Curry, confidence and colds

Following on from my last post with the spinach disaster masquerading as dinner, tonight’s efforts were ultimately more successful – and tasty. With less on the floor, walls, stove and none in my hair. A win for all parties. And despite being full of the cold/cough/plague that is doing the rounds, I proved that I am an actual grown up female woman and can cook for myself when under the weather, even though all I really wanted was someone else to do it for me…and then spoon feed me. But that is a whole other issue.

When I lived with Caroline there was a clear divide of culinary abilities and it went a little bit like this:

Jemma = cakes, muffins, desserts, risotto, lasagna, any pasta bake, roast chicken, any casserole (i.e. food to keep a family of 4 going)  and Caroline = stir fry, curries, soup to make me feel better, sauces, veggie roast dinners, anything with beans and/or lentils, pastry (i.e. interesting and grown up food for grown up people)

Tonight, in my cold/flu/plague addled mind all I wanted was the aubergine and potato curry that Caroline makes to perfection – I salivate when I think of it and despite all the times we ate it anddespite the countless times she tried to teach me how to cook it, I never learnt. It’s a well known fact that food tastes better when someone else cooks it for you and the curry is a perfect example of this. I would sit on the sofa listening to her cooking and smelling the spices warming up, floating through the dining room and making my stomach growl. occasionally I’d float back into the kitchen and feebly attempt to “help” but I’d never actually do anything constructive.

This was one of my laments when we broke up “what will I do when I want curry?” Seriously, I used those words. I may have whined, like a small child who still needs help tying their laces. I had images of standing in my kitchen trying to make a curry and failing miserably or worse submitting to the takeaway and then being disappointed when it wasn’t as good.  So tonight, I decided to face my fears and against streaming eyes, nose and bravery I made a curry. The very first curry made from scratch with not a jar or packet mix in sight.I did, however, have Caroline at the end of the phone explaining how to add the spices, when to add the potatoes, which finishing spices to use etc – and without her this post could have been a repeat of the Great Spinach Disaster of September 29th.

The issue I have is confidence. I have very little confidence in my own ability in the kitchen – even with a dish I’ve made countless times I’m convinced it will be a disaster in some small way and people will only eat out of either extreme politeness or extreme hunger. Or both. Tonight I had to put my faith in the spices and the spoons and in flavours that I’m not actually that fond of – cassia bark and cardamom being the two main ones. I like the flavour they impart but I always pick out the actual bits and give them to Caroline to eat.

Fast forward about an hour and we have a curry. An amazing low carb, low fat vegetarian curry with a good spice mix and enough garlic to kick my cough into touch. I got a bit brave and cooked pearl barley instead of rice for a change – best idea today. I might become a pearl barley convert from now on; better than rice AND cheaper.  The end result? A curry that I was actually proud of and kicked the plague into touch. Turns out I’m a grown up after all.


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