Welcome



These are tried, tested and much loved recipes. Our families and friends are always unselfish and devote themselves to taste-testing these delicious creations and demand them repeatedly time and time again.

Our aim is to share with you our favourite meals and the little tricks and tips we have learnt along the way.
Time is precious.
Food is expensive.

Both are resources too valuable to waste.

We want to share recipes that deliver delicious, nourishing meals - making the most of your time and ingredients.

Life is way too short for bland, disappointing food.
So ... Feed your inner cook - and Enjoy!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Chocolate Sauce

Annabel Langbein's Chocolate Sauce, I have made a dozen of these for family and friends. The perfect homemade gift that is delicious and a little bit decadent.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons cornflour
3 tablespoon cold water
4 tablespoon cocoa (use the best quality you can afford)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 

Method

Stir the cornflour and cold water together in a saucepan. 
Add all of the remaining ingredients and simmer for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
Whilst hot pour into sterilised bottles.
 
Merry Christmas
Mamma Marmalade
 
 


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Very Steamy Dreamy Christmas Pudding

My naughty Nanas never wrote their pudding recipes down. So I rely on the wonderful substitute Nanas at the Australian Women’s Weekly to guide me in my quest for our family pud.


I have attempted making Boiled Christmas Puddings but was always disappointed they never turned out as gloriously as my Grandmother’s – I remember them hanging about the house and had the most luscious dense texture, fragrance and a firm thin skin that was impossible to replicate.

Thus, I have resorted to the steamed method – sometimes lovingly using my other Grandmother’s slightly dented pudding steamer. I hope you enjoy my version of the Women’s Weekly pud – I serve it warmed with a selection of creams, custard and ice-cream and although Nana’s original Christmas Charms have long gone, I thread some of my Charms onto gold thread and place in the bottom of each bowl, top with a slice of pud for each guest to uncover their festive prediction.  Enjoy!


Please Note:  This post follows on from 2 other instalments listed on our blog – soaking the dried fruit 

and then preparing the fruit

When baking, I find it more accurate to weigh ingredients rather than relying on cup measurements, but where possible I have included both. 

Servings:

Please use these as a suggestion only for sizes.

I use this amount to cook a 2 litre and a 1 litre – I do NOT fill completely -  both are not filled as much as a standard recipe would suggest. 
This gives me one for Christmas Day and one stored for winter or as a gift.
It also makes a 1 litre (for stove top steaming) as well as enough for 7 – 8 small (270 ml) mini puddings and 1 or 2 dariole sized (for oven steaming).


Ingredients

1 kilogram Dried Mixed Fruit that has been soaking in ½ cup Bundy Rum (prepared as above)
1 ½ cups (330 gram) dark brown sugar
150 gram butter, cubed
270 ml water (1 cup and 1 tablespoon)

1 ½ teaspoons Bicarbonate of Soda

3 eggs, lightly beaten

165 gram Plain Flour – sifted
165 gram Self Raising Flour – sifted
1 ½ teaspoon ground Mixed Spice – sifted
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon – sifted
½ teaspoon ground Cloves – sifted
If you love nuts:  Option – 1/3 cup slivered Almonds


Preparation Method

Prepare your pudding basins.

Regular Lidded Pudding Basin (1 litre OR 2 Litre – preferably non-stick):

Grease the basin really well. Use a circle of baking paper to cover the base of the basin – helps turning out later.  Prepare a lid of baking paper – a circle cut wider than the basin that has a pleat folded into the middle of the paper to allow the pudding to expand and protects the top of the pudding from droplets of steam.

Or for small puddings:

I use small ovenproof plastic lidded basins (270 ml) and also silicone dariole moulds (VIP that they have a lipped rim so you can seal the alfoil lid over) to steam in the oven.
Grease the moulds very well.
Prepare lids of baking paper  with a centre pleat, as above - for the lidded basins OR
For the silicone moulds – grease the moulds very well and cut out baking paper circles to make lids with a centre pleat, as above. Grease these both sides.  Make a larger circle lid from alfoil.  You pop the paper lid on top of the pudding (allow room to expand) then the alfoil lid over both.  Then crimp and squeeze the alfoil very firmly around the lip and over to seal and protect the pudding inside the silicone mould.

Use a large deep roasting pan and place an old white towel (so dye won’t stain your pan) on the base of the pan.  Fill your pudding moulds and allow room for the mixture to expand.  Place on top of the towel.  Pour boiling water carefully around the mini-basins until about half-way up the sides of the basins.  Cover with 2 large layers of alfoil and crimp and squeeze the edges as tightly as possible to seal in the steam.

* Use a very large saucepan because the mixture will froth up when the Bicarb is added. (See TIPS and HINTS below)

* You will also need either an old saucer or cake rack to sit in the base of the saucepan during steaming.  This raises the pudding off the intense heat of the saucepan base. Make sure it is wide enough and stable to hold your filled pudding basin.

Cooking Method

Place the fruit, sugar, butter and water in the saucepan. Stir and gradually bring to boil for 2 minutes.
Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Take off the heat and stir in the Bicarb.  This will froth a bit then settle. No need to keep stirring.

Allow to cool (but not chilled) – needs to be cool enough to dunk your finger in without any ‘hot’ feeling. (See TIPS and HINTS below)

When cooled down a bit, stir in the beaten eggs.
Then stir through the combined sifted flours and spices. If using, stir through the slivered almonds.

Pour into your prepared basins.  Don’t overfill. They will expand.  Depending on the size basin - (for a 2 Litre basin leave 3 cm to rise)

Cover the top of the pudding with greased pleated paper.  Don’t push down into the pudding. Leave room for pud to expand.

Cover with the pudding basin lid.  I then use a strip of alfoil around the rim to cover the join between the lid and basin – just crunch and squeeze it around and under the rim to reduce the chance of steam entering the basin.  Don’t worry if it is not sealed – it just adds an extra layer of protection.

Fill and boil the kettle

Place in your pudding steamer saucepan on top of the rack/saucer. 


 Cooking Times

Carefully pour the hot water into the sides of the pan – avoid pouring the water over the pudding basin. Water needs to come up about half way of the side of the pudding basin.
Cover with a tight fitting lid and gently boil for 5 hours. Check the water every hour and refill to about half way if necessary.

When steamed for 5 hours: remove lid and allow to stand for 5 minutes before very carefully removing the basin from the saucepan.

If steaming the mini-basins in the oven:

Preheat oven to 150 o C.  Carefully slide the foil covered roasting pan into the oven and allow to steam for 2 hours.  After 1 ½ hours peek into the pan and top up the water if necessary. Unlikely to need any more.
  
Serving Options:

If serving immediately:
Remove lid and paper. Carefully up-end onto a serving platter and serve with custards, creams etc.

If storing for use later:
Allow to cool in the basin.
Carefully remove and wrap pudding in plastic wrap, then 2 layers of alfoil. Place into a plastic freezer bag and expel as much air as possible.  Knot and seal tightly.  Store in an airtight box in the fridge OR repeat the bag and store in freezer.

Storage times: I suggest a couple of months if kept in fridge or up to 12 months in freezer. Do not store at room temperature.

TIPS and HINTS: 

* When selecting a saucepan to use for the pudding steamer I like to use one wider than the pudding basin because that gives my fingers room to grab the pudding handles and lift the completed pudding out of the steamy saucepan

* Once I have transferred the mixture into the pudding basins, I give the saucepan a quick wash and re-use the large saucepan as my pudding steamer.

TIP:  Mixture will take longer to cool in the saucepan but won’t be affected. Allow 2 -3 hours to cool.
OR you can transfer mixture to a large bowl to cool – will still need at least 1 hour to cool.
I place the bowl / saucepan on top of a strong cake rack to allow air flow beneath the bowl.
It is important to cool prior to adding the flour and eggs or these will start to ‘cook’ from the retained heat.


Enjoy!   Colleen



Thursday, 12 December 2013

Christmas Cake - nearly as good as Nan's.

Time spent with family and friends is the most precious Christmas gift.  You are very fortunate if you have childhood memories of helping Nan, Nana or Gran cook those fragrant, festive indulgences.  

Some Nanas were good gals and wrote their recipes down but the mischievous ones created magic with a handful of this and a pinch of that - tossing and sprinkling faster than your eyes could follow.  
Naughty Nanas!




My Christmas Cake recipe uses Nan’s recipe tweaked (not twerked) mixed with tips collated from the Australian Women’s Weekly, Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer. 

Please Note:  This post follows on from 2 other instalments listed on our blog – soaking the dried fruit 


and then preparing the fruit


When baking, I find it more accurate to weigh ingredients rather than relying on cup measurements, but where possible I have included both. 


At the end of the post I have shown off my mastery of the Times Two Table and listed the volumes for doubling the recipe.  Enjoy!


Ingredients

1 kilogram of mixed dried fruit soaked with ½ cup rum and chopped   (refer previous posts)
The pre-soaked fruit in rum should have a combined weight of approx. 1.110 kg.

60 gram slivered almonds (1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon treacle   OR    golden syrup

270 gram softened butter  (1 cup and 1 tablespoon)
250 gram Dark Brown sugar  - good for a deeper coloured cake  (1 ¼ cups firmly packed)

225 gram plain flour – sifted with  (1 ½ cups)
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
1 ½  teaspoons ground Cloves
½ teaspoon grated Nutmeg
¼ teaspoon Salt

5 large eggs - beaten

PLUS
Handful of whole blanched almonds for decorating top of cake
And for later
30 – 40 ml   - dash more rum to drizzle over AFTER the cake is cooked.

Method

Prepare your baking tins – lightly grease then line carefully with baking paper


See size guide in cooking times listed below.
I find this mix makes 1 x 22 cm   OR    2 x 18 cm plus 1 x 10 ½ cm   OR    7 x 10 ½ cm tins.

Preheat oven to 140 o C  if using a fan    Or    150 o C for a regular oven

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add half of the beaten eggs,  mix in. 
Then add half the sifted flour mixture and stir through.
Repeat with the remaining eggs and flour.
Add the soaked fruit, treacle and slivered almonds and stir to combine.

Pour into the prepared tins.  Don’t fill to the brim. Depending on the size of the tin used, allow a couple of centimetres for the cake to rise. Gently push a slight hollow into the centre of the top of the batter to aid even rising.

Tap the filled cake tin a couple of times (not too hard) on the bench.  This helps remove air bubbles and makes for a nice dense cake.

Place the decorating blanched almonds around the top in your preferred pattern. Gently place the almonds in so they sit just in the batter. The cake will rise around the almonds.

Cooking times for round cake tins 

NB older / newer cake tins  have slightly different dimensions.  Use this as a guide
Also: check about 15 minutes prior to allotted times

22 cm x 7 cm deep  = 3 hours
18 cm x 6 cm           = 2 hours 10 minutes
10 ½ cm x 6 cm       = 1 hour 30 minutes 

Cake is cooked when a skewer is inserted into the middle and comes out clean.  If you have baked it for the allotted time and it is not cooked through, reduce oven to 110 o C and cook for a further 10 minutes, test again – repeat for 5 minute intervals until cooked.

Remove from oven and place cake tin onto a cooling rack.
Drizzle the extra rum evenly over  the hot cake.
Cool in the tin, then carefully remove.  Wrap well in greaseproof then alfoil then plastic. Expel as much air as possible to seal the cake in the wrapping.

Store in an airtight container in the back of a cool dark cupboard.    

Doubled cake ingredient guide
   
2 kilograms of mixed dried fruit soaked with 1 cup rum and chopped   (refer previous posts)
The pre-soaked fruit in rum should have a combined weight of approx. 2.220 kg.

120 gram slivered almonds (2/3 cup)
2 tablespoon treacle   OR  golden syrup

540 gram softened butter  (2 cups and 2 tablespoons)
500 gram Dark Brown sugar  - good for a deeper coloured cake  (2 1/2 cups firmly packed)

450 gram plain flour – sifted with  (3 cups)
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
4 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground Cloves
1 teaspoon grated Nutmeg
½  teaspoon Salt

10 large eggs – beaten
PLUS
Handful of whole blanched almonds for decorating top of cake
And
60 - 80 ml  dash more rum to drizzle over AFTER the cake is cooked.


                                        Enjoy!    Colleen

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Sweet Potato and Eggplant Thai Curry thanks to Oz Harvest Cookbook

Sometimes amidst the craziness of Christmas preparations, we need to simplify our day and remember what is important.  The wonderful people at OzHarvest help remind us not to be wasteful and appreciate the foods available with wonderful recipes creating wholesome flavoursome meals.
Please check out their website and be inspired by their community spirit of generosity and practicality.





This is my adaptation of a recipe from their cookbook (pictured) by Julie Goodwin - easy to prepare, tastes even better reheated and nourishing for body and spirit.  Enjoy!

Preparation    5 minutes
Cook/stir       10 minutes
Simmer         15 minutes

Serves 4-5        increase quantities for more servings

Ingredients  

1 tablespoon Rice Bran Oil or similar
1 large red onion cut into slices
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 heaped teaspoons Thai Red Curry Paste.   (If you prefer it hotter increase to 2 – 3 tablespoons.  
                                           Milder: decrease to 1 teaspoon and add gradually to your preference)
1 large sweet potato – peeled, and cut into 2cm cubes
1 large eggplant – cut into 2 cm cubes
400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
400 ml tin coconut milk
½ tin water   (sometimes you will need a dash more)
1/2 - 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar (start with 1/2 and add more at end if needed)
Handful Red Lentils
¼ teaspoon salt     OR    few shakes of Fish Sauce if you have it
2  ripe tomatoes – cut into wedges

OPTIONS that I like to include
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves – vein removed and super finely shredded
Squeeze of Lime juice  and   wedges to serve
Fine Shredded snow peas   OR   shallot
Handful Thai Basil leaves   OR   Coriander leaves
Nigella seeds to sprinkle over.

AND
Rice to serve

Method

Prepare all vegetables
Heat oil in large wide pan or a wok over medium heat, add the onions and garlic. Stir til softened.
Add the Thai Red Curry Paste and fry off for 1 minute until fragrant.
Toss in sweet potato and eggplant and stir into the paste.
Add the Tinned Tomatoes, coconut milk, brown sugar and red lentils and the extra water.
Stir, bring to gentle boil then reduce heat to medium simmer for approx. 15 minutes.

Stir now and then, check vegetables are tender and lentils have softened into the sauce.
Add the salt and stir.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Remove from heat, stir through the tomato wedges, a squeeze of lime juice and the leaves.
Serve with rice and sprinkle with the shredded crunchy snow peas, nigella seeds with the Lime wedges on the side.
                                                        Enjoy!   Colleen




Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Salmon Fish cakes with Lemongrass and Lime


Although I prefer to use fresh salmon for this Donna Hay recipe, sometimes,  I do utilize the pantry tin of good quality red salmon so it can be turned into an almost instant meal.  The tinned salmon will however result in a still flavoursome, but less chunky texture than that achieved using the diced fresh salmon fillets.

(Another option is to cook small balls using this recipe and serve as nibbles if you prefer).



I am lucky enough (thank you Wilbur) to have herbs including lemongrass, coriander, chilli and a kaffir lime tree plus a lime tree in the backyard – so handy because the addition of a couple of kaffir lime leaves takes these fish cakes to a delicious level.  Whatever herbs you can grow, even in a pot, will boost your cooking flavours and make you feel like the garden goddess Mama Marmalade!


Preparation and cooking:  15 - 20 minutes

Serves  - 3 - 4    this will depend on what side dishes are being served as well

Ingredients

2 x 180 gram salmon fillets – 1cm  diced     OR    1 x 400 gram tin Red Salmon drained
1 tablespoon Rice Flour
1 egg-white  (refrigerate the yolk for another recipe)
Zest of 1 lime – finely grated  (then, lime can be quartered for serving later)
1 stalk lemongrass – very finely chopped.  Remove the outer coarse leaves first
3 Kaffir Lime leaves – remove the tough central vein then very very finely shred leaves
1 long red chilli – finely sliced     OR    shake of dried chilli flakes
Sea salt and pepper – to taste
Rice Bran oil – enough to coat pan

Dressing:
¼ cup greek yoghurt - make sure it is not watery. Drain off,  if necessary.
2 tablespoons good mayonnaise
1 teaspoon wasabi  - if not available, leave out   or   add an extra ½ teaspoon of lime juice
1 teaspoon lime juice  (from the lime used for zesting)
A shake of white pepper if not using wasabi
Finely chopped herb leaves of your choice  -  mint, coriander or a little parsley

OPTIONS for serving:   snow peas, coriander leaves or mint leaves


Method

In a small bowl:  mix the yoghurt, mayonnaise, lime juice and wasabi. Set aside.

Using a large bowl, mix together the salmon, rice flour, eggwhite, lime zest, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilli, salt and pepper.

Shape into 8 patties using just-damp hands.

Warm pan to a moderate heat and add the oil.
Add the patties  and Cook for approx. 3 minutes per side until golden brown..
Drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

Serve with the lime mayonnaise
plus 
your choice of green salad, tomato pieces etc. Shredded snow pea slivers give a nice crunch if sprinkled over. Scatter over some coriander or mint leaves.


 PS  Hopefully your chillis grow a little larger than mine! Still tasty though!

                                 Enjoy!  Colleen



Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Breakfast Eggs and Pancetta Bread

Cooked this for some sleepy-over pals one morning. So impressed as it looked almost as good as pictured in the Donna Hay magazine – and it was declared delicious and a definite winner for the brekky menu. I have added a few extra herbs etc to the original recipe so feel free to suit your own tastes.
You can prep your toppings and pre-measure your flour the night before.
Then in the morning, just activate the yeast, knead the dough, 
rest it -   and yourself -    for 20 minutes   -  top, bake, eat.  Enjoy!


Needs about 1 hour from start to ‘eat’.
10 minutes preparation including yeast activating.
10 minute dough making and kneading
20 minute rest
5 minutes for rolling and topping the bread
12 – 15 minutes cooking

Serves 4 – 6 as breakfast    or    8 as part of a breakfast buffet

Donna Hay uses a 25 cm square baking dish. 
I prefer a 22cm x 30cm rectangular tray with a decent depth to hold the bread and toppings.

Ingredients

1 ¼ teaspoons (7 gram sachet) dry yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2/3 cup warm water -   not boiling hot or it kills the yeast
1 ½ cups OO flour sifted (superfine flour) plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon Olive Oil plus extra for drizzling
6 eggs
8 slices pancetta – roughly sliced    or   thin sliced bacon – chopped   if you prefer
Handful of cherry tomatoes – halved
80 – 100 gram grated gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
½ teaspoon thyme leaves
1/3 cup basil leaves
Small amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling over the top
OPTION   Grinding of pepper and scattering of sea salt flakes

Method

Preheat oven to 220o C

In a small bowl, mix the yeast, sugar and water.  Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface.
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and olive oil.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour mix and combine to form a dough.
Use a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until elastic and smooth.
Put in a large bowl, cover with clean towel and set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes:
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to fit your baking dish and place in the non-stick baking paper lined dish – pushing the dough into the corners.
Make small impressions in dough top and crack the eggs into these dents.
Scatter with the pancetta pieces and upturned tomato halves.
Sprinkle over the chilli flakes, herbs, basil and gruyere cheese.
Lightly dust with grated parmesan, freshly ground black pepper and touch of rubbed sea salt flakes.

Finish with a very fine drizzle of Australian Olive Oil.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until golden. 

Serve immediately!

TIPS and HINTS
the night before:
Prepare and measure most of your ingredients.

Line your baking dish with non-stick paper using my ‘Lazy Peg’ method blogged previously



                                                  Enjoy!   Colleen

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Breakfast Pancetta and Eggs Bread

Cooked this for some sleepy-over pals one morning. So impressed as it looked almost as good as pictured in the Donna Hay magazine – and it was declared delicious and a definite winner for the brekky menu. I have added a few extra herbs etc to the original recipe so feel free to suit your own tastes.
You can prep your toppings and pre-measure your flour the night before.
Then in the morning, just activate the yeast, knead the dough, 
rest it -   and yourself -    for 20 minutes   -  top, bake, eat.  Enjoy!



Needs about 1 hour from start to ‘eat’.
10 minutes preparation including yeast activating.
10 minute dough making and kneading
20 minute rest
5 minutes for rolling and topping the bread
12 – 15 minutes cooking

Serves 4 – 6 as breakfast    or    8 as part of a breakfast buffet

Donna Hay uses a 25 cm square baking dish. 
I prefer a 22cm x 30cm rectangular tray with a decent depth to hold the bread and toppings.

Ingredients

1 ¼ teaspoons (7 gram sachet) dry yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2/3 cup warm water -   not boiling hot or it kills the yeast
1 ½ cups OO flour sifted (superfine flour) plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon Olive Oil plus extra for drizzling
6 eggs
8 slices pancetta – roughly sliced    or   thin sliced bacon – chopped   if you prefer
Handful of cherry tomatoes – halved
80 – 100 gram grated gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
½ teaspoon thyme leaves
1/3 cup basil leaves
Small amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling over the top
OPTION   Grinding of pepper and scattering of sea salt flakes

Method

Preheat oven to 220o C

In a small bowl, mix the yeast, sugar and water.  Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface.
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and olive oil.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour mix and combine to form a dough.
Use a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until elastic and smooth.
Put in a large bowl, cover with clean towel and set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes:
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to fit your baking dish and place in the non-stick baking paper lined dish – pushing the dough into the corners.
Make small impressions in dough top and crack the eggs into these dents.
Scatter with the pancetta pieces and upturned tomato halves.
Sprinkle over the chilli flakes, herbs, basil and gruyere cheese.
Lightly dust with grated parmesan, freshly ground black pepper and touch of rubbed sea salt flakes.

Finish with a very fine drizzle of Australian Olive Oil.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until golden. 

Serve immediately!

TIPS and HINTS
the night before:
Prepare and measure most of your ingredients.

Line your baking dish with non-stick paper using my ‘Lazy Peg’ method blogged previously

                                                  Enjoy!   Colleen

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Thai Pumpkin and Kaffir Lime Curry

This is one of my favourite ‘bubble away on the stove and add bits to it’ recipes. Nigella’s recipe was the inspiration and foundation of this very flexible recipe that I continue to alter depending on what is hiding in the fridge. The lime which is squeezed over just before serving, gives it a real lift and zing.

If there is any pumpkin curry left over, it tastes even better the next day!





Please don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. 

Just put in the essential flavours, with the pumpkin, plus your choice of any extra vegetables, then let it bubble away and stir occasionally.  See the options list for Nigella’s Seafood additions to this dish.

The pumpkin in the photo is not very chunky - sorry – I got a bit distracted reading / looking at Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks   http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/stories/yotam-ottolenghi    and the pumpkin wasn’t the only thing that turned to mush…


Preparation  15 minutes
Cooking        20 – 25 minutes (which is just stirring and adding now and then)

Serves  4 – 6  depending on how many extra veggies / chickpeas you add.

Ingredients

1 kg pumpkin – peeled, and cut into bite-size pieces.  You can also use pre-roasted pieces – just add in a bit later than you would the raw pieces as pre-cooked would need less cooking time.   -  see Tips and Hints

2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste. 
(depends on your preference – start with 2 teaspoons if you prefer it quite mild, allow to cook and maybe add another teaspoon a bit later - jot down how much you like to use)

400 ml tin of coconut milk
1 litre Chicken Stock (salt reduced) or you could use Vegetable stock (salt reduced) if preferred
2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar  or  Caster sugar
3 lemongrass stalks, cut into thirds, and squash and bruise the sections with knife handle. You can finely finely slice a little of the white base to add if you like
6 kaffir lime leaves:   3   have the middle vein removed and super finely shredded. 
The remaining 3  – crush a bit in your hand and then add in whole leaves
½ Red capsicum - diced
1 cup peas (frozen is fine)
Handful fresh beans – trimmed
Couple of handfuls of red lentils – these will almost disappear and thicken the curry
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
Red chilli – finely sliced  or shake of chilli flakes (leave out if you prefer it milder)
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Coriander leaves or parsley leaves. And / or  Finely sliced shallots

PLUS   Cooked Rice to serve  -  see Tips and Hints

You can also add to the base curry mixture  -   any of your preferred choices (all or some – whatever you like) such as these suggestions:

½ cauliflower  –trimmed and cut into bite size bits
Broccoli – bite size pieces
Chickpeas – either 1 tin well rinsed and drained or similar amount of pre-cooked
3 little shakes of Dashi powder (optional) – comes in sachets – sorry the amount is not more specific
Baby spinach leaves
Pakchoi or bok choy  - sliced or shredded

SEAFOOD OPTIONS:  (as Nigella does in her recipe – but I don’t)
You could include peeled prawns and/or boned salmon fillet cut into bite size pieces. Cook these first in the pan, remove, cook the curry and then add the seafood back in at the end to warm through.



Method

Use a large wide stove-top pan.
Skim the thick part of the coconut milk from the tin and heat in the pan with the curry paste. 
When it starts to sizzle,(don’t let it burn) mix well and add the remaining coconut milk.
Stir in the Sugar, Fish Sauce, Lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, Turmeric, Chilli, (Dashi if using)
Add the stock and stir well.  Bring to gentle boil.
Add the raw pumpkin pieces and any other raw vegetables that need longer cooking time.
Stir the red lentils through the curry.
Add the red capsicum if using.
Reduce heat to a steady simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.
If the curry seems to be getting too thick add some more coconut milk or water or stock.
If using pre-cooked pumpkin, add in after curry and vegetables have cooked for about 10 mins
When almost finished cooking – remove the lemongrass stalks and whole kaffir lime leaves.
If using - add the chickpeas, green peas and green beans
Stir and then add the spinach, bok choy etc. and allow to wilt.
If using seafood - Gently stir through the pre-cooked seafood to warm through.
Once warmed, take off the heat and Stir in the lime zest and the squeezed lime juice.
Taste and if necessary add a little pepper or salt as needed.
Sprinkle the chopped coriander / parsley / shallots over.

Serve over rice with extra lime wedges if desired.

TIPS and HINTS

When cooking rice, cook more than needed.  Freeze in small portions that will defrost in no time. 
Remove from freezer and reheat to serve under this curry - easy!
and
Save and freeze (in small easy to defrost portions) some roasted pumpkin to use in this recipe - makes for a quick base for your curry.

                                    Enjoy! Colleen