Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Winter Warmers.........

So technically there are only 13 days before spring officially arrives in NZ and we are surrounded by daffodils and other flourishing spring blooms. This year Mr weatherman upstairs seems to be super confused in terms of the whats supposed to be happening. I don't think he quite remembers that we actually do in fact have seasons that generally begin and end at roughly the same time each year! This year we haven't been experiencing the usual intense cold snaps that habitually grace us with there presence during winter. Generally the cold icy weather would start to disappear during this time of year in order to let the gorgeous spring sunshine creep in ........but not this year!!!

Winter decided to really set in yesterday......in the middle of AUGUST!! what is going on!!! I feel this is rather inconvenient!! It was only last week that I was embracing the sunshine whilst sipping my tea at Mission bay enjoying the calm waters before me thinking that summer was well and truly on its way ....... How wrong was I!!!

Yesterday I had to drag my biggest, warmest, heaviest coat out from the back of my wardrobe (where I had happily shoved it when I THOUGHT I wouldn't be needing it again this year) so I could survive the icy polar blast that has decided to sweep over NZ. Despite this there was something that managed to perk me up and get me super excited ......the snow in Auckland!!! I know it was only a light sprinkling but still it was SNOW in AUCKLAND. It is a little embarrassing that I did get soo excited about the meagre dusting!!!.......but it NEVER snows here so I think I was entitled to my few minutes of acting like a 4 year old child who had never seen snow in her life.

The temperature at one point during the day plummeted to a mere 7 degrees which is way below the acceptable 15/16 degrees I have become accustomed to! Whilst caught outside in the snow shower yesterday I decided it would be a night where a super hearty meal would be required. I ended up embracing my roots and making an amazing lamb curry (adapted from a Bill Granger recipe) which is sooo easy to make, you just throw everything into a pot and pretty much leave it till its done! It is also really delicious. And as well as that I made a super scrumptious pear crumble - you could substitute the pear for apple if your not a pear fan. I used Donna Hay's crumble topped vanilla pear recipe and turned it into a crumble instead of individual desserts. I also substituted the almonds with extra rolled oats as my brother has a severe nut allergy, but I think it would taste better with almonds for extra crunch. I served it with vanilla bean ice cream but custard's also a good option :)

The aromas that filled the house were soooo good and at the risk of sounding super cheesy mouth watering!!! The indulgent curry and crumble combo (strange combo but noone had any qualms) definitely satisfied everyone on the cold wintry night and fulfilled the brief of a hearty meal. simran x

Lamb Curry

1 kg lamb pieces
2tsp ground coriander
11/2tsp ground cumin
1tsp tumeric
1tsp dried chilli flakes
1tsp paprika
1tsp cardamom pods crushed
3 cinnamon sticks
1tbsp grated ginger
1tbsp olive oil
25g butter
2 large brown onions chopped 
400g tin tomatoes
1 cup plain yoghurt
250mL water
juice of 1/2 or 1 lime- depending on your taste

Place the lamb in a large bowl, add the spices and ginger and toss to coat all the lamb.
Season with salt.
Place a large heavy-based pan over medium-high heat.
Heat the oil and butter, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened.

Add the lamb and cook for 5 minutes until the meat is browned.
Add the tomatoes, yoghurt and water and bring the pan to the boil.
Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and simmer for two hours ( I left mine for 1 1/2 hours and it turned out perfect)
Stir in the lime juice and serve with basmati rice and naan bread.

Pear Crumble

4 beurre bosc pears
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
50g butter

crumble topping

1cup plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
100g butter, softened
1 cup rolled oats (recipe says 1/2 cup almonds and 1/2 oats)

Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
Place the pears in an ovenproof dish with the sugar, water and vanilla and toss to combine.
Top with butter, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes till pears are tender.
Place the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add the oats (and almonds if using) and toss to combine.
Top the pears with this mixture and bake for a further 20 minutes.