I’m been obsessed with cooking these last few days, not that I’ve actually cooked anything. It’s all in the preparation, you see.
Actually, that’s not completely true – I have cooked one meal from pot to gut. On Monday I suddenly had this urge for some good ol’ traditional cooking so knocked up a batch of curried sausages. It’s been such a long time I’ve done them I thought I’d take the easy road and, as a sort of refresher, get the Continental packet mix and go from there. Still, I added a good sized shake of curry powder for that extra boost.
Funny thing was, tasting the sauce half-way through, they didn’t taste anything like the curried sausages I remember Mah making. Perhaps it was because I didn’t add the green apple? It tasted… well… sweet, but it didn’t taste bad. I put the dish back in the oven and started on the mashed potato.
Melanie rang. We were seeing a play the next day (Hedwig and the Angry Inch – a wonderful rock opera. Melanie was absolutely taken with it, I loved it just as much this second time as I did the first, and Melanie’s little friend complained about the farting man sitting next to her. Some people, hey) and, being of good country stock, I told her about my curried sausages. “Oooo,” she said, “Are you using Keen’s curry power?” “No,” I said as I reached for the cheaper brand, “It’s Clive of India… Ah.” “What’s wrong?” said Melanie. My face might have been my mother’s, it was so still. (Hedwig quote there) It was then that I realised why my curried sausages didn’t taste like they used to – I’d been adding mustard powder instead of curried powder.
Still, it was yummy.
Clyde’s Curried Mustard Sausages
According to the packet it serves 4 but I got 3 meals out of it.
- 1 packet Continental curried sausages recipe base
- 1 discounted tray of Coles chipolatas
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 4 small carrots, sliced
- 2 Tbsp and another squirt of tomato sauce
- Clive of India Authentic mustard powder
- Clive of India Authentic curry powder, but hidden up the back of the cupboard behind the sesame oil and Worcestershire sauce
Preheat oven 180C.
Sauté the onions in a splash of oil.
In a bowl whisk up the packet mix with the tomato sauce and mustard powder. Wonder why it’s a strange yellow colour.
In a large casserole dish layer the chipolatas, carrot and cooked onion, then top with the sauce mix.
Bake in the oven for twenty minutes (after first putting the oven shelf on the lowest spot as your casserole dish is too big). Remove from oven and furrow brow when it doesn’t smell nothing at all curry-y. Give it a good stir under the assumption that all the curry flavouring has stuck to the bottom. Stick it back in for another half hour or so, or while you’re preparing the mashed potato and steamed broccoli.
Talk to friend on phone. Discuss meal. Realise what a dumbnut you are.
Dish and serve, at all times trying to convince yourself that you’ve just created an amazing new dish that’s going to catch on in all the best restaurants, and not that you simply reached for the wrong jar.
Getting back to the bit about me not cooking anything…
I’m attending a pot luck dinner on Saturday so I’ve decided to wow the audience with Delia Smith’s wonderful chocolate bread and butter pudding. I first made this for a Christmas roast I hosted last year and it was a great success. I’m hoping to next make it for the family Christmas desert. The b&b pud should work incredibly well for the pot luck dinner as all I’ll need to do is pop it in the oven for 30 minutes – it’s been congealing in the fridge since I prepared it last night. Tell you now kiddies – it’s a definite impresser.
Delia Smith’s Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding
- 9 slices, each 5mm thick, good-quality white bread, 1 day old, taken from a large loaf
- 150g dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids)
- 75g butter
- 425ml pure cream
- 4 Tbsp dark rum
- 110g caster sugar
- good pinch cinnamon
- 3 large eggs
- double cream, well chilled, to serve
Remove the crusts from the slices of bread, which should leave you with 9 pieces about 10cm square. Cut each slice into 4 triangles.
Place the chocolate, whipping cream, rum, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, being careful not to let the bowl touch the water, until the butter and chocolate have melted and the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove the bowl from the heat and give it a really good stir to amalgamate all the ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then pour over the chocolate mixture and whisk again very thoroughly to blend all together.
Spoon about a 1cm layer of the chocolate mixture into the base of a lightly buttered 18x23x5cm ovenproof dish and arrange half the bread triangles over the chocolate in overlapping rows. Pour half the remaining chocolate mixture all over the bread as evenly as possible, then arrange the rest of the triangles over that, finishing off with a layer of chocolate. Use a fork to press the bread gently down so that it gets covered very evenly with the liquid as it cools.
Cover the dish with clingfilm and allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours before transferring it to the fridge for a minimum of 24 (but preferably 48) hours before cooking. When you’re ready to cook the pudding, preheat oven 180C. Remove the clingfilm and bake in the oven on a high shelf for 30-35min, by which time the top will be crunchy and the inside soft and squidgy. Leave it to stand for 10min before serving with well-chilled double cream poured over.
Delia says: I have to thank Larkin Warren, a wonderful American chef, for her original recipe, which I have adapted. It is quite simply one of the most brilliant hot puddings ever invented. It’s so simple but so good – and even better prepared two days in advance. Serve in small portions because it is very rich. Though I doubt if there will be any left over, it’s also wonderful cold.
Clyde says: I serve this drizzled with a raspberry coulis. Traditionally you’re supposed to add sugar and other stuff but I just get a defrosted bag of frozen raspberries, blend, then push throw a sieve with the back of a spoon. The tartness complements the sweet pudding wonderfully, even though the combination of gooey brown chocolate, melting fatty cream and bright red sauce makes it look like an aborted brown baby.
Saturday night I’ve also got an Underbear dance party, at which I’m working the 3am to close door shift – I’ll get home some time between 8 and 10 Sunday morning . On top of that, a friend’s coming over that night for dinner and I don’t think I’m going to be in any great state to man a knife and hot stove by the evening. In the search for something easy but impressive to prepare, I’ve been inspired to adapt a recipe from the Sydney Morning Herald. It’s one of those great non-crucial timing type dishes. How’s this for a meal?:
Clyde’s steaks with capsicum relish, with quick couscous salad.
Serves 2 but they’ll be leftovers
- beef sirloin steaks, half priced for a quicky sale
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
- 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
- 200ml olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
- 2 medium brown onions, chopped
- freshly ground white pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 red capsicums (or 1 each of red and yellow), chopped
- 80g brown sugar
- 80ml red wine vinegar
- 1 cup couscous
- dab of butter
- 2 handfuls rocket, washed
- punnet cherry tomatoes, quarted
- lemon juice
Crush four garlic cloves, lemon rind and peppercorns in a bowl and spread on steaks. Drizzle with olive oil and refrigerate overnight in that Tupperware marinader you bought months ago ‘cos you really really wanted it but has sat unused in its plastic wrapper ever since. A plate covered with cling wrap will do just as well.
For the relish: heat olive oil in a saucepan, add onion and remaining garlic and season. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add bay leaves and capsicum and cook for a further five minutes. Add sugar and vinegar and simmer to reduce liquid, about 30 minutes.
Let a saucepan containing a bit over a cup of water and the dab of butter come to a boil, then stir through the couscous and stand covered for a few minutes. Flake with a fork. Allow to cool slightly. Before serving toss through the tomatoes, rocket, lemon juice and a small splash of oil.
Cook your steaks how you like them (I’m going rare that night… in more ways than one). Remove from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes. It’s very important you do this for two reasons: it softens the meat; and it allows you to finish the couscous salad.
While the steaks rest, set the table and pour the wine. Slice the steaks on an angle and display fanned on a bed of couscous salad. Top with a large spoon of the relish.
Clyde says: The relish will keep in the fridge for at least a week and is great with any grilled or cold meats and chicken.
With a bit of luck there’ll be some of the b&b pud left over and I can serve that with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. I really enjoy cooking, but the best part of cooking is cooking for other people.
Oh yes – the moustache is coming along nicely (better quickly tie this back to Movember). As it’s said: you don’t grow the moustache, the moustache grows you. At the moment mine’s decided on going high school teacher but is trying to settle itself down to what type. Should it go PE teacher – neat and trained; Art – clipped and sculptured; Mathematics – structured and ordered; Science – full yet singed; or English – wild and passionate?
If I’m really honest with myself my mo makes me look like a thinner faced version of me Dah. His moustache, when he had one, was a sensible structure, trimmed neatly at the lip join line. He grew a ginger moustache too but his was that colour by genetics, mine’s just because everything else grows red too.
And before I forget the lovely David, who is also taking part in Movember, wins the Great Mos of Film and Television Competition. Congratulations David – I owe you a trip to Mozambique.
Let me know if you try any of the recipes, and don’t forget to sponsor! Thanks for your support, Clyde.
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