Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Snow Yet Again, My Reading, Tomato Curry

Would you believe we got another couple of inches of the white stuff yesterday, its supposed to be Spring for goodness sake, we have had enough. Spring here tends to happen almost overnight though, one minute there is not a bud in sight and the next the trees are in full leaf. Not a lot will happen til the snow has gone I don't suppose.

I am presently reading The Dark Materials Trilogy, from which the movie Golden Compass was adapted. Its good, but in some places, very slow going. The concept is certainly fascinating. I am beginning to understand the protests against the story from religious groups, but it is only a story after all. I got very irritated when people took The Da Vinci Code literally, can't readers differentiate between fact and fiction? I wasn't, personally, very impressed with that book, couldn't see what all the fuss was about. It takes all kinds, just as well we don't enjoy the same books or they would never get read.

Some authors seem to get an idea and then appear to strain to get that idea across which makes the story less appealing. A classic case in point is the Cave Bear series by Jean M. Auel. Her first book The Clan of the Cave Bear was absolutely brilliant and really worth reading. Her subsequent books have contained flashes of the original brilliance interspersed with boring repetitions of descriptions she wrote in her first book. She told us what the grasslands were like in book one, also about stone knapping tools and so on, but these things are repeated endlessly in subsequent novels, unnecessary. She is taking forever to produce the later books, whether she is suffering from the proverbial writer's block I don't know, but there are years between her recent books. I think writing a trilogy is great, then start something new, don't go on book after book with the same old story. Robert Jordan is another who is doing this in his Winds of Change series. Originally it was supposed to be seven books but I think we are up to nine now. He is not a well man these days so whether he will ever finish these stories, is anyone's guess.

From reading the blogs of several writers lately, I understand there is a lot of angst in writing a story - I couldn't do it myself I know, so maybe I am being super critical. I have a friend who has written an excellent book, I have read it, but hasn't managed to get it published. A pity.

On an uncritical note this curry is one of those I haven't made, but think sounds so good that I saved to do at some time in the future. I love tomatoes in any shape or form anyway, so I think this will be delicious. To get good tomatoes you may need to wait for the summer, depending where you live.

A Tomato Curry
Source: Nigel Slater

Servings: 4

onions - 2 medium
groundnut oil - 3 tablespoons
garlic - 4 juicy cloves
a hot red chilli
brown mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
ground turmeric - 2 teaspoons
cumin seeds - 2 teaspoons
a 'thumb' of fresh ginger
crushed tinned tomatoes - 400g
tomatoes - 8-12 (large, but not quite beefsteak)
thick yoghurt - 100g

Peel the onions and chop them roughly, then let them cook slowly in the groundnut oil over a low to moderate heat. Peel the garlic, slice it thinly and add it to the onions. Chop the chilli finely, then add it, with its seeds, to the onions. Stir in the mustard seeds, turmeric and cumin seeds and continue cooking. Peel the ginger and cut it into matchstick-sized shreds. Add it to the pan and let it cook briefly, then add the tinned tomatoes, 400ml of water and a grinding of black pepper and salt. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then add the whole tomatoes.

Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and leave to cook, covered with a lid, for twenty-five to thirty-five minutes, turning the tomatoes once or twice during cooking. You want them to soften but not totally collapse. Add a little more water should the mixture thicken too quickly.

Push the tomatoes to one side, then stir in the yoghurt. Let the sauce heat through, stirring gently, but without letting it come to the boil. Serve with rice or warm naan.

Have a great day.

As a kind of PS, I don't know what it is about my blogs which attracts enema cleaning ads, very odd I think.


  1. Tomato Curry sounds good. I'm going to try it.

    Cold here in Paris too, Jo.

    I do hope your friend gets his/her book published.


  2. I think she has given up on it. She has published several self help books about family problems and sexual problems, just didn't get the fictional work published. Pity, she sent me a copy of the book and I thought it was delightful, and surprisingly for my friend, no sexual scenes at all. Maybe that was the problem. She is an agony aunt and a sexual health adviser, so she should be able to write a steamy sex scene or two.

  3. Missed the cold Paris bit, Paris cold, never...... it was always so much warmer there than in the UK.