Spicy flavours and festive colour all together in a vibrant supper

Di Curtin shares this recipe with a bit of spice...
Spicy flavours and festive colour all together in a vibrant supper

Sweet and Sour Festive Curry by Di Curtin.

THERE’S not much to beat a bit of spice as Christmas gets closer. From the heady fragrances of cake spices like ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice, to the more savoury oriental chilli, ginger and lemongrass — ‘tis the season to get spicy!

This week’s main course is one from the archives, but I always think it’s great to dig out the old favourites and remind ourselves how good they are.

This is a simple vegetable curry, with special touches from fresh lemongrass and ginger, the heat of chilli and the sweetness of fresh ripe pineapple pieces. It combines ingredients many of you will have hanging around during the festive period. And its great one to tuck up your sleeve for when you have a vegetarian in the household.

This dish also has an added bonus. It makes a fantastic hangover cure! There’s something about warming spicy food that really hits the spot when you’ve had one too many!

Make it even more substantial by topping each bowlful with a soft poached egg. To say it’s divine is to say the very least. I’ve served this up when there’s been a bit of a hooley and it definitely wakes up all the senses!

Watching Nigella Lawson recently on her latest programme Cook, Eat, Repeat, she made an old favourite classic dessert of mine. Cherries Jubilee is a simple blend of fresh cherries cooked in syrup and flambeed in Kirsch, to serve hot over ice cream. Of course Nigella had frozen fresh summer cherries in her freezer to knock this up any time of year. The Curtin household isn’t quite as organised! So I’m doing my own version this weekend.

Berries Jubilee is a take on the classic original, which was first prepared for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Mixed frozen summer berries are a good replacement for cherries. You can flambé in Kirsch, brandy or other favourite alcoholic tipple and serve over the best quality vanilla ice cream you can get your hands on.

SWEET AND SOUR FESTIVE CURRY 

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 tbsp sunflower oil 

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and finely chopped 

2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 

1 fat finger of fresh root ginger, grated 

1 stick fresh lemon grass, peeled and finely chopped 

½ medium sized squash, peeled seeded and in chunks 

1 head cauliflower, in florets 

1 small medium hot red chilli, seeded and finely chopped 

2-3 tsp Thai Red Curry paste, or to taste 

¼ fresh pineapple, peeled and in chunks 

400ml can coconut milk 

100mls vegetable stock 

Dash of fish sauce (optional) 

1 tsp sugar 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  • Juice of half a lime Heat oil in a pan and fry scallions, garlic ginger and lemon grass over low heat till soft but not browned.
  • Add squash, cauliflower and fresh chilli if using, with another splash of oil if necessary, and cook gently for another couple of minutes, till the squash begins to soften round the edges.
  • Stir in the curry paste to coat all the veggies and cook for a minute.
  • Add pineapple, coconut milk, stock, fish sauce and sugar and bring to bubbling.
  • Simmer till the veggies are tender.
  • Season and add lime juice.
  • Serve with Jasmine rice.

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