Did anyone say Refrigerator Curry?

Who has seen, The Little Shop of Horrors? Where a plant screams

“ Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!
Feed me, Seymour

Having been sort of incapacitated for over a month now, Himself has been in charge of the kitchen, which also means the refrigerator. Now that I am semi mobile I had a quick Look See inside of my refrigerator and found several items that were Saying Cook Me! Eat Me! Which reminded me of SEYMOUR! I think he would have eaten anything.

So what did I find , well cauliflower, potatoes, onions, celery ( outer branches distinctly yellow), mushrooms and the remnants of a bag of frozen peas. What to do? I hate throwing food away. So my immediate thought was a quick vegetable curry !

We have been watching JULIA on HBO / Sky, it tells the story of Julia Child, who was the American equivalent of Elizabeth David or Keith Floyd. She co-wrote the American best selling cookbook “ Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in 1961, whilst Elizabeth David’s book “French Provincial Cooking” dates from 1960. Julia Child was a larger than life person, and in reality she was 6’2” .

My very first foray into non English cooking was thanks to Elizabeth David, and I spent much time trying out her recipes and experimenting. Of course moving overseas for 30 years gave me ample opportunity to try out many different cuisines and I happened upon, Julia when we moved to Texas. Her cooking shows were a hoot. She was professional but also hilarious. However, somehow or other I never had a copy of her masterpiece back then, but did have an alternative from one of her co writers, Simone Beck, nicknamed Simca. During my Texas years, I acquired a Microwave, a huge heavy clonking thing ( almost unheard of in Europe at the time), I lugged it home from Sears Roebuck, dumped in my relatively small kitchen, where it took up a huge amount of space, and promptly started to experiment, of course with many disasters along the way.

However, every Sunday, I would produce a meal taken from Simcas Cuisine (1972), and what was different about her book was she had themes, a menu for Crayfish season, A family dinner on a Sunday, a Simple lunch etc, which I found invaluable, especially when I started my own cooking classes several years later in Brussels. And I taught exactly that, menus with themes, that were easy to follow.

But I digress, waste not want not was the motto growing up, and certainly for Himself , in a family of 8 it was a question of the quick or go hungry, his mother certainly did not waste. My usual go to for not wasting is my Refrigerator Soup but today was Refrigerator Curry. Obvious any vegetable may be used and I would recommend precooking those which are harder in substance, carrots, potatoes for example.

  • For a curry sauce
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 cm piece of ginger
  • a good dollop of ghee or splash of olive oil
  • 2 fresh red chillies , or a re spoon from a jar of chillis in oil
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons of Garam masala, and of turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 x 400 g tin of quality plum tomatoes ( optional)


  1. Parboil, steam or microwave some of the firmer vegetables and set aside
  2. Chops the onions, then peel and finely grate the garlic and ginger, or use some that you might have frozen or easier still, use from a jar
  3. Put a large pan on a medium heat with the ghee or oil along with the onion, garlic and ginger, and chillies stirring regularly.
  4. After a few minutes,stir in the curry powder, turmeric and Garam masala .Cook for a couple minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Add the tomatoes, if using them, breaking them up with a wooden spoon and scraping up any sticky bits from the base of the pan. Simmer for a few minutes.
  6. At this point add the softer vegetables, mushrooms etc followed by the precooked ones and then the frozen pease. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  7. If you like, coconut milk, or cream of coconut maybe added, or some sour cream, or plain yoghurt.
  8. This basic sauce can be made in advance , frozen in portioned amounts and of course can be added to cooked chicken, and seafood. Experimentation is the key word!

Kedgeree, or what is in a name.

Himself, was on a new learning curve today, caused in part by necessity, as friends were coming round.

It was decided to have kedgeree, something which can be made well in advance and simply thrown into the oven to reheat. But what, exactly is Kedgeree, from where did it originate, and the name? What does that mean?

Apparently, it somehow drifted over from India, during colonial times, but the name or a version of it dates back to the 1300’s. According to Hobson-Jobson, there are various incarnations of Kishri, Kitchri, Kichiris, Kitserye, Quicheri, Cutcherry are just a few of the names used over the centuries. However, it would appear that early on it was more or less a stew of rice, lentils and butter, served to the animals. It was only in colonial times that it became more or less the dish that we know today. Originally, then fish might have been served separately. It was a very common breakfast meal at Anglo Indian tables. Consequently, at the end of the this period, the meal found itself on the tables of Victorian England and beyond.

We consulted several books and decided on a melange, of the found recipes. Some called for basmati rice, whilst others brown rice and yet others lentils. All required fish, some just used haddock, whilst others used a mixture. Absolutely all required chopped boiled eggs and spices including curry powder, cream and butter.

  • For 4+ servings
  • Fillets of fish, smoked haddock, salmon, white fish ( use cod, haddock etc) cut into chunks , lightly dredged in flour and sautéed in either ghee or oil until cooked
  • Prawns cooked (optional)
  • 4 hard boiled eggs peeled and roughly chopped
  • Large onion, sliced and sautéed until brown
  • handful of mushrooms sliced and sautéed
  • A mix of spices including turmeric, cumin,curry powder, salt to taste ( want it spicier, add some chilli powder or harissa)
  • 350 grams cooked basmati rice
  • 200 mls double cream
  • 1/2 tsp tomato purée ( optional)
  • Large knob of butter
  • Knob of ginger peeled and chopped
  • Couple cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 100 mls fish stock ( cube or powder is fine)
  • For the sauce
  • melt the butter, add the garlic and ginger cook gently until softened but do not let burn
  • Add the spices, add the tomato purée if using and the fish stock, boil and reduce it to about half, pour in the cream and let it simmer for about 5 minutes
  • To assemble
  • Mix the fish, onions, rice and mushroom together, pour over the sauce and very carefully mix it all together , along with the chopped eggs. I say carefully as we do not want a MUSH. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Put into a casserole and can be left until ready to use. Can be made and left overnight in the refrigerator. Bake in the medium hot oven until heated through. Eat with salad.

The Phantom Jam Maker is at it again !

Is there no stopping him ? It would seem not. During my luxury hospital stay he appeared bearing Bubbles to have with my dinner, but also announced the arrival from Spain, Avocados, Tangerines and Kumquats! What was he meant to do with them ? Avocados, no problem, they ripen gradually in the refrigerator, but the rest? Kumquats went into the freezer whilst the tangerines became marmalade.

But come Sunday, he reminded that the Kumquats were languishing in the freezer, and so it was Kumquat Jam was made. It really is a cross between Jam and marmalade and made in exactly the same way, except as our fruit was frozen, it was put into boiling water and once defrosted the fruit was smushed using the handheld blender.

Also in his repertoire this last week, was Ron’s Mum Mulligatawny soup, Chicken curry, Indian potatoes , Homemade Naan and créme anglaise ( custard to you and me)! What with the Laundry, the cleaning, and the silver polishing, he certainly has been a busy body.

I have written about Mulligatawny soup previously, so apologies. However this is a quick standby soup, when guests arrive unexpectedly. ( all you need in the store cupboard is a can or two of condensed chicken soup …. Or homemade of course……..or a convenience store close by ) Ron, was a dear friend who sadly passed in 2003. Her Mum came from what was Burma and made a mean Mulligatawny Soup. Ron asked me if I happen to have her Mums recipe as she did not and Mum was no longer here to ask. Of Course, I had the recipe and here it is.

Ron’s Mum Mully Soup
2 Onions chopped finely
6 cloves of garlic crushed
2 tsp both of Turmeric and of ginger2 tsp curry powder
1 litre of water or stock ( you may used bought)
a cooked chicken breast , finely chopped
1 tin condensed cream of chicken soup
2oz creamed coconut 1 lemon cut into wedges
Fry the onion in a little butter or ghee until translucent , add the spices, add the stock along with the chicken. Bring to the boil and add the can of soup, mix well. Add the creamed coconut and stir well to mix. Here it maybe blitzed in a food processor or by a hand blender to give a cream soup, or left a bit chunky. It can be made a little richer by stirring in either some cream or some plain yoghurt.Test for taste and adjust seasoning ( salt and pepper) serve with a wedge of lemon or a garnish of chilli flakes or strands of saffron.