Sunday, 6 June 2010

Marrow viewpoint

A while back I saw marrows going for cheap at Waitrose. Never having cooked with those fantastically oversize courgette-type-things I bought one whopper and then puzzled over what to do with it. A straw poll of foodies at work suggested I make some chutney with it and a quick flick through the Observer magazine revealed a recipe for a marrow and tomato masala. Perfect. So I made both!

The marrow masala was a great opportunity to put some of my newer cooking tools to the test. It required a homemade paste (my first ever!), which required my prized Magimix. Toasting the spices and mixing all the other fragrant ingredients (who knew paste involved so much garlic!?) was so much more satisfying than buying a little jar from the supermarket, and now I have my own super quantity of home-made paste to use for future easy curries.

I layered the ingredients in my le creuset cast-iron casserole dish: onions caremalising nicely at the bottom, big hollowed out marrow sections next, then whole plum tomatoes, tinned chick peas all around and butter on top. And cooked it slow and low for two hours. The end result was impeccably tender, fragrant and juicy. It reminded me a little of the baby squash dish at legendary Tayyabs - maybe not quite there on the spice front, but getting there.

So it was totally delicious and hopefully the start of adventures in curry from scratch. I've often thought that if someone said "You can go any cookery course in the world..." that I'd choose some strand of Indian cooking. It seems to be a whole art and science in itself and one which I enjoy immensely. My birthday is next week, so any places on cookery courses gratefully received!

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