LCHF curry feast!

This is an homage to our local curry house, which has put up with our awkward dietary requirements for the last 8 months or so, never complaining when we swap bread and rice for extra veggie sides (even when there’s a deal on). I’m not sure what sort of curry this is, so I shall call it “lamb curry a la Roxy”, complete with cauliflower bhaji and courgette pakoras/fritters.

The curry serves 4, but us two managed to munch our way through all of the pakoras and cauliflower, so make extra if you’re serving more people.

Ingredients:

For the lamb curry a la Roxy:
500 g diced lamb shoulder
4 onions, sliced
4 large cloves garlic
6 – 10 dried kashmiri chillies (depending on how hot you want it), soaked in warm water for a few minutes
2 medium tomatoes
A chunk of ginger (about 5 cm)
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods (just for the hell of it)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 small aubergine, chunked (optional)
Lots of ghee for frying

For the cauliflower bhaji:
1 cauliflower, cut into florets and steamed/boiled until almost cooked
1/2 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
Ghee for frying

For the pakoras:
1 large courgette, diced
The other half of the onion from the cauliflower, finely sliced
2 eggs
2 tbsp curry powder (whatever you have to hand, I went for madras as it was in my cupboard)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp tomato puree
Ghee or lard for frying (I ran out of ghee so I used lard for porky pakoras – or porkoras, if you will)

First, prepare the curry. Place the garlic, ginger, tomatoes and kashmiri chillies in a blender and blend to a fine paste.

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Heat a large saucepan and add the cumin seeds and cardamom pods. Fry until the seeds start to dance in the pan, then add the ghee (about 2 tbsp) and the onions. Fry for 5-10 minutes, until the onions are soft. Depending on how dark you want your finished sauce, you can cook the onions on a high heat to brown them, or fry them gently for a paler sauce (that’s what I did). Add the lamb and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the spice paste, fry for a minute, and then add the ground spices, the salt and the pepper. Add enough water to cover the lamb, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on a loooow heat (use a diffuser if you have one) for 1.5 hours.

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Add the aubergine (if using) and simmer for a further 30 minutes, removing the lid and turning up the heat for the last 15 mins.

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Meanwhile, prepare the ingredients for the cauliflower bhaji and pakoras. For the cauliflower bhaji, steam/boil the cauliflower until just tender. Set to one side. Fry the onions in ghee for a few minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, tomato, turmeric and mustard seeds and stir-fry for a few minutes until the tomatoes start to break down. Add the cooked cauliflower and stir well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until everything is properly cooked.

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For the porkoras, place the courgette, onion, eggs, curry powder, tomato puree, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

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Heat enough ghee/lard in a frying pan to shallow-fry the pakoras (about 2 cm up the side of the pan). Once the fat is hot (test by dropping in a small amount of batter – if it puffs up it’s hot enough), add spoonfuls of the pakora mixture to the pan. Fry for about 3 minutes on each side (keep an eye on the heat, don’t let the fat get too hot) until the courgette is tender and the pakoras are golden, then fry the next batch.

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Serve everything together, and use the pakoras to soak up the curry sauce!

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Buttery roast chicken

If you want a fail-safe method for keeping your roast chicken lovely and moist, then look no further! All you need to do is shove a load of butter under the bird’s skin and you’re good to go. This recipe can be adapted to incorporate different flavourings. I’ve gone for garlic (of course), but you could add some fresh herbs, or keep it simple with salt and pepper.

Serves 2 with left-over chicken for a nice salad the following day

Ingredients:
1 free-range chicken (approx 1.5 kg)
75 g butter
3 large cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3-4 medium onions, chunked
200 ml white wine (or you could use chicken stock or water)

For the spice rub (optional):
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chipotle chilli powder (or smoked paprika)
1 tsp cayenne pepper

For the broccoli cheese:
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
120 g cheddar cheese
60 g butter
100 g double cream
150 ml full-fat milk
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

First, prepare a bed of onions for the chicken to sit on. Then, prepare the flavoured butter by whizzing the garlic, butter, salt and pepper. You can do this by hand – just finely chop the garlic and beat it with the butter until it is fully incorporated.

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Starting from the neck-end of the chicken, gently separate the skin from the breast, trying not to pierce the skin itself. Push the flavoured butter underneath the skin and try to cover as much of the breast as possible. Spread the remaining butter all over the chicken, not forgetting the nooks and crannies, such as the armpits.

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If using, mix the spice-rub ingredients together and sprinkle all over the chicken. Add the wine/stock/water to the dish (to stop the onions burning) and roast in the oven for 20 mins per 500 g, plus an extra 20 mins, or until the juices run clear.

Meanwhile, prepare the broccoli cheese. Steam/boil the broccoli until tender, and place into an oven-proof dish. Add the remaining ingredients to a pan and heat, whisking, until everything is melted and the sauce is smooth. Pour the sauce over the broccoli, and finish with lashings of black pepper.

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Bake in the oven, with the chicken, for 20 minutes. Serve with the chicken, the onions and some of the lovely buttery chickeny pan juices.

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Spiced slow roast lamb shoulder

Slow roast lamb
One of my favourites, and so easy! Make the spice paste, rub it on the meat and then shove it in the oven for a few hours and you end up with beautifully tender lamb that can be cut with a spoon. If you like something a little spicier just add a couple of fresh chilies to the spice paste.
Ingredients:
1 lamb shoulder, scored all over with a sharp knife
1/2 large or 1 medium onion, chunked
100g butter, cubed
For the curry paste:
1/2 large onion
1 medium tomato
3 large cloves garlic
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
2 black cardamom pods, seeds only
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tbsp full fat Greek yoghurt
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 140°C fan.
Blend all of the paste ingredients to a paste and rub all over the lamb shoulder.
Place onions on the bottom of an oven-proof dish and place lamb on top.
Dot the cubes of butter all over the lamb and onions.
Roast  for 3 hours, uncovered, basting occasionally with meat juices.