An Indian supper

February 14, 2010

I was heading off to a birthday party in west London last night. Rather rashly, I offered to contribute a pudding to the Indian-themed meal, and after a glance through a cookery book called simply Indian Cookery by Dharamjit Singh (one of my mum’s 1970s staple recipe books, which has been passed on to me), I decided on what I thought was a very straightforward dish – gajjar karrah, or carrot halva.

The list of ingredients was short and basic, and the method simple, so off I set, cooking vast amounts of grated carrot in several pints of milk. Boil until reduced to a quarter of the original volume, Dharamjit instructed.

What he didn’t tell me was that to reduce that amount of liquid would take about three hours! A fact I didn’t realise until an hour and a half into the boiling, when the milk had reduced by barely half. Oh well, I didn’t have anything else to do with my Saturday afternoon.

Luckily, I’d started early enough to finish the halva in time to catch my train – and the guests at the party thought it tasted very authentic. Phew…

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On Friday, feeling like I was coming down with a bit of a cold, I bought three big, fat navel oranges. Luckily, the cold didn’t materialise, so I decided the oranges deserved a fate slightly more interesting than a glass of juice. Turning to my favourite book for cakes, Leith’s Baking Bible, I found a recipe for orange buns. And, as we’re now well and truly on the slippery slope to Christmas, I decided to spice them up a bit with a pinch of ground cardamom.

The recipe says these buns freeze well (before icing), but I think I’ll be taking them into work tomorrow. After all, part of the pleasure of cooking is seeing others enjoy the fruits of your labour!