This practical cookbook is divided into sections for the four seasons. Each chapter includes recipes for the most common vegetables and fruits that are available in that season. Of course, the chapters are aligned with the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere. Everyone above the Equator would have to adjust the recipes by six months.
The book also includes useful tips regarding when to harvest, how to store, how to preserve, how to freeze and such. As I thumb through the book, I can imagine cooking almost every single recipe. Page 32 has ingredients we love and usually have on hand, even when not in season.
Spinach and coconut prawn (shrimp) curry
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 red onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
large thumb-sized knob of ginger, finely grated
1/4–1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
4 large tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
400ml (14 fl oz) coconut milk
10 fresh or dried curry leaves (optional)
150g (5 1/2 oz) spinach, rinsed, stalks removed and leaves finely shredded
400g (14 oz) raw king prawns (shrimp), shelled weight
1/2 tsp caster sugar
Heat the sunflower oil in a large, deep-sided frying pan or wok. Add the onions, garlic and ginger, and cook for 2–3 minutes over low heat until soft, but not brown. Add the spices and cook for a further 1–2 minutes to release the flavours
Add the tomatoes and continue to cook over low heat for another 2 minutes, until the flesh starts to break down. Add the coconut milk and curry leaves (if using), and bring to a boil. Mix in the spinach and lower the heat, continuing to cook until the spinach has collapsed. Baby spinach will take 1–2 minutes, bigger leaves up to 4 minutes.
Add the prawns (shrimp), sugar and a pinch of salt, and cook for a further 2 minutes over high heat, or until the prawns turn bright pink. Serve with basmati rice, nan bread and lime wedges on the side.
How it played out
Other than using tinned tomatoes and coconut oil instead of sunflower oil, I followed the recipe’s ingredients and instructions.
I used baby spinach, dried curry leaves and a 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder. Everything came together easily and the cooking times were accurate. Served with rice.
This made a delicious weeknight dinner. Quick to put together and loaded with flavour. In future, I would use only 1/4 teaspoon of chilli. As much as I like chilli, the 1/2 teaspoon seemed excessive in this recipe. If you make it, let me know what you think.
As an aside
Hope you noticed the knife in the middle photo above (with the ground spices). I bought this amazing custom-made knife from New West Knife Works in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
In fact, I lashed out and bought five knives and three potato mashers. Wish I’d bought more of everything.
I have given away three knives and two mashers as gifts. One of these days, I’ll do a post on the knife shop. Have to say that I really appreciate good craftsmanship.