Spicy Beef Curry

By crikey this has been one hell of a year so far - up until just recently I had had only 1 1/2 days off (including weekends) since the middle of January. I am so bloody excited to say that the cookbook, which has ruled my life for so long, is now finally on the presses and will soon be heading this way - wooooooooo hooooooo!!!!!!!! (If I ever decide to do another one - please remind me of this post!). Anyhoo, as an exciting end to that daily grind, I have just had my darling Hoob up from Welly for two short nights,  it was such a huge treat to see him and gave me a fantastic boost (felt like my old self for a minute there). Now the countdown is on to see Pog (and Will) in a few weeks with two nights in Melbourne. They may be approaching 22 and 20 years old and totally independent, but I still miss my lovely men/boys massively! Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, the temperatures have plummeted and I have been craving a few more warming, slow cooked winter meals. Today's recipe is a spicy beef curry, slow cooked and fragrant, with a good bit of chilli grunt, but also a depth and complexity of flavour which means it's not just 'hot'. Don't be put off by the ingredients list below - they are all readily available and not too much of a bother, and as for the curry itself - it takes just half an hour to prepare, then the slow cooking does all the work of breaking the meat down until it is meltingly tender, while the flavours round out and develop. Trust me - it's worth it. If you're planning on watching the rugby tonight, quick go and get the ingredients now - if you give it a good 4 hours it's going to be bloody perfect by kick-off. (And frankly even better for Sunday night leftovers!)

In other news, I don't know if you've caught up on my Instagram stories lately, but if so you might have seen a particularly fetching set of dinnerware loaded into the flash new Fisher & Paykel Dishdrawers in my kitchen. The ceramic dinner set has been hand crafted in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Fisher & Paykel Dishdrawer - and I am excited to have one of the 21 piece dinner sets to GIVE AWAY. All you need to do is answer here on the blog, in the comments box below - how do you like your curry: mild, medium or turbo-boosted!? The winner will be announced here on the blog and on Facebook on Saturday 15th July, so make sure you check back in to see if you've got a dinner set coming your way!

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds (not pods)
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp chilli powder (1 for medium, 1 1/2 for hot and 2 for full grunt!)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 large thumb ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp white vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 kilos stewing steak (such as chuck, cross cut or blade), cut into 4cm pieces
425mls coconut cream
1 cup coriander leaves 
Thai fried shallots to garnish
Indian flatbreads, Greek natural yoghurt and basmati rice to serve

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pot and cook the onion over a gentle/medium for 15 minutes until soft but not coloured. Put all of the spices, sugar, ginger, garlic and vinegar in a small food processor and whiz to combine. Add the cooked onion and whiz again to form a smooth-ish paste.

Heat the second lot of oil in the pot and cook beef over a medium high heat for two minutes. Add the spice paste and cook over a medium heat for another 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, half cover with a lid, reduce the heat to very low and cook for 3 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid completely and cook a further 30 minutes. Serve the curry on basmati rice, garnished with coriander leaves and Thai fried shallots for a bit of crunch. Serves 6-8 as part of a curry buffet (!) or 4-6 with blanched green beans on the side. (If possible cook in the first half of the day and gently reheat for half an hour before serving, or even better the day before. It's good whatever way, but extra time keeps rounding out those flavours and making the meat even more tender :) ).

A note on the heat - feel free to add even more chilli if it floats your boat (go wild!) but it's best not to adjust too much until you have tasted the curry after three hours cooking, it needs that much time for the flavours to round out and do their thing :)

To enter the Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer 20th anniversary dinner set giveaway, just comment below, how do you like your curry - mild, medium or turbo-boosted!? Competition available in New Zealand only. The winner must contact me at fromthekitchen@icloud.com by Tuesday 18th July with address and phone contact details so that we can ensure delivery. Good luck :)

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