Tag Archives: artichoke

Artichoke, two potato and peanut curry

2 Dec

The ritual moaning became a means for bonding, even though we didn’t know it. As we dropped into our workstations on the open floor within our head offices, we compared how horrifically tired we were; too stressed, kids woke up at night or of course the wretched international business travel that we really did not want to do.  Then of course there was the travesty that of the car parking availability and all related discussion around where we ended up parking and having to walk from the north pole of the cark park, in the hideous weather; why don’t we just live abroad.

Artichoke, two potato and peanut curry by Deena Kakaya

We moaned about being underpaid, difficult colleagues, grading systems, ineffective governance systems, oppressive hierarchy, pay differentials, emerging stress related acne, the food in the canteen, the queues at the in-house Starbucks, the lack of available meeting rooms, the air conditioning noise and it was always just too darn cold. The ergonomic chairs weren’t ergonomic enough and the team away day was not in the right location but look, the thing is that we had people to complain to, with.

We confided in each other about fertility issues, we held each other’s hands through tumultuous periods with children. We comforted each other when we worried about the deteriorating health of parents and through illness or even just an argument with a loved one. We gave each other understanding around the challenges of inter-cultural marriages and we saw each other grow and evolve, out of divorce and through to new chapters. From parenting lost children to flourishing ones or from fertility challenges to becoming seasoned parents.

And following the grey clouds of ambiguity that I experienced in recent years, my ex-colleagues, my friends came along to my cookery class yesterday. A couple of them came along to show support and encouragement and each time they caught me around them they would say, ‘Deena I just love this, I am so happy for you.’ ‘Deena this is brilliant, well done you’. It is at this point that I realised how much I had missed them all and missed being around wonderful, like-minded and warm people. I feel so grateful that even after these years, they brought not only this wonderful energy back into my heart but also brought plenty of hellos from other friends.

I felt mellow, easy and I smiled. Fitting with this is my gentle, kind and lightly spiced but very fragrant vegetarian curry of artichoke, two potatoes and peanuts.  As you lift the lid on this curry you smell cinnamon, don’t skip the cinnamon on this one. There are no overpowering flavours, it is subtle yet soothing. Creamy but not with cream; the peanuts add sweet thickness because a paste is added in. The artichoke delivers silky texture and the potatoes sweet depth. The sweet potatoes and potatoes are earthy fresh, smelling of fresh air and good living because that is what the team at Riverford always, always deliver to me.

For the full recipe head over to great british chefs

Artichoke, butterbean and Halloumi pie in a green pepper, cauliflower and coriander chutney

6 Mar

Artichoke, butterbean and Halloumi pie in a green pepper, cauliflower and coriander chutney

 

Artichoke, butterbean and Halloumi pie in a green pepper, cauliflower and coriander chutney

I’ve indulged quite a lot lately.  There has been a lot of wintery comfort in the way of creamy pasta, warm chocolate and waffles…not forgetting the deep fried mock chicken in Malaysian spices or the sticky rice. Oof.

So when the subject of Pie week came up, I felt a little queasy at the thought of puff pastry giving way to dense fillings in creamy sauces. I found myself silent in the kitchen, looking over at spring shoots in the garden, my annually visiting hyacinths, daffodils and snowdrops desperately wanting to burst through. I love this time of year. I feel a sense of freshness, newness, readiness and the urge to just go out and do things. I want to do fun things, be outdoors and be kinder to my body.

The fabulous thing about a crisp and light filo pie is that it can take on any character you like, cant it? I have created fresh, zesty, juicy, chutney to dress the salty and spongy Halloumi, deep butterbeans and silky artichoke and all in all it’s a bit like a spring salad in a crisp golden wrapping.

I’ve indulged quite a lot lately.  There has been a lot of wintery comfort in the way of creamy pasta, warm chocolate and waffles…not forgetting the deep fried mock chicken in Malaysian spices or the sticky rice. Oof. So when the subject of Pie week came up, I felt a little queasy at the thought of puff pastry giving way to dense fillings in creamy sauces. I found myself silent in the kitchen, looking over at spring shoots in the garden, my annually visiting hyacinths, daffodils and snowdrops desperately wanting to burst through. I love this time of year. I feel a sense of freshness, newness, readiness and the urge to just go out and do things. I want to do fun things, be outdoors and be kinder to my body.  The fabulous thing about a crisp and light filo pie is that it can take on any character you like, cant it? I have created fresh, zesty, juicy, chutney to dress the salty and spongy Halloumi, deep butterbeans and silky artichoke and all in all it’s a bit like a spring salad in a crisp golden wrapping.

The really exciting thing about this salad is the chutney and how well it works with the simple and clean ingredients. It’s bracing, it’s invigorating and it smells great.

The really exciting thing about this salad is the chutney and how well it works with the simple and clean ingredients. It’s bracing, it’s invigorating and it smells great. For the full recipe, head over to great british chefts

 

Beans-On-Toast, The Stylish way.

2 Oct

Walking around Borough Market today was a whole sensory popping-corn experience.  There were excited people, buzzing around like mosquitoes, darting from chutney’s to cheese to veg and hovering in the most exciting places to absorb the newness and freshness of it all.  There were smells of fruit, fish and flowers within a single cloud, all singing out to be noticed.  People took pictures of the traditional English setting, people took pictures of foods of the world and people took pictures of other people buying.

I stopped to admire gigantic onions, carrots with huge green and feathery heads, bulbous beetroot and oh, those beautiful artichokes.  I smiled inside and out at the sight of those artichoke.  The lavender and rose petals, neatly bundled with the dried spanish chilies inspired me. The spices I have at home would really work with the flowery sweetness. But the cheese.  There is something hugely nostalgic about grilled cheese. The smell of massive hunks of good-quality cheese being grilled is just so inviting and comforting.  Plates of the cheese were gobbled up with new potatoes and asparagus. Could it get any better?

By this point I was ready to eat and I wanted it quickly.  There was no deliberation, as I’d already collected all the ingredients necessary, in my mind-my senses had told my head what to do!

It was decided.   A can of butter beans, sliced red onions (from the gigantic one I had picked up earlier), 1 tsp of cumin seeds, the dried chilli, chargrilled artichoke hearts (about 4 of them) cut into large slithers, a generous (well, heaped) teaspoon of Ras-El-Hanout, a good slosh or two of garlic infused oil and a few tablespoons of  creme fraiche.  I decorated all of this with some onion and chives infused cheese and beautifully sweet red little tomatoes from the vine. (Although, technically, they are all off the vine aren’t they?)

It was magnificent in minutes.  I had very little to do-the ingredients did it all for me.  I simply heated the oil and sizzled the cumin seeds and chili together before adding the onion to saute.  When they softened, I added some salt, Ras-El-Hanout and then the butter beans.  Once I had coated the beans, I added some chargrilled artichoke hearts, cut into slithers and then the creme fraiche (enough to make a sauce).  Familiar smells from the morning wafted up my nose and into my tummy. Mmmm….I let it all simmer whilst my husband toasted the bread for us and grated the cheese.  I halved a handful of those plump little tomatoes and when the bread was toasted,  the final act was just bread-topped with the bean and artichoke mix-topped with cheese and tomatoes.

Try it.

Warm wishes

Deena

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