Spicy Indian Beef Stew

The last few weeks have been both busy and quiet. Busy with family and quiet as we took a week long trip to the Dordogne region, some 3 hours from where we’re at the moment. So, although I’ve been in the kitchen and have tried out interesting recipes, I never really got around to documenting them here.

Yesterday, however, I made an Indian dinner on special request from my dear step father-in-law whose b’day it was and who really loves spicy exotic food. The menu included chicken smothered in a yoghurt sauce, a spicy beef stew and a side dish of pan fried aubergines along with a cucumber coriander raita to cool things off. Dessert was creme brulee indianised by the addition of cardamom and orange zest for extra measure.

Indian dinner

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An Indian Meal in Paris – Easy Tadka Dal & Okra (Bhindi) Fry

We are in Paris for the month of June. During the first couple of days of exploring the city, we happened to be around the Indian quarter – a vibrant part of town choc-a-bloc with Indian eateries and stores rubbing shoulders with Middle Eastern and African joints reflecting the true cosmopolitan nature of this lovely city. While looking around a well stocked spice store, I couldn’t resist getting a few Indian spices and some okra. Okra or any other seasonal vegetable cooked with onions and spices are staple dishes back home. A simple and reliable side dish – something I’ve missed for a very long time.

fresh okra

That’s how the first meal I cooked here in our little rental apartment’s kitchen turned out to be one with Indian flavours. And I can now fully appreciate the challenges of working in a tiny Parisian kitchen!

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Indian Lamb Curry – Gosht Dopiaza

I do cook Indian meals quite frequently (although this may not be reflected in the number of ‘Indian Food’ posts here). A hot meal of dal, roti and rice with maybe an additional side dish or meat curry has become a staple in our household.

India is a large country with very distinct cultures and cuisines in its different regions. This means that I still follow recipes once in a while when I feel like doing something different. A few days ago, when there was a request to make an Indian dinner for some family guests, I turned to the internet to look up some inspiration. What I found was a lovely recipe for ‘gosht dopiaza’ or meat with lots of onions – a very popular dish back home in restaurants. I thought I’d give it a try, of course, with heavy customisation. Once you’re comfortable making a curry of any sort, customising recipes to suit your tastes and what’s available becomes second nature.

lamb curry with onions

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Cooking Indian at Le cuisinier en Combraille

Located in the beautiful French village Vergheas is Le cuisinier en Combraille, a charming chambre d’hote owned and operated by an equally charming couple, Jacco and Cees. Jacco is also a very keen cook and provides guests at the lovely farmhouse with a culinary journey and an opportunity to try their hand at cooking during their stay.

Having decided to take a break from the 9-5 routine, myself and Peter have just left Ireland to kick off the beginning of our travel-around-the-world adventure by first unwinding in the lovely countryside of Auvergne where Peter’s mom and her husband reside. His stepdad, Rien, is an enthusiastic cook and on learning that I’d completed my one month cooking course at the Dublin Cookery School, asked me if I’d be interested in trying out a class with Jacco and Cees. It turned out to be even more exciting when I was asked if I could instead share some Indian recipes with some of their guests and guide them while they tried it out in the kitchen.

I immediately agreed and so it was that I turned up in a well equipped kitchen guiding a group of 6 cooks in the methods of basic Indian cooking and the use of Indian spices last Saturday.

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Tandoori Poussins

I came across poussins or spring chickens while we were at Fallon & Byrne a few days ago and could not resist the temptation to purchase a couple of them. I’ve never seen poussins anywhere else in the city, not even at specialist butchers where usually you always have to place an order in advance if you want anything other than the usual fare that’s available.

tandoori poussins

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