"my mum was a caterer and had stacks of them"Aha, so it's in their background, no wonder it looks like a breeze.
Simon Fernandez' set list: the man must be a control freak: look at that timetable! You can tell he comes from I.T. My list of stuff to do is written on the back of a paper bag generally...
Happy to give you the recipe for Grannyji Parminda Bennun's carrot halva
as requested by Tess of The Civet Cat Club
1 litre full-cream milk
Sugar (300g modern taste or 450g old-school)
Teaspoon-ish of cardamom seeds
Star Anise (1 or 2)
Cinnamon (good half teapsoon, ground)
Dried blueberries (modern) or raisins (canonical)
Almonds (couple of tablespoons)
Ghee (2 tbl spoon)
Get shitloads of carrots (1kg was what I used at the CCC). Wash / peel /
dice or grate the carrots. Put them in a big ole pan and put some water in
(not to quite cover them, maybe just more than half a cup) and boil the
water for maybe 8 minutes.
Add as much full-cream milk as you used carrots -- so in this case a full
litre. This is where it gets hard work -- you'll bring this to the boil,
reduce to a gentle simmer and stir every few minutes. Do this for an hour.
Grannyji would put a star anise in and remove it before serving. A very
small amount of cinnamon bark -- grind less than a teaspoon -- rounds out
Meanwhile, get your nuts. You'll need a good 100g of shelled pistachios,
which you'll blanch with boiling water and then rub in the hands (or with
a cloth) until the skin comes off. Reserve. Separately, you may want to do
the same with a few tablespoons of almonds -- I don't, personally.
Normally I would also be soaking some dry blueberries or raisins in Wray
and Nephew's rum. Grannyji would use raisins only and she wouldn't soak
them in rum. Anyway.
At this point, the halwa will probably still be very slush. Don't panic if
it's dryish. Either way, add a LOT of sugar. In the past, we're talking
nearly half the weight of carrots in sugar. These days, I use a bit more
than 300g of sugar for 1kg of carrots. Stir, stir, boil and stir until the
milk and sugar have been absorbed.
When it's time to dish up, melt 2 tablespoons of ghee into the mix
(optional but you'll be damn glad you did it) and simmer until mixed
thoroughly in. Stir in 1 teaspoon of cardamom seeds (crushed pretty
finely) and the raisins or blueberries. Put the halwa into a huge serving
bowl or individual portions and sprinkle your nuts on the top.
Recipe for coriander chutney by Tess O'Leary of The Civet Cat Club
Coriander chutney - I couldn't really say the amounts as I tend to make it up as I go along. However the ingredients are as follows:
tempered cumin seeds (this is when you lightly fry the seeds in ghee)
pinch of salt
finely grated ginger
lots of fresh coriander - more than you would think
coconut - fresh or dry, not cream - soak the dry first to soften it
You could add a few fried mustard seeds if you haven't got them in an accompanying curry - you don't want everything to taste the same!
Add the whole lot into a blender and away you go. Add more garlic, lemon, salt or sugar to taste. Try to make it at least a few hours before serving for it to infuse well. I made it quite sweet and sharp.