Eats shoots & leaves
If the celebrated Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall can cut down on his carnivorous itch, by golly, so can we.
This is a man who built his entire television career on raising and cooking meat. But Whittingstall was honking about meat-free recipes before it was achingly fashionable.
Given that he now looks 15 years younger, and boasts that he's a "much better cook" as a result, I'm willing to grab on to his tail and see where it takes me. (Even five years younger would be nice).
Here's a knockout veggie curry to show you just how effortless it is to switch your menu to something meatless. Don't panic. I still have a murderous leather couch in my lair, and am frequently caught with my fingers in the honey pot. Flirting with vegetarianism, and sometimes, veganism, normally happens inside my pots and pans, and does not extend to my woolly socks. I'm happy being perfectly imperfect.
Serves 6 with rice. Freezes.
You will need:
A few tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
3 white onions, peeled
6-8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 finger-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled
25g mild curry spice blend
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
500ml veggie stock
1 x 400g tin lentils, drained
½ lime, zest and juice
Dash of maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Natural yoghurt, slices of fresh chilli and roasted almonds, to serve
1 Fire up your oven to 220°C, 430°F, Gas 7.
2 Chop the aubergines into thick discs, then slice each disc in half. Tumble the sliced aubergine onto two large roasting trays, dot them with some coconut oil or ghee, whichever you are using, and roast them until they are deliciously caramelised around the edges - about 20 minutes.
3 In the meantime, make the curry sauce. I like to pulse the onions, garlic and ginger together in a food processor to save on chopping. Tip this blitzed onion, garlic and ginger mix into a large, deep casserole pot with the remaining coconut oil or ghee, whichever you are using. Gently cook them for 10 minutes over a low heat, until they are softened. Add the curry powder, whack up the heat, and stir continuously for 60 seconds.
4 Now tip in the tinned tomatoes, the veggie stock, the tinned lentils, the lime zest, the lime juice, and a dash of maple syrup. Reduce the curry to a bubbling simmer and allow it to putter away for 10 minutes, half lidded, while the aubergine is roasting.
5 Tip your cooked aubergine into the curry, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper before plating up.
6 I love serving this curry with clouds of natural yoghurt, slices of fresh chilli and roasted almonds. Reheating the next night is simple, and this curry also goes especially well with a fried egg and chopped scallions. Leftovers can be frozen in individual portions, to service your sanity another night.
Sunday Indo Living