OK, so not the prettiest photos in the world. I served it up then realised I should take a few snaps. These dishes were delicious. On the plate you can just about make out pilau rice with peas and cashews, paneer in a creamy tomato sauceand spinach with potato. The recipes below should feed about 6 people


Pilau Rice with Peas and Cashews
3-4 cups basmati rice
½ stick of cinnamon
1 bay leaf
3 cardamom pods
salt to taste
2 cups of peas
50g cashews
sunflower oil – about 2 tablespoons

Wash the rice in several changes of water, then leave to soak.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the cashews until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon. Return the pan with the oil to the heat and add the cardamom, bay and cinnamon. Fry for a few seconds, then drain the rice and add to the pan. Stir so the rice is coated in the oil, then add enough water to sit about 1cm above the top of the rice. Add the peas and some salt then bring to the boil. Once the rice starts being absorbed and peaks begin to form, place a lid over the pan and switch off the heat. Leave for about 20 minutes. Just before serving, fluff the rice up and mix in the cashews.

Paneer in a Creamy Tomato Sauce
200g paneer – cubed
1 onion – chopped
1cm piece of ginger – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
4-5 tomatoes – skinned and finely chopped
4 black peppercorns and 3 cardamom pods (husks removed) – crushed in pestle and mortar
150ml single cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
cayenne pepper – the amount depends on how hot you like it
sunflower oil
smallish handful of coriander – chopped

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a pan. Add the onion and fry until the edges start to brown then add the garlic, ginger, garam masala and crushed spices. Stir briefly, then add the tomatoes and salt and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes or so. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and paneer. Warm through before serving, topped with chopped coriander.

Spinach with Potatoes
8 or so smallish waxy salad potatoes (I used one from the allotment – nicola or charlotte – I forgot to label them)
250g spinach
3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 onion – finely chopped
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt

Scrub the potatoes then boil for 10 minutes or so until almost done. Drain, remove skins, cut into 1cm dice and leave to cool.

Wash the spinach and place in a pan with the water still clinging to the leaves. Cover and heat until wilted. Squeeze out as much water as you can and chop.

Heat the oil then add the mustard seeds. When the seeds sizzle add the onion and garlic and fry until the edges begin to brown. Now add the chopped spinach and stir for 5-10 minutes until nicely cooked. Now add the potatoes, salt and garam masala. Heat for a further 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.


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