Tin of tomatoes

I’ll serve this with wholegrain rice and some naan bread I have in the fridge (although it’s great with homemade chappattis which are very easy to make – just mix cold water with chappatti flour to form a dough, form into flat circles and dry fry until cooked through (a couple of minutes each side) and brush with melted butter … also nice if you mix onion seeds into the dough).

For pudding I make a variation of John Burton-Race’s tarte tatin – I don’t follow a recipe any more but just put peeled, cored, quartered eating apples into a pan which will also fit in the oven (remembering that the bottom will become the top, so make them neat), and dot with butter and sugar. Cook over a medium heat until the butter and sugar caramelises and add a splash of calvados if you like (I usually don’t bother). Ideally the apples should be starting to soften but still retaining their shape. I then allow this to cool a bit (you can even make it the day before and let it cool completely), then top with rolled out puff pastry. Ensure that the edges of the pastry are tucked into the apples (to make a slight crust when it is turned out of the pan) and  bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes and then turn out onto a plate and serve with cream or ice cream. Yum!

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