That’s not to say we don’t share time in the kitchen. Sonny likes to ask how long dinner will be and regardless of whether I say two minutes or two hours throw himself to the floor like he’s auditioning for the opening credits of Platoon.
Luca loves to bake. He doesn’t really care what just so long as there’s a spoon and bowl to lick.
Until recently however neither helped me make dinner, and not only for reasons of respite. You see like any good magician the illusion lies in what the audience don’t know. Let them in on the tricks and alchemy used to get vegetables into their diet and what are you left with?
Fish fingers and chips, that’s what!
But a boy can’t survive on cupcakes and cookies alone. If their cookery skills are to go beyond a WI cake sale they need to master something savoury. So when Hari Ghotra asked if we’d try one of her curry recipes the time seemed right. And as the child who didn’t once dip his popadom in a VERY spicy sauce despite me telling him not to and therefore the least resistant to spices, I asked Luca to help.
The curry kit we were sent was for a madras. It included all the spices needed, helpfully put in numbered bags so we knew what to use when according to the instructions. All we needed to add were a few fresh ingredients; in our case, chicken, onion, garlic, ginger and plum tomatoes.
We started with the madras powder, using a pestle and mortar to grind coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, white poppy seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, cassia bark and whole cloves, which we then sprinkled onto the meat and left it to marinade.
As the mustard seeds and curry leaves cooked we made our own tamarind water, mashing it with a fork before sieving it into the pan.
Luca was fascinated by how the hard tamarind became a liquid. Sonny looked on suspiciously.
With the rest on the ingredients added to the pan (less the chilli powder which I would have left out even if Luca hadn’t already sneezed into it) we left it to simmer gently while the house became infused with an amazing smell.
The resulting curry was every bit as wonderful as it smelt. I’ve never made my own curry from scratch before but this kit made it surprisingly easy.
I’d definitely make it again for Janet and I. Luca found the taste a little odd but had a good go at finishing it. Sonny looked on suspiciously … and ate the rice.
It was lovely to see how involved Luca was with all the cooking methods though and undeterred by the taste he’s keener than ever to try making another.
We had a look at Hari Ghotra’s website afterwards and he chose the Korma, roti and gulab jamun for our next culinary adventure. Clearly he has more confidence in our abilities than I do.
Sonny looked on suspiciously.