Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Let them eat....Thai curry

Stealing is great.
I ate in the excellent Leon for the first time this Christmas. Leon is a new(ish) fast food restaurant chain in London. It is revolutionary, it must be, the press say so. Actually whatever the press may say it is really good and it is really new. Fast food without sandwiches; really good salads; lots of super foods  - broccoli, almonds, seeds; daily soups; interesting takes on what have become normal foods. Take falafels for instance. I love falafels. I love eating them and I love making them. I first came across them whilst drunk in Barcelona for several years. They weren't there when I arrived in 1986 then all of a sudden they arrived. A few years later and there seems to be nothing but falafel joints. Apart from the excellent Irishish pubs to cater for all the Irish Catalans. Or the tourists. Falafels are good late night food. Of course they are good during the day too which brings me back to the beginning of this. Leon are doing interesting takes on stuff and falafels are a good example. Instead of the classic chickpea or even better and more easily digested dried broad bean they make them out of sweet potatoes and they are really good. I thought I would nick the idea and do them myself. I immediately fucked up by misreading or misremembering sweet potato for butternut squash. They sound similar and are both orange. Sort of. So I started by sweating some peeled bnut squash in a tiny bit of olive oil with some smoked paprika. When it had disintegrated and become a mush I cooked it for a while longer until it dried out some more. Then I added some salt, coriander leaf, ground coriander and fennel seed, pureed it and made them into falafel shaped things, rolled them in sesame seeds and baked them in the oven at 120ºc with fan for 20 minutes. Them was delicious but that aint why stealing is good. Stealing is good cos I happened to be making a coconut Thaiish curry at the time and I wondered what it would be like if I stirred some of the falafel mix into the curry. I'm glad I wondered cos the result was delicious. Butternut squash prepared in this way is excellent for thickening highly spiced sauces making them richer and velvetier without having to reduce the crap out of them or to add some other less desirable thickener. Presuming that you want a slightly thicker, richer, velvetier sauce. Which you may not. Anyway.......
Apart form this discovery today's lunch was a total cop out.
Thai curry with Jasmine rice. 
Spinach with ginger, chilli and garlic.
Delicious, but then sugar is.