Simon Hopkinson is one of my favourite food writers. His other cookery book, Roast Chicken and Other Stories, hoovered up a clutch of international awards. That’s not a surprise, it’s a little gem.
But it’s ‘Week In Week Out’ that I want to take a look at today. Simon doesn’t like modern food fads. He feels a lot of restaurants serve food which pleases the chef’s ego rather than what the customers would enjoy eating. I agree with that. He feels classic recipes will stand the test of time because they make for good eating.
I agree with that also.
He believes good cooking, clear concise recipes and strong flavours will always win out. Simon doesn’t like supermarkets, celebrity chefs, readers who make his recipes using low quality ingredients and shoppers who don’t care what they are buying. His recipes can be quirky and off-beat, but he also rounds up the classics and dishes them up with passion.
I personally love his no nonsense approach. It was the tomato curry which caught my attention, and this was the recipe I decided to have a go at.
Serve it with brown nutty rice. You can’t go wrong.
I declare this dish to be a winner.
2 garlic cloves, sliced
50g fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large hot green chilli, chopped (remove the seeds if you like)
6-7 dried curry leaves (try Bart Spices, from major supermarkets)
1 tsp ground cumin
Seeds of 5 cardamom pods, crushed
10 tomatoes, halved and seeds removed
75g creamed block coconut, dissolved in 5-6 tbsp boiling water
Squeeze of lime juice, to taste
A Handful of fresh coriander leaves
1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based shallow pot or frying pan. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, curry leaves, cumin and cardamom seeds. Allow to gently stew in the butter before layering the tomatoes on them, skin-side down. Lightly salt the tomatoes and spoon over the coconut cream.
2. Loosely cover the pot and set over a very low heat. The juices will form a sauce with the creamed coconut. When this is coming along nicely, baste the tomatoes with the sauce.
3. When the dish is ready – about 30 minutes – the tomatoes should have kept their shape and the sauce will be slightly separated but creamy in parts (if it seems too dry, simply add a little water). Squeeze over the lime juice, grind over plenty of black pepper and add the coriander leaves.
Simon’s cook books aren’t for everybody. He’s very opionated and definite about what he likes and doesn’t like. This is why I adore Simon’s cookery writing.
I am sure all the major book retailers sell Simon’s books, I got mine from Reader’s Warehouse for R80. A great bargain.
Week In Week Out.