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Butternut Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Tikka Masala + Easy Flatbreads

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I love a mildly spiced curry and I’m keen on replacing meat with vegetable options, particularly when the sauce in a dish carries all the flavour. Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Tikka Masala from his lovely book Comfort Food is a great recipe, and easy to make –  see my post for his Chicken Tikka Masala.

So I have made a version of the dish using butternut pumpkin and sweet potato instead of chicken. For the curry paste, I used a Jamie recipe from his website on Easy Homemade Curry Pastes.  My variation was that I added turmeric to the paste rather than to the curry.

I then used the concept of the original chicken recipe, with veggies instead. The recipe that follows is my take on those Jamie originals.  My quantities for the actual curry are enough for 4. I used half the curry paste and I have frozen the rest for later.

I also made the easiest flatbreads ever, another Jamie recipe of course!

Tikka Masala Paste

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic

1 thumb-sized piece fresh root ginger

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbs smoked paprika

2 tsp garam masala

2  tsp turmeric

½ tsp sea salt

2 tbs peanut oil (groundnut oil)

2 tbs tomato puree

2 fresh red chillies

1 small bunch fresh coriander

1 tbs desiccated coconut

2 tbs ground almonds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

Method

First peel the garlic and ginger. Put a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the spices for toasting to the dry pan. Lightly toast them for a few minutes until golden brown and smelling delicious, then remove the pan from the heat.

Add the toasted spices to a pestle and mortar and grind until fine, or put them into a food processor and whiz to a powder.  Whiz the toasted spices in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients until you have a smooth paste.

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The Curry

1 tbs peanut oil (groundnut oil)

2 onions

2 cloves of garlic

½ butternut pumpkin (squash)

1 large sweet potato

1 x 400 g tin of tomatoes

1 chicken stock cube

1x 400 g tin of light coconut milk

Method

Heat  the oil in heavy bottomed casserole. Peel the onions and garlic and put into the casserole on a medium to high heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions are golden, stirring regularly. Add half the quantity of the curry paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the butternut pumpkin and sweet potato chopped into rough chunks and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are starting to soften. Pour in the tomatoes, crumble in the stock cube and add 150ml of boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the coconut milk. Simmer for a final 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft but still intact.

Serve with whatever you usually have with your curry – I made easy flatbreads and had some yoghurt on the side.

Flatbreads

Ingredients

175g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

Pinch of  salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

175g natural yoghurt

Method

Add the flatbread ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix together with a spoon, then use clean hands to pat and bring everything together. Dust a clean work surface with flour, then tip out the dough. Knead for a minute or so to bring it all together – don’t need to knead it for long – just enough time to bring everything together.

Dust a clean work surface and rolling pin with flour, then divide the dough into 6 equal-sized pieces, roughly the size of a golf ball. With your hands, pat and flatten the dough, then use a rolling pin to roll each piece into 12cm rounds, roughly 2mm to 3mm thick.Use a knife to cut 6 lines into the centre of each round, leaving about 3cm at each end. Place a griddle pan on a high heat, then once hot, cook each one for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until bar-marked and puffed up, turning with tongs.

I cooked the flatbreads directly on the bars of the barbecue  – it worked fine, but you don’t want the heat too high as the flatbreads can scorch.

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Individual Pizzas: Jamie Oliver Style

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I am now making “proper pizza” – pizza cooked in a high heat source, fillings cooked on top of the base. Last time I made proper pizza, I borrowed the antique stove of my friends in the Southern Highlands:
https://thequirkandthecool.com/?s=proper+pizza

This time I used my barbecue with a lid and a temperature gauge as the oven. You can really heat up the barebecue very high and get great crusty pizza!

I have used Jamie Oliver’s recipe – it’s really straighforward and easy to follow – with some tweaks of my own.

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/bread-recipes/basic-pizza

The quantity below gives you 4 small pizzas, enough for 2.  Doubling the quantities gives you pizzas for 4.

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Pizza Dough

Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour

1/2 level tablespoon fine sea salt

1×7 g sachet dried yeast

1/2 tbs  caster sugar

325 ml lukewarm water

Semolina for dusting

Method

Pile the flour and salt on to a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Add  yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, mix up with a fork and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well.
Using a fork and a circular movement, slowly bring in the flour from the inner edge of the well and mix into the water. Continue to mix, bringing in all the flour. When the dough comes together and becomes too hard to mix with your fork, flour your hands and begin to pat it into a ball.
Knead the dough by rolling it backward and forward, using one hand to stretch the dough toward you and the other hand to push the dough away from you at the same time. Repeat this for 10 minutes, until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size for about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 4 balls. Flour and cover each ball with plastic wrap, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to roll it thinly.
Take a piece of the dough, dust your surface and the dough with a little flour or semolina, and roll it out into a rough circle about 0.5cm thick. Tear off an appropriately sized piece of tin foil, rub it with olive oil, dust it well with flour or semolina and place the pizza base on top.  Do the same with the other pieces and then, if you dust them with a little flour, you can pile them up into a stack and cover them with cling film.

Preheat your barbecue till very hot (at least 250 degrees C) with the lid closed.  Heat 2 baking sheets in the barbecue.
Put two of the rolled-out dough rounds onto each of two baking sheets, scattering each sheet with a dusting of semolina first.  At this stage you can apply your topping. Smear the tomato sauce over the base of your pizzas and spread it out to the edges. Scatter over your fillings, tearing  the mozzarella into rough pieces. Drizzle with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Put the baking sheets onto the barbecue, lid down. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the pizzas are golden and crispy.

Easy Tomato Sauce Or Passata

Ingredients

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

1/2 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked and torn

3 x 400 tinned plum tomatoes

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place a large non-stick frying pan on the heat and pour in a couple of  generous lugs of olive oil. Add the garlic, shake the pan around a bit and, once the garlic begins to colour lightly, add the basil and the tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mush and squash the tomatoes as much as you can.

Season the sauce with salt and pepper. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat. Strain the sauce through a coarse sieve into a bowl, using your wooden spoon to push any larger bits of tomato through. Discard the basil and garlic that will be left in the sieve, but make sure you scrape any of the tomatoey goodness off the back of the sieve into the bowl.

Pour the sauce back into the pan, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavours. It will be ready when it’s the perfect consistency for spreading on your pizza.

Store the sauce in a clean jar in the fridge – it’ll keep for a week or so. Also great to freeze in batches , so you can defrost exactly the amount you need.

Fillings for Pizza

Anything goes! You can start your pizza off with the tomato passata, or go for a white pizza (bianca). Cheese is almost always good and mozzarella makes for a beautiful gooey pizza. Add anything you think will work!

I made two tomato, mozzarella and basil pizzas, basically a pizza margherita, and for the other pizzas I added passata, artichoke heart, caramelized onion and a simple scattering of thyme leaves.

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