This month has been a pretty tight one for us, and we’re barely even half way through >.< Because of the drama of our Isle of Man Holiday (link to blog post here), we ended up spending much more out of the joint spending account than we had planned in order to make sure we could enjoy what little of the holiday was left. Not that this has completely done us in or anything, but the more we can minimise the impact that has on our savings, the better. And that’s where Leftovers for Lunch really comes into it’s own – it’s the standard way I budget for food shopping anyway, but some weeks I can definitely try a lot harder if I have to ;p
So I was faced with a tough decision this week – we had a portion of moussaka left in the freezer, which would require nothing more than the yoghurt & feta topping, along with a little salad to pad it out. Definitely a good use of a leftover, with minimal shopping required. But, we also had a pack of tomatoes leftover (or rather inherited – Dave’s parents own a convenience store and we get leftovers from there too!) and I really fancied making a curry from scratch. What with trying to be as good as possible this month and doing the whole bulk-cook and freeze thing, as well as being away for a week or so, I’ve not had much opportunity to get some real good cooking done.
Well, there was the decision then, wasn’t it? 😉 If I need to justify it further, the moussaka could stay frozen longer whilst the tomatoes would perish! And we simply can’t have that now can we? Besides, I do think it’s important to get a little perspective on these things; we aren’t destitute, and we can afford a little treat like this amongst a whole week of good budget meals. The curry in question was a Chicken & Spinach Curry, from the Reader’s Digest 30 Minute Cookbook. I don’t think this is still available anymore, but this is the book that helped me learn to cook so if you ever see it, I implore you – BUY IT! It’s got so many really nice, simple but delicious meals, I find myself going back to it time and again, remembering how fantastic the dishes are and wishing I remembered to use it more often.
As this was a fairly saucy curry, we like to have naan instead of rice, but that does mean a little something extra is often needed to finish the meal off, especially as this doesn’t have any chunky vegetables in it. Another firm favourite, is BBC Good Food’s Spicy Cauliflower – so simple and yet so smashing in it flavour! The whole spices, coating the cauliflower and the turmeric turning it that gorgeous golden yellow, it paired perfectly with the Chicken & Spinach curry. This combination was incredible and will without a doubt be the way I serve this meal from now on.
Also worth noting that I used cherry tomatoes for the first time in the curry, and it was one of those marvellous moments when a cooking ‘make-do’ in turn makes the meal 🙂 The flavour of the tomato was so much stronger and richer, and gave the sauce a better consistency too. I would definitely recommend using cherry tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes on this (and most things, it has to be said!)
Chicken & Spinach Curry with tips on cooking with the Spicy Cauliflower
Oil for frying
1 Small Onion
1 Clove Garlic
1 inch Ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground chilli
1/4 tsp garam masala
350g cherry tomatoes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
150ml double cream
4 naan breads
200g baby spinach
(Prepare the cauliflower first.)
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Peel & chop the onion and fry it in the oil until sorted and turning brown. Peel & crush the garlic and stir it into the onion.
2. Peel and finely chop the ginger and stir it into the onion with the spices. Cook for a minute, or until the onion is slightly crisp.
3. Half the cherry tomatoes, and add them to the saucepan. Fry over a gentle heat, popping them as they soften, creating a sauce. Cook down to reduce the liquid.
4. Meanwhile, remove any tough sinews from the chicken and cut it into bite-seize chunks.
(Start cooking the spices in the oil, and add the cauliflower, leaving to cook throughout the next stages)
5. Pre-heat the grill/oven for the naan as per instructions. When the tomatoes are ready, increase the pan heat to high, add the chicken and stir-fry until all the pieces have turned white. Season with salt & pepper, then pour in the cream and simmer for 6 mins.
6. Cook the naan as per instructions. Add the spinach to the curry, press it down and stir continuously until it wilts. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat at once and serve with the naan (and cauliflower!)
I absolutely love this meal, and is a great way for finishing leftover tomatoes or spinach, and making it that bit extra special along the way. I hope you all like it as much as I do!
Lotsa Love, Abbie x